I was one of hundreds who attended the "NO to NATO" peace summit June 26-27 and one of tens of thousands who marched for "NO to NATO" in Madrid a few days before the leaders of the 30 NATO countries arrived in the city to map out NATO's future military actions.
Two conferences, the Peace Summit and the Counter-Summit, provided opportunities for Spaniards and international delegations to hear the impact of ever-increasing military budgets on NATO countries that give weaponry and personnel to the war mongering capabilities of NATO at the expense of health, education, housing, and other true human security needs.
In Europe, the disastrous decision by the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine and the tragic loss of life and destruction of large parts of the industrial base of the country, and in the Dombass region, is seen as a situation precipitated by a U.S. sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014.
Without defending or justifying the Russian attack on Ukraine, the rhetoric by NATO, the U.S., and the European Union, about Ukraine joining their organizations, is recognized as crossing one of the often-cited "red lines" for the Russian Federation's national security.
The continuing large-scale U.S. and NATO military war maneuvers, the creation of U.S.-NATO bases, and deployment of missiles on the border with Russia, are identified as provocative, aggressive actions.
Ever more powerful weapons are being injected into the Ukrainian battlefields by NATO countries, which could inadvertently, or purposefully, quickly escalate to the disastrous use of nuclear weapons.
In the peace summits, we heard from people directly affected by NATO's military action. The Finnish delegation is strongly opposed to its country joining NATO and spoke of the relentless media campaign by the government of Finland that has influenced traditional "No to NATO" Finns to acquiesce to the government's decision to join the military alliance. We also heard by Zoom from speakers from Ukraine and Russia who both want peace for their countries, not wars, and who urged their governments to begin negotiations to end the horrific war.
The Madrid Peace Summit ended with this final declaration :
"It is our obligation as members of the human species in order to build and defend peace 360├é ║, from north to south, from east to west to demand our governments give up militarism as a way of dealing with conflicts.
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