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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/12/22

NATO - Most Dangerous Military Alliance on Planet

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Chris Hedges
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the arms industry that depends on it for billions in profits has become the most aggressive and dangerous military alliance on the planet.

Created in 1949 to thwart Soviet expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, it has evolved into a global war machine in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America Africa and Asia.

NATO expanded its footprint, violating promises to Moscow, once the Cold War ended, to incorporate 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe into the alliance. It will soon add Finland and Sweden.

It bombed Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo. It launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, resulting in close to a million deaths and some 38 million people driven from their homes.

It is building a military footprint in Africa and Asia. It invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, the so-called Asia Pacific Four, to its recent summit in Madrid at the end of June. It has expanded its reach into the Southern Hemisphere, signing a military training partnership agreement with Colombia, in December 2021. It has backed Turkey, with NATO's second largest military, which has illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria, as well as Iraq.

Turkish-backed militias are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds and other inhabitants of north and east Syria. The Turkish military has been accused of war crimes, including multiple airstrikes against a refugee camp and chemical weapons use, in northern Iraq. In exchange for President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's permission for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, the two Nordic countries have agreed to expand their domestic terror laws making it easier to crack down on Kurdish and other activists, lift their restrictions on selling arms to Turkey, and deny support to the Kurdish-led movement for democratic autonomy in Syria.

It is quite a record for a military alliance that with the collapse of the Soviet Union was rendered obsolete and should have been dismantled. NATO and the militarists had no intention of embracing the "peace dividend," fostering a world based on diplomacy, a respect of spheres of influence, and mutual cooperation. It was determined to stay in business. Its business is war. That meant expanding its war machine far beyond the border of Europe, and engaging in ceaseless antagonism toward China and Russia.

NATO sees the future, as detailed in its "NATO 2030: Unified for a New Era," as a battle for hegemony with rival states, especially China, and calls for the preparation of prolonged global conflict.

"China has an increasingly global strategic agenda, supported by its economic and military heft," the NATO 2030 initiative warned.

"It has proven its willingness to use force against its neighbors, as well as economic coercion and intimidatory diplomacy well beyond the Indo-Pacific region. Over the coming decade, China will likely also challenge NATO's ability to build collective resilience, safeguard critical infrastructure, address new and emerging technologies, such as 5G and protect sensitive sectors of the economy including supply chains. Longer term, China is increasingly likely to project military power globally, including potentially, in the Euro-Atlantic area."

Spurned Cold War Strategy

The alliance has spurned the Cold War strategy that made sure Washington was closer to Moscow and Beijing than Moscow and Beijing were to each other. U.S. and NATO antagonism have turned Russia and China into close allies.

Russia, rich in natural resources, including energy, minerals, and grains, and China, a manufacturing, and technological behemoth, are a potent combination. NATO no longer distinguishes between the two, announcing in its most recent mission statement that the "deepening strategic partnership" between Russia and China has resulted in "mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order that run counter to our values and interests."

On July 6, Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, and Ken McCallum, director general of Britain's MI5, held a joint news conference in London to announce that China was the "biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security." They accused China, like Russia, of interfering in U.S. and U.K. elections. Wray warned the business leaders they addressed that the Chinese government was "set on stealing your technology, whatever it is that makes your industry tick, and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market."

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

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