Statement by the Workers Party on 70 years of NATO

Today is the seventieth anniversary of the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). On 3rd and 4th April foreign ministers from NATO countries are meeting in Washington D.C. 

This is no cause for celebration. NATO is an aggressive imperialist war machine that expresses and serves the interests and profitability of capital and the monopolies. NATO is the enemy of peace and social progress. It exists in the interests of preserving the current social system. 

NATO was established seventy years ago, in 1949, in order to block the growing ideological and political influence of socialism and the Soviet Union. During the existence of the socialist states in Europe, NATO was a military instrument of imperialism amounting to a permanent threat to the peoples of the world who were building socialism. It was hostile to the national liberation struggles taking place across the globe. By the early 1960s the US had 2,230 overseas military bases. The US and NATO provided support to reactionary colonial regimes. Racist South Africa, Rhodesia, south Korea, Chile and Paraguay, for example, received NATO military aid and assistance and NATO established a long record of direct and covert aggression against genuine national liberation movements and progressive forces committed to the struggle for peace, independence, freedom and equality.

NATO actively assisted the French colonialists in Indochina, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, Dutch colonialists in Indonesia and Portuguese colonialists in Angola and Mozambique. By the 1970s NATO was extending its field of operations to the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

The concept of eastward expansion into the territories of the former socialist countries was formally proposed in December 1994. In 1999 Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic became full members of NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Slovenia became full members in 2004 followed by Albania and Croatia in 2009. At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 consideration was given to admitting Georgia and Ukraine to membership. In 2011, NATO officially recognised four aspiring members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Since 1989 all new members of the EU have become members of NATO.

In 1994 NATO also launched the so-called “Partnership for Peace” (PfP), a US initiative lauded by NATO as undertaking “an important role in enlargement of NATO”. Ireland, despite its constitutional commitment to neutrality, joined PfP.

In 2002 the EU and NATO signed a formal declaration on European Security and Defence Policy. In 2003, Javier Solana, (who had been Secretary-General of NATO, including at the time of NATO’s murderous attacks on Yugoslavia, before being appointed Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union) presented a document on strategy to the European Council, diminishing the role of the United Nations, and emphasising the importance of NATO, the World Trade Organisation, the International Financial Institutions and European and non-European regional organisations in “strengthening the international order” and advocating “the need to develop a strategic culture that fosters early, rapid … and robust intervention”.

In 2017 the European Council of Ministers established Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) under Articles 42 and 46 of the Treaty on the European Union. These commit the participating Member States to theprinciple of a “single set of forces,to increasing their military spending to reach specific monitored target levels, and to providing troops for EU combat missions.

NATO’s 2018 Summit Declaration characterised the EU as a unique and essential partner for NATO and described a “strategic partnership” between the two organisations while agreeing that capabilities developed under PESCO be available to NATO and be complementary and interoperable. These are dangerous developments for world peace.

Imperialism has promoted the barbarism of war and genocide; exploitation and social discrimination; the abuse of science and technology; threats to national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states; the repression of progressive political development and the perpetuation of the capitalist system. Intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yugoslavia and the destruction of the state of Libya are demonstrative of actions which had no legitimacy, no humanitarian objective, and were solely related to an overarching desire of the imperialist powers to create instability and to establish control, either directly or by proxy, opening the way for the monopolies. NATO has been instrumental in those events.

NATO has enlarged rapidly and significantly and designed a global remit for its operations. It constantly strives to expand its influence both in terms of the breadth of its agenda and its global reach.

Peace is a precondition for social progress. The peoples of Europe and the world must be free to determine their own course, without capitalist exploitation and wars.The Workers Party of Ireland applauds the long-standing commitment of the World Peace Council to peace and social progress. The WPI sends a message of solidarity to the anti-war movement, including the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases and others participating today in the mass mobilization against the NATO meeting in Washington, DC.

Today, is not a cause for celebration but a reason for resistance.

No to War!

No to NATO!

No to PESCO and a European Army!

Yes to Peace and Socialism!

G Grainger

International Secretary

Workers Party of Ireland