It is vital that we expose and reject NATO for what it is, and the NO TO NATO protest at the US Embassy in London on 19 May is the place to do that, says ex-soldier Joe Glenton.
By Joe Glenton
Stop the War Coalition
11 May 2012
Ex-soldier Joe Glenton was court martialled and imprisoned in 2009 for refusing to go to Afghanistan to fight in a war he believed to be unjustified and unwinnable.
If you only have a hammer, all problems start to look like nails.
A hammer is precisely what NATO is, as far as US imperialism is concerned, even if the post 9/11 doctrine leans towards vigilante 'Posses of the Willing' to further its agenda. These, like NATO, are collectives for elite-directed thuggery.
NATO is also a relic reconditioned from the Cold War, helping to garner the idea of an actually existing 'international community', rather than a boss's club of war-mongering (yet personally war-shy) string-pullers. If you need more evidence, there's a promenading line-up of the suspects in picture no. 2 on the main page the NATO 2012 conference website.
Geographically speaking – and recall, NATO is supposedly a North Atlantic set-up - an existential threat to NATO countries could emerge from a number of places; but Afghanistan, Syria and Iran were never going to provide that threat and this remains the case. The real concern is not emerging Hitler's, or terrorism; it is a need for pliable, obedient despots.
Given how much cash NATO and imperialism sucks up, likelier threats to the status quo come from inside constituent countries given the backlash against barbarous austerity. This might account for the drones, high velocity missiles and soldiers being deployed for the Olympics.
One set of coherent economic responses, here in Britain, for example, would be to pull out of Afghanistan, stop talking up wars which promise at least equal cost, scrap Trident and create jobs with the cash. But NATO, the special relationship, occupying foreign countries and spreading freedom (read 'hegemony and accessible markets') are given priority.
In reality, NATO can rightly viewed as a front for a tiny tier of monopolist gangsters; a clique of Mafiosi venture capitalists who extol their club as a force for peace and use it to wage war when it suits them.
It is vital that we expose and reject NATO for what it is and remember that a 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, or an attack on Iran, or intervention in Syria cannot be accurately measured in months and years, nor in units of 'freedom' and 'democracy' doled out to un-people; but in more kids killed on more battlefields and more public money squandered.
It remains critical to the anti-imperialist struggle to oppose front institutions like NATO: the next, best chance to do that is at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, on Saturday 19 May.