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When I was growing up NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was posed as a heroic organization born out of the wreckage of WWII and stood against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries; an alliance of Eastern European countries with the Soviet Union. (As Vito Signorile explains, the Warsaw Pact was actually formed in response to NATO presence). The terms Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, may sound strange to many under 30; however, at that time they were household terms and the news media provided a constant stream of information (for the times!) of the military strength of both NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, along with the numbers of warheads and missiles the US and Soviet Union had. The Cold War played out for much of my adult life until the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact disappeared and talk of a “peace dividend” floated through the media like a wisp of smoke. What did not disappear was NATO and what was billed as a defensive force has become today an offensive force – which it arguably always was – dressed up as the world’s police force.
According to Eric Ruder writing in the Socialist Worker, “NATO was founded in the wake of the Second World War in order to, in the words of its first Secretary General Lord Ismay, “keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.” The U.S. wanted NATO to draw together allies under a security umbrella for the stand-off with the USSR, but also to provide a counterbalance against a possible resurgence of Germany. According to its own self-defense mandate, NATO should have been disbanded with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Instead, the U.S. and other Western European powers sought to enlarge NATO to include countries that were formerly part of the Eastern bloc.”
On Friday’s program I talked with Enver Villamizar and Vito Signorile, both of the Windsor Peace Coalition about NATO and its role in the Middle East, especially focusing on Libya, Syria, Iran. Also, we touched on the May 19th NATO/G8 summit planned for Chicago. (Read the Chicago Principles here).
The Windsor Peace Coalition has worked tirelessly to alert people to the danger posed by NATO and the role the organization plays in maintaining the global order.
We also discussed the Harper regime’s plans for celebrating the War of 1812 Mel Watkins article at StraightGoods.ca Watkins alerts readers to Harper’s likely plans to use the centenary of WWI in 2014 as another excuse to further militarize our society.
Statement by Windsor Peace Coalition
Oppose the Canadian Government’s Hostile Interference against Syria and Iran
WindsorPeace Coalition-9 December 2011
“TheWindsor Peace Coalitionfirmly believes that Canadians want their country to be a factor for peace in the world, not an international bully that interferes in the affairs of other nations and peoples and whips up pro-war sentiment to try and justify attacking them. Precisely when a calm atmosphere is needed internationally so that political solutions can be found to conflicts,U.S.imperialism, echoed by the Harper government, is pushing for military “solutions” to prevent lasting political solutions coming forward.
The ramping up of sanctions and statements made recently againstSyriaandIranby the Harper government are reminiscent of the way conditions were prepared for NATO’s murderous intervention inLibya. These developments are deeply troubling as they show thatCanadais inciting war and aggression internationally.
While theU.S.and NATO represent a clear threat to international peace and security, launching wars of aggression and threatening other nations, Prime Minister Harper has declared the Iranian government to be “the biggest threat to global peace and security in the world”. In a statement issued November 16 regardingSyria, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird said “[The Assad regime’s] campaign of terror against the Syrian people must end. President Assad and those supporting him must go….Canada will continue to urge the isolation of this illegitimate regime. “
Defence Minister Peter McKay announced recently that a Canadian warship will continue patrolling the Mediterranean until the end of 2012 even though NATO’s military intervention inLibya– the reason for the warship’s deployment in the region – is supposed to be over. And responding to a CBC reporter’s question about the possibility of military action against Syria, McKay indicated that any possible military action would require “further contemplation” and possibly a Security Council resolution “to mirror the path that we followed with respect toLibya.”
The Harper government is trying to justify interfering in the affairs of the Syrian people, resorting to accusations against the country’s president Bashar Al Assad similar to those used to demonize Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. The U.S. and its NATO allies including Canada invade countries, kill people and destroy their infrastructure, carry out regime change and assassinate those they declare enemies, but are trying to divert from all this by whipping up disinformation about the Syrian government. The aim is to create a pretext to be able to invoke the “responsibility to protect” and carry out another regime change that will allow them to strengthen their grip on the Middle East and prepare for future aggression against countries such as Iran, Lebanon and others. It is a recipe for further war crimes and must be opposed.
It bears remembering that inLibya, claims of “an impending genocide” inBenghazi relayed around the world by pro-NATO media to set the stage for a U.S.-led military attack, were never confirmed or verified. Included in the group of “non-governmental organizations” that made claims in a letter to the United Nations about “massive human rights violations” requiring urgent international intervention in Libya were: a U.S. government-funded agency known to specialize in interference, destabilization and regime change around the world – the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); a “Human Rights League” with direct links to the NATO-armed and financed National Transitional Council; a lone Canadian “human rights NGO” whose President, a Stephen Harper-appointed director of the government-linked Canadian Race Relations Foundation, is dating Defence Minister Peter McKay according to Canadian media reports.
Now some of the same dubious groups and individuals who lobbied the UN to authorize a military intervention “to protect civilians” inLibyaare raising allegations of massacres and calling for a similar intervention inSyria.
The U.S.and NATO have no interest in change that favours the peoples ofSyria,Iran,Libya,Iraq,Afghanistanor any other country they target for regime change. But they are deliberately using the people’s desire for change in order to supplant it with their own aim of strengthening their imperialist system so that no people or government anywhere can challenge it. This is the basis of the Canadian government’s unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of other countries and peoples and it should stop!“