Saturday, May 19, 2012

Protestors in Chicago Can Fatally Fracture NATO

The NATO summit in Chicago, on 20-21 May, will be a lightening-rod for protest. This is a historic moment when peace activists have an opportunity to deflect NATO's current trajectory toward expanding and intensifying global warfare. NATO is the most powerful military alliance ever devised in human history. However, the alliance is unstable. NATO is wrought with fractures, which protestors in Chicago could break open, if they act thoughtfully.

Protestors in Chicago before NATO Summit begins. [Photos: M Skinner.]
Among the thousands of protestors expected in Chicago will be a group of veterans of the Global War on (of) Terror who will attempt to return their war medals to NATO generals. The war vets state:

 "We were awarded these medals for serving in the Global War on Terror, a war based on lies and failed polices. This endless war has killed hundreds of thousands, stripped the humanity of all involved, and drained our communities of trillions of dollars, diverting funds from schools, clinics, libraries, and other public goods.”

Like many people in the NATO states, these veterans were initially duped by the myths that support war. But myths can be debunked. Let's look at some of the mythical representations of NATO countered by the factual realities that are of use to those in Chicago and around the world protesting against NATO's destructive power.

Myth #1: NATO is controlled by the United States.

Reality #1: NATO is not controlled by the United States. NATO is certainly dominated by the United States. America's close ties with Britain and Canada make domination by the Anglo trio within NATO even more powerful, but not omnipotent.

The U.S. cannot control NATO, because the NATO decision-makers must reach a consensus within the North Atlantic Council (NAC) before taking action. Consensus can constrain the power of any one state or group of states. American decision-makers and their closest allies, who bristle at the constraint of consensus wish to streamline the NATO decision-making process.

Any reform that reduces decision-making authority to less than consensus would afford the U.S. and its closest allies greater power. But, thus far, the consensus model remains in place.
Which leads us to ...

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