NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is holding a summit meeting in Chicago, May 2012. The NATO summit will be held in conjunction with a summit of the Group of 8 (G8). We, peace and justice activists, will gather at a counter summit to voice a new vision of global security and peace.
Join us in Chicago May 18 & 19 for a counter-summit to conceive and help build a more peaceful, economically secure,and environmentally sustainable world.
NATO was created to integrate Western Europe, the United States, and Canada politically and militarily under U.S. dominance during the Cold War. Despite its claims, NATO was never a defensive alliance, and since the end of the Cold War has been transformed into a global alliance structured to wage “out of area” wars in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, as well as to “contain” China. From Yugoslavia to Afghanistan and Libya, the U.S. has used NATO to enhance and extend a military, economic, and political agenda that aims to ensure U.S. and European dominance of the Global South. It has spread the cost of these adventures to its NATO partners.
What today are G8 summits began as an annual event in which the leaders of the largest European economies—France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom—met with those of the United States and Japan to discuss matters of common concern, focusing on economics, trade, and relationships with the developing world. Canada was added later, and, after the end of the Cold War, Russia. The leadership of the European Union also participates in G8 meetings.
The 2012 G8 and NATO meetings occur in a time of deepening economic and political crisis. The G8 governments have stood united in imposing a program of austerity on their own populations and those of the rest of the world, using all available means of state economic management to preserve the asset values and income streams of the wealthiest fraction of the world’s population. Their efforts have resulted in mass unemployment, the erosion of social welfare systems in the advanced economies, and price increases for the essentials of life that are devastating for the majority of humanity.
We face a world in which increasing conflict likely will flow from stark divisions between haves and have-nots, exacerbated by unprecedented challenges posed by resource limits and ecological disruptions. NATO’s response is further rounds of high-tech militarism. In a speech detailing the goals of the Chicago Summit, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that: “To fulfill its essential purpose of safeguarding our security, the Alliance needs the appropriate mix of capabilities: conventional, nuclear and missile defense. We are currently reviewing that mix for approval at Chicago.” Expansion of NATO, U.S-NATO nuclear weapons and missile defense plans, furthermore, manifest and intensify continuing antagonism between G8 member Russia and a U.S.-centered Atlantic alliance, blocking further movement towards nuclear disarmament.
While ignoring human needs here at home, the U.S. has spent more than a trillion dollars on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and tens of billions of dollars more each year to maintain hundreds of military bases and nuclear weapons across Europe. Our tax dollars should be used to provide real security by creating green jobs and investing in infrastructure modernization for the 21st century, clean water, education, housing, and health care for all.
It’s long past time to end the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan, bring home all U.S. and NATO troops and mercenaries from Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, and to begin to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction and redirect monies from wars and weapons back to our communities. And it’s time to stand up against a foreign policy in which U.S. diplomacy amounts to little more that military threats, arms sales, missile strikes, and other forms of warfare. Once again, we see U.S. politicians and elected officials targeting an oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf, claiming that it might soon build nuclear weapons, a claim based on sketchy evidence provided by sources we never see. This time the target is Iran, and the U.S. once more is trying to drag its allies with it on a path that could lead to war. Israel, armed with American planes carrying American earth-penetrating bombs may strike first, igniting a conflagration that would be a catastrophe for the region and the world. As the Nuremberg Judgment, the outcome of the trials by the U.S. and its allies of Nazi war criminals, declared:
“War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
The crisis of everyday life in countries around the globe demands international cooperation based on respect for international law and national sovereignty, not wars and an escalating global arms race driven by the U.S.
By joining together in this Counter Summit for Peace and Justice , we can begin to demonstrate visibly and nonviolently that there are alternatives to the economically unjust and ecologically unsustainable order of things that the G8 seeks to manage and that NATO seeks to enforce. We can begin to show what an open and democratic discussion of the meaning of real human “security” might look like, and by doing so help to build a movement for a fair, peaceful, and sustainable society in which the technocratic authoritarianism of the G8 and the high-tech violence of NATO will have no place.
Help us mobilize activists to come to Chicago to participate in our international conference.
A better, more peaceful, secure and prosperous world is possible.
For additional information and to sign onto this call contact: Judith LeBlanc (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Joseph Gerson (JGerson@afsc.org)
By swolman for the Network for Global Justice and Peace
February 10, 2012