In the past dozen years, the armed forces of NATO countries, whether operating under the NATO banner or in related ad-hoc coalitions, have killed many hundreds of thousands of people. Of those hundreds of thousands of people, only a few hundred at most ever had any connection to any attack on a NATO country.
Whatever modern NATO has become, a defensive alliance it is not; that fact is beyond rational dispute.
It is also the case that the situation in countries where NATO has been most active in killing people, including Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, has deteriorated. It has deteriorated politically, economically, militarily and socially. The notion that NATO member states could bomb the world into good was only ever believed by crazed and fanatical people like Tony Blair and Jim Murphy of the Henry Jackson Society. It really should not have needed empirical investigation to prove it was wrong, but it has been tried, and has been proved wrong.
The NATO states as a group have also embarked on remarkably similar reductions in the civil liberties of their own populations during this period. NATO to me is symbolized by the fact that its Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as Danish Prime Minister blatantly lied to the Danish parliament about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. When Major Frank Grevil released material that proved Rasmussen was lying, it was Grevil who was jailed for three years. In the United States, no CIA operative has been prosecuted for their widespread campaign of torture, but John Kiriakou is in jail for revealing it.
NATO’s attempt to be global arbiter and enforcer has been disastrous at all levels. Its plan to redeem itself by bombing the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is a further sign of madness. Except of course that it will guarantee some blowback against Western targets, and that will “justify” further bombings, and yet more profit for the arms manufacturers. On that level, it is very clever and cynical. NATO provides power to the elite and money to the wealthy.
But what of Putin’s Russia, I hear you say? I am no fan of Putin – I think he is a nasty, dangerous little dictator. But little is the operative word.
Russia is not a great power. Its GDP is 10% of the GDP of the EU. Its economy is the same size as Italy’s. The capabilities of Russia’s armed forces are massively exaggerated by the security industry, including the security services, and by arms manufacturers. The entire area of Eastern Ukraine which Russia is disputing has a GDP smaller than the city of Dundee.
Russia is only any kind of “military threat” because of its nuclear arsenal. The way forward to peace is active international nuclear disarmament – and the existence of NATO is the greatest obstacle to that. The idea that almost the entire developed world needs to encircle and contain Russia with massive military threat, is as sensible as the idea that it needs to encircle the UK or France – both of which have substantially larger and more diversified economies than Russia and much larger and more technologically advanced arms industries.
NATO is by far the largest danger to world peace. It should be dissolved as a matter of urgency.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster, human rights activist, and former diplomat. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. The article is reprinted with permission from his website.