After four tumultuous years for the NATO alliance, leaders intended at this week’s Brussels summit to bury Donald Trump. But Biden’s boast that a USA committed to the much-vaunted rules-based international order ‘was back’ struck a hollow note. Changes in NATO since the Trump days are primarily ones of style, not policy.
The summit marks an intensification of Cold War rhetoric and hostility towards China. The summit communiqué represents a victory for Joe Biden in his attempt to recruit European countries to a more aggressive posture towards China. Military exercises like the recent departure of the HMS Queen Elizabeth II to the South China Sea look set to become more frequent. The summit agreed that China presents ‘systemic challenges’ – a worrying sign for those in the peace movement concerned by the prospect of military confrontation between China and the West.
The Brussels summit declaration offers little hope that NATO will depart from Trump’s policies when it comes to nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which came into force in January, is attacked on specious grounds. The fiction that Trident is somehow independent of the United States is maintained. Support for controversial missile defence systems in Europe is reiterated, something which Russia will see as provocative.
CND supporters will find the claim that the NATO countries ‘remain strongly committed to the full implementation of the NPT in all its aspects’ unbelievable in a British context. As our recent legal opinion conclusively demonstrated, the Government’s increase in nuclear warheads is not only a moral obscenity but also in breach of Article VI of the NPT.
After a war lasting nearly twenty years, which caused untold suffering and cost the NATO powers trillions of dollars, victory was unconvincingly proclaimed in Afghanistan. The caveat was that ‘withdrawing our troops does not mean ending our relationship with Afghanistan’. NATO says it will continue to arm and fund the Afghan military. This is an implicit admission that the alliance has failed in its long war – the Taliban are stronger now than they ever have been
CND wants to see the abolition of NATO because a world without NATO would be a more peaceful and secure one. NATO means perpetual conflict and the vast expenditure in people, money and resources that come with it.