Last month NATO heads of state met in Madrid for this year’s summit meeting. As expected, a new Strategic Concept was unveiled, setting NATO’s evolving global development in the context of the war in Ukraine. While the long-term orientation towards a military build-up in the Indo Pacific to counter China continues, there is an intensification of focus on Russia and eastern Europe in particular, including a substantial increase in military forces in the latter. Significant stress is laid on Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which provides for collective defence – an attack on one is an attack on all. The Open Door policy has been reaffirmed, with the membership of Sweden and Finland endorsed, and others potentially welcomed further down the line. Taken together with an escalating militarization across our societies, the summit outcomes indicate a deepening preparation for major war, in Europe or beyond. The great danger we all face is that this preparation for war actually increases the risk of war.
Nowhere is this more worryingly spelled out than in NATO’s new Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence Policy, published alongside the new Strategic Concept. This underpins NATO’s ‘defence and deterrence’ posture and states that ‘Allies will have all the appropriate tools to ensure that potential adversaries do not perceive that they can gain a clear advantage against NATO by using, or threatening to use, CBRN materials.’
Rather than following the path pursued through the TPNW, of recognising that nuclear weapons are so dangerous they must be outlawed, NATO has clearly decided that nukes are so dangerous that we must have a lot more. The additional problem is that NATO suffers from the delusion that we can be made safe from them: ‘NATO’s populations, territories and forces will be defended and secure against the threat or use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction.’
How can that possibly be the case? To revert to a slogan from previous times: No nukes is good nukes! And the global majority agree with that. To counter NATO’s preparation for war, peace activists from around the world gathered in Madrid to discuss an alternative vision of global security – and to strategize for moving forward together. The message was clear:
‘The international peace movement calls on social movements such as trade unions, environmental movement, women’s, youth, anti-racism organizations to resist the militarization of our societies that can only come at the expense of social welfare, public services, the environment, and human rights. Together we can work for a different security order based on dialogue, cooperation, disarmament, common and human security. This is not only desirable, but necessary if we want to preserve the planet from threats and challenges posed by nuclear weapons, climate change and poverty.’