NATO & G8: An Overview

The Real Threat to Our Cities, Nations and the World

by Bob Bossie, SCJ

Chicago was originally scheduled to host the G8 and NATO summits May 19-21. In the months since that announcement, many in the media, government, and business community have emphasized the purported threat of the growing NATO-G8 protest movement. They do so because they want to draw attention away from NATO-G8, the real perpetrators of violence across the entire globe in the interests of the 1%.

Now we learn that the Obama administration will move the G8 summit to the remote Camp David near Washington, DC. Despite all protestations to the contrary, this last-minute move shows the power of the protest movement to expose these two intertwined, imperialistic entities, even before taking to the streets in protest.

 

We will continue to expose the interlocking network of the G8 and NATO as we stand in solidarity with all their victims – the 99% of the world’s population.

WHAT IS NATO?
NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO is a military bloc of 28 countries1, the largest such bloc in human history. The five most influential members of NATO include the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. NATO has partnerships and agreements with over a third of the nations in the world. The summit in Chicago on May 20-21 is the 25th NATO meeting. NATO summit meetings are the Alliance’s principal political decisionmaking body - at its highest level, that of Heads of State and Government. NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve countries to thwart, it was said, the expansion of the Soviet Union. This is code for NATO’s real purpose: to ensure worldwide domination by 1% of the population in the Western empire, including transnational corporations and financial institutions. To put it another way, “Keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in,” according to William Pfaff, author of The Irony of Manifest Destiny.2

"NATO is an instrument that the United States uses to advance its interests"
-- Stephan Walt, Prof. of International Affairs, Harvard Univ. (see video link below “Empire--
What and Where is NATO”)

With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, it was necessary for NATO to change its public image to ensure its real existence as the unchallenged guarantor of the dominance of the 1%. Conveniently, interethnic conflict in Yugoslavia during the 90s provided that opportunity. This was to be the perfect war. “It could make war popular… [and] necessary to justify the ongoing existence of this huge … military industrial complex that is now the center of American life.”3 (Diana Johnston, author ‘Fools’ Crusade).

Henceforth, NATO marketed itself as the defender of human rights and supporter of democracy. At the 2010 NATO summit, President Obama took it a step further when he said, “We came to Lisbon with a clear task and that is to revitalize our alliance to face … threats such as Cyber attacks, Afghanistan, counter -narcotics, and a range of 21st Century security challenges.” Thus, everything is deemed a threat in order to justify this military bloc’s goal of advancing the interests of the 1%.

Libya is a perfect example. While many persons supported NATO’s extensive bombing campaign to overthrow Gaddafi in the interests of liberation and human rights, the real long term goal was to set the tone for NATO’s collaboration with the “liberation” forces in controlling Libya’s massive energy resources. At its peak, the mission involved over 20 ships, over 250 aircraft and 26,000 NATO air missions over Libya. These strikes included the massive use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions, which are toxic for many years. War for Libya’s energy was planned long ago; no one cares about the people.4

Since 1999, NATO has waged war on three continents: Southeast Europe (Yugoslavia), North Africa (Libya) and South Asia (Afghanistan) none of which are near the north Atlantic area. At a NATO seminar on February 28, 2012, Secretary General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Afghanistan remains NATO's top operational priority.5

These attacks killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and left widespread destruction of all that it takes to sustain human life. NATO has now deployed its forces, bases and ballistic missile defense, especially those of the U.S., in many of NATO’s new member states in Central and Eastern Europe as a hedge against Iran and Russia. Interestingly, in 1966, President DeGaul pulled France out of NATO due to U.S. and British dominance. France’s current president, Sarkozy, reversed that decision in 2009.

The following disproportions indicate the level of NATO’s world domination:
1. The 28 countries of NATO spent 70% of all world military expenditures of $1.6 Trillion in 2010.6 The U.S. alone spent 40%. NATO countries possess almost all the nuclear weapons in the world. Equally significant, the military is the single largest polluter in the world.
2. The population of all NATO countries is slightly more than 885 Million persons, which is just 13% of the world population of seven Billion persons.7 Yes, many persons in the NATO countries have benefitted from these disproportions, until most recently when such benefits have accrued more and more to the 1%.

Hardly a day goes by that NATO is not threatening to engage in military actions in one or another country. Clearly, NATO is the foremost war making force in the world, the greatest threat to world peace.8

During the Chicago summit, Chicagoans will get a small taste of this violence as the city is turned into a military occupied zone. As past summits have shown, NATO helicopter gunships and AWAC aircraft will hover overhead and vast armies of “security” personnel, including military personnel and snipers, will comb our city. The autocratic government of Rahm Emmanuel is hosting the world’s foremost war-making force, without any public input yet under the cloak of supporting democracy.

These are some of the reasons why we protest.

WHAT IS THE G8?
The G8 stands for the Group of 8 industrialized nations: U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Canada and Russia. Like NATO, the G8 partners with numerous other countries and international organizations.

For example, the G8+5 include the five largest emerging economies: Brazil, China, Mexico, India, Mexico and South Africa. Leaders of the following major international organizations have also been invited to attend previous summit meetings: African Union, Commonwealth of Independent States, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Energy Agency, UN, UNESCO, World Bank, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization.

The G8 nations alone produce over 60% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product ($63 Trillion in 2010 )9 but they make up just 14% of the world’s population. (The GDP equals the market value of all the goods and services provided in one year.) As of 2010, the G8 countries represented 51% of global energy production, 55% of global energy consumption and 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, over half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.00 a day -- lacking even the basic necessities of adequate drinking water, food and shelter -- and witness the further destruction of their ecosystem.

The G8 is a closed club. No one is elected and there is no accountability. The rest of the world does not have a place at the G8 table unless invited and they agree to serve the interests of the 1% in those 8 countries.

The G8 was founded by six nations in 1975 (the G6) to counter the newly emerging economic power of the 1% who controlled the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC). Since then, the G8 has held a yearly summit of the heads of state and finance ministers. This year’s summit, now set for Camp David near Washington, DC on May 18-19 was moved, at the last minute, in an attempt to undercut the growing protest movement coming to Chicago. But we will not be deterred.

Neoliberal economic policies set by these 8 countries impact everyone in the world and the world’s ecology, especially through the influence they exert within multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank (WB) and World Trade Organization (WTO). At the behest of the G8, these latter two organizations force other countries to follow draconian economic policies if they wish to avail themselves of the loans necessary to sustain their economy. These same neoliberal economic policies are driving Free Trade Agreements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and global climate change which is already impacting most harshly the 99%, all other living creatures and the earth itself.

For example, the WTO can insist that a country cut its subsidies for social programs like education and healthcare, privatize or sell large parts of their natural resources such as water or oil or lumber to foreign corporations, and use their land, not for the benefit of their own people but for export crops (flowers, beef, etc.) to ensure a “stable” economy beneficial to the 1% in their own country and in the G8 countries.

Nowadays we see massive protests in Greece against these very same austerity policies imposed by the World Bank and IMF to pay for the world economic crisis brought on by the 1%. We also see such policies being enacted by many states and cities in the U.S. Illinois, for example, is set to cut health care for the poor drastically. Chicago is closing schools and mental health centers. Clearly, though, nations in Africa, Asia and South America have been devastated by these policies for decades.

WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN NATO & G8?
NATO is the military arm of the G8’s efforts to serve the 1%. Their common agenda is one of war and poverty. Despite the move of the G8 summit to Camp David, the link between the G8 and NATO is evident in the remarks of Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for Obama's National Security Council: "There are a lot of political, economic and security issues that come together at the G8."10 The interlocking network between NATO and G8 is also evident when considering that six of the G8 countries are not only part of NATO but highly influential in that alliance.

This concentration of economic, military and political power is catastrophic for the rest of the world under the best of circumstances, especially since the very same 1% control the ever increasing concentration of power and influence of the corporate media. A stark case in point is the media’s collaboration in demonizing those who wish to protest the hellish policies of NATO and G8. As has been said before, power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This combination of power is used to open markets and loosen resources that flow primarily to the 1% of the U.S. and Western Europe with little, if any, concern for the planet. This power is also responsible for the dislocations of millions of persons through war and economic deprivation, including the millions who migrate to the U.S.

WHAT ARE SOME STEPS TO THWART THEIR INFLUENCE AND TAKE CONTROL OF OUR FUTURE?
We have already been successful in highlighting the criminal activities of the G8 and NATO and forcing the Obama administration to move the G8 in order to minimize any further damage to their reputations. Despite this move, protestors and other members of the 99% will continue “to speak out against the generals and bankers [gangsters and banksters] who are responsible for most of the human misery on the planet,” said Joe Iosbaker, an organizer with the Coalition Against the NATO and G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANGATE).

Protestors will be there to protect our common heritage -- the lands, natural resources and biodiversity -- from destructive and exploitative development and military policies. Protestors will be there to demand that resources be used in a sustainable manner to serve human needs in Chicago and around the world.

ACTIONS
When you look at what G8 and NATO are coming to the U.S. to organize, we all have a special obligation to stand with those who are the most oppressed by these entities, to say that we don’t agree with their “might makes right” mentality.
1. Join the legally permitted, family-friendly march to the NATO summit (which will include leaders from six G8 countries) at McCormick Place. We will gather on Sunday at 12 noon at Chicago’s Daley Plaza located at Washington and Dearborn Streets. For more info, visit Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda www.CANg8.org and G8 and N.A.T.O. Protest http://www.g8protest.org/
2. Participate in People’s Summit in Chicago: A Better World is Possible, Sat- Sun, May 12 - 13, 2012 http://cang8.wordpress.com/peoplessummit/
3. Join the nation's largest nurses union to call for a tax on Wall Street institutions in Chicago on Friday, May 18 http://g8protest.org/ article/nursesactivists-march-g8-may-18-call-tax-wallstr/

NOTES
(1) NATO founding members in 1949: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, United States. Expanded membership: Greece, Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia (2004), Albania, Croatia (2009)

(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mXEVBFLSJY

(3) idem

(4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fUxVgxj0vc

(5) http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SIDBCEB07F8-8CAEA317/natolive/news_84679.htm

(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO

(7) http://flagpedia.net/organization/nato?t

(8) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQxnb4so3U

(9) http://search.worldbank.org/data?qterm=World%20GDP&language=EN

(10) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-05/news/chi-g8-summit-tobe-held-at-camp-david-not-chicago-20120305_1_nato-summit-nato-allies-g-8

Must See Videos/PowerPoint
1. Empire--What and Where is NATO 4:27
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mXEVBFLSJY

2. Chicago Clout: Opposing NATO in Chicago Video with host Andy Thayer 28:43
http://www.chicagoclout.com/weblog/archives/2012/01/opposing_nato_in_chicago_video.html

3. Chicago Clout: Opposing G8 in Chicago May 19, 2012 (with host Andy Thayer) 20:20
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1tl5V4nY-w

4. What Chicago can learn from Seattle: police chief admits to starting riots 2:58
http://tv.chicagotribune.com/2012/g8nato-summits-what-chicago-can-learn-fromseattle/

5. NATO – G8 “security” criminalizes protestors and terrorists with WMD 2:27
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/video?id=8498246

6. NATO military bases around the globe 3:33
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMvPlkyBOBQ&feature=related

7. NATO/G8 Powerpoint an overview
http://afsc.org/document/natog8-powerpoint-presentation

Some other resources
1. Stop NATO: Opposition to Global Militarism
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/about/

2. What is the G8? (its founding, membership, expansion with G5 and associated organizations, e.g., World Bank, its G8 GDP v. population, etc.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38th_G8_summit and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38th_G8_summit and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G8

3. Depleted Uranium used in NATO missiles to bomb Libya. 5:46
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Am5YiPs1kaU

4. The war on Libya 2011 14:41
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=yFe9M9TcF7s

5. Baltic States: Pentagon’s Training Grounds For Afghan and Future Wars
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/balticstates-pentagons-training-grounds-forafghan-and-future-wars/

6. War for Libyan oil planned long ago, no one cares about people 5:26
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fUxVgxj0vc

7. NATO blocks possible peace deal in Libya
http://peoplesworld.org/a-peacefulsolution-in-libya-is-feasible-but-natostands-in-the-way/

Join us on May 20 to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War! We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and cutbacks that are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.

Bob Bossie can be reached at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

About

World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.