Georges Spriet
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Is there an alternative to NATO?

Let me be clear: NATO should be abolished. 
Because, first of all, it is a dinosaure – type natosaurus imperialis – that artificially survived the cold war.

NATO should be abolished because it makes European security subordinate to US strategy;

because it still sees nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of its security doctrine;
because it still holds to the nuclear first strike strategy and moreover it wants missile defense systems installed in Europe, which will push the armament race between the centra;
because it supports completely the dominant currents in western – Anglo-saxon – society, which means Wall Street and London City financial groups;
because it has the ambition to become the policeman of the world (cfr Afghanistan, the new relationship with Japan, Australia, Israel).

The European Union is firmly interwoven with NATO, first of all through the alliance-memberschip of many EU-countries but also through official documents on international policy. The Lisbon Treaty stipulaties that EU-members should increase their military capabilities. Both elements are fundamentally wrong developments. Are our political leaders afraid to think outside of the predesigned scheme?

In our peace movement, Vrede, we don't see a problem in abolishing national defence and transfer it to the European Union. Pay attention, the word 'defence' means in our view really 'defence' and not military protection of a vaguely defined security which in practice always results in 'intervention'. Since decades we speak of a strategy of defensive defence at the lowest level possible. This means that one doesn't prepare neither for troop projection, nor for military intervention. We emphasize the fact that the European Union is not confronted with enemies who plan military attacks against it. So, this lowest level possible will indeed be very low. In other words a first part of the alternative to NATO is a European defensive defence at the lowest level possible.

Human or humanitarian catastrophes that can only be stopped through military action belong entirely and exclusively to the domain of the United Nations Organisation. It will not last so long any more that het UN Security Council will have to be thoroughly reformed. The global economic evolutions will dictate such reforms. It should be clear by now that the financial and economic crises of 2008 and 2009 result in a decreasing power of the old 'centres', North-America, Europe and Japan, to the benefit of the emerging powers China, India and Brazil, and also Russia. It cannot be accepted that UN operations are subcontracted to NATO or EU. Continuing such practices will lead to the downfall of the United Nations Organisation. The original idea of an independent military UN structure should be taken up again and be realised in short tem. Military intervention can only be accepted when it is decided by the UN, executed by well trained UN blue helmets, and when it has strong legitimacy, i.e. it is not part of big power manipulations.

Military superiority, nuclear or conventional, of some western countries with a strategy in which any problem becomes a military thread, is the worst evolution we can imagine. When the High Representative of the European Union wants to eliminate the distinction between development cooperation, peacekeeping, interior and external security we prepare for trouble.

We don't need a defence coalition, what we need is a set of agreements with our neighbours. We think of a political pan-European security structure as it was conceptualised in the Helsinki process, preceding the actual Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe. In such a structure it is agreed that the parties will not attack each other militarily, will respect the borders, will bring their disputes before international courts of justice. Today Moscow assumes that the present OSCE puts far too much emphasis on the third Helsinki-basket of individual human rights while neglecting the other elements: economic cooperation, technology, environment, security problems,... A true OSCE policy was effectively made impossible through NATO expansion. But also the bombing of former Yugoslavia and the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo are rejections of the Helsinki spirit. With our peace movement, Vrede, we have also protested regularly against the neoliberal free market vision which was introduced into the new OSCE documents after the end of the cold war. We should turn back to the core ideas of security from the Helsinki process.

What is said here on pan-European security stands also for security pacts with other countries from the Mediterranean or North America. Cooperation agreements with the different poles of the new polycentric world complete the picture.

We have to turn our back on the confrontational approach of international politics and invest in cooperation and solidarity.

Georges Spriet

Vrede vzw Belgium







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