The two most powerful organizations in the world—one that divides up the resources and the other the enforcer—roam the earth, stealing and killing with impunity. We cannot allow inaction to make us complicit in their schemes.
The two most powerful organizations in the world—one that divides up the resources and the other the enforcer—roam the earth, stealing and killing with impunity. Growing ever larger and more dangerous, blazing new trails of death and destruction, they decide who eats and who doesn’t, who lives and who dies. The Group of Eight (G8) holds the economic strings. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) provides the military might to ensure that the decisions of the G8 are enforced. Both of these sociopathic entities are spearheaded by the US. Profit and power are their gods and anyone and anything, no matter how young or old, new or ancient, fragile or stable, can be mowed down in their path.
The G8 and NATO are not democratic bodies: we cannot call our representative; the proceedings are not on CSPAN. They operate in secret with heavy security to protect their insular agenda.
This year, in May, the G8 had planned to meet with NATO in Chicago. It would have been the first time that the G8 and NATO met together—a natural confluence of world finance and military power in light of NATO’s recent Libya campaign. However, a decision was made suddenly to move the G8 meeting to Camp David in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. Perhaps the world powers thought that a combined meeting of the G8 and NATO would make the link between finance capital and military conquest too evident to the public. And, of course, they feared the massive protests that such a meeting would provoke as the only way the public can let its views be known is by protesting in the streets.
Now only NATO will meet in Chicago on May 20. This won’t stop the protests. Organizers with the Coalition Against NATO and the G8 (CANG8) have said that people will shout so loud that the sequestered participants will hear the roar of outrage all the way to Camp David.
But how did what affects so many lives in the world come to reside in the hands of so few?
The G8, or Group of Eight industrialized nations, originated as the G7: France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and Japan. This gathering of representatives of the elite from super-rich countries was intended to hold an exclusive conversation on economic issues—outside the United Nations. From 1975-1995, the G7 functioned as the steering committee for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
With the demise of the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), the G7 was intent on establishing neoliberal policies throughout the entire world. In 1997, Russia was brought in and the G7 became the G8, intent on bolstering President Boris Yeltsin’s efforts to include Russia in the world capitalist system.
The G8 countries represent 14 percent of the world’s population, 68 percent of the world’s wealth, and 72 percent of global military expenditures. The G8 also works in the broader organization, the G20, in partnership with “emerging nations”—countries it recognizes as developing industrialized economies. The G20 gathers finance and energy ministers together to meet annually. But the G8 is much more exclusive.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is now the largest military alliance the world has ever known, but NATO originated in 1949 as an alliance of capitalist powers with the more limited agenda of restricting further expansion of the Soviet bloc of socialist countries. The original 12 members were: the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. Turkey and Greece were added in 1952. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) joined in 1955. (After years of policy disputes, France left NATO and developed its own nuclear weapons, but with Sarkozy as president, France rejoined in 2009.)
NATO grew exponentially after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in 1991. A sane person might have thought that NATO could be dissolved and the northern/western powers could redirect military spending to supply human needs rather than war readiness.
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But the rise of NATO as an aggressive force coincided with the global domination of the G8 with its neoliberal economic policies. (It should be noted, however, that G8 countries are not all always in agreement with, and are sometimes, in fact, opposed to some NATO actions.) A draft of a US Defense Department planning guide, leaked in 1992, asserted the desire for complete US world domination in both political and military terms, convincing potential competitors they need not aspire to a greater role. NATO, with the US in a leadership position, was preserved as the vehicle through which much of this would be accomplished.
Though the drafted planning guide, a predecessor to the neocons’ Project for a New American Century, was supposedly rejected, a prototype US/NATO action was nevertheless created. It was preceded by a skillful propaganda campaign, orchestrated by the politicians and Washington, and promoted by complicit media. Based on distortions, omissions and outright lies, it successfully demonized the Serbs and Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic (who had previously been the president of the Republic of Serbia). At the same time, Germany and the US worked to inflame inter-ethnic and religious differences in Yugoslavia. The myth was developed that Milosevic wanted to create a greater Serbia by eliminating all other ethnic groups through ethnic cleansing. When people tried to escape him and what was believed to be his plan by creating their own independent states, bloodshed ensued. In reality, the Yugoslavian president was trying to hold his country together in the face of the far superior force of Western imperial powers bent on dismembering his country to establish their own hegemony. The US public was duped into accepting the idea that US/NATO bombing was necessary and a good thing—the only way to stop Milosevic.
This was the face of “humanitarian intervention.” War became desirable and popular once again, and NATO was in business.
Military-industrial contractors and spending continued to increase. NATO countries now number 28, with many of the new members coming from the territory of the former Soviet Union. Russia is surrounded by what have become NATO countries. NATO also has partnerships and agreements with over a third of the nations on the planet from which to draw for its current military plans—plans which are ranging across the Middle East, north and eastern Africa, Central Asia and beyond to the very borders of China.
When NATO attacked Libya in 2011, the Yugoslavian model was followed, this time opportunistically called an extension of the Arab Spring. NATO intelligence advisors worked to arm and advise an assortment of warlords, ethnic factions and paramilitary mercenaries in order to overthrow the sovereign nation. When the Libyan state military engaged to defend the state, it was accused of being the perpetrator.
Media began to report Western officials and their allies advocating for humanitarian intervention as the only way to stop the killing. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine, established at a 2005 UN World Summit, was called up. The UN Security Council rushed to pass no-fly zones for Libya, and NATO took over to execute thousands of its own air missions, the US providing the 7,700 bombs and missiles that were dropped. Again, we were asked to suspend reason in order to believe how smart the weapons were: The New York Times reported on March 28, 2011, that AC-130 gunships flying 15,000 feet above the ground “are so precise that they could operate against Libyan forces in cities…”
Nearly a year later, on April 14, 2012, the Times reported that, according to a leaked internal NATO assessment, NATO countries had been in a state of disarray over intelligence and targets in Libya. In the same article, Senators McCain and Lieberman are reported advocating for “allied air power to stop the slaughter of civilians in Syria.”
But, in fact, air power causes the slaughter of civilians. The pattern is familiar: external operatives work to incite sectarian tensions and when the state rushes to defend itself against armed intervention, the government is blamed for a brutal crackdown. This is accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign in the West, appealing to people’s emotional instincts to want to do something about stopping the (one-sided) bloodshed. Appeals are heard for humanitarian intervention under the “Responsibility to Protect.” Strategic and military planners call in their partners du jour—aka “a coalition of the willing,” drawn from NATO and affiliated countries, to be able to use the imprimatur of support from “the international community,” as well as share the costs and acts of aggression for which they will get a return in a percentage of the spoils (oil and natural gas, strategic advantages, free market access) from the vanquished country.
Though NATO’s actions are portrayed to the public as responses to crises, they are planned well in advance. Domination of the world and space are eventual goals. A more immediate goal of the NATO Summit this May, according to various sources including its own web site, is to establish control over Afghanistan beyond 2014. NATO also intends to plan for development of its New Strategic Concept: a Combined Joint Taskforce with the US Strategic Command in the lead to “mount a faster, more flexible military for opportunistic strikes”—strikes—meaning bombing. A particularly frightening objective of the May conference is to put the “anticipatory action” doctrine, adopted at the NATO Lisbon conference in Nov. 2010, into concrete programs and initiatives, using “a mix of nuclear and conventional weapons”—in other words, planning the use of, among other things, nuclear weapons to prevent other countries from developing as yet, nonexistent nuclear weapons.
This is no time for despair. We cannot allow our inaction to make us complicit in these schemes. The G8 and NATO are monsters that must be stopped before they destroy the whole world. It is crucial that the antiwar movement seize the opportunity of this historic time when these two entities gather and conspire. People in Minnesota cannot tolerate having their tax dollars used to kill people and destroy whole countries on the other side of the world. We cannot tolerate seeing our own families, here, increasingly denied access to quality education, health care, a clean environment, and other human needs. That’s why we will join tens of thousands of others in Chicago on May 20 to demand an end to NATO warfare and G8 enforced poverty. We are the 99 percent.
Please note: More of artist Jane Evershed’s work, including her new Book of Jane, filled with her art and poetry, can be found at www.evershed.com, Jane is a member of WAMM.