NATO at 60: harmful and superfluous

24 February 2009

NATO at 60: harmful and superfluous

"The EU is, in the history of humanity, an unequalled success in which people attempt to see a 'foreigner' as another unique human being, as a partner rather than a competitor. Slowly but surely we are becoming a worldwide human team." And: "prospective solutions are needed" for a "renewed EU-NATO relationship" capable of solving security problems.

Role of NATO in the EU

These words can be found in the minutes of a meeting to discuss a report from the centre-right French politician Ari Vatanen, a meeting which took place last week in the European Parliament in Brussels. SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer took advantage of the debate to explain why the report "on the role of NATO in the security architecture of the EU" would not have his support. NATO has been in existence, in this year of 2009, for sixty years. This is being widely commemorated, not least amongst peace activists.

Cold War

Declaration of SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer: "NATO played an important role during the Cold War between 1949 and 1989. Its official task was the defence of the combined territory of its member states against foreign invasion, and it was not empowered to take any actions outside of that territory. Its justification was the need to defend a pluralist democracy against dictatorship. In practice, however, it was mainly about the defence of a capitalist economy against a socialist economy. The right wing dictatorships in Portugal and Greece were allowed to be members, a comparable dictatorship in Spain was welcomed as a partner in bilateral agreements, and even the French colony of Algeria belonged until 1962, under duress, to NATO's territory."

A lost raison d'être

With the demise of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO lost its raison d'être. Its continued existence posed a problem for the EU, because six member states chose to persist with their policy of neutrality. As things stand, Meijer continued NATO remains more a "coalition of the willing gathered around the USA than an extension of the EU. This year, on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of NATO's existence, the future role claimed by the alliance must be made clear. If it is to be the world's police officer, separate to the United Nation's own plans, and with the aim of furthering the economic interests of the most powerful states, then this organisation is harmful, superfluous to requirements. That's why I'm voting against." .

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