In April NATO celebrates its 60th anniversary with a Strasbourg Summit

1 May 2009

In April NATO celebrates its 60th anniversary with a Strasbourg Summit

Tiny Kox, Harry van Bommel and Karel Koster explain the SP's viewpoints in a number of articles.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 should, according to many commentators, have been the overture to a more peaceful world. Almost twenty years later, the promise of prosperity for all is still a long way from being fulfilled, and we find ourselves in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis. Even the promise of a more peaceful world has not been realised. A series of wars, from the former Yugoslavia and gigantic conflicts in Africa, to Afghanistan and Iraq, has set global power relations on a knife-edge. In the most recent war, in Georgia, even the nuclear powers, Russia and US, came up against each other. The 'War on Terror' since 9/11 has put the world on a permanent war footing. The expansion of NATO eastwards, and the construction of the missile shield, carry the threat of further escalation. Threats to and from Iran make the situation no more stable.

NATO is presently more than is likely in the process of transforming itself from a North Atlantic grouping into a global organisation of primarily Western-oriented, industrialised countries. Formally, this is aimed at the fight against terrorism. Competition over raw materials and spheres of influence with rising powers such as China, however, appears to be of great importance. The old enemy, Russia, is also being viewed from this perspective.

For socialists the question now concerns the position we should adopt in relation to the new NATO. "Netherlands out of NATO" was, in the time of the Cold War, a long-standing and self-evident standpoint. NATO is in truth now an organisation whose time has passed, one which is ripe for the dustbin of history. To date, however, this has not been its fate. The organisation is active on a global level and appears to want to play the role which should in reality be reserved to the United Nations. If we want to turn these developments around, we must perhaps do it from the inside out. The internal debate within NATO can then perhaps me made accessible for a broad public.

Tiny Kox: ‘For us the NATO debate has begun. What next?’
Harry van Bommel: ‘De Hoop Scheffer - Enough Already!’
Karel Koster: The missile shield: made to measure for a new Cold War

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