By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The new NATO Strategy was adopted last week at a meeting in Portugal by
heads of state of the 28-member NATO alliance while outside over 10,000
marchers shouted “no to war, no to NATO”. Internally, I heard that career
officers of NATO were not happy either. I am a citizen of the USA as well as
Palestinian who lives under occupation. The US, the only remaining
superpower (although declining rapidly) played the key role in forming the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and still largely shapes its
policies. Thus, as a US citizen, I am entitled to question the document and
examine it in detail. But as a human being we should all care what
politicians plan for our ailing planet.

The document states innocuously in the beginning that “NATO member states
form a unique community of values, committed to the principles of individual
liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law” [1]. Many citizens of
NATO countries wondered where were these lofty ideals of individual
liberties, human rights, and democracy in the past 10 years. Guantanamo,
extraordinary rendition, secret CIA torture camps around the world,
kidnapping, extrajudicial executions and more were practiced by our
countries. All the data are now available for anyone to confirm these. If
these were aberrations and mistakes, why has no high officials (Bush, Blair,
others) paid for them? And why the strategy paper does not state that
member countries are committed to these liberal principles both inside and
outside their borders? Why do many NATO countries fund and support
dictators (for example in Egypt) if they are sincere about democracy?

The new strategy affirms that “the Alliance is firmly committed to the
purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and to the
Washington Treaty, which affirms the primary responsibility of the Security
Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.” So how
come NATO member countries have not pushed for implementation of any of the
passed 35 UN Security council resolutions that deal with Israel? And how
come they allowed one member state of NATO to veto dozens of other security
council resolutions that attempt to secure international peace? Israel
regularly violates the UN charter and even its own commitments when it was
allowed into the UN (e.g. to accept UN resolutions including the right of
return to Palestinian refugees). So if NATO is committed to this charter
why not ask the US (the chief sponsor of the rogue state of Israel) to
insist that Israel complies with International law? But then again, the US
was forced by Israel’s lobby to invade Iraq, an act clearly in violation of
the charter of the UN [2].

The new strategic concept paper adopted states that “NATO will actively
employ an appropriate mix of those political and military tools to help
manage developing crises that have the potential to affect Alliance
security, before they escalate into conflicts; to stop ongoing conflicts
where they affect Alliance security; and to help consolidate stability in
post-conflict situations where that contributes to Euro-Atlantic security.”
I kept thinking of one word not mentioned anywhere in the document but
clearly in the minds of those drafting it: Afghanistan. Any rational
reading of the role of NATO in Afghanistan would have to conclude that it
decreased not increased stability. The war on this impoverished country was
ill-advised from the beginning. The rulers of Afghanistan had simply
demanded from the US proof that Osama Bin Laden was involved in the 9/11
attacks. The US refused to put-out any evidence and chose to occupy the
country. Here we are, nearly 10 years later and Osama Bin Laden is
supposedly now in Pakistan (itself destabilized by the NATO actions) and the
Taliban insurgency is stronger than ever. Some 2/3rd of Afghanistan is
actually now under the rule of the resurgent Taliban. The puppet government
of Karzai in Kabul is corrupt and is maintained only by Western support and
by bribes to corrupt war lords. Heroin trade, nearly decimated by 2001
under the Taliban rule, is now flourishing. NATO forces regularly use
unmanned aircraft to bomb civilians and hatred of all Western countries
increased round the Middle East. Now copy-cat “Al-Qaeda” cells are
sprouting like mushrooms in places like Somalia, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria,
and sub-Saharan Africa. An average citizen like me asks the question: is
this the employing of “an appropriate mix of those political and military
tools to help manage developing crises” or is it what creates crisis?

Then the strategy paper gets even more bizarre by noting that “Terrorism
poses a direct threat to the security of the citizens of NATO countries, and
to international stability and prosperity more broadly.” It is bizarre
because it does not bother to define what “terrorism” is. One can only
deduce that terrorism is left to those with big sticks to define. State
terrorism seems excluded. Freedom fighters or even non-violent resisters to
occupation and colonization can be labeled as terrorists. International law
that guarantees rights of resistance can be dismissed. NATO leaders add
that “Extremist groups continue to spread to, and in, areas of strategic
importance to the Alliance, and modern technology increases the threat and
potential impact of terrorist attacks, in particular if terrorists were to
acquire nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological capabilities.” But the
paper does not explain WHY “extremist groups continue to spread”. There are
really only two scenarios, the one promoted by the Zionist media around the
West (that Islam is the cause) and the one academic researchers and
strategists showed that it had to do with western policies (pressured by the
Zionists themselves). If Islam is the cause of extremism spreading, then
NATO should explain why now (not 400 years ago) and what they plan to do
about it other than follow the script prepared for them in Tel Aviv.

Later in the document it states NATO will work to “enhance the capacity to
detect and defend against international terrorism, including through
enhanced analysis of the threat, more consultations with our partners, and
the development of appropriate military capabilities, including to help
train local forces to fight terrorism themselves.” But this is what NATO has
been doing for 10 years and it does not seem to be working. Is it not time
to dig a little deeper in the analysis for example by examining the role of
the Western implanted state of Israel and the World Zionist Organization in
fostering hatred and anger in the Arab and Islamic world and in false-flag
operations that are then blamed in Muslims?

Then we see these even more vague assertions: “Instability or conflict
beyond NATO borders can directly threaten Alliance security, including by
fostering extremism, terrorism, and trans-national illegal activities such
as trafficking in arms, narcotics and people” and “Crises and conflicts
beyond NATO’s borders can pose a direct threat to the security of Alliance
territory and populations. NATO will therefore engage, where possible and
when necessary, to prevent crises, manage crises, stabilize post-conflict
situations and support reconstruction.” Indeed, but why does NATO chose to
get involved in Afghanistan and its key members (US, Britain etc) choose to
get involved in Iraq? Why not get involved in Israel? Will NATO
strategists objectively examine these interventions to decide what could
have happened if alternative strategies were pursued? Will they objectively
examine why most people see the hypocrisy of causing the death of over 1
million civilians in Iraq for alleged violations of a couple of UN Security
Council resolutions while giving billions to Israel (a habitual violator of
International law)?

Need anyone comment on this next pearl of wisdom from NATO other than to say
“show me how, where, and when”: “The best way to manage conflicts is to
prevent them from happening. NATO will continually monitor and analyse the
international environment to anticipate crises and, where appropriate, take
active steps to prevent them from becoming larger conflicts.” But wait, they
maybe giving us a hint: “Where conflict prevention proves unsuccessful, NATO
will be prepared and capable to manage ongoing hostilities. NATO has unique
conflict management capacities, including the unparalleled capability to
deploy and sustain robust military forces in the field. NATO-led operations
have demonstrated the indispensable contribution the Alliance can make to
international conflict management efforts.” If all you have is a hammer,
surely everything looks like a nail. Is NATO thinking of intervening in
Iran and Venezuela instead of Israel and Columbia? How many areas in the
world will NATO be willing to send troops to? And if NATO keeps
misdiagnosing the etiology of the problems they are facing (minor symptoms
of a more systemic disease), then how can they design effective therapies or
even give people a hope of a reasonably decent prognosis?

More ominous statements are included in the new strategy that is revealing:
“All countries are increasingly reliant on the vital communication,
transport and transit routes on which international trade, energy security
and prosperity depend. They require greater international efforts to ensure
their resilience against attack or disruption. Some NATO countries will
become more dependent on foreign energy suppliers and in some cases, on
foreign energy supply and distribution networks for their energy needs. As a
larger share of world consumption is transported across the globe, energy
supplies are increasingly exposed to disruption.”

One wonders what does this mean. Who will determine “threats” to “supplies”?
Where is the mention here of free trade and supply and demand? Will these
NATO countries dependent on getting natural resources from other countries
be entitled to NATO defense to ensure their supply is not disrupted if
sellers get better offers from other buyers?

The NATO document vagueness gets rather scary:

“Deterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional
capabilities, remains a core element of our overall strategy. The
circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be
contemplated are extremely remote. As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO
will remain a nuclear alliance.” and NATO will work to “sustain the
necessary levels of defense spending, so that our armed forces are
sufficiently resourced”.

Madness is indeed continuing on a path that produced more destabilization,
doubled the number of countries with nuclear weapons since 1950, and
increased global insecurity. With the economies in Europe and North America
struggling, one wonders what is going on in the heads of these politicians
as they promise to keep pumping more resources into the bloated military
budgets. Even seasoned NATO officers (many retired) are questioning this
logic. The US spends half its discretionary budget on its military, a
military that already has enough weapons to obliterate life on earth many
times over. The Nonproliferation Treaty that all these countries signed
stated that they would work to reduce and then completely eliminate nuclear
weapons. Yet, they proliferate them to their client states (Israel, then
India and Pakistan as examples). And what does it mean that “as long as
nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance”? How will they
cease to exist if those with the biggest stockpiles write such bizarre

The document also claims that the alliance will work to foil “cyber
attacks”. But will this include such cyber attacks as clearly carried out
by US and Israeli intelligence agents against Iran’s civilian nuclear
facilities (facilities regularly inspected by the IAEA and certified
annually to be in compliance with international treaties)? And what message
is sent to any country (friendly or not-so-friendly to the US and Israel if
the rules of the game do not apply to powerful countries and the rules are
discarded to punish smaller countries on the whim of the powerful?

Other issues seemed positive but again vague:
-“increased cooperation with UN”: Does this mean NATO member states like the
US will now obey the UN charter and stop invading and undermining
sovereignty of other countries
-” fully strengthen the strategic partnership with the EU, in the spirit of
full mutual openness, transparency, complementarity and respect for the
autonomy and institutional integrity of both organisations”: The EU has
human rights and other treaties central to its operations but NATO does not
do that. What is the way to reconcile the differences?

The document ends by reiterating that “Our Alliance thrives as a source of
hope because it is based on common values of individual liberty, democracy,
human rights and the rule of law, and because our common essential and
enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members.
These values and objectives are universal and perpetual, and we are
determined to defend them through unity, solidarity, strength and resolve.”

And what about the most egregious violations of these principles by the
fifth strongest army in the world (an army with a state called Israel)?
Where is the insistence on individual liberty, democracy, human rights and
the rule of law? Why is a key NATO country giving this rogue nation 20 of
the most advanced jet aircraft? [3]. As a colonial apartheid regime, the
Israeli violations of all these principles indeed foster instability that
affects NATO member state security at every conceivable level. Further, the
presence of strong Zionist lobbies in NATO key members has pushed these
states (e.g. Britain and the US) to engage in elective and costly wars (e.g.
on Iraq) that undermined global security. And most significantly, where is
the honesty about how the misplaced priority of NATO governments makes the
rich richer and the poor poorer in these countries? Where is the discussion
of people’s rights to economic security? Isn’t the job of government to
ensure people have a future worth living or is the job of governments to
secure corporations and wealthy aristocrats in their endless greed that is
already destroying our planet? Isn’t global warming a more important threat
to our survival than some manufactured threat from a bearded man in
Afghanistan (or is it Pakistan or is it Langley base)?

I ask these questions since I am a US citizen (a NATO country). What of
non-NATO countries? I am also a Palestinian citizen and thus can equally
criticize the Palestinian government which like many non-NATO countries is
intimidated into silence about issues that affect the welfare of people
around the world. Our representatives (whose tenure had ended but still
remain in office without elections) are not even allowing a discussion of
options going forward [4]. But the more I look into machinations of
politicians in this new world order, the more convinced I am of my life long
persistence in trying to effect change at the grass-root level. After all,
that is how real change happens in society not because of political leaders
but in spite of them (see women’s rights, civil rights, worker’s rights,
environmental regulations, ending the war on Vietnam, ending apartheid South
Africa etc). Thus I felt friendship to those 10,000 people on the streets
in Lisbon and I felt sorry for those politicians with the body guards and
the shiny suits shaking hands in well guarded buildings. History will show
indeed that we, the people, hold the answers.