Who appointed NATO and the United States to be the policemen of the world? 

By Dada Vedaprajinananda
NATO’s annual meeting is being held in Chicago this year and thousands of demonstrators will be on hand to register their protests against the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and to speak out about the larger questions of militarism and imperialism.

NATO is the acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  It was set up in 1949 as a military alliance which would link the United States with Western Europe. During the years after World War II NATO was pitted against the Warsaw Pact, the alliance of the communist countries of Eastern Europe.

The mission of NATO during the cold war was to contain communism and it succeeded, despite some shaky moments when the Soviets put pressure on Berlin in 1960.  When communism fell in the years after 1989 one would have expected that NATO would have been disbanded, as its mission had been completed.

In fact, in the euphoric moments after the fall of the Berlin Wall some politicians were promising that there would now be a “Peace Dividend” in the form of a relief from the oppressive expenditures on arms. It was hoped that the money that had been spent on arms during the Cold War could be reallocated for other social needs.

Well, that was more than 20 years ago and there has been no Peace Dividend.  Expenditure on armaments has continued at very high levels, and NATO has been reinvented as an arm for U.S. military intervention anywhere in the world. Thus, we have NATO troops in Afghanistan, and who knows maybe they will be deployed in Syria in the near future.

In the U.S. and Western Europe capitalist economists have been wailing about debts and deficits, but military spending is a sacred cow, and instead of cutting military budgets, social spending is on the chopping block.

When will everyone wake up? By what logic can the U.S. justify its massive arms spending and deployment of troops around the world? Who appointed the U.S. or NATO to be the world’s policemen? Why does the U.S. needs hundreds of bases around the world in order to feel safe?

Recently some new U.S. bases were set up in Australia and the logic for them was that they would protect the vital sea lanes through which U.S. ships went. So many other countries send their ships around the world but they don’t set up bases everywhere to protect their interests.

Those politicians who are the loudest hawks like to clothe themselves in the American flag and the legacy of the Founding Fathers however George Washington himself didn’t want the U.S. to even have a standing army and Thomas Jefferson warned against “entangling alliances.”  Many years later President Eisenhower, who commanded American troops in Europe during World War II, warned against the corrosive dangers of what he called “the Military Industrial Complex.”

It’s time for people to demand the reduction of military expenditures and to demand that foreign bases around the world are eliminated.  World security would be better preserved by a genuine world government and a world peace militia, and not by the imperialistic and selfish national forces that are now poking their noses in every nook and cranny of the world.

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