Chicago NATO summit: The whole world will be watching
Submitted to the Chicago Tribune
It was refreshing, encouraging and surprising alike to see Andy Thayer of the Coalition Against NATO/G-8 War & Poverty Agenda given the opportunity to address the issue of why Chicagoans, and their supporters throughout the world, will protest the May 20-21 summit of the world’s only military bloc, one which has launched unprovoked attacks against small and all but defenseless nations in Europe, Asia and Africa since its only previous conclave in the U.S. in 1999.
In 1968 protesters outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago chanted “The whole world is watching” against the backdrop of the escalation of the war in Vietnam. Forty-four years later the city, the nation and the world will watch as anti-NATO activists demand an end to the incessant wars that have plagued the entire post-Cold War period and to the military alliance whose members, severally and collectively, have conducted those wars in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The longest of them, that in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is in its twelfth calendar year, is the lengthiest armed conflict in American history, and is the first ground war and the first one outside Europe waged under the banner of the now 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
NATO member states and partners that have not supplied ground troops for combat operations since the Second World War and in one case for two centuries – Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Finland – now have soldiers killing and dying in South Asia under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
Last year NATO’s Partnership for Peace adjunct Sweden supplied military aircraft for the Alliance’s seven-month bombing onslaught against Libya, at the time the only North African nation not a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership, and currently every European nation (not counting micro-states Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican) are NATO members or Partnership for Peace cohorts except – for the moment – tiny (and divided) Cyprus. Neither Napoleon Bonaparte nor Adolf Hitler succeeded in so placing the entire continent under a single military organization, one moreover controlled from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Every European country except for Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Serbia, Malta and Cyprus has been pressured into supplying troops for NATO’s Afghan war.
NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative partners Qatar and the United Arab Emirates provided warplanes for last year’s attack against Libya and the United Arab Emirates is one of 50 Troop Contributing Nations for NATO’s Afghan war, as is the Mediterranean Dialogue’s Jordan.
Leaders of over 70 nations will converge on Chicago on May 20 for the summit of history’s largest and most dangerous military bloc.
It is a moment the world must seize to demand an end to war and militarism.