NATO Must Curb Preoccupation With Military Prowess
Xinhua News Agency
May 20, 2012
Commentary: Time for NATO to curb preoccupation with military prowess
CHICAGO: As NATO leaders are gathering for an annual summit Sunday to discuss issues such as the war in Afghanistan and ways to maintain the alliance’s military might amid tightening budgets, they see a crowd assembled earlier not to salute but to protest.
In the run-up to the summit, demonstrators have staged various rallies in the city to resound the horn that military interventions in recent years by the U.S.-led alliance were actually meant to seek its egoistic interests under dignified disguises.
Those who pursue selfish interests may not be blamed as far as they do not violate the rights of others. For NATO, which has realized some of its strategic goals in recent years at the price of other countries, the lasting protests against NATO should serve as an alarm bell for the bloc to curb its preoccupation with armed might.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, an unrivaled NATO started to police the world while seeking a new role.
In the past two decades, NATO has been actively involved in wars or military conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and most recently in Libya.
These wars have inflicted a heavy toll on both the economies and human lives. According to a report issued recently by a New York-based organization, the eight rounds of NATO bombing on Libya last year has directly caused the deaths of 72 civilians, including 20 women and 24 children.
Aside from causing losses for various countries, the NATO warmongering has also changed the global geopolitical security structure, which has triggered many disputes in the international community and even within the alliance itself.
As a matter of fact, NATO members are still divided on the role of the alliance in the 21st century. Many European members have been cutting down their defense budgets for years as they believed the security of the continent is no longer a source of major concern. Their willingness to pour resources into defense will probably continue to be weak given all the hazards posed by the European debt crisis.
Analysts noted that the chronic Afghan war has eroded the passion of the NATO members and their allies. Some NATO members like Germany chose to stay out of the Libyan conflict last year.
At this Chicago summit, whether French President Francois Hollande will announce his country’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of the year as he had pledged at his election campaign has become a hot topic.
Back in 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal, NATO initiated a new strategic concept named “Active Engagement, Modern Defense” at that summit. The leaders agreed to gradually hand over security responsibility to Afghan security forces with the aim of completing the transition by the end of 2014.
It showed that NATO had come to realize that military intervention on its own could not solve problems and, on the contrary, might even create more.
Global political, economic and security situation is changing rapidly, but peace and development remain the main theme of the times.
NATO, which possesses vast political and military resources, should refrain from pursuing its egoistic interests at the expense of others.