The location of NATO’s next summit meeting is itself a provocation against Russia. NATO leaders will meet on July 8-9 in Warsaw, Poland, less than 200 miles from the Russian province of Kaliningrad.
The meeting follows NATO military maneuvers under U.S. command that threaten Russia. On June 5, a sea exercise called Baltops 16 began in the Baltic Sea with 6,100 troops, 45 ships and 60 warplanes from 17 countries, as bombers flew toward Russian borders. A June 7-16 military exercise called Anaconda 16 moved 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles, including tanks, from 19 NATO members and six other states, across Polish territory.
The Warsaw summit is expected to agree on placing thousands of troops and heavy equipment in Poland and the Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — on or near Russian borders.
This is happening as 51 State Department officials petitioned the U.S. government to take military action against Syria — which means attacking Syria’s Russian ally. Taken together, this all points to escalating U.S. military aggression and increased war danger.
U.S.’s NATO strategy: 1949-1989
NATO has always been a tool of U.S. imperialist policy. In 1949 Washington founded NATO to prevent workers’ revolutions in war-ravaged Western Europe and to confront the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe. Only later did the Soviet Union establish the Warsaw Pact with its allies.
In 1990, during negotiations between the U.S. and Soviet leaders, Washington promised not to move NATO eastward. An article in the German magazine Der Spiegel on Nov. 26, 2009, made clear that during these negotiations “there was no doubt that the West did everything it could to give the Soviets the impression that NATO membership was out of the question for countries like Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.” (tinyurl.com/nvm476v)
Now these former Warsaw Pact members and others that had been part of the Soviet Union are not only capitalist states but have been drawn into an anti-Russian military alliance.
New NATO role: world cop
The Soviet Union’s impending disintegration in 1991 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact ended NATO’s declared purpose.
But since 1991, far from dissolving NATO, Washington expanded the military pact, always under U.S. command. The U.S. proclaimed in a military strategy paper made public by the New York Times in 1991 that it would use NATO to maintain the same hegemony in Europe as it would worldwide.
Even Washington’s imperialist allies like Britain, France and Germany were to be prevented from putting their own interests before U.S. imperialism’s interests. The U.S. turned NATO into a type of imperialist police force for military intervention — and not only in Europe. Under U.S. command, NATO has become a worldwide intervention force at the service of the transnational monopolies that exploit the world’s labor and resources.
The first actual U.S.-NATO aggression destroyed Yugoslavia. U.S.-led NATO military interventions followed: Afghanistan in Central Asia, Iraq in West Asia after the 2003 U.S.-British invasion, and Libya in North Africa.
NATO not only defends imperialist interests. During the last 25 years it has attempted to reconquer those areas of the world that had gained some independence from imperialism during the existence of the Soviet Union. Now Russia, the only country with sufficient nuclear weapons to confront the U.S., is the target of U.S.-NATO war provocations.
Summit arouses opposition
The Anaconda 16 exercises moved NATO troops close to Russia’s Kaliningrad Province. It was the first time German tanks have moved eastward through Poland since Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in July 1941.
Not only big NATO powers participated in Anaconda 16. So did Sweden — not officially part of NATO — and Finland. Before 1989 Finland was always a neutral buffer state between the Soviet Union and the West. This new move lines up another border country against Russia.
Even many West European officials recognize the dangers from such a provocative war exercise. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized the exercises, calling them “saber-rattling,” and spoke out for more cooperation with Russia. (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, June 18)
The World Peace Council and other groups have called for demonstrations worldwide on July 9 to oppose the war plans of the NATO summit. Demonstrations and an anti-war summit are planned in Warsaw itself.
In the U.S., the United National Antiwar Coalition, which is sending a representative to the Warsaw protest, as well as the U.S. Peace Council, Veterans for Peace, the International Action Center and others have called a rally in New York City on July 9 at 2 p.m. at the Army Recruiting Center in Times Square. (For more information, see unacpeace.org.)