At its Madrid Summit of June 29-30, NATO adopted the NATO 2022 Strategic Concept. The document reflects a Western myopic view of the world, uninformed by historical and contemporary realities. It invents a military threat from Russia in order justify its militarism and territorial expansion. It misreads China’s foreign policy; and it does not see the Third World and its emerging relation with China. The document reflects the incapacity of the Western neocolonial powers to meaningfully interpret the challenges they face from the expanding and deepening struggles for sovereignty from the global South. The document is a sign of a neocolonial world-system in sustained structural crisis and decadence, where those with power and influence do not understand the sources of the multidimensional crisis, and thus are unable to formulate creative solutions to it.
The document begins with a stunning hypocritical assertion: “We want to live in a world where sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights, and international law are respected, and where each country chooses its own path, free from aggression, coercion or subversion.” A remarkable declaration coming from those world powers that have devoted five centuries to conquering other countries and territories, and which have persistently implemented increasingly diabolical strategies for undermining the sovereignty of said countries, especially during the last four decades.
Strategic Concept further states that “We are bound together by common values: individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.” Such words have particular interpretations in the context of Western political culture, and no effort is undertaken to consider other approaches to common human values, some of which have been affirmed by certain documents of the United Nations, and others of which have been developed in practice by a few nations of the Third World, which are neither seen nor heard in the Western centers of power and learning.
The document’s take on Russia reminds us of the good old days of the Cold War, when the bad guys were bad indeed, and the good guys were the essence of virtue. It describes “the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine” as a “brutal and unlawful invasion.” It concludes that “the Russian Federation has violated the norms and principles that contributed to a stable and predictable European security order.”
The document makes no effort to refute a different description of the facts on the ground coming from Russia, Donbass, some Western critical voices, and whistle-blowers from Western intelligence and security institutions, which I have reviewed in previous commentaries. See “Russia, Ukraine, and the media,” February 25, 2022; “Cuba backs Russia on Ukraine,” March 1, 2022; “More on the media and Ukraine,” March 5, 2022; “The global Left speaks on Ukraine: US/NATO aggression tied to 21st century fascism,” March 8, 2022; “Biological labs found in Ukraine,” March 15, 2022; “The military situation in Ukraine: Russian self-defense and media lies,” March 25, 2022; “Russian military operation in Ukraine: Beyond the false frame and distortions of the Western media,” March 29, 2022; “The new tactics of US imperialism: The US unconventional war against Russia in Ukraine,” April 8, 2022; “The Road to War in Ukraine: The last gasp of the unipolar world?” April 15, 2022; and “Russian military operation in Ukraine is legal: US legal scholar cites precedents in international law,” May 13, 2022.
Especially important in the alternative narrative are the persistent protests from Russia with respect to NATO expansionism, especially warning of the grave consequences of Western efforts to control areas with Russian-speaking majorities; the sustained attacks against the Russian population of Donbass undertaken by the government of Ukraine and affiliated neofascist militias since 2014; the selective nature of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, consistent with its stated objectives; the distorted images of the facts on the ground presented by the Western media; and the discovery of what might have been U.S.-directed biological arms laboratories in Ukraine. None of these counterclaims were considered important enough to justify some attention in the NATO document. NATO appears to be following the standard ideological manoeuvre of convincing through repetition and more repetition, ignoring counter claims, with the realistic hope that no one of consequence will ever pay attention to the alternative, more objective presentation of facts, which has the fatal defect that it stands against the prevailing narrative.
A relevant article by Luis Gonzalo Segura was published on June 29 in RT in Español (Russia Today in Spanish). Gonzalo Segura is a former Army lieutenant of the Spanish Army. He maintains that Russia does not have the military capacity to constitute a military threat to Europe, as is indicated by relevant facts. (1) Europe spends four times more than Russia on defense. (2) Europe has 1.3 million troops, against 900,000 Russian troops. (3) The population of Europe is four times that of Russia, an important consideration with respect to the potential need to mobilize recruits in the event of war. (4) The European economies, measured in Gross Internal Product, are nearly twenty times larger than that of Russia, an important consideration with respect to the potential need to expand arms manufacturing in the event of war. Gonzalo maintains that Europe does not need NATO to enjoy security; its security can be protected through good relations with Russia, which was the strategy being followed by Germany prior to its disruption by NATO expansionism.
Some analysts maintain that the supposed Russian military threat is pure fiction, and that the true concern of the West is the alliance of Russia with China, two gigantic countries that together constitute a formidable economic and military force. They suggest that the U.S. strategy is to weaken and possibly fragment Russia, so that China would be a more manageable problem.
Strategic Concept characterizes the problem posed by China in terms different from its characterization of the Russian threat. The document states that “The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security, and values. The PRC employs a broad range of political, economic, and military tools to increase its global footprint and project power, while remaining opaque about its strategy, intentions, and military build-up.”
One wonders if the charge of opaqueness is an effort to draw upon traditional anti-Chinese stereotypes. In any event, Chinese foreign policy is not opaque, unless patient and persistent explanation of foundational values be considered opaque, by virtue of their being presented in a non-confrontational manner. On the other hand, NATO’s approach could be considered opaque, in that NATO hypocritically and cynically proclaims values to which it has no real commitment and no intention to implement in practice.
At another moment, the NATO document is closer to the mark. “The deepening strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation and their mutually reinforcing attempts to undercut the rules-based international order run counter to our values and interests.” We would only have to edit by inserting a few words, referring to “the Western-controlled and directed rules based-international order,” to make the statement entirely true. Indeed, China regularly puts forth principles that challenge the legitimacy of a world-economy controlled by a handful of countries, which use their control to advance their own particular interests, without concern for the needs of the majority of the world’s population.
But even in this edited version, the statement does not arrive to see the participation of the Non-Aligned Movement and numerous Third World states in the construction of an alternative pluripolar international order (see “China and the Third World: The construction of an alternative, more just world-system,” 10/1/2021; and “Non-Aligned Movement commemorates 60 years,” October 22, 2021). This emerging international order, in which China and Russia play major roles, is indeed a threat to the West, not a threat to the sovereignty of Western nations, but a threat to Western domination of the international economic order. It is a threat not to Western rights, but to Western interests and privileges. China, Russia, and the Third World are threatening, in word and in deed, to develop a more just and sustainable world order. And they are doing so not in a confrontational and defiant manner, but with patient and persistent explanation and concrete day-by-day construction.
Such a threat is not truly a threat. It is seen as a threat only from the myopic perspective of the West, which is incapable of imagining a world in which their nations are not dominate. But it is indeed a challenge for the West, a word the document uses. The challenge for the Western nations is to learn how to participate in the construction of a more just and sustainable world, expanding their productive capacities and their national economies not through exploitation made possible by interventionism and interference, but through the development of mutually beneficial win-win relations, not only with Russia and China, but also with the nations of the Third World, whose neocolonial situation drives them to struggle for a better and more just world. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping called for the development of such a world at the recent BRICS Summit (see “BRICS seeks new world economic order: Western sanctions on Russia propel an alternative road,” June 28, 2022).
The peoples of the West must seek to understand the dynamics of the taking of power by the people, so that Western political establishments that are demonstrating their moral and intellectual incapacity to govern can be removed from power; so that delegates of the people in Western nations can cooperate with Russia and the Third World plus China, building step-by-step the structures of a more just and sustainable world-system.
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the future as I see it, based on Pres. Biden's recent visit to G-7 meeting, handing 700 billion (correct?) to NATO is about maintaining Euro-US supremacy. But the world is now divided between globalizing through Europe and its allies or through China and the Silk Road which the US and Europe do not like. It is also an effort to stop closer connections between Russia and Asia...Eurasia. The fact that we could have two pathways to globalize the world is of course unacceptable to unipolarity. That is where I see a lot of effort going.