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Date: Mon, 13 Apr 98 11:28:33 CDT
From: scott@rednet.org (Peoples Weekly World)
Subject: Who needs the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?
Organization: Scott Marshall
Article: 32186
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.24503.19980414181614@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Who needs the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

By Jim West, People's Weekly World, 21 March 1998

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) served as a battering ram and military enforcer in the cold war against the Soviet Union.

With the cold war over, why NATO? More, why the pell-mell rush to expand it to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - all next-door neighbors of the former Soviet Union?

The people of these three countries aren't knocking down doors to come into NATO. In fact, the growth of opposition to NATO is wide and rapid.

The U.S.-owned Prague Post admitted that public support for NATO dropped to its lowest level in seven years. And Postmark Praha reported that the abysmal failure in December of the right-wing political parties backed up by the Social Democrats to whip up enthusiasm for NATO by holding a rally in Wenceslas Square brought out some 30 people.

The 2nd Congress of the Trade Union Association of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia took a stand opposing Czech membership in NATO because this will mean higher costs for the Czech people.

To nullify this growing opposition, the U.S.-owned NOVA TV station is pushing a campaign to persuade the public about the benefits of NATO membership.

What benefits and in whose interests? The following information, from Postmark Praha offers some significant insights:

With an eye to satisfying NATO chiefs about possible breaches of its security, the Czech army has announced that senior officers will be subjected to vigorous screening. Those who studied or trained in the former Soviet Union or other Warsaw Pact countries will be purged. Each officer will be required to complete a 60-page questionnaire. Secret army personnel files will also be dusted off.

This followed a consultation between NATO's deputy military chief, General Jeremy McKenzie and the Czech defense minister, after which the Czech Parliament's organization committee decided that the first reading of the ratification bill for entry into NATO would take place in February.

The people of Europe, where two devestating world wars erupted in the 20th century as capitalism tried to solve its problems by mass destruction, are alert to the rise of militarism and its threats. Opponents of NATO have launched massive petition campaigns and a broad-based movement, Citizens Against NATO. A recently created mass forum called Europe Without Blocs has announced its support for the aims and policy of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

As an alternative to NATO enlargement, Europe Without Blocs calls for neutrality and a nuclear free zone in central and eastern Europe.

The position of European Communists was well expressed by Carlos Carvalhas, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Portugal, who said We fight for true European security and cooperation, and oppose strengthening and geographically extending NATO, the 'new order's' armed wing.

Despite all the hogwash about NATO being an angel of peace, it was and remains the armed wing of imperialism, and firstly of U.S. imperialism. As much as it tries, it cannot get rid of the shell of gunpowder and the stench of death.

The attempt of any big imperialist power to gain control of the world's economy and politics by means of such tools as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and European Union is doomed to failure. Why? For the simple reason that they come into conflict with the interests of all who are exploited and oppressed by big capital, with all non-imperialist countries, with smaller, developing countries and, in general, with the normal workings of capitalism.

This is clearly seen in the attempt to impose a single European currency, the euro, in the framework of a European Union (EU) which Germany has been promoting.

As Unity, the voice of the Communist Party of Ireland, wrote in an editorial:

The fact is that the euro is wrong in principle because it surrenders democratic control over national currencies. It removes control and accountability from elected governments and puts control into the hands of unelected bankers who work hand in hand with big business.

Rather belatedly 155 leading German economists and many other supporters of the principle of a single European currency are now beginning to realize that the euro is also impractical.

The approach of the 21st century tells us the time is ripe to do away with all weapons of mass destruction and with all international instruments of aggression and oppression, high among them NATO.

What the UN has done in defusing the explosive situation in the Persian Gulf, in working out an agreement with Saddam Hussein, points the way. In place of all the imperialist tools for world dominance, let us build and strengthen the United Nations.