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FIRSTLY it must be said that Russia should be condemned utterly for its brutal attack on Ukraine. However, this does not mean that Nato is an alliance which is to be supported as a defensive peace body.
Nato is a military alliance, which has always been dominated by the United States. The “North Atlantic Treaty Organisation” was formed before the Warsaw Pact.
When the Warsaw Pact collapsed after the fall of the Soviet Union it might have been expected that Nato too would disband. But, of course, the opposite happened.
Nato set about expanding in eastern Europe. Part of a reason for this was the power of the military-industrial complex.
As countries joined Nato they had to jettison their Soviet military equipment so there was interoperability and buy from the West, mainly the US. It was a bonanza for US military manufacturers. As conflicts rage across the world, it must be remembered that for some, war is good business.
This expansion to the east meant that Nato reached Russia’s borders. This was direct provocation, especially when Nato regularly carried out military exercises on the land bordering Russia. Ukraine also became a Nato Partner for Peace, or, as many would say, a “partner for war.”
None of this justifies Putin’s attack on Ukraine, but these were not moves by Nato which would bring stability to the region.
From the start Nato has had a policy of holding nuclear weapons and a policy of first use of nuclear weapons. When the British government was asked in Parliament if it had a policy of first use, the minister replied that yes, as we were in Nato and that was Nato’s policy. So much for Britain having an independent foreign policy.
The Trident nuclear fleet of submarines are “integrated” into Nato. Trident is often spoken of as an “independent nuclear deterrent” but it is not — the missiles are “lease purchased” from the US and crews are trained in the US. The submarines are based at Faslane in Scotland which has been described as “the US forward base in Europe.”
Under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, which Britain signed, the nuclear-armed states were, under Article VI, to pursue nuclear disarmament in “good faith.” There has been no good faith: nuclear weapons have been developed and the number of them has increased.
Last year Boris Johnson declared in the Integrated Defence Review the number of nuclear warheads would be increased by 44 per cent. At the same time the majority of nations in the world have signed up to the UN-negotiated Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Here again Nato has played a negative role and actively prevented Nato member states from entering the negotiations, let alone signing.
Nato long ago gave up on any semblance of remaining in the area of the North Atlantic. It is now global Nato.
It has nine “global partners” — Afghanistan, Australia, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan. Colombia joined in 2017; Nato proudly boasted that it was the first Latin American country to enter such a relationship with Nato.
Again, this is counter to established law: under the Treaty of Tlatelolco, Latin America became a nuclear-weapon free zone — but Nato is a nuclear-armed alliance.
In Europe, there are officially two nuclear armed states, Britain and France. However, Nato established six US nuclear-armed bases across Europe. They are in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey (yes, unbelievably Turkey) and there was one at Lakenheath in East Anglia.
This effectively made those five countries nuclear countries as their pilots and crew had to be trained to use the nuclear-armed fighter planes. The nuclear weapons were removed from Lakenheath in 2008, by which time the site had 33 underground storage vaults and stored around 110 B61 gravity bombs that could be dropped from F-15E warplanes based there.
A report from Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, states that the US Department of Defence has added Britain to a list of Nato nuclear weapons storage locations in Europe being upgraded under a multi-million dollar infrastructure programme.
Kristensen believes the base is RAF Lakenheath, just 80 miles from London, has already received a nuclear-capable fighter plane — the F35A. A total of 24 F-35As are expected there.
These moves by the US will certainly not lead to global peace. The US is the only country to locate its nuclear weapons outside its own borders and this upgrading is dangerous and destabilising. It will further drag Britain into US-Nato warmongering.
CND will protest against US nuclear weapons at RAF Lakenheath on May 21 — visit www.cnduk.org.
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