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Trump’s bluster shows the need for Britain to leave Nato

HURRICANE Trump heads off to Helsinki this weekend, having swept through Brussels, London, the surrounding shires and secluded estates in Scotland.

In its wake lies a trail of threats, insults, lies and smears.

The US president has berated successive German governments, embarrassed Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and undermined Prime Minister Theresa May.

In principle, there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

But his beef with Germany and other European members of Nato is that they are not spending enough to feed the mighty US armaments industry, preferring instead to invest in civilian projects that enhance the competitiveness of their own multinational corporations.

Not only has he lambasted western European governments for failing to spend 2 per cent of GDP on armaments — he called for that Nato target to be doubled to 4 per cent.

It is no coincidence that Trump attacked Germany for its comparatively low level of military spending at the very time when the Berlin government has to decide where to place a massive contract to replace its ageing 85 Tornado fighter jets.

The plane is specially adapted to carry US nuclear warheads and only three armaments corporations can build a replacement in time: the Eurofighter consortium of German, British and Italian companies or US giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

There are no prizes for guessing where Trump wants the work to go, conscious that the White House ultimately has the power to decide who can carry US nuclear warheads and who cannot.

The whole squalid story eloquently makes the case for Britain to disentangle itself from Nato.

The lop-sided alliance was founded on the lie that a devastated Soviet Union, surrounded by US military bases, might invade western Europe at any moment after burying its 26 million war dead.

Today, Nato needs more lies and scares about foreign threats to justify not only its existence but its expansion into a worldwide web of “global partners” from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to Australia and now Colombia.  

As a result of the Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties, the EU is the second but junior spider at the centre of this web, committed to militarisation and a Common Foreign and Defence Policy that will “contribute to the vitality of a renewed Nato.”

The EU has taken over Nato’s Western European Union apparatus, running its satellite centre as well as an armaments force and the European Defence Agency.

But while the EU is a subservient military ally of US imperialism, Europe’s big capitalist corporations and their states are also rivals. 

Not surprisingly, then, Trump promotes a strategy of divide and rule wherever possible.

He holds out the prospect of free trade deals to Britain and France, with the intention of fracturing the EU bloc and extending US exports and investments.

Like the EU, he favours neoliberal policies which open up markets, privatise public-sector industries and services and enable corporations to take elected governments to court should they stand in the way of profits.

Where the EU has constructed “Fortress Europe” to liberate capital and exploit migrant labour while discriminating against non-Europeans, so Trump is consolidating “Fortress America.”

The workers and peoples of Britain will not prosper under any kind of neoliberal regime, whether inside the EU single market or outside in a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) style free-trade agreement with the US.

What is needed urgently is a left-led Labour government outside the EU, free to implement policies which put the people’s interests above those of profits and war.

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