In a dangerous world, we need to seek COMMON SECURITY

The Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security (CPDCS) advocates for peace and nuclear disarmament within a framework of common security among nations. People and populations can only feel safe when their counterparts also feel safe.

Security can't be achieved against a nation's rival, but only with it

Security can't be achieved against a
nation's rival, but only with it

Security can't be achieved against a nation's rival, but only with it

What the 2024 Election Could Mean for NATO and the Future of US-European Relations

By Joseph Gerson

Years ago, just after the Paris Peace Accords were signed, which we mistakenly believed had ended the Vietnam War, my wife and I accepted positions with the War Resisters International in London, later moving our office to Brussels. I carry many stories from those days, including working with a 98 year-old anarchist who remembered taking Prince Kropotkin to the train station in a carriage; the Belgian pacifist who was active in the resistance to the Nazi occupation and who had been Patrice Lumumba’s secretary, and who held himself responsible for encouraging the independence leader to give the speech that resulted in his murder; of Israeli pacifists, the PLO representative to London, and many more.

Over those three years, I began to develop my understanding of NATO as an imperial alliance, although I had yet to learn that NATO’s first Secretary General described the alliance’s purpose as not only to keep Russia out, but to keep Germany down and the U.S. in. I had intimations, but not the chops to write about it. Over the years that followed, there were collaborations with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Britain and with the US/NATO Afghanistan War collaborations with the International Peace Bureau that took me more frequently back across the Atlantic and to deeper understandings of U.S.-European relations. Along the way I read Zbigniew Brzezinski’s seminally important imperial handbook The Grand Chessboard which described Western Europe as the toehold on the western periphery of Eurasia which plays a controlling role in what he described as the U.S.’ “imperial project”. Recall that Zbig was President Carter’s national security advisor!

Earlier this week, in the course of preparing a talk for a July CND webinar, I found that my outline almost added up to an article. A few tweaks and an email inquiry, and I had the following article in Common Dreams.

One of the dynamics that I don’t like is when my fears and warnings about the future prove to be correct. Having read a report in the New York Times, referenced in my article, in which Donald Trump was quoted as having boasted that his threats to withdraw from NATO had boosted the alliance’s military spending, and having seen another quotation in which he praised alliances, despite panic in some sectors of the US and European elites, I predicted that because they serve US and his dominance, Trump would stick with NATO.

Unhappily, the analysis which follows was confirmed to me on Thursday, after I had submitted my article, when I read Robert O’Brien’s article in the current issue of Foreign Affairs “The Return of Peace Through Strength.” https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-states/return-peace-strength-trump-obrien  O’Brien is widely predicted to be Trump’s National Security Advisor should Trump return to the Oval Office. The article is O’Brien’s message to the elite: Under Trump, the US will remain deeply committed to NATO. The intensifying commitment to contain China will be reinforced by U.S. Indo-Pacific alliances and joint military exercises. Ignoring Israel’s genocide in Gaza and land seizures in the West Bank, Trump will continue to fully support Israel and collaborate with the oil states (which gave Jared Kushner a $2 billion going away present when Trump left the White House), Trump will apply “maximum pressure to Iran”, and U.S. military doctrine will be increasingly reliant on its genocidal nuclear arsenal.

So much for Trump as the “peace candidate.” The challenges ahead of us are great. With either Trump or Biden, when it comes to foreign and military policy, there will be more continuity than change. And domestically, there is Trump’s warning of a “bloodbath,” his promise to begin with a dictatorship, planning for the deportation of up to twenty million immigrants, and commitments to oil companies rather than to confront global warming.      

As the old saying has it, if you don’t know where you are, you can’t know where you are going, or if you have a goal how best to get there. So please take a look at this U.S.-European slice of our reality. Remember that we can’t leave it entirely up to the rising and courageous generation of peace, justice, and climate activists. Join with others to make a difference. We know what needs to be done. The question, as Noam Chomsky often reminded us, is if we have the imagination and will.

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