At the international conference “NATO’s 70th Anniversary: Historical Balance? Looking for a way out of the war system, now”, held in Florence on 7 April, was attended by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, director of Global Research, the research centre on globalisation (Canada), co-sponsor of the conference along with the No War No Nato Committee and other Italian associations. Michel Chossudovsky, one of the leading international experts in economics and geopolitics, contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica, author of 11 books published in more than 20 languages, received some questions about the topics discussed at the conference.
First of all, what was the outcome of the Florence Conference?
The Florence International Conference was a very successful event, with the participation of several qualified speakers from North America, Europe and Russia. The history of NATO was presented. Crimes against humanity were carefully identified and documented. At the end of the conference, with some 600 participants from all over Italy and several European countries, the Florence Declaration was presented.
In his introductory report to the conference, he stated that NATO is not an alliance. Could you explain why?
Under the guise of a multinational military alliance, the Pentagon dominates NATO’s decision-making mechanism. The United States controls NATO’s command structures, which are incorporated into the United States. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is always an American general appointed by Washington. NATO’s Secretary General, currently Jens Stoltenberg, is essentially a public relations bureaucrat. He has no role in decision-making.
Another question that arises is the case of US military bases in Italy and other European countries. What role do they play?
NATO’s tacit objective – an important topic in our debate in Florence – was to implement, under another name, the real “military occupation” of Western Europe. Not only does the United States continue to “occupy” the “Axis countries” of World War II (Italy, Germany), but it has also used the NATO emblem to install US military bases throughout Western Europe, and later in Eastern Europe after the Cold War and in the Balkans after NATO’s war against Yugoslavia.
What has changed about the possible use of nuclear weapons?
Immediately after the Cold War, a new nuclear doctrine was formulated, focusing on the preventive use of nuclear weapons, i.e. the first nuclear attack as a means of self-defence. Within the framework of the United States and NATO interventions, presented as peace-keeping actions, a new generation of “low-powered” and “more useful” nuclear weapons was created, described as “harmless to the civilian population”. U.S. political leaders consider them “pacification bombs”. The Cold War agreements, which established certain safeguards, have been cancelled. The concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” related to the use of nuclear weapons, has been replaced by the doctrine of pre-emptive nuclear war.
What is the relationship between arms war and economic crisis?
War and globalization go hand in hand. Militarization supports the imposition of macroeconomic restructuring on target countries. It imposes military expenditures to support the war economy at the expense of the civilian economy. It leads to economic destabilization and the loss of power of national institutions.
For example, President Trump recently proposed major cuts in the health, education, and social infrastructure sectors, “while this requires a large increase in the Pentagon’s budget”. At the beginning of his administration, President Trump confirmed the increase in spending on President Obama’s military nuclear program from $1 billion to $1.2 billion, arguing that this is to keep the world safer.
Across the European Union, increased military spending, coupled with austerity measures, is bringing to an end what has been called the “welfare state”. NATO has pledged to increase military spending, saying, through the mouth of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, that this is the right thing to do to “keep our people safe”.
Military interventions are combined with acts of economic sabotage and financial manipulation. The ultimate goal is the conquest of human and material resources and, at the same time, of political institutions. Acts of war support a process of complete economic conquest. The hegemonic project of the United States is to transform sovereign countries into territories open to its penetration. One of the instruments is the imposition of strong restrictions on indebted countries. The imposition of lethal macroeconomic reforms contributes to the impoverishment of large sectors of the world’s population.
What is and should be the role of the media in informing public opinion on these issues?
The media did not even bother to cover the Florence Conference. NATO war crimes are not listed in this way. Without the misappropriation of the media, the US and NATO military agenda would collapse like a house of cards. The imminent dangers of war, which are fought with the most modern weapons, including nuclear weapons, are not front page news. War is represented as an action of pacification. War criminals are represented as peacemakers. War becomes peace. Reality is reversed. When lies become truths, there is no turning back.
The Manifesto, April 19, 2019
INNATE EVIDENCE OF WAR
Although the human and material debris of NATO’s war against Libya remains before our very eyes, NATO’s preparations for much more disastrous wars are very scarce. NATO’s military activities continue. Since the end of the Cold War, however, they have never been so intense.
In 2019, 102 NATO operations took place, 39 of them with the participation of partner countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Finland, Sweden and others). There are also 208 national and multinational exercises of NATO countries. In one year 310 realistic tests of land, air and naval warfare, almost all with the same scenario: Europe’s “defence” against “Russian aggression”.
Always for “defence” the forces are prepared for nuclear, chemical and biological warfare scenarios.
Other activities go beyond exercise. After having expanded in twenty years from 16 to 29 countries (30 if it now includes Macedonia), expanding behind Russia, NATO has deployed 4 multinational combat groups in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and implements “air patrolling” of the Baltic region with fighter-bombers, including the Italian Eurofighters.
All this costs: Italian military spending will have to increase from 70 to 100 million euros a day, which will, as always, come out of our pockets.
THE DECLARATION OF FLORENCE IN 14 LANGUAGES
Translation from Spanish by Pressenza London