The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 as an intergovernmental military alliance with the aim of defending its allies and stopping the expansion of the then Soviet Union. NATO was founded more than 70 years ago and currently has 30 member states and 9 global partners outside of Europe.

By Angelo Cardona

Why abolish NATO?

NATO was created mainly to defend its allies during the cold war, once this war ended, in which the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact dissolved, NATO should have done so as well. However, this was not the case. NATO has prevailed using the excuse that it exists to fight “international terrorism.” With this excuse, it tried to intervene in the Iraq war in 2003 and intervened in Afghanistan. Military intervention and nuclear arsenal do not help to keep the world safer; on the contrary, it increases the tension between countries and the possibility of new warlike confrontations.

The global defense budget exceeded 1.9 trillion dollars in 2019, of which NATO represents 54% of that military expenditure according to the latest report on military spending published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Despite the fact that many Alliance member states have not been able to invest at least 2% of their GDP in defense as agreed at the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, yet NATO’s total military spending represents more than half of the global defense budget. Reallocating this military spending could help us tackle some of the most challenging issues of this century; such as global warming, the health crisis that we are experiencing due to the coronavirus, the eradication of poverty, universal access to higher education or fundamentally achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The false narrative of security that NATO promotes through its consulting program for politicians and the military is precisely what prevents us from living in a peaceful world. More weapons can only mean more tension, more war, and more death. Why are weapons manufactured, sold, and acquired if they are not going to be used? the conflict must exist somewhere so that the arms industry does not go bankrupt.

Young people are the key

NATO held the first ¨NATO 2030 Youth Summit¨ on November 9, 2020, in cooperation with the Munich Security Conference. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO highlighted the important role of youth. “You — tomorrow’s leaders, both in North America and Europe — have the greatest stake in our security. So NATO 2030 is the chance for you to step up and safeguard your future, your freedom, your Alliance.” Stoltenberg said in his opening remarks. (2) The Atlantic Alliance clearly understands that it is becoming obsolete and less relevant to the next generation of political leaders. That is why it has started its indoctrination program for young people.

The Atlantic Alliance has just selected 14 emerging leaders nominated as ‘Young Leaders of NATO 2030’. (3) and their role will be to send recommendations to the Secretary-General regarding the future of NATO. Young people are the key to defining the future of the Alliance. New generations should advocate for the abolition of NATO since it is our future that will be substantially affected by the permanence of this Alliance that is taking away vital resources with which we could build a more peaceful, just, and sustainable future.

Angelo Cardona is a Colombian human rights defender, peace and disarmament activist. He is co-founder and President of the Ibero-American Alliance for Peace, Representative of Latin America in the Council of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Peace Bureau, and member of the Advisory Board of World Beyond War. In 2019, his work for peace and disarmament earned him the Inspirational Icon Award at the 21st Century Icon Awards in London, England.