Nato binds other countries into support for US foreign policy — over the past 20 years it has waged war on three continents — none of it in response to any threat to its member states, writes Alan MacKinnon author of Nato Is The Biggest Threat to Peace.

THE cold war ended barely 20 years ago, yet we seem to be rushing headlong towards the next.

The narrative is depressingly familiar. “Europe faces a real threat from Russia,” says General Frederick Hodges, commander of the US army in Europe. “Russia’s chilling threat to the West,” warns the Express.

And, according to the House of Commons defence committee, Britain must ramp up its conventional defence forces and its nuclear weapons programme to confront this new threat.

Much of this “threat” is said to come from Russian actions in Ukraine.

Russia and former president Viktor Yanukovych’s government in Ukraine have been far from blameless.

But the massive expansion of Nato up to the western and southern borders of Russia has been the main factor in provoking this crisis. It has deliberately and recklessly posed a major threat to the security of the Russian Federation.

For Russia, the overthrow of the democratically elected Yanukovych government was the last straw.

Nato has, in other words, provoked the very Russian threat it ostensibly seeks to deter.

And that “threat” is being used to ratchet up the arms race, creating new Nato military bases across eastern Europe and a new “spearhead” rapid reaction force for military intervention within 48 hours.

Ukraine is at the cutting edge of Nato expansion. The country’s ruling elite has been carefully groomed by Nato and the European Union.

At its Bucharest summit, Nato said that Ukraine would ultimately become a full member of the alliance — despite repeat polls showing overwhelming public opposition to Nato membership.

Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is well known. Less known is the prior intervention by the US and its allies. Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, told a business conference in Kiev in December 2013 that the US had spent a staggering $5 billion promoting “democracy” in Ukraine over two decades.

Just imagine how the injection of that cash and the activities of dozens of US-based “non-governmental organisations” could distort the democratic process of any country in the world, and then multiply it several times for a poor country like Ukraine.

Nuland was previously foreign policy advisor to former vice president Dick Cheney and is married to Robert Kagan, co-founder of the Project for a New American Century.

Taped telephone conversations confirm that she (among others) was directly and intimately involved in the preparations for regime change in Ukraine, even down to naming the individual who should become (and did become) prime minister following the coup.

Far from promoting democracy, senior US State Department officials were complicit, with the aid of violent neonazi street gangs, in overthrowing a democratically elected government and tearing it away from its popular foreign policy of non-alignment.

And how Nato has expanded over the past two decades. Despite the lack of a credible “threat” — the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact had collapsed — it has grown from 16 members at the end of the cold war to 28 members today. And further expansion is planned.

This exposes the real purpose of the alliance. It was never a mutual defence pact but a cover for the exercise of US hegemony over an expanding area of Europe and Eurasia. It is a vehicle for binding other countries into support for US policy around the world.

Over the past 20 years Nato, at the behest of the US, has waged war on three continents — none of it in response to any threat to its member states.

The key to this expansion is Nato’s partnership organisations.

The Partnership for Peace (PfP), with 22 members, helps prepare selected “partners” for full membership of the alliance.

The Mediterranean Dialogue extends the Nato web across the Mediterranean to North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel are all partners.

The Istanbul Co-operation Initiative pulls in key Gulf states such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, while Nato’s “global partners” or “contact” countries include states as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan and Colombia.  

Nato’s new European missile defence system is another provocation — a thinly veiled attempt to gain US nuclear primacy.

It comprises land and sea-based radar and interceptors, much of it based in Poland and Romania and on Aegis ships in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Missile defence is the “shield” which complements the nuclear “sword,” giving the US and its allies the potential to conduct a nuclear first strike with impunity. No wonder the Russians feel threatened.

But Nato expansion and the destabilisation of countries on the periphery of Russia has come at a high cost.

In Ukraine thousands have died and thousands more have been displaced by the conflict. Tomorrow it could be Georgia, Moldova or central Asia. And the cost to world peace could be higher still.

That’s why the peace movement needs to respond to this crisis and its one-sided media narrative. Already it’s being used to justify Trident nuclear missiles and to ratchet up the confrontation in eastern Europe.

The issues in Ukraine are complex, but they require a negotiated settlement, not a return to the cold war.

Alan Mackinnon is the author of Nato Is The Biggest Threat to Peace, available for £2 (incl P&P) from Scottish CND, 77 Southpark Ave, Glasgow G12 8LE.