Foreign Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,
You are not welcome. The best thing about your meeting is the short duration. We wish you good riddance.
The old NATO had a rationale, to contain Soviet aggression. About that we can discuss, but it is history.
The new NATO is offensive, not defensive. The theater is no longer the North Atlantic arena, but the whole world.
It is engaged in preventive war, rather than containing aggression, in expanding the space under NATO control, rather than in solving conflicts. In doing so, NATO creates the situations it is supposed to eliminate.
Today it looks like a major purpose is to keep NATO alive for its own sake, as a dinosaur heading for extinction. It is a tragedy to hear people claim that NATO must succeed instead of asking what is good for the Afghan people. And it is even more tragic to watch countries compensating for unwillingness to support NATO’s Master, the USA, in Iraq by turning to Afghanistan, sacrificing Afghan lives on the altar of submission to Washington.
“North Atlantic”. That smells Anglo-America –- with a dash of Norway where you are right now located. And with a trail of blood from Palestine to Iraq to Iran to Afghanistan. Yes, it also stands for democracy and human rights. Like apartheid for the Palestinians, torture and rendition to several of you, walls of concrete and steel, repression and killing.
Democracy? Some democracy: the USA executive is not accountable
– to the people, but to money fueling fake elections like in Florida and Ohio, and to AIPAC and NRA;
– to the judiciary, appointed by the executive itself;
– to the Congress, because the President can veto any bill and the two-party system makes it very difficult to override a veto.
Is this really a model for which you are killing people, or are you simply afraid of Washington? Of being rejected by the Master, of one day being exposed to its carpets of bombs? And what does that say about the nature of NATO?
As specialists on Afghanistan, you of course know the histories of the English invasion 1838–42 and 1878–81, which ended with a massacre of the English Embassy in Kabul, and the Soviet invasion 1979–86 with final withdrawal in 1989. You might draw a conclusion for good or for bad: these are proud people, who want to be masters in their own land.
You have no military chance whatsoever. You cling to the idea of something finite — “Taliban” — that you can crush or contain. But the more you kill, the more resistance you create. And that resistance has:
– no limit in time. There may be lulls, but never any capitulations;
– no limit in space. They have the whole Muslim UMMA, 1.3 billion, mainly separated by borders drawn by the West, to draw upon.
And yet there are solutions in Afghanistan, for them, not you, to bring about:
– A coalition government with, not without, Talibans, negotiating, not crushing them;
– Priority to the basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, health and education for all;
– Afghanistan as a federation, not the unitary state run for foreign benefit from Kabul;
– A Central Asian Community with neighboring nations deeply intertwined with Afghanistan;
– Security provided by the Christian-dominated UN Security Council with the Muslim Organization of the Islamic Conference.
And there are solutions to the conflict with Iran. Why are the US/UK so much more worried about a nuclear Iran and missiles flying than about a nuclear Pakistan and India? Because they think Iran hates them. And why should Iran hate them? In one word: 1953. The CIA – MI6 coup against a legally elected Prime Minister, Mossadegh, installing the Shah and 25 years of dictatorship. And how does one handle that? By a one-minute Bush/Blair speech accepting responsibility and apologizing. Do you Foreign Ministers have the courage to tell the self-righteous Anglo-Americans to do so?
And there are solutions to Iraq, not any stupid “reconciliation” without political solutions, better known as pacification. US/UK and the remaining coalition partners stop killing, shed their uniforms, apologize, compensate, clean up, and ask the UN to convene a Conference on Security and Cooperation in West Asia, like the Helsinki Conference 1973-75 model. The fate of Iraq –- possibly as a community more than as a state — is for the Iraqis to decide.
And there are solutions to what your Master calls terrorism -– in your midst you have a country called Spain, whose leader, Zapatero, did after 11. March 2004 what Bush and Blair should have done after 9/11 and 07/07. He stopped killing Arab Muslims in Iraq. He legalized migrants from Morocco. He started negotiating with Morocco instead of bombing. And he organized a Dialogue of Civilizations. Use Spain rather than US/UK as model.
But you have a huge problem: your Master. With more than 70 interventions on it’s conscience after the Second World War, with somewhere between 13 and 17 million killed in overt actions. You are allies. With few exceptions, you are silent. Silence means consent. Like to one of the worst crimes in history: US/UK in Iraq.
There is one way out. You stand up against your Master rather than mimicking the Master’s Voice with some corridor whispering.
You can walk out.
You can say stop.
You can say: enough killing!
Let us solve all these conflicts, and let us turn the adversaries of our Master’s creation into our friends.
* Professor of Peace Studies; Founder and Co-Director, TRANSCEND, a Peace and Development Network; Laureate Right Livelihood Award, the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize