Challenging the Link between Economic & Military Domination: NATO and the G8

From the May 2012 PNL #814

Bob Bossie

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a military bloc of 28 countries, the largest such bloc in human history. The five most influential members of NATO are the US, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. NATO has partnerships and agreements with over a third of the nations in the world.

The NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21 is their 25th general meeting. NATO summit meetings are this alliance’s principal political decision-making body—and involve government leaders at the highest level.

NATO was founded in 1949 by 12 countries to thwart, it was said, the expansion of the Soviet Union. This is code for NATO’s real purpose: to ensure worldwide domination by “1%” of the population in the Western empire, including transnational corporations and financial institutions. To put it another way, “Keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in,” according to William Pfaff, author of The Irony of Manifest Destiny.

With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO had to revamp its public image to ensure its real existence as the unchallenged guarantor of the dominance by western elites. Conveniently, ethnic conflict in Yugoslavia during the 90s provided that opportunity. This was to be the perfect war. “It could make war popular… [and] necessary to justify the ongoing existence of this huge … military industrial complex that is now the center of American life.” (Diana Johnston, author Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions)

Henceforth, NATO marketed itself as the defender of human rights and supporter of democracy. At the 2010 NATO summit, President Obama took it a step further when he said, “We came to Lisbon with a clear task and that is to revitalize our alliance to face… threats such as cyber attacks, Afghanistan, counter-narcotics, and a range of 21st century security challenges.” Thus, everything is deemed a threat in order to justify NATO’s goal of advancing the interests of the 1%.

Libya is a perfect example. Many supported NATO’s bombing campaign to overthrow Gaddafi in the interests of liberation and human rights. But NATO’s real long-term goal was to prepare for its collaboration with the “liberation” forces in controlling Libya’s massive energy resources. The campaign involved over 20 ships, over 250 aircraft and 26,000 NATO air missions over Libya. These strikes included the massive use of toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU) munitions.

Since 1999, NATO has waged war on nations on three continents: Yugoslavia, Libya and Afghanistan, none of which have relevance to defending the “North Atlantic.” At a NATO seminar on February 28, 2012, Secretary General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Afghanistan remains NATO’s top operational priority.

These attacks killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and left widespread destruction of all that it takes to sustain human life. NATO has now deployed its forces, bases and ballistic missile defense, especially those of the US, in many of NATO’s new member states in Central and Eastern Europe as a hedge against Iran and Russia. Interestingly, in 1966, President De Gaulle pulled France out of NATO due to US and British dominance. France’s current president, Sarkozy, reversed that decision in 2009.

The following disproportions indicate the level of NATO’s world domination. The 28 NATO countries spent 70% ($1.6 trillion) of all world military expenditures in 2010. The US alone spent 40%.

Taking Back Control of Our Future

Protestors and other members of the 99% will “speak out against the generals and bankers who are responsible for most of the human misery on the planet,” said Joe Iosbaker, an organizer with the Coalition Against the NATO and G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANGATE).

Protestors will flock to Chicago in May to protect our common heritage—the lands, natural resources and biodiversity— from destructive and exploitative development and military policies. They will demand that resources be used in a sustainable manner to serve human needs in Chicago and around the world. Plans include:

Saturday & Sunday, May 12-13:
People’s Summit in Chicago:
A Better World is Possible.

Sunday, May 20: Legally permitted, family-friendly march to the NATO summit (which will include leaders from six G8 countries) at McCormick Place, gather at 12 noon at Petrillo Bandshell at Jackson Blvd. and Congress Dr.


G8 and NATO Protest:

The population of all NATO countries is slightly more than 885 million, or 13% of the world population. Many of us in NATO countries have materially benefited from NATO’s military might, but more and more such benefits accrue particularly to the 1%.

During the May 2012 NATO summit there, Chicagoans will get a small taste of this violence as the city is turned into an occupied military zone. As past summits have shown, NATO helicopter gunships and AWACS aircraft will hover overhead and armies of “security” personnel, including snipers and other military personnel will comb Chicago. Under the cloak of supporting democracy, the autocratic government of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is hosting the world’s foremost war-making force.

Link Plans originally included a summit of the G8 in Chicago, alongside the NATO meeting. However, the G8 meeting was shifted to Camp David, Maryland on May 18-19, likely because of concerns about impending protests.

G8 stands for the Group of 8 industrialized nations: US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Canada and Russia. Like NATO, the G8 partners with numerous other countries and international organizations. For example, the “G8+5” include the five largest emerging economies: Brazil, China, Mexico, India, and South Africa. Leaders of the following major international organizations have also been invited to attend previous summit meetings: African Union, Commonwealth of Independent States, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Energy Agency, UN, UNESCO, World Bank, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization.

The G8 nations produce over 60% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product ($63 trillion in 2010) but make up only 14% of the world’s population. Meanwhile, over half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day—lacking adequate drinking water, food and shelter—and witness the further destruction of their ecosystems.

NATO is the military arm of the G8’s efforts to enrich the 1%. Despite the G8 summit’s move to Camp David, the link between the G8 and NATO is evident in the remarks of Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for Obama’s National Security Council: “There are a lot of political, economic and security issues that come together at the G8.” The interlocking network between the two entities is reflected in the fact that six of the G8 countries are also highly influential within NATO. This concentration of economic, military and political power is catastrophic for the rest of the world under the best of circumstances, especially since the very same 1% increasingly control the corporate media.


Bob has been a staff person at the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago since 1980 and works on issues of peace, human rights, economics and nonviolence. The full leaflet, from which this is drawn, is available at the CANg8 website.