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NATO’s militaristic hard power is not the appropriate response to foreign conflicts

ByHarriet Protheroe-Davis

Sep 25, 2014

This month the NATO summit is being hosted in Wales. However, ‘inflicted’ may be a more appropriate phrase than ‘hosted’. Whilst the Welsh First Minister publicly welcomed the visit as an opportunity to internationally “showcase Wales”, the question remains whether Wales actually supports NATO’s invasion.

Judging by a week of ‘alternative’ events, organized by Stop the War Coalition and other anti-war groups, it appears that not many Welsh people actually welcome the NATO summit.

The week began with thousands of protesters marching through the town of Newport rallying outside the Westgate Hotel. The hotel is infamous as the location where the 1839 Welsh Chartists’ demonstration for universal suffrage resulted in soldiers firing on the protesters. NATO forces are now commanded to do the same in maintaining what they perceive to be the ‘best interests’ of the Western alliance. 

The reason thousands of people took to the streets is simple – the belief that waging war will not make the world a safer place. Fighting fire with fire never has and never will bring more peace in the world. This is exemplified by what is occurring in the Middle East at the moment involving ISIS and other radical Islamist groups. It is clear to see that after the Iraq invasion support for radical Islamist groups in the Middle East has surged.

What NATO needs to realise is that our historical colonisation of the Middle East is still fresh. The fruits of our ridiculous, colonial, white superiority have ripened. What confronts us is a time bomb that has been waiting to happen. If NATO is trying to tackle ‘the problem of the Middle East’, or now Ukraine, why does it still find it appropriate to use the same old Twentieth Century masculine ‘hard power’ performativity of aggression? Have we not learned that invasions of countries, justified by neo-colonial ventures, like oil, are not only immoral but also ludicrously counterproductive?

The anti-NATO demonstrations in Wales have tried to highlight an abhorrent capitalist exploitative undertone to a hegemonic grouping of Western governments, attempting to ‘sort out’ other lands, who we are told pose a threat to us because of their foreign culture and religion. What is really at play in the ideology of NATO is the perpetuation of white domination of international politics and markets, headed by the USA. This ideology loses legitimacy daily as NATO has become increasingly unaccountable to the people it’s meant to represent. With waves of demonstrations across the world in support of the Palestinian people, still NATO is reluctant to condemn the Israeli Government.

What contributes to the animosity against this summit is the cost to Welsh taxpayers at a time of ruthless cuts in public spending. A 10ft steel fence has been constructed in the centre of Cardiff, while only 30 minutes away in the Welsh Valleys, people are suffering such deprivation that food bank stands are the norm in local supermarkets. Local schools have had to be closed, roads blocked off and thousands of police drafted in to protect the interests and safety of the wealthy decision makers.

With the summit drawing to a close, we must ask ourselves; why does our safety require the deaths of other innocent people, and who determines the greatest threat to our safety?

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