Three score years and ten – the North Atlantic way

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is 70 years old. Is there anything to celebrate? Despite the pre-amble to the treaty committing members to seek peace according to the United Nations charter, the defensive character of the organisation has been transformed into a forum for militarism par excellence. What is the problem in country x or region y? NATO and its member states can be sure to solve it by supplying arms, training soldiers, deploying rapid intervention forces, building airbases, flying drones, dropping bombs, etc., etc. You name it, NATO has the answer: send in the gunboats and kill! Sooner or later some governments must be going to wake up to the reality of the arms race and sooner or later citizens must organise effectively to refuse spending vast amounts on these absurd mountains of hardware and software…

Meantime, there’s always plenty of distraction in the form of the world wide web. At the end of a good read about surveillance and the military origins of the internet in the 20th Century, I was moved by the following:

The internet and the networked microprocessor technology on which it runs does not transcend the human world. For good or ill, it is an expression of this world and is used in ways that reflect the political, economic and cultural forces and values that dominate society. Today we live in a troubled world, a world of political disenfranchisement, rampant poverty and inequality, unchecked corporate power, wars that seem to have no end and no purpose, and a runaway privatised military and intelligence complex – and hanging over it all are the prospects of global warming and environmental collapse. We live in bleak times and the internet is a reflection of them: run by spies and powerful corporations just as our society is run by them…

This is an extract from “Surveillance Valley – the secret military history of the internet” (by Yasha Levine, Icon books, 2018).

To wind up, I came across this little gem from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom:

It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

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