[Photo: NATO forces via Counterinformatiom.]

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD

Editor’s Note

Is NATO past its shelflife, or is it morphing into a longer-term working unit for a shifting cast of characters. The entrenched purpose of NATO is to protect member states politically and militarily. The question is “from whom?” That answer goes back to post WWII and the ensuing Cold War, but the footing certainly shifted post 9/11/2001 to include a global protectionism rather than just anti-Soviet/Russian protection (while that is obviously clearly a focus). The truth is that of NATO members, only the U.S. is “over militarized” and other member nations have forces more akin to peacekeepers rather than fighting forces.

There are 29 NATO members, and their military budgets go from the largest – the U.S. at $770 Bil (soon to be $813.3 Bil) –  to the least – Iceland with no military budget. The following info is drawn from two sources. The member states are from the NATO website, and the military spending ranking is from Global Fire Power.

NATO Nations and Miltary Budget Ranking (2022)

NATO Members  Global Military Budget Rank

Albania    121
Belgium    40
Bulgaria    76
Canada     14
Croatia      64
Czechia     57
Denmark   48
Estonia      88
France       11
Germany   5
Greece      33
Hungary   56
Iceland     142
Italy          12
Latvia       84
Lithuania  75
Luxumbourg  101
Montenegro  133
Netherlands   19
North Macedonia   120
Norway      28
Poland       18
Portugal    55
Romania   42
Slovakia    65
Spain        21
Turkiye     24
United Kingdom   4
United States   1

As the fiscal cost of military response spirals, the ecological costs are geometrically worse, and the answer lies in the socio-political realm. The tragedy of war is everywhere you look in Ukraine. Among soldiers, it is estimated that more than 100,000 have been killed and injured from both nations. According to the NY Times, there are almost 7 million refugees, and the estimated damages are moving towards the $200 billion mark and that does not include the looming nuclear disaster that may or may not have happened.

But these are immediate costs. I cannot help but think of the children of war. I get sickened by discussions about how “resilient” children are. It is a nice lie that we tell each other to avoid the lifelong harm of surviving the utter insanity, insecurity, terror, and devastation of war. There are reams of studies on the consequences of “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) – though they almost universally focus on INDIVIDUAL experiences such as abuse, neglect, loss of a parent, living in a home with a substance abuser, etc. I would think that war would magnify all of these and more as the entire social system is destroyed. Those who study ACEs are also quick to point out that with intervention, at least some of the long-term consequences can be ameliorated. Cheery news, but the reality is that most receive no such “intervention” and that is definitely true of the children of war.

When will we ask real questions and hold leaders and governments accountable for the hideous decisions that leave don’t only present devastation but ensure a havest of pain into the future? The U.S. is the number 1 arms dealer in the world. It has huge incentives for war and destruction on a global scale – as does every other nation that sells arms – and reconstruction – services. The whole process has become monetized and governments seem mostly willing to throw finances and materiel into these ventures as if they were investments for a much larger return.

The Earth and all of its denizens are facing an ELE – Extinction Level Event –  and we are doing virtually nothing about it. Instead, we further fuel the disaster with wars (that more often than not involve conflict around increasingly scarce resources).

For every reason, we must stop this insanity and embrace our commonality. We must do it for the children and for other life that has no protection against our rapacious decisions. If we do not, we doom them all to unimaginable devastation that will make even war seem tame, and the overwhelming majority will not survive.

Mahboob Khawaja, PhD

“Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture…
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away…”-   Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet

Realism has its own moral and intellectual properties and truth cannot be made truer simply by adding numbers and fake political statements.  We, the People of the globe have no passion for war; it is incompatible with human nature whereas peace is the outgrown truth of human consciousness and moral, spiritual, and physical balance. The ongoing war between Russia-Ukraine and NATO appears to set the psychological agenda undermining a sustainable future for mankind without realizing its real-world effects across the board manifesting frightening waves of fear and hatred across the globe. Fear and hatred are the defining traits used by the warmongers to belittle mankind just as lifeless numbers to be counted in official statistics.

Is media propaganda a weapon of the conquest of human minds, soul,s and future-making? Come to understand the contemporary issues of the 21st century’s  Russian-American and European discards over Ukraine and the future of oil and gas supplies, grain exports, and economic relationships all under scrutiny between those who during the 2nd WW  stood united against foreign aggression and killings of fellow human beings. An amassed collection of fear, ambiguity, and distrust spells out the prevalent reality of current global affairs. There are no corresponding communications and dialogues between the superpowers to change the horrible present into a sustainable and peaceful future for humanity populating this planet. All that is happening or could happen such as: “Ukraine goes into darkness”, “Russian bombing destroyed Ukraine’s infrastructures”, “NATO not fighting in Ukraine” , “the EU discord over Russian war on Ukraine”, and a lot more making sensational headlines. The perplexing statistic of weapons and money to aid Ukraine represents a shaky scenario of encountering the military onslaught, and balancing of the reason is missing across the tensions of unrealized possibilities of peacemaking and conflict resolution.

Is there an Irony between Logic and Political Wickedness?

Alexis Carre, the 2022-23 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate of the James Madison Program, Princeton University (“Europeans Have Weapons but Aren’t WarriorsForeign Policy: 12/07/22), argues negating the history of European conquests across Asia, Africa, North Africa, and South America as if they went in peace and were not the warriors of horrors, killings, and political deception and military occupation. Often crises have multiple spillover agendas for change and surprises. Just as there is an EU alliance between America and Japan, Russia and China-Japan, and so on. Could we imagine the coming of a new age of relationship between Russia, Ukraine, and America-led NATO when even the most exemplary political vigilance could be liable to unusual surprises?

Ukraine wanted to join the European community-NATO and claims the right of freedom to join any international organization for its betterment, peace, and security. NATO’s formation and scope are limited to nationalistic conventional warfare in the European theatre. One wonders, what wars did NATO fight to protect its ideals and strategic priorities after the 1945 WW?  What did NATO have to do with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya?  Were these accidental engagements or simply an extension of planned irresistible catastrophic instances of tyranny against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria? The history of NATO and its plans and ideological motives are equally distorted and disfigured on the global screen of reason, honesty, and accountability.

Is NATO run by the wrong people, glued to wrong thinking, and doing the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest, and history? Craig Murray (“NATO-an Idea Whose Time has Gone.”: AntiWar.com), former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee, UK, foresees the body as obsolete:

It is also the case that the situation in countries where NATO has been most active in killing people, including Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan ……NATO’s attempt to be global arbiter and enforcer has been disastrous at all levels…it is very clever and cynical. NATO provides power to the elite and money to the wealthy.

Leaders of Human Consciousness should Think Critically Before They Act

Hans Morgenthau (Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 1978): the legendry theorists of the 20th century points out that: “Realism, believing as it does in the objectivity of the laws of politics…politics must be subjected to the dual test of reason and experience…..for realism, theory consists in ascertaining facts and giving them meaning through reason….If we want to know the moral and political qualities of his (politician) actions, we must know them, not his motives.”  

We, the People live in a splendid Universe in which planet Earth floats ordained by the commands of God. We are moral beings unlike animals that possess the eyes, ears, and other senses but cannot draw a logical conclusion from their senses. We, the People draw rational results from what we see and what we hear, therefore, we are different, and we cannot act or live as animals. There is a moral sense of spirituality and humanity to co-exist in harmony with the rest of all creations on this Earth. Modern wars represent sadistic and cruel minds that undermine human rights, dignity and life. They destroy all that is built over the ages that we call human cultures and civilizations. All of the Abrahamic Faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) reveal the truth of “Trust” – human beings took to be responsible and be at peace with the Nature of Things.  This TRUST and its reminder are explicitly mentioned in (The Qur’an, Chapter 33: 72):

“We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth; And the mountains but they refused; To undertake it, being afraid thereof: But man undertook it; He was indeed unjust and foolish.”

We are One Humanity and we are the most intelligent beings populating the earth. We can THINK and REASON and cannot act like animals without accountability.  The Earth is a living entity and is meant for us – human beings. We, the People wonder who else except God created life, the Earth, and the living Universe floating in space well balanced and functional since time immemorial. Who else other than God determined the Earth’s spinning at 1670 km per hour? Who else than God ordained it to orbit the sun at 107,000 km per hour?  And who else than God made it to spin at 28,437 km per hour at the equator? (https://www.newscientist.com/question/fastearthspin/#ixzz7C8p37S9X).    Be aware that Earth’s average distance to the Sun is about 93 million miles (105 million km); the distance of Moon from Earth is currently 384,821 km equivalent to 0.002572 Astronomical Units and if the distance between the Earth-Sun or the Earth-moon were ever to change, there will be no sign of life or habitats left on Earth.

We, the People, wish to rejoice in truth, not evil. We, the people of the world enjoin focused minds and imagination to articulate a new world of One Humanity, brotherhood, and peaceful co-existence amongst all, free of hatred, fear, wars, encroachment, and animosity. We, the people of the globe possess an understanding – of how to change the egoistic and embittered insanity of the few hate-mongers and warlords into an equilibrium of balanced relationship between Man, Life, and the God-given living Universe in which we reside all.

Every beginning has its end and effective leaders should always be open to listening and learning. President Macron had a phone conversation with President Putin and reasserts the need for futuristic ‘security guarantees’ for Russia to come to peacemaking. President Biden tells an audience in Washington that he can speak with President Putin. President Putin shows readiness to talk with Western leaders. What are they waiting for?  Why don’t they take the initiative to have a dialogue for a ceasefire and peace treaty? The US, the EU and NATO, and Russia should rethink peacemaking, not enlarge the scope of the current conflict in Ukraine. President Putin needs to rethink peace with his neighbors even if their national interest differs and the future could be challenging for peaceful co-existence. Most superpowers and their strategic thinkers and political planners lack understanding of the convergent factors of life articulating viable change when it is at the peak of its lifeline. They worship the form and forgot the essence of peace, security, human survival, Planet Earth and global peace and unity of mankind for a sustainable future. Raymond Aron, French Political Philosopher and Sociologist offered the following foresight at the dawn of 1939 WW2:

“When one is speaking to people who profess to despise peace, one must say that, if one loves peace, it is not out of cowardice. It is ridiculous to set regimes founded on work against regimes founded on leisure. It is grotesque to believe that cannons can be resisted with butter, or effort with rest.”

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and is the author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. Germany, 12/2019.

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