NATO 2022 Summit. Madrid has dawned seized by land and air. The government, which has banned demonstrations of any kind during this week, calls the inhabitants to stay at home and, if they can, to telework. An unprecedented deployment that symbolically inaugurates the socialization of the War Economy and militarism. Meanwhile, at the exhibition park, between the airport and the city center, over 5,000 delegates are currently engaged in the negotiations that will shape a new, more belligerent NATO with new battle fronts.
We publish a FAQ to understand the key issues, the internal conflicts and the aims of the participants.
What are each other' s goals at the NATO Summit in Madrid?
Deployment of NATO forces in the East against Russia on the eve of the NATO Summit
1 The consolidation of NATO as a tool through which the US has the capacity to articulate and instrumentalize its European allies... even against the interests of France and Germany. In this sense, reinforcing the arming of the Ukrainian army with increasingly sophisticated heavy weapons and forcing the Europeans to accept a "years-long war" against Russia by proxy (Ukraine), as we have already seen at the G7, are the fundamental aims of the US and Great Britain.
To achieve this they must uphold the urgency and pressure for war against Russia. Hence, Stoltenberg categorically rules out even any discussion between the partners on the advisability or otherwise of peace negotiations such as those proposed by Italy and France. This is also why, as the first success of the new NATO, the increase of rapid intervention forces on the eastern border from 40,000 to more than 300,000 soldiers is presented as the first success of the new NATO.
2 In this context, the second line of objectives is to turn NATO into the skeleton of a new political, economic and military bloc around the USA. Intermediate stopovers: overcoming Turkey's resistance to the entry of Sweden and Finland and incorporating Australia, South Korea and Japan as allies/observers.
3 No one is fooled. NATO's entry into the Indo-Pacific, even indirectly, means a repositioning on China. Under the battle of definitions over China, which has been going on for months now, is hidden the US pressure on Germany, France, Italy and the rest of the EU to reduce trade exchanges with Beijing... which, if carried out at the pace Washington wants, would be the final blow to the model of accumulation of the big European capitals.
Hence France and Germany are insisting on defining China as a "systemic challenge" and the US and Great Britain are pressing for NATO strategy to use "tougher" language.
For the time being, Germany seems to have agreed that the tone against China will not be raised too much, while France will insist that NATO must maintain the "Euro-Atlantic zone" as its sole base of operations. But there may be surprises and analysts will be attentive to the "language" of official statements and the "strategic compass".
Resistance, not only in Paris and Berlin but also in the Mediterranean countries, is strong. Governments and militaries of these countries argue that while Russia is a direct threat to European capitals in the East, China is only a threat to the "Anglo-Saxon axis" and its economic supremacy, and that the European "second front" should be in the Maghreb and the Sahel, not in Asia.
4 The strategy of these countries for the NATO Summit in Madrid is to present Africa as the equivalent of the Russian-Ukrainian border, which inevitably involves building an enemy, a new Russia in the Maghreb: Algeria. What began as a derivative of the Spanish pivot on the Sahara, has ended up merging with the anxieties of Germany and France in the Sahel (against Russia) and what once was "Françafrique" (against China and Great Britain), becoming a real lobby for opening a new armed front.
Morocco, which sees the door open to become the new custodian of gas to the detriment of Algeria -against whom war tensions continue to escalate- has made its presence felt at the NATO Summit in Madrid with the "gift" of a massacre at the Melilla border to demonstrate its character as a "reliable and committed partner" in the "fight against immigration", which is now considered "hybrid warfare".
Algiers, which sees how Spain takes its new position to the point of accepting to make Dakhla (Villacisneros, former Spanish capital of the Sahara) the starting point of the new Spanish-Moroccan relations and its substance the entry of Spanish capital in the Saharawi sweatshops, has also made its presence felt by threatening Sánchez with making public his wife's businesses and putting pressure on some companies that usually act as beachheads for Spanish imperialist interests.
What happened to the European army?
Macron parades on the Champs Elysees. This NATO summit will set aside his proposal for a European army.
France will try to keep alive as best it can the possibility of an autonomous European army within or alongside NATO, but this will be no easy task. This does not mean that the EU will stop the militaristic spiral opened by Germany at the beginning of the war. The "plan" offered by the Atlanticist lobby is that while NATO would remain the European military structure, the EU would take over the reins of the development of the weapons industry.
This division of tasks guarantees national capitals that the coming rearmament will not entail a spectacular increase in imports but that at least the 4 major countries -Germany, France, Italy and Spain- will be able to strengthen their armaments sector, turning it into a refuge for accumulation in difficult times.
Will NATO be consolidated as a force in its own right or will it remain primarily a coordination of national armies?
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg presents the objectives of the NATO Madrid Summit in Brussels.
NATO's military capability on its own is minimal compared to the national armies of which it is composed. Its combined budget, i.e. the cost of the structure and bureaucracy approved for the time being, is 2.5 billion.
It seems that until the few minutes before the opening of this NATO summit, France has been blocking these common funds that would give autonomy to the organization in the style of the EU budget. Germany, which already pays 16% of this budget, seems to be willing to increase its share to avoid friction with Paris.
The underlying reason is that France - and an increasing number of European partners - are counting on the next US elections being won by the Republicans. If Trump wins, they think, the pressure to shift the costs of the structure from the U.S. budget to those of member countries will be very strong. And should it be another Republican candidate, it would be conditional in any case on increased European pressure against China.
In other words, no one is about to accept a strengthening of the NATO apparatus as such, lest they have to pay for it later or it becomes a tool of strategic pressure by the US in open escalation with China.
How are Russia and China responding?
Countries participating in or supporting sanctions against Russia on the eve of the NATO summit in Madrid.
Rising tensions with Russia are increasingly bordering on the extension of war. Lithuania and NATO's blockade of Kaliningrad was met with missile tests over the Baltic by Russia. The escalation became more dangerous with the Russian threat to send nuclear missiles to Belarus... and the EU began to calm the waters and reassure its bellicose Baltic member. But the fact remains that the announcement of the arrival "in a few months" of missiles in Belarus has not been retracted.
For its part, China is "arming" itself for the escalation of the economic war it sees coming. For the time being, it is focusing on eroding the dollar monopoly by creating a liquidity reserve group in the Bank for International Settlements denominated in yuan.
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But the lynchpin of the strategy lies with the BRICS group. Putin announced last week that the group would study the creation of an alternative international reserve currency to the dollar based on the basket of currencies of the member countries.
This is no minor issue, especially considering that the original members - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are being joined by new members such as Saudi Arabia and Argentina. Iran, concerned among other things that Saudi influence will stifle its trade relationship with China and Russia, joined the list of applicant countries just this morning.
In other words, in response to the consolidation of NATO as the backbone of the U.S. military bloc, China is expanding the BRICS as an economic bloc.
China is well aware that the G7 is courting and inviting to its summits three of its members, India, South Africa and Argentina, as well as Senegal and Indonesia - the first country outside the former USSR to be visited by Putin since the beginning of the war. He knows that none of these countries, and especially India, are going to go in a downward spiral against the US and the EU.
But the fact that its strategy is not symmetrical to that of the US does not mean that it does not have the war in mind and is not preparing for it. China is rather dedicated to creating an economic safety net that at the same time avoids the decantation of regional powers against it, something that could be more dangerous to its global imperialist interests.
Like Augustus in his war against Marcus Antonius, it opts for the "whoever is not against me is with me", leaving the US to the temptation of raising the "whoever is not with me is against me". An attitude that Biden showed at the Summit of the Americas and which, under the current correlation of forces, alienates the US from practically all the semicolonial countries.
So the Chinese strategy, under a strictly commercial and defensive appearance, is actually working, by an alternative path, towards an objective equivalent to that of the United States: to accumulate forces and cut off the accumulation of the opposition with a view to the formation of a bloc of its own. In fact, according to the Hong Kong press, the BRICS would already be the seed of such a bloc and its consolidation....
...would tear the world apart on a scale not seen since the Cold War and amplify the new era of "vertical globalization" that has begun. In the end, it could be the West that loses out.
What will remain of the NATO Summit in Madrid?
US drills in Morocco. Its last edition took place only a week before the NATO summit in Madrid.
The unprecedented size of the delegations, the abundance of prime ministers and presidents, the display of messages and war propaganda... none of the circus that accompanies the summit is mere pomp and circumstance. This summit represents a qualitative leap in the development of imperialist blocs oriented and organized for war around the US and China.
The consequences of the NATO Summit in Madrid will be even more immediate in Eastern Europe, and also in the Mediterranean, the Maghreb and the Sahel, which have become new hot spots in an increasingly unstable and explosive front. For countries such as Italy and Spain, it means moving to the front line. For Algeria and Mali it means a real danger of war.
And the South Atlantic remains in sight, awaiting a Chinese move in Equatorial Guinea or Namibia and with the permanent threat of rearmament and the opening of war tensions in the Malvinas.
At this NATO summit in Madrid, the global chessboard of the war - or succession of wars - is being drawn up, which all the powers, large and small, are already preparing today. All of them ready to sacrifice masses of human beings in order to advance the urgent needs of their national capitals. All of them putting the workers in the front line as cannon fodder. All of them reminding us with their actions that the real war is that of the system as a whole against the workers whom they exploit to death. More and more, literally.
We do not have unlimited time to stop this drift which, without the appearance of the workers under their own banners, those of human needs, will undoubtedly end in a slaughter of gigantic proportions. That is why, the greater the urgency, the greater the value of any initiative of independent organization of the workers, however small it may be. That is the main task today, the only way to stop the ongoing disaster of a system whose engine, the growth of capital, is increasingly antagonistic to development and human life.
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