The Guardian • Issue #2062


NATO with a do not symbol over it.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Vilnius, Lithuania on 11 - 12 July. Albanese was present as part of the four Indo-Pacific NATO partner states – Australia, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Australia as a valued NATO partner.

This was the latest step in NATO’s moves into the Asia-Pacific region.

At a press conference in April 2022, Stoltenberg announced a new Strategic Concept which formalises extending NATO’s reach into the Asia/Pacific region, with the explicit aim of countering “China’s growing influence and coercive policies.” This directly contradicts President Biden’s reassurance to President Xi Jinping on 18th March this year that “the revitalisation of its alliances is not targeted at China.”

Why would Australia want to blindly follow NATO down a path of destruction against our greatest trading partner that comes with a price tag that damns our people to a future of austerity?


President Volodymyr Zelensky had expected his demand for Ukraine to join NATO would be agreed at the Vilnius summit. When this did not happen he angrily criticised the decision as “absurd.”

Ukraine’s entry into NATO is unlikely for the moment as it would activate the collective defence principle of Article 5. The NATO allies have no wish to be at war with Russia and so decided that Ukraine can join the military alliance “when allies agree and conditions are met.”

In 1997 the US laid out a timeline for NATO enlargement, including Ukraine.

The enlargement plan directly contradicted what the US had promised Gorbachev and Yeltsin, leading to the Ukraine war which is effectively a proxy Russia-US war over NATO enlargement.


Sweden applied for NATO membership in May 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Turkiye blocked Sweden’s application, accusing it of hosting Kurdish militants.

In response Sweden tightened its anti-terrorism laws. It is now illegal to finance, recruit for, or publicly encourage “a terrorist organisation” or to travel abroad with the intention of joining such groups.

Recently a Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) member was convicted by a Swedish court and a PKK supporter was extradited to Turkiye.

Sweden also lifted a 2019 arms embargo against Turkiye.

Behind the dispute lies a long-running Turkish demand to be allowed to buy US F-16 jets, something Congress has opposed due to Turkiye’s purchase of a Russian air defence system.

In what is seen as a trade off for Turkiye to allow Sweden’s NATO membership, US President Biden said he now supports the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye, on the condition they are not used to threaten Greece.

Late in the negotiations President Erdogan linked the issue of Turkiye’s membership of the EU with Sweden’s efforts to become a NATO member. However, this appears to have been set aside in favour of the weapons deal.

NATO is officially committed to ensuring that countries’ “sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected,” and “each country can choose their own path.” Apparently this does not include China.


NATO had planned to open a “liaison office” in Tokyo but French opposition meant the plan had to be shelved.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the plan was a “big mistake” that would fuel tensions between NATO and Beijing.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said that NATO’s plan to open a liaison office is one of the major factors for the current strained Japan-China relations because Japan acts in obedience to the US military strategy to encircle China.

He said that if Japan maintains this approach, it will exacerbate military tensions and divisions in the region as well as throughout the world.


French President Macron is opposed to an increased NATO focus on China

In 2021 he said “we shouldn’t confuse our goals,” arguing that “NATO is an organisation that concerns the North Atlantic, China has little to do with the North Atlantic.”

Paul Keating commented that Macron is doing the world a service putting a spike into Stoltenberg’s wheel, reminding all of us that NATO is a military organisation focused on Europe and the Atlantic.


The Association of South East Asian Nations renewed its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China in November last year and each member country has reaffirmed its willingness to co-operate with China.

Apart from Japan and Singapore, Asia Pacific countries (along with the rest of the developing world) have avoided expressions of hostility towards China. They prefer cooperation, especially on infrastructure development under its Belt and Road initiative.

Regional states clearly want to avoid serious conflict between China and America which would ravage the whole region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said “The majority of Asian countries … oppose the emergence of military blocs in the region. They don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia.”

Most of South East Asia have expressed misgivings about AUKUS. NATO’s characterisation of AUKUS as a key instrument for NATO’s Asia-Pacific involvement reinforces these concerns.


The US is presently intent on constructing an overwhelming military presence in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This involves the modernisation and expansion of America’s military alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, upgraded security arrangements with Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Pakistan, and efforts to build closer ties with India.

This includes the trilateral security dialogue (US, Japan, Australia) launched in 2001; the US-Japan-India trilateral launched in 2011; the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) in 2017; the AUKUS partnership (US, UK Australia) announced in 2021; and the emerging trilateral dialogue (US, Japan, South Korea).

All this is on top of the existing web of joint military exercises as well as expanding programs in maritime surveillance, cybersecurity, new military bases and arms transfers.

And now Australia is to become a willing proxy for NATO which has ambitions to once again exert power and influence in our part of the world.


The profit imperative is one of the most powerful drivers of the globalisation of NATO.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges writes: “The pimps of war recruited former Soviet republics into NATO by painting Russia as a threat. Countries that joined NATO, which now include Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, reconfigured their militaries, often through tens of millions in western loans, to become compatible with NATO military hardware. This made the weapons manufacturers billions in profits.”

US-based weapon manufacturers have recorded a massive increase in sales, from $103.4 billion in 2021 to $153.7 billion in 2022.

In 2022, the Asia-Pacific region’s military spending rose to $575 billion. During 2018-2022, Asia and Oceania accounted for 41 per cent of global arms imports.

Arms imports by East Asian states increased by 21 per cent between 2013 - 17 and 2018 - 22, with US allies recording the largest increases: South Korea (+61 per cent) Japan (+171 per cent), and Australia (+23 per cent).


NATO participation in the biannual Talisman Sabre war games has significantly increased with France, UK, Canada, and Germany taking part.

Talisman Sabre is run by the US and Australia, starting on 22nd July and lasting 14 days. Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga, will also participate.

German army chief Lieutenant General Alfons Mais said, “We aim to demonstrate that we are reliable and capable partners that contribute to stabilising the rules-based order in the region.”

“It is a region of extremely high importance for us in Germany,” Mais said.

Of course, German troops do not need to train in jungle warfare and amphibious landings unless they expect to fight in places far from Europe.

Australia must withdraw from the partnership with nuclear-armed NATO and its aggressive war plans,

Keep NATO out of Asia and the Pacific.

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