NATO’s Neverending Wars

If more lethal weapons were the answer, the conflict in Ukraine would have been resolved years ago, writes Ramzy Baroud. The country needs help finding non-violent solutions. 

U.S. paratroopers departed Vicenza, Italy, for Latvia on Feb. 24 as part of a buildup of NATO forces in Eastern Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (U.S. Army/Meleesa Gutierrez)

By Ramzy Baroud
Common Dreams

Much has been said and written about media bias and double standards in the West’s response to the Russia-Ukraine war, when compared with other wars and military conflicts across the world, especially in the Middle East and the Global South. Less obvious is how such hypocrisy is a reflection of a much larger phenomenon which governs the West’s relationship to war and conflict zones.

On March 19, Iraq commemorated the 19th anniversary of the U.S. invasion which killed, according to modest estimates, over a million Iraqis. The consequences of that war were equally devastating as it destabilized the entire Middle East region, leading to various civil and proxy wars. The Arab world is reeling under that horrific experience to this day.

Also, on March 19, the 11th anniversary of the NATO war on Libya was commemorated and followed, five days later, by the 23rd anniversary of the NATO war on Yugoslavia. Like every NATO-led war since the inception of the alliance in 1949, these wars resulted in widespread devastation and tragic death tolls.

None of these wars, starting with the NATO intervention in the Korean Peninsula in 1950, have stabilized any of the warring regions. Iraq is still as vulnerable to terrorism and outside military interventions and, in many ways, remains an occupied country. Libya is divided among various warring camps, and a return to civil war remains a real possibility.

Yet, enthusiasm for war remains high, as if over 70 years of failed military interventions have not taught any meaningful lessons. Daily, news headlines tell us that the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, Spain or some other Western power have decided to ship a new kind of “lethal weapons” to Ukraine. Billions of dollars have already been allocated by Western countries to contribute to the war in Ukraine.

In contrast, very little has been done to offer platforms for diplomatic, non-violent solutions. A handful of countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia have offered mediation or insisted on a diplomatic solution to the war, arguing, as China’s foreign ministry reiterated on March 18, that “all sides need to jointly support Russia and Ukraine in having dialogue and negotiation that will produce results and lead to peace.”

A Communal Struggle

Though the violation of the sovereignty of any country is illegal under international law, and is a stark violation of the United Nations Charter, this does not mean that the only solution to violence is counter-violence. This cannot be truer in the case of Russia and Ukraine, as a state of civil war has existed in Eastern Ukraine for eight years, harvesting thousands of lives and depriving whole communities from any sense of peace or security. NATO’s weapons cannot possibly address the root causes of this communal struggle. On the contrary, they can only fuel it further.

May 9, 2015: Casualties of the War in Donbass. (Andrew Butko, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

If more weapons were the answer, the conflict would have been resolved years ago. According to the BBC, the U.S. has already allocated $2.7 billion to Ukraine over the last eight years, long before the current war. This massive arsenal included “anti-tank and anti-armor weapons … U.S. -made sniper (rifles), ammunition and accessories.”

The speed with which additional military aid has poured into Ukraine following the Russian military operations on Feb. 24 is unprecedented in modern history. This raises not only political or legal questions, but moral questions as well — the eagerness to fund war and the lack of enthusiasm to help countries rebuild. 

After 21 years of U.S. war and invasion of Afghanistan, resulting in a humanitarian and refugee crisis, Kabul is now largely left on its own. Last September, the UN refugee agency warned that “a major humanitarian crisis is looming in Afghanistan,” yet nothing has been done to address this “looming” crisis, which has greatly worsened since then.

[Related: Biden’s Punishment of Desperate Afghanistan]

Afghan refugees are rarely welcomed in Europe. The same is true for refugees coming from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali and other conflicts that directly or indirectly involved NATO. This hypocrisy is accentuated when we consider international initiatives that aim to support war refugees, or rebuild the economies of war-torn nations.

Compare the lack of enthusiasm in supporting war-torn nations with the West’s unparalleled euphoria in providing weapons to Ukraine. Sadly, it will not be long before the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have left their country in recent weeks become a burden on Europe, thus subjected to the same kind of mainstream criticism and far-right attacks.

While it is true that the West’s attitude towards Ukraine is different from its attitude towards victims of western interventions, one has to be careful before supposing that the “privileged” Ukrainains will ultimately be better off than the victims of war throughout the Middle East. As the war drags on, Ukraine will continue to suffer, either the direct impact of the war or the collective trauma that will surely follow. The amassing of NATO weapons in Ukraine, as was the case of Libya, will likely backfire. In Libya, NATO’s weapons fueled the country’s decade long civil war.

Ukraine needs peace and security, not perpetual war that is designed to serve the strategic interests of certain countries or military alliances. Though military invasions must be wholly rejected, whether in Iraq or Ukraine, turning Ukraine into another convenient zone of perpetual geopolitical struggle between NATO and Russia is not the answer.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of the Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books including: “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons(2019), “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (2010) and “The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle” (2006). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

9 comments for “NATO’s Neverending Wars

  1. Jeano
    April 7, 2022 at 17:31

    Ok, so this describes what needs to happen, now how do we make it happen? Suggestions welcome.

  2. Sam F
    April 6, 2022 at 19:47

    The abject hypocrisy of US/NATO is very clear in its invasions in Serbia. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and throughout Africa and Latin America, all just as stark violations of the United Nations Charter as the “invasion” of Ukraine, were not provoked by any clearly evidenced wrongs, and had Hundreds of times as many casualties as the Ukraine intervention.

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    April 6, 2022 at 10:09

    What the Ukraine really needs – besides peace, is to get rid of all the war mongers…throw them out and become masters of your own destiny. Too bad that Europe is going deaf, blind and dumb…not seeing, or not wanting to see, what the US’ game is: hegemony at any cost.

  4. Realist
    April 6, 2022 at 00:47

    Third party states offering “mediation” between Russia and Ukraine is, sadly, just a red herring if you want an effective permanent solution to this conflict.

    The key struggle is not between Russia and Ukraine, it is between the United States and Russia. This war between Russia and Ukraine would never have happened if not entirely pushed by Washington, from the coup the US instigated in Kiev through the long sequence of events, including the preposterous charges of “Russiagate” alleging that Russia actually changed the results of the American presidential election, which all quite purposefully exacerbated the situation over the course of eight years leading up to the present clash on the battle field. Washington could have stopped the tensions and escalations at any time, especially when Russia proposed a major earnest diplomatic solution which the warmongers in Washington pointedly just blew off. There would be no ongoing war if Washington had simply chosen peace by agreeing that Ukraine in Nato was incendiary. That nuclear tipped missiles 2 minutes flight time to Moscow or St. Petersburg from Kharkov was just not fair or humane. The call for war was theirs. That’s the reality, the official MSM narrative is bunk.

    Russia was never overly concerned about its tiff with Ukraine per se, but it was concerned about the existential threat Washington was making against it using Ukraine as a thoroughly plugged-in tool to inflict damage upon Russia, cause regime change there and set up the world’s largest country for a second feeding frenzy of Russia’s wealth and natural resources by American vulture capitalists. Ukraine itself is such a sad case, comprised of so many crooks, corrupt politicians and ruthless oligarchs, that it willingly allowed itself to be used for such nefarious purposes by the American government and its own shady embezzlers like Hunter Biden and the Big Guy himself, who shrieks the loudest about Putin’s alleged faults but will never recognise his own. He will be hauled away in a straightjacket before freely admitting such truths.

    • renate
      April 6, 2022 at 12:39

      Yes, Washington could have stopped it if they had wanted to, even now, the solution lies on the table.
      They did invest to destroy Russia, the regime change, sanctions, and military maneuvers on land in the air, and on the black sea was already active economic warfare and provocations to start the war. They already sacrificed Ukraine, next will be the European continent while they are sure they are safe on the American continent.
      Do they ever think and question themselves about what will be left worth winning?
      The world’s disaster is the total incompetence of the western world governments. There is no statesman/woman to be seen one could respect and call a statesman. The leadership of our so-called democracies is intellectual and morally bankrupt, they would be comfortable in Hitlers’ company.

    • Jeano
      April 7, 2022 at 17:27


  5. Mary Caldwell
    April 5, 2022 at 21:41

    NATO should have been disbanded years and years ago.

    While it sounds trite, it is basically a business, a business bringing death and destruction and millions in profits.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      April 6, 2022 at 10:10

      You hit the nail right on the head!!! The more wars the bigger the profits.

    • renate
      April 6, 2022 at 12:48

      NATO has cracks, Biden had to use a whip to unite them and the incompetence is really visible. No telling how this ends, it can’t be good, for Europe it is an existential question as it is for Russia. NATO is not likely to survive it either, no matter who wins the ruins of a once-great continent.

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