NATO’s War Summit in Washington

NATO leaders should conduct a clear-eyed review of how the organization that claims to be a force for peace keeps escalating unwinnable wars and leaving countries in ruins, say Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in May 2024. (NATO, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies
Common Dreams

After NATO’s catastrophic, illegal invasions of Yugoslavia, Libya, and Afghanistan, on July 9 NATO plans to invade Washington, D.C. The good news is that it only plans to occupy Washington for three days. The British will not burn down the U.S. Capitol as they did in 1814, and the Germans are still meekly pretending that they don’t know who blew up their Nord Stream gas pipelines. So expect smiling photo ops and an overblown orgy of mutual congratulation.

The details of NATO’s agenda for the Washington summit were revealed at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Prague at the end of May. 

NATO will drag its members into the U.S. Cold War with China by accusing it of supplying dual-use weapons technology to Russia, and it will unveil new NATO initiatives to spend U.S. tax dollars on a mysterious “drone wall” in the Baltics and an expensive-sounding “integrated air defense system” across Europe.

But the main feature of the summit will be a superficial show of unity to try to convince the public that NATO and Ukraine can defeat Russia and that negotiating with Russia would be tantamount to surrender.

On the face of it, that should be a hard sell. The one thing that most Americans agree on about the war in Ukraine is that they support a negotiated peace. When asked in a November 2023 Economist/YouGovpoll “Would you support or oppose Ukraine and Russia agreeing to a cease-fire now?” 68 percent said “support,” and only 8 percent said “oppose,” while 24 percent said they were not sure.

However, while U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO leaders hold endless debates over different ways to escalate the war, they have repeatedly rejected peace negotiations, notably in April 2022, November 2022 and January 2024, even as their failed war plans leave Ukraine in an ever worsening negotiating position.

[See: RAY McGOVERN: Will Putin Attack Poland & the Baltics?]

The endgame of this non-strategy is that Ukraine will only be allowed to negotiate with Russia once it is facing total defeat and has nothing left to negotiate with — exactly the surrender NATO says it wants to avoid.

Field of Mars at the Lychakiv Military Cemetery in Lviv, Ukaine, December 2023. (President of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons)

As other countries have pointed out at the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. and NATO’s rejection of negotiation and diplomacy in favor of a long war they hope will eventually “weaken” Russia is a flagrant violation of the “Pacific Settlement of Disputes” that all U.N. members are legally committed to under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter. As it says in Article 33(1):

“The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”

But NATO’s leaders are not coming to Washington to work out how they can comply with their international obligations and negotiate peace in Ukraine. On the contrary. At a June meeting in preparation for the summit, NATO defense ministers approved a plan to put NATO’s military support to Ukraine “on a firmer footing for years to come.”

The effort will be headquartered at a U.S. military base in Wiesbaden, Germany, and involve almost 700 staff. It has been described as a way to “Trump proof” NATO backing for Ukraine, in case former President Donald Trump wins the election and tries to draw down U.S. support.

At the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants NATO leaders to commit to providing Ukraine with $43 billion worth of equipment each year, indefinitely. Echoing George Orwell’s doublethink that “war is peace,” Stoltenberg said, “The paradox is that the longer we plan, and the longer we commit [to war], the sooner Ukraine can have peace.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2024. (NATO, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The summit will also discuss how to bring Ukraine closer to NATO membership, a move that guarantees the war will continue, since Ukrainian neutrality is Russia’s principal war aim.

As Ian Davis of NATO Watch reported, NATO’s rhetoric echoes the same lines he heard throughout 20 years of war in Afghanistan: “The Taliban (now Russia) can’t wait us out.” But this vague hope that the other side will eventually give up is not a strategy.

There is no evidence that Ukraine will be different from Afghanistan. The U.S. and NATO are making the same assumptions, which will lead to the same result. The underlying assumption is that NATO’s greater GDP, extravagant and corrupt military budgets, and fetish for expensive weapons technology must somehow, magically, lead Ukraine to victory over Russia.

When the U.S. and NATO finally admitted defeat in Afghanistan, it was the Afghans who had paid in blood for the West’s folly, while the U.S.-NATO war machine simply moved on to its next “challenge,” learning nothing and making political hay out of abject denial.

U.S. soldiers with Afghans boarding a C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 21 after the Taliban captured Kabul. (U.S. Air Force, Brennen Lege)

Less than three years after the rout in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently called NATO “the most powerful and successful alliance in history.” It is a promising sign for the future of Ukraine that most Ukrainians are reluctant to throw away their lives in NATO’s dumpster fire.

In an article titled “The New Theory of Ukrainian Victory Is the Same as the Old,” the Quincy Institute’s Mark Episkopos wrote, “Western planning continues to be strategically backwards. Aiding Kyiv has become an end in itself, divorced from a coherent strategy for bringing the war to a close.”

Episkopos concluded that “the key to wielding [the West’s] influence effectively is to finally abandon a zero-sum framing of victory…”

We would add that this was a trap set by the United States and the United Kingdom, not just for Ukraine, but for their NATO allies too. By refusing to support Ukraine at the negotiating table in April 2022, and instead demanding this “zero-sum framing of victory” as the condition for NATO’s support, the U.S. and U.K. escalated what could have been a very short war into a protracted, potentially nuclear, war between NATO and Russia.

Turkish leaders and diplomats complained at how their American and British allies undermined their peacemaking, while France, Italy, and Germany squirmed for a month or two but soon surrendered to the war camp.

When NATO leaders meet in Washington, what they should be doing, apart from figuring out how to comply with Article 33(1) of the U.N. Charter, is conducting a clear-eyed review of how this organization that claims to be a force for peace keeps escalating unwinnable wars and leaving countries in ruins.

The U.S. Capitol at night. (Diane Krauthamer, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The fundamental question is whether NATO can ever be a force for peace or whether it can never be anything but a dangerous, subservient extension of the U.S. war machine.

We believe that NATO is an anachronism in today’s multipolar world: an aggressive, expansionist military alliance whose inherent institutional myopia and blinkered, self-serving threat assessments condemn us all to endless war and potential nuclear annihilation.

We suggest that the only way NATO could be a real force for peace would be to declare that, by this time next year, it will take the same steps that its counterpart, the Warsaw Pact, took in 1991, and finally dissolve what Secretary Austin would have been wiser to call “the most dangerous military alliance in history.”

Medea Benjamin is co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace. She is the co-author, with Nicolas J.S. Davies, of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, available from OR Books in November 2022. Other books include, Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2018); Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection (2016).

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist and a researcher with CODEPINK. He is the co-author, with Medea Benjamin, of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, available from OR Books in November 2022, and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

Views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

20 comments for “NATO’s War Summit in Washington

  1. LeoSun
    July 6, 2024 at 16:35

    Awh, the USG & NATO to summit on The Hill b/c everybody, knows, domestic & foreign travel, exhausts POTUS. Hence, the work around, NATO to “occupy” The Hill. “So expect smiling photo ops and an overblown orgy of mutual congratulation.” (BENJAMIN/DAVIES)

    …….. Everybody, knows, “A Calabash With Holes Cannot Be Filled.” For Example, “Welcome,” to The Malarky Factory!”

    “Many people,” feel POTUS is functioning @ a “3-7 year’s old mentality. Generally being capable of some degree of communication & performance of simple tasks under supervision,” [24/7].

    “Many people,” believe, POTUS “signifies the remarkably low intellectual level of the individuals running the U.S.G.”

    IMO, POTUS, Biden-Harris, are warmongers NOT peacemakers, wreaking of deception, destruction, death. IMO, Biden-Harris are frozen, in the 20th Century; wallowing in the power to “Run the World,” executing a lethal foreign policy,*”Kill, first. Think, later;” AND, tasked w/Finding the EXIT…. “Hey, Joey, look up, “EXIT” here > “The 20st Century.”

    Everybody, knows, POTUS, is not firing on all cylinders, i.e., POTUS’ “22 minutes, in the armpit of ABC, didn’t repeat, “one GIANT” face plant; POTUS DID TAKE “ANOTHER step,” W/O a DOUBT, reason to remove POTUS, “a 2 FOR 1,” yesterday!!! Obviously, prepping is paramount. POTUS’ “go-to options,” Spray Tan, Botox, the Corporate MSMedia.

    Imo, “the sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man, w/a poor memory,” once, again, took the wrong pills!!! He’s ill-prepared, i.e., “When the brain lacks sufficient oxygen, cognitive and mental ability declines, followed by physical incapacitation, and then unconsciousness or even death.”

    Begs the question, “is POTUS’ doctor, FLOTUS, in the WH?” … “Mrs. Wilson,” NEEDED, “Clean-Up,” from sea to shining sea. “A.S.A.P.”

    George Galloway, succinctly, sums up The Beast (USG) hosting NATO, i.e., “The real criminals are in Washington, D.C., NOT in the United Nations. The real criminals are in the WH, NOT in the Elysee Palace. The real criminals are in the Congress, NOT in the antiwar movement.”

    “They got their bottle and they’re doubling down! Poor me. Poor me. Pour me, another.” George Galloway.

    Imo, the onus is on the Divided $tates of Corporate America’s National $ecurity, M.I.C., to “partner” w/National Intere$ts, Corporations to RESOLVE, the Commander’s-N-Crises, resolve/task/power to “Run the World.”

    ……. “Can we roll the tape back a sec, did Biden say he’s “CONVINCED” Putin will invade; OR, he’s “CONVINCED” Putin to Invade?!?”

    “However, while U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO leaders hold endless debates over different ways to escalate the war, [THEY HAVE REPEATEDLY REJECTED] peace negotiations [EVEN] as their failed war plans leave Ukraine in an ever worsening negotiating position.” (Ms. Benjamin/Mr. Davies).

    CONCLUDING, “Russia rocks the Queen. Ukraine is the Pawn. Et tu, USG/NATO? “SURRENDER?!?”

    * “Joe Biden Owns This” Andrew Mitrovica @ hxxps://

    The Take-Away, “Don’t drink the water. There’s blood in the water.” Ciao.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    July 6, 2024 at 10:21

    Oh! enough already of these war mongering fools!!! If they are so keen on war, let them be the very first ones on the battle front.

  3. julia eden
    July 6, 2024 at 08:44

    THANK YOU both for CODEPINK, for your
    relentless endeavors towards peace and for
    constantly reminding people of historic facts.

    every voice of reason and of common sense,
    every voice which promotes peace instead of
    the reck-/ruthless bloodshed of forever wars
    assures me that i’m not alone. i wonder though:

    will we be enough – in and on time – to make
    the megalomaniacs recognize their folly as such
    and finally come to what’s left of their senses, i.e.
    leave their warpaths, when “peace does not pay”?

    whenever i talk with friends about NATO that
    should have dissolved when the warsaw pact did,
    they look at me as if i came from jupiter or mars.

    i recommend they read dr daniele ganser’s works
    on NATO and the many threats it poses, to our own
    detriment, whether in wiesbaden or elsewhere.
    ‘dark eagle’ – madly expensive and deadly as it is –
    will be coming to my country soon, whether i like it,
    or else …

  4. Rob Roy
    July 6, 2024 at 02:19

    The better question is why did Finland lose its mind and agree to allow the US to plant 15 military bases there with weapons pointed at Russia. Yes, I know, the Finns hate Russia (well, the Soviet Union which is GONE), but do they really want to make themselves less safe than they would be without the US on their land?

    • julia eden
      July 6, 2024 at 18:12

      @rob roy.
      i have been asking myself the same question:
      “why did finland and sweden finally cave in? WHY?”
      did relentless fear-mongering finally do the trick?
      do they honestly believe, putin will come for them?
      [even putin wondered: “why did they join NATO?
      i never did them any harm and i don’t intend to.”]

      oh, but putin can’t be trusted, i forgot.
      we are the trustworthy party in all this …

  5. David Otness
    July 5, 2024 at 22:50

    I spent some quality time today watching and absorbing what this international panel of scholars have come up with, and judging by the caliber of the conversation, I thought I’d pass it on. It is especially fitting as an adjunct to the above posted article and who knows, perhaps these individuals herein and Medea and Nicolas can join up for a mutually beneficial to humanity congress that will further the aims of both parties—and the significant majority of our population worldwide that wants to see an end to this madness.
    The only difference I found between the parties was some of these scholars feel NATO is going to use these three days to roll out the new, “Worldwide NATO” which is to say the SE Asia / China portion of their ‘peaceful’ aspirations. We shall see.

    “We are forming a global alliance against globalism, and neutrality studies is part of that. Don’t get confused, let’s just live with the contradiction.

    This morning we held a first panel of independent social media contributors, discussing the new multipolarity we are now in, why we think that the collective west is being collectively stupid about it, and what we—and you—can do to oppose the lunacy.

    The Basics:
    A) Multipolarity is not only an emerging reality, it is also a preferable foundation for global order.
    B) Neutrality is an important tool within the overall mix of how nations view themselves and position themselves in the context of integrated and indivisible security.
    C) NATO is a dangerous organisation and its expansion globally is undesirable and contrary to achieving a sustainable peace.”
    Work in progress. More here:


  6. wildthange
    July 5, 2024 at 20:28

    The military establishment is the anachronism as a protection racket of the old world order that go a big scare to spiraling profits when outlawing war was proposed after the devastation of WWI.

    Probably that treaty too was just buying time to prepare for WWII then buying time to egg Germany on to settle the remaining problem of WWI, the emergence of a Russian communist revolution. Or was it buying time to develop a nuclear bomb to use to save Russia from itself.

    Maybe the UN thing about negotiating just means buying time to buy new weapons to use to make more profits from destruction and rebuilding interests. Even for a bin Laden group too

    We must negotiate a new way to negotiate for civilization to survive its profit locomotive gone loco.

  7. Sam F
    July 5, 2024 at 19:22

    Very true and well said, Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies.
    NATO is no more than the scam of tyrants to invent wars, to demand power as fake defenders.
    It is a principal enemy of western civilization, alongside money corruption of elections and mass media.

    • WillD
      July 6, 2024 at 05:43

      There is no ‘clear-eyed’ thinking in the west any more, least of all amongst the NATO and MIC groups. They have zero interest in peace.

      NATO isn’t about peace, it never was.

      • Stephen Berk
        July 6, 2024 at 19:35

        Right. NATO was formed in 1949. The Korean War, pitting communist North Korea and eventually communist China against South Korea, aided by the U.S. The U.N. was formed in San Francisco in 1945, and the U.S. dominated it. Hence the war against North Korea and “Red China” was carried on for three years. In 1953, the war ended with no victor. In fact no peace treaty was ever signed, North and South Korea are still divided at the 38th parallel, with China an Russia favoring North Korea, which has been a dictatorship under the Kim family, presently Kim Jung Un. The U.S. attempt to make alliances under a NATO like organization, SEATO, failed, and East Asia is largely under the influence of an economically and militarily potent China. The U.S. is closely allied with Taiwan, which the PRC claims is part of China. China, having joined the capitalist world and become a great manufacturer of consumer goods is, slated to soon pass the U.S. as the world’s leading supplier of consumer goods. Nixon traveled to China as well as Russia (Soviet Union) in the early seventies and began a process of detente. However, that has broken down as the influence of the war machine rules the American economy. Too bad. We had a chance to build on Nixon’s detente, becoming trading partners with China and Russia. But the MIC rules, and as a result we have poor relations with both of those countries.

  8. Chris Cosmos
    July 5, 2024 at 18:53

    This war is chiefly about two things: 1) profits and a bigger share (already dominant) of power in Washington for the military contractors; 2) bringing “unity” to the NATO/EU states by giving them a sense of meaning and missions by fighting the evil Russians by amping up “threats” so that the Euro sheep will follow Washington along wherever it cares to go, in other words, consolidating power over Europe which has always wanted a new Roman Empire.

    All this has nothing to do with any social benefit–in fact, part of NATO’s appeal is to increase authoritarianism and de-facto destroy democracy.

  9. Geoffrey Peter Dunbar
    July 5, 2024 at 18:17

    Why on earth is New Zealand attending this NATO summit?

    • Rob Roy
      July 6, 2024 at 02:14

      Because New Zealand is one of the Five Eyes

    • Rob Roy
      July 6, 2024 at 02:22

      See above reply

    • Vesa
      July 6, 2024 at 05:02

      Masters need puppies. One day NZ will get its permanent chains like we in Finland. We are now proud members of this cabal.

  10. Steve
    July 5, 2024 at 17:58

    Sorry, you’ve got this all wrong. NATO is a cold war artifact, why does it still exist ?
    The UN is, arguably, the only force for peace. NATO exists solely to promote war and support the MIC.

    • Horatio
      July 6, 2024 at 10:38

      If NATO ceased to exist today, many would be out of a job. Some I imagine are living high on the hog. Black Rock has already filed its claim to Ukraine. Viewed in this light, the situation is not complicated at all. Peace on earth simply involves offering the war makers more lucrative employment. They should consider garbage collection.

    • Stephen Berk
      July 6, 2024 at 19:53

      Yup. There is no peaceful basis of NATO. It is a U.S. run protection racket. When a country joins NATO, they have to spend money buying arms from the American war machine. So NATO serves the purpose of making the world an armed camp, at the same time as it fills the coffers of U.S. weapons manufacturers.

  11. Michael G
    July 5, 2024 at 17:00

    NATO is a plug and play racket. You have to open a NATO account and agree to update your military to NATO weaponry to join. And the people who will wet their beaks are the ones in this article, among many others.
    Recently I’ve seen Boris Johnson with the neo-Nazi ASOV, a neo-Nazi charity golf tournament on a US Air force base, Trudeau giving a standing ovation to a Nazi in Canadian parliament.
    The other day I commented we needed new ideas to get us out of this mess. That I was putting my money on an as yet unknown Political Philosopher. Well I know one of them anyway. Go and listen to Joti Brar over on Garland Nixon’s youtube channel this morning DECADENT IMPERIALISM WITH JOTI BRAR – EPISODE 17. She has an answer to this.
    The Philosophical countervail to Nazi Imperialism is Communism.
    Get over whatever lifelong stigma you have and join a Trade Union.
    Let’s get this “party” started.

    • Chuck Main
      July 6, 2024 at 20:05

      Communism is just as capable of embracing imperialism as naziism, capitalism, fascism, any ism you like. And if it were to become global, it would be truly imperial. The problem isn’t the system, it is human culture/human nature, which does not yield well to attempts at transformation from its very recent hunter-gatherer roots, none of which attempts have ever been ‘organic’–if such a thing is even possible–in the sense of genetic adaptation.

      The role of humanity in the ‘natural’ process of evolution has been to supersede its slow genetic mode with phenotype-extending technologies that accelerate human cultural evolution far beyond the ability of species (besides rapidly reproducing ones like viruses) to adapt, possibly including our own. Maybe that should be the starting point in consideration of deploying technologies, including the very gameable cultural ones like political systems. The documents the Founding Fathers produced were a step in the right direction, but even they got sidetracked. And there are a whole lot more cats to herd now.

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