Yes to Peace! No to the NATO Summit!

On July 11-12 in Vilnius, Lithuania, the 31 NATO member states, including Canada, will once again meet in session. All NATO Summits are dangerous, warmongering affairs, but this Summit is particularly worrisome because those driving the train – the Biden Administration, the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex – are determined to push the world to the very precipice of global confrontation and nuclear war against Russia, China and other countries in a desperate attempt to maintain hegemony and reverse their declining power around the world. When Western leaders and their paid servants in the mass media prattle on about ‘existential security threats’ and the need to preserve ‘the international rules-based order’, that’s what they are really talking about.

The War in Ukraine

Most of the rhetoric coming out of the Vilnius Summit will undoubtedly focus on strengthening NATO’s war against Russia and pretending to uphold the UN Charter and the right to national sovereignty. Indeed, the war in Ukraine is horrific, and must be ended as soon as possible through a ceasefire and political negotiations. But the U.S. and its allies are not interested in bringing about a cessation of hostilities. Their refusal to pressure the Kiev regime to implement the Minsk I & II agreements, their sabotage of the tentative peace deal (between Russia and Ukraine) in April 2022, and their repeated rejection of peace appeals and initiatives coming from the United Nations, African states, China, and from peace advocates and activists around the world – all this is ample proof of NATO’s true intentions.

NATO in fact wants its proxy war in Ukraine to drag on endlessly, pumping literally trillions of dollars and sophisticated weaponry and munitions into the conflict. The NATO Summit may even decide to send NATO troops directly into western Ukraine. This ‘escalation escalator’ goes in only one direction, and brings the entire world ever closer to nuclear annihilation.

NATO’s long and sordid history

Ever since its founding in April 1949, NATO has served as the vehicle to spur the arms race in the name of ‘peace through strength’. Throughout the ‘cold war’ years and right up to present day, NATO has claimed it a ‘defensive shield’, but in fact it has always been an aggressive military alliance serving the interests of the U.S. and its imperialist allies, and their corporate masters.

Following the dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact in 1991, many had naively hoped that NATO too would dissolve. But NATO has instead accelerated its Eastern expansion and military reach right up to the borders of the Russian Federation, despite having solemnly promised never to expand “one inch” beyond Germany’s Eastern borders. Almost half of NATO’s current membership – 15 out of 31 states – have been admitted into NATO since 1991. And the NATO brass is planning to further expand its sphere of operations into the Asia-Pacific and the Arctic as well, making it a truly global “enforcer” for monopoly capital.

The Real Cost of Militarization

At a time when our world faces an ever-worsening climate and environmental crisis; when our infrastructure is crumbling before our very eyes; and when social disparities and grinding poverty afflict the lives of billions of people around the world, to waste trillions of dollars on war and militarization is not just unconscionable – it is resoundingly criminal.

But that is what Washington and its NATO allies – including the Trudeau government here in Canada – are demanding. Canada’s bloated defence budget for instance is already well over $30 billion per year. NATO demands its member states to increase annual defence spending to 2% of annual GDP, and are clamouring for even more – as much as 4% of national GDP. This would mean a staggering annual military expenditure of well over $80 billion for Canada.

Who will pay the costs for this massive military spending? The corporations and the rich? Hardly. It is the workers, the poor and the marginalized who will bear the brunt in the form of higher taxes, wage cuts, and the further deterioration of public services like healthcare, education, pensions, housing, etc. It is high time that working people – the unions, indigenous peoples, women, youth, pensioners and all those already suffering from inflation, high interest rates and job losses – to demand that taxpayers’ money serve the people’s needs, not the war machine!

Canada’s Membership in NATO

For decades, the Canadian Peace Congress has called for Canada to get out of NATO, and for the dissolution of this military alliance as a whole. For many years, our Congress was one of the few voices taking a firm, principled stand on this issue. But things are changing, as more and more realize the true cost of Canada’s NATO membership, and the need to help avert the growing war danger by moving Canadian foreign policy in a fundamentally different direction, based on peace and disarmament, not war and aggression.

Join us in calling for an immediate ceasefire and a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine; for bringing our troops home from Latvia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe; for ending arms shipments to the Kiev regime; for cutting the military budget by 50%, re-distributing those funds to create jobs and support social and environmental programs and services; and for Canada to get out of NATO now!

It’s time to raise our voices and demands for peace before it’s too late.




Executive, Canadian Peace Congress

July 7, 2023