No. 4July 10, 2023
NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania
State-Sponsored Disinformation Spread About Agenda for NATO Summit
Calendar of Events
The NATO Vilnius Summit, July 11-12, brings together the heads of state and governments of all NATO members and “key partners.” According to reports, “key partners” include the heads of U.S. corporations involved in armaments production.
The actual agenda for the Summit has not as yet been announced. Nonetheless, a concerted campaign of speculation and disinformation is taking place to justify what cannot be justified. Its aim is to disorient the peoples of the NATO countries in Europe, as well as Ukraine and other countries affected by the U.S./NATO proxy war in Ukraine. Its main characteristic is to forget about how matters pose themselves in the context of today’s historical turning point and, instead, make irrational assessments and prognostications for purposes of eking out a cushy living in the world of punditry.
All of it shows how the purpose of state-sponsored disinformation is to make sure the peoples cannot establish their own vantage point to oppose the U.S./NATO warmongering and criminal actions. Today, ahead of the Vilnius Summit, the imperialist think-tanks, government advisors, monopoly media pundits and others seem to be increasingly desperate. They are saying that the very future of NATO itself and the future of the U.S.-dominated “rules-based international order” hang in the balance at Vilnius.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, for example, former Prime Minister of Denmark, a former Secretary General of NATO, and now CEO of the political consultancy firm Rasmussen Global and founder of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation wrote: “The outcome of the war in Ukraine will depend on whether its allies can extend the necessary military, political, and economic support to secure sustainable peace.”
In other words, there is no road to peace. There is only war that ends with the defeat of Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine, which is not happening. Rasmussen concludes: “Leaders in Europe and North America must demonstrate vision and courage by following through on their promises to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.” One wonders who he is talking to.
The International Centre for Defence and Security, a pro-NATO think-tank founded by the Estonian government, described the situation facing the Vilnius NATO Summit as a “time of an epochal shift for European and, more broadly, international security.” This is what many are saying. “The outcome of the war in Ukraine will have a long-term impact on the viability of a rules-based security order in Europe and beyond,” the spokesperson for Estonian government’s think tank added.
Now, the U.S. has decided to provide the Ukrainian government and armed forces with cluster bombs, a type of munition whose use is opposed by some 123 countries via the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The U.S. justified this by saying, as Biden did, something to the effect of “… they have run out of ammunition, we have no choice….” Even Canada is saying they will raise a diplomatic racket against this at the Vilnius Summit.
A serious problem NATO members face when they speak about an “epochal shift,” is who decides what to do about it. The fact that it is being decided behind the backs of the peoples of the world who are demanding a say in all matters that affect their lives, and even behind the backs of NATO members themselves, presents an insurmountable problem which, try as they might, will not go away.
Already, the peoples of Europe, the U.S., Canada and the world are opposing the so-called rules-based international order whereby the U.S. can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. The peoples are rebelling against the anarchy, violence and chaos this is causing all over the world. To now declare that the viability of this order – which was never viable to begin with – is in jeopardy is a threat of more anarchy and violence to come. Canadians need to take it very seriously and strengthen their unity in action going forward.
From the perspective of the peoples of the world, the real “epochal shift” taking place, which the U.S./NATO Vilnius Summit cannot cope with, is that the world is in transition. The world as is has no takers; the world as it should be has billions of makers. That is all of us, everywhere, all over the world.
That is a reality the U.S. and its imperialist bloc, said to be liberal democratic, do not want to recognize. The conditions given rise to after World War II ended with the collapse of the former Soviet Union. That ended the domination of two superpowers and an equilibrium between them based on nuclear deterrence. The so-called unipolar world which they tried to bring into being, with the U.S. as self-declared indispensable nation, also no longer exists.
The old arrangements based on the conditions which permitted such things do not accord with the material conditions that exist today. The technical scientific revolution has created new material conditions with oligopolies running rampant on a supranational basis. They act as cartels and coalitions which have seized the supreme decision-making power in an ever-larger number of states and, from that promontory, they dictate to governments everywhere what they must do. NATO is itself an oligopoly comprised of the military-industrial-civilian complex of the United States and other countries and international financial institutions and associations created after World War II. It is the most destructive oligopoly in existence today.
The situation of the world in transition requires juridical notions of sovereignty which accord with the real conditions that exist and with what the ensemble of relations between humans and humans and humans and nature reveal. In a situation in which borders and territoriality have been transcended, the majority of UN members are trying to cope with the new realities by forming alliances which favour their interests. Such alliances are said to respect each country’s sovereignty and be neither economic nor military pacts. They are generating hope that world trade can be conducted on the basis of mutual benefit and that problems created by wars, the climate crisis, pandemics and the like can be sorted out on a peaceful, political basis. In this vein, the G-77 plus China will meet in Havana, Cuba this September.
The response of the U.S./NATO aggressive military alliance to this turning point in history is to destroy whatever it cannot control. In this regard, Ukraine is being destroyed – lock, stock and barrel. The sanctions against Russia are destroying even the sanctity of private property with the U.S., Canada and others seizing the property of others, as they have of course already done with Venezuela, Iran and other countries. The sanctity of private property was proclaimed as a major clause in their Paris Charter for a New Europe adopted in 1991 – a clause which they will now have to rescind. What is happening to the Palestinians is another case in point. It is the catastrophe which never ended all over again.
The fact that the majority of countries of the world are getting together to re-establish an international rule of law based on the UN Charter and refuse to come under the U.S./NATO dictate is really the dilemma the U.S. and NATO members are facing as they gather in Vilnius. It is an opening we in Canada and the peoples of the world are using to make sure the danger of war is overcome.
What the Vilnius Summit Reveals
World developments are increasingly demanding new arrangements based on the principles of the UN Charter and the international rule of law, such as the peaceful resolution of conflicts, non-interference in the internal affairs of others and so forth. These are important discussions for all of us to take up together as the starting point for determining what is what and to set our own agenda that furthers the cause of humanity for peace, freedom and democracy.
To open this path to progress and end the retrogression which the imperialists are pushing onto the peoples of the world, it is crucial to broaden discussions amongst ourselves so as to not permit the campaign of disinformation to be effective. The aim of that campaign is to isolate the resistance movement and justify its criminalization and suppression, which will not be accepted. It is to create hysteria over the nuclear problem so that we cannot think and take measures to make sure our countries become zones for peace.
The time to raise our voices and speak in our own name is now!
What the Imperialists Say Is on the Agenda
According to the imperialist think tanks and government advisers, the biggest issues on the agenda at NATO’s Vilnius Summit will be: 1) Ukraine’s application for NATO membership and how to sustain the proxy war in Ukraine against Russia; 2) NATO’s Regional Plans to have troops battle ready and in forward deployment positions for war against Russia; and 3) ramping up production of armaments and heavy equipment to escalate the conflict in Ukraine and to prepare for war against China.
Ukraine is pressing its demand for membership in NATO and says it expects the Vilnius Summit to give a firm commitment as to when. Ukraine says 16 NATO members support giving a firm timeline for membership. Anything less will show weakness and amount to Russia overriding NATO’s open-door membership policy.
Ihor Zhovkva, the deputy head of the Office of the President and Zelensky’s diplomatic adviser, told Reuters on June 29 that Zelensky “doesn’t have reason and time to go” to the summit in Vilnius if “there is no result”. “The president will not travel … to the summit if the leaders … show a deficit of courage,” he said.
The head of the Ukrainian military’s so-called Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Krill Budanov, says he is “certain” that Ukraine will not be invited to become a NATO member at the summit in Vilnius. The Times reported him saying,”the expectations of our society will not be satisfied.” This society he refers to has been decimated by the U.S./NATO proxy war with its population reduced from 40 million at the start of the Maidan coup to an estimated 20 million today with the remainder living abroad, mostly in Europe but also in the U.S. and Canada and some 1.25 million in Russia. Estimates put the death toll in Ukraine at over 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers.
NATO members are very much divided on this question. Canada, Poland, Greece and the UK have expressed support for Ukraine’s eventual membership in NATO. Germany, France and Italy are proposing that Vilnius create a special NATO-Ukraine Council to facilitate further discussions with Ukraine.
The President of Lithuania arrived in Kyiv with a promise that even if Ukraine is not to be offered NATO membership, the Vilnius summit will offer “a lot.” “I have a sense that we will find formulations which will not disappoint Ukrainians and will convey more than we are used to saying,” Gitanas Nauseda said.
Bulgaria’s President Rumen Radev however, has come down on the side of diplomacy. He met with Ukranian President Zelensky on July 6 and made it clear that he feared for the reserves of the Bulgarian armed forces and that he continues “to maintain that this conflict has no military solution, and more and more weapons will not solve it.” He called for “paying attention to the consistent effort to de-escalate, to cease fire and to seek a peaceful solution through the means of diplomacy.” He said, “I know how difficult it is, but we must work […], especially in light of the deep historical and cultural ties between our peoples.”
All indications are that Biden is planning a move to bypass NATO itself and keep Ukraine’s fate under U.S. control more directly. He has said unequivocally, the U.S. will not fast track Ukraine’s membership.
The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters on July 6 that Ukraine still has “many hurdles to clear.” The main demand is that it must implement “reforms” before it can join NATO. This is disinformation of the first order since the U.S. is an instrument of the corruption of the Ukraine government and itself lost track of billions of dollars in aid given to Ukraine.
The U.S. is proposing instead “security guarantees” be made by Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. to provide Ukraine with ever more powerful and sophisticated weapons, “for as long as it takes” for Ukraine to defeat Russia militarily on the battlefield. Biden’s decision to hand over cluster bombs is an indication of what this will mean for the Ukrainian and Russian people.
It is becoming increasingly clear that by pushing his Ukraine agenda Biden is trying to avert dealing with the civil war he is presiding over in the U.S. He wants to remain a war president despite the fact that everyone knows he is too old and doddery and the fear is that his bid for the presidency might get Trump elected once again. All of it shows that the situation within the U.S. ruling circles, which has now enveloped the Supreme Court as well, is a major crisis of the U.S constitutional order because the democracy has fallen apart. The prospects for the peoples of the world are such that unity in action against the brutal anti-social offensive of the ruling powers is the way forward.
For all the talk by NATO members about decisions being made by consensus, the bottom line is that the U.S. tolerates no vote. It decides and the rest have to cope with the consequences. Nobody agrees with that.
Regional Plans refer to decisions taken in Madrid last year to increase the number of forward presence forces – fully armed equipped, deployed on Russia’s borders and battle-ready for war on a moment’s notice. NATO says its forward presence was first deployed in 2017, with the creation of four multinational battalion-size battlegroups (up to 1,000 soldiers each) in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States respectively.
In February 2022, NATO decided to establish four more multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia and to increase the multinational battlegroups from battalion level to brigade size (5,000 soldiers each). Stoltenberg said the overall aim was to have 40,000 forward presence troops and 300,000 over all on high readiness.
The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada all pledged high readiness brigades to the Enhanced Forward Presence missions they lead. However, the U.S. Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank concluded in June 2023 that in reality, their forces remain based at home and the commitment “may not happen until the end of the decade.”
NATO Defence Ministers in the lead up to Vilnius discussed how to deliver on their Regional Plans but Reuters reported on June 16 that they had failed to reach an agreement. Reuters cited unnamed NATO diplomats who blamed Turkey for the impasse. Turkey’s diplomatic mission to NATO said only that it would be wrong to comment outside “the usual process of consultations and evaluation among allies.”
Ramping Up Armaments Production and the Two Per Cent of GDP Defence Spending Pledge
The U.S. Council on Foreign Relations concluded that the only positive to highlight at Vilnius is the unprecedented amount of armaments and weaponry NATO has poured into Ukraine to prosecute its proxy war against Russia.
The U.S. Council says: “Because the alliance is not of one mind about Ukraine’s membership, its decisions at Vilnius can hardly avoid echoing past mistakes. To do better, Western governments have to emphasize those elements of NATO-Ukraine partnership on which a strong new consensus has already taken hold. The defence collaboration that has been created in sixteen months of war is unlike anything Ukraine has experienced in 32 years of independence — and without precedent in the almost seventy-five-year history of the [NATO] alliance. Turmoil in Moscow only makes this partnership more vital. Its intensity, impact, and permanence [of weapons delivery and defence cooperation] are the most important messages NATO can send Russian President Vladimir Putin from Vilnius.”
Well-spoken on behalf of the U.S. armaments industry! It cannot be taken seriously at a time the peoples of the world are demanding food, water and shelter and billions are instead spent on armaments. Stoltenberg said the aim for Vilnius will be to establish a multi-year and multinational plan setting procurement targets of defence equipment and ammunition for NATO allies. He said NATO members need to replenish their own stockpiles, modernize and increase supplies for Ukraine, and build up supplies for war with China, which U.S. military planners expect could come by 2030.
Armaments producers will reportedly be attending Vilnius to tell government leaders what guarantees they want before taking measures to ramp up production. NATO member countries will be expected to increase their annual defence budgets to a minimum of two per cent of GDP annually.
For Canada that is substantial. In 2022 Canada spent U.S.$26.9 billion on defence or 1.2 percent of GDP. To meet the two per cent minimum Canada would have to increase defence spending to just over U.S.$40 billion, an increase of more than 50 per cent annually. To date Canada says that its spending on other aspects of defence make up the difference but this is not accepted by the U.S.
Huge profits are at stake. One can only imagine the behind-the-scenes deal-making, bribes and corruption in which the armaments monopolies and oligopolies and the heads of state that represent their interests are engaged in coming to Vilnius.
Germany, for example, committed 100 billion euros (U.S.$108 billion) infusion to its military spending earlier this year and that it will spend a minimum two per cent of GDP annually on defence, in accordance with NATO’s demand to all its members. More than $8 billion of that $108 billion is being spent on acquiring 35 F-35 jet fighters from the U.S. (which carries an estimated lifetime cost of U.S.$1.6 trillion) – eight of which will remain in the U.S. to train German pilots, with the remaining 27 to be delivered sometime after 2029). The burden on the German people is enormous.
This year France increased military spending to 413 billion euros in the 2024-2030 period, up from 295 billion in the previous budget. Macron wants European defence spending to be spent in Europe, that is, to benefit the monopolies and oligopolies that have production facilities in Europe. This is a source of friction within NATO as well.
Matters Not on the Agenda
Sweden’s accession to NATO and choosing a replacement for Stoltenberg as NATO Secretary General were originally to be on the Vilnius agenda but no longer are. Sweden does not have the endorsement of either Hungary or Turkey so that is off the table at Vilnius.
Nor was there consensus on who should replace Stoltenberg. France and the EU want someone from the European Union, but cannot agree on whom. British Defence Minister Ben Wallace campaigned for the position but dropped it because Biden said no. Canada’s Chrystia Freeland was initially favoured by the Biden administration but nothing further has been said on that. In the end, the U.S. decides and most recent reports indicate that Biden favoured European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over Ben Wallace. A lot is clearly at stake to have a yes-man or yes-woman of the right calibre.
NATO avoided the crisis of finding a replacement by adopting Biden’s proposal to extend Stoltenberg’s tenure for another term to October 1, 2024, which Stoltenberg has accepted.