NATO as a regulator of imperialism

Ali Somel, member of the CC of CP, Turkey

For the last quarter of a century, the main discussion about NATO was its mission after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Why did it continue to exist? The argument that the raison d'etre of NATO was the Warsaw pact ignores the primary and permanent aspect of imperialism: The mutual militarisation of capitalist countries and their common tendency to unify against a proletarian threat.

Lenin wrote in 1916: “The capitalists divide the world, not out of any particular malice, but because the degree of concentration which has been reached forces them to adopt this method in order to obtain profits. And they divide it “in proportion to capital”, “in proportion to strength”, because there cannot be any other method of division under commodity production and capitalism. But strength varies with the degree of economic and political development. In order to understand what is taking place, it is necessary to know what questions are settled by the changes in strength... To substitute the question of the form of the struggle and agreements (today peaceful, tomorrow warlike, the next day warlike again) for the question of the substance of the struggle and agreements between capitalist associations is to sink to the role of a sophist.”

If we do not want to sink to the role of sophist, the question concerning NATO should be reformulated: How did NATO reidentify its mission?

1. Development of NATO as an imperialist and counter-revolutionary organisation

Counterrevolution in the age of revolutions

The uneven development of capitalism integrates every social unit to the imperialist hierarchy while deepening the rivalry among them. Even though the strong and weak aspects of countries may differ, the dominant country has to present a viable model to maintain the imperialist-capitalist order. This also serves a counter-revolutionary function, i.e. effectively overcoming and preventing revolutionary threats. The nature of these threats until the October Revolution did not oblige the European bourgeoisie to seek an international alliance to coordinate counterrevolutionary forces militarily and ideologically.

Following WWI, the allied armies already organised for the division and recolonization of the world were sent to fight against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. After the defeat of the White Army and 1929 crisis of Western capitalism, fascism emerged as an international counterrevolutionary movement. This was an indirect attempt of the Western imperialists to organise international counter-revolution to overthrow socialist power. But the legendary resistance of the Soviet people turned this plan into a fiasco.

By the end of WWII, the Soviet Union had both proven that an agricultural country could not only industrialise, taking a great leap by means of socialist planning but also stand out against an aggressive imperialist war. It was a real warning for the world capitalists. A mechanism was needed to overcome the military as well as ideological influence of communism. This was to be provided by the United States and the other powerful capitalist countries in Europe, the NATO and the EEC/EU.

The need to centralise counter-revolutionary forces

Since imperialism was not an external factor to dependent countries in terms of capitalist integration, the tendency to collaborate with imperialist centres was inherent. The perpetuation of the exploitative system necessitated the realisation of the interwoven interests of the domestic bourgeoisie and the imperialist capital through both formal and informal means.

Colonial policy always worked with collaborators and this method was transformed to imperial policy in a more sophisticated way: The forces of the local dominant class would be equipped with an indigenous ideology so that they would seem to act autonomously while they were actually trained, organised and financed by central imperial powers. While among rural populations religious and ethnic identities were used for this purpose, in urban communities, it was generally elitist nationalism. The complementary character of fascism and liberalism served as a double edged sword in the political use of these ideologies.

The Red Army had swept the Nazis, freeing the East European nations from fascist occupation. But the capitalists of Europe feared that communists would gain strength in their countries and as a pretext, they whipped up the fears of Soviet invasion. NATO was actually established in 1949 to organise against the communists which had gained strength during and after the war. Of course this was not just a ‘precaution’against a possible revolution but a direct attempt to suppress or manipulate progressive social movements through military and ideological warfare. To prevent any deviance from the imperialist strategy, all members were expected to comply with the NATO directives strictly.

NATO’s position in the reorganisation of imperialism

Before the Soviet Union tested its atomic bomb in 1949, the strategy of US imperialism was to confront the USSR with nuclear power instead of conventional weapons. NATO was established under this military doctrine. However after the initial supremacy of the US having nuclear weapons was replaced by a power balance in 1949, indirect and regional confrontations came to the fore, localising and politicising the conflict. NATO modified its mission according to these conditions of Cold War.

The United States had taken the lead in the reconstruction of Europe and the reorganisation of anti-communist forces that had been defeated by the Red Army earlier. The Marshall Plan and the establishment of NATO were complementary. The centre of authority of imperialism was consolidated in the Atlantic. While Great Britain willingly shared its power with the US, the hegemony of the former colonist European countries was replaced by US imperialism.

The Mediterranean region was one of the most 'vulnerable' areas in terms of sympathy towards communist parties. In the Aegean Sea, the imperial authority over Turkey and Greece was explicitly handed over from Great Britain to the United States in 1947, letting NATO play the key role against Soviet influence. Cyprus witnessed the transition from a British colony to NATO’s regional ‘aircraft carrier’and the subsequent organisation of paramilitary fascist groups by NATO. Turkey’s role besides its provocative acts in giving the imperialist forces the pretext to interven in Cyprus, was also critical in terms of NATO’s access to the Middle East. The Turkish government during the 1950’s tried to persuade the Non-Aligned countries to join NATO.

However, the rivalry between regional capitalist powers in creating an elbow room within the imperialist hierarchy and the restriction of imperial activities by the socialist camp forced US imperialism to put aside NATO in certain cases. Due to the neutrality policy of the Non-Aligned Movement, during the Suez Crisis and in Yugoslavia's position after disagreement with the Soviet Union, the US had to create regional alternatives to NATO by decentralizing counterrevolutionary forces. The creation of buffer zones in controversial areas loosened the ties within NATO. France withdrew from the NATO army in 1966 and Western Germany developed the so-called Ost-Politik which was outside the policy scope of NATO.

NATO's role in capitalist modernisation

NATO initiated engineering and training projects for capitalist development to counter examples of socialist revolutionary development. The main premise was to technically and institutionally adopt national armies to NATO standards. This meant dependency of national defence on US military infrastructure. Bilateral agreements guaranteed this unilateral dependency. At the same time, NATO training programmes provided an anti-communist ideological formation to the military bureaucracy. In a way, the modernisation perspective was reconstructed by NATO.

A substantial example was the transformation of Turkish Armed Forces which shaped the perception of modernisation in terms of justifying social stratification. The financial privileges of the NATO staff was inherited by the Turkish military, also alienating the officers from the people. The institutional formation of the army, owing to the army's role during the war of independence and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, had been open to the political consciousness of national liberation . NATO helped keep the the pursuit of national liberation away from a 'third worldist' political attitude by orienting this formation towards an allegiance to the 'Free World'. Indeed, the military coup that toppled a US backed dictator in 1960 first of all declared its loyalty to NATO.

NATO also extended its means of legitimation to supporting scientific activities, apart from military areas. It developed the Science for Peace and Security Programme and financed research. Scientific enterprises of NATO helped it appear as an organisation for civilisation and masked its formal and informal counterrevolutionary activities.

NATO as the catalyst of US led counter-revolution

In Europe, NATO’s founding countries were keen on provoking a tension between the two blocks based on the Atlantic identity. This enabled the US to dominate the anti-communist block not only in military terms but also ideologically. US imperialism identified itself with ‘freedom’by opposing socialist revolution. NATO and its allies came to be named as 'the Free World', guarantee of 'freedom from socialism' and 'freedom from revolution'.

In terms of military, ‘stay behind organisations’were set up such as the Operation Gladio in Italy. NATO centralised the formal and informal anti-communist forces. A variety of informal, or rather non-governmental groups, were organised. From the church to the mafia, all joined in the mobilisation to prevent communists from organising. Counter-revolutionary groups were trained by CIA agents for terrorist attacks.

NATO was both a source and a product of counter-revolution. Countries to join NATO were tested in their submission to the counter-revolutionary initiatives of US imperialism. For example, Turkey was accepted to NATO only after sending troops to North Korea during the Korean War in 1950. Later, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Eastern European countries that fully integrated their foreign policy with the US strategy during the restoration of imperialism, would become building blocks of subsequent NATO enlargement.

2. Dropping the guard against NATO

The attitude towards NATO as a litmus paper of Marxism-Leninism

The political line that opposed NATO was widely determined by the peace movement in Europe. Confining the struggle to the struggle against NATO's military missions and defending peace as an aim in itself was a political dilemma for communism. The lack of clear anti-imperialist character in the peace movement made the Soviet Union a target of anti-militarist criticisms, as it rightfully had to bear arms against imperialist military enclosure. This was an ideological defeat for the prestigious Red Army of WWII.

As the European communist movement alienated itself from Leninism, a liberal attitude emerged towards supra-national integration of Europe. Eurocommunism accepted the European Economic Community as an agent of 'economic development', meanwhile showing tolerance towards the enlargement of NATO as the complementary agent of ‘economic’integration in terms of ‘security'. Among the leaders of Euro-communism, The Communist Party of Italy abandoned the slogan 'Italy out of NATO, NATO out of Italy' in 1974.

On the other hand, the revolutionary movements that diverged from the Comintern tradition lost their anti-imperialist position and NATO was one of the substantial issues. After the Sino-Soviet confrontation, certain movements affiliated to Maoism accepted NATO as an ally when they assumed the Red Army as an archenemy. The major Turkish Maoist movement, Aydınlık, cooperated with the NATO backed fascist forces which organised against socialists and revolutionaries during the 1970's.

In both cases, the ideological weaknesses of different communist sections resulted in the infiltration of imperialist politics, materialised in the attitude towards NATO.

Taking back the historical gains of European class struggle

The European left played a critical role in terms of harmonizing liberalism with socialism by distancing itself from revolutionary working class politics. Different versions of the new left, the third way and social movementism emerged and identified itself with the 'freedom' interpretation of the Atlantic. Opposition to neo-liberal policies was formulated within the political framework of bourgeois democracy, producing social forums and alternative social projects, instead of questioning the institutional basis of the system. As traditional pro-NATO social democrat parties lost credibility, opportunist leftist movements emerged, such as SYRIZA in Greece, substituting class struggle with the policy of negotiation with the capitalist and imperialist organisations.

Initially, ideologically backed by the US, counterrevolutionary trends in Europe had become embedded in the construction of the European Union. Especially the enlargement of EU was a twofold process in the Eastern European countries’transition to capitalism and the articulation of European states to US hegemony under the guise of democracy. NATO was one of the main tools leading these processes.

The restoration of capitalism in the former socialist countries necessitated an institutional process. Starting from the unification of Germany, the accession to NATO was used in order to prepare the accession of the former socialist states into the EU.NATO's enlargement symbolised the US led reestablishment of imperialist hegemony across Europe. Consequently the construction of the European Union moved on a supra-national-technocratic-monetary line instead of a national-political-constitutional line that could subject it to a social opposition defending sovereign rights, collective rights and welfare interests acquired by the European class struggle.

So NATO served as a catalyst in this restoration process that attempted to remove the obstacle of Europe’s progressive political tradition and take away the last remnants of socialism in Eastern Europe, mainly the still not entirely integrated Russia.

NATO aiming at the achilles of socialism in counter-revolution

Imperialism had to reconstitute itself in the countries and regions where it had to retreat for decades. The most vulnerable ones were those whose socialist background had been weak in terms of the development of the forces of production under socialism and the ideological consolidation of Marxism-Leninism in communist cadres. US imperialism also had to choose the most strategic points to infiltrate or invade in order to enter the vast Soviet influenced geography.

The economic unification of Europe had been identified with social democracy against communism. The impacts of socialism had prevented the full hegemony of US imperialism over Europe. After the counter-revolutionary operations were initiated, NATO felt free in setting the basis for restoring imperialism through institutional means starting from Eastern Europe.

Yugoslavia, having allied with the NATO members Turkey and Greece in the Balkan Pact despite its non-aligned position, was the first to be invaded by NATO. The counter-revolution in Afghanistan came about after the last confrontation of imperialism as it poured out its reactionary forces of Islamic fundamentalists.

3. The Reorientation of NATO during the restoration of imperialism and its alternatives

NATO’s position in the progress of imperialist restoration

During the 1980's, the Soviet influence over third world countries weakened. Since NATO had been constructed on reactionary forces against communist assaults, the retreat of the revolutionary claims of communism necessitated the reorganisation of counter-revolutionary forces. Some ‘stay behind’extensions of NATO were rectified and the ideological role of NATO was reinforced instead. The illegal organisations were condemned and NATO washed its hands off these organisations, to pave the path for a new orientation.

The dissolution of the USSR and Warsaw Pact necessitated the revision of NATO's missions. The discourse on the threat of Soviet invasion had ended. Imperialism had to be restored in an important part of Europe and Asia and the former socialist countries had to be restructured with a new discourse. The bloody war in Yugoslavia in the 1990's was an experiment of NATO in finding the necessary means. The definition of threat was extended to all sorts of instability caused by political and economic crisis. The Strategic Concept of NATO included non-member countries in military interventions under the name of Partnership for Peace.

In this new environment, NATO reorganised its armed forces for quick and effective military interventions. The increase in armaments was complemented by smaller and flexible armed forces instead of bigger and slower ones. The use of military bases and missiles in strengthening regional domination continued while the capacity to handle smaller armies was intensified.

NATO’s reorientation in organising counter-revolution and reaction

NATO played a multi-faceted role in the restoration. While it propelled reactionary groups to create instability and set the pretext for military intervention in the 'third world', it organised ideological campaigns in the Western world to support its interventions. From the bombardment of Belgrade in 1999 to the recent military interventions in Libya and Ukraine, NATO professionalized in provoking chaos and waging proxy wars. Compared to the strategy against revolutionary struggles during the Soviet era, the present structure of mercenary forces as extensions of NATO changed: Directly sponsored counter-guerilla or counter revolutionary organisations were replaced by indirectly manipulated ethnic or sectarian reactionary organisations that also claim political power such as ISIS.

The new strategy was based on the creation of reactionary threats in the absence of revolutionary threats. The military interventions of the last quarter of a century were all presented as the responsibility of the West in preventing atrocities and maintaining peace in destabilised regions. However the dynamics of destabilisation were themselves created by capitalist restoration arising from the deepening economic inequalities, proliferated reactionary ideologies and galvanised military rivalries for controlling resources. Hence, this strategy simultaneously wiped out progressive movements, marginalised the remnants of the 'third world' that did not adapt to imperialist restoration and enchained the rest of the society to the restoration process which was itself a new phase of counter-revolution.

But this was not simply manipulation of forces of 'constructive chaos' but also a political move towards domination of forces of 'stability'. NATO permitted the strengthening of reactionary forces that gained support from the popular opposition towards US militarism. This automatically forced Western oriented (modernist, secular) but independence seeking forces to subdue to the US-NATO initiative. For example, the secular Kurdish forces in Syria that had initially distanced themselves from the Syrian opposition collaborating with the US, called for NATO intervention during the Kobani resistance.

European multilateralism against US-NATO

During the Yugoslavian crisis at the end of 1990's, the military intervention spearheaded by NATO was used by the EU to gather support for a European centred alternative which itself was a pursuit for imperial autonomy. In the name of the international community, the ‘US aggression’was condemned. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe came to the fore as an institutional address for the legitimization of a European interventionist policy.

The question of establishing a European Army was brought forward in this context. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg rejected being subordinated to US policy and discussed a EU military initiative as an alternative to NATO. But this was never a position on behalf of the sovereignty of nations. On the contrary, it represented an attempt to conserve Europe’s leading countries' autonomy in the continent and their influence over the world as a rival imperial centre. The same interventionist attitude was justified with the imperial discourse of protecting human rights.

The attitude to be taken towards Russia also divided the NATO countries. The states that collaborated with the US within the European Union supported all interventionist measures of NATO. On the other hand, Germany advocated negotiating with Russia in contrast to the former socialist countries’hostile attitude. Against Great Britain, Poland and the Baltic countries that have been seen as vassals of the US, the central powers of the EU elucidated NATO’s unilateral policy. The criticism of unilateralism was expressed through calling for a UN based consensus to legitimise collective military action of imperial powers in the name of peace keeping.

Russian multilateralism against US-NATO

The 2000’s saw the expansion of NATO towards the East. NATO enlargement not only embraced the former Warsaw Pact countries but the former Soviet Republics in the Caucuses as well. The regional extension was an attempt to encompass Russia’s hinterland and inevitably created a regional reaction. It negatively provoked those countries that, while not resisting to US imperial policies, did not fully comply with them either…

For the first time, following the 9/11 attacks, NATO invoked its Article-5, calling for a collective reaction. This stationed NATO forces in the Asian continent. It was also a step towards enabling other means of intervention in political regimes of the states in reach. In fact, the ‘coloured revolutions’occurred after NATO settled in this cross-Atlantic geography, posing a threat to the Middle East, Central Asia and Asia-Pacific. The major countries of these regions felt threatened and in response consolidated and broadened their scope of cooperation among themselves in order to preserve their continental autonomy, namely through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Consequently, the relations with Russia became a challenge for NATO countries. The agent states of US imperialism that served the military and political encirclement of non-adaptive states in the Eastern strip created an antithesis against the Atlantic identity as a Eurasian identity. However, even though Russia’s initiatives in the Arab Spring, Syrian and lastly Ukraine crisis narrowed NATO’s room for manoeuvre, the appeal of weaker countries towards a Eurasian identity did not correspond to an anti-imperialist and pro-sovereignty attitude either.

Along with China, Iran and India, Russia seemed to emerge as the leader of an alternative block against NATO, perhaps a new power centre, together with its recognition of the Soviet past, against US imperialism. But actually Russia's real position was exposed when it called NATO for dialogue. The major Eurasian power was trying impose itself as a regional partner in the imperialist power balance. In fact, at the Moscow Conference on International Security held in April, where NATO's enlargement was denounced, the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov quoted Roosevelt, underlining the political line of Russia, setting the basis for international partnership for peace:

“...We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict. ... it is only possible to meet common challenges and preserve the peace through collective, joint efforts based on respect for the legitimate interests of all partners...”

5. The popular struggle against NATO and its setbacks

The restoration of imperialism reached a new stage in the millennium. The provocation of 9/11 triggered the crusade against so called Islamic 'fundamentalism'. Mainstream literature criticising the previous support of Taliban by the US disregarded how the Taliban was promoted against communist forces in Afghanistan. When NATO’s main counter-revolutionary mission is abstracted from the political level of class struggle, it retards the direction of the struggle. Without a historical materalist approach, reactionary movements are placed in the same line with national liberation movements of the 20th century. 

This is not to deny the Taliban’s flaws, some of which are obviously serious. However, they must be doing something right that attracts the masses to their cause, movement, and fight. That something right includes, among others, the class struggle-on behalf of the peasants and other poor-against the big landlords and other rich, struggle against the invasions of western civilisation and culture and preservation of national and Islamic religious identity, and war against the military invasion and occupation of US-led NATO and other foreign forces.” [1]

Reactionary movements organised during and after communism are seen as indigenous ally forces of the underdeveloped world. The antagonism is defined culturally and class struggle is attached to it artificially. This methodology reflects Taliban's position as 'flawed' although their historical and ideological character is explicitly counter-revolutionary.

According to a Western centred approach, the radical movements have to be controlled and the moderate ones to be communicated by the developed world. The collaborative attitude towards jihadists of FSA against those of ISIS is a similar deviance from anti-imperialism like the benevolence towards Taliban. Reducing the struggle to opposing a dominant threat, which depends on the view point of different ethno-centric or religio-centric positions, is blind to the traps of reactionism.

NATO rearticulates its raison detre on this basis. The popular struggle shifts from questioning NATO itself to the legitimacy of NATO interventions calling for UN or the consent of the countries of a given region. Social conscience which can be easily manipulated takes the place of class consciousness. Simultaneously, the structure and character of organised struggle transforms to horizontal and identity-based forms in which popularity of the struggle downgrades political consistency. NGO's imperfectly satisfy the re-emerging pursuit for an organised struggle as they fill the gap created by the absence of a political working class struggle.

The popular anti-NATO movement carries the same short-sightedness of the recent anti-globalization movements. Demands for international reform deviate the focus of struggle from national policy centres. These centres determined by each country’s own capitalist class actually legitimise imperialist policies under various political and ideological guises. The discourse on contributing to peace-keeping operations becomes a means of justifying support for imperialist policy. Liberalism is the source of this dilemma.

Therefore, the “new”“humanitarian”role of NATO as “defender”of the Human Rights and the astonishing, for the international community, circumvention of the Security Council and the violation of the Chart of the United Nations, bring to the fore a fundamental contradiction of Liberalism. On the one hand, a sovereign nation and people’s right to self-determination, and on the other hand, the universality of the human rights regardless of national borders. This contradiction leads to thematics concerning the Law/Ethic, the rights of minorities, the change of the borders, the right of intervention for humanitarian reasons in the interior of a state, the role of NATO and the European Union in similar crises, etc. Furthermore, it brings up to the discussion of the question of the maintenance, of the Nation-State in its existing form.” [2]

The motto of Responsibility to Protect corresponding to the second principle of liberalism is used by NATO to justify international interventions. Yet this liberal position is reinforced with local reactionary ideologies. Generally, reactionary ideologies (ethnic nationalism, religious sectarianism) are nourished at the subnational level -dividing and degenerating each country's working class- in capitalist restoration and liberal ideologies (globalism, cosmopolitanism) are nourished at the supranational level -blurring the national power centres of the dominant class- in imperialist restoration. They both try to undermine the revolutionary class struggle for political power on a national scale.The penetration and concentration of international capital help imperialism in adopting a universalist discourse, while disintegration of subordinate societies according to identities instead of classes is reinforced with a pluralist discourse, deteriorating both sovereign rights and collective rights. Thus only a class perspective can overcome the dilemma of liberalism: Since restoration takes away the historical gains of the working class struggle, the only way to claim national sovereignty and humanitarianism together is to unite the working class and establish socialist political power in each country.

Politically, counter-revolution (anti-communism and hostility towards working class politics) is reproduced with the interaction of reactionary and liberal ideologies. This may be carried out by force or by moderation. In any case, international interventions towards sovereign states are all illegitimate whether they are unilaterally led by US-NATO or multilaterally accepted by the UN or regional unions. However, NATO plays the good cop/bad cop at the same time: Interventions in the name of peace and human rights paradoxically trigger mutual armament and undermine the rights of citizenship and communitarianism. This invalidates the liberal dilemma.

Another approach reduces the axis of confrontation to nations versus imperialism. The subject of resistance is identified with the national regime that imperialist powers aim to topple. This is a strategic problematic for communist movements. The dominance of nationalism over patriotism -where the latter recognises solidarity between people from different ethnic, cultural and religious origins- may create an obstacle for the emergence of working class internationalism.

In Africa, for instance, China's increasing role is challenged by NATO, a representative of the historical interests of the West over the continent. This justifies the African political powers' conceptualisation of re-colonization. In the book Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure of Libya (2013), Horace Campbell argues that 'the African Union must be strengthened to be able to meet the political, diplomatic and military requirements to resist external military missions such as that of NATO in Libya'. [3] Likewise, in the 70th anniversary of the Red Army victory over Nazi Germany, the encirclement of Russia by NATO and collaborating countries, or rather the regime changes in countries neighbouring Russia one by one, necessarily reminds the tragedy of no more than a century ago. [4]

However both are the remnants of the 20th century. In Africa, since the great struggle given against the apartheid regime, the communist movement has given up political power to the regimes that violently suppress the people and the working class. Neither is today's Russia the same as 1940's Russia. It is true that siege, encirclement and blockade are means of isolating a country to force regime change. But when the reaction emerges from a regime-centered point of view, even though the resistance of the regime justifies itself, a solution within the imperialist-capitalist system is imposed in vain.

The prominent regionalist approach against NATO is Eurasianism. Alexander Dugin, the leading theoriser of this approach argues that 'globalization is an objective and irreversible process'. According to him, 'a civilisation diversity' has to be created against the Atlanticist project. These sound like the post-communist rhetoric on the 'the inevitability of globalisation' and 'the clash of civilisations'. Hence, Eurasianism settles itself in the conceptualisation of the post-Soviet era.

From a similar perspective, the writer of Globalization of NATO (2012), Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya underlines Eurasian unity as an 'alternative to NATO’s Atlanticism'. However, imperial rivalries and the deepening of class conflict alongside economic crises do not find any alternatives within the Eurasian unity. In contrast, it can be seen that the Eurasian countries are trying to get a bargaining power against NATO, to be recognised instead of being pushed aside in the war for hegemony. At this point, just like the reformist approach to globalisation, we find a reformist approach to a new form of 'third worldism', flourishing against the resistance to NATO. 

China and Russia, as the leading powers of SCO, cannot assume the kind of responsibility that the US state did after World War II. The Marshall Plan...was the material basis for the emergence and consolidation of the NATO alliance. By contrast, SCO cannot go beyond simply providing diplomatic communication channels; it does not have the capacity to foster the economic and political interdependence of its member countries. Second, SCO remains an extremely top-down mechanism, and lacks the cultural organising capacities to create a new Eurasian identity. .. [and] SCO lacks mechanisms to create an intelligentsia of its own through the establishment of regional ties among universities, defence schools and think-tanks.” [5]

Peace-keeping and economic development are defined within the limits of the imperialist-capitalist system. The Eurasian project is mainly formulated in reference to the imperialist reconstruction of Europe in the 20th century. This may be seen as an attempt to block NATO with a periphery version of the 'third way' or with the so-called 'new social movements' instead of the working class struggle for power.

6. Conclusive discussion

In this paper we have tried to underline the mission of NATO in roughly three dimensions: The organisation of counter-revolutionary forces, the restructuring of imperialist hierarchy and the restoration of capitalism and imperialism. The evolution of NATO's history is determined by these dimensions. The imperialist system has needed regulation since the beginning of the 20th century when it fell into crisis and faced revolutionary threats. It eventually had to create tools to answer this need. As the crisis was resolved through WWI, revolutionary opportunities appeared in Europe and its Eastern neighbourhood. The opportunities were realised in large scale with WWII and NATO's establishment in this geography was important in challenging the gains of the socialist revolutions. As a result, NATO took over the main regulatory role in organising counter-revolution internationally, ranging from military to ideological means.

The problem emerged as the ideological struggle of communists retreated in Europe leaving behind revisionism and reformism. As NATO reinforced itself ideologically, reformism was dragged into the counterrevolutionary line in terms of siding with NATO. Virtually the treachery of the 2nd International parties was repeated. Capitalist and imperialist restoration was led by US-NATO and implicitly supported by certain leftist trends which had submitted to liberal ideology generating opportunism. NATO's escalating militancy in expanding its regulative mission to the former Soviet ruled or Soviet influenced regions triggered resistances. But the ability of NATO to manipulate its opponents helped its expansion.

Many centres of struggle who took the political weakness and disorganised state of the working class as given, supported the reactionary groups or regimes in conflict with NATO. This common approach obstructed developing a resistance line on revolutionary grounds. Since NATO takes its strength from its counter-revolution background, the political position that can truly stand against NATO needs ideological clearness. To finalise this paper, we will try to discuss the main strategies against NATO in order to clarify a viable approach towards struggle. 

- Can a pacifist peace movement be successful in restraining NATO?

The fainter the line between peace struggle and anti-imperialism, the stronger the arguments of peace on behalf of imperialism. The leftist European parties that once abstained from detaching from NATO and accepted only dismantling the US bases became also tolerant to those US bases just because they served as a power against 'the atrocities taking place in the uncivilised world'. The demand for peace apart from struggling against the causes of war within the capitalist system has proven to be abortive. Peace-mongering is complementary to war-mongering: The present deep crisis of the imperialist-capitalist system does not enable the achievement of an exclusive peace, even a Pax-Americana. Restricting the struggle for peace against a section of the bourgeoisie by characterising it as 'the most militaristic' section bears the assumption that other sections of the dominant class are intimately pacifist. How the interests of all the sections of the capitalist class lie in the mastering of a destructive organisation such as NATO can not be explained in this sense. The struggle for peacehas to stand against NATO aggression along with its counterparts and means of domination.

- Can a third world approach create an alternative to NATO?

In the 20th century, the power balance maintained by the Soviet Union and socialist countries against an unfettered imperialism, enabled some countries and regions under the umbrella of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to act relatively independently from the dictates of imperialism. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the political influence of socialism over national liberation movements in post-colonial countries, such movements conformed to imperialist objectives. But the restoration of imperialism was not satisfied by simple concessions and a total subjugation was demanded. New political dynamics emerged that undermined national independence towards adhesion to a bigger power or separation on ethnic/religious terms. These were manipulated by imperialist organisations in regions left adrift after the guidance of socialism ended. In this context, the Eurasian integration does not represent the interests of the working class or the peoples in the region in the absence of a socialist alternative. 

- Does the struggle against NATO have to depend on regime resistance?

Regime change” and “regime resistance” have been the horns of a dilemma regarding NATO. On the one hand, the concept of change has been used for the dissolution of obsolete regimes that are an obstacle for imperialist restoration. On the other hand, resistance against imperialist restoration has been limited to the political defence of these regimes, some of which are shielded by regional powers, regimes that try to negotiate with the most powerful imperialist powers and upgrade their position in the imperialist system. Communists have to organise a consistent anti-imperialist political line, simultaneously targeting the reactionary and military forces such as NATO and its counterparts, as well as an imperialist-friendly peace under the threat of these forces. Especially in the regions that progressive ideological and political remnants have been left from the 20th century, the struggle against imperialist restoration can not be separated from the struggle against capitalist restoration. The history of NATO shows that counter-revolution can be legitimised in a variety of ways if a real socialist revolutionary alternative is not created.

In short, NATO has to be destroyed with all its extensions and seeming rivals. As a model of counter-revolutionary coordination, its mission in capitalist and imperialist restoration are complementary. The struggle against NATO necessities avoiding liberal, third worldist, reformist deviations. Instead, an enduring effort to construct a political working class movement against all reactionary ideologies in each area of crisis is imperative.