On April 4, 2024 the US-led imperialist military pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), marked its 75th anniversary at its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, attended the anniversary meeting.

But the people of the world were not in a celebratory mood after seven decades of imperialist-led wars, coups, insecurity and crises instead of the purported “peace, democracy and prosperity”. It is one of the main obstacles to peace, in complete violation of international law and the right to national sovereignty.

Canada joined the United States in 1949 as a founding member of this imperialist-led military alliance which now involves 32 member states in North America and Europe, and numerous regional partners far from the North Atlantic in Latin America, Asia, and Oceania. Sweden is the most recent member, joining last month, and Finland has confirmed it will also seek membership.

As the armed wing of US-led imperialism, NATO has been one of the world’s most deadly forces since its inception.After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, NATO was supposed to disappear, just as the Warsaw Pact did. However, far from being dismantled, NATO has continued to expand up to the borders of Russia while rattling its sabres around China.

NATO-led wars, more often than not under the disguise of “humanitarian imperialism”, have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in countries including the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. Millions more refugees have been forced to escape the carnage of these wars, while NATO member states have enacted xenophobic laws and policies that make it hard for those very same refugees to seek shelter in those countries. Around the world, NATO states maintain an intricate network of military bases and military installations which cause environmental damage and social disruption.

As the violence and the misery of war continue today in Ukraine, we must remember that NATO has only aggravated the crisis and suffering of the people there. NATO has continued to expand eastward towards the Russian border, and supported a right-wing Maidan coup in 2014 that led to the present conflict. Additionally, NATO member states, including Canada, have continued to send billions of dollars of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The weapons have often ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi militias such as the Azov Battalion.

To support its insatiable hunger for militarism, NATO continues to demand greater military budgets from each of its member states, leaving much-needed social services for working people chronically underfunded. Canada under the Trudeau government is seeking to increase its active participation in NATO. Canada pledges to reach NATO member states’ target of having military spending being 2% of GDP, which would require an additional $13-18 billion in defense spending each year for the next five years, according to the parliamentary budget office. This extra military spending means that arms companies will receive greater profits as much-needed social services for working people remain chronically underfunded.

A strong movement to oppose the devastating effects of NATO is crucial as militarism continues to build up around the world. A strong united front against militarism is necessary, especially at the upcoming CANSEC weapons fair in May and the annual NATO Summit, this year to be held in the United States in July. ILPS in Canada is also involved with organizing anti-NATO and anti-war actions across Canada, and we encourage everyone opposed to war and who stands for just peace to participate in these actions.

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