The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a relic of the Cold War and a tool of US and western aggression in pursuit of corporate interests and militarism. Canadian forces in Afghanistan propped up a US-puppet government of human rights abusers, drug traffickers and warlords, wasting money and lives to further plunder resources. It’s time for a new direction. It’s time to revive the NDP’s historic policy to get Canada out of NATO. Canadian forces should play no role in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its military trainers and combat forces should be removed from Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, and its ships ought to exit the Persian Gulf.
This direction towards a non-aligned stance was signalled by Bill Blaikie in the 1987 NDP Defence White Paper titled “Canada’s Stake in Common Security” which stated:
‘’We have taken those things that have been associated with NDP foreign policy in the past, like withdrawal from NATO, and have placed them in a framework. Many of the concepts have long been in the minds of the NDP but have never before been articulated. This policy expresses the kind of world we are working toward with such policies as pulling out of NATO.” Peace Magazine, June-July 1988.
Exiting NATO is not a radical departure from traditional NDP policy. Its advocacy would help to define the party, as Tom Mulcair recently put it, as the party of social justice and pacifism, or as Jeremy Corbyn put it, as the party of “peace, social justice and human rights.” The NDP would be able to argue strongly for Nuclear Disarmament and put itself forward as an honest broker.
Gwyn Dyer in a recent article shows that Canada’s subservience to American military policy is premised, in part, on a purported need for defence against Russian retaliation in the event of an American nuclear first-strike. Dyer says “the strategy is about a first strike and nuclear superiority.” Canada’s integration into this militaristic policy has been obtained by America posing as Canada’s friend. In reality Canada is only an expression of American interest. (Peace Magazine June 1986) Canada needs to extricate itself from the nuclear web of the militarism-enabling NATO alliance. European Union countries Sweden, Finland, Austria, Ireland, Malta and Cyprus are not members of NATO. They are neutral, and they show how this approach is possible.
A break from NATO would alter the subservient relationship. It would allow Canada to plan for its own defence. It doesn’t need a large army as there is little likelihood of an invasion across the Arctic ice cap. It can concentrate its defence on air and naval power, and assure Washington that the USA will not be invaded from Canadian territory.