By Ann Wright
Around 15,000 activists from around Europe and North America marched through the streets of Brussels on May 24, 2017, in opposition to the meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the presence of U.S. President Donald Trump. NATO war exercises on the Russian border and NATO participation in U.S. wars of choice in the Middle East and North Africa have increased the dangers to our security, not lessened them.
Trump's appearance at the NATO summit in his first trip outside the United States generated many themes for the march. Greenpeace used a variation of Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" for its massive banners: "Make Peace Great Again" and another banner hanging from a crane near the NATO headquarters with the motto "#RESIST."
Trump's misogynist statements compelled the Pink p*ssy Hats to return to the streets of Brussels with two large groups of women and men challenging his rebuke to women. Peace groups from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Belgium challenged the NATO war machine
After calling NATO "obsolete" during his presidential campaign, Trump faced the other 27 nations in NATO by saying that "NATO is no longer obsolete" and "You owe us a lot of money." The media has widely reported that the NATO meeting schedule was dramatically shortened to accommodate Trump's short attention span. Presentations by country representatives were mandated to four minutes or less.
Only five of 28 members (US, UK, Poland, Estonia, and Greece) have 2 percent of their national budgets dedicated to military expenditures, and Trump railed at member countries for not budgeting more. The overall spending on defense by NATO countries will be more than $921 billion http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/25/news/nato-funding-explained-trump/ while $1.4 billion goes to NATO to funds some NATO operations, training and research and the NATO strategic command center.
Trump's proposed increase of 5,000 U.S. military into Afghanistan will increase by one-third the NATO presence in Afghanistan, and he is urging other NATO countries to increase their presence. Currently, there are 13,000 NATO forces including 8,500 U.S. in Afghanistan.
" NATO AWACS scheduling conference
" Exercise Mare Aperto in Italy
" NATO Maritime Group One visits Estonia
" Germany Increases NATO Deployable Control Unit in Baltics
" Exercise Dynamic Mercy in Baltic Sea
" NATO Ballistic Defense Exercise Steadfast Armour
" Locked Shields, NATO-wide cyber attack exercise held in Estonia
The Counter-Summit "Stop NATO 2017" https://www.stopnato2017.org/en/conference-0
in Brussels on May 25 featured discussions by experts from around Europe and the United States http://www.no-to-nato.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Programm-Counter-Summit-Brussels-2017-web-1.pdf:
--Wars of NATO;
--NATO and Russia
--U.S. nuclear arms in Europe and how to disarm them-strategies and campaigns
--2% military investment norm: analysis and strategy of different countries
--NATO, militarization in the Mediterranean and the refugee crisis
--NATO military spending and the Arms Industry-a political economy of the new Cold War;
--the UN Treaty to ban nuclear arms;
--NATO and the "war on terror"
--NATO, economic interests, arms industry, arms trade
--Women in NATO
--Military interventions and the peace movement
--Media and war
The week of activities in Brussels included a peace camp https://stopnato2017.org/nl/peace-camp with about 50 young participants.
The next major international gathering will be in Hamburg, Germany for the G-20 meetings July 5-8, 2017. The Summit for Global Solidarity will be July 5-6, a day of civil demonstrations on July 7 and a mass demonstration on July 8.