Time for NATO to fall on its sword?
SIR - Mr Chichester is to be warmly thanked for his opening salvo for the South West European Election Campaign media-blitz. Let's hope ensuing coverage mirrors the deluge we had from the seemingly endless US presidential campaign. However, in response t
SIR - Mr Chichester is to be warmly thanked for his opening salvo for the South West European Election Campaign media-blitz. Let's hope ensuing coverage mirrors the deluge we had from the seemingly endless US presidential campaign. However, in response to his wide-ranging comments about the role of NATO and his disagreements with the Parliament he 'represents', I have to disagree.In fact, the best 60th birthday NATO could have given the world last week was to have done the honourable thing and retired. They are a clumsy, hugely expensive anachronism and the only way they are able to operate is to re-create the conditions of the cold war by attempting to encircle a resurgent Russia with an intimidating missile defence-shield. It's time to shut up shop and transfer resources to a genuinely international world-wide peace-keeping force, under the auspices of the United Nations.It is ironic that so many anti-European MEPs use the word 'federal', when denigrating the direction of EU expansion. Its meaning is clear - centralized, 'made up of allies'. The Conservatives are not renowned for a belief in the devolution of power to the regions. However, they are pretty keen to hold on to power centrally and have managed to do just that for centuries. I suggest that this is the issue here - far better to be controlled by a US-led (i.e. anglo-saxon) NATO force, under an American nuclear shield, than to lose control to mere Europeans. What on earth is NATO doing in Afghanistan for instance, other than presiding over an unwinnable, unpopular occupation, basically fuelled by the CIA in the first place? It has managed magnificently to create a surge in nationalism, increase the power of the warlords, support an inherently corrupt Kabul government with little or no power and influence beyond the capital, increase the popularity of the Taliban and assist in a bumper-bundle heroin harvest - all at the cost of untold suffering, destruction and the deaths of too many innocent civilians and brave servicemen and women. Meanwhile, the combat zone has expanded into Northern Pakistan - a nuclear power. What sort of non-federal European arrangement would Mr Chichester prefer? One that allows us to go to war against Iraq without their consent, but on the shirt-tails of Bush's imperialism instead? One that allows us to drive on the left, not adopt the Euro or that confusing decimal system; one that allows us to maintain our links with our imperial Commonwealth; entice all the best continental footballers and allow them to help us win all the European club tournaments? I'm a regionalist, who is very sceptical about the corporate, pro-nuclear, anti-human-rights thrust of the Lisbon Treaty - but I suspect that we differ on emphases there, too. At least there is clear Green water between us.Ricky KnightSouth West Green Party Lead Candidate for 2009 European Elections