Kees van der Pijl is a political scientist and former professor of international politics at the University Of Sussex.
He is known for his critical approach to global political economics and chatted to me about why the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) are, paradoxically, not the good guys.
NATO was initially established in 1949 with the goal of defending member states from external aggression. However, as the Cold War unfolded, NATO’s focus shifted towards containment and opposition to the Soviet Union.
This departure from their original purpose laid the foundation for a more offensive approach, which would become evident in subsequent years.
One of the most significant criticisms of NATO is their involvement in aggressive military interventions, often without proper international mandates.
In other words, illegal activity.
The 1999 bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, conducted without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, is a prime example. The NATO-led airstrikes caused civilian casualties, infrastructure destruction, and further destabilised the region. This intervention violated the principles of national sovereignty and highlighted NATO’s willingness to use force beyond its defensive mandate.
NATO’s actions have had severe consequences for the countries in which it intervened.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq, primarily led by the United States and NATO, resulted in immense domestic upheaval, including the loss of countless lives, a power vacuum, and the rise of sectarian violence.
Similarly, the invasion of Libya in 2011 led to the collapse of the state, contributing to ongoing chaos, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons throughout the region.
NATO’s track record reveals a pattern of sidestepping international law and acting unilaterally.
In Libya, for example, they exceeded the authorised scope of a no-fly zone and made their own rules.
Such disregard for established legal frameworks undermines the principles of a rules-based international order and reveals the truth about NATO.
NATO are neither interested in peace nor defence.
NATO are not the good guys.