The North Atlantic Treaty Organization turned 60 on April 4, 2009. The official story is that NATO was formed in the aftermath of World War 2 to defend western Europe against the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. With the collapse of the USSR, NATO became an alliance in search of a new mission, one its supporters prefer to characterize as peace-making, if that is how one would describe NATO interventions in the former Yugoslavia and more recently, in Afghanistan.
So, is NATO a defensive organization that morphed into world cop? Or was it set up to contain post-war working class aspirations? Has it confirmed itself to be an important arm of American imperialism through offensive wars in the Balkans and Afghanistan? Should Canada remain in this alliance?
These were some of the questions that were discussed at a debate sponsored by Peace Alliance Winnipeg on April 4, 2009 at St. Matthews Anglican Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
The event was moderated by Terry MacLeod, host of CBC Winnipeg’s “Information Radio.”
Dr. Henry Heller is a professor of history at the University of Manitoba. He is author of The Cold War and the New Imperialism: 1945-2005, published by Monthly Review Press in 2006.
Dr. James Fergusson is director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies and professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba. He is an expert on Canadian defence policy and lectures regularly to schools of the Canadian Armed Forces.
You can view all 12 segments of the video at YouTube.