Having experienced a cold war in the past was one reason that drew peace activists to the corner of busy Broadway and Canyon to protest against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and this weekend’s NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland. Peace makers took issue with the threat of increased global militarism but especially with the US role in NATO and its supporting of a military response to conflict.
Boulder was not alone in protesting the summit. In Warsaw hundreds marched to the national stadium where the summit was held chanting, “Not to war! No to NATO!” Colonel Ann Wright who is retired from the US State Department and appears regularly at demonstrations against war also appeared and told RT News that NATO “demonizes Russia.”
Ron Forthofer says the same thing, “People have been so misled. All we’re hearing is the demonization of Putin and Russian aggression. And Putin is basically responding to US aggression and NATO aggression. They’re very concerned particularly about the illegal coup that took place, so they’re trying to support the people who supported this coup that the US strongly supported.”
In Warsaw, peace activists held an Anti-NATO Summit that focused on topics of militarism, nuclear arsenals, European immigration, and US military bases in the European Union. In Boulder, Forthofer spoke at the monthly Veterans for Peace meeting about the Obama administration’s “increasingly confrontational actions against the Russians that threaten to further destabilize the already precarious world situation.”
Protests also erupted in Sofia, Bulgaria to protest Bulgarian membership in NATO and demanding an immediate withdrawal. Athens, Greece protested NATO as well.
In Boulder, Isabel Olivera Morales held a sign that said “END NATO THREATS AGAINST RUSSIA,” and “Abolish NATO.” She told The Nation Report that she was protesting what she sees as war games that are being played by NATO allies, “The US and it allies in NATO are playing war games, war games threatening Russia. And this threat could turn into an actual military operation. It’s actually a struggle for world domination and the US wants to make sure that Russia is not a player in that.”
George Newell, member of the Boulder chapter of Veterans for Peace said he took issue with the broken promise by the US when the US agreed not to expand NATO during the H.W. Bush administration in response to German reunification following the fall of the Berlin Wall, “The US promised not to expand NATO but it has and this is pushing up against Russian borders . If it were in Canada or in Cuba, or in Mexico, we would be very upset. And Russia is. But it’s nukes against nukes. England, France, and the United States all have nukes. And so does Russia. And we keep pushing up against their borders and they keep feeling upset that we broke our promises.”
Tom Mayer, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center made references to the former Cold War era, “I’m very worried about the increasing tension between the United States and Russia which I think created or is already creating a new Cold War-type situation and I see the buildup of nuclear weapons and conventional weapons on both sides of the Russian border. I think the American people are not very well aware of the kind of danger we are under because it’s not talked about much in the mainstream press and when it is, it’s very much blamed upon everything that Russia did. I think the tensions with NATO, which is primarily the United States and Russia, could easily inflame and become a major world conflict which would be a terrible disaster.”