Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Not all change is good

Wales has travelled a long way in recent decades, and things haven’t always changed for the better.  There was a heady time thirty-odd years ago when all Wales’ councils came together to sign the nuclear-free Wales declaration.  How different things are today with the Welsh establishment seemingly falling over itself to welcome the heads of government of NATO, a military organisation which continues to argue that the possession of nuclear weapons is an essential part of ‘defence’.
It is partly a result of the insistence on continued possession of its nuclear armoury that the 28 member states of NATO account for around 70% of global military expenditure; yet one of the themes of the two-day extravaganza in Newport is apparently to be that member states aren’t devoting enough resources to the military, and should increase the total.
For what?  A military alliance which was supposed to be defensive has become more interventionist, and is planning to become even more so.  Acting well outside the borders of its member states, it is increasingly taking on the role of supporting US foreign policy on a global basis – it’s a long way from the founding basis that “an armed attack against one … would be considered an attack against all”.  Instead, it’s become the means by which the hegemony of one world view is maintained, and if necessary imposed.
It can be argued that there is a need for a military organisation with global reach to back up decisions taken by the UN, but it’s hard to see how an organisation so tied to the US, and whose membership is open only to “any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area” can ever be generally accepted in that rôle.  Indeed, it’s likelier that the existence of such a powerful military alliance will actually militate against the development of a true international police force.
One of my first ever interventions in Plaid Cymru’s policy formulation was to propose a conference motion in 1972 calling for Plaid to reject NATO membership for Wales.  It hit a little opposition from some good friends in London Branch, but was passed overwhelmingly.  As far as I’m aware, it remains Plaid’s policy.  It’s been a disappointment to me that Plaid’s sister party, the SNP, recently changed its policy to support Scottish membership of NATO – I think that was a huge mistake for the party to make.
When that nuclear free declaration was made back in 1982, many of us thought that Wales was on the road to becoming a land of peace; but in 2014, it seems to be a land which actively welcomes the warmongers.  As I said at the outset, not all change has been for the better.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://plaid4monmouth.blogspot.co.uk/

Do you gentlemen know each other ?

John Dixon said...

As it happens, yes. But your point is?

Anonymous said...

As a PC candidate, do his views on NATO and the Ukraine lie closer to those of the PC leadership than your own ? .
The two views aren't particularly convergent. What does Leanne Wood think about Welsh membership of NATO in the rather distant future ? Bear in mind that the SNP had different views to PC on the Falklands war as well. The campaign to save the 'Black Watch' regiment was supported by the SNP as well.

John Dixon said...

I'm not sure why you're asking me any of these questions? Shouldn't you either be asking Jonathan himself or else someone else in Plaid? My comments are my own, and I'm happy to defend and debate them. But I'm not in any way accountable for the views of any political party or its candidates.

Anonymous said...

The reason I make these points is that the views of PC supporters (I'm a member) seem to be strange towards the Ukraine and the Baltic republics. I remember a lot of goodwill being shown towards visitors from the Newly-independent Baltic republics in the early to mid 90s, a lot of them being guests of PC branches. When these countries
thought of joining NATO, they were no longer held up as examples of 'small nations' to admire. A lot of comments about Ukraine and the EU from people like Hefin Jones (Golwg) have been nothing short of outrageous - to the left of RT , one might almost say. A lot of Welsh nationalists emphasise the advantages of independence, EU membership and Pan-Europeanism, and then criticise countries from the East who would agree with those ideals.
Putin and ISIS (in varying degrees) have damaged the peace movement which had gained a great deal of moral high ground and sympathy following Iraq and Afghanistan.
I always assumed you were a PC offical or representitive of some sorts, or had been. Am I wrong ?

John Dixon said...

"I always assumed you were a PC offical or representitive of some sorts, or had been. Am I wrong?"

Whilst I held a number of posts within Plaid over the years, I have not been a member of the party since 2010. So, whilst I am happy to comment on the substance of all sorts of issues, I feel no requirement on me to seek to explain or defend anything being said or done by Plaid or any of its members, which is what your earlier comments seemed to be expecting.

Anonymous said...

I see now. I assumed that you still spoke from a position of responsibility.