Disband NATO!

And f#@* Angus King!

Adam Marletta
5 min readApr 13, 2024

Maine U.S. Senator Angus King, on the 75th anniversary of NATO’s founding, tweeted out the following bit of state propaganda:

The occasion of NATO’s “birthday” is, perhaps, an appropriate reason to reflect on the Cold War-era imperialist coalition and whether it is, as King says, “more needed … than at any point in history.”

Indeed, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has little to do with “self-defense,” and everything to do with perpetuating Western imperialism throughout the globe.

NATO’s “Noble” Beginnings

NATO was established on April 4, 1949, as a means of “defending” the United States and its European allies from the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc affiliates. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the U.S. and the USSR emerged as the two dominant global superpowers. And both these superpowers possessed nuclear weapons, thus precluding the possibility of either nation engaging in direct military action. (Nonetheless, this fact did not stop the United States from acting completely recklessly in attempting to provoke Soviet aggression during the Cuban missile crisis.)

A 2021 story in Al-Jazeera describes this history as NATO’s “Noble beginnings.” It conveniently fails to mention the fact that 14 capitalist nations, including the United States, promptly invaded the Soviet Union after the Bolsheviks’ October 1917 revolution, with the intent of overthrowing the newly established socialist government.

Just a few years prior to NATO’s formation, the Soviet Union had been a crucial ally of the U.S. and the Allied forces in its fight against Nazi Germany. In fact, contrary to the popular conception that the “U.S. won WWII,” the USSR had done most of the heavy lifting in terms of sustained combat with the Nazis. At least 27 million Soviets in the Red Army died fighting off the Nazi beast. Compare this number of casualties to the nearly 400,000 American soldiers who died in the Second World War. It is clear that the U.S. could not have defeated the Nazis without the Soviet Union.

With the United States’ global armaments industry operating at full capacity (and pulling in record profits for its corporate “Defense” industries), the ruling-class needed a new enemy to “safeguard the world” from. The ruling class was, furthermore, terrified of the growing influence of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. If communism could take hold in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, it could surely take hold here in America. Thus, NATO was formed as a bulwark against the red menace.

Following Boris Yeltsin’s illegal overthrow of the USSR in 1991, NATO had, it seemed, lost its raison d’etre. But, the Western ruling class, rather than dissolving NATO, increased its membership and expanded its reach. Russia, understandably, felt it was being encircled by NATO. This encirclement arose despite numerous promises to Russian officials that NATO would “not expand one inch eastward.”

Russia has, in the past decade, sought to further reassert itself against U.S. and NATO hegemony. Russia’s bloodless annexation of the majority ethnically-Russian Crimea, in 2014, was but one instance of Russia’s pushback. Russia’s defensive military intervention in Ukraine, in 2022, is the most recent example.

(And, as of this writing, that latter military campaign is essentially over — despite what the pro-war cable news pundits might tell you. Russia has defeated Ukraine’s army. Putin won.)

Pivot to Asia

Yet in many respects, Russia is no longer considered NATO’s primary antagonist. That distinction now belongs to China.

The U.S. views China’s robust, rapidly growing economy as an existential threat to its global capitalist and imperialist dominance. Both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden have only increased the jingoistic rhetoric towards China. NATO’s attempts to encircle China — just as it did the Soviet Union, decades ago — are now fully underway.

Of particular interest to the U.S. is control of the Northeast Passage which is over the top of Russia. The rapidly melting Arctic (which is melting at an alarming rate due to climate change) is widely — and perversely — viewed by the ruling elite as creating an economic “opportunity” for increased trade and shipping routes.

Sen. King has long touted the economic benefits of the newly emerging Northeast Passage. King is an “independent,” who caucuses with the Democrats — but his pro-war, imperialist views could easily fit in with either capitalist party. King, like “Never Trumper” darling, Nikki Haley, has managed to successfully convince voters he is a political “centrist,” or “moderate,” while he supports some of the most heinous, criminal, and barbaric U.S.-backed wars in recent history. But bourgeois liberal Mainers love King because he is “distinguished,” “well-spoken,” and poses as an environmentalist.

King supports the U.S.-NATO proxy-war in Ukraine. He supports the U.S. regime-change war in Syria. He voted to impose sanctions on China for its bogus “genocide of the Uyghur Muslims.” And, most recently, he voted against a ceasefire in Israel’s actual genocide of Gaza. Sen. King casts himself as a champion of climate change action — while he backs to the tilt the largest global contributor to CO2 emissions on Earth: The U.S. military.

Suffice to say, NATO serves no redeeming function. It is an arm of U.S. imperialism. And imperialism, as Vladimir Lenin observed, is the “highest stage of capitalism.”

In Lenin’s essential 1916 essay, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, he explains how the First World War was the logical, inevitable result of an imperialist war “waged for the political and economic exploitation of the world, export markets, sources of raw material, [and] spheres of capital investments.”

This is the sole reason why NATO still exists in 2024–33 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The “NATO Left”

Yet there are many on the Left who routinely downplay or ignore NATO’s role in fomenting U.S. imperialism. These are the so-called “socialists” who support the U.S. proxy-war in Ukraine under the misplaced assumption that it is a war for “national liberation” against “Russian imperialism.”

These “NATO-leftists” include figures like pop-philosopher, Slavoj Zizek. Zizek is an anti-communist “Marxist” who supported the NATO/U.S. bombing of his own home country, Yugoslavia and continues to support U.S. funding of Nazis in Ukraine. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) meanwhile, has offered a vague “pox-on-both-sides” position on Russia, Ukraine, and NATO expansion.

The Left’s lack of clarity on NATO (if not, indeed, outright support for the institution) is part of larger trend of left-wing anti-communism, which I have written about previously. Suffice to say, if we are to have any hope of establishing a viable, working-class opposition to capitalism, we must understand that NATO is not on our side.

Down with NATO! F@*! Angus King! And no war but class war!

This piece originally appeared on Substack. Check out my other stories on Substack and consider becoming a subscriber.



Adam Marletta

Writer, socialist, and coffee-fiend. I have written for the West End News, Socialist Worker, a bunch of decidedly less interesting publications.