Without NATO there would be no war in Ukraine

Europe's youth can prevent nuclear war by organizing a crusade for peace to Russia and Ukraine en masse

The greatest danger to humanity does not lie in new pandemics, in the consequences of climate change, the instability of the financial markets, the threat of nuclear war or in mass immigration. History shows that most people are resilient enough to withstand disasters and face major challenges. The greatest danger lies with world leaders and government leaders in general who base their policies on wrong assumptions. The world has become so complex that it becomes very difficult to make well-informed decisions.

Most government leaders strongly believe in globalization. It seems obvious that global problems such as a pandemic, climate change or an economic recession can be solved most quickly and best with a well-coordinated approach on a global scale. Some dream of a world government. In a video message to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that small boats go down in a storm, but a giant ship can brave a storm.

Zach Weissmueller, a journalist and producer at the Reason Foundation, an American think tank based in Los Angeles, says that if we're all in one ship and the storm gets too violent, we'll all drown. According to him, a concentration of power represents an existential risk. A bad economic measure at the global level can plunge the entire world economy.

Globalization poses a huge risk, especially because there is so much uncertainty about how we should address the global problems mentioned above. Is there a better alternative? Scientific research can point in a direction here. A scientist discovers a lot by chance and this is especially successful if he tries something more or less haphazardly (with 'trial and error'). That is also why it is often eccentrics and obstinate scientists who make new discoveries. Anyone who is dependent on subsidies and who works for a large international institute will avoid risks and above all do not want to make mistakes. However, we know that we can learn from mistakes. Although a large institution can provide the money and resources to enable advanced and high-tech research, it is always the individual scientist who gets a hunch and forces a breakthrough. The point is that large institutions and organizations offer the talented and intrepid individuals all the freedom and opportunities, which often fails because less talented people and meddling officials do not grant them this freedom.

If this reasoning is correct, we should decentralize as much as possible to deal with the big problems of our time. I would start by winding down the European Union to give every sovereign country the opportunity to 'experiment' with an innovative policy. Within a confederation, the sovereign countries can exchange their experiences in order to reach good agreements. A confederation works best when each sovereign country is given the freedom and opportunities to develop and test its own policies. On the contrary, a union as we know it in Europe prevents innovation, development and therefore also the chance to cope with the major problems of our time. Europe's inability to deal with the mass immigration of millions of illegal immigrants is a prime example of this. The EU has played no significant role on covid-19. Member States individually 'experimented', exchanged experiences and finally the pandemic was contained.

Another current example is the war in Ukraine. It is unknown at the time of this writing how it will turn out. There is a risk that it will get worse and that Europe will catch fire. NATO is partly responsible for this conflict with Russia. Russia was humiliated by expanding NATO. Western government leaders have been making the wrong decisions for thirty years, despite warnings from some experts who predicted war as early as the 1990s if NATO expansion continues. Putin, of course, also made the wrong decision, which is also immoral, because a war against a brother nation is madness and evil. As Europeans, we should also be ashamed that a war is raging here again.

My hypothesis is that there would have been no warfare or other aggression from Russia if NATO had not existed. There would have been sovereign European countries that would have forged close ties with Russia. The experiences would have been exchanged between the countries and perhaps we would have already had a confederation of which Russia was also a member. Unfortunately, the US has an economic and military-strategic interest that there is no rapprochement with Russia within Europe. Through NATO, the US has the power and influence to prevent fraternization.

The World Economic Forum is also, in a sense, an existential risk to Western civilization. Here, plans are devised and informal agreements are made based on the erroneous assumption that globalization offers the solution to the major problems of our time. The chic environment of Davos, where the so-called 'elite' of the world gathers, dazzles the participants. Who would dare to present a dissenting voice there? If it's by some Greta, it's a voice in the desert or it's fun for the stage.

The dissenting voices are here. Social media offers the individuals the opportunity to come up with new ideas. Through podcasts there will be a new spring and a new sound. A lot of nonsense is being launched in cyberspace, but those who pay close attention will catch the signals on the internet that announce a new world. It is difficult to predict exactly what that world will look like. In line with the above, I suspect that more and more citizens will take initiatives themselves to initiate solidarity actions in every conflict or disaster. That happens in every humanitarian crisis, as it is now for refugees from Ukraine.

However, there is more: where do those citizens get the motivation to stand up for others, even for complete strangers from a faraway country? This is a wonderful form of 'globalisation' or rather of the approach of global problems from the perspective of individual citizens. Why are it mainly citizens in the West who show such solidarity at international level? Is this not grounded in the Judeo-Christian ethic on which our civilization is founded? This is not about being religious or ecclesiastical, but about the free choice to be merciful, forgiving, selfless and self-sacrificing. If citizens are massively inspired by this ethic, a world without war, with a just distribution of wealth and good stewardship of nature, will emerge and we will be able to meet the greatest challenges in the 21st century. In short, for those who want to accept it: it will not be globalization that will solve the world's problems, but the Judeo-Christian ethic that appeals to each individual to take up our individual responsibility for others (including those far away and future generations).

A nuclear war is imminent. Is it still justifiable to adopt a wait-and-see attitude? Is it justifiable to place hopes in NATO which is partly the cause of the tensions? Given the gravity of the situation, the answer to both questions is a definite no. I hope that through social media, citizens will be called upon en masse to take action to create fraternization between Russia and Ukraine and ultimately with the rest of Europe. There are enough influencers in cyberspace to initiate that crusade.

Juliaan van Acker is emeritus professor at Radboud University Nijmegen

see also: The future of Europe lies in Russia The Holy Alliance and Why to live differently in the 21st century

   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024