This is what the Labour manifesto has to say about NATO:
As the security threats and challenges we face are not bound by geographic borders, it is vital that as Britain leaves the EU, we maintain our close relationship with our European partners. Alongside our commitment to NATO, we will continue to work with the EU on a range of operational missions to promote and support global and regional security.
Labour’s commitment to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence will guarantee that our Armed Forces have the necessary capabilities to fulfil the full range of obligations, and ensure our conventional forces are versatile and able to deploy in a range of roles.
Yes, NATO does want its members to spend 2% of GDP on defence. This guideline was agreed in 2006 and reaffirmed at a summit in Wales in September 2014.
Allies currently meeting the NATO guideline to spend a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence will aim to continue to do so.
Allies whose current proportion of GDP spent on defence is below this level will:
– halt any decline in defence expenditure;
– aim to increase defence expenditure in real terms as GDP grows;
– aim to move towards the 2% guideline within a decade with a view to meeting their NATO Capability Targets and filling NATO’s capability shortfalls.
So what’s this then? Why, it’s Mr Corbyn opposing NATO in June 2014 and looking forward to protesting against the summit in Wales later that summer. He decries the defence spending targets we are talking about and then says NATO is a “very, very dangerous Frankenstein of an organisation”.
Corbyn did show up in Wales to do his anti-imperialist duty. He said:
– NATO needs to be “taken to task”.
– NATO was etablished “in order to promote a Cold War with the Soviet Union. That resulted in the formation of the Warsaw Pact. That resulted in 60 years of a ludicrous arms race which cost us all billions of pounds and dollars and damaged the civil liberties of people all over the world.” In Corbyn’s world, it is always our fault, of course. Whatever it is. Our fault. Always our fault.
– This is what NATO really is: “an engine for the delivery of oil to the oil companies and the main nations of this world”.
– Bottom line? “Close down NATO!”
No wonder Mr Corbyn has brought the veteran communist Andrew Murray into the top echelon of his election campaign. Murray doesn’t just want the alliance “closed down”. No, it needs to be “defeated”.
Here’s the summit rabble. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” Yes, every proper Corbynista gathering needs calls for Israel’s annihilation, doesn’t it. “MI6, CIA, how many kids did you kill today!” Ah, multi-generational stale slogan recycling. Well done. “Class war!” Communist banners too, naturally.
Queried on the party and NATO last Sunday, Labour in the shape of Emily Thornberry assured us that Mr Corbyn has been “on a journey” and all things NATO are now settled.
I do like good comedy.