16:56 GMT +318 February 2019
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    NATO's multinational battalion in Poland. (File)

    Peace Activist: We Are In a Situation Where Big War Is Not Out of Discussion

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    Denis Bolotsky

    While the authorities in Brussels are preparing for the annual NATO leaders meeting, peace activists from all over the world have also gathered in the city to protest against the alliance’s plans and to voice their concerns at a counter-summit. Sputnik met with Co-President of the International Peace Bureau Reiner Braun to discuss NATO’s policies.

    Sputnik: On Saturday you took part in the peace rally here in Brussels, and now the activists have gathered for a counter-summit. What's on the agenda?

    Reiner Braun: NATO has its annual meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. The first point of this meeting is the "2 percent GDP for military spending," which is, from our understanding a totally stupid idea. Why should the European countries spend billions of dollars for military purposes, when we need money for social welfare, for health care, for education, for science? It is a wrong way of solving global problems. We'll never solve world problems militarily. We need much more development in civil and international purposes, and that's why we are against "the 2 percent."

    The second point is nuclear weapons. We are deeply against the so-called "modernization" of nuclear weapons, which is wrong wording, because there is a new generation of nuclear weapons, which they want to bring, for example, to Europe. The B61-12 is aggression against Russia. It's a strategic weapon and not a tactical weapon like the old one. So we are against the development of new nuclear weapons.

    And, maybe the third point is — we will discuss the future of NATO in general: why [do] we need such a military alliance in this world? Where are the enemies? And from our understanding, we need a policy of common security, of working together for all countries in the world, for solving the global challenges in the world. And that is the opposite of NATO.

    We need a security system which includes all countries, but not excluding some so-called "enemies" — that is our main job today. We were doing this yesterday during the rally and we will definitely continue doing this in preparation [for] the 70th anniversary of NATO next year.

    READ MORE: NATO States Need New Forms of Defense Besides Raising Military Budgets — EU MP

    Anti-NATO demonstration
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    Anti-NATO demonstration

    Sputnik: The situation in the world is changing drastically. North Korea decided to go along with requests from the international community when it comes to its nuclear program. What other developments could we expect in that region?

    Reiner Braun: Talks are always better than using weapons. So I'm in favor — in any conflict — of dialogue and negotiations. So, I'm happy about the talks between South Koreans and North Koreans. I think this could be a way out of [an] un-normal situation when both countries, in reality, are in war: there is no agreement between South and North Korea about [a] ceasefire or even [a] peace treaty.

    I'm a little bit in doubt about the results of [the] negotiations between Trump and North Korea, because Trump is using big words, and is doing the opposite. I'm for the world free of any nuclear weapons, but I can understand that North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons before they will really get clear commitments for their country and for [the survival] of their country.

    They know Libya; they know what happened in Iraq; so they will not forget it in negotiations. So I hope there will be first steps between the US and North Korea to de-militarize the whole region, to start negotiations and [a] disarmament process, but, from my understanding, it will take many years, maybe ten or twenty years, and I'm not so sure if Trump understands the same.

    And if he doesn't come back quickly to his words of aggression and wars, we will see what will happen. I think for all peaceful forces in the world it's a huge obligation to support all negotiations, the disarmament process, knowing that it will be a long-term process.

    READ MORE: 'Trump Not Welcome': Anti-NATO Protests Erupt in Brussels (PHOTO, VIDEO)

    Sputnik: NATO is "flirting" with potential new members such as Ukraine, and is continuing "war games" on Russia's borders. What do you think about NATO's confrontation with Russia?

    Reiner Braun: NATO is developing confrontational politics against Russia. They were doing this, in reality, all the time; they have never given it up. But now we are in a new situation where they are in a really aggressive confrontation with Russia. It means they could try to encircle Russia, to develop military bases, to make trainings along the Russian border.

    This is definitely, absolutely [the] wrong way. We need cooperation with Russia, we need dialogue with Russia; we need economic, ecological, social, and other relations. So, the question is how to overcome this confrontation. And I think that the main point is that the people in Europe must understand much more than in the past that the confrontational policies are against their own social interests. When they understand this, and when we awaken more than we are now, then we can overcome this situation. I think it will not be very quick, because this is the strategic option of NATO.

    The concept of NATO is not to develop a new equal world order, it's to be more aggressive, and to believe that with more aggression and with more military forces they could overcome their weakness. It is a mistake, but it's more than dangerous, and I think that this is a key point: we are really in a political situation where a big war, a big international war is not any longer out of discussion. And this is very dangerous, and this is one of the reasons why peace activists are gathering today in Brussels.

    READ MORE: NATO Wants 'Sensible' Relations With Russia — Merkel

    The views and opinions expressed by Reiner Braun are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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