NATO plans new projects despite protests
May 21 is the second day of the NATO Chicago summit. The event will have an extensive agenda primarily focusing on Afghanistan. Then, the summit’s participants are expected to make statements about anti-missile defense controversies with Russia. Earlier, NATO’s Chief announced the implementation of the Smart Defense strategy and intentions to develop its ABM projects regardless of Russia’s opinion.
On the first day, the NATO “party” was spoiled by clashes between protesters and Chicago police.
People of Chicago will hardly ever forget the 2012 summit even if they try. The city seems to be sitting on a volcano – police blocked and cordoned the Congress Center area and closed several subway lines and streets. But this didn’t help. Thousands took to the streets, including US Army Veterans, who were tearing their medals off and throwing them at police. Then a rally grew into a fight with Occupants trying to break through the cordons and hitting police with banners and flags. The latter responded, which resulted in dozens of arrested and injured protesters and officers and scared locals.
However, the protests didn’t disrupt the summit. In the vast Congress Center that was securely cordoned by police and special servicemen, NATO leaders talked peace in Afghanistan, ABMs in Europe and NATO reforms. The discussions were held behind closed doors which contradicts the transparency policy declared by the alliance.
The main outcome of the summit for Russia is that NATO has no intentions to halt its ABM deployment in Europe despite any protests from Moscow. Meanwhile, Brussels is ready for a dialogue with Moscow, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters on May 20.
The West once again stated that its anti-missile shield is not targeted against Russia and a statement to this effect can be adopted on May 21. Moscow will hardly be happy with it as it seeks legal guarantees.
Another important issue on the summit’s agenda is the reform of the alliance. Its leaders announced the implementation of the Smart Defense strategy which is aimed at spending less but more in a more efficient way.
This means that the alliance is now dividing responsibilities – one will be dealing with military aviation, one - with tanks or intelligence. The plan also stipulates uniform training of the military and joint drills.
Barack Obama admitted that economic troubles triggered the adoption of the strategy.
On the second day, NATO partners and allies together with Foreign and Defense Ministers of 60 countries will talk the Afghan campaign. Experts don’t expect any breakthroughs while Occupy protesters and anti-globalists are expected to use every chance to break through the cordons.
A number of Chicago offices made this Monday a day off to be on the safe side.