Q: What is the result of the Symposium in Florence?
Michel Chossudovsky: The event was a great success, with the participation of speakers from the United States, Europe and Russia. We presented the history of NATO. We identified and carefully documented its crimes against humanity. And at the end of the Symposium, we presented the “Declaration of Florence,” a way of exiting the war system.
Q: In your introduction, you affirmed that the Atlantic Alliance is not a true alliance…
Michel Chossudovsky: On the contrary, under the appearance of a multinational military alliance, it is the Pentagon which dominates the decision-making mechanisms of NATO. The USA controls the command structures of NATO, which are incorporated with those of the United States. The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) is always a US General nominated by Washington. The Secretary General, currently Jens Stoltenberg, is essentially a bureaucrat who handles public relations. He has no decision-making role.
Q: Another theme you raised was that of the US military bases in Italy and other European countries, including in the East, despite the fact that the Warsaw Pact has not existed since 1991, and despite the promise made to Gorbachev that no extension of NATO towards the East would ever occur. What is the purpose of these bases?
Michel Chossudovsky: NATO’s tacit objective – an important theme in our debate in Florence – is to implement, under a different denomination, the de facto “military occupation” of Western Europe. The United States not only continue to “occupy” the ex-members of the Second World War “Axis countries” (Italy, Germany), but have used the badge of NATO to set up US military bases in all of Western Europe, and, thereafter, in Eastern Europe in the wake of the Cold War, and in the Balkans in the wake of the NATO war against Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro).
Q: What has changed in terms of the possible use of nuclear weapons?
Michel Chossudovsky: Immediately after the Cold War, a new nuclear doctrine was formulated, focused on the preventive use of nuclear weapons, in other words, on a nuclear first strike as a means of self-defence. Within the framework of USA-NATO interventions, presented as peace-keeping measures,