I really resent the automatic characterization of violent protesters as "anarchists." "Anarchism" is not the theory and practice of breaking windows. Unless we're certain that they espouse the essential tenets of anarchism, the most we can do is call them "vandals" or "hooligans."
But a “Black Bloc” of about 100 anarchists wanted something else. The group, which chanted “What do we want? Dead cops!” as it left Grant Park at 2 p.m., surged to the front of the protest crowd and tried to break through the imposing line of Chicago cops in riot gear blocking its path.
York was once a Northern Capital, it was founded by the Vikings, and there's loads of history there
Beyond Afghanistan, a weakened NATO can still write its own future
(Opinion Essay By Kurt Volker / The Christian Science Monitor / May 21, 2012)
When the dust settles from this week’s NATO summit in Chicago, and in the quiet of our own thoughts, we need to ask ourselves what NATO, or the United States and Europe more broadly, should actually do from here.
To be sure, NATO is managing the best it can in bad circumstances. It has grown fatigued in Afghanistan far sooner than needed to achieve success – and so it will embark on an inevitable but tenuous transition there.
Europe is consumed by a financial crisis and nearly everyone is slashing defense budgets – hence the focus on “smart defense” projects. Many allies lack the means or the will (or both) to take on hard military operations, so it’s good that partners such as Sweden and Qatar fill the gap.
And no one in Europe is enthusiastic about missile defenses to ward off potential strikes from Iran. But alliance members will go along if the Russians remain calm and the US pays – which it will, at least initially.
But the NATO that so dramatically transformed itself after the cold war is running out of gas. Since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, NATO began conducting “out-of-area” military operations as opposed to concentrating on deterrence. Now we’ve lost public support and are closing down operations. The alliance added new members from Central Europe – but that’s no longer on the table as Russian assertiveness and the prolonged euro crisis have taken away all appetite for open doors.
In the last two decades, NATO has transformed its defense forces from heavy and static to more nimble and deployable, but now those capabilities are being slashed. The only post-cold-war trend still at work in the alliance is partnering with other countries. Even that’s a bitter-sweet development, as partners are now doing what some allies refuse to do – fight.
Back in 2010, NATO’s Lisbon summit set out a “strategic concept” for the future. This, however, turned out to be a compendium of all the things NATO should do, without real priorities and commitment of resources. By prioritizing everything, we prioritized nothing.
So what to do?
One of NATO’s great secretary generals, Lord Robertson, said that “NATO’s credibility is its capability.” Today, when NATO’s capability is rapidly being reduced, we increasingly face a credibility gap. We have high ambitions, but don’t back them up with resources, leadership, and commitment. Restoring NATO’s credibility is arguably the most important task for the alliance at the moment.
One approach is for NATO to look closer to home. If publics are skeptical about far-off engagements such as Afghanistan – and if allies are slashing their capabilities to conduct such operations anyway – we should perhaps look at what we can accomplish with great credibility, and what our citizens will agree are high priorities.
This might include a renewed emphasis on planning and exercises for our collective defense – the core mission of NATO as summed up in Article 5 of its treaty. We should couple that with a broad understanding of what can actually threaten allied territory today: not just conventional militaries or nuclear weapons, but terrorism, infrastructure attacks, energy disruptions, and cyber attacks.
Tackling these issues with real resources and commitment is something NATO is capable of achieving if it wishes, and is more directly tied to the immediate well-being of citizens in the alliance.
Another approach is to look at successes within Europe, rather than failings. Here, the prospering Nordic-Baltic region of Europe offers lessons for the wider transatlantic community, shows a recent study from the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Most of these countries belong to NATO or the European Union, or both. They show that by managing their own issues well – economic growth, deficit reduction, energy security, closer integration, neighborly relations with Russia – the region is able to contribute disproportionately to common endeavors, whether Libya, Afghanistan, or an inclusive, free Europe.
Turning our attention more toward home – cleaning it up and defending it – helps set a forward agenda for NATO and the European Union. Fixing our deficit and debt crises is actually a security measure, as is genuine energy diversification. Supporting freedom and security in Eastern Europe strengthens our defense, as does finding a consensus on how to deal with Russia. And deepening European integration will provide a more reliable partner for the United States.
In today’s shrinking world, we see the rise of new powers, resource competition, and the threat of authoritarian capitalism and Islamist extremism. Without a strong transatlantic community, those are the forces that will shape the 21st century, while those of us who shaped the 20th century merely muddle through.
But with a realistic agenda and steady determination, the transatlantic community can still write its own future.
Lord Robertson, said that “NATO’s credibility ain't worth ****.”
Chicago braces for final day of anti-NATO protests as demonstrators march on Boeing HQ
(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Chicago braced for more demonstrations Monday, with protesters marching to Boeing Corp. headquarters, a day after police clashed with a group of demonstrators at the end of a march protesting the NATO Summit.
CBS Station WBBM correspondent Marissa Bailey reports the demonstration outside Boeing's headquarters on N. Riverside Plaza in the West Loop will protest the defense contractor building aircraft and missiles for the U.S. military.
The protesters say Boeing is a "war machine that produces war machines."
At about 11:00 a.m. CT protesters left Union Park and began walking along Lake Street toward Boeing, about 1.5 miles away, chanting, "We're going to beat back the Boeing attack."
Police are walking their bikes in ahead of them.
Last week Boeing covered its street-level windows with aluminum panels in preparation for possible vandalism during the protest. The Associated Press reported city workers unloaded metal barricades and placed them in front of Boeing's headquarters Monday morning. Guards outside the building include at least one dog handler with a K-9.
Two activists have hung up a sign on a metal fence outside Boeing headquarters reading, "Food not bombs."
The group does not have a permit for the protest, and thus, a large police presence is expected. However, demonstrators are not calling the planned event a protest at all, said Bailey. They are calling it a victory party, complete with food, clowns, music and dancing.
Many downtown businesses have told their employees to stay home during the second and final day of the summit — where world leaders are discussing the war in Afghanistan, European missile defense and other security issues — because of traffic snarls and the possibility of more protests.
More than two dozen Metra rail stations along a line that carries around 14,000 riders in from the southern suburbs on most weekdays will be closed, and stations and platforms patrolled by a larger contingent of law enforcement personnel and K-9 units. The Chicago Transit Authority will have to reroute 24 buses through the summit zone.
Protesters outside Obama HQers in Chicago
(The Associated Press, minutes ago)
Protesters have marched to President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters in downtown Chicago after leaving Boeing's headquarters.
Protesters arrived Monday afternoon at the Obama headquarters, housed in a high-rise building along Lake Michigan. Demonstrators chanted, sang and held signs in front of the Prudential Buiding. It's the third day of protests in Chicago in conjunction with the NATO summit.
Occupy Chicago didn't have a permit for Monday's march, and spokeswoman Rachael Perrotta says "the First Amendment is the only permit we need."
However, there were about 100 anarchists, dressed in black, determined to be violent.
the most we can do is call them "vandals" or "hooligans."
Quote:the most we can do is call them "vandals" or "hooligans."
Or socialists or communists or the now crowd favorite, terrorist.
You'd be right, equating Canadians to terrorists, Joe.
I think the tendency to call violent, destructive people anarchists ... I personally do not think it is unreasonable to characterize violent protesters as anarchists in many cases.
I think the tendency to call violent, destructive people anarchists derives from the late 19th century. Johann Most, with his "propaganda of the deed," called for violent acts of retribution against counter-revolutionaries, and specifically for publicity for these acts.
I personally do not think it is unreasonable to characterize violent protesters as anarchists in many cases.
Well, you ought to know, being a Canadian yourself.
You don't have to be Canadian to recognize the facts, Joe, but it seems to help a great deal if you're not American.