What if Everyone Joined a NATO (Who Doesn’t Like Getting Invaded)

Martin Rezny
Words of Tomorrow


Moving toward a more peaceful world with Global Harmony Initiative


What is your opinion of military invasions and occupations, generally? Good? Bad? Well, I’m going to try to defend the apparently crazy notion that they’re bad, even if my own country did them and was winning. More than that, I’m going to try to propose how we could prevent more of them from happening in the future. The main inspiration for the solution is NATO.

Something like NATO, to be precise, not necessarily the NATO as it exists today. Let’s call it Global Defense Alliance, for example. I feel I need to clarify this because I’ve had one or two heated arguments here about whether NATO actually is or isn’t a defensive alliance. For the purposes of this article, even if a true defensive alliance never existed, I’d argue we should invent it. While we simultaneously reform the United Nations.

To better address the issues of hard power, deterrence, and global resolution and peace enforcement, we propose that a NATO-like defensive military alliance backed by the authority of the UN is created which would safeguard all of the people of Earth who are interested in maintaining peace. With that said, some important definitions are in order, as some specifics of our proposal are unconventional.

First, let’s analyze the meaning of the concept of a defensive military alliance, and how this concept relates to the real-world example of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. At the most simple and straightforward level, a defensive alliance exists not to start fights, but to end fights. In this view, a defensive alliance doesn’t have to only stay within its own territory, it can launch interventions.

The main historical example of a NATO’s arguably humanitarian intervention was its role in the Yugoslav wars, particularly how it bombed Serbia to stop its actions that, regardless of any propaganda or diverging legal opinions, a reasonable person could argue were genocidal. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine is in progress, however, even this intervention is now often painted as a war crime in media.

As we have already stated, all human suffering is equally bad, or at least that seems to be the only reasonable position that a planetary organization charged with maintaining peace can hold. This means that as cold and disheartening as it is, we have to consider the calculus of human casualties. For comparison, let’s take the counter-example of the Rwandan genocide where no intervention took place.

In 1991, Yugoslavia had roughly 24 million people. The following Yugoslav wars resulted in about 140,000 casualties total. The NATO bombing caused around 1500 casualties, of which 1000 were combatants and 500 civilians. In 1994 before the genocide, Rwanda had over 7 million people. The casualties were around 800,000 people. The comparison may not be perfect, but it illustrates what we must count.

One can always question the real extent of the causal influence of any military intervention on the outcome of a conflict, or the true comparability of any two countries or conflicts, but a safe assumption is that the effect of an intervention should be non-zero, as well as greater than the effect of no intervention. It appears that in such extreme situations, a lesser evil is the best achievable outcome.

That is of course no consolation to any well-meaning soldiers who cause collateral damage or have to kill anyone in the first place, or to the specific victims and their families, but taking no action tends to help the people with the worst intentions, resulting in greater harm. What’s important is that the intentions and tactics of any humanitarian military intervention are fully humanitarian — a sight yet unseen.

Arguably, even the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia did include some actual war crimes, or in simple terms, targeted deaths of civilians that would qualify in legal terms as at least manslaughter. No UN-sanctioned military forces should ever purposely target civilians. It should go without saying, but unfortunately has to be said, that the “good guys” also do no raping, pillaging, or medieval sieges.

However, to avoid any type of both-sides-are-equally-bad logical fallacy, it is essential to carefully distinguish degrees of criminality or aggressiveness of any military force or operation. For example, let’s compare examples across alliances:

  • NATO didn’t start the Yugoslav wars, or any war. A provocation of Russia is arguable, but on an indirect, non-offensive level.
  • NATO didn’t invade Yugoslavia or intend to capture any territory.
  • NATO as an alliance doesn’t militarily intervene in countries for reasons other than to stop their offensive military actions or acts of genocide.
  • New countries tend to join NATO voluntarily with the only intention to ensure their own territorial defense. NATO doesn’t create puppet states.
  • Russia did start the Ukraine war.
  • Russia did invade Ukrainian territory with the intent to capture it.
  • Russia’s long-term goal is to install a puppet government in Ukraine, as well as to restore its imperial sphere of influence, by force, if necessary.
  • Israel didn’t start the war, but it did provoke it by long-term oppression.
  • Israel has already been taking over Palestinian territory for a long time.
  • Israel’s acceptable levels of collateral damage, or of targeting civilians, are greater than Russia’s and Serbia’s, let alone U.S.’s or NATO’s.
  • The U.S. does start and provoke wars, but it also aims to end them, with an imminent return to neutral isolationism being a real possibility.
  • The U.S. typically doesn’t invade countries to take over their territory, but it can do so for resources or to install a puppet regime.
  • The U.S. does sometimes intervene to stop acts of genocide, and it doesn’t do them purposely in modern times, but it can also let them happen for reasons of political convenience.

As these examples demonstrate, there is no exact equivalence between different actors involved in recent conflicts. A simple determination who’s the absolute good guys and the absolute bad guys also cannot be made. But at the same time, there is no justification for moral relativism. Each actor could clearly be acting more morally or more constructively toward ensuring world peace in one or more areas.

In simple, unambiguous terms, world peace is threatened whenever countries:

  • Start or provoke wars, particularly for reasons of territorial conquest, ethnic cleansing, resource capture, or pragmatic self-serving regime change.
  • Fail to oppose aggressors and war crimes.
  • Target civilians or otherwise maximize collateral damage.

Conversely, world peace is bolstered when countries:

  • Band together voluntarily to passively deter aggressors.
  • Intervene to put an end to wars of aggression and war crimes.
  • Do everything in their power to minimize collateral damage.

Once again, contrary to what any or all propaganda would have us believe, none of this is complicated. Every self-interested government in the history of our world was surely at least tempted to pretend that they or their allies did nothing wrong while their opponents were doing everything wrong. We must learn to ignore such obviously false claims of all self-interested actors and all military propaganda.

This is where the more unconventional part of our proposal comes in — the appeal to all people of Earth who support world peace and their inclusion in the alliance. Typically, military alliances exist between nation states. This is probably related to why the current name of our planetary unification organization is “United Nations”. We believe classical nationhood to be an outdated, or at least aging, paradigm.

Among themselves, nation states exist in a state of anarchy, and while they are comprised of human beings, the nation states, much like corporations, aren’t human beings. This is why they cannot actually have humane relations between each other. Constructs like United States or Russia don’t have any human empathy, or intrinsic ethics. The importance of peace isn’t felt by them.

It is felt by most human beings. A nation will never be fighting for peace because it believes peace to be a good thing in itself. Even in democracies, nations tend to be represented by governments that only vaguely reflect the aggregated sentiments of the population. More likely, any military action’s true motive will be a psychopathic desire of a leader for greater personal enrichment or self-aggrandizement.

As long as governments aren’t actually responsive to the genuine will of the people in real time, which during a conflict tends to be to stop the conflict as quickly and humanely as possible, the people should be allowed to volunteer themselves and participate in peacekeeping efforts anywhere in the world, regardless of their nationality or citizenship status. To an extent, it’s only a question of formalization.

Already, informal international volunteer legions are a real thing that was seen in the Ukraine conflict, which are roughly equivalent to the established concept of voluntary foreign legions that some democratic militaries have employed, from Czechoslovakia to France. A military force comprised of fighters and companies whose overriding allegiance is only to the ending of conflicts, stopping of atrocities, and minimization of collateral damage may be the best counter to aggression.

The second unconventional part of our proposal is our conception of an ideal future military, or what “global defense” should actually mean. On the most abstract level, defending people means protecting people who are in physical danger from harm. This danger can be caused by military actions of aggressors, but it can also have a wide variety of other causes, ranging from crime to natural disasters.

Historically, national militaries have often been employed to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, while the designated UN peacekeepers (the “blue helmets”) are being deployed to protect civilians as part of various humanitarian efforts. These are exactly the kinds of efforts that a force like GDA should emphasize above normal military activities, but it’s only a start. The only existing reference for a truly humanitarian armada is the Starfleet from Star Trek, and it does much more.

For starters, a Starfleet-like military would be formed around a robust engineering and science corps. During peacetime, which should be most of the time, it would be looking for ways in which it can improve global infrastructure with the emphasis on increasing safety, resilience, and preparedness. It would try to prevent or mitigate global threats like pandemics or geological, cosmic, or climate disasters.

It would specifically develop defensive weapons systems, including mainly armor, shielding, support drones, construction, repair, and maintenance technologies, and all kinds of countermeasures, with the aim to outpace and counter aggressive military research into weapons that aim to maximize destruction, inflict cruelty, or project power. It’s still a military, so it will need to be equipped to fight and inflict damage if necessary, but the difference in design philosophy makes a difference.

Such a military could also assist in large-scale police actions to thwart organized international crime, focus in part on space exploration and the setting up of defensive and civilian space infrastructure, bolster global supply chains by protecting global shipping, and still more. Sadly, there is no shortage of people all around the world currently living under preventable or mitigatable threats of harm. Where nations fail to address problems or cause them, GDA should intervene.

As long as the planet as a whole in some sort of democratic process decides that a particular intervention is warranted and passes a resolution enabling it, GDA would then have the authority to be the first responders. Hopefully not the only responders, but it should be robust enough as an organization to be able to address most problems by itself, without any additional help being needed.

Of course, this is a hypothetical future situation. In the near term, a sufficient first step would be to formalize the process of backing UN resolutions with a military alliance sufficient to enforce the actions in the resolution. The forming or formalization of some sort of international volunteer peacekeeping legion could be the next step toward a truly effective military alliance dedicated to world peace.

Global Harmony Initiative (GHI) Guiding Principles

We believe there is no prosperous, improving, or continuous future for humanity in which war or other forms of violent conflict are still thinkable at a large scale. This has become obvious with the advent of nuclear weapons — with our technology advancing, all conflicts become much more destructive, and all destruction much more complete.

While our SGEARS organization is dedicated to foreseeing and preventing how advancing technology can endanger us unwittingly, GHI’s ultimate aim is to prevent ourselves from endangering our own survival and prosperity on purpose. At the same time, however, we do not wish to sacrifice political sovereignty and freedom for security.

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