A Spanish lawmaker has condemned the NATO summit that was held in Madrid this June, denouncing the US-led military alliance for advocating for more war and pushing to enrich the weapons industry while Europeans suffer from inflation and an energy crisis.
On the floor of Spain’s parliament, leftist Deputy Gerardo Pisarello argued that “the NATO summit was not organized to strengthen the cause of peace,” but rather “was organized basically to reinforce the geostrategic priorities of the United States… above all to weaken China.”
“It is evident that Europe needs a new model of security,” Pisarello said. But “that security model has to be an autonomous model, a European model, not a model subordinated to the United States.”
He portrayed Washington as a neocolonial overlord, condemning Spain for offering to “surrender ourselves in vassalage to NATO.”
The US government came to Madrid “to sell us, at a high price, its polluting shale gas, its GMO grains, and above all, the weapons of Lockheed Martin and its war industry,” he declared.
Spain’s leftist member of parliament @G_Pisarello said the NATO summit was organized to “enrichen the weapons trade” and "reinforce the geostrategic priorities of the US" to "weaken China"
He called for an “autonomous” European security model
— Multipolarista (@Multipolarista) July 6, 2022
Gerardo Pisarello Prados is a Spanish-Argentine lawmaker from Catalunya, representing the socialist political party Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common), which is affiliated with the national leftist party Podemos.
He is a member of the Congress of Deputies, the lower chamber of Spain’s parliament, where he serves as first secretary and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In a speech in parliament on June 29, during NATO’s Madrid summit, Pisarello called for a new paradigm of “peace” and “respectful relations” with the Global South.
Citing left-wing leaders in Latin America, like Lula da Silva of Brazil and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, Pisarello declared, “There is a new multilateral world order that is emerging, which is irreversible, and which no empire, neither old or new, is going to be able to stop.”
The main threat to European security is not refugees, he stressed. Rather, “the principal security threat are the imperial disputes for energy resources, the concentration of wealth, the inequalities that creates, the migrations.”
The Spanish lawmaker denounced the demand by the United States and NATO that European governments boost their military spending to 2% of GDP.
This “would involve dedicating millions of euros to enrichen the weapons trade, when neither inflation nor unemployment is going to be resolved by filling Europe with more nuclear warheads or with more warships,” he said.
Pisarello pointed out that the combined military spending of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain is already four times larger than Russia’s.
Increasing the military budget “in the middle of a dire social and energy emergency would truly be the act of a pyromaniac,” he added.
Spain suffers from austerity, unemployment, poverty as US/NATO demands more military spending
The United States and its NATO alliance have pressured members to devote 2% of their GDP to military spending.
Since the 2008 financial crash, Spaniards have suffered from high levels of unemployment and poverty, and a brutal austerity policy that has continued regardless of which political party is in government.
This economic hardship has deepened with a global inflation crisis, which has been greatly exacerbated by Western sanctions on Russia, which have caused spiking energy prices.
Spain already spends €12.21 billion on its military every year, which represents 1.03% of GDP. This means that Madrid is pledging to double military spending to roughly €24 billion in just over seven years.
For context, even before Russia escalated the war in Ukraine in February 2022, Spain had increased its military spending in the past seven years by more than €2 billion, from 0.93% of GDP to 1.03%.
Spain is currently governed by a liberal coalition led by the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party), which despite its name is a neoliberal centrist party that has governed just like the right wing.
Madrid’s proposal to significantly boost military expenditure must be approved by the parliament. Spain’s left-wing party Podemos, which is technically part of the coalition government, has pledged to oppose the measure. Meanwhile, the major right-wing Partido Popular (People’s Party), which is in the opposition, supports Madrid’s proposed spending hike.
The Spanish government is already saddled by tens of billions of dollars of debt due to foreign weapons contracts, and economic experts warn that the country will likely be forced to impose even more austerity measures in order to pay this off.
For more than a decade, Spanish workers have been heavily hurt by austerity measures imposed on them by a succession of neoliberal governments, at the orders of EU leadership in Brussels.
Spain has the second-highest level of unemployment in the European Union, after Greece. After the 2008 financial crash, national unemployment in Spain reached more than 20%. As of 2021, it is officially at 13%, although southern provinces have rates over 20%.
A staggering 27.8% of people in Spain are at risk of poverty, according to official government statistics, and that figure is getting worse by the year.
Transcript of speech by Spanish lawmaker Gerardo Pisarello denouncing NATO militarism
Multipolarista translated Gerardo Pisarello’s speech into English. A full transcript follows below:
Gentlemen of the right wing, as you will come to understand, if we join the warmongering fervor that has come to show itself here today [at NATO’s Madrid summit], in the middle of a dire social and energy emergency, it would truly be the act of a pyromaniac.
Because we are going to say it clearly: what you all are proposing here does not guarantee any calm, or any security to working families and to the citizenry in general, among other reasons, because from the start it would involve dedicating millions of euros to enrichen the weapons trade, when neither inflation nor unemployment is going to be resolved by filling Europe with more nuclear warheads or with more warships.
After NATO’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, it is evident that Europe needs a new model of security.
But if we have learned something from all of this, we must at least have two things clear: first of all, that that security model has to be an autonomous model, a European model, not a model subordinated to the United States, or to any other power; and secondly, that that autonomous security model should not be used for escalation without end, but rather for a foundational value of Europe and the United Nations: peace as a condition for shared prosperity.
I understand that the Partido Popular [Spain’s major right-wing party] which already involved us in the Iraq War, with Blair and George Bush, does not clearly see this goal, but at least you could listen to conservative people, of your own ideology, who remember that every single day of war means thousands of civilian victims, with mass displacement, with economic devastation, with mothers crying to their children, dead soldiers.
We, for example, would have hoped for a summit in which it is remembered that the principal security threat are not the Ukrainian refugees, or Syrian refugees, or Africans; that the principal security threat are the imperial disputes for energy resources, the concentration of wealth, the inequalities that creates, the migrations.
We would have wanted a summit in which it is explained that increasing military spending when there are urgent needs and when just France, Germany, Italy, and Spain spend four times more on the military than Russia, that it makes absolutely no sense.
We would have liked a summit in which it were said that the main challenge for Europe is not trying to pressure people with fear, but rather persuade them, that is to say, to be a credible promoter of peace and of negotiated resolutions of the conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine, or the Sahara.
But that is not going to happen, because the NATO summit was not organized to strengthen the cause of peace, which was championed by people like Altiero Spinelli, Petra Kelly, or Olof Palme. This summit was organized basically to reinforce the geostrategic priorities of the United States, which are not about Ukraine or Europe, but above all about weakening China.
That, gentlemen, is why Mr. Marshall [the United States] has not come to this summit with a pack of social and green investments under his arm. He has not come with a Green New Deal under his arm.
He has come to sell us, at a high price, his polluting shale gas, his GMO grains, and above all, the weapons of Lockheed Martin and his war industry. And he has come to tell us that, more than ending the war, what we need to do is feed it.
And let’s be honest, that can be the project of an irresponsible warmonger like Boris Johnson; it can be the project of the Polish ultra-right-wing; it can be the project of the Latvian ultra-right-wing; but it cannot be the project of a Europe that respects itself, a Europe that wants to be autonomous, and that aspires to build a civilizational alternative based on the deepening of democracy, of peace, of social and environmental justice.
That other, autonomous European model not only is it what is better for the countries in the south of Europe; it is the only one with which we can earn the respect of the rest of the peoples of the world, beginning with Africa and Latin America.
Because what Africa hopes of us, gentlemen, not is that we go to pillage its resources, to later militarize the southern border, and shoot those who try to cross it [a reference to the Melilla massacre on June 24].
What Africa hopes for is a serious commitment, not just rhetoric, with a codevelopment that allows its boys and girls to eat every day, and not see themselves pushed to immigrate when they are teenagers.
Because what Latin America hopes for us is not what [Spain’s King] Felipe VI proposed, after receiving Biden at the foot of his airplane, that we surrender ourselves in vassalage to NATO.
What they hope for, which was told to us by [Brazil’s] ex President Lula, what was told to us by [Mexico’s] President López Obrador is that we seek peace and shared prosperity, starting from a respectful relation between free and equal peoples.
That respectful, not arrogant, Iberoamericanism is also what was just demanded by Colombia’s President-elect Gustavo Petro.
Gentlemen of the right-wing, don’t allow the neocolonial ravings of of the marquesses [feudal royals] of Vargas Llosa ruin this opportunity.
Because if that happens, I can assure you that Africa and Latin America will rebel.
They already did it with [King] Fernando VII. They already did it in Cuba and the Philippines, supported by Pi y Margall and by Unamuno.
And it will happen again if we don’t understand that there is a new multilateral world order that is emerging, which is irreversible, and which no empire, neither old or new, is going to be able to stop.
Discutiendo con la derecha sobre la Cumbre de la OTAN pic.twitter.com/b5ppFUzu0o
— Gerardo Pisarello (@G_Pisarello) June 29, 2022