Non-State Actress #5: Everything the Light Touches is NATO
And The Light is Democracy.
Review: The previous issue, Jewish Lizards Don’t Run the Government, talked a little about conspiracy theories, anti-semitism, and a few of the brilliant American women in multilateralism. While these are all big topics we’ll come back to, the point was to start building a foundation to dig deeper into international cooperation, how it works, and why it’s in the interests of America and Americans to lead on the global stage.
Today and tomorrow’s NSA’s are focused on one thing before we go full speed on Munich Security Conference (MSC2023) Content: NATO doesn’t attack or provoke any one or thing. Up until February 2022, the most significant (and honest) critique of NATO was that it responded too slowly, didn’t act decisively, and was a waste because “all the countries NATO was formed to defend against were now IN NATO.” Vladmir Putin (leader of Russia)’s decision to illegally and violently invade Ukraine for the second time since 2014 - not a current NATO member but the literal barrier between NATO and not NATO and a sovereign nation - proves that.
We love some good friendship bops. Who needs Galentine’s Day when you can just live your best damn life *every day*?
In the Beginning
At the end of World War II, the United States funded the European Recovery Plan, now called the Marshall Plan. The investment supported 17 European nations, hoping to ward off post-war economic hardship that could push these newly non-autocratic nations into the arms of Communism *or* make it very easy for the countries to fall to the growing Soviet armies stationed around the continent.
After the 1948 communist take over of Czechoslovakia, 10 European nations and 2 North American countries signed a commitment to maintaining peace in Europe, cooperation among members, rule of law, and mutual defense of one another. That commitment named to group (you guessed it!) NATO- or North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Much like its name, NATO’s mission is pretty simple. NATO doesn’t want to hurt anyone - and NATO does NOT mess around.
Getting to Know NATO
The story of NATO is like contouring. It seems complicated and it kind of is, but it’s also super simple, based on principals of nature, and all about Where the Light Touches.
You know that friend you rarely see, or update on your life, but are constantly sending Instagram reels*back and forth and if shit REALLY hit the fan would bail you out/clear your browser history and Bumble chats? NATO is that friend.
NATO is like the people your brain imagines when you scream ‘ASSEMBLE!’ internally while prepping a pre-holiday Costco run. The Power Rangers, Steven Universe Gems, Spice Girls.
This Isn’t A Regular NATO Article, This Is a Cool NATO Article
NATO’s origin story is linked to the rise of Communism. It is inherently reactionary, by which I mean NATO literally exists solely to defend member nations against and protect the peace. At the time of its founding and for a while after, that defense was exclusively focused on physical attacks. Lots of people write lots of stuff about what NATO is, what it isn’t, what it can do, what it can’t do, why it matters…and I’ve linked to some of it in the Gimme More section. My opening contribution this week is more focused really along the Vibe Check lines.
NATO Vibe Check: Compare and Contrast
Things NATO Does
◦ Respond to humanitarian crisis as individual nations AND as the collective
◦ Train together
◦ Collectively purchase, invest in, build, and fund technology
◦ Exchange challenge coins (I really do not like challenge coins )
◦ Make decisions by committee
Things NATO Doesn’t Do
◦ Invade sovereign countries
◦ Fund terrorist activities
◦ Compete as a single team in the World Cup
◦ Meddle in elections by funding, creating or supporting disinformation, misinformation, and mechanisms for sharing that information
NATO is above all a defensive organization NATO does not attack, instigate, or shitstir. This isn’t my opinion, this is a literal fact.
NATO Vibe Check: Character Archetype
Here is a list of characters and historical figures that are like NATO:
-Garnet from Steven Universe. The Adult in the Room who wasn’t the original leader, but became The Leader out of tragedy. The OG from rebelling against the Homeworld Gems.
-Bruiser Woods in Legally Blonde 1 AND 2. Loyal AF and the emotional attachment born from that loyalty literally changes the world.
-Rizzo from Grease. Knows who she is and why, and doesn’t take shit from anyone.
-Barbara and Adam from Beetlejuice (and honestly Geena Davis 24/7). They didn’t want to scare anyone, they just wanted their house! Which belonged to them!
NATO Vibe Check: Social Media Trends
NATO is a sorority, complete with very complicated rush and pledge system that makes ‘Bama look like a damn free for all. NATO is a collection of like-minded countries who, in recognition of differences, are not committed to paying for your destination wedding but would absolutely get to your night out if your fiancé was actually married to someone else in another state and had 3 kids you didn’t know about. NATO are the people who know all the signs, hashtags, codewords, and will be your best friend from preschool you just happened to run into at the bar when they see some jackass trying to drug your drink. Under other circumstances, you might have no hobbies in common but as a generally good person who doesn’t drug people, you intervene on each other’s behalf.
Again, what’s helpful about this analogy is that it underscores that NATO doesn’t attack and NATO is not about a specific country or person- it is a set of behaviors that trigger involvement!
Wrap It Up
Understanding NATO is both easy and whole damn mess- but understanding NATO and its relevance to us on an individual and collective level is one of, if not the most, significant and impactful ways to think about national security, defense, and why it matters.
Understanding NATO also means understanding and valuing the core guiding principles of America and democracy. So, if we ‘get’ NATO, it means we sorta ‘get’ everything else. It’s a living example of values (my fav!) and consequences in action.
In 1949, the Soviet Union had standing armies stationed throughout Eastern Europe. Attempting to rebuild from the genocide of millions at the hands of an autocratic government by establishing or re-establishing democratic institutions, non-Soviet states were increasingly fearful of a potential Communist invasion, 12 countries signed a collective agreement to keep the peace. And THAT is NATO.
Sneak Peak: Tomorrow morning - Non-State Actress #6: NATO and the Neighborhood Bar Creep
Gimme More: A Few Resources for More Info
There are lots of ways to learn about NATO. Since we’ll be covering this pretty heavily, today’s resources are primarily from NATO itself. And also on the history of contouring.
#WeAreNATO Campaign on Social Media
Masterclass on Contouring
The Light is democracy and rule of law, friends.
I know ‘TikTok’ is popular, but personally I don’t want the CCP drinking up my personal data AND setting norms and trends via algorithm. Ya know?