Is Nato really an LGBT ally?
Jens Stoltenberg's remarks about homophobia won't go down well in Turkey
Nato is currently engaged in the most serious geopolitical conflict since the Vietnam War. You’d therefore expect it to have a laser-like focus on the matter at hand. But apparently not. On Wednesday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took time out of his busy schedule to record a video for “International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia”.
You can see where this is going. Almost every sentence in the one-and-a-half-minute speech sounds like it was crafted by an activist from Stonewall. “Nato’s strength is our diversity,” Stoltenberg explains, “so it is important that we reflect and celebrate the extraordinary diversity of our populations.” Should the organisation be “celebrating” any particular identities? There are plenty of groups doing that already; Nato’s job is meant to be security.
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“I value every member of the LGBTQ+ community,” Stoltenberg continues, “and I am proud to call myself your ally.” Is there any need for this? Can’t we just assume that Nato represents every member of the population, regardless of identity, until told otherwise?
What’s more, Stoltenberg’s speech is based on a claim that doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. He says Nato is an alliance “united by values”. But it’s actually united by geography (hence the “North Atlantic” bit). Indeed, there are major value differences among Nato countries — not least when it comes to tolerance of gay people.
In the latest wave of the World Values Survey (WVS), respondents were shown a list of groups and asked to mention “any that you would not like to have as neighbours”. Results for four member states are shown below. The differences are huge. In Britain less than 4% say they would not like to have homosexuals as neighbours, while in Turkey the figure is more than 75%.
The WVS also asks whether homosexuality is “justifiable”, with respondents answering on a 10-point scale from “never justifiable” to “always justifiable”. Once again, the differences among member states are huge. Among Brits, 9% say “never justifiable” — compared to 19% of Americans, 44% of Poles and 68% of Turks. Gay pride marches are banned in Turkey, with several hundred people arrested last year. The notion that Nato is “united by values” is plainly false.
Even Russians are less anti-gay than Turks: 66% say they would not like to have homosexuals as neighbours and 58% say homosexuality is “never justifiable”. So when it comes to tolerance of gay people, Britain and the US are slightly closer to Nato’s main rival than they are to another member of the alliance.
Toward the end of his speech, Stoltenberg states that “we always need to do more” for “diversity and inclusion”. Nato must “uphold our values” and “ensure our alliance truly reflects the one billion people it protects”. Would those be Britain’s values or Turkey’s values? Given the rest of the speech, one assumes the former.
But this raises the question of what “more” Nato is going to do? Will there soon be pressure on Turkey, Poland and other conservative member states to start upholding the same values as a condition of membership? Stoltenberg’s remarks may just be empty rhetoric — but one shouldn’t rule it out.
You do wonder if Unherd contributors bother to read the submissions of other contributors. Just two days ago, Lily Lynch wrote a piece (https://unherd.com/2023/05/how-nato-seduced-the-european-left/) which answers Mr. Carl’s question.
Ms. Lynch argued that NATO has gone out of its way to make it all cuddly and friendly to lefties, and with some success. That’s why the ‘Stop the war’ movement in Britain is tiny, compared to the glory days of CND in the 1960s and 1980s.
The cost is that NATO can end up being portrayed as an aggressive, rather than a defensive military alliance (vide the attack on Serbia over Kosovo in 1999). That’s why Putin’s claim that his attack on Ukraine was a defensive war against the encroachment by an aggressive NATO has some shreds of justification.
Thanks, I actually wasn’t aware of that – looks like an important piece.
Good point. But the problem is that many journalists do not read newspapers, let alone the publications that print their work. Journalism is not a profession. There are no barriers to entry and no common standards, so being well-informed, even within one’s own publication, is quite rare.
Perhaps if someone posted it on Twitter journalists might read it…?
Why does such a literate publication as Unherd use words incorrectly? A “phobia” is a fear. “Homophobia” is a fear of homosexuals. There is no evidence here of anyone fearing homosexuals. Indeed, such a fear is rare.
That a wrong word is used frequently does not make use of the word right.
Hay – I got one great word from Unherd, and that is unusual for me, to get a new one – and it fits here, in regard to NATO
He’s taken “time out of his busy schedule ” to attend the Bilderberg meeting too.
NATO = Globohomo army
Crush them Vlad, Deus Vult
This Cold war relic really does need to be put into the dustbin of history like the Warsaw pact.
” Hello, Sailor”?
While the movement to end government persecution of people with same-sex attraction and sexual expression was once rooted in an actual liberation philosophy, what has morphed into “LGBTQ+++, Inc” is now nothing more than Western cultural imperialist consumerism masquerading as ethical charity. In its current manifestation it SHOULD be resisted.
Good news for The Household Cavalry and the Diesel Dykes!!!!
F* ck NATO!
USA come home and let this sick dog make its final trip to the vet….
Again I could not read this obscene mess – but the Biden Military and the European Military are 100% Depraved Monsters – call it done, it has NO Good to offer the world. It is just a Military Industrial money pit – and now a sick Kid-F* ck er too – as Salty Cracker would say…
But I know that anyway – when I saw the horrors of the Evil Proxy War it engineered in Ukraine.
F-NATO, it is beyond saving SNAFU, FUBAR, bring the boys home.
Here’s a thought for the moderators:
If you are reluctant to ban people from posting, how about a ‘red button’ (or similar) which people could press to get rid of the silly stuff?
Most topics are thoughtfully commented – even when disagreeing – and we regular users are offended when just plain silliness intrudes. It seems to be on the increase…
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