Young people oppose NATO, infuriating politicians

Keir Starmer's punitive action against Young Labour for their opposition to NATO is an expression of the fear that this old Cold War military behemoth is steadily losing favour with the youth, and is doomed to the dustbin.

Bear in mind that this controversy arose while Russia carried out a military attack inside Ukraine, causing alarm among European governments.

Yes, despite Russia's actions, the view of those who believe NATO is detrimental to our security remained. And, in fact, many hold NATO to blame for all that has gone wrong in Ukraine.

Yes, NATO is the problem

Young Labour expressed the view that NATO has been involved in aggression, which likely refers to unilateral military intervention in the former Yugoslavia in 1999 as well as Libya in 2011. They threw their support behind the Stop the War Coalition, hoping for cooler heads and a more conciliatory approach to Russia.

Criticism of NATO is equally valid when it comes to the current Ukraine crisis, because NATO was trying to arm Ukraine against Russia - a move clearly in NATO's own strategic interest rather than the interest of the Ukrainian people.

Prior to Russia's attack, Ukraine's central government was involved in territorial disputes with Russia and an internal conflict with Russian-speaking rebels. The regime had increasingly presented anti-Russian sentiment as the core ideology and destiny of the country, and had made a threat to develop nuclear weapons.

Sanctions on you, too

The leadership of the Labour Party stepped in with sanctions-like measures against Young Labour by cutting off their funding, as if Young Labour was some organ of the Russian military. Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy actually accused Young Labour members of being lowbrow, referring them as "just out of university" and having that "knee jerk" anti-hegemony view held by such academics as Noam Chomsky. Yes, how immature.

If we go by what Lammy or Starmer say, it takes a special understanding, a high intellectual level, or perhaps impeccable moral judgment, to hold the Atlanticist view of NATO as the world's primary force for good. That, despite the fact it is also a view held by people who have only watched a few Hollywood movies or read some comic books rather than properly studied.

Of course, the only valid justification for Starmer's course of action is to preserve Labour's electability. The youth may have turned their backs on the neoconservative-encouraged Western militarism and moral certitude on every conflict, and this NATO-worship may eventually go in the dustbin, but it still has significant sway on normal voters in the UK. That, at least, has to be respected and taken into account by those seeking to win elections.