An international gathering of youth is usually taken as an opportunity to promote exchanges and mutual understanding. But this was not the case at the NATO Youth Summit held late last month.
Instead, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg sought to foment prejudice and hatred, claiming that China represents a major security challenge that NATO youth should be alert to.
He urged the organization to have the so-called China's threats "reflected" in its new Strategic Concept, cautioning that China's rise will have "consequences" for the pact's security as "China doesn't share our values".
A non sequitur for sure.
In fact, the logic is utterly absurd. According to that premise if NATO thinks a country does not share its "values" then it must be a threat.
And that is before any consideration of what NATO's values might be, given its illegal bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and its interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria over the past 20 years.
Since those actions seem characteristic of the transatlantic security alliance, then it is not just China that doesn't share NATO's "values".
That many of its members are among the richest countries in the world does not necessarily endow the organization or its members with the privilege to ignore the norms governing international relations.
However, the conflict in Ukraine has revealed that NATO is by no means a defensive pact, but an aggressive bloc seeking to expand the West's hegemonic interests under the pretext of defending "values" and "rules".
This expansionism on ideological lines was highlighted by Stoltenberg saying that NATO will "make the process of joining as quick as is feasible" for Finland and Sweden, whose parliaments are deciding by the middle of this month whether to join the pact.
That the last two nonaligned Nordic countries are on the verge of being incorporated into the bloc, which did not happen at the height of the Cold War, and which will necessarily serve to increase the frictions between NATO and Russia, shows Stoltenberg's warnings should not be taken at face value.
It is the expansionist and divisive mindset of the bloc that deserves the vigilance of NATO youth, as their future will not be decided by the "threats" Stoltenberg peddles but the threats stemming from the "values" he urged them to uphold.
Even though the organization has the obligation to help cultivate a lasting and balanced security mechanism in Europe, it just pretends to pursue that objective while all the while fueling an arms race and engaging in brinkmanship.
The youth of NATO should reject the value judgement that Stoltenberg and the bloc are trying to sell them; it is outdated and dangerously unsound.