So now NATO is interested in the commons! Or at least, it’s interested in what it thinks is the commons. In September, a group of NATO brass, security analysts and other policy elites held a conference called “Protecting the Global Commons.” Attendees were mostly unknown to us commoners, but they are described as “senior representatives from the EU institutions and NATO, with national government officials, industry, the international and specialised media, think-tanks, academia and NGOs.”
The event, hosted by a Brussels-based think tank called Security & Defence Agenda, had its own ideas about what the commons is. Let’s just say the sponsors apparently don’t regard the commons as a self-organized system designed by commoners themselves to serve their needs.
No. To NATO decisionmakers, the “global commons” consists of those empty spaces and resources that lie beyond the direct and exclusive control of nation-states, yet which are necessary to fruitful intercourse among nation-states. So, for example: space, the oceans and the Internet.