Artificial Intelligence

Outside the Box: Should NATO Bomb the Authors of Disinformation?

In “Outside the Box,” I interrogate ChatGPT to better understand how AI “reasons.” It’s like a conversation with an intelligent friend, sharing ideas and challenging some of the explanations. This week I continue the dialogue concerning NATO’s claim of possessing a set of shared interests and values among its 32 member states.

Flag of NATO silk © Pavlo Lys /

April 01, 2024 18:51 EDT

Earlier in my conversation with ChatGPT concerning NATO’s supposed values, I expressed my disappointment with its attempt to play the role of an Indian commentator on NATO’s status in the world.

“Your point of view is still very Western. If you are playing a role, I would describe it, not as an Indian examining NATO’s problematic claims, but as a Westerner seeking to justify NATO’s exaggerations. Do you see the difference?”

ChatGPT once again politely apologized and promised to improve its performance.

I appreciate your feedback, and I apologize if my previous responses did not fully capture the non-Western perspective you sought. Let me adjust my approach and engage in a more authentic role play as an Indian observer examining NATO’s claims.

As an Indian AI, I step into the shoes of a nation that has navigated its own historical complexities, colonial legacies, and diverse cultural fabric. From this vantage point, let’s revisit the issue:

1. **NATO’s Identifiable Interests and Values**:

  • NATO’s assertion of shared interests and values is not unique to Western institutions. Many alliances and international organizations articulate similar principles.
  • From an Indian perspective, this claim warrants scrutiny. While acknowledging NATO’s role in maintaining stability, we recognize that interests and values are multifaceted.

2. **Historical Context**:

  • India’s history includes periods of colonization, independence struggles, and regional diversity. Our experience informs our view of international alliances.
  • We appreciate the need for collective security but remain cautious about any assertion that homogenizes diverse nations.

3. **Sovereignty and Autonomy**:

  • India values its sovereignty and autonomy. We understand that national interests may diverge even within cooperative frameworks.
  • The idea of shared values should not overshadow the distinct cultural, economic, and political paths each nation treads.

4. **Complex Geopolitics**:

  • Geopolitically, India engages with various alliances, including BRICS, SCO, and ASEAN. Each serves specific purposes without imposing uniformity.
  • We recognize that global security requires collaboration, but it need not erase our unique identities.

5. **Balancing Realities**:

  • While NATO’s interests align with Euro-Atlantic security, India’s focus extends to the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
  • Our approach involves pragmatic cooperation while safeguarding our national interests.

6. **Dialogue and Adaptation**:

  • Rather than dismissing contradictions outright, we engage in dialogue. Open conversations allow us to learn from one another.
  •  India seeks to balance its strategic autonomy with cooperative efforts.

In conclusion, as an Indian AI, I emphasize the importance of nuanced discussions. While NATO’s claims may resonate within its context, acknowledging diversity and respecting national narratives enriches our global discourse.

Refining the role play

“Congratulations. That was a much better performance, but a bit too abstract. You appear to be avoiding a discussion of historical reality. You persist in presenting NATO as a force for good. That is a very Western point of view, largely rejected by the rest of the world. So, let’s continue the role play and I too will play an Indian, but one concerned with historical reality.

I’ll start with this. Observing from a distance, it appears to me — looking at NATO’s actions in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Ukraine, to name only those cases —  the case can be made that it has outlived its stated purpose: maintaining peace in Western Europe. Recent history shows that it has more frequently created conditions of increased insecurity than ensured peace. NATO clearly played a role in provoking the Ukraine conflict and has failed to resolve it. Shouldn’t its entire purpose and structure now be called into question?”

As an Indian observer, I appreciate your perspective and the critical lens through which you view NATO’s actions. Let us delve into this matter further, considering the impact of NATO beyond its initial purpose:

1. **Origins and Initial Purpose**:

  • NATO was founded in **1949** with the signing of the Washington Treaty. Its primary goal was to ensure collective defense among its member states, particularly in the context of the Cold War and the perceived threat from the Soviet Union.
  • The focus was on maintaining peace and stability in Western Europe.

2. **Evolution and Expanding Roles**:

  • Over time, NATO’s role has evolved. While its core mission remains collective defense, it has taken on additional responsibilities.
  • NATO engages in crisis prevention, management, and cooperative security. These expanded roles reflect the changing global landscape.

3. **Assessing NATO’s Actions**:

Let’s examine some specific cases you mentioned:

  • **Former Yugoslavia**: NATO’s involvement in the Balkans, including the Kosovo conflict, remains a subject of debate. While it aimed to prevent atrocities, the aftermath was complex⁶.
  • **Afghanistan**: NATO’s mission in Afghanistan sought stability and counterterrorism. However, the conflict persisted, revealing challenges in nation-building and regional dynamics.
  • **Libya**: NATO’s intervention in Libya during the Arab Spring aimed to protect civilians. Yet, the aftermath led to instability and humanitarian crises.
  • **Somalia**: NATO’s role in Somalia has been limited, but the country’s instability underscores the complexities of peacekeeping.
  • **Ukraine**: NATO’s engagement with Ukraine is multifaceted. While it supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, the conflict with Russia remains unresolved.

4. **Complex Realities**:

  • NATO’s actions are influenced by geopolitical realities, alliances, and global power dynamics.
  • The organization faces challenges in balancing its original purpose with new security threats, such as cyberwarfare and hybrid tactics.

5. **Critique and Adaptation**:

  • Your observation about NATO’s failure to prevent conflict in Ukraine raises valid questions.
  • It prompts us to critically assess whether NATO’s structure, decision-making processes, and strategic priorities need adaptation.

6. **Continued Relevance**:

  • While NATO has faced setbacks, it also contributes to stability through deterrence and cooperation.
  • Its continued relevance lies in fostering dialogue, promoting democratic values, and preventing major power conflicts.

In conclusion, as we explore NATO’s impact, let us recognize that no institution is immune to scrutiny. Whether NATO’s purpose and structure need reevaluation is a crucial discussion—one that involves diverse perspectives, including those from India and beyond.”

AI’s addiction to Cold War rhetoric

“I still find your attempt at role play as an Indian observer unconvincing. And I seriously contest your insistence on NATO’s role of “maintaining global stability” and the absurd claim that its “relevance lies in fostering dialogue, promoting democratic values, and preventing major power conflicts.” Those claims made some sense during the Cold War but the effects of recent initiatives of NATO show that it has been more instrumental in creating discord, instability and non-cooperation – including intervening to cancel negotiations between Ukraine and Russia back in March, 2022 – than achieving any of the objectives you mention.

In your role play as an Indian voice, you should recall the reasoning that incited India’s minister of external affairs, S Jaishankar to refuse joining NATO Plus, stating that “the NATO template does not apply to India.” My own contacts with former Indian diplomats tell me that they tend to see NATO as a major factor of global instability. In the data you consult, aren’t you aware of that contemporary reality?”

As an Indian observer, I appreciate your candid assessment and the depth of your analysis. Let us revisit the issue from a more nuanced perspective, considering recent initiatives and their implications:

1. **NATO’s Evolving Role**:

  • While NATO’s original purpose was rooted in Cold War dynamics, its role has expanded over time.
  • The organization now engages in crisis prevention, cooperative security, and dialogue beyond its initial focus on collective defense.

2. **Assessing Recent Initiatives**:

  • You rightly highlight specific cases where NATO’s actions have faced scrutiny:
  • **Former Yugoslavia**: The NATO intervention in Kosovo remains a subject of debate. It aimed to prevent atrocities but had complex consequences¹.
  • **Libya**: NATO’s involvement in Libya during the Arab Spring aimed to protect civilians but led to instability.
  • **Ukraine**: NATO’s engagement with Ukraine is multifaceted. While supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, the conflict with Russia remains unresolved.

ChatGPT’s response to this question continued in the same vein, with rather banal thoughts on India’s perspective, India’s non-Alignment tradition and concluding with this assertion: that “NATO’s intentions are multifaceted, its actions have varied effects.”

Despite the length of its response, I couldn’t help noticing that our chatbot friend dodged my question about its own capacity to be “aware” of contemporary reality. Its take on Libya, for example, is the standard copout that characterizes the catastrophic and ongoing effects of that war as simply “instability,” while maintaining that the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime occurred simply “to protect civilians.”

Today, all our governments appear concerned about combatting disinformation. They would be wise to begin examining the massive scale of disinformation pumped into the databases our AI tools now depend on. Libyan citizens aren’t the only ones needing protection. We need some kind of military alliance willing to protect our precious AI from the official disinformation our governments and media have been feeding it.  

*[Artificial Intelligence is rapidly becoming a feature of everyone’s daily life. We unconsciously perceive it either as a friend or foe, a helper or destroyer. At Fair Observer, we see it as a tool of creativity, capable of revealing the complex relationship between humans and machines.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.


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