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Claims Over Broken Promises About NATO Simmer at the Heart of the Ukraine Crisis


Claims Over Broken Promises About NATO Simmer at the Heart of the Ukraine Crisis,  
https://truthout.org/articles/claims-over-broken-promises-about-nato-simmer-at-the-heart-of-the-ukraine-crisis/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=c66419ef-902d-4088-8be5-ed3ee17ca2bf BYDavid N. GibbsTruthout February 6, 2022 In the continuing conflict between the United States and Russia, the central issue has always been the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from its original boundaries in Central Europe during the Cold War. Recent efforts to incorporate Ukraine into NATO have greatly aggravated Russian suspicions, contributing to Russia’s rationale for their massing of troops on Ukrainian borders.

It is true that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a repressive leader with a poor human rights record, but that is no reason for the U.S. to risk undertaking a war. On the issue of NATO expansion, Putin has a legitimate complaint. If Ukraine were to join NATO, it would establish a U.S. ally on Russia’s southern border with the potential of U.S. military bases being aimed against Russia. We must consider this counterfactual: How would the U.S. respond if Russia were planning a military alliance with Mexico or Canada? There is no way of getting around the fact that NATO’s expansion has been profoundly destabilizing.

It is important to consider the historical context of Russian grievance: It is a matter of record that in 1990, the U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that it would not expand NATO into the formerly communist states of Eastern Europe. In exchange, Gorbachev agreed not to oppose the upcoming reunification of Germany. Gorbachev fulfilled his part of the deal — Germany was reunified without Soviet objection — but then the U.S. promptly began laying plans to expand NATO. By 1999, the former communist states of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic all joined NATO, disregarding the promises made to Gorbachev. Then, NATO continued expanding into most of Eastern Europe, as well as three former Soviet states, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Russian officials have repeatedly objected to what they describe as U.S.’s bad faith regarding its past promises not to expand NATO………………………..

The real reason for preserving NATO — and ultimately expanding it — was to promote U.S. prestige and power, and also to benefit vested interests associated with what President Dwight D. Eisenhower once termed the military-industrial complex. In 1993, retired U.S. Admiral Eugene Carroll spoke with remarkable frankness about NATO’s real purpose:

Let me tell you one of the reasons you keep hearing so many contrived arguments for continuing the NATO alliance. It has been very, very good for the militaries of the countries involved…. If NATO goes away, all those jobs go away; all those lovely chateaus, and chauffeurs and railroad cars go away. It’s something that has been very enjoyable for a good many years, and the fact that there is no longer any requirement for it doesn’t mean they don’t want to keep a good thing going.

NATO’s expansion benefited the U.S. military, U.S. weapons manufacturers, and their counterparts in Western Europe. Eastern European states were eager to join what many viewed as a “prestigious” organization as a symbol that they had finally arrived on the world stage.

None of this had anything to do with security in any meaningful sense, since Russia was, for the most part, acting in accord with U.S. and Western interests. …………………

U.S. officials cannot go back in time to correct past mistakes; in all probability, they will never regain Russia’s trust. However, we do have an opportunity to deescalate tensions. The key Russian demand is a firm U.S. guarantee that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO. U.S. officials should be open to this demand, as a basis for a full settlement, and should forgo their obsession with relentlessly projecting U.S. power through NATO. Surely this outcome would be better than a new Cold War with a nuclear-armed Russia, which is becoming a serious risk. https://truthout.org/articles/claims-over-broken-promises-about-nato-simmer-at-the-heart-of-the-ukraine-crisis/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=c66419ef-902d-4088-8be5-ed3ee17ca2bf

February 7, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international

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