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Many Predicted NATO Expansion Would Lead to War. Those Warnings Were Ignored | CATO - Feb. 28, 2022 |

    It has long been clear that NATO expansion would lead to tragedy. We are now paying the price for the US's arrogance. Ted Galen Carpenter

The west's new cold war with Russia has turned hot. Vladimir Putin bears primary responsibility for this latest development, but Nato's arrogant, tone‐ deaf policy toward Russia over the past quarter‐ century deserves a large share as well. Analysts committed to a US foreign policy of realism and restraint have warned for more than a quarter‐ century that continuing to expand the most powerful military alliance in history toward another major power would not end well. The war in Ukraine provides definitive confirmation that it did not.

Thinking through the Ukraine crisis -- the causes

"It would be extraordinarily difficult to expand Nato eastward without that action's being viewed by Russia as unfriendly. Even the most modest schemes would bring the alliance to the borders of the old Soviet Union. Some of the more ambitious versions would have the alliance virtually surround the Russian Federation itself." I wrote those words in 1994, in my book Beyond Nato: Staying Out of Europe's Wars, at a time when expansion proposals merely constituted occasional speculation in foreign policy seminars in New York and Washington. I added that expansion "would constitute a needless provocation of Russia".

What was not publicly known at the time was that Bill Clinton's administration had already made the fateful decision the previous year to push for including some former Warsaw Pact countries in Nato. The administration would soon propose inviting Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to become members, and the US Senate approved adding those countries to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1998. It would be the first of several waves of membership expansion.

Even that first stage provoked Russian opposition and anger. In her memoir, Madeleine Albright, Clinton's secretary of state, concedes that "[Russian president Boris] Yeltsin and his countrymen were strongly opposed to enlargement, seeing it as a strategy for exploiting their vulnerability and moving Europe's dividing line to the east, leaving them isolated."

Moscow's patience with Nato's ever more intrusive behavior was wearing thin. The last reasonably friendly warning from Russia that the alliance needed to back off came in March 2007, when Putin addressed the annual Munich security conference. "Nato has put its frontline forces on our borders," Putin complained. Nato expansion "represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?"

In his memoir, Duty, Robert M Gates, who served as secretary of defense in the administrations of both George W Bush and Barack Obama, stated his belief that "the relationship with Russia had been badly mismanaged after [George HW] Bush left office in 1993".



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Aug 8th, 2022 at 06:25:19 AM EST

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