Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

When Washington Assured Russia NATO Would Not Expand | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on December 22, 2017


If we are God’s choice to rule the world, as many in Washington will tell you, His plan certainly is mysterious.

For Washington, London, and Paris, the solution was obvious: keep the Germans in a warm but firm embrace. Ensuring that a united Germany remained part of NATO would reduce the likelihood of it choosing at some future date to strike an independent course.

To make that prospect palatable, the Bush administration assured the Soviets that they had nothing to fear from a Western alliance that included a united Germany. NATO no longer viewed the USSR as an adversary. Apart from incorporating the territory of the former East Germany, the alliance was going to stay put. Washington was sensitive to and would respect Russia’s own security interests. So at least U.S. officials claimed.

“We understand,” Baker continued, “that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction [emphasis added].” Indeed, the proposed U.S. approach to negotiating terms for ending Germany’s division would “guarantee that Germany’s unification will not lead to NATO’s military organization spreading to the east.”

The secretary of state then posed a hypothetical. “Supposing unification takes place,” he asked Gorbachev, “what would you prefer: a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO’s jurisprudence [jurisdiction?] or troops will not spread east of the present boundary?”

The issue was one he wished to discuss with his colleagues, Gorbachev replied, remarking only that “it goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable.”

To which Baker responded: “We agree with that.”…

But Putin was not wrong to observe that the United States routinely exempted itself from any such norms when it perceived its own vital interests to be at stake. For roughly a quarter century, the United States had paid no price for picking Gorbachev’s pocket back in 1990. Indeed, nations once unhappily lodged within the Soviet sphere had thereby benefited greatly. NATO became a club open to everyone but Russia. In Washington’s favored formulation, Europe thereby became “whole and free.” Now, however, the bills incurred by this feckless policy are coming due and Europeans are looking to the United States to pay them.

Be seeing you





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