Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Bill Clinton Makes a Pathetic Attempt to Retroactively Justify His Decision to Expand NATO

Posted by M. C. on May 12, 2022


 Jeremy Kuzmarov

ith the Ukraine war expanding and the threat of nuclear catastrophe rising, Bill Clinton has written an article in The Atlantic magazine trying to defend what many see as indefensible: his administration’s support for the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in March 1999 into Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic against a pledge by the Bush administration to Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward.”

Clinton had been warned at the time by Russian President Boris Yeltsin (1991-1999) that NATO expansion would result in “nothing but humiliation for Russia” and could provoke a new Cold War.

Yeltsin told Clinton: “How do you think it looks to us if one bloc [from the Cold War] continued to exist when the Warsaw Pact has been abolished? It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia.”[1]

Clinton Archives Confirm the Need for NATO Enlargement - ICDS
Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton at a summit in Helsinki Finland in 1997. [Source:]

A similar warning was issued by George F. Kennan, the father of the Cold War containment doctrine.

He wrote in an op-ed in February 1997 that NATO expansion would amount to a “strategic blunder of epic proportions” and the “most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era,” as it would “inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion,” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations,”[2] which is exactly what happened.

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