In the News
NATO Expansion Heightens Insecurity
and Danger of War
– Steve Rutchinski –
NATO expansion is the primary focus of discussions taking place this week involving the United States, Russia, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
On January 10 U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman held a day long discussion with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Geneva. Neither party said much about what was discussed. Russia did reiterate that it has no plan to “attack” Ukraine. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State repeated the American position that no third party can limit NATO decisions on further expansion.
The White House, after having disgraced itself by unilaterally abandoning its allies and client state in Afghanistan, issued a fact sheet declaring “We are absolutely committed to the principle nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine, just as we are fully committed to the principle nothing about Europe without Europe.”
Sherman will lead the American delegation at the NATO-Russia meeting on January 12. Ryabkov will also meet with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on January 13 to discuss Ukraine and Russian security concerns.
The impetus for these meetings is Russia’s ongoing request for mutual security guarantees between the U.S., NATO and the Russian Federation. On December 17, 2021 Russia made its expectations very concrete with a proposed “Treaty between United States of America and the Russian Federation on Security Guarantees.”
The draft treaty spells out the kind of security guarantees the Russian Federation is seeking:
– that “neither party to the treaty will use the territories of other states with a view to preparing or carrying out an armed attack against the other party”;
– that the U.S. “shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and
– that both Parties “shall refrain from deploying their armed forces and armaments, including in the framework of international organizations, military alliances or coalitions, in the areas where such deployment could be perceived by the other Party as a threat to its national security.”
These are not unreasonable proposals. Expansion of NATO is of course a direct and imminent threat to the security of the Russian Federation and destabilizing to the peace and security of Europe. That reality was fully recognized 30 years ago, when the Soviet Union was being dismantled and the bi-polar division of the world was brought to an end. The U.S. pledge at the time as concerns the expansion of NATO was “not one inch eastward.”
The U.S. never intended to hold to that commitment. Documents of the U.S. Defence Department dating to October 1990 reveal the U.S. was publicly saying no eastward expansion of NATO, all the while planning to leave the door “ajar” for NATO expansion to Eastern Europe.
The dangers are every bit as real today. NATO is an instrument of U.S. imperialist led aggression on the world scale. Further expansion of NATO threatens the peace and security of Russia, Europe and the world. Expansion of NATO should be firmly opposed. NATO’s existence should be firmly opposed. The guarantee of peace and security is the struggle of the people to affirm themselves as the decision-makers in their respective countries.
(TML Daily, posted January 11, 2022. With files from U.S. State Department, White House, TASS, Global Times and National Security Archive “NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard”)