In the News March 24
U.S./NATO Expansion Identified as Cause of Conflict in Ukraine
U.S. Establishment Voices Against NATO Expansion
Over the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact a number of prominent U.S. establishment figures, including former diplomats, military officials, bureaucrats and others have made public their opposition to the U.S. policy of expanding NATO eastward and warned what it would lead to. Some of these include:
George Kennan, prominent diplomat and one of the architects of U.S. Cold War policies, said in a 1997 New York Times interview that “expanding NATO would be the most fateful mistake in American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” He warned it would lead to “restoring the Cold War climate to East-West relations, and push Russian foreign policy in directions opposite to our interests.”
A year later, as Clinton pushed ahead with NATO expansion Kennan called it a tragic mistake, saying, “There is no reason for this. Nobody was threatening anybody.” He also expressed opposition to the war Clinton launched in 1999, and dragged NATO into, against Serbia.
Henry Kissinger wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post in 2014 that Ukraine should not be the outpost of either the U.S. or Russia to be used against the other, but should function as a bridge between them. “The United States needs to avoid treating Russia as an aberrant entity that has to be taught rules of conduct set by Washington,” he said.
John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science at the University of Chicago, said in a 2015 lecture on “Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis” that Russia is a great power and “has absolutely no interest in allowing the United States and its allies to take a big piece of real estate of great strategic importance on its western border and incorporate it into the West. He said this should hardly be surprising to the U.S. which operates on the basis of its Monroe doctrine “which basically says that the Western hemisphere is our backyard and nobody from a distant region is allowed to move military forces into the western hemisphere.” He warned that “the West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked.”
Mearsheimer also said there was no evidence Russia was aggressive before the U.S. started pushing NATO’s expansion, particularly after its involvement in the 2014 coup in Ukraine. The myth of the U.S. as the benign hegemon that can never do wrong, he said, leads it to just double down, getting tougher and tougher with Russia, as if that will allow it to prevail. It will not, he said. “Russia will not quit. Ukraine matters to it. It does not to us.”
William Perry, who was Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, said in 2017 that the United States was responsible for the deterioration in relations with Russia.
Ted Galen Carpenter of the libertarian Cato Institute, said in 2018: “It was entirely predictable that NATO expansion would lead to a tragic, possibly violent, breakdown in relations with Moscow…the warnings were ignored. Now we are paying the price for the short-sightedness and arrogance of U.S. foreign policy.”
William Burns, Biden’s current CIA chief, warned in an autobiography two years ago that inviting Ukraine into NATO is perceived by all political parties in Russia as “nothing less than a direct challenge to Russian interests.”
Jack F. Matlock, former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1987 to 1991) who was also stationed in Moscow during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, wrote in a February 15 opinion piece that NATO expansion was “the most profound strategic blunder made since the end of the Cold War,” noting that the policies pursued by Presidents Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden have all contributed to things getting to the point they are today. Along with expanding NATO ever closer to Russia’s borders, Matlock said another aggravating factor was the U.S. withdrawal from arms control treaties, especially the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. On top of this he cited the fact that Obama’s government not only continued to ignore Russia’s greatest concerns, it redoubled earlier U.S. efforts to detach former Soviet republics from Russian influence, all the while encouraging regime change in Russia and intruding deeply in Ukraine’s domestic politics. While Trump’s praise for Putin as a great leader led to accusations of his being a Russian dupe, he actually passed every anti-Russia measure that came along, Matlock wrote.
Colonel Douglas McGregor, former Security Advisor to the Trump administration, said Putin’s decision to launch the military operation in Ukraine was not only foreseeable but justified, given the harassment NATO had engaged in over the last twenty years. He said all international analysts and even those in charge of military geopolitical monitoring knew that the growing NATO threat — together with the persecution of Russian-speakers in Ukraine — guaranteed an armed conflict. He said Russia was not interested in territory, just the destruction of Ukrainian military resources. He also said the evidence supported Russia’s charge that in Mariupol the Azov battalion was refusing to allow civilians to leave.
In a March 15 YouTube video in which he is interviewed by The Grayzone, McGregor said the U.S. lack of interest in a peace deal is because the real goal of its actions is the destruction of the Russian state and Vladimir Putin. He said the U.S. and NATO seem to hope that will happen if they hold out long enough, even if there are no indications of it. He denounced the fact that there is no truth in reporting and said “all of them have signed on to the hatred for Russia campaign.”
(Cohete en la Luna)
TML Daily, posted March 24, 2022.