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View Diary: The Future Of NATO?? (158 comments)

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  •  Predictable (14+ / 0-)

    M of A - George F. Kennan's Prediction On NATO Expansion Was Right

    George Kennan was the U.S. diplomat and Russia specialist who developed the cold war strategy of containment of the Soviet Union, though he later criticized its militaristic implementation. In 1998, when the Senate voted to extend NATO to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Kennan wasasked to comment. He responded:

    "I think it is the beginning of a new cold war," said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. "I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever."
    "It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong."

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 02:01:19 PM PDT

    •  The question is: What would have been different? (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, NATO expansion etc. feeds the narrative about Russian paranoia..and maybe even feeds that paranoia, if you buy into this narrative.

      There really are two questions that emerge from this observation.

      First, would anything have been different if NATO didn't expand? Would someone like Putin have emerged anyway -- probably Putin himself? And, if Putin would have been the successor to Yeltsin, then what would have been different?

      Would Russia be more than the kleptocracy it is now, run by mobsters and KGB apparatchiks? Or, would it have travelled the same line? What would have happened in Chechnya? Dagestan? Georgia? Would any of that have been different?

      Most significantly, where would that have left Ukraine? Would Ukraine have travelled the same history, with the push/pull of Russia and Europe? Would the apparatchiks not have poisoned a Presidential candidate who wanted to escape Russian blackmail? Would we not have had Yanukovich and his corrupt regime? Would we not have had the Maidan movement and then the Russian move in Crimea?

      The point being -- would any of this been different? Or, does Kennan's point about NATO expansion really just give Putin and his apologists a convenient excuse? Are we pointing the finger in the wrong direction, if we point to the West for the current situation?

      Along those lines, what about the view from the countries who were thrilled to escape the yoke of Russian/Soviet oppression? Were they wrong to fear the Russians as a long-term threat? Did they create this threat as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" or was the return of the threat inevitable anyway? Think about Russia and Russians then -- and now. Sure, there are educated Russians who aren't ant-Semitic, homophobic, racist, fascist hooligans...but there's a sizable group who are...and they're the shock troops for Putinism. Would Russia's trajectory have been any different if the West refrained from expanding NATO? If....

      If the threat was going to return regardless of what the West did in terms of NATO, then aren't we in a much better, safer position now? Imagine the clamor we'd be hearing now from the former Warsaw Pact nations, insisting on joining the alliance now for protection from Russia. Then, imagine the depth of the response that would provoke in Russia now. If you think they see the world as lined up against them now, imagine how they'd see an expansion of NATO that occurred in response to the annexation of Crimea.

      I might add, that there were other reasons for expanding NATO. It's the European security alliance. It's quite appropriate to attempt to include all the nations of Europe, as the other collective regional security organs are pretty inclusive, too. What would have been accomplished by not expanding NATO?

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

      by FischFry on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 01:11:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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