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Ignored Warnings: How NATO Expansion Led to the Current Ukraine Tragedy

Ukraine Russia Putin
President Putin watches the Zapad 2021 joint strategic exercises of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

NATO Expansion – The Trigger for Russia’s Attack on Ukraine? – Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine is an act of aggression that will make already worrisome tensions between NATO and Moscow even more dangerous. The West’s new cold war with Russia has turned hot. Vladimir Putin bears primary responsibility for this latest development, but NATO’s arrogant, tone-deaf policy toward Russia over the past quarter-century deserves a large share as well. Analysts committed to a U.S. foreign policy of realism and restraint have warned for more than a quarter-century that continuing to expand the most powerful military alliance in history toward another major power would not end well. The war in Ukraine provides definitive confirmation that it did not.

Thinking Through the Ukraine Crisis – the Causes 

“It would be extraordinarily difficult to expand NATO eastward without that action’s being viewed by Russia as unfriendly. Even the most modest schemes would bring the alliance to the borders of the old Soviet Union. Some of the more ambitious versions would have the alliance virtually surround the Russian Federation itself.” Beyond NATO: Staying Out of Europe’s Wars (p. 45).   I wrote those words in 1994, at a time when expansion proposals merely constituted occasional speculation in foreign policy seminars in New York City and Washington, D.C. I added that expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia.”

What was not publicly known at the time was that Bill Clinton’s administration had already made the fateful decision the previous year to push for including some former Warsaw Pact countries in NATO. The administration would soon propose inviting Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to become members, and the U.S. Senate approved adding those countries to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1998. It would be the first of several waves of membership expansion.

Even that first stage provoked Russian opposition and anger. In her memoir, Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, concedes that “[Russian President Boris] Yeltsin and his countrymen were strongly opposed to enlargement, seeing it as a strategy for exploiting their vulnerability and moving Europe’s dividing line to the east, leaving them isolated.” Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott similarly described the Russian attitude. “Many Russians see NATO as a vestige of the cold war, inherently directed against their country.  They point out that they have disbanded the Warsaw Pact, their military alliance, and ask why the West should not do the same.” It was an excellent question, and neither the Clinton administration nor its successors provided even a remotely convincing answer.

George Kennan, the intellectual father of America’s containment policy during the Cold War, perceptively warned in a May 2, 1998  New York Times interview about what the Senate’s ratification of NATO’s first round of expansion would set in motion. ”I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” Kennan stated. ”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.  No one was threatening anybody else.”

He was right, but U.S. and NATO leaders proceeded with new rounds of expansion, including the provocative step of adding the three Baltic republics. Those countries not only had been part of the Soviet Union, but they had also been part of Russia’s empire during the Czarist era. That wave of expansion now had NATO perched on the border of the Russian Federation.

Moscow’s patience with NATO’s ever more intrusive behavior was wearing thin. The last reasonably friendly warning from Russia that the alliance needed to back off came in March 2007, when Putin addressed the annual Munich Security Conference. “NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders,” Putin complained. NATO expansion “represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended?  And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?”

In his memoir, Duty, Robert M. Gates, who served as secretary of defense in the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, stated his belief that “the relationship with Russia had been badly mismanaged after [George H.W.] Bush left office in 1993.”Among other missteps, “U.S. agreements with the Romanian and Bulgarian governments to rotate troops through bases in those countries was a needless provocation.” In an implicit rebuke to the younger Bush, Gates asserted that “trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching.” That move, he contended, was a case of “recklessly ignoring what the Russians considered their own vital national interests.”

The following year, the Kremlin demonstrated that its discontent with NATO’s continuing incursions into Russia’s security zone had moved beyond verbal objections. Moscow exploited a foolish provocation by Georgia’s pro-Western government to launch a military offensive that brought Russian troops to the outskirts of the capital. Thereafter, Russia permanently detached two secessionist-minded Georgian regions and put them under effective Russian control.

Ukraine

2S19 Msta S of the Ukrainian Army.

Ukraine

Russian T-90 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Western (especially U.S.) leaders continued to blow through red warning light after a red warning light, however. The Obama administration’s shockingly arrogant meddling in Ukraine’s internal political affairs in 2013 and 2014 to help demonstrators overthrow Ukraine’s elected, pro‐​Russia president was the single most brazen provocation, and it caused tensions to spike. Moscow immediately responded by seizing and annexing Crimea, and a new cold war was underway with a vengeance.

Could the Ukraine Crisis Have Been Avoided? 

Events during the past few months constituted the last chance to avoid a hot war in Eastern Europe. Putin demanded that NATO provide guarantees on several security issues. Specifically, the Kremlin wanted binding assurances that the alliance would reduce the scope of its growing military presence in Eastern Europe and would never offer membership to Ukraine. He backed up those demands with a massive military buildup on Ukraine’s borders. The Biden administration’s response to Russia’s quest for meaningful Western concessions and security guarantees was tepid and evasive.  Putin then clearly decided to escalate matters. Washington’s attempt to make Ukraine a NATO political and military pawn (even absent the country’s formal membership in the alliance) may end up costing the Ukrainian people dearly.

The Ukraine Tragedy

History will show that Washington’s treatment of Russia in the decades following the demise of the Soviet Union was a policy blunder of epic proportions.  It was entirely predictable that NATO expansion would ultimately lead to a tragic, perhaps violent, breach of relations with Moscow. Perceptive analysts warned of the likely consequences, but those warnings went unheeded.  We are now paying the price for the U.S. foreign policy establishment’s myopia and arrogance.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at 19FortyFive, is the author of 12 books on international affairs, including NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur (2019).

Written By

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of 12 books and more than 900 articles on international affairs.  His books include (with Doug Bandow) The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004).

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Commentar

    February 24, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    This conflict has parallels to the arab-israrli war of 1967. In 1967, Egypt began a hostile campaign against Israel and threatened to blockade the port of Eilat.

    Despite warnings, the world ignored the gravity of the situation, and Israeli jets crushed the Egyptian air force on the ground.

    Biden has learned nothing useful. This wouldn’t have happened if trump is still in the white house.

  2. Slack

    February 24, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    NATO and US must come up to their senses now. It is better not to raise the temperature by pouring gasoline on the fire.

    Words of self sanctimonious moans and cries and dire threats plus sending fighters are of no use at all unless you want to ignite ww3 in Europe.

  3. Michael O'Connor

    February 24, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    If the Russia that you describe in your essay was not a murderous (plutonium, anyone?),anti-democratic (hi, president for life!) kleptocracy your comments about a country righteously defending itself against NATO expansion would be spot on. Countries don’t join NATO to contain Russia, they join so they won’t be forced back into Russia.

  4. Richard Gustafson

    February 24, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    Wait.You’re calling the free choice of countries to chose their own destiny NATO expansionism? That’s sort of what the conservative right Russian propagandists trying to preach to preach too , isn’t it.

  5. FRAZIER STALL

    February 24, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    A man once said ” the Americans are very arrogant. They always behave unreasonably whenever they can get away with it. If they suddenly become reasonable, it’s because they had no other choice.”

    NATO & US not only ignored warnings, they were simply keen to provoke and fan the flames of anger by issuing bald threat after threat, like a bunch of alley mobsters.

    Unfortunately for the unreasonable, NATO & US are up against Russia which possesses nukes and hypersonic missiles. US hypersonic missiles ? STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT !

  6. Slack

    February 24, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    Russian hypersonic weaponry is already in service, with the kinzhal, zircon and the long-range Avangard glider in the Russian military.

    US hypersonic projectiles development is contracted to aerospace and arms giants Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and both firms are slated to bring out their products within one to two years from now.

    Thus NATO’s expansion (this early, before US hypersonics is even ready) is a blessing in disguise for Russia.

  7. Jimmy John Doe

    February 24, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    It is an error for Dems to seize the white house. Trump, despite his ups and downs, successfully avoided war and confrontation with other powers (except Iran).

    Biden ? He’s rushing into raputitsa quicksand, before you could say “ahhh!”

  8. Alex

    February 25, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Only the blind did not see that the promises of Western countries and the supply of weapons gave the Nazi government of Ukraine hope for a war with Russia. Ukraine was gleefully pushed to war. Someone thought that Russia would endure? The consequences can be very unpredictable for the entire Western world.

  9. Chris Cha

    February 25, 2022 at 10:32 am

    I’ve always thought it would have been better for the former Soviet countries to form their own defense alliance – a Central European Treaty Organization (CETO) if you will. It could have been independent from NATO, but large enough to be a very credible deterrent to Russian aggression while being less threatening than an expanded NATO. Too late for that now.

  10. Daveseesall

    February 28, 2022 at 12:46 am

    Screw you Ted. If you lived under the thumb of Russian rule for over half a century you would do anything to see that didn’t happen again. No one is responsible for where we stand today other than Putin who is certifiable at this stage. To make any other excuse for where we are today is to have no sense of history for countries who will never give up their freedom again no matter what the cost.

  11. Toby

    February 28, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    All you need to know about this piece is that the author claims that Yanukovych’s election was legitimate. Carpenter even uses the statement “duly elected” to describe this terrible monster’s ascension to power. If you research anything about those elections, you will see the corruption, intimidation and police violence were used against voters.

  12. John Bull

    February 28, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    What is so bad about Nato not expanding its membership to the doorstep of Rusia and encircling Russia? How about “live and let’s live”?

    What do you thnik will happen when you are back to the wall?

    Now our arrogance is leading us to World World 3 (European War 3), this time the whole Earth will be destroyed and nobody will survive.

  13. The Ghost Who Walks

    February 28, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    On the other hand: Real experts don’t insist they’re always right. Real experts will seek the opinions and advice of others with more experience. Unlike the “author” of this opinion piece.

  14. Saymwah

    February 28, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    I accept the importance of looking at issues from the point of view of the adversary and it is logical to view the expansion of NATO as a threat, from Russia’s point of view. This does not justify Putin’s resort to hot war, but it permits some understanding of his actions.
    When it comes to meddling in other countries’ affairs, the hands of the U.S. are certainly not clean. However, the evidence presented in this article for the U.S. aiding in the overthrow of Yanukovych seems to consist of conversations among U.S. diplomats and the distribution of cookies to demonstrators. Is that it?

  15. Andrew

    February 28, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    Jesus Christ…… WTF is wrong with you dumbass??
    You retarded ape repeat after me: NATO.. is…..a…DEFENSIVE alliance!!!

    Every retard can today “write” “books” and pretend to be author???

  16. Stephen Osborne

    February 28, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    John 3:16

  17. Cliff Lightning

    February 28, 2022 at 6:18 pm

    Ah yes, don’t provoke the husband cos it’ll your fault when he beats you. First you made him murder journalists, then you made him poison people, and now you’ve made him invade a European country. America eh? Always their fault.

  18. person

    February 28, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    I wonder what Ted’s response to this article would be?

    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/02/28/world-war-iii-already-there-00012340

  19. Tim

    February 28, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    It would be relevant to understand if recent military manoeuvres by NATO, including, apparently, some sort of partnership cooperation with Ukraine, represented a further or continuing encroachment of the ‘West’ near Russian territory. Is it possible that Putin, like a ‘cornered rat’, was simply and finally pushed over the edge by these, combined with the West’s apparent clothe ear to Russia’s security concerns. How would the US react to similar manoeuvres by Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia near their orbit? What about in cooperation with Mexico? Remember the Cuban crisis.

  20. Stephen

    February 28, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    Well, maybe you will get to sell some of your fantasy books to Putin.

  21. Jan Jasiewicz

    February 28, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    I would say Ted you are wrong and being a distinguished fellow I am surprised at how shallow and one dimensional and ignorant your analysis is. The crucial piece that you committed is any discussion of the historical context. Specifically Russia’s behavior towards Eastern European countries. Had this been included your conclusion about US “arrogance” “myopia” as why we are in this mess cannot be sustained..
    For starters everyone of those countries have had bad experiences with Russia/Soviet Union. Historically dating back to Catherine the Great Russia has sought to dominate its near neighbours. Surely you would remember that it was Russia, along with Prussia and the Habsburg Empire that partitioned Poland. Poland was erased from the map for over 150 years. Russia, embarked on a policy of Russification, that ultimately failed.
    Only after the end of WWI did Poland regain its independence as well as the Baltic states and briefly Ukraine.
    I922 the Bolsheviks yet again invaded Poland, but luckily were defeated at the Battle of Warsaw.
    Fast froward to 1939 with the Molotov Ribbentrop pact which had a secret clause to wipe Poland off the map. On September 17, the Russia/Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. Russia also forced itself on the Baltic States and also annoyed part of Romania. Russia was allied with Germany – providing crucial raw materials and petroleum to Germany until 1941. Russia also committed atrocities on Poles in their zone of occupation – the best known of which was the Katyn Massacre. The Soviet Union also invaded Finland, eventually annexing large part of Finland.
    After Germany invaded the Soviet Union – there was a realignment. At Yalta Stalin redrew the borders and the Western Allies consented/relented that anything east of the Oder Rivers was the Russian sphere of influence. ThePolish government in exile were never consulted, and Stalin moved Poland’s borders westward (to the Cursor line). In fact Staline used much of the same language toward the Polish government in Exile as Putin to the Ukrainian Govenrment. Again the Poles were not consulted. We also know that during the Warsaw Uprising Stalin cynically did not help the Poles – because he saw an opportunity to weaken Poland. I know this because my God father was the Courier from Warsaw and he saw firsthand what Stalin was doing, despite the fact they were allied (at least on paper – but practically not. Almost every Pole today will tell you that the Western powers sold out Poland to the Soviets, so much so that Poland feels like it lost the war. . Also Stalin insisted on annexing the baltic states. After 1945 Stalin, using shame elections installed communist puppet Government in Poland as well as in all Eastern European Countries, except Yugoslavia.
    Of course on must not forget the the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the 1968 Prague Spring. The point here is that these facts are crucial in understanding why Eastern European Countries clamored to join NATO, because their experience has taught them the Russia. Jan Nowak Jerzioranski tirelessly, with Zbigniew Brzezinski lobbied George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton for NATO membership, because NATO membership offer Poland and other Eastern European countries a degree of security that it never had. I know for a fact – and you do not know this – the one of the reasons why Clinton supported NATO membership, precisely because he wanted to right the historical wrongs of abandoning Poland to its fate. It was a guarantee of independence.

    So an honest discussion of this subject MUST include a discussion on Russian behavior towards it’s smaller neighbours. It must acknowledge the historical memories of countries that have experienced living under Russian domination and subjugation. There is a reason why these countries wanted to join NATO, ask them. There is a reason why Ukraine wants to joint NATO and the EU. More importantly it also neglected to mention that Russian society had a choice, it could have chosen a true democratic path seeking good neighbourly relations – where it have acknowledged its past and worked towards reconciliation, like German and France. Instead what we have is a Revanchist regime that resorted to the same behaviours as before.
    No the origins can be found on Russia behaviour and its mythical idea of Russian greatness, that in effect is based on domination and subjugation – not NATO expansion.

  22. Simon Marsden

    March 1, 2022 at 2:16 am

    This really is a stupid analysis. It is the sort of argument that would have given an even greener light to Hitler.

  23. Salvador

    March 1, 2022 at 2:51 am

    It’s interesting to know that this was foreseen in 1994 by the author…. Anyone pushed those countries into the NATO, and they are all democratic countries. Let’s wonder now why there is still more candidates to join! How is that possible than Russia has such a big army, to use agains Ukraine, who got rid of their nuclear weapons many years ago!

  24. Andrew

    March 1, 2022 at 5:54 am

    Your summation of a lack of foresight by Western leaders as to where their decisions could potentially lead Western and European civilisation through the unfettered expansion of NATO is in someway correct.
    It is easy to do this whilst sitting in your chair of hindsight and hypothesis on major geo-political decisions that were never yours to make without any real consequences.

    Ukraine as of 1991 became an independent country. It’s sovereignty is now under attack by a lying despot who has murdered critics of his regime, engineered corruption to benefit himself and deposed of dissenters.

    The only reason you have the luxury of espousing your views is because you live in the West.

    12 Books you’ve authored, Did you know that Hitler also was an author.

  25. Marco

    March 1, 2022 at 6:31 am

    I am extremely saddened and dissapointed to see Guardian’s article “Many predicted Nato expansion would lead to war. Those warnings were ignored” by Ted Galen Carpenter published on the 28th of February.

    It is coming across as extremely tone deaf in the current context. Also, what is it trying to say? That peace is for select few? That sovereign countries do not have the right to choose their alliences and control their destiny if they face threats from foreign dictator? What a cowardly outlook which you are willing to promote. Shame on you!

  26. Jim

    March 1, 2022 at 6:44 am

    Arrogance
    Go get mucked!!!!

  27. Clark S Herman

    March 1, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Your voice of reason is not being heard in the elite foreign policy establishment or corporate media. The US foreign policy towards Russia is misguided and extremely dangerous. Thank you for your wisdom. It seems like only you and Prof Mearsheimer have any idea of geopolitical reality.

  28. James

    March 1, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    As a young man who hitchhiked through East Europe behind the Iron Curtain in the mid-1070’s I found that WWII was fresh in people’s minds, they wanted freedom they knew they didn’t have and when the Soviet Empire collapsed the lid was off.

    There is no reason to kowtow to a medieval Russian power structure in more enlightened times. A lot of the border regions around Russia are flat and easy to invade, but that doesn’t mean we should live with that status quo.

    While NATO did expand it’s influence, it was the countries who joined voluntarily associating. Yes it’s a complication, but so are basic human rights.

    Those rights have to be fought for and nothing is won without struggle. Tragic that people are having to die for no legitimate reason.

  29. Maru Kun

    March 1, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    Looks like Ted has been sent out by the Cato Institute to do the Dictator’s dirty work of justifying his murderous surprise war.

    And the justification Ted gives us is the same given by abusers down thousands of years of human history: “She made me do it, your honor – really, I didn’t want to, but she made me do it”.

    The problem with this, the “Abuser’s Excuse” let’s call it, is that It tries to ignore a long history of abuse that is plain for all to see. And thanks so much for the other comments pointing out this history.

    Ted, your taking a big risk with your career with an argument as vacuous as this.

    Putin is already reported to be using fuel air bombs on civilians. That’s not a good look. Even Trump might hesitate to call Putin ‘smart’ and ‘savvy” as ever more video comes out of dead children killed by Putin’s bombs.

    We have Wendy Rogers, Arizona Republican State Senator, tweeting about how Zelensky, who is Jewish, is part of a “globalist conspiracy” run by George Soros and Hillary Clinton.

    These are the types of people defending Putin. Do you stand with them? Not a good look Ted, not a good look at all.

  30. Tomasz

    March 1, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    This is your conclusion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

    On 13 August 1938, prior to the conference in Munich, Churchill had written in a letter to David Lloyd George:

    “England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame, and will get war.”

  31. thalia

    March 1, 2022 at 5:40 pm

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  32. tony ladd

    March 1, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    Jan Jasiewicz

    Thanks for the most informed and coherent comment on this page. Such a contrast to Carpenter’s Putin-fawning gibberish.

    Of course Hitler had the same apologists in the 1930’s; Rhineland, Austria, Czech, Poland – never his fault.

    Please keep writing.

  33. tony ladd

    March 1, 2022 at 10:54 pm

    We should not forget that Putin has a track record too – Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, and now Belarus and Ukraine. Not to mention Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Skripal, Nemtsov, Navalny, and only God knows how many others that we don’t know of. All of them apparently existential threats to Mr. Putin; deserving of death and destruction. Wake up Carpenter!

  34. mensrea

    March 2, 2022 at 3:16 am

    Putin is a tyrannical dictator, no doubt, but it’s perfectly legitimate for Russia to be concerned about NATO expansion on its doorstep. One important, but oft overlooked dimension in understanding the roots of Russia’s paranoia over the Ukraine is that 4 times over the past 4 centuries an invading army has tried to dissolve the Russians from the West, using the Northern European Plain as a superhighway into Russia’s heartland. The NEP is the largest unobstructed plain in the world and the only way to defend it under modern military doctrine is through the use of tanks. It’s the reason why Russia has one-fifth of the world’s armour deployed along their border facing Westward, more tanks than the US, China, Germany, France and Israel combined. How many times does the same thing have to happen before the West acknowledges the legitimacy of Russia’s security concerns. What is so hard to understand. The US was willing to risk nuclear war over an island off the shore of Florida barely larger than Maine. If the Chinese entered into a military and economic cooperation pact with a deeply anti-American Mexico government and started equipping and training Mexican soldiers while setting up forward facing military equipment along the Rio Grande, is there any doubt the US would raze Mexico City to the ground and turn it into a parking lot before allowing that to continue. There are no clean hands in international politics. If you want tales of good vs evil, then go subscribe to Disney Plus and binge on Star Wars. But the real world isn’t Disneyland, there’s only the cold calculus of balance of power geopolitics and the prospect of war.

  35. Simon

    March 2, 2022 at 5:57 am

    Some people seem to be so blinded by their hatred towards everything US that they would not see another empire if it hit them in the face.

    Yes, what the US has done around the world (Iraq, e.g.) is appalling. But this sort of whataboutism does not help anyone. Putin chose to invade Ukraine, even though there was no real chance that it would join NATO anytime soon. In fact, there was no real chance that it would join precisely because the US and their allies were afraid of being pulled into WW3. Had NATO not expanded, it is likely that there would be no Baltics, possibly no Poland, Slovakia, Romania. Countries which have no desire to be under the Russian sphere of influence as they already had their fair share of experiences with it. The Warsaw Pact was not forced to be disbanded: the countries that were a part of it chose to leave, and then there was nobody left.

    The point of view of this article is in fact extremely imperialist, it implies that sovereign states should not be given a choice in which alliances they join. The author should really have a hard think about his views, because they are not logically consistent. The US being evil does not mean that Putin can’t be too: the only difference is that the US treats its allies better.

  36. Bendit

    March 2, 2022 at 10:52 am

    It’s just CATO watching too much dictator-porn again. They pretend to be libertarian, but they cannot stop fellating themselves whenever some random self-declared strongman takes his shirt off.

    They love Trump for the same reasons they love Putin.

  37. CapitalistRoader

    March 3, 2022 at 4:32 am

    “Boys, it is just like the Alamo. Somebody should have by God helped those Texans. I’m going to Vietnam.”
    President Lyndon B. Johnson (1964)

  38. John W Egan

    March 3, 2022 at 6:00 am

    So, Ted, if an ex-wife begins dating other men does that justify the ex-husband murdering her? Which happens so many times.

  39. Robert

    March 3, 2022 at 6:37 am

    Minus the gratuitous (perhaps click-baity) USA blaming, this article does serve as a useful look inside the mind and motives of the enemy, always a useful thing. But the fact is that the Soviet Union lost the Cold War and they don’t get a say. Just as no one gave a rat’s ass about the indignities inflicted upon the American South during Reconstruction. By the way, a parallel case can be made (and has been made) that the infamous Jim Crow oppressions in the postbellum South was due less to an innate racism than to reaction against the Yankee carpetbaggers exploiting the postwar political weakness of the region (rather than follow the path laid out by Lincoln). Yes the Yanks could have handled it better, to the benefit of all, but as with post-war Russia, they were under no obligation to do so.

  40. Andrew Dabrowski

    March 3, 2022 at 11:25 am

    “Vladimir Putin bears primary responsibility for this latest development…”

    If you really believe that, you couldn’t have picked a worse moment to launch into a long lecture on NATO’s sins.

  41. Alex

    March 3, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    I wonder how you can live and believe in propaganda. When I visit Russia, I don’t know a country where there are more freedoms, their own wonderful traditions and will. If you have not been to Russia, then just shut your mouth and continue to enjoy propaganda.

  42. Iris Noir

    March 4, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    hat people from Eastern countries wanted to join NATO is a lie. Big lie!
    They hinted and lied to our politicians that if the Warsaw Pact dissolved, then NATO would also dissolve. We will all be free. Lie! We have overthrown totalitarianism and we have been brought into Western totalitarianism.
    In Czechoslovakia, there was industrial production, agriculture, everyone had a job, after signing the job, everyone got an apartment within a few years. That was between 1960 and 1989. The great building of the republic for the people began. There were no homeless people, there were no poor people, there were no rich oligarchs who could do anything, there was no fear of crime. We were not afraid of war. They lied to you in the west, they lied to us in the east! Lies lead us to war, and you will be safe in the United States and Britain because the East is to be sacrificed. No one cares about the Ukrainians, they will be used. I am sad to see women and children and old people coming to Prague. These are refugees, not the black army pushing out of Africa. At least that is the truth that is in the eyes of today.
    Long live peace, peace prosperity and war ruin!

  43. JonFord

    March 21, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    I am surprised to note that there is no mention of the US-Ukraine Charter for Strategic Cooperation dated 1st November 2021. This must have been a huge provocation to Putin. No question that the relationship and Russia’s concerns were never addressed. It is almost as if USA needed to retain Russia as a cold war enemy.

  44. Marty

    April 10, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    Putin is a homicidal psychopath butchering civilians. There is no dealing with a sick mind like his. Ukraine should get the fighter jets.

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