Russia and the West
What Gorbachev Did Not Hear

The Soviets did not receive any blanket assurance about NATO enlargement in 1990-91. More to the point, NATO’s post-Cold War enlargement is not the reason for the current crisis in European security.

Published on: March 12, 2018
Kirk Bennett is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer who worked principally on issues related to the post-Soviet space.
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  • Fat_Man

    Russia’s complaints about what was or was not promised would be far more interesting if they had taken any of their commitments, such as those to Ukraine, seriously.

    Russia’s behavior in the Putin era, and its communications strategy, demonstrate that the regime is still focused on the events of the first half of the previous century. Russia’s real geo-political problems are south and east. They should do a 180 on the US and the EU, so that they have some friends in dealing with China and the Islamists.

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  • KremlinKryptonite

    No such pledge was made, and if it had been then Russia would have a formal, written copy of it signed unanimously by all NATO members at the time.
    Not only was no such pledge made, but Russia signed the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security in 1997, and Putin even agreed to upgrade it in 2002 to create the NATO-Russia Council.

    The Founding Act commits Russia to “creating in Europe a common space of security and stability, without dividing lines or spheres of influence,” and “respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all states and their inherent right to choose the means to ensure their own security.”
    (that is, the right of states to join alliances to secure their integrity)

    What’s really going on? Russian education, particularly technical education, collapsed in 1990, so the best engineers are in their 50s and Russian male mortality is about 60. They’re dying soon. Worse yet, birth rates collapsed in the 90s, right on time Russia is running low on 20 something-year-old‘s. The military is losing strength rapidly right now, at this moment, and it will continue to for years. If they want to use military technology and forced to shape their surroundings then they have to do it now.

    What do they want to force a change in? They want to control the nine gaps, or entrance points, which Soviet union controlled all nine of them, and when it collapsed it was reduced to Russia controlling only two. With Crimea now controls three. Six to go. With the decrease military if they can plug these gaps then they might manage.

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