How Western Strategic Thinkers Warned US-NATO over Ukrainian Conflict
By Rnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand)
*1. George Kennan,* America’s foreign policy strategist, the architect of the U.S. cold war strategy. As early as 1998 he warned that NATO expansion was a “tragic mistake” that ought to ultimately provoke a “bad reaction from Russia”.
*2. Kissinger, in 2014*. He warned that “to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country” and that the West therefore needs a policy that is aimed at “reconciliation”.
He was also adamant that “Ukraine should not join NATO”
*3. John Mearsheimer -* arguably the leading geopolitical scholar in the US today – in 2015: “The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked […] What we’re doing is in fact encouraging that outcome.”
*4. Jack F. Matlock Jr., US Ambassador* to the Soviet Union from 1987-1991, warning in 1997 that NATO expansion was “the most profound strategic blunder, [encouraging] a chain of events that could produce the most serious security threat […] since the Soviet Union collapsed”
*5. Clinton’s defense secretary William Perry* explained, in his memoir, that to him NATO enlargement is the cause of “the rupture in relations with Russia” and that in 1996 he was so opposed to it that “in the strength of my conviction, I considered resigning”.
*6. Stephen Cohen,* a famed scholar of Russian studies, warning in 2014 that “if we move NATO forces toward Russia’s borders […] it’s obviously gonna militarize the situation [and] Russia will not back off, this is existential”
*7. CIA director Bill Burns* in 2008: “Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for [Russia]” and “I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests”. (He was then Ambassador to Moscow in 2008 when he wrote this memo). He is now director of the CIA. ‘08 memo ‘Nyet Means Nyet: Russia’s NATO Enlargement Redlines’
*8. Russian-American journalist Vladimir Pozner*, in 2018, stated that: NATO expansion in Ukraine is unacceptable to the Russian, that there has to be a compromise where “Ukraine, guaranteed, will not become a member of NATO.”
*9. Malcolm Fraser, 22nd prime minister of Australia,* warned in 2014 that “the move east [by NATO is] provocative, unwise and a very clear signal to Russia”. He adds that this leads to a “difficult and extraordinarily dangerous problem”.
*10. Paul Keating,* former Australian PM, in 1997: expanding NATO is “an error which may rank in the end with the strategic miscalculations which prevented Germany from taking its full place in the international system [in early 20th]”
*11. Former US defense secretary Bob Gates* in his 2015 memoirs: “Moving so quickly [to expand NATO] was a mistake. […] Trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching [and] an especially monumental provocation”
*12. Pat Buchanan*, in his 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire: “By moving NATO onto Russia’s front porch, we have scheduled a twenty-first-century confrontation.”
*13. In 1997, a group of individuals including Robert McNamara, Bill Bradley & Gary Hart* wrote a letter to Bill Clinton warning the “US led effort to expand NATO is a policy error of historic proportions” and would “foster instability” in Europe. Today it’s fringe, traitorous position.
*14. Pat Buchanan,* in his 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire: “By moving NATO onto Russia’s front porch, we have scheduled a twenty-first-century confrontation.”
*15. Dmitriy Trenin* expressed concern that Ukraine was, in the LT, the most potentially destabilizing factor in US-Russian relations, given the level of emotion & neuralgia triggered by its quest for NATO membership.
*16. Sir Roderic Lyne,* former British ambassador to Russia, warned a year ago that “[pushing] Ukraine into NATO […] is stupid on every level.” He adds “if you want to start a war with Russia, that’s the best way of doing it.”
*17. Even last year, famous economist Jeffrey Sachs*, writing a column in the FT warning that “NATO enlargement is utterly misguided and risky. True friends of Ukraine, and of global peace, should be calling for a US and NATO compromise with Russia.”
*18. Fiona Hill* :”We warned [George Bush] that Mr. Putin would view steps to bring Ukraine and Georgia closer to NATO as a provocative move that would likely provoke pre-emptive Russian military action. But ultimately, our warnings weren’t heeded.”
*19. Aleksandr Dugin*, in 1997, had predicted everything that Putin has done, in his book “Foundation of Geopolitics.”
Everybody knew that trying to rope Ukraine into NATO was crossing Russia’s red line, but now people would like to hold up Russia as a villain. After having done everything to teeter on the redline. And this happened only AFTER Biden came to power.
One can peruse the compilation here:
Most fascinating thing about the Ukraine war is the sheer number of top strategic thinkers who warned for years that it was coming if we continued down the same path.
No-one listened to them and here we are.
Small compilation ? of these warnings, from Kissinger to Mearsheimer.
— Arnaud Bertrand (@RnaudBertrand) March 1, 2022
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