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The National Security Archive blog of declassified materials at George Washington U.:

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard

Published: Dec 12, 2017
Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton

Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner

Slavic Studies Panel Addresses “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?”

Washington D.C., December 12, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.”[1]

You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.

Screenshot 2017-12-16 20.37.54

Nonetheless, you have to see the Russians’ point when you look at a map. NATO has shoved right up against Russia’s borders by adding Latvia and Estonia. That would have been kind of like Quebec joining the Warsaw Pact in 1981. Do you think Reagan would have been happy about that?

And NATO’s “Intensified Dialogue” with Georgia and Ukraine (green) is provocative, even when Georgia isn’t starting a tank war with Russia, as in 2008. Look how much further east Ukraine goes than Belarus does. (Ukraine also goes further west than Belarus.) Is it any wonder the Moscow is not happy with American meddling in Ukraine? Adding Ukraine to NATO would be kind of like Ontario or even Texas joining the Warsaw Pact.

 
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  1. No wonder Putin always looks sort of miffed.

    • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
    @Trelane

    All true, but Pat Buchanan has been making this point for two decades.

    Of course NATO expansion eastward was going to threaten the Russians! The only question really is: was that the goal all along, once the Cold War came to an end in 1991?

    By the way, it's always good to remember just how nuts John McCain was (and is) in insisting that "we are all Georgians now". (2008 South Ossetia/Georgia mess.)

    Right, John.

    He wanted us to start a war with Russia to determine who rules South Ossetia?

    Is it any wonder that McCain remains popular with the Deep State/Hive Minds/MSM to this day, or that Pat Buchanan has been persona non grata with the same people?

    http://buchanan.org/blog/pjb-nato-expansion-unnecessary-and-provocative-273

  2. Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Anon

    What was the Gadsden Purchase? A gift card?

    Replies: @snorlax, @biz

    , @Fredrik
    @Anon

    Exactly.

    What the US and other promised the Russians is one thing but we have to remember that the primary reason for Eastern Europeans to join NATO is insurance against Russian aggression. For very good reasons. It's easy to forget among the current hysteria that there are real reasons to mistrust Russia. Especially if you're based in Central and Eastern Europe.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    @Anon

    The Eastern Europeans had the right to want to join NATO as much as they wanted, but the US did not have the obligation to humor them.

    It did however have an obligation, though not a formal one, to Russia as the successor state to the USSR to honor its promises.

    Not that hectoring the US has any point, and people (Russians or otherwise) who whine do annoy me as well. Let's instead look at the results.

    + The US essentially played a nice but criminally naive Gorbachev. Instead of treating the Cold War as a mutual victory, it treated Russia as a loser country. The US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. This is far from a catastrophic outcome from a geopolitical perspective.

    - This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones. This wouldn't matter if the US is the dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia is doomed to die anyway, as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s and indeed informed US policy. But things didn't quite pan out that way. Have fun dealing with China this century, one that is backed up by a resentful Russia.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Anonymous, @Achmed E. Newman, @Achmed E. Newman

    , @bob sykes
    @Anon

    Your point is true but irrelevant. The attempt to incorporate Ukraine into NATO (which the Ukrainian oligarchs want) will trigger a general European war. Russia simply cannot tolerate what was for literally hundreds of years part of the Russian heartland being part of an enemy alliance. Ukraine became part of Russia before Scotland was unified with England, when there were only scattered English colonies along the Atlantic coast, when France still ruled most of North America, ...

    Replies: @AP

    , @dearieme
    @Anon

    Don't be so foolish: what the hell has that got to do with broken promises? Christ, all the USA was either seized by force, or by buying stolen goods.

    , @Seamus Padraig
    @Anon

    The problem here is that, historically speaking, whenever these little countries weren't under Russia's thumb, they almost always under somebody else's thumb, and that constitutes a serious threat to Russian security. For example, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland all fought with the Germans in WWII, so it's easy to see why Gorbachev would have later insisted on the neutrality of the E. European countries (sometimes called 'Finlandization') as a condition for disbanding the Warsaw Pact.

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it's hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington's reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don't really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.

    Replies: @AP, @Anonymous, @polaco

    , @Thirdeye
    @Anon

    That's the kind of shit that happens when you align with Russia's sworn enemies (Britain, France, Germany). They gambled and lost.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar

    , @marylou
    @Anon

    Are you talking about the Soviet Union? What about the East European countries that the Allies handed to the "Russians" on a silver platter at the end of the war?

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-high_trumprussia%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.08fe3af36b57

    In July, the administration appointed former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker to serve as special envoy to Ukraine, putting him in charge of the delicate U.S. relationship with a former Soviet republic eager for closer ties with the West.

    Putin has taken extraordinary measures to block that path, sending Russian commandos and arms into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. And Putin is bitter about U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression. A decision by Trump to send arms would probably rupture U.S.-Russian relations beyond immediate repair.

    … Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

    “I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship,” Volker said. “I think he would like [the Ukraine conflict] to be solved . . . get this fixed so we can get to a better place.”

    The conversation was about Ukraine but seemed to capture Trump’s frustration on so many Russia-related fronts — the election, the investigations, the complications that had undermined his relationship with Putin.

    Volker said that the president repeated a single phrase at least five times, saying, “I want peace.”

    • Replies: @Opinionator
    @Anonymous

    … Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

    Uh, what's "the rationale" again? Love how the WaPo seems to assume it is so well established and credible that it needs no description and explanation.

    Replies: @El Dato

    , @LondonBob
    @Anonymous

    Volker is a hardcore neocon, appointing him is not what the American people voted for.

  4. This “muh NATO expansion” thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don’t buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians’ fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I’ve never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I’m confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don’t have to love any western gov’t to feel schadenfreude at Russia’s NATO tears. And you don’t have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don’t think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they’re working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.

    If he could have, he would have. It’s just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they’re making hay over the fact. I don’t begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don’t think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it’s best if we don’t bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    • Agree: snorlax, NickG
    • Disagree: Realist
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Svigor


    I don’t think the Russians are or were naive.
     
    Gorbachev was naive in many ways. But most of their leadership wasn’t. If you read it carefully, most people in the leadership outside his close circle wouldn’t have made the concessions he made. But then again, they would’ve used force to keep the empire together. Which they could’ve done. I was born behind the Iron Curtain, and believe me, we couldn’t have escaped the Eastern Bloc without the Russians’ consent. And short of starting a nuclear war NATO was in no position to make this happen.

    Which is the argument here: the Russians gave up their empire in the hopes of getting economic concessions and goodwill from the West. They got Western assistance to looting by oligarchs and NATO expansion. And the US then broke its own rules when it started bombing random countries, starting with Russian ally Serbia.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @J.Ross
    @Svigor

    All this would be well and good if NATO were disbanded or dramatically reformed, or if the bombing of Serbia never happened. NATO is a heavily armed terrorist organization that does a lot more work than the CIA on putting together their stories. Their recent claim to fame is still using Western antipathy to Eastern Europeans to have a quiet little one-sided war, and there's no reason to doubt they are considering an encore. Furthermore the desperate and embattled EU government is moving quickly to form an EU army, which answers no apparent emergency (since the EU would surely not use it against invaders) and which ought to be redundant given the lich-like immortality of NATO.

    , @istevefan
    @Svigor

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let's hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.

    Replies: @Polynices, @Citizen of a Silly Country, @anon

    , @YetAnotherAnon
    @Svigor

    "the Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail"

    One of the things about a jail is that it's hard to get into as well as out of. I'd have characterised it as more like house arrest, anyway, but there you go. Stalin and Hitler between them killed a lot of Eastern Europeans, but their nations survived. I'm not sure the West will survive Obama, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, and Merkel.

    Replies: @Lugash

    , @Spisarevski
    @Svigor


    keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans?
     
    The deal to allow German unification and for the Russian troops to pull out from East Germany was a deal with the Russians, not with the Germans. A deal where you did not keep your end of it.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp
     
    In Bulgaria for example we had no Soviet bases on our soil and we were trusted with the strongest army on the Balkans. Now that we are in NATO we have no army, we had to literally scrap our ballistic missiles and we have 3 or 4 US bases on our soil for which the Americans don't even pay rent. Those bases are for a possible war with Russia, which absolutely nobody here wants any part of. That's "democracy" and "freedom" I guess.

    I’ve never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time
     
    Well maybe you should look it up. Maybe you should also look up population growth dynamics before and after 1990.
    Ethnic Bulgarians in 1992: 7,2 million. Ethnic Bulgarians in 2011: 5,6 million (much older too). That's in just 19 years of peace. The Baltics are the same though they don't think about such trivial matters.
    For my country, joining the western geopolitical orbit has been a demographic, cultural and social catastrophe only comparable to the Ottoman invasion.

    Replies: @anon

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @Svigor


    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I’ve never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I’m confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

     
    That all makes perfect sense if by "The Russians" you meant "The Soviets". That's not the case, though, right, since 1989? I'm am/was as big a supporter of the successful US effort to contain the Soviets and Red Chinese, as anyone during the Cold War times.

    Russia ≠ USSR, and not understanding this brings to my mind the insightful observations by our iSteve here about the cntrl-left viewing domestic America as if it were 1965. Can we use the golden rule a little here and imagine if the US were right now "run" by the Hildabeast along with the usual people who actually run things? There'd probably be even more neocon wars. Though a majority of Americans don't agree with it, our Feral Gov't is way out of our control now, and it happens anyway. In the old USSR and the East Block countries, even less of the population wanted to live under Communism, but had even less of a say in the matter.

    Let's not act like the Russian people are the same as the former leaders and party comrades of the old USSR/East bloc. The Russians didn't deserve their economy getting raped by the neocon businessmen in the 1990's, and they don't deserve getting surrounded by NATO (as Steve said, like having Quebec being absorbed into the Warsaw pact).

    It's not 1947 anymore.
  5. I wouöd put the Baltic states in a separate category because the USA never recognized Stalin’s annexation. Poland was always going to be with the West and a sinilar srgument for Hungary and Czechoslovakia, as Catholic countries. The expansion to Romania & Bulgaria is inexplicable.

    One way to understand NATO is as an effort to keep the WW I Central Powers onsides (with the West). So, we have taken over their ambitions.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @Horseball

    "I would put the Baltic states in a separate category because the USA never recognized Stalin’s annexation."

    The Baltic States were independent from 1917 to 1940, that's 23 years. Prior to that they'd been part of the Russian Empire since 1721, that's 196 years. Prior to that they'd been part of the Swedish Empire, and prior to that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

    I think prior to that the Teutonic Knights, and prior to that a lot of small independent states (14 in what's now Latvia).

  6. In 1996, 92-year-old George Keenan warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories was a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.”

    Enough said.

    • Agree: dearieme
  7. You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.

    This gets said a lot. But the truth is, during Cold War oral agreements were par for the course. For instance, Caribbean crisis was resolved by just such an agreement, and a secret one at that. It would never occur to either side to go back on a deal, even though nothing was in writing.

    So Gorbachev thought that the old rules still applied. In retrospect, even putting everything in writing wouldn’t have helped. The subsequent event had shown that US has no problem tearing up treaties or lawyering its way around inconvenient provisions.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    @inertial

    Can you cite one written treaty that the US has not violated?

  8. You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.

    What would have prevented the US from withdrawing from the treaty, as they have done in some other cases?

  9. @Anonymous
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-high_trumprussia%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.08fe3af36b57

    In July, the administration appointed former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker to serve as special envoy to Ukraine, putting him in charge of the delicate U.S. relationship with a former Soviet republic eager for closer ties with the West.

    Putin has taken extraordinary measures to block that path, sending Russian commandos and arms into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. And Putin is bitter about U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression. A decision by Trump to send arms would probably rupture U.S.-Russian relations beyond immediate repair.

    ... Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

    “I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship,” Volker said. “I think he would like [the Ukraine conflict] to be solved . . . get this fixed so we can get to a better place.”

    The conversation was about Ukraine but seemed to capture Trump’s frustration on so many Russia-related fronts — the election, the investigations, the complications that had undermined his relationship with Putin.

    Volker said that the president repeated a single phrase at least five times, saying, “I want peace.”
     

    Replies: @Opinionator, @LondonBob

    … Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

    Uh, what’s “the rationale” again? Love how the WaPo seems to assume it is so well established and credible that it needs no description and explanation.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    @Opinionator

    Because "resources".

    And who doesn't want a superlarge holiday resort in a Mafia state?

  10. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    What was the Gadsden Purchase? A gift card?

    • Replies: @snorlax
    @J.Ross

    The residents of that territory got to be American and not Mexican citizens, so yes, to this day their little niños are getting mucho dinero courtesy of (among much else) those blue cards with the 10-digit numbers mailed out by the Social Security Administration.

    By the way, I have a coworker who lived for 20 years in Russia, and, in stark contrast to all the other ex-Warsaw Pact émigrés I know, will talk your ear off about what a mindblowingly great place the Soviet Union (and 1990's Russia!!!) was. They had apartments, and electricity, and dentistry!

    He's originally from Afghanistan.

    , @biz
    @J.Ross

    Wow, that is the worst possible example you could have used, because it was a purchase mutually agreed to by both nations.

    You should have gone with the Mexican Cession, which was conquered in a war, although even that is nothing like the Soviet colonial dominance over Eastern Europe for a number of reasons. Oh well, too late.

  11. By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues. This will not end well.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @inertial

    Indeed, without Woodrow Wilson's extensive assistance, repeated by numerous subsequent administrations, the Soviet Union would have ended much sooner.
    I can speak for what I have seen of the Slavic Studies academy, everybody, including the Putin-critics, that the United States grievously fumbled our position and responsibility in how we handled the post-Soviet Russian sphere. I have heard this from people of many different ideologies. We should have done just about everything differently. We looted and burned like triumphant pirates, then expected adulation.
    Of course, as will come as no surprise, my connection to Slavic Studies did not come by way of Harvard; those guys might cling to a different opinion.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Seamus Padraig

    , @Matra
    @inertial

    By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues

    Russians are at least as bad. Not only do they brag about how they were the ones who really defeated the Nazis but they belittle everyones else's contributions and demand, often bitterly, that every other country publicly recognise it. They don't like it if you mention that WW2 began before 1941 and if you bring up Molotov-Ribbentrop or Katyn get ready for full blown patriotard nastiness and insults directed at whatever country you're from.

    El Dato: NATO is bad for Europe as it is basically the US occupation forces

    But then who will defend women's rights? From an article in the Guardian:

    We believe that Nato has the responsibility and opportunity to be a leading protector of women’s rights.

    In particular, we believe Nato can become the global military leader in how to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, drawing on the strengths and capabilities of its member states and working with its many partner countries.

    Article co-written by Jens Stoltenberg - the Secretary General of NATO- and renowned geopolitical analyst, Angelina Jolie.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

  12. @Svigor
    This "muh NATO expansion" thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don't buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians' fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I've never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I'm confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don't have to love any western gov't to feel schadenfreude at Russia's NATO tears. And you don't have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don't think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they're working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    If he could have, he would have. It's just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they're making hay over the fact. I don't begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don't think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it's best if we don't bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @J.Ross, @istevefan, @YetAnotherAnon, @Spisarevski, @Achmed E. Newman

    I don’t think the Russians are or were naive.

    Gorbachev was naive in many ways. But most of their leadership wasn’t. If you read it carefully, most people in the leadership outside his close circle wouldn’t have made the concessions he made. But then again, they would’ve used force to keep the empire together. Which they could’ve done. I was born behind the Iron Curtain, and believe me, we couldn’t have escaped the Eastern Bloc without the Russians’ consent. And short of starting a nuclear war NATO was in no position to make this happen.

    Which is the argument here: the Russians gave up their empire in the hopes of getting economic concessions and goodwill from the West. They got Western assistance to looting by oligarchs and NATO expansion. And the US then broke its own rules when it started bombing random countries, starting with Russian ally Serbia.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @reiner Tor

    I think Gorbachev was a lot like Obama-an optimistic academic liberal type who genuinely meant well, but who you never wanted to let anywhere near real power in a state that was facing severe structural issues and geopolitical decline, thanks in no small part to its own mistakes.

    Don't believe me? Ask Vladimir Putin, who got to view the collapse of the USSR up close and personal. Whatever one thinks of the ex-KGB colonel, he pretty much nailed it on the head with this comparison. And the Chinese would probably be a lot worse off today if they got a Gorbachev type handling things in the late 1980s, too.

  13. @Svigor
    This "muh NATO expansion" thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don't buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians' fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I've never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I'm confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don't have to love any western gov't to feel schadenfreude at Russia's NATO tears. And you don't have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don't think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they're working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    If he could have, he would have. It's just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they're making hay over the fact. I don't begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don't think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it's best if we don't bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @J.Ross, @istevefan, @YetAnotherAnon, @Spisarevski, @Achmed E. Newman

    All this would be well and good if NATO were disbanded or dramatically reformed, or if the bombing of Serbia never happened. NATO is a heavily armed terrorist organization that does a lot more work than the CIA on putting together their stories. Their recent claim to fame is still using Western antipathy to Eastern Europeans to have a quiet little one-sided war, and there’s no reason to doubt they are considering an encore. Furthermore the desperate and embattled EU government is moving quickly to form an EU army, which answers no apparent emergency (since the EU would surely not use it against invaders) and which ought to be redundant given the lich-like immortality of NATO.

  14. Gorbachev was a damned, stupid fool.

  15. @inertial
    By the way, isn't it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we "defeated the USSR" (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation," directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn't occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don't suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues. This will not end well.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Matra

    Indeed, without Woodrow Wilson’s extensive assistance, repeated by numerous subsequent administrations, the Soviet Union would have ended much sooner.
    I can speak for what I have seen of the Slavic Studies academy, everybody, including the Putin-critics, that the United States grievously fumbled our position and responsibility in how we handled the post-Soviet Russian sphere. I have heard this from people of many different ideologies. We should have done just about everything differently. We looted and burned like triumphant pirates, then expected adulation.
    Of course, as will come as no surprise, my connection to Slavic Studies did not come by way of Harvard; those guys might cling to a different opinion.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @J.Ross

    Kennan pretty much nailed that. Our intervention more or less assured that the Bolsheviks would stay in power, because the support of the people swung to them against the foreign invaders. Alexsei Brusilov, the famous Imperial commander from WWI, epitomized the attitude in 1919-1920. General Brusilov was about as White-sympathizing as it got: profoundly conservative and Tsarist, piously Orthodox, and fervently loyal to the now dead Romonov dynasty. However, he publicly urged his former men to let bygones be bygones with the Bolsheviks and agree to fight for the Red Army. As far as Brusilov saw it, expelling Russia's enemies was the main thing, no matter what government was in charge.

    And yes. Though our support of the oligarchs definitely didn't help, I don't think many people grasp how much what Clinton did in Yugoslavia stuck in Russian caws... permanently, in addition as to serving as a template for what would eventually occur with Iraq on a bigger, much more disastrous scale, both in terms of intervening in the name of human rights and in unsuccessfully dealing with nasty sectarian conflicts that nobody in DC has any clue about. (Naturally, of course, Friedman and his ilk insisting that we intervene, denouncing Bush I's "callousness" in not doing so.) What we did with Russia in the 1990s is pretty much a good instruction manual on what you *don't* do in foreign policy.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @Seamus Padraig
    @J.Ross


    Indeed, without Woodrow Wilson’s extensive assistance, repeated by numerous subsequent administrations, the Soviet Union would have ended much sooner.
     
    Woodrow Wilson assisted the Soviet Union? How? By sending troops to fight the Red Army?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_Bear_Expedition
  16. @J.Ross
    @inertial

    Indeed, without Woodrow Wilson's extensive assistance, repeated by numerous subsequent administrations, the Soviet Union would have ended much sooner.
    I can speak for what I have seen of the Slavic Studies academy, everybody, including the Putin-critics, that the United States grievously fumbled our position and responsibility in how we handled the post-Soviet Russian sphere. I have heard this from people of many different ideologies. We should have done just about everything differently. We looted and burned like triumphant pirates, then expected adulation.
    Of course, as will come as no surprise, my connection to Slavic Studies did not come by way of Harvard; those guys might cling to a different opinion.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Seamus Padraig

    Kennan pretty much nailed that. Our intervention more or less assured that the Bolsheviks would stay in power, because the support of the people swung to them against the foreign invaders. Alexsei Brusilov, the famous Imperial commander from WWI, epitomized the attitude in 1919-1920. General Brusilov was about as White-sympathizing as it got: profoundly conservative and Tsarist, piously Orthodox, and fervently loyal to the now dead Romonov dynasty. However, he publicly urged his former men to let bygones be bygones with the Bolsheviks and agree to fight for the Red Army. As far as Brusilov saw it, expelling Russia’s enemies was the main thing, no matter what government was in charge.

    And yes. Though our support of the oligarchs definitely didn’t help, I don’t think many people grasp how much what Clinton did in Yugoslavia stuck in Russian caws… permanently, in addition as to serving as a template for what would eventually occur with Iraq on a bigger, much more disastrous scale, both in terms of intervening in the name of human rights and in unsuccessfully dealing with nasty sectarian conflicts that nobody in DC has any clue about. (Naturally, of course, Friedman and his ilk insisting that we intervene, denouncing Bush I’s “callousness” in not doing so.) What we did with Russia in the 1990s is pretty much a good instruction manual on what you *don’t* do in foreign policy.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @nebulafox

    And for context, Brusilov's urging took place in the context of one of the nastiest civil wars in modern history, that killed millions of people in often hideous ways ranging from famine to "inventive" mass executions. That's how powerful of a motivating force Russian nationalism can be. The Germans spectacularly failed to take that into account 20 years later (along with the fact that Stalin's USSR, in spite of the purges, was a much more formidable beast than Nicholas II's Russia was).

    The Bolsheviks would repay Brusilov by allowing him an official state funeral, attending by representatives of the old Tsarist regime (or what was left of it) in addition to Communists.

  17. Written assurances from Western powers (and Russia) don’t mean much either, as Ukraine found out twenty years after it agreed to hand over its nuclear weapons.

  18. @nebulafox
    @J.Ross

    Kennan pretty much nailed that. Our intervention more or less assured that the Bolsheviks would stay in power, because the support of the people swung to them against the foreign invaders. Alexsei Brusilov, the famous Imperial commander from WWI, epitomized the attitude in 1919-1920. General Brusilov was about as White-sympathizing as it got: profoundly conservative and Tsarist, piously Orthodox, and fervently loyal to the now dead Romonov dynasty. However, he publicly urged his former men to let bygones be bygones with the Bolsheviks and agree to fight for the Red Army. As far as Brusilov saw it, expelling Russia's enemies was the main thing, no matter what government was in charge.

    And yes. Though our support of the oligarchs definitely didn't help, I don't think many people grasp how much what Clinton did in Yugoslavia stuck in Russian caws... permanently, in addition as to serving as a template for what would eventually occur with Iraq on a bigger, much more disastrous scale, both in terms of intervening in the name of human rights and in unsuccessfully dealing with nasty sectarian conflicts that nobody in DC has any clue about. (Naturally, of course, Friedman and his ilk insisting that we intervene, denouncing Bush I's "callousness" in not doing so.) What we did with Russia in the 1990s is pretty much a good instruction manual on what you *don't* do in foreign policy.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    And for context, Brusilov’s urging took place in the context of one of the nastiest civil wars in modern history, that killed millions of people in often hideous ways ranging from famine to “inventive” mass executions. That’s how powerful of a motivating force Russian nationalism can be. The Germans spectacularly failed to take that into account 20 years later (along with the fact that Stalin’s USSR, in spite of the purges, was a much more formidable beast than Nicholas II’s Russia was).

    The Bolsheviks would repay Brusilov by allowing him an official state funeral, attending by representatives of the old Tsarist regime (or what was left of it) in addition to Communists.

  19. @reiner Tor
    @Svigor


    I don’t think the Russians are or were naive.
     
    Gorbachev was naive in many ways. But most of their leadership wasn’t. If you read it carefully, most people in the leadership outside his close circle wouldn’t have made the concessions he made. But then again, they would’ve used force to keep the empire together. Which they could’ve done. I was born behind the Iron Curtain, and believe me, we couldn’t have escaped the Eastern Bloc without the Russians’ consent. And short of starting a nuclear war NATO was in no position to make this happen.

    Which is the argument here: the Russians gave up their empire in the hopes of getting economic concessions and goodwill from the West. They got Western assistance to looting by oligarchs and NATO expansion. And the US then broke its own rules when it started bombing random countries, starting with Russian ally Serbia.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    I think Gorbachev was a lot like Obama-an optimistic academic liberal type who genuinely meant well, but who you never wanted to let anywhere near real power in a state that was facing severe structural issues and geopolitical decline, thanks in no small part to its own mistakes.

    Don’t believe me? Ask Vladimir Putin, who got to view the collapse of the USSR up close and personal. Whatever one thinks of the ex-KGB colonel, he pretty much nailed it on the head with this comparison. And the Chinese would probably be a lot worse off today if they got a Gorbachev type handling things in the late 1980s, too.

  20. @Svigor
    This "muh NATO expansion" thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don't buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians' fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I've never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I'm confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don't have to love any western gov't to feel schadenfreude at Russia's NATO tears. And you don't have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don't think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they're working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    If he could have, he would have. It's just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they're making hay over the fact. I don't begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don't think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it's best if we don't bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @J.Ross, @istevefan, @YetAnotherAnon, @Spisarevski, @Achmed E. Newman

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let’s hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.

    • Replies: @Polynices
    @istevefan

    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn't as bad for a nation's long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.

    Replies: @Fredrik, @Perspective, @Mr. Anon

    , @Citizen of a Silly Country
    @istevefan

    Yep. All of the Bismarck global chessboard talk is about 40 years too late. The changing reality on the ground will make these discussion mute in a generation or two.

    Tell me, outside of U.S. leadership starting a shooting war with Russia (which it won't), what's important to my children and grandchildren:

    1) Russia dinking around with the Ukraine; or

    2) The United States having the demographics of Brazil or Mexico

    What's more important:

    1) Russia moving tanks to the Estonian border someday or

    2) France's under-40 population becoming 25% Muslim

    The greatest geo-political change in the last 500 years - the demographic transformation of the West - is happening all around us, every day, and people are still talking about Russia and countries that have zero significance to us.

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

    Replies: @istevefan, @Mr. Anon, @Forbes

    , @anon
    @istevefan

    I now think the 'iron curtain' was a great blessing in disguise for eastern Europeans. True, they couldn't get out, but no Muslims or other third worlders got into their countries either.

    Replies: @anon

  21. You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing

    Tell that to the Indians (feather not dot)

  22. @istevefan
    @Svigor

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let's hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.

    Replies: @Polynices, @Citizen of a Silly Country, @anon

    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn’t as bad for a nation’s long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.

    • Replies: @Fredrik
    @Polynices

    It's possible they learnt to not believe the official propaganda. Whatever the propaganda is saying...

    , @Perspective
    @Polynices

    I would say the Soviet habit of brutally murdering the intellectual elite and aristocracy just about where ever they had a presence in Eastern Europe had a long lasting impact. It's probably why, though certainly far from the only reason, many parts of Eastern Europe are still languishing more than a quarter of a century after Communism. I hope that post-modernism or cultural marxism as it is also called, collapses soon in the west.

    Replies: @Jake, @Anonymous

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Polynices


    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn’t as bad for a nation’s long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.
     
    I have come to much the same conclusion; that communism (at least of the post WWII soviet kind) is not nearly as destructive to a nations' essential character as is membership in the EU.

    Replies: @Jake

  23. you’ve heard of the cuban missile crisis. but whoever heard of the Turkish missile crisis?

    At the peak of the missile crisis, Kennedy estimated the probability of nuclear war at perhaps 50 percent. It’s a war that would destroy the Northern Hemisphere, President Eisenhower had warned. And facing that risk, Kennedy refused to agree publicly to an offer by Kruschev to end the crisis by simultaneous withdrawal of Russian missiles from Cuba and U.S. missiles from Turkey. These were obsolete missiles. They were already being replaced by invulnerable Polaris submarines. But it was felt necessary to firmly establish the principle that Russia has no right to have any offensive weapons anywhere beyond the borders of the U.S.S.R., even to defend an ally against U.S. attack. That’s now recognized to be the prime reason for deploying missiles there, and actually a plausible one. Meanwhile, the United States must retain the right to have them all over the world, targeting Russia or China or any other enemy. In fact, in 1962, the United—we just recently learned, the United States had just secretly deployed nuclear missiles to Okinawa aimed at China. That was a moment of elevated regional tensions. All of that is very consistent with grand area conceptions, the ones I mentioned that were developed by Roosevelt’s planners.

    Well, fortunately, in 1962, Kruschev backed down. But the world can’t be assured of such sanity forever. And particularly threatening, in my view, is that intellectual opinion, and even scholarship, hail Kennedy’s behavior as his finest hour. My own view is it’s one of the worst moments in history. Inability to face the truth about ourselves is all too common a feature of the intellectual culture, also personal life, has ominous implications.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    @anonymouslee

    What was crucial about the missiles that Kennedy recklessly installed in Turkey wasn't that they were obsolete, but that they could be useful only in a first strike.

  24. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    Exactly.

    What the US and other promised the Russians is one thing but we have to remember that the primary reason for Eastern Europeans to join NATO is insurance against Russian aggression. For very good reasons. It’s easy to forget among the current hysteria that there are real reasons to mistrust Russia. Especially if you’re based in Central and Eastern Europe.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Fredrik

    The alternative would have been a rule based collective security system in Europe, where any attack on the sovereignty of any country would result in military intervention by any of the guarantor powers, i.e. NATO and/or the Russians. This would have worked fine if NATO wanted it, because they have always been stronger than the Russians in Europe. But it was precisely NATO which first broke any hope of such a rule based system by breaking the rules first when bombing the Serbs.

    The Russians didn’t care that the Ukrainians weren’t their vassals (though they kept subsidizing them until 2014), as long as they could be reasonably sure that there would be no NATO bases there. By 2014 that assumption totally broke down. But such a no man’s land between Russia and NATO was possible in the 1990s.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @Fredrik

  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Gorbachev was a fool – or in the English parlance of one who is totally contemptible a ‘c..t’.
    Basically, in the poker game of international relations, the Americans knew they were playing against a c..t and fleeced him for as much as they could, for as long as they could, in the rational belief that the ‘Year of the C**t’ couldn’t last forever.

  26. @Polynices
    @istevefan

    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn't as bad for a nation's long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.

    Replies: @Fredrik, @Perspective, @Mr. Anon

    It’s possible they learnt to not believe the official propaganda. Whatever the propaganda is saying…

  27. If I were Vlad Putin I would be pissed off at the low prices for crude. He could be flexing a lot more muscle with more oil/gas revenues to work with, plus Russian wealth and prestige would be higher. Can China emerge as the bitcoin superpower? They produce the specialized ASIC mining chips and have very low cost electric is some parts of China. Iceland is a large bitcoin miner due to low cost geothermal electricity. Do a search and you will find claims that the world’s bitcoin miners use as much electric power as Ireland.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Clyde

    They are fine with the oil price around $50-60. Higher oil prices are not even desirable for them due to the Dutch disease.

  28. @Opinionator
    @Anonymous

    … Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

    Uh, what's "the rationale" again? Love how the WaPo seems to assume it is so well established and credible that it needs no description and explanation.

    Replies: @El Dato

    Because “resources”.

    And who doesn’t want a superlarge holiday resort in a Mafia state?

  29. @J.Ross
    @Anon

    What was the Gadsden Purchase? A gift card?

    Replies: @snorlax, @biz

    The residents of that territory got to be American and not Mexican citizens, so yes, to this day their little niños are getting mucho dinero courtesy of (among much else) those blue cards with the 10-digit numbers mailed out by the Social Security Administration.

    By the way, I have a coworker who lived for 20 years in Russia, and, in stark contrast to all the other ex-Warsaw Pact émigrés I know, will talk your ear off about what a mindblowingly great place the Soviet Union (and 1990’s Russia!!!) was. They had apartments, and electricity, and dentistry!

    He’s originally from Afghanistan.

  30. NATO is bad for Europe as it is basically the US occupation forces. Sure they provide plush jobs, pump in money, have subsidied bases, source random wars the MIC and medal hounds are greatly interested in but the counterpart is they bork the abysmally petty Euroglitterati.

    It’s like having a potent mind-controlling alien remora permanently glued to the neck.

    “Upgrade your yearly committment to … 2% of your GDP!”

  31. @Fredrik
    @Anon

    Exactly.

    What the US and other promised the Russians is one thing but we have to remember that the primary reason for Eastern Europeans to join NATO is insurance against Russian aggression. For very good reasons. It's easy to forget among the current hysteria that there are real reasons to mistrust Russia. Especially if you're based in Central and Eastern Europe.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    The alternative would have been a rule based collective security system in Europe, where any attack on the sovereignty of any country would result in military intervention by any of the guarantor powers, i.e. NATO and/or the Russians. This would have worked fine if NATO wanted it, because they have always been stronger than the Russians in Europe. But it was precisely NATO which first broke any hope of such a rule based system by breaking the rules first when bombing the Serbs.

    The Russians didn’t care that the Ukrainians weren’t their vassals (though they kept subsidizing them until 2014), as long as they could be reasonably sure that there would be no NATO bases there. By 2014 that assumption totally broke down. But such a no man’s land between Russia and NATO was possible in the 1990s.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @reiner Tor


    they have always been stronger than the Russians in Europe
     
    Since 1991.
    , @Fredrik
    @reiner Tor

    I see the proposed EU defence as a way of moving there slowly but surely.

    Most countries have weak militaries right now but I think most people see that neither UK(on their way out of EU) nor the US(asks for too many adventures in the Middle East) are particularly reliable allies.

    Btw,
    EU initiatives come with its own problems. I'd be loath to see this run by Macron or Verhofstadt. I don't worry about the Germans here. Not even Martin Schulz.

    Btw,
    all set ups are meant to make sure Russia understands it has no chance.

  32. @Clyde
    If I were Vlad Putin I would be pissed off at the low prices for crude. He could be flexing a lot more muscle with more oil/gas revenues to work with, plus Russian wealth and prestige would be higher. Can China emerge as the bitcoin superpower? They produce the specialized ASIC mining chips and have very low cost electric is some parts of China. Iceland is a large bitcoin miner due to low cost geothermal electricity. Do a search and you will find claims that the world's bitcoin miners use as much electric power as Ireland.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    They are fine with the oil price around $50-60. Higher oil prices are not even desirable for them due to the Dutch disease.

  33. @reiner Tor
    @Fredrik

    The alternative would have been a rule based collective security system in Europe, where any attack on the sovereignty of any country would result in military intervention by any of the guarantor powers, i.e. NATO and/or the Russians. This would have worked fine if NATO wanted it, because they have always been stronger than the Russians in Europe. But it was precisely NATO which first broke any hope of such a rule based system by breaking the rules first when bombing the Serbs.

    The Russians didn’t care that the Ukrainians weren’t their vassals (though they kept subsidizing them until 2014), as long as they could be reasonably sure that there would be no NATO bases there. By 2014 that assumption totally broke down. But such a no man’s land between Russia and NATO was possible in the 1990s.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @Fredrik

    they have always been stronger than the Russians in Europe

    Since 1991.

  34. We lied to the Russians in ’92 about not expanding NATO. They have reasons not to trust us.
    This used to be in the Wikipedia entry under ‘German Reunification’ but it seems to have disappeared down the memory hole(kind of like the former Soviet Union’s doctored photos.) Anyway the point is We in the US were the dishonorable participant and lied to the Russians when they were down and out. We lied to the Russians in ’92 and now Wikipedia lies to us in 2017. Wikipedia is great for noncontroversial subjects but anything that is contentious is probably duplicitous by omission as in this case.
    Paragraphs formerly from ‘German reunification’ Wikipedia

    “Jack Matlock, US ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the oral impression by diplomats like Hans-Dietrich Genscher and James Baker
    that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[6] [7]

    In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[8] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[9] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[10] Other authors, such as Mark Kramer, have also highlighted that in 1990 neither side imagined that countries still technically in the Warsaw Pact or the Soviet Union could one day join NATO.[11]”

  35. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    The Eastern Europeans had the right to want to join NATO as much as they wanted, but the US did not have the obligation to humor them.

    It did however have an obligation, though not a formal one, to Russia as the successor state to the USSR to honor its promises.

    Not that hectoring the US has any point, and people (Russians or otherwise) who whine do annoy me as well. Let’s instead look at the results.

    + The US essentially played a nice but criminally naive Gorbachev. Instead of treating the Cold War as a mutual victory, it treated Russia as a loser country. The US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, and closed off the possibility of the “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. This is far from a catastrophic outcome from a geopolitical perspective.

    – This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones. This wouldn’t matter if the US is the dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia is doomed to die anyway, as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s and indeed informed US policy. But things didn’t quite pan out that way. Have fun dealing with China this century, one that is backed up by a resentful Russia.

    • Replies: @Yak-15
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States. I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.

    It’s inportant to remember that every advance by China makes Russia equally less safe.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin, @Randal

    , @Anonymous
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Gorbachev was the best argument for 'popular democracy' that has ever been made.
    The 'right' for the public to eject a bad leader - in this case Gorbachev - can clearly be seen as the highest possible political virtue.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Good comment, especially this important point -


    This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones.
     
    That's a hell of a shame and the fault of the neocons from 1989 onward. The people of Russia could figure out that the formerly-free-market US economy beat hell out of the sick state of markets under Communism. Most would have found out by the time of Gorbachev's perestroika how much freedom the West enjoyed (up until about that time, coincidentally(?) ) also. Lastly, they knew that Ronald Reagan, the old Pope John Paul, Mrs. Thatcher, and millions of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and mechanical and electrical engineers were responsible for putting the Kibosh on the old USSR.

    Without the outside influence, Communism could have ruined 2 or 5 or 10 more generations of lives of the Russian people.

    Therefore, we had all this goodwill built up, and then the piece-by-piece dismantling/sell-off of Russian assets, and the use of NATO to box the country in, set it all back. It started with the necocon ex-CIA scumbag George H.W. Bush (who lost my vote to the L's when he made a part of a speech in Spanish in 1988!)

    See, "Russians and Chinese and Bears, oh my! (and Pandas)", about the long-term effects of Communism, along with part 2, part 3, and part 4.
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Oh, and I've written harsh words to you before, Mr. Karlin. That's only been regarding your views on Global Climate Disruption(TM), the biggest scam since a bigger scam than Social Security and "You've got a friend in the diamond business.".

    I think you should start reading up.

  36. It’s easier to understand the Russian perspective if one reads the source document—Vladimir Putin’s remarks at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, in which he outlined the explicit thesis that a unipolar world with a single hegemon was simply not working. News reports from that time suggest that European leaders nervously (and audibly) tittered during the speech, as they heard a near total refutation and dismantling of their world view.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200555.html

  37. It is now only a historical curiosity of a fact, but still striking that the Soviet Union asked to join NATO, not once, but technically, twice, in the early 1950s, under Khrushchev and at Molotov’s initiative (the second time was after the Politburo approved certain conditions NATO laid down in order to hedge the question).

    The Soviets clearly envisioned a joint role for themselves as some sort guarantors of European peace.

    The Warsaw Pact was formed only after the rejection.

    https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/molotovs-proposal-the-ussr-join-nato-march-1954

  38. NATO has a major problem now that some of its member countries have allowed the International Criminal Court to have jurisdiction over ‘aggressive war’. For example should Poland invoke NATO’s collective defense article Germany could refuse to participate if they believed it would subject them to ICC prosecution under its ‘war crimes’ definition.

    A ‘counterattack’ is, almost by definition, aggressive war, especially if it involves moving troops or conducting airstrikes against the territory of an adversary. Thus the EU ‘soft power’ advocates may have rendered ‘collective security’ defense pacts obsolete.

    • Replies: @Forbes
    @unit472

    The tactics of self-defense, self-preservation, and national sovereignty transformed into 'war crimes' by the adherents of Cultural Marxism and Orwellian Newspeak. Defense pacts turned into suicide pacts. Makes perfect sense...

  39. @Horseball
    I wouöd put the Baltic states in a separate category because the USA never recognized Stalin's annexation. Poland was always going to be with the West and a sinilar srgument for Hungary and Czechoslovakia, as Catholic countries. The expansion to Romania & Bulgaria is inexplicable.

    One way to understand NATO is as an effort to keep the WW I Central Powers onsides (with the West). So, we have taken over their ambitions.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    “I would put the Baltic states in a separate category because the USA never recognized Stalin’s annexation.”

    The Baltic States were independent from 1917 to 1940, that’s 23 years. Prior to that they’d been part of the Russian Empire since 1721, that’s 196 years. Prior to that they’d been part of the Swedish Empire, and prior to that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

    I think prior to that the Teutonic Knights, and prior to that a lot of small independent states (14 in what’s now Latvia).

  40. A ‘counterattack’ is, almost by definition, aggressive war, especially if it involves moving troops or conducting airstrikes against the territory of an adversary.

    Not if it is in the context of an “ongoing armed attack”. In that context such actions are arguably legitimate military actions in necessary self defence.

    It’s pretty safe to assume that the institution and supposed laws will not be honestly applied anyway where doing so is against the interests of the US and the regimes within its sphere. But you are correct that a pretended fear of its being applied might be used as an excuse not to get involved in a war that a particular US vassal, such as Germany, wanted to evade. That would leave the US with the choice of trying to enforce its will or (as was done in the case of the attack on Iraq) simply proceeding without the said vassal’s involvement. In the case of Germany, enforcement would probably be impractical and any attempt would probably simply trigger a recognition that the US no longer has the power to coerce Germany in extremis and the formal departure of Germany from the US sphere. If it were some lesser minion such as the Netherlands or Slovakia the calculations would be different.

    However, if all this were in the context of a potential war with Russia the issues are likely to be rather more existential than they could ever be over a mere expeditionary war of choice like Iraq, and legal technicalities largely irrelevant. It would be more likely to be an issue if the proposal were to use the alliance to wage another war of aggression such as the Kosovo war, against a minor state under a suitable pretext of supposed aggression.

    So it might be more appropriate to say that the EU ‘soft power’ advocates have not rendered ‘collective security’ defence pacts obsolete as collective security pacts per se, but rather thrown a potential spanner in the works of their being abused as tools to wage wars of choice.

  41. @Anonymous
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-high_trumprussia%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.08fe3af36b57

    In July, the administration appointed former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker to serve as special envoy to Ukraine, putting him in charge of the delicate U.S. relationship with a former Soviet republic eager for closer ties with the West.

    Putin has taken extraordinary measures to block that path, sending Russian commandos and arms into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists. And Putin is bitter about U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression. A decision by Trump to send arms would probably rupture U.S.-Russian relations beyond immediate repair.

    ... Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

    “I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship,” Volker said. “I think he would like [the Ukraine conflict] to be solved . . . get this fixed so we can get to a better place.”

    The conversation was about Ukraine but seemed to capture Trump’s frustration on so many Russia-related fronts — the election, the investigations, the complications that had undermined his relationship with Putin.

    Volker said that the president repeated a single phrase at least five times, saying, “I want peace.”
     

    Replies: @Opinionator, @LondonBob

    Volker is a hardcore neocon, appointing him is not what the American people voted for.

  42. @Svigor
    This "muh NATO expansion" thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don't buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians' fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I've never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I'm confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don't have to love any western gov't to feel schadenfreude at Russia's NATO tears. And you don't have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don't think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they're working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    If he could have, he would have. It's just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they're making hay over the fact. I don't begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don't think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it's best if we don't bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @J.Ross, @istevefan, @YetAnotherAnon, @Spisarevski, @Achmed E. Newman

    “the Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail”

    One of the things about a jail is that it’s hard to get into as well as out of. I’d have characterised it as more like house arrest, anyway, but there you go. Stalin and Hitler between them killed a lot of Eastern Europeans, but their nations survived. I’m not sure the West will survive Obama, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, and Merkel.

    • Agree: BB753
    • Replies: @Lugash
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Lugash defected INTO Soviet Union!

  43. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    Your point is true but irrelevant. The attempt to incorporate Ukraine into NATO (which the Ukrainian oligarchs want) will trigger a general European war. Russia simply cannot tolerate what was for literally hundreds of years part of the Russian heartland being part of an enemy alliance. Ukraine became part of Russia before Scotland was unified with England, when there were only scattered English colonies along the Atlantic coast, when France still ruled most of North America, …

    • Replies: @AP
    @bob sykes


    Russia simply cannot tolerate what was for literally hundreds of years part of the Russian heartland being part of an enemy alliance.
     
    Myth. Most parts of Ukriane were part of the West longer than they were ruled from Moscow, and furthermore much of the time spent under Moscow involved some sort of separate status. In Russian, Ukraine means "Borderland", not "Heartland."

    Moscow swallowed Ukraine in parts. Here is the timeline of how long each part spent in the West vs. under Moscow:

    The “Right Bank” – everything west of the river Dnipro, including most of Kiev province: part of Lithuania and Poland 1362-1793 (429 years); integrated part of Russia until 1917 (124 years); Ukrainian SSR 1919-1991 (72 years); independent Ukraine 1991-present (25 years). Russian 196 years, Western 429 years, independent 25 years.

    Volynia – same as “Right Bank” but unlike the rest of the Right Bank was part of Poland from 1919-1939, missing the first 20 years of Soviet rule. Russian 176 years, Western 449 years, independent 25 years.

    Galicia – part of Poland 1349-1772 (423 years); part of Austria 1772-1918 (146 years); part of Poland 1919-1939 (20 years), part of Ukrainian SSR 1939-1991 (52 years); independent Ukraine 1991-present (25 years). Russian 52 years, Western 589 years, independent 25 years.

    Kiev City and eastern Ukraine: Lithuania, Poland 1362 – 1648 (about 300 years); independent 1648-1654 (6 years); autonomous (own military, legal system, locally elected ruler, Polish retained as elite language) but under the Russian Tsar until 1709 (55 years); diminished autonomy until 1764 (55 years); integrated part of Russian Empire until 1917 (153 years); Ukrainian SSR 1918- 1991 (73 years); independent Ukraine 1991-present (25 years). Russian 336 years, Western 286 years, independent 31 years.

    Ukraine became part of Russia before Scotland was unified with England

    Only part of Ukraine (see above). And this part had its own army, foreign policy, government, and indeed went to war against Russia several times. It was de facto as least as independent of Moscow as were the Warsaw Pact eastern European states were during the Cold War, until its leader and his Swedish ally were defeated in 1709.
  44. I hope we can all agree on the general principle that every nation has a right to pursue their own interests. Regardless of whether that choice pleases Putin, Trump or the UN. Granted, those choices need to be tempered by a prudent regard for how their actions appear to their neighbors. Follow the Croce rule and “Don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” Or, if you are Athens, don’t undermine Sparta’s allies and expect that to be a cost free foreign policy.

    I question the wisdom of expanding NATO right up to the Russian border. But I understand the desire by any Eastern European nation to seek security ties with the west. The Russians aren’t known for their tolerance of independent choice by their neighbors.

    I find Russia’s complaints often smack of, “Just because I killed my parents, doesn’t mean you aren’t obligated to treat me like an orphan.”

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @Busby

    Be interesting to see what a free and fair vote on joining NATO would end up producing. Even despite the full blown propaganda campaign from NGOs, Civil Society, bribes etc. for Montenegro to join NATO, from various surveys it seemed that most still didn't want to join.

  45. @Svigor
    This "muh NATO expansion" thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don't buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians' fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I've never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I'm confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don't have to love any western gov't to feel schadenfreude at Russia's NATO tears. And you don't have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don't think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they're working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    If he could have, he would have. It's just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they're making hay over the fact. I don't begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don't think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it's best if we don't bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @J.Ross, @istevefan, @YetAnotherAnon, @Spisarevski, @Achmed E. Newman

    keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans?

    The deal to allow German unification and for the Russian troops to pull out from East Germany was a deal with the Russians, not with the Germans. A deal where you did not keep your end of it.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp

    In Bulgaria for example we had no Soviet bases on our soil and we were trusted with the strongest army on the Balkans. Now that we are in NATO we have no army, we had to literally scrap our ballistic missiles and we have 3 or 4 US bases on our soil for which the Americans don’t even pay rent. Those bases are for a possible war with Russia, which absolutely nobody here wants any part of. That’s “democracy” and “freedom” I guess.

    I’ve never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time

    Well maybe you should look it up. Maybe you should also look up population growth dynamics before and after 1990.
    Ethnic Bulgarians in 1992: 7,2 million. Ethnic Bulgarians in 2011: 5,6 million (much older too). That’s in just 19 years of peace. The Baltics are the same though they don’t think about such trivial matters.
    For my country, joining the western geopolitical orbit has been a demographic, cultural and social catastrophe only comparable to the Ottoman invasion.

    • Replies: @anon
    @Spisarevski

    Bulgarians were always willing to do their Russians masters' dirty work. You obviously miss the good old days when you were serving your "big brothers", and like an old dog you are still trying to lick their boots by pro-Russian trolling here.

  46. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a golden opportunity.

    The Russians ought to have been invited in to NATO.

    We won the (cold) war but acted as if it could reignite.

    Surprisingly, it did.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @JamesG

    Russia didn't join NATO because the US correctly perceived they would become an alternate power centre. Russia won't be asked to join the EU because then it would be Russian not German run.

  47. You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.

    The way these jokers in Washington roll, it wouldn’t make any difference if it were in writing. After all, our constitution is in writing. Do they respect that? No, for them it’s just another Injun treaty.

  48. @J.Ross
    @inertial

    Indeed, without Woodrow Wilson's extensive assistance, repeated by numerous subsequent administrations, the Soviet Union would have ended much sooner.
    I can speak for what I have seen of the Slavic Studies academy, everybody, including the Putin-critics, that the United States grievously fumbled our position and responsibility in how we handled the post-Soviet Russian sphere. I have heard this from people of many different ideologies. We should have done just about everything differently. We looted and burned like triumphant pirates, then expected adulation.
    Of course, as will come as no surprise, my connection to Slavic Studies did not come by way of Harvard; those guys might cling to a different opinion.

    Replies: @nebulafox, @Seamus Padraig

    Indeed, without Woodrow Wilson’s extensive assistance, repeated by numerous subsequent administrations, the Soviet Union would have ended much sooner.

    Woodrow Wilson assisted the Soviet Union? How? By sending troops to fight the Red Army?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_Bear_Expedition

  49. Forget about discussing over the subtleties of expansion or contraction of NATO. It’s a matter of not seeing the forrest for the trees.
    The point is, does NATO still have any purpose at all after the Soviet Union collapsed nearly three decades ago?
    No wonder Russians see NATO as just an American imperialist spearhead. A weapon of aggression against those countires not in line with the whole globalist agenda.

  50. @J.Ross
    @Anon

    What was the Gadsden Purchase? A gift card?

    Replies: @snorlax, @biz

    Wow, that is the worst possible example you could have used, because it was a purchase mutually agreed to by both nations.

    You should have gone with the Mexican Cession, which was conquered in a war, although even that is nothing like the Soviet colonial dominance over Eastern Europe for a number of reasons. Oh well, too late.

  51. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    Don’t be so foolish: what the hell has that got to do with broken promises? Christ, all the USA was either seized by force, or by buying stolen goods.

  52. @anonymouslee
    you've heard of the cuban missile crisis. but whoever heard of the Turkish missile crisis?

    At the peak of the missile crisis, Kennedy estimated the probability of nuclear war at perhaps 50 percent. It’s a war that would destroy the Northern Hemisphere, President Eisenhower had warned. And facing that risk, Kennedy refused to agree publicly to an offer by Kruschev to end the crisis by simultaneous withdrawal of Russian missiles from Cuba and U.S. missiles from Turkey. These were obsolete missiles. They were already being replaced by invulnerable Polaris submarines. But it was felt necessary to firmly establish the principle that Russia has no right to have any offensive weapons anywhere beyond the borders of the U.S.S.R., even to defend an ally against U.S. attack. That’s now recognized to be the prime reason for deploying missiles there, and actually a plausible one. Meanwhile, the United States must retain the right to have them all over the world, targeting Russia or China or any other enemy. In fact, in 1962, the United—we just recently learned, the United States had just secretly deployed nuclear missiles to Okinawa aimed at China. That was a moment of elevated regional tensions. All of that is very consistent with grand area conceptions, the ones I mentioned that were developed by Roosevelt’s planners.

    Well, fortunately, in 1962, Kruschev backed down. But the world can’t be assured of such sanity forever. And particularly threatening, in my view, is that intellectual opinion, and even scholarship, hail Kennedy’s behavior as his finest hour. My own view is it’s one of the worst moments in history. Inability to face the truth about ourselves is all too common a feature of the intellectual culture, also personal life, has ominous implications.
     

    Replies: @dearieme

    What was crucial about the missiles that Kennedy recklessly installed in Turkey wasn’t that they were obsolete, but that they could be useful only in a first strike.

  53. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Anon

    The Eastern Europeans had the right to want to join NATO as much as they wanted, but the US did not have the obligation to humor them.

    It did however have an obligation, though not a formal one, to Russia as the successor state to the USSR to honor its promises.

    Not that hectoring the US has any point, and people (Russians or otherwise) who whine do annoy me as well. Let's instead look at the results.

    + The US essentially played a nice but criminally naive Gorbachev. Instead of treating the Cold War as a mutual victory, it treated Russia as a loser country. The US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. This is far from a catastrophic outcome from a geopolitical perspective.

    - This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones. This wouldn't matter if the US is the dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia is doomed to die anyway, as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s and indeed informed US policy. But things didn't quite pan out that way. Have fun dealing with China this century, one that is backed up by a resentful Russia.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Anonymous, @Achmed E. Newman, @Achmed E. Newman

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States. I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.

    It’s inportant to remember that every advance by China makes Russia equally less safe.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    @Yak-15

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States." A comforting delusion, but it is a delusion nonetheless. Relations with China are good and improving, all outstanding border issues have been resolved. Possibly things will go sour in another generation, but all sorts of things can happen.

    "I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources." And? What are the Chinese going to do about it? Attac?

    Replies: @Yak-15

    , @Randal
    @Yak-15


    I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.

    It’s inportant to remember that every advance by China makes Russia equally less safe.

     

    That would all be true and relevant - if it had not been for the policies actually adopted by the US sphere elites after the fall of the Soviet union, including the expansion of NATO referenced by Sailer in this piece.

    If the US bipartisan regime had not pursued consistent policies of aggression towards Russia aimed ultimately at its existential destruction as an independent state, from expanding the NATO military alliance into its former heartlands to bombing and regime changing its allies, and attempting to use economic and political subversion to do the same in Russia itself, then it might make sense for Russia to regard China as a potential threat in more than a long term theoretical sense.

    But those have been the policies adopted by the US elites, and the current hysterical US establishment reaction to even the possibility of toning them down slightly by the incoming Trump administration rather reinforces the point made by NATO expansion, that there can be no agreement with any US administration for which it cannot be assumed a subsequent administration will betray it as soon as the opportunity arises, because the hostility towards Russia is irrational in nature, and systemic within the US sphere elites.
  54. @istevefan
    @Svigor

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let's hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.

    Replies: @Polynices, @Citizen of a Silly Country, @anon

    Yep. All of the Bismarck global chessboard talk is about 40 years too late. The changing reality on the ground will make these discussion mute in a generation or two.

    Tell me, outside of U.S. leadership starting a shooting war with Russia (which it won’t), what’s important to my children and grandchildren:

    1) Russia dinking around with the Ukraine; or

    2) The United States having the demographics of Brazil or Mexico

    What’s more important:

    1) Russia moving tanks to the Estonian border someday or

    2) France’s under-40 population becoming 25% Muslim

    The greatest geo-political change in the last 500 years – the demographic transformation of the West – is happening all around us, every day, and people are still talking about Russia and countries that have zero significance to us.

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

    • Agree: Abe, Charles Pewitt, utu
    • Replies: @istevefan
    @Citizen of a Silly Country

    Your comment pretty much nails it.

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Citizen of a Silly Country

    I agree. WWII and the Cold War are already ancient history. That world is dead. It hardly matters who won, who lost, who was right, who was wrong, etc. The massive flows of people that are altering the West's demographics are what is important now.

    , @Forbes
    @Citizen of a Silly Country

    It really suggests the discussion is far too late, as the decisions have already been made. The populations flows and demographic changes have occurred. What plays out over the next two generations is merely a matter of time, i.e. the "when" is the question that remains, the "what" merely has to play out.

    Perhaps it's because #2 is inevitable that #1 captures media/policy makers attention...

  55. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Anon

    The Eastern Europeans had the right to want to join NATO as much as they wanted, but the US did not have the obligation to humor them.

    It did however have an obligation, though not a formal one, to Russia as the successor state to the USSR to honor its promises.

    Not that hectoring the US has any point, and people (Russians or otherwise) who whine do annoy me as well. Let's instead look at the results.

    + The US essentially played a nice but criminally naive Gorbachev. Instead of treating the Cold War as a mutual victory, it treated Russia as a loser country. The US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. This is far from a catastrophic outcome from a geopolitical perspective.

    - This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones. This wouldn't matter if the US is the dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia is doomed to die anyway, as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s and indeed informed US policy. But things didn't quite pan out that way. Have fun dealing with China this century, one that is backed up by a resentful Russia.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Anonymous, @Achmed E. Newman, @Achmed E. Newman

    Gorbachev was the best argument for ‘popular democracy’ that has ever been made.
    The ‘right’ for the public to eject a bad leader – in this case Gorbachev – can clearly be seen as the highest possible political virtue.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anonymous

    Apart from destroying his own nation and his own political party, (what his enemies always dreamed of, of course), the only 'use' Gorbachev has been in global politics is to, possibly, warn generations of Chinese political leaders of the perils of political stupidity - and its dire consequences.

    The man was truly a contemptible, shallow, stupid fool.

  56. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    The problem here is that, historically speaking, whenever these little countries weren’t under Russia’s thumb, they almost always under somebody else’s thumb, and that constitutes a serious threat to Russian security. For example, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland all fought with the Germans in WWII, so it’s easy to see why Gorbachev would have later insisted on the neutrality of the E. European countries (sometimes called ‘Finlandization’) as a condition for disbanding the Warsaw Pact.

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington’s reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don’t really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.

    • Replies: @AP
    @Seamus Padraig


    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in
     
    So Russians claims dead Ukrainians, Balts, etc. as their own.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    , @Anonymous
    @Seamus Padraig

    They fought with the Germans because about half of them were invaded and annexed by the Soviet regime. You don't want people to fight you, don't pick fights.

    , @polaco
    @Seamus Padraig


    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did
     
    They started this war. There was a huge military buildup in Russia in the run up to WWII, and they were angling for it ever since they lost the Polish Soviet war in 1921, when they had hoped that the communist overrun Germany would have been the next piece of land to grab. They were just more sly, as usual, to have waited for two weeks (though they had been ready for it all the same for years then) before attacking and then proclaiming they did that just to protect the Russian peoples in Poland. They shouldn't be surprised their neighbors distrust them. And Russia, unfortunately, has nothing to offer, they have hydrocarbons which are their lifeblood, so they won't let Europe diversify its supply and have intervened in Syria, and there is agriculture, and that's about it. Some time ago I read more tech patents came from Singapore than Russia that year. Russia plays its own imperial games to the extent her economy allows her. And it's a police state alright, their government can do whatever it wants at the local or federal level, and the blame is squarely on the population. Taking certain overwhelming outside factors out of the equation, people are the main ingredient for success, whether it's a country, a city, a business or a family. Russia just doesn't have it, the fact that things are going awry in the West doesn't mean Russia is a place to look up to.
  57. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I question the wisdom of expanding NATO right up to the Russian border. But I understand the desire by any Eastern European nation to seek security ties with the west. The Russians aren’t known for their tolerance of independent choice by their neighbors

    These same Eastern European countries are under increasing duress to accept immigrants and refugees from MENA. They will not be able to resist for too long. The global economic and political powers will force them to multiculturalize or else. It’s sad, these East Europeans are so defiant and hold rosary rallies and they have no clue that they are now simply a bitch of the West and their fate is being planned out in Chevy Chase, Georgetown, and Kalorama.

    Europe, and especially the U.K., have become dangerous and sinister. I heard from some guys in the know that British GCHQ was on board with Christopher Steele and the U.S. IC to destroy Trump and get him to removed. Apparently there are whistleblowers in the IC willing to testify to this. Outrageous beyond words. Now I say fuck it, I am a 1000% on board for a continent of saints. Worse is better. Hell, I might even go over and join one of those Israeli human rights groups on the shores of Greece and Italy welcoming the saints. I want through-the-roof TFR for immigrants and a European TFR under 1.

  58. And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let’s hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.

    I call it the West Virginia Effect, but it should probably be the Iron Curtain Effect or something.

    In 1996, 92-year-old George Keenan warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories was a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.”

    Enough said.

    Is there more to the quote? Like, Soviet tanks are gonna be rolling through the Fulda Gap soon? Because it’s been 20 years, and I’m not seeing the big down side.

    What would have prevented the US from withdrawing from the treaty, as they have done in some other cases?

    Well, at least everyone would remember that time the USA and USSR announced their big agreement that the latter would remove their occupying army from East Germany, and the former would never support NATO expansion, and then that time when the USA totally went back on their word and supported NATO expansion.

    When Judgement Day comes, I suppose we’re gonna have to answer for breaking our word to the regime that turned half of Europe into a jail and killed tens of millions of its own people.

    By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues. This will not end well.

    You have misapprehended me, at least; it’s not a touchdown dance. It’s not national rah-rah. It’s recoiling in horror at the tens of millions of people that regime murdered, the oppression it created, and all the vermin in the west who cozied up to it or looked the other way.

    ZFG for teh Russian feelz.

    • Replies: @Randal
    @Svigor


    Is there more to the quote? Like, Soviet tanks are gonna be rolling through the Fulda Gap soon? Because it’s been 20 years, and I’m not seeing the big down side.
     
    Then you simply aren't paying attention.

    Kennan's point was that doing that would gratuitously make an enemy out of Russia. And so, indeed, it has come to pass.

    Replies: @anon

    , @LondonBob
    @Svigor

    You conflate the Soviet regime with the Russian government. Anyway the condition for these countries being set free was that they don't join NATO, a small price. Besides I like to keep my word, we aren't perfidious France.

  59. @Busby
    I hope we can all agree on the general principle that every nation has a right to pursue their own interests. Regardless of whether that choice pleases Putin, Trump or the UN. Granted, those choices need to be tempered by a prudent regard for how their actions appear to their neighbors. Follow the Croce rule and "Don't tug on Superman's cape." Or, if you are Athens, don't undermine Sparta's allies and expect that to be a cost free foreign policy.

    I question the wisdom of expanding NATO right up to the Russian border. But I understand the desire by any Eastern European nation to seek security ties with the west. The Russians aren't known for their tolerance of independent choice by their neighbors.

    I find Russia's complaints often smack of, "Just because I killed my parents, doesn't mean you aren't obligated to treat me like an orphan."

    Replies: @LondonBob

    Be interesting to see what a free and fair vote on joining NATO would end up producing. Even despite the full blown propaganda campaign from NGOs, Civil Society, bribes etc. for Montenegro to join NATO, from various surveys it seemed that most still didn’t want to join.

  60. Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington’s reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don’t really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.

    Imagine the European reaction if USA was an oppressive regime that had murdered tens of millions of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans in the 20th century, and turned the Northern Hemisphere into a jail, and the Russians had won a Cold War with them. I’m thinking it their regard for American objections would be somewhere near “ZFG.”

    Also, I’m curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII? Because the USSR is gone, and a lot of those 22 million dead are now some other country’s loss, not Russia’s.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Svigor


    Also, I’m curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII?
     
    I don’t know, but the vast majority (like 70%) of the military deaths were Russians. There were some 8 or 9 millions of military deaths. Of the civilian deaths, Russians were a minority, especially if the Jews are counted separately.

    Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?

    Replies: @utu, @J.Ross, @nebulafox

    , @istevefan
    @Svigor

    Imagine the USA being invaded by others using Mexico as a staging area. Imagine said invasion also involved not just conquering the USA, but was also a war of annihilation upon its people.

    Then imagine after the USA wins such a war it creates a buffer state in Mexico to prevent such use by third parties in the future.

    Why would any nation which survived a war of annihilation ever allow its potential enemies easy access again?

    , @Anon
    @Svigor

    The Soviet regime was pretty lousy. But having brought back into existence the Russian nation from under the Soviet heel, why squander all the goodwill we earned by looting their collapsing economy and pushing our military up to their border? I mean, what's the upside for us?

  61. It sounds like Russia is angry with Gorbachev, and displacing it onto us.

    Oh, and let’s not act as though Russia was the poor innocent victim in WWII. The horrors of the USSR were probably a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for Hitler’s rise to power. The USSR carved up Poland right alongside Nazi Germany, and they planned to invade the rest of eastern Europe. The only real reasons we were allied with the Soviets in WWII, and not the Nazis, were geopolitical, not moral.

  62. @Yak-15
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States. I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.

    It’s inportant to remember that every advance by China makes Russia equally less safe.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin, @Randal

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States.” A comforting delusion, but it is a delusion nonetheless. Relations with China are good and improving, all outstanding border issues have been resolved. Possibly things will go sour in another generation, but all sorts of things can happen.

    I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.” And? What are the Chinese going to do about it? Attac?

    • Replies: @Yak-15
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Surely these guys could go home then, right?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_Eastern_Military_District

  63. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Gorbachev was the best argument for 'popular democracy' that has ever been made.
    The 'right' for the public to eject a bad leader - in this case Gorbachev - can clearly be seen as the highest possible political virtue.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Apart from destroying his own nation and his own political party, (what his enemies always dreamed of, of course), the only ‘use’ Gorbachev has been in global politics is to, possibly, warn generations of Chinese political leaders of the perils of political stupidity – and its dire consequences.

    The man was truly a contemptible, shallow, stupid fool.

  64. @Yak-15
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States. I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.

    It’s inportant to remember that every advance by China makes Russia equally less safe.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin, @Randal

    I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources.

    It’s inportant to remember that every advance by China makes Russia equally less safe.

    That would all be true and relevant – if it had not been for the policies actually adopted by the US sphere elites after the fall of the Soviet union, including the expansion of NATO referenced by Sailer in this piece.

    If the US bipartisan regime had not pursued consistent policies of aggression towards Russia aimed ultimately at its existential destruction as an independent state, from expanding the NATO military alliance into its former heartlands to bombing and regime changing its allies, and attempting to use economic and political subversion to do the same in Russia itself, then it might make sense for Russia to regard China as a potential threat in more than a long term theoretical sense.

    But those have been the policies adopted by the US elites, and the current hysterical US establishment reaction to even the possibility of toning them down slightly by the incoming Trump administration rather reinforces the point made by NATO expansion, that there can be no agreement with any US administration for which it cannot be assumed a subsequent administration will betray it as soon as the opportunity arises, because the hostility towards Russia is irrational in nature, and systemic within the US sphere elites.

  65. @Svigor

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let’s hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.
     
    I call it the West Virginia Effect, but it should probably be the Iron Curtain Effect or something.

    In 1996, 92-year-old George Keenan warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories was a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.”

    Enough said.
     
    Is there more to the quote? Like, Soviet tanks are gonna be rolling through the Fulda Gap soon? Because it's been 20 years, and I'm not seeing the big down side.

    What would have prevented the US from withdrawing from the treaty, as they have done in some other cases?
     
    Well, at least everyone would remember that time the USA and USSR announced their big agreement that the latter would remove their occupying army from East Germany, and the former would never support NATO expansion, and then that time when the USA totally went back on their word and supported NATO expansion.

    When Judgement Day comes, I suppose we're gonna have to answer for breaking our word to the regime that turned half of Europe into a jail and killed tens of millions of its own people.

    By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues. This will not end well.
     
    You have misapprehended me, at least; it's not a touchdown dance. It's not national rah-rah. It's recoiling in horror at the tens of millions of people that regime murdered, the oppression it created, and all the vermin in the west who cozied up to it or looked the other way.

    ZFG for teh Russian feelz.

    Replies: @Randal, @LondonBob

    Is there more to the quote? Like, Soviet tanks are gonna be rolling through the Fulda Gap soon? Because it’s been 20 years, and I’m not seeing the big down side.

    Then you simply aren’t paying attention.

    Kennan’s point was that doing that would gratuitously make an enemy out of Russia. And so, indeed, it has come to pass.

    • Replies: @anon
    @Randal

    Kennan's biggest beef wasn't simply the expansion of NATO. But he was incensed that it was done casually, with no debate, discussion, or anything. It was simply there and to Clinton and the the elites == it was simply 'why not?'. I agree with Kennan on both points. Especially the latter. What did we hope to gain?

  66. Waydaminit

    Are all the people here who claim to be so concerned with the sovereignty of Eastern European countries now saying that Russia had a veto over that sovereignty?

    If, say, Poland wanted to join NATO what business would that be of Russia? If you say that Poland can say no to Brussels, why can’t Poland say no to Moscow?

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @anony-mouse

    Nobody denied Poland’s right to join NATO. What was questionable was why NATO accepted it after having promised Russia not to accept it.

    Replies: @AP

  67. @JamesG
    The collapse of the Soviet Union was a golden opportunity.

    The Russians ought to have been invited in to NATO.

    We won the (cold) war but acted as if it could reignite.

    Surprisingly, it did.

    Replies: @LondonBob

    Russia didn’t join NATO because the US correctly perceived they would become an alternate power centre. Russia won’t be asked to join the EU because then it would be Russian not German run.

  68. @Svigor

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington’s reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don’t really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.
     
    Imagine the European reaction if USA was an oppressive regime that had murdered tens of millions of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans in the 20th century, and turned the Northern Hemisphere into a jail, and the Russians had won a Cold War with them. I'm thinking it their regard for American objections would be somewhere near "ZFG."

    Also, I'm curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII? Because the USSR is gone, and a lot of those 22 million dead are now some other country's loss, not Russia's.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @istevefan, @Anon

    Also, I’m curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII?

    I don’t know, but the vast majority (like 70%) of the military deaths were Russians. There were some 8 or 9 millions of military deaths. Of the civilian deaths, Russians were a minority, especially if the Jews are counted separately.

    Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?

    • Replies: @utu
    @reiner Tor

    Out of this 22 million figure how many were killed by Soviet Union? How many are counted twice as Ukrainian or Polish dead by Ukraine and Poland? How many are just made up?

    Does military dead include all those ex Red Army POW's who fought on German side and those who were later executed by SU? Does it include killed by NKVD barrier troops? In the fourth month of the war by October 10, 1941 already 10,201 were shot for desertion? How many more by the end of the war?

    How anybody can take seriously Soviet statistics?

    Replies: @AP

    , @J.Ross
    @reiner Tor

    Estimates of Russian losses from all causes in the period of WWII routinely start at twenty million. There's no way to perfectly nail down specifics of who killed who.

    , @nebulafox
    @reiner Tor

    Well, it's important not to confuse the USSR with Russia. German occupied Ukraine and Belarus bore the brunt of the nastiest aspects of Nazi barbarism in 1941-1943. I can't remember the exact specifics, but Belarus got hit hard in particular: maybe about a couple million dead among a population of 8 million or so. The Holocaust reached its apex in the same areas, which had very large Jewish minorities, adding to the death toll. That said, the majority of military deaths were Russian, and things like the siege of Leningrad-most lethal in world history-ensured that the civilian death toll for Russia was non-trivial, too. Even today, the legacy of WWII is hanging around in the age dynamics of Russia, as well as the sheer amount of elderly females without a husband. Their male counterparts simply got decimated.

    If you want to look at something really nasty, check out what Bandera did to the ethnic Poles in Eastern Galicia. The carnage and brutality of the Eastern Front was truly something that Europe had never seen before and hopefully will never see again.

  69. @Svigor
    This "muh NATO expansion" thing is an article of faith in some quarters, but I just don't buy it. Who cares what pretty lies our guys told the Russkies to keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans? It was none of the Russians' fucking business, anyway. Yes, they won WWII. Then they lost the Cold War. The USA and UK won both. Watching the winners take the spoils is what losers do.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I've never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I'm confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    All of this is quite apart from the legitimacy of NATO; you don't have to love any western gov't to feel schadenfreude at Russia's NATO tears. And you don't have to be unsympathetic to Russia in geopolitical terms, either.

    The Russians were naive, if they believed a bunch of private verbal assurances were binding. I don't think the Russians are or were naive. I think they think they have a propaganda angle here, and they're working it.

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    If he could have, he would have. It's just propaganda; the Russkies knew they were being lied to, now they're making hay over the fact. I don't begrudge them their angle, in that sense.

    And no, I don't think NATO should be expanding to the Caucasus, or Turkey, or anywhere else not in Europe. As for Ukraine, I think it's best if we don't bring them into NATO, for a variety of reasons.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @J.Ross, @istevefan, @YetAnotherAnon, @Spisarevski, @Achmed E. Newman

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp. I’ve never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time (never mind intimidated, beat, imprisoned, or otherwise abused), but I’m confident it was more than none.

    Russia deserves to watch Europe swallowed by NATO.

    That all makes perfect sense if by “The Russians” you meant “The Soviets”. That’s not the case, though, right, since 1989? I’m am/was as big a supporter of the successful US effort to contain the Soviets and Red Chinese, as anyone during the Cold War times.

    Russia ≠ USSR, and not understanding this brings to my mind the insightful observations by our iSteve here about the cntrl-left viewing domestic America as if it were 1965. Can we use the golden rule a little here and imagine if the US were right now “run” by the Hildabeast along with the usual people who actually run things? There’d probably be even more neocon wars. Though a majority of Americans don’t agree with it, our Feral Gov’t is way out of our control now, and it happens anyway. In the old USSR and the East Block countries, even less of the population wanted to live under Communism, but had even less of a say in the matter.

    Let’s not act like the Russian people are the same as the former leaders and party comrades of the old USSR/East bloc. The Russians didn’t deserve their economy getting raped by the neocon businessmen in the 1990’s, and they don’t deserve getting surrounded by NATO (as Steve said, like having Quebec being absorbed into the Warsaw pact).

    It’s not 1947 anymore.

  70. @Svigor

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let’s hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.
     
    I call it the West Virginia Effect, but it should probably be the Iron Curtain Effect or something.

    In 1996, 92-year-old George Keenan warned that NATO’s expansion into former Soviet territories was a “strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.”

    Enough said.
     
    Is there more to the quote? Like, Soviet tanks are gonna be rolling through the Fulda Gap soon? Because it's been 20 years, and I'm not seeing the big down side.

    What would have prevented the US from withdrawing from the treaty, as they have done in some other cases?
     
    Well, at least everyone would remember that time the USA and USSR announced their big agreement that the latter would remove their occupying army from East Germany, and the former would never support NATO expansion, and then that time when the USA totally went back on their word and supported NATO expansion.

    When Judgement Day comes, I suppose we're gonna have to answer for breaking our word to the regime that turned half of Europe into a jail and killed tens of millions of its own people.

    By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues. This will not end well.
     
    You have misapprehended me, at least; it's not a touchdown dance. It's not national rah-rah. It's recoiling in horror at the tens of millions of people that regime murdered, the oppression it created, and all the vermin in the west who cozied up to it or looked the other way.

    ZFG for teh Russian feelz.

    Replies: @Randal, @LondonBob

    You conflate the Soviet regime with the Russian government. Anyway the condition for these countries being set free was that they don’t join NATO, a small price. Besides I like to keep my word, we aren’t perfidious France.

  71. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    @istevefan

    Yep. All of the Bismarck global chessboard talk is about 40 years too late. The changing reality on the ground will make these discussion mute in a generation or two.

    Tell me, outside of U.S. leadership starting a shooting war with Russia (which it won't), what's important to my children and grandchildren:

    1) Russia dinking around with the Ukraine; or

    2) The United States having the demographics of Brazil or Mexico

    What's more important:

    1) Russia moving tanks to the Estonian border someday or

    2) France's under-40 population becoming 25% Muslim

    The greatest geo-political change in the last 500 years - the demographic transformation of the West - is happening all around us, every day, and people are still talking about Russia and countries that have zero significance to us.

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

    Replies: @istevefan, @Mr. Anon, @Forbes

    Your comment pretty much nails it.

  72. @anony-mouse
    Waydaminit

    Are all the people here who claim to be so concerned with the sovereignty of Eastern European countries now saying that Russia had a veto over that sovereignty?

    If, say, Poland wanted to join NATO what business would that be of Russia? If you say that Poland can say no to Brussels, why can't Poland say no to Moscow?

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    Nobody denied Poland’s right to join NATO. What was questionable was why NATO accepted it after having promised Russia not to accept it.

    • Replies: @AP
    @reiner Tor

    It was not a written promise, and the promise was made to representatives of the USSR, a state that had ceased to exist. How long is a spoken assurance to the representative of a non-existent state supposed to be in effect? 10 years? 20 years? An eternity?

    Replies: @reiner Tor

  73. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Anon

    The Eastern Europeans had the right to want to join NATO as much as they wanted, but the US did not have the obligation to humor them.

    It did however have an obligation, though not a formal one, to Russia as the successor state to the USSR to honor its promises.

    Not that hectoring the US has any point, and people (Russians or otherwise) who whine do annoy me as well. Let's instead look at the results.

    + The US essentially played a nice but criminally naive Gorbachev. Instead of treating the Cold War as a mutual victory, it treated Russia as a loser country. The US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. This is far from a catastrophic outcome from a geopolitical perspective.

    - This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones. This wouldn't matter if the US is the dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia is doomed to die anyway, as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s and indeed informed US policy. But things didn't quite pan out that way. Have fun dealing with China this century, one that is backed up by a resentful Russia.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Anonymous, @Achmed E. Newman, @Achmed E. Newman

    Good comment, especially this important point –

    This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones.

    That’s a hell of a shame and the fault of the neocons from 1989 onward. The people of Russia could figure out that the formerly-free-market US economy beat hell out of the sick state of markets under Communism. Most would have found out by the time of Gorbachev’s perestroika how much freedom the West enjoyed (up until about that time, coincidentally(?) ) also. Lastly, they knew that Ronald Reagan, the old Pope John Paul, Mrs. Thatcher, and millions of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and mechanical and electrical engineers were responsible for putting the Kibosh on the old USSR.

    Without the outside influence, Communism could have ruined 2 or 5 or 10 more generations of lives of the Russian people.

    Therefore, we had all this goodwill built up, and then the piece-by-piece dismantling/sell-off of Russian assets, and the use of NATO to box the country in, set it all back. It started with the necocon ex-CIA scumbag George H.W. Bush (who lost my vote to the L’s when he made a part of a speech in Spanish in 1988!)

    See, “Russians and Chinese and Bears, oh my! (and Pandas)”, about the long-term effects of Communism, along with part 2, part 3, and part 4.

  74. istevefan says:
    @Svigor

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington’s reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don’t really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.
     
    Imagine the European reaction if USA was an oppressive regime that had murdered tens of millions of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans in the 20th century, and turned the Northern Hemisphere into a jail, and the Russians had won a Cold War with them. I'm thinking it their regard for American objections would be somewhere near "ZFG."

    Also, I'm curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII? Because the USSR is gone, and a lot of those 22 million dead are now some other country's loss, not Russia's.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @istevefan, @Anon

    Imagine the USA being invaded by others using Mexico as a staging area. Imagine said invasion also involved not just conquering the USA, but was also a war of annihilation upon its people.

    Then imagine after the USA wins such a war it creates a buffer state in Mexico to prevent such use by third parties in the future.

    Why would any nation which survived a war of annihilation ever allow its potential enemies easy access again?

  75. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Anon

    The Eastern Europeans had the right to want to join NATO as much as they wanted, but the US did not have the obligation to humor them.

    It did however have an obligation, though not a formal one, to Russia as the successor state to the USSR to honor its promises.

    Not that hectoring the US has any point, and people (Russians or otherwise) who whine do annoy me as well. Let's instead look at the results.

    + The US essentially played a nice but criminally naive Gorbachev. Instead of treating the Cold War as a mutual victory, it treated Russia as a loser country. The US gained a geopolitical foothold in Eastern Europe, and closed off the possibility of the "Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok" envisaged by Charles de Gaulle. This is far from a catastrophic outcome from a geopolitical perspective.

    - This is one major factor of several that turned one of the most pro-American nations in the world c.1990 into one of the most anti-American ones. This wouldn't matter if the US is the dominant hyperpower for the foreseeable future and Russia is doomed to die anyway, as was conventional wisdom by the late 1990s and indeed informed US policy. But things didn't quite pan out that way. Have fun dealing with China this century, one that is backed up by a resentful Russia.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Anonymous, @Achmed E. Newman, @Achmed E. Newman

    Oh, and I’ve written harsh words to you before, Mr. Karlin. That’s only been regarding your views on Global Climate Disruption(TM), the biggest scam since a bigger scam than Social Security and “You’ve got a friend in the diamond business.”.

    I think you should start reading up.

  76. @Trelane
    No wonder Putin always looks sort of miffed.

    Replies: @Paul Jolliffe

    All true, but Pat Buchanan has been making this point for two decades.

    Of course NATO expansion eastward was going to threaten the Russians! The only question really is: was that the goal all along, once the Cold War came to an end in 1991?

    By the way, it’s always good to remember just how nuts John McCain was (and is) in insisting that “we are all Georgians now”. (2008 South Ossetia/Georgia mess.)

    Right, John.

    He wanted us to start a war with Russia to determine who rules South Ossetia?

    Is it any wonder that McCain remains popular with the Deep State/Hive Minds/MSM to this day, or that Pat Buchanan has been persona non grata with the same people?

    http://buchanan.org/blog/pjb-nato-expansion-unnecessary-and-provocative-273

  77. @reiner Tor
    @Svigor


    Also, I’m curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII?
     
    I don’t know, but the vast majority (like 70%) of the military deaths were Russians. There were some 8 or 9 millions of military deaths. Of the civilian deaths, Russians were a minority, especially if the Jews are counted separately.

    Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?

    Replies: @utu, @J.Ross, @nebulafox

    Out of this 22 million figure how many were killed by Soviet Union? How many are counted twice as Ukrainian or Polish dead by Ukraine and Poland? How many are just made up?

    Does military dead include all those ex Red Army POW’s who fought on German side and those who were later executed by SU? Does it include killed by NKVD barrier troops? In the fourth month of the war by October 10, 1941 already 10,201 were shot for desertion? How many more by the end of the war?

    How anybody can take seriously Soviet statistics?

    • Replies: @AP
    @utu


    Out of this 22 million figure how many were killed by Soviet Union
     
    Many. The 22 million dead count includes those killed by the Soviet regime itself.
  78. @inertial
    By the way, isn't it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we "defeated the USSR" (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation," directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn't occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don't suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues. This will not end well.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Matra

    By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues

    Russians are at least as bad. Not only do they brag about how they were the ones who really defeated the Nazis but they belittle everyones else’s contributions and demand, often bitterly, that every other country publicly recognise it. They don’t like it if you mention that WW2 began before 1941 and if you bring up Molotov-Ribbentrop or Katyn get ready for full blown patriotard nastiness and insults directed at whatever country you’re from.

    El Dato: NATO is bad for Europe as it is basically the US occupation forces

    But then who will defend women’s rights? From an article in the Guardian:

    We believe that Nato has the responsibility and opportunity to be a leading protector of women’s rights.

    In particular, we believe Nato can become the global military leader in how to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, drawing on the strengths and capabilities of its member states and working with its many partner countries.

    Article co-written by Jens Stoltenberg – the Secretary General of NATO- and renowned geopolitical analyst, Angelina Jolie.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Matra


    Russians are at least as bad. Not only do they brag about how they were the ones who really defeated the Nazis but they belittle everyones else’s contributions and demand, often bitterly, that every other country publicly recognise it. They don’t like it if you mention that WW2 began before 1941 and if you bring up Molotov-Ribbentrop or Katyn get ready for full blown patriotard nastiness and insults directed at whatever country you’re from.
     
    There’s a lot of truth to it, but they often officially recognize that some bad things were done during Stalinism. For example the plane of the Polish president crashed when it tried to reach an official commemoration of the Katyn massacre in Katyn Forest in Russia. Putin himself seems to think that the dismantling of the USSR was a great catastrophe, but that an even greater tragedy was its creation and the revolution.
  79. @YetAnotherAnon
    @Svigor

    "the Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail"

    One of the things about a jail is that it's hard to get into as well as out of. I'd have characterised it as more like house arrest, anyway, but there you go. Stalin and Hitler between them killed a lot of Eastern Europeans, but their nations survived. I'm not sure the West will survive Obama, Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, and Merkel.

    Replies: @Lugash

    Lugash defected INTO Soviet Union!

  80. Steve:

    Your analogy is, uncharacteristically, a little untidy. Quebec, Ontario or Texas joining the Warsaw Pact would only be comparable to Ukraine joining NATO if, like Ukraine, they were sovereign states, i.e., they had seceded from their respective national federations: Canada in the cases of Quebec and Ontario, and the USA in the case of Texas. As sovereign states, they would be at liberty to make whatever alliances they chose. Whether or not that choice would be prudent is another question.

  81. Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?

    Also good questions. I think we’re pretty simpatico in not wanting to call Jewish mass-murderers “Russian,” or Russian mass-murderers “Jewish,” or letting the Russians off the hook for Soviet crimes just because so much of the Revolution and subsequent crimes was down to foreigners, Jews in particular, etc.

    Imagine the USA being invaded by others using Mexico as a staging area. Imagine said invasion also involved not just conquering the USA, but was also a war of annihilation upon its people.

    Then imagine after the USA wins such a war it creates a buffer state in Mexico to prevent such use by third parties in the future.

    Why would any nation which survived a war of annihilation ever allow its potential enemies easy access again?

    I don’t begrudge Russia pursuing her interests. At all. Just don’t expect me to join the chorus. On the contrary, I’m singing in the “ZFG” chorus.

    As far as I’m concerned, the ship sailed on Russia’s violin solo when they occupied eastern Europe and turned it into a jail.

    • Replies: @Jake
    @Svigor

    "As far as I’m concerned, the ship sailed on Russia’s violin solo when they occupied eastern Europe and turned it into a jail."

    Russia did not do that. The Communist Party of the USSR did most of it. And the Communist Party of the USSR was anything hut a Russian club. Lenin was racially and ethnically mixed: Jewish, Turkic, Ugaritic, maybe a quarter Russian. Trotsky was Jewish. Stalin was Georgian. Krushchev was from Russian and Ukranian ancestry, and even before he became a Bolshevik he hated Russia, Russians, and Russian culture, perhaps especially the Russian Orthodox Church. Beria was Georgian. Yagoda was Jewish. Dzerzhinsky was Polish and Lithuanian (and rather nastily anti-Russian in the Polish manner). Kaganovich was Jewish. Zinoviev was Jewish. Kamo was half Armenian and half Georgian.

    The rest of Eastern Europe becoming a prison camp was because of the many Communist parties outside the USSR. German Communists did it to East Germany. Polish Communists did it to Poland. Etc.

  82. Classic case of generals fighting the last war while Islam runs riot.

  83. @bob sykes
    @Anon

    Your point is true but irrelevant. The attempt to incorporate Ukraine into NATO (which the Ukrainian oligarchs want) will trigger a general European war. Russia simply cannot tolerate what was for literally hundreds of years part of the Russian heartland being part of an enemy alliance. Ukraine became part of Russia before Scotland was unified with England, when there were only scattered English colonies along the Atlantic coast, when France still ruled most of North America, ...

    Replies: @AP

    Russia simply cannot tolerate what was for literally hundreds of years part of the Russian heartland being part of an enemy alliance.

    Myth. Most parts of Ukriane were part of the West longer than they were ruled from Moscow, and furthermore much of the time spent under Moscow involved some sort of separate status. In Russian, Ukraine means “Borderland”, not “Heartland.”

    Moscow swallowed Ukraine in parts. Here is the timeline of how long each part spent in the West vs. under Moscow:

    The “Right Bank” – everything west of the river Dnipro, including most of Kiev province: part of Lithuania and Poland 1362-1793 (429 years); integrated part of Russia until 1917 (124 years); Ukrainian SSR 1919-1991 (72 years); independent Ukraine 1991-present (25 years). Russian 196 years, Western 429 years, independent 25 years.

    Volynia – same as “Right Bank” but unlike the rest of the Right Bank was part of Poland from 1919-1939, missing the first 20 years of Soviet rule. Russian 176 years, Western 449 years, independent 25 years.

    Galicia – part of Poland 1349-1772 (423 years); part of Austria 1772-1918 (146 years); part of Poland 1919-1939 (20 years), part of Ukrainian SSR 1939-1991 (52 years); independent Ukraine 1991-present (25 years). Russian 52 years, Western 589 years, independent 25 years.

    Kiev City and eastern Ukraine: Lithuania, Poland 1362 – 1648 (about 300 years); independent 1648-1654 (6 years); autonomous (own military, legal system, locally elected ruler, Polish retained as elite language) but under the Russian Tsar until 1709 (55 years); diminished autonomy until 1764 (55 years); integrated part of Russian Empire until 1917 (153 years); Ukrainian SSR 1918- 1991 (73 years); independent Ukraine 1991-present (25 years). Russian 336 years, Western 286 years, independent 31 years.

    Ukraine became part of Russia before Scotland was unified with England

    Only part of Ukraine (see above). And this part had its own army, foreign policy, government, and indeed went to war against Russia several times. It was de facto as least as independent of Moscow as were the Warsaw Pact eastern European states were during the Cold War, until its leader and his Swedish ally were defeated in 1709.

  84. @reiner Tor
    @anony-mouse

    Nobody denied Poland’s right to join NATO. What was questionable was why NATO accepted it after having promised Russia not to accept it.

    Replies: @AP

    It was not a written promise, and the promise was made to representatives of the USSR, a state that had ceased to exist. How long is a spoken assurance to the representative of a non-existent state supposed to be in effect? 10 years? 20 years? An eternity?

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @AP

    The Americans made it clear to Yeltsin and his team in 1991 (before the dismantling of the USSR) that Russia would be recognized as the main successor state of the USSR, including in terms of being a nuclear power, a permanent UNSC member, etc. This was actually a precondition for Yeltsin going ahead and dismantling the USSR. So it’s not quite ingenious to refer to the nonexistence of the USSR.

    Now as Anatoly wrote above, it’s obvious that the American policy had some upside (to America) as well as some downside. If America was to be the lone hyperpower for the foreseeable future, while Russia was about to die anyway (basically the official American position in the late 1990s and even explicitly said so by Biden maybe around 2009), then the upside would dominate. But since China is about to rise to be America’s rival, they are now about to have an ally in a resentful Russia which is about to grow stronger in the near future. (Though eventually it’ll get behind China, as is obvious.)

    Replies: @AP

  85. @Seamus Padraig
    @Anon

    The problem here is that, historically speaking, whenever these little countries weren't under Russia's thumb, they almost always under somebody else's thumb, and that constitutes a serious threat to Russian security. For example, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland all fought with the Germans in WWII, so it's easy to see why Gorbachev would have later insisted on the neutrality of the E. European countries (sometimes called 'Finlandization') as a condition for disbanding the Warsaw Pact.

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it's hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington's reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don't really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.

    Replies: @AP, @Anonymous, @polaco

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in

    So Russians claims dead Ukrainians, Balts, etc. as their own.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    @AP

    A habit that irritates Estonians and Latvians (who tend to take a "good riddance" attitude to Russian sufferings, which is understandable since Stalin basically tried to destroy them as nations) to no end. I can personally vouch for this.

  86. @Seamus Padraig
    @Anon

    The problem here is that, historically speaking, whenever these little countries weren't under Russia's thumb, they almost always under somebody else's thumb, and that constitutes a serious threat to Russian security. For example, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland all fought with the Germans in WWII, so it's easy to see why Gorbachev would have later insisted on the neutrality of the E. European countries (sometimes called 'Finlandization') as a condition for disbanding the Warsaw Pact.

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it's hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington's reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don't really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.

    Replies: @AP, @Anonymous, @polaco

    They fought with the Germans because about half of them were invaded and annexed by the Soviet regime. You don’t want people to fight you, don’t pick fights.

  87. @Svigor

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington’s reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don’t really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.
     
    Imagine the European reaction if USA was an oppressive regime that had murdered tens of millions of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans in the 20th century, and turned the Northern Hemisphere into a jail, and the Russians had won a Cold War with them. I'm thinking it their regard for American objections would be somewhere near "ZFG."

    Also, I'm curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII? Because the USSR is gone, and a lot of those 22 million dead are now some other country's loss, not Russia's.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @istevefan, @Anon

    The Soviet regime was pretty lousy. But having brought back into existence the Russian nation from under the Soviet heel, why squander all the goodwill we earned by looting their collapsing economy and pushing our military up to their border? I mean, what’s the upside for us?

  88. @Polynices
    @istevefan

    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn't as bad for a nation's long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.

    Replies: @Fredrik, @Perspective, @Mr. Anon

    I would say the Soviet habit of brutally murdering the intellectual elite and aristocracy just about where ever they had a presence in Eastern Europe had a long lasting impact. It’s probably why, though certainly far from the only reason, many parts of Eastern Europe are still languishing more than a quarter of a century after Communism. I hope that post-modernism or cultural marxism as it is also called, collapses soon in the west.

    • Replies: @Jake
    @Perspective

    Cultural Marxism is as powerful now across the 'West' as Stalinism was in the USSR in 1946.

    When Marxism collapsed in on itself in the USSR, the entire edifice cracked wide open. The collapse of Cultural Marxism/PC/Liberal Democracy will do the same to the entirety of what used to be 'Western' civilization.

    , @Anonymous
    @Perspective


    I would say the Soviet habit of brutally murdering the intellectual elite and aristocracy just about where ever they had a presence in Eastern Europe had a long lasting impact.
     
    Yes, and there was never an appropriate retaliation.
  89. Until such time as the ‘West’ stops being both pro-Jewish and pro-Moslem, while also being pro-black and pro-gay and pro-abortion-feminist – which add up to mean that the ‘West’ is necessarily anti-white traditional family – it is slow suicide for any Eastern European country to get under the wing of NATO and/or the US.

  90. @Polynices
    @istevefan

    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn't as bad for a nation's long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.

    Replies: @Fredrik, @Perspective, @Mr. Anon

    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn’t as bad for a nation’s long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.

    I have come to much the same conclusion; that communism (at least of the post WWII soviet kind) is not nearly as destructive to a nations’ essential character as is membership in the EU.

    • Replies: @Jake
    @Mr. Anon

    Paul Gottfried has a book titled The Strange Death of Marxism that is about that seeming oddity.

  91. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    @istevefan

    Yep. All of the Bismarck global chessboard talk is about 40 years too late. The changing reality on the ground will make these discussion mute in a generation or two.

    Tell me, outside of U.S. leadership starting a shooting war with Russia (which it won't), what's important to my children and grandchildren:

    1) Russia dinking around with the Ukraine; or

    2) The United States having the demographics of Brazil or Mexico

    What's more important:

    1) Russia moving tanks to the Estonian border someday or

    2) France's under-40 population becoming 25% Muslim

    The greatest geo-political change in the last 500 years - the demographic transformation of the West - is happening all around us, every day, and people are still talking about Russia and countries that have zero significance to us.

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

    Replies: @istevefan, @Mr. Anon, @Forbes

    I agree. WWII and the Cold War are already ancient history. That world is dead. It hardly matters who won, who lost, who was right, who was wrong, etc. The massive flows of people that are altering the West’s demographics are what is important now.

    • Agree: Perspective
  92. @reiner Tor
    @Svigor


    Also, I’m curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII?
     
    I don’t know, but the vast majority (like 70%) of the military deaths were Russians. There were some 8 or 9 millions of military deaths. Of the civilian deaths, Russians were a minority, especially if the Jews are counted separately.

    Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?

    Replies: @utu, @J.Ross, @nebulafox

    Estimates of Russian losses from all causes in the period of WWII routinely start at twenty million. There’s no way to perfectly nail down specifics of who killed who.

  93. @Matra
    @inertial

    By the way, isn’t it time to tone down the chest-beating about how we “defeated the USSR” (which is not even true)? Is it really wise to constantly go, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, we destroyed your nation,” directed at a nuclear power that also seems to get stronger ever year? How do you think it sounds from their POV?

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t occur to anyone to ask these questions (Americans generally don’t suffer from a surfeit of self-awareness,) so the eternal touchdown dance continues

    Russians are at least as bad. Not only do they brag about how they were the ones who really defeated the Nazis but they belittle everyones else's contributions and demand, often bitterly, that every other country publicly recognise it. They don't like it if you mention that WW2 began before 1941 and if you bring up Molotov-Ribbentrop or Katyn get ready for full blown patriotard nastiness and insults directed at whatever country you're from.

    El Dato: NATO is bad for Europe as it is basically the US occupation forces

    But then who will defend women's rights? From an article in the Guardian:

    We believe that Nato has the responsibility and opportunity to be a leading protector of women’s rights.

    In particular, we believe Nato can become the global military leader in how to prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict, drawing on the strengths and capabilities of its member states and working with its many partner countries.

    Article co-written by Jens Stoltenberg - the Secretary General of NATO- and renowned geopolitical analyst, Angelina Jolie.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    Russians are at least as bad. Not only do they brag about how they were the ones who really defeated the Nazis but they belittle everyones else’s contributions and demand, often bitterly, that every other country publicly recognise it. They don’t like it if you mention that WW2 began before 1941 and if you bring up Molotov-Ribbentrop or Katyn get ready for full blown patriotard nastiness and insults directed at whatever country you’re from.

    There’s a lot of truth to it, but they often officially recognize that some bad things were done during Stalinism. For example the plane of the Polish president crashed when it tried to reach an official commemoration of the Katyn massacre in Katyn Forest in Russia. Putin himself seems to think that the dismantling of the USSR was a great catastrophe, but that an even greater tragedy was its creation and the revolution.

  94. @AP
    @reiner Tor

    It was not a written promise, and the promise was made to representatives of the USSR, a state that had ceased to exist. How long is a spoken assurance to the representative of a non-existent state supposed to be in effect? 10 years? 20 years? An eternity?

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    The Americans made it clear to Yeltsin and his team in 1991 (before the dismantling of the USSR) that Russia would be recognized as the main successor state of the USSR, including in terms of being a nuclear power, a permanent UNSC member, etc. This was actually a precondition for Yeltsin going ahead and dismantling the USSR. So it’s not quite ingenious to refer to the nonexistence of the USSR.

    Now as Anatoly wrote above, it’s obvious that the American policy had some upside (to America) as well as some downside. If America was to be the lone hyperpower for the foreseeable future, while Russia was about to die anyway (basically the official American position in the late 1990s and even explicitly said so by Biden maybe around 2009), then the upside would dominate. But since China is about to rise to be America’s rival, they are now about to have an ally in a resentful Russia which is about to grow stronger in the near future. (Though eventually it’ll get behind China, as is obvious.)

    • Replies: @AP
    @reiner Tor


    The Americans made it clear to Yeltsin and his team in 1991 (before the dismantling of the USSR) that Russia would be recognized as the main successor state of the USSR, including in terms of being a nuclear power, a permanent UNSC member, etc.
     
    Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also? Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now? Etc.?

    Saying NATO won't expand eastward was a spoken statement, never written down, made to representatives of a state that ceased to exist by the time NATO expanded. That's rather flimsy.

    I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken "promise" don't seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

  95. @Mr. Anon
    @Polynices


    It leads to the horrible suspicion that 44 years of Communism isn’t as bad for a nation’s long term prospects as 72 years and counting of post-modernism.
     
    I have come to much the same conclusion; that communism (at least of the post WWII soviet kind) is not nearly as destructive to a nations' essential character as is membership in the EU.

    Replies: @Jake

    Paul Gottfried has a book titled The Strange Death of Marxism that is about that seeming oddity.

  96. @Perspective
    @Polynices

    I would say the Soviet habit of brutally murdering the intellectual elite and aristocracy just about where ever they had a presence in Eastern Europe had a long lasting impact. It's probably why, though certainly far from the only reason, many parts of Eastern Europe are still languishing more than a quarter of a century after Communism. I hope that post-modernism or cultural marxism as it is also called, collapses soon in the west.

    Replies: @Jake, @Anonymous

    Cultural Marxism is as powerful now across the ‘West’ as Stalinism was in the USSR in 1946.

    When Marxism collapsed in on itself in the USSR, the entire edifice cracked wide open. The collapse of Cultural Marxism/PC/Liberal Democracy will do the same to the entirety of what used to be ‘Western’ civilization.

  97. @reiner Tor
    @Svigor


    Also, I’m curious, how many people did Russia lose in WWII?
     
    I don’t know, but the vast majority (like 70%) of the military deaths were Russians. There were some 8 or 9 millions of military deaths. Of the civilian deaths, Russians were a minority, especially if the Jews are counted separately.

    Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?

    Replies: @utu, @J.Ross, @nebulafox

    Well, it’s important not to confuse the USSR with Russia. German occupied Ukraine and Belarus bore the brunt of the nastiest aspects of Nazi barbarism in 1941-1943. I can’t remember the exact specifics, but Belarus got hit hard in particular: maybe about a couple million dead among a population of 8 million or so. The Holocaust reached its apex in the same areas, which had very large Jewish minorities, adding to the death toll. That said, the majority of military deaths were Russian, and things like the siege of Leningrad-most lethal in world history-ensured that the civilian death toll for Russia was non-trivial, too. Even today, the legacy of WWII is hanging around in the age dynamics of Russia, as well as the sheer amount of elderly females without a husband. Their male counterparts simply got decimated.

    If you want to look at something really nasty, check out what Bandera did to the ethnic Poles in Eastern Galicia. The carnage and brutality of the Eastern Front was truly something that Europe had never seen before and hopefully will never see again.

  98. @AP
    @Seamus Padraig


    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it’s hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in
     
    So Russians claims dead Ukrainians, Balts, etc. as their own.

    Replies: @nebulafox

    A habit that irritates Estonians and Latvians (who tend to take a “good riddance” attitude to Russian sufferings, which is understandable since Stalin basically tried to destroy them as nations) to no end. I can personally vouch for this.

  99. @Svigor

    Talking of Jews, it reminds me of another question. How many of those “Russians” killing 20 millon people were actually, you know, Russians? (And no, it was not actually Jews only.) By the way, how many of those 20 million were Russians themselves? The majority? Only half?
     
    Also good questions. I think we're pretty simpatico in not wanting to call Jewish mass-murderers "Russian," or Russian mass-murderers "Jewish," or letting the Russians off the hook for Soviet crimes just because so much of the Revolution and subsequent crimes was down to foreigners, Jews in particular, etc.

    Imagine the USA being invaded by others using Mexico as a staging area. Imagine said invasion also involved not just conquering the USA, but was also a war of annihilation upon its people.

    Then imagine after the USA wins such a war it creates a buffer state in Mexico to prevent such use by third parties in the future.

    Why would any nation which survived a war of annihilation ever allow its potential enemies easy access again?
     
    I don't begrudge Russia pursuing her interests. At all. Just don't expect me to join the chorus. On the contrary, I'm singing in the "ZFG" chorus.

    As far as I'm concerned, the ship sailed on Russia's violin solo when they occupied eastern Europe and turned it into a jail.

    Replies: @Jake

    “As far as I’m concerned, the ship sailed on Russia’s violin solo when they occupied eastern Europe and turned it into a jail.”

    Russia did not do that. The Communist Party of the USSR did most of it. And the Communist Party of the USSR was anything hut a Russian club. Lenin was racially and ethnically mixed: Jewish, Turkic, Ugaritic, maybe a quarter Russian. Trotsky was Jewish. Stalin was Georgian. Krushchev was from Russian and Ukranian ancestry, and even before he became a Bolshevik he hated Russia, Russians, and Russian culture, perhaps especially the Russian Orthodox Church. Beria was Georgian. Yagoda was Jewish. Dzerzhinsky was Polish and Lithuanian (and rather nastily anti-Russian in the Polish manner). Kaganovich was Jewish. Zinoviev was Jewish. Kamo was half Armenian and half Georgian.

    The rest of Eastern Europe becoming a prison camp was because of the many Communist parties outside the USSR. German Communists did it to East Germany. Polish Communists did it to Poland. Etc.

  100. @utu
    @reiner Tor

    Out of this 22 million figure how many were killed by Soviet Union? How many are counted twice as Ukrainian or Polish dead by Ukraine and Poland? How many are just made up?

    Does military dead include all those ex Red Army POW's who fought on German side and those who were later executed by SU? Does it include killed by NKVD barrier troops? In the fourth month of the war by October 10, 1941 already 10,201 were shot for desertion? How many more by the end of the war?

    How anybody can take seriously Soviet statistics?

    Replies: @AP

    Out of this 22 million figure how many were killed by Soviet Union

    Many. The 22 million dead count includes those killed by the Soviet regime itself.

  101. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    That’s the kind of shit that happens when you align with Russia’s sworn enemies (Britain, France, Germany). They gambled and lost.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Thirdeye

    OK, so now Russia "lost". Man up and deal with it.

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Thirdeye


    That’s the kind of shit that happens when you align with Russia’s sworn enemies (Britain, France, Germany). They gambled and lost.
     
    As did Germany. Twice.

    They lost their Russian border, come to think of it.
  102. @reiner Tor
    @AP

    The Americans made it clear to Yeltsin and his team in 1991 (before the dismantling of the USSR) that Russia would be recognized as the main successor state of the USSR, including in terms of being a nuclear power, a permanent UNSC member, etc. This was actually a precondition for Yeltsin going ahead and dismantling the USSR. So it’s not quite ingenious to refer to the nonexistence of the USSR.

    Now as Anatoly wrote above, it’s obvious that the American policy had some upside (to America) as well as some downside. If America was to be the lone hyperpower for the foreseeable future, while Russia was about to die anyway (basically the official American position in the late 1990s and even explicitly said so by Biden maybe around 2009), then the upside would dominate. But since China is about to rise to be America’s rival, they are now about to have an ally in a resentful Russia which is about to grow stronger in the near future. (Though eventually it’ll get behind China, as is obvious.)

    Replies: @AP

    The Americans made it clear to Yeltsin and his team in 1991 (before the dismantling of the USSR) that Russia would be recognized as the main successor state of the USSR, including in terms of being a nuclear power, a permanent UNSC member, etc.

    Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also? Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now? Etc.?

    Saying NATO won’t expand eastward was a spoken statement, never written down, made to representatives of a state that ceased to exist by the time NATO expanded. That’s rather flimsy.

    I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken “promise” don’t seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @AP


    Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also?
     
    That’s what “successor state” means. By the way Russia’s claim to be the successor state of the USSR was supported by all Soviet successor states in Alma-Ata in late December 1991. The USSR no longer exists, but for the purposes of foreign policy Russia is its successor state. It also inherited the Soviet debts and obligations.

    Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now?
     
    Yes, but all such countries had already agreements in place to eventually pull out those troops.

    I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken “promise” don’t seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.
     
    The Russians broke

    - the UN Charter
    - the Helsinki Accords
    - the Belavezha Accords and the following Alma-Ata Protocols, which I think all affirmed the then extant last Soviet borders of the republics as the new international borders
    - the Partition Treaty on the Status and Condition of the Black Sea Fleet which I think re-affirmed the same
    - (I think even the Kharkiv Pact contained language repeating the terms of the Partition Treaty, i.e. affirming Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty etc.)
    - and of course the Budapest Memorandum, which was basically the weakest element of the whole, with no legal force (unlike the previous ones), but for what it was worth, it was still broken

  103. Myth. Most parts of Ukriane were part of the West longer than they were ruled from Moscow, and furthermore much of the time spent under Moscow involved some sort of separate status. In Russian, Ukraine means “Borderland”, not “Heartland.”

    Yet Russia has its origins in Kievan Rus. In a real sense, Ukraine is Russia, and Ukrainians are Russians. I’m into self-determination, so if the Ukrainians want to totally divorce from Russia, I’m good with it. I’m not good with Big Media telling me whether Ukraine is good with it, though. They can’t be trusted.

    The Soviet regime was pretty lousy. But having brought back into existence the Russian nation from under the Soviet heel, why squander all the goodwill we earned by looting their collapsing economy and pushing our military up to their border? I mean, what’s the upside for us?

    Those are both qood questions. The looting of Russia was despicable, nuff said. Happily, they seem to have turned that around (I won’t ask whether they had to break their word or tell any lies to do so). Pushing our military up to their border may or may not be a good idea; I consider this a separate issue from whether or not I have any sympathy for Russia’s whingeing on the matter. I haven’t given much thought to the question, apart from the fact that we should draw the “NATO prospects” line west of Belarus and Ukraine, and inside Europe.

    Russia did not do that. The Communist Party of the USSR did most of it. And the Communist Party of the USSR was anything hut a Russian club.

    So Germany dindu nuffin, it was the Nazi Party, yet it was Germany that was partitioned and occupied by the US and USSR, Germany that is a threat to Russian security, etc., etc., etc.

    The rest of Eastern Europe becoming a prison camp was because of the many Communist parties outside the USSR. German Communists did it to East Germany. Polish Communists did it to Poland. Etc.

    Yeah the Russians dindu nuffin for the global communist revolution…

    • Replies: @AP
    @Svigor


    Yet Russia has its origins in Kievan Rus. In a real sense, Ukraine is Russia, and Ukrainians are Russians.
     
    Kievan Rus was a loosely-organized trading empire run by Scandinavians (who, in the beginning, sold the Slavs they ruled over as slaves to the Arabs) who slowly became Slavicised. This state split up into warring principalities about 100 years before the Mongols destroyed it about 800 years ago. Moreover, Russia emerged from a peripheral outer part of this state.

    It is a Russian nationalist myth that Rus was some sort of solid nation-state like France, and that there was some sort of strong continuous relationship between Rus and what we call Russia.
    , @dmitry
    @Svigor

    I would say Russia is being 'looted' more nowadays than in the 1990s years, if we mean the wealth fleeing off-shore, where it benefits other countries. The difference is there is far more money to go around (inside and outside the country) nowadays, than there was in the 1990s (when oil prices crashed to $12 a barrel).

    But if you want to see capital outflows to Swiss investment funds, British boarding-schools, Caribbean tax-havens, London property market, etc. Then magnitudes more money is flowing out of Russia than ever during the 1990s, when this process was only beginning.

    This is the problem of capital flight that occurs when the government doesn't sufficiently protect assets of rich people (the rich people will store their assets off-shore), and when your country's commodities produce tens of thousands of such very rich people. And the countries like Switzerland, with better protection of property rights, are the beneficiaries.

  104. @reiner Tor
    @Fredrik

    The alternative would have been a rule based collective security system in Europe, where any attack on the sovereignty of any country would result in military intervention by any of the guarantor powers, i.e. NATO and/or the Russians. This would have worked fine if NATO wanted it, because they have always been stronger than the Russians in Europe. But it was precisely NATO which first broke any hope of such a rule based system by breaking the rules first when bombing the Serbs.

    The Russians didn’t care that the Ukrainians weren’t their vassals (though they kept subsidizing them until 2014), as long as they could be reasonably sure that there would be no NATO bases there. By 2014 that assumption totally broke down. But such a no man’s land between Russia and NATO was possible in the 1990s.

    Replies: @reiner Tor, @Fredrik

    I see the proposed EU defence as a way of moving there slowly but surely.

    Most countries have weak militaries right now but I think most people see that neither UK(on their way out of EU) nor the US(asks for too many adventures in the Middle East) are particularly reliable allies.

    Btw,
    EU initiatives come with its own problems. I’d be loath to see this run by Macron or Verhofstadt. I don’t worry about the Germans here. Not even Martin Schulz.

    Btw,
    all set ups are meant to make sure Russia understands it has no chance.

  105. The deal to allow German unification and for the Russian troops to pull out from East Germany was a deal with the Russians, not with the Germans. A deal where you did not keep your end of it.

    I think the deal was “or else,” but the “or else” was all bun, and no meat. I think both parties knew the Soviets weren’t going to pour tanks into Europe if the US reneged. There was probably an element of face-saving involved; “the Americans gave us their word.” That way they could be spared looking like punks when they pulled out.

    Well maybe you should look it up. Maybe you should also look up population growth dynamics before and after 1990.
    Ethnic Bulgarians in 1992: 7,2 million. Ethnic Bulgarians in 2011: 5,6 million (much older too). That’s in just 19 years of peace. The Baltics are the same though they don’t think about such trivial matters.
    For my country, joining the western geopolitical orbit has been a demographic, cultural and social catastrophe only comparable to the Ottoman invasion.

    I sympathize. Frankly, I know nothing about Bulgaria. I doubt all you describe would be happening, sans communism, but rest assured we have our own disasters ongoing in the West, which others have described. I’m guessing Bulgaria looks to still be Bulgarian for the foreseeable future.

  106. @Thirdeye
    @Anon

    That's the kind of shit that happens when you align with Russia's sworn enemies (Britain, France, Germany). They gambled and lost.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar

    OK, so now Russia “lost”. Man up and deal with it.

  107. @Svigor

    Myth. Most parts of Ukriane were part of the West longer than they were ruled from Moscow, and furthermore much of the time spent under Moscow involved some sort of separate status. In Russian, Ukraine means “Borderland”, not “Heartland.”
     
    Yet Russia has its origins in Kievan Rus. In a real sense, Ukraine is Russia, and Ukrainians are Russians. I'm into self-determination, so if the Ukrainians want to totally divorce from Russia, I'm good with it. I'm not good with Big Media telling me whether Ukraine is good with it, though. They can't be trusted.

    The Soviet regime was pretty lousy. But having brought back into existence the Russian nation from under the Soviet heel, why squander all the goodwill we earned by looting their collapsing economy and pushing our military up to their border? I mean, what’s the upside for us?
     
    Those are both qood questions. The looting of Russia was despicable, nuff said. Happily, they seem to have turned that around (I won't ask whether they had to break their word or tell any lies to do so). Pushing our military up to their border may or may not be a good idea; I consider this a separate issue from whether or not I have any sympathy for Russia's whingeing on the matter. I haven't given much thought to the question, apart from the fact that we should draw the "NATO prospects" line west of Belarus and Ukraine, and inside Europe.

    Russia did not do that. The Communist Party of the USSR did most of it. And the Communist Party of the USSR was anything hut a Russian club.
     
    So Germany dindu nuffin, it was the Nazi Party, yet it was Germany that was partitioned and occupied by the US and USSR, Germany that is a threat to Russian security, etc., etc., etc.

    The rest of Eastern Europe becoming a prison camp was because of the many Communist parties outside the USSR. German Communists did it to East Germany. Polish Communists did it to Poland. Etc.
     
    Yeah the Russians dindu nuffin for the global communist revolution...

    Replies: @AP, @dmitry

    Yet Russia has its origins in Kievan Rus. In a real sense, Ukraine is Russia, and Ukrainians are Russians.

    Kievan Rus was a loosely-organized trading empire run by Scandinavians (who, in the beginning, sold the Slavs they ruled over as slaves to the Arabs) who slowly became Slavicised. This state split up into warring principalities about 100 years before the Mongols destroyed it about 800 years ago. Moreover, Russia emerged from a peripheral outer part of this state.

    It is a Russian nationalist myth that Rus was some sort of solid nation-state like France, and that there was some sort of strong continuous relationship between Rus and what we call Russia.

  108. @Perspective
    @Polynices

    I would say the Soviet habit of brutally murdering the intellectual elite and aristocracy just about where ever they had a presence in Eastern Europe had a long lasting impact. It's probably why, though certainly far from the only reason, many parts of Eastern Europe are still languishing more than a quarter of a century after Communism. I hope that post-modernism or cultural marxism as it is also called, collapses soon in the west.

    Replies: @Jake, @Anonymous

    I would say the Soviet habit of brutally murdering the intellectual elite and aristocracy just about where ever they had a presence in Eastern Europe had a long lasting impact.

    Yes, and there was never an appropriate retaliation.

  109. @unit472
    NATO has a major problem now that some of its member countries have allowed the International Criminal Court to have jurisdiction over 'aggressive war'. For example should Poland invoke NATO's collective defense article Germany could refuse to participate if they believed it would subject them to ICC prosecution under its 'war crimes' definition.

    A 'counterattack' is, almost by definition, aggressive war, especially if it involves moving troops or conducting airstrikes against the territory of an adversary. Thus the EU 'soft power' advocates may have rendered 'collective security' defense pacts obsolete.

    Replies: @Forbes

    The tactics of self-defense, self-preservation, and national sovereignty transformed into ‘war crimes’ by the adherents of Cultural Marxism and Orwellian Newspeak. Defense pacts turned into suicide pacts. Makes perfect sense…

  110. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    @istevefan

    Yep. All of the Bismarck global chessboard talk is about 40 years too late. The changing reality on the ground will make these discussion mute in a generation or two.

    Tell me, outside of U.S. leadership starting a shooting war with Russia (which it won't), what's important to my children and grandchildren:

    1) Russia dinking around with the Ukraine; or

    2) The United States having the demographics of Brazil or Mexico

    What's more important:

    1) Russia moving tanks to the Estonian border someday or

    2) France's under-40 population becoming 25% Muslim

    The greatest geo-political change in the last 500 years - the demographic transformation of the West - is happening all around us, every day, and people are still talking about Russia and countries that have zero significance to us.

    Fiddling while Rome burns.

    Replies: @istevefan, @Mr. Anon, @Forbes

    It really suggests the discussion is far too late, as the decisions have already been made. The populations flows and demographic changes have occurred. What plays out over the next two generations is merely a matter of time, i.e. the “when” is the question that remains, the “what” merely has to play out.

    Perhaps it’s because #2 is inevitable that #1 captures media/policy makers attention…

  111. @Seamus Padraig
    @Anon

    The problem here is that, historically speaking, whenever these little countries weren't under Russia's thumb, they almost always under somebody else's thumb, and that constitutes a serious threat to Russian security. For example, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland all fought with the Germans in WWII, so it's easy to see why Gorbachev would have later insisted on the neutrality of the E. European countries (sometimes called 'Finlandization') as a condition for disbanding the Warsaw Pact.

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did, it's hard for most Americans to appreciate the situation that the Russians are in. Under the circumstances, Putin, in fact, has behaved with greater restraint than many other Russian rulers in his position would have. He has also arguably also behaved with greater restraint than an American ruler would under such circumstances. As Steve pointed out, imagine what Washington's reaction would have been like if some country like Canada or Mexico had tried to join the Warsaw Pact. In fact, we don't really have to imagine: even tiny Cuba going commie was a major crisis for Washington.

    Replies: @AP, @Anonymous, @polaco

    Never having lost 22 million people in a war as the USSR did

    They started this war. There was a huge military buildup in Russia in the run up to WWII, and they were angling for it ever since they lost the Polish Soviet war in 1921, when they had hoped that the communist overrun Germany would have been the next piece of land to grab. They were just more sly, as usual, to have waited for two weeks (though they had been ready for it all the same for years then) before attacking and then proclaiming they did that just to protect the Russian peoples in Poland. They shouldn’t be surprised their neighbors distrust them. And Russia, unfortunately, has nothing to offer, they have hydrocarbons which are their lifeblood, so they won’t let Europe diversify its supply and have intervened in Syria, and there is agriculture, and that’s about it. Some time ago I read more tech patents came from Singapore than Russia that year. Russia plays its own imperial games to the extent her economy allows her. And it’s a police state alright, their government can do whatever it wants at the local or federal level, and the blame is squarely on the population. Taking certain overwhelming outside factors out of the equation, people are the main ingredient for success, whether it’s a country, a city, a business or a family. Russia just doesn’t have it, the fact that things are going awry in the West doesn’t mean Russia is a place to look up to.

  112. What seems to be forgotten is that the western-backed Ukrainian putsch disenfranchised the eastern half of the country. The people there have rights, too, but not according to the western rulers. Hence, the west provoked a civil war by dividing Ukraine’s formerly compromising regions into actual warring parties. Nuland famously said, “F— the E.U.,” but she was really saying that to everyone’s interests but the very narrow ones she represents.

  113. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    It some ways, NATO expansion did wonders for Russia.

    For one thing, what is EU and US gonna do? Use Estonia as launching pad to attack Russia? Not gonna happen.

    NATO expansion only boosted Russia nationalism. It taught Russia not to trust the US. It made Russia more self-reliant.

    Also, EU-NATO expansion into Eastern Europe meant growing resentment among Eastern Europeans over Western dictates. The fallout from Ukraine is really pissing people off. Even as NATO offers protection against Russia, small nations bordering Russia know that any outbreak of war will lead to their destruction as they will be targets for Russian ire.

    It’s perfectly understandable why Eastern European nations looked to Western Europe and America. After the fall of Nazism, they unfortunately came under Soviet tyranny. In contrast, the US and Western Europe seemed so much saner and better, and indeed they were back then.

    But as time passes, the US is no longer a western nation but WTF. And Western Values in EU is now about what? Homos and invaders as ‘new Europeans’? Is Paris as New Africa and London as New Pakistan really that inspiring?
    And then Merkel the nut decided to flood Europe with Muslims.

    As time passes, Eastern Europeans are gonna think the EU-NATO is worse than the old Soviet Union. Soviets were tyrannical but didn’t try to abolish non-Russian nations. But that is precisely the new globalist agenda of the West.

    • Replies: @Bies Podkrakowski
    @Anon

    Nice try. Try harder.

  114. : Do you think that Russia would have been happier had the E.U. and NATO not expanded beyond East Germany (which was reunified with West Germany and thus whose entry into the E.U. and NATO was unavoidable) but if the countries of Eastern Europe would have–with Western backing–created their own economic union in the form of Intermarium? Or would Russia have still complained about this?

    Basically, if Western institutions didn’t expand into Eastern Europe, then the most likely alternative appears to have been Eastern European countries developing their own institutions and super-state in order to deal with any threat that Russia would have posed.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Mr. XYZ

    To create Intermarium back then would have been great and the Eastern Europeans have now lost 20 years because the US came in 1995 offering Partnership for Peace (and also asking for political concessions), and now is ready to backtrack on its promises.

  115. Also, I wonder if it would have been possible to still expand the E.U. and NATO eastwards but also to offer membership in both of these organizations to Russia. Indeed, Russia would have probably had more influence inside of the E.U. and NATO than as a Chinese ally (given the extremely massive population disparities between Russia and China).

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Mr. XYZ

    Would Russia's membership in EU entail free movement across Russia's and European borders, free trade and labor - essentially no borders with Russia? Not that it would've been possible, just asking if you understand what you're saying.

  116. @Mr. XYZ
    @Anatoly Karlin: Do you think that Russia would have been happier had the E.U. and NATO not expanded beyond East Germany (which was reunified with West Germany and thus whose entry into the E.U. and NATO was unavoidable) but if the countries of Eastern Europe would have--with Western backing--created their own economic union in the form of Intermarium? Or would Russia have still complained about this?

    Basically, if Western institutions didn't expand into Eastern Europe, then the most likely alternative appears to have been Eastern European countries developing their own institutions and super-state in order to deal with any threat that Russia would have posed.

    Replies: @Anon

    To create Intermarium back then would have been great and the Eastern Europeans have now lost 20 years because the US came in 1995 offering Partnership for Peace (and also asking for political concessions), and now is ready to backtrack on its promises.

  117. @Mr. XYZ
    Also, I wonder if it would have been possible to still expand the E.U. and NATO eastwards but also to offer membership in both of these organizations to Russia. Indeed, Russia would have probably had more influence inside of the E.U. and NATO than as a Chinese ally (given the extremely massive population disparities between Russia and China).

    Replies: @Anon

    Would Russia’s membership in EU entail free movement across Russia’s and European borders, free trade and labor – essentially no borders with Russia? Not that it would’ve been possible, just asking if you understand what you’re saying.

  118. @Anon
    Considering the Russians seized some of those countries against their will and made them police states for decades, the Russians have no right to complain.

    Replies: @J.Ross, @Fredrik, @Anatoly Karlin, @bob sykes, @dearieme, @Seamus Padraig, @Thirdeye, @marylou

    Are you talking about the Soviet Union? What about the East European countries that the Allies handed to the “Russians” on a silver platter at the end of the war?

  119. Look how much further east Ukraine goes than Belarus does. (Ukraine also goes further west than Belarus.) Is it any wonder the Moscow is not happy with American meddling in Ukraine?

    Shouldn’t that be “farther”?

    Adding Ukraine to NATO would be kind of like Ontario or even Texas joining the Warsaw Pact.

    Now that’s going further!

  120. @Thirdeye
    @Anon

    That's the kind of shit that happens when you align with Russia's sworn enemies (Britain, France, Germany). They gambled and lost.

    Replies: @Anon, @Reg Cæsar

    That’s the kind of shit that happens when you align with Russia’s sworn enemies (Britain, France, Germany). They gambled and lost.

    As did Germany. Twice.

    They lost their Russian border, come to think of it.

  121. Say, why don’t we call that place “White Russia”, like the normal countries of Central Europe do? It’s much more euphonious.

    “Belarus” sounds like the star of “Touched By an Angel” (RIP).

    • Replies: @Bies Podkrakowski
    @Reg Cæsar

    Well, in Polish Belarus is called Białoruś (Bialorus) which means White Russia.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  122. @istevefan
    @Svigor

    And yet the old NATO members seem to be the Europeans most intent on extinguishing themselves. Let's hope the new NATO members in the east hold out.

    I do find it odd that the eastern europeans seem to have been protected against the rot that infected the west.

    Replies: @Polynices, @Citizen of a Silly Country, @anon

    I now think the ‘iron curtain’ was a great blessing in disguise for eastern Europeans. True, they couldn’t get out, but no Muslims or other third worlders got into their countries either.

    • Replies: @anon
    @anon

    Muslim third-worlders from the 'stans were part of the Soviet Union. They were to be redistributed throughout the Soviet Union, along with ethnic Russians, as part of the official Soviet relocation policy. The various "ethnic" nations within the Soviet Union were supposed to cease to exist, as the entire space was being turned into a melting pot, with the new, culturally Russian, homo sovieticus emerging. The unspoken corollary was that Russians would be the master class of this new homogenized, "internationalist" society.

    The Zeroth Amendment counterpart of the Soviet was not a poem, but a song whose lyrics went, "My address is not a house nor a street... My address is Soviet Union!"

    While Stalin (obviously, himself an ethnic Abkhazian and new Soviet Man) was known for relocating or trying to kill off entire ethnic groups, his successors were somewhat less ardent about it. Partly it was the armed and civic resistance in places like the Baltics, and partly just the inefficiency and corruption of the Soviet bureaucracy tasked with carrying out this plan.

  123. NATO should have been dissolved a long time ago. At the very least its North American members should have left. Talk about clinging to the carcasses of dead policies!

  124. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Randal
    @Svigor


    Is there more to the quote? Like, Soviet tanks are gonna be rolling through the Fulda Gap soon? Because it’s been 20 years, and I’m not seeing the big down side.
     
    Then you simply aren't paying attention.

    Kennan's point was that doing that would gratuitously make an enemy out of Russia. And so, indeed, it has come to pass.

    Replies: @anon

    Kennan’s biggest beef wasn’t simply the expansion of NATO. But he was incensed that it was done casually, with no debate, discussion, or anything. It was simply there and to Clinton and the the elites == it was simply ‘why not?’. I agree with Kennan on both points. Especially the latter. What did we hope to gain?

  125. : “Would Russia’s membership in EU entail free movement across Russia’s and European borders, free trade and labor – essentially no borders with Russia?”

    Yes, of course. After all, Russia should get the same deal that the other Eastern European E.U. members got.

    Also, in regards to broken promises, exactly which promises to Eastern Europeans has the U.S. broken?

    Finally, I want to make one additional point here–unfortunately, Russia does not have the moral high ground in regards to complaining about broken promises. After all, Russia violated a written promise in the 1994 Budapest memorandum to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity–something which I consider to be worse than violating an unwritten promise (such as the West’s promise to Gorbachev not to expand NATO).

    If Russia wants Crimea (and the Donbass) that badly, fine, but it shouldn’t later turn around and complain about NATO expansion up to its borders.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    @Mr. XYZ

    What a clown.
    The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly - 90% to rejoin Russia.

    Why should anyone else decide?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

  126. anon • Disclaimer says:

    It is a written or tacit NATO rule of excluding any country from membership that has an ongoing border dispute. I suppose that foreign policy elites have grasped the concept that if they admit a county in a current border dispute with a non NATO country, then they have effectively signed up for an ongoing war.

    At the moment, Georgia, Moldova, and now Ukraine have border issues. They are still on the agenda for membership, but a surprising display of common sense has prevented it from happening.

    As far as Ukraine, the possibility of splitting is intuitively plausible. But for practical purposes, a neutral country between great powers has a lot of appeal. Why the West seems to idiotically look at it as a vacuum and immediately want to fill the void makes me wonder why it never occurs to any of them that it is an advantage.

    In addition …. the most bizarre part of the European project is the deconstruction of sovereign powers into a menu from which members can select at will. NATO … of course. And then the Eurozone. And finally the EU. And there are a bunch of other functions that can be joined or not joined.

    This is a map of Europe that shows the status of in/out for a variety of functions titled Supra National Europe.:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Supranational_European_Bodies

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @anon

    It seems like the existence of Belarus as a buffer state between Poland and Russia is a nice thing strategically.

  127. @anon
    It is a written or tacit NATO rule of excluding any country from membership that has an ongoing border dispute. I suppose that foreign policy elites have grasped the concept that if they admit a county in a current border dispute with a non NATO country, then they have effectively signed up for an ongoing war.

    At the moment, Georgia, Moldova, and now Ukraine have border issues. They are still on the agenda for membership, but a surprising display of common sense has prevented it from happening.

    As far as Ukraine, the possibility of splitting is intuitively plausible. But for practical purposes, a neutral country between great powers has a lot of appeal. Why the West seems to idiotically look at it as a vacuum and immediately want to fill the void makes me wonder why it never occurs to any of them that it is an advantage.

    In addition .... the most bizarre part of the European project is the deconstruction of sovereign powers into a menu from which members can select at will. NATO ... of course. And then the Eurozone. And finally the EU. And there are a bunch of other functions that can be joined or not joined.

    This is a map of Europe that shows the status of in/out for a variety of functions titled Supra National Europe.:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Supranational_European_Bodies

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    It seems like the existence of Belarus as a buffer state between Poland and Russia is a nice thing strategically.

  128. @Anon
    It some ways, NATO expansion did wonders for Russia.

    For one thing, what is EU and US gonna do? Use Estonia as launching pad to attack Russia? Not gonna happen.

    NATO expansion only boosted Russia nationalism. It taught Russia not to trust the US. It made Russia more self-reliant.

    Also, EU-NATO expansion into Eastern Europe meant growing resentment among Eastern Europeans over Western dictates. The fallout from Ukraine is really pissing people off. Even as NATO offers protection against Russia, small nations bordering Russia know that any outbreak of war will lead to their destruction as they will be targets for Russian ire.

    It's perfectly understandable why Eastern European nations looked to Western Europe and America. After the fall of Nazism, they unfortunately came under Soviet tyranny. In contrast, the US and Western Europe seemed so much saner and better, and indeed they were back then.

    But as time passes, the US is no longer a western nation but WTF. And Western Values in EU is now about what? Homos and invaders as 'new Europeans'? Is Paris as New Africa and London as New Pakistan really that inspiring?
    And then Merkel the nut decided to flood Europe with Muslims.

    As time passes, Eastern Europeans are gonna think the EU-NATO is worse than the old Soviet Union. Soviets were tyrannical but didn't try to abolish non-Russian nations. But that is precisely the new globalist agenda of the West.

    Replies: @Bies Podkrakowski

    Nice try. Try harder.

  129. @Reg Cæsar
    Say, why don't we call that place "White Russia", like the normal countries of Central Europe do? It's much more euphonious.

    "Belarus" sounds like the star of "Touched By an Angel" (RIP).

    Replies: @Bies Podkrakowski

    Well, in Polish Belarus is called Białoruś (Bialorus) which means White Russia.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Bies Podkrakowski


    Well, in Polish Belarus is called Białoruś (Bialorus) which means White Russia.
     
    How do you say "Duh!" in Polish?

    My point was that it should be called "White Russia" in English.
  130. @Spisarevski
    @Svigor


    keep them from cockblocking us while we sealed the deal with the Germans?
     
    The deal to allow German unification and for the Russian troops to pull out from East Germany was a deal with the Russians, not with the Germans. A deal where you did not keep your end of it.

    The Russians turned the eastern half of Europe into a jail, as well as an armed camp
     
    In Bulgaria for example we had no Soviet bases on our soil and we were trusted with the strongest army on the Balkans. Now that we are in NATO we have no army, we had to literally scrap our ballistic missiles and we have 3 or 4 US bases on our soil for which the Americans don't even pay rent. Those bases are for a possible war with Russia, which absolutely nobody here wants any part of. That's "democracy" and "freedom" I guess.

    I’ve never actually looked into how many eastern Europeans they murdered in that time
     
    Well maybe you should look it up. Maybe you should also look up population growth dynamics before and after 1990.
    Ethnic Bulgarians in 1992: 7,2 million. Ethnic Bulgarians in 2011: 5,6 million (much older too). That's in just 19 years of peace. The Baltics are the same though they don't think about such trivial matters.
    For my country, joining the western geopolitical orbit has been a demographic, cultural and social catastrophe only comparable to the Ottoman invasion.

    Replies: @anon

    Bulgarians were always willing to do their Russians masters’ dirty work. You obviously miss the good old days when you were serving your “big brothers”, and like an old dog you are still trying to lick their boots by pro-Russian trolling here.

  131. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @anon
    @istevefan

    I now think the 'iron curtain' was a great blessing in disguise for eastern Europeans. True, they couldn't get out, but no Muslims or other third worlders got into their countries either.

    Replies: @anon

    Muslim third-worlders from the ‘stans were part of the Soviet Union. They were to be redistributed throughout the Soviet Union, along with ethnic Russians, as part of the official Soviet relocation policy. The various “ethnic” nations within the Soviet Union were supposed to cease to exist, as the entire space was being turned into a melting pot, with the new, culturally Russian, homo sovieticus emerging. The unspoken corollary was that Russians would be the master class of this new homogenized, “internationalist” society.

    The Zeroth Amendment counterpart of the Soviet was not a poem, but a song whose lyrics went, “My address is not a house nor a street… My address is Soviet Union!”

    While Stalin (obviously, himself an ethnic Abkhazian and new Soviet Man) was known for relocating or trying to kill off entire ethnic groups, his successors were somewhat less ardent about it. Partly it was the armed and civic resistance in places like the Baltics, and partly just the inefficiency and corruption of the Soviet bureaucracy tasked with carrying out this plan.

  132. [Blockquote]Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also? Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now? Etc.?[/Blockquote]

    Apparently the arrangements that the Soviet Union made in Tartus applied to Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed, so yeah:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_naval_facility_in_Tartus

    [Blockquote]Saying NATO won’t expand eastward was a spoken statement, never written down, made to representatives of a state that ceased to exist by the time NATO expanded. That’s rather flimsy.[/Blockquote]

    I do agree that the lack of a written promise does make a difference in regards to this. However, I think that it’s rather flimsy to argue that promises and commitments end when one of the states involved stops existing; after all, by that logic, the Bolsheviks were perfectly justified in refusing to repay the loans that the West had previously given the Russian Empire. After all, since the Russian Empire no longer existed, the Bolsheviks had no obligation to maintain the Russian Empire’s promises and commitments.

    Is that a line of argument that you are comfortable with?

    [Blockquote]I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken “promise” don’t seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.[/Blockquote]

    Oh, sure, Russia certainly doesn’t have the upper moral ground in regards to this. Indeed, what Russia did was worse because it involved a written promise.

    Indeed, if Russia wants to keep Crimea, it better not complain about E.U. and NATO expansion into Eastern Europe–including into Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, et cetera.

    Also, though, as a side note, I do wonder if there was some way to put Russia on a pathway to joining the E.U. and NATO. After all, in addition to having the Eastern European countries as allies, it would have probably benefited the U.S. to have Russia as an ally if the opportunity for this existed.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    @Mr. XYZ


    Indeed, if Russia wants to keep Crimea, it better not complain about E.U. and NATO expansion into Eastern Europe–including into Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, et cetera.
     
    Arguably if neither the NATO expansion nor the 1999 war happened, Crimea would still be part of Ukraine. Russia was the weaker party in this, and they only started breaking the rules after the West thoroughly broke all possible rules. But after that they felt no compunction about breaking all rules themselves. See my (hopefully comprehensive) list (in my above comment answering AP) of all the international treaties and agreements they broke.
  133. @AP
    @reiner Tor


    The Americans made it clear to Yeltsin and his team in 1991 (before the dismantling of the USSR) that Russia would be recognized as the main successor state of the USSR, including in terms of being a nuclear power, a permanent UNSC member, etc.
     
    Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also? Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now? Etc.?

    Saying NATO won't expand eastward was a spoken statement, never written down, made to representatives of a state that ceased to exist by the time NATO expanded. That's rather flimsy.

    I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken "promise" don't seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also?

    That’s what “successor state” means. By the way Russia’s claim to be the successor state of the USSR was supported by all Soviet successor states in Alma-Ata in late December 1991. The USSR no longer exists, but for the purposes of foreign policy Russia is its successor state. It also inherited the Soviet debts and obligations.

    Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now?

    Yes, but all such countries had already agreements in place to eventually pull out those troops.

    I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken “promise” don’t seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.

    The Russians broke

    – the UN Charter
    – the Helsinki Accords
    – the Belavezha Accords and the following Alma-Ata Protocols, which I think all affirmed the then extant last Soviet borders of the republics as the new international borders
    – the Partition Treaty on the Status and Condition of the Black Sea Fleet which I think re-affirmed the same
    – (I think even the Kharkiv Pact contained language repeating the terms of the Partition Treaty, i.e. affirming Ukraine’s borders and sovereignty etc.)
    – and of course the Budapest Memorandum, which was basically the weakest element of the whole, with no legal force (unlike the previous ones), but for what it was worth, it was still broken

  134. @Mr. XYZ
    :

    [Blockquote]Yes, but did this mean that all agreements made with the USSR automatically apply to Russia also? Was country hosting Soviet troops obligated to host Russian troops now? Etc.?[/Blockquote]

    Apparently the arrangements that the Soviet Union made in Tartus applied to Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed, so yeah:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_naval_facility_in_Tartus

    [Blockquote]Saying NATO won’t expand eastward was a spoken statement, never written down, made to representatives of a state that ceased to exist by the time NATO expanded. That’s rather flimsy.[/Blockquote]

    I do agree that the lack of a written promise does make a difference in regards to this. However, I think that it's rather flimsy to argue that promises and commitments end when one of the states involved stops existing; after all, by that logic, the Bolsheviks were perfectly justified in refusing to repay the loans that the West had previously given the Russian Empire. After all, since the Russian Empire no longer existed, the Bolsheviks had no obligation to maintain the Russian Empire's promises and commitments.

    Is that a line of argument that you are comfortable with?

    [Blockquote]I find it ironic that the same sorts that complain about this broken “promise” don’t seem to mind Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory in spite of the written Budapest Memorandum.[/Blockquote]

    Oh, sure, Russia certainly doesn't have the upper moral ground in regards to this. Indeed, what Russia did was worse because it involved a written promise.

    Indeed, if Russia wants to keep Crimea, it better not complain about E.U. and NATO expansion into Eastern Europe--including into Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, et cetera.

    Also, though, as a side note, I do wonder if there was some way to put Russia on a pathway to joining the E.U. and NATO. After all, in addition to having the Eastern European countries as allies, it would have probably benefited the U.S. to have Russia as an ally if the opportunity for this existed.

    Replies: @reiner Tor

    Indeed, if Russia wants to keep Crimea, it better not complain about E.U. and NATO expansion into Eastern Europe–including into Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, et cetera.

    Arguably if neither the NATO expansion nor the 1999 war happened, Crimea would still be part of Ukraine. Russia was the weaker party in this, and they only started breaking the rules after the West thoroughly broke all possible rules. But after that they felt no compunction about breaking all rules themselves. See my (hopefully comprehensive) list (in my above comment answering AP) of all the international treaties and agreements they broke.

  135. @Svigor

    Myth. Most parts of Ukriane were part of the West longer than they were ruled from Moscow, and furthermore much of the time spent under Moscow involved some sort of separate status. In Russian, Ukraine means “Borderland”, not “Heartland.”
     
    Yet Russia has its origins in Kievan Rus. In a real sense, Ukraine is Russia, and Ukrainians are Russians. I'm into self-determination, so if the Ukrainians want to totally divorce from Russia, I'm good with it. I'm not good with Big Media telling me whether Ukraine is good with it, though. They can't be trusted.

    The Soviet regime was pretty lousy. But having brought back into existence the Russian nation from under the Soviet heel, why squander all the goodwill we earned by looting their collapsing economy and pushing our military up to their border? I mean, what’s the upside for us?
     
    Those are both qood questions. The looting of Russia was despicable, nuff said. Happily, they seem to have turned that around (I won't ask whether they had to break their word or tell any lies to do so). Pushing our military up to their border may or may not be a good idea; I consider this a separate issue from whether or not I have any sympathy for Russia's whingeing on the matter. I haven't given much thought to the question, apart from the fact that we should draw the "NATO prospects" line west of Belarus and Ukraine, and inside Europe.

    Russia did not do that. The Communist Party of the USSR did most of it. And the Communist Party of the USSR was anything hut a Russian club.
     
    So Germany dindu nuffin, it was the Nazi Party, yet it was Germany that was partitioned and occupied by the US and USSR, Germany that is a threat to Russian security, etc., etc., etc.

    The rest of Eastern Europe becoming a prison camp was because of the many Communist parties outside the USSR. German Communists did it to East Germany. Polish Communists did it to Poland. Etc.
     
    Yeah the Russians dindu nuffin for the global communist revolution...

    Replies: @AP, @dmitry

    I would say Russia is being ‘looted’ more nowadays than in the 1990s years, if we mean the wealth fleeing off-shore, where it benefits other countries. The difference is there is far more money to go around (inside and outside the country) nowadays, than there was in the 1990s (when oil prices crashed to $12 a barrel).

    But if you want to see capital outflows to Swiss investment funds, British boarding-schools, Caribbean tax-havens, London property market, etc. Then magnitudes more money is flowing out of Russia than ever during the 1990s, when this process was only beginning.

    This is the problem of capital flight that occurs when the government doesn’t sufficiently protect assets of rich people (the rich people will store their assets off-shore), and when your country’s commodities produce tens of thousands of such very rich people. And the countries like Switzerland, with better protection of property rights, are the beneficiaries.

  136. @inertial

    You know, Mr. Gorbachev, you kinda shoulda got that in writing.
     
    This gets said a lot. But the truth is, during Cold War oral agreements were par for the course. For instance, Caribbean crisis was resolved by just such an agreement, and a secret one at that. It would never occur to either side to go back on a deal, even though nothing was in writing.

    So Gorbachev thought that the old rules still applied. In retrospect, even putting everything in writing wouldn't have helped. The subsequent event had shown that US has no problem tearing up treaties or lawyering its way around inconvenient provisions.

    Replies: @Bill Jones

    Can you cite one written treaty that the US has not violated?

  137. @Mr. XYZ
    : "Would Russia’s membership in EU entail free movement across Russia’s and European borders, free trade and labor – essentially no borders with Russia?"

    Yes, of course. After all, Russia should get the same deal that the other Eastern European E.U. members got.

    Also, in regards to broken promises, exactly which promises to Eastern Europeans has the U.S. broken?

    Finally, I want to make one additional point here--unfortunately, Russia does not have the moral high ground in regards to complaining about broken promises. After all, Russia violated a written promise in the 1994 Budapest memorandum to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity--something which I consider to be worse than violating an unwritten promise (such as the West's promise to Gorbachev not to expand NATO).

    If Russia wants Crimea (and the Donbass) that badly, fine, but it shouldn't later turn around and complain about NATO expansion up to its borders.

    Replies: @Bill Jones

    What a clown.
    The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly – 90% to rejoin Russia.

    Why should anyone else decide?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Bill Jones

    Well, because who gets a say in questions of sovereignty is a complicated one.

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Bill Jones


    The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly – 90% to rejoin Russia.

    Why should anyone else decide?
     
    I'm reporting you to your local Irish nationalist.
  138. @Bill Jones
    @Mr. XYZ

    What a clown.
    The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly - 90% to rejoin Russia.

    Why should anyone else decide?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    Well, because who gets a say in questions of sovereignty is a complicated one.

  139. @Bies Podkrakowski
    @Reg Cæsar

    Well, in Polish Belarus is called Białoruś (Bialorus) which means White Russia.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Well, in Polish Belarus is called Białoruś (Bialorus) which means White Russia.

    How do you say “Duh!” in Polish?

    My point was that it should be called “White Russia” in English.

  140. @Bill Jones
    @Mr. XYZ

    What a clown.
    The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly - 90% to rejoin Russia.

    Why should anyone else decide?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Reg Cæsar

    The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly – 90% to rejoin Russia.

    Why should anyone else decide?

    I’m reporting you to your local Irish nationalist.

  141. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Yak-15

    Russia is far more terrified of China than they are the United States." A comforting delusion, but it is a delusion nonetheless. Relations with China are good and improving, all outstanding border issues have been resolved. Possibly things will go sour in another generation, but all sorts of things can happen.

    "I certainly wouldn’t want a rising power with 8x the population sitting across from some of my nation’s most valuable economic resources." And? What are the Chinese going to do about it? Attac?

    Replies: @Yak-15

    Surely these guys could go home then, right?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_Eastern_Military_District

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