Did the West promise the Soviets that NATO would not expand at the end of the Cold War? The Russians have a good case that NATO expansion violated assurances made at the time, but that it's not the one people typically make.
It is amazing how much time people spend on these details... isolation by NATO is a complete farce...
Ukrain is very rich land and Russians refuse give it up... find any excuse to get it back... the combination of greed and Russian nationalism is the only reason for this war ( and always been)
Another damned square thick substack. Always scribble, scribble, scribble. Eh, Mr. Lemoine?
"But as I have argued in this section, this was to some extent predictable at the end of the Cold War, when Baker and the rest of the Bush administration’s foreign policy team made the decision to ensure NATO’s continued primacy in the post-Cold War era and shot down pan-European security alternatives." It seems your post only assumes that the Western European countries, the US, and Russia have agency. What about the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine, and the other countries that were formerly part of the USSR? Did NATO expand without their consent, or with their (eager and now abundantly understandable) consent? I also don't believe a pan-European security alternative would have lasted if one member started invading others with impunity (see: CSTO); in the end, we likely would have ended up back with a de-facto NATO alliance.
Allegedly when Einstein was asked about a leaflet "100 authors against Theory of Relativity" he answered "if I were wrong, one would suffice".
The length you go into shows, without reading, how much you grasp at straws.
I will answer in 4 points:
1. Among those who believe russia was not promised NATO would exapnd was Gorbatchev himself
I don't think there is any discussion needed
2. In May 2002 Putin was asked about NATO - Ukraine relations. Prime moment to point out any promises amde by the west not to expand
"I am absolutely convinced that Ukraine will not shy away from the processes of expanding interaction with NATO and the Western allies as a whole. Ukraine has its own relations with NATO; there is the Ukraine-NATO Council. At the end of the day the decision is to be taken by NATO and Ukraine. It is a matter for those two partners."
3. Vague suppositions inferred from politicians statements do not consider promise. If Helmut Kohl said something publicly in 1992 it doesn't mean Merkel had to abide by that in 2008. It's the opposite, even if promises were made, they would be already obsolete. Simplified for westerners version here:
4. There was no NATO expansion. There was NATO inclusion. It was not NATO creeping east, it was CEE countries running west. It was us, who took action that resulted in joining NATO and any discussion of what russia has to say about it is treating us as Slavic untermenschen, not worthy of deciding for themselves and limited to be "real countries" sphere of influence.
need to read it all because its quite long
All I can say is that besides some obvious desire from ther US to expand its are of influence..
A country like Russia, with a 2nd tier economy the size of South korea, is DELUSIONAL if it believes it's a big power.
They sadly, havent learned the lessons from the Cold war.
Establish a rivalry with a country that has 20 times your economic and financial output, like, REALLY?
Russians live in a delusion of being this mega power, stemming from being pART of victorious alliances in the past.
lets say that the Russo-Japanese war of 1905 is more an accurate result of the relative might of this superpower.
Even though the Warsaw Pact might've looked moribund at that time–and in hindsight, was–none of the negotiators operated under the assumption that it or the Soviet Union would dissolve in less than two years. The situation in the USSR and Eastern Europe was still very much in Flux at that time, with Lithuania's declaration of independence in March 1990 and the subsequent Soviet blockade.
The fear of a renewed Soviet crackdown at home and abroad was very real. The situation there was deteriorating quickly, as the economy slumped, various republics mobrd toward independence, and the Soviet government cracked down on them as a result (as in Lithuania and Latvia in January-February 1991). These feats would be vindicated in the August Coup of 1991, which failed. Hence, offering a road to NATO for Central and Eastern Europe just wasn't considered practical in 1990, as it might bring about renewed Soviet paranoia and fears. Most of our foreign policy establishment remembered the Soviet aggressions against Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 and wanted to do everything possible to prevent such a thing at that time. There were still Soviet troops in Eastern Europe when this was said, and some wouldn't withdraw for another three to four years.
That was the context of the statements regarding NATO expansion in Eastern Europe in 1990 and 1991. Not some treaty binding for all time, but made in a very specific context when everything was in flux. After the USSR dissolved and *all* the subject nations regained independence, these facts had changed. It suddenly became practical and morally right to accept Eastern Europe's requests to join NATO, overtures for which had been going on since 1990.
I commend the depth and breadth of your research and the even-handed analysis. I look forward to the additional essays I assume will be forthcoming. Maybe you will bolster your thesis with the further essays.
As of now, while blaming the United States for failing to embrace the Soviet Union or Russia in a new, pan-European security architecture is certainly an argument that can be made, it strikes me as absolutely utopian in reasoning.
Blaming the United States for not voluntarily giving up the security architecture it had created in Europe following its involvement in two brutal European wars in order to openly embrace its existential enemy of five decades in some kind of undefined but perfect Arcadian security system is, to put it mildly, quite a lift.
Could the United States have tried? I suppose so. Could it have worked? Maybe? Should the United States be blamed for not attempting such a strategic moonshot? Absolutely not. Does the U.S. failure to undertake such a transformative and incredible project then justify Russia's later imperialism and invasions of Ukraine? Hard no.
I'm an FSU person with a lot of anti-Russia bias, FYI, so I just want to commend you on the thankless job of doing such a deep-dive and elucidating so many intricacies. I'm in no position to evaluate your claims, because it's possible that there is more non-presented context that'd alter how the whole thing is viewed. That being said, this is still the directionally-correct approach vs. barking 2-liner zingers on Twitter, which, alas, is the culture we live in..