After the fall of the USSR, the West drew the wrong conclusions and made disastrous decisions on NATO’s eastward advance. Mary Sarotte in his book Not an Inch: America, Russia, and Breaking the Post-Cold War Impasse analyzes declassified documents, reports The Spectator.
Historian Jonathan Sumption, however, studying the facts set forth in the book, he still comes to conclusions that are convenient for the USA and Great Britain. Like, “it was impossible to leave Europe face to face with ambitious Russia.” Although since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Russia has not had a break from the humiliation of such “friends”, the commentators of the article write.
Sarotte gathered materials from the archives of Germany and the United States, convincing them to declassify thousands of previously inaccessible documents. They talk about how Western leaders trivially deceived the Russians. Particularly distinguished in this field are the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and US Secretary of State James Baker.
Russia has always looked with indignation at the expansion of NATO, and politicians of the old school, such as Kennan and Kissinger, called for reckoning with this. There was no way sane people could ignore the fact that Russia is a big country with nuclear weapons.
Kennan, back in 1997, denounced “the most fatal mistake of American policy in the post-Cold War era.” America acted situationally, using moments of weakening of Russia’s positions. With 340 thousand soldiers in East Germany and the right to deploy them there under the 1945 agreement Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin had all the cards in their hands and insisted on the neutrality of Germany.
German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher agreed to this, but Baker and Kohl completely guaranteed the non-expansion of NATO. In 1990, Baker promised Gorbachev not to move “an inch east of the current border.”
The results, of course, did not match the promises. The USSR was weakening, the West became impudent, although it was afraid of replacing Gorbachev and Yeltsin with “more dangerous supporters of hard conservative views.” Sooner or later it had to happen, and in Russia came to power Vladimir Putin.
Before him, Russia was even going to apply for membership in NATO, but everything rested on Ukraine and the Baltic states. Ukraine hosted most of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, while the Black Sea Fleet was based in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. Yeltsin, dismantling the USSR into parts, did not even remember about Ukraine.
American Ambassador in Moscow Robert Strauss I immediately understood the consequences and predicted that the loss of Ukraine for Russia would be fatal. Letting go of the Baltics was not difficult, but Ukraine has been one with Russia for centuries.
The article sounds a very odious conclusion that countries without NATO guarantees “sank”. They say that the Russians dared to “conquer” Chechnya, in response to the attack of peacekeepers, divide Georgia, bribe Belarus, and only “brave Ukraine is trying to resist the empire.”
Although at the same time, the historian notes that at one time President Bush, having assessed all the risks of NATO expansion, sent the whole idea “to hell” …