Is Russia right?
Sometimes it seems we are living in different worlds — Vladimir Putin, 23 December 2021.
It feels like we are so embedded within our Western view of the world, it’s hard to imagine that anyone might see things differently.
From the U.S.’s and NATO’s perspective, Russia is an untrustworthy aggressor seeking to expand its sphere of influence into Ukraine and potentially beyond.
But from Russia’s perspective, the U.S. and NATO are untrustworthy aggressors seeking to expand their sphere of influence into Ukraine and potentially beyond….
This week our resident essayist, PeaceQuest Cape Breton’s Sean Howard, takes a closer look at the historical record of the end of Communism and promises that were made to Russia in the final days of the Cold War.
As Howard points out, Russian complaints about NATO’s expansion Eastward toward Russia, gobbling up former Soviet Republics, reach, “back to the famous (in Russia) ‘big lies’ of 1990: the repeated verbal assurance offered by American and West German leaders to the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, that the Alliance would expand ‘not an inch’ into East Germany (or, by implication, any further) and – just to be clear – the pledge to Gorbachev by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would never ‘leap frog’ over a reunited Germany.”
“Indeed, Russia’s central contention is that NATO expansion renders impossible the construction of what Gorbachev called a ‘common European home,’ an overarching architecture based on the principle, enshrined at Helsinki, of ‘the indivisibility of security in Europe:’ the recognition, to quote the 1990 CSCE Charter of Paris For a New Europe, that ‘the security of each participating State is inseparably linked to that of all the others.’”
Russian President Boris Yeltsin begged U.S. President Clinton to rethink NATO expansion, “because now I see nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed. … We need a new structure for pan-European security, not old ones!”
It’s easy to fall prey to the Russia gaslighting by today’s media giants. That’s why Sean Howard’s reminder about the historical record is so important for us the see the bigger picture from all sides.
- Read “Ukraine: Spheres, Orbits & Thoughts on Neutrality,” by Sean Howard, published by The Cape Breton Spectator on February 2, 2021