Tiriol wrote: ↑2021-12-20 10:55am
I am well aware of Nato not being a sovereign nation. However, Ukraine and other possible applicant nations are and Russia is demanding in a roundabout way that they have no right to seek out an alliance with forces that could defend them from Russia. If Russia wants a stable peace with Nato OR its neighbors, maybe it should stop interfering in their activities, occupying and annexing their territories and setting up puppet regimes in those territories. Russia is also demanding that Nato in effect withdraws from its current member states that are near Russia, so it’s not even about expansion. Russia just wants to be the one who dictates terms to its neighbors.
There is this historical amnesia about the end of the Cold War coupled with an American/NATO/Capitalist Democracy triumphalist narrative which is... disturbing because it sets up the response for real political failures in the future.
There are basically two worlds under which Russia can be condemned for what its doing:
- An old school, cold war mentality. (More on that later.)
- And a sense of a liberal international order that views democratic national will expressed through national sovereignty as basically being something which must be respected at all costs.
This is the world wherein complaints like "Russia shouldn't fuck around with its neighbors" ultimately resides. However, in order for that criticism to hold up the deals that nations make with each other also have to honored, if they're not then there is no order to the liberal international 'order', it is simply every nation out for itself.
In the period of '89 through '95 a series of deals were effectively made with Russia under a very specific framework of multi-party internationalism.
In effect, Russia gave up control of East Germany (and allowed to lapse a series of binding treaties it had dating from the end of World War II to special rights in East Germany), gave up the Warsaw Pact, allowed for the various soviet republics to seek independence (despite a not very robust history of their independence from Russia in centuries, if ever), mass liberalization of its markets, and sought to be a productive European security partner. In return it was promised a slew of things: mass economic support, monopoly control over the USSR's nuclear arsenal, that NATO would transition from an oppositional security alliance into a program designed to support a framework of European stability (as it was used in Bosnia and the Balkans) with active Russian cooperation, and that the Western powers would respect historical areas of Russian suzerainty and not expand westward (indeed, Germany being allowed to stay in NATO after reunification was a major concession from Russia in this regard.)
Contemporaneous accounts from the senior foreign leadership of the United States (see: James Baker's contemporary and retrospective opinions on this), the UK (Thatcher's memoirs I believe discuss this in length, and why she thought it was all a mistake from the start), and Russia all agree on this. Yet NATO expanded right into former Russian territory, it was sold to countries as a "This is how you keep the Russkis out" pact, and I'm not even going to start about how the economic support for Russia went.
In short, this means that calls for Russia to respect the bounds of the international order absolutely fall on deaf ears because the rules of the international order are not being respected by the people engaging in that handwringing over how those rules aren't being followed.
Understandably, I think, Russia then views its current situation as a de facto continuation of Cold War, and 19th century, encircling of Russia, which fair enough it certainly is for many of the member states. In that world, to echo Coop from above, this is how you draw down conflict in the long run
. Escalation is done in specific areas (Berlin, Cuba, Greece, etc.), and then negotiations occur, boundaries are drawn, and deals are made and respected. In which world "If Ukraine wants to join NATO it gets to join NATO" is just as inflammatory as if Khruschev declared in 1962 "If Cuba wants nuclear missiles it gets nuclear missiles." And to not get that message, or to be dismissive of it, is a guarantee to destroy the possibility of peaceful drawdown.
'After 9/11, it was "You're with us or your with the terrorists." Now its "You're with Straha or you support racism."' ' - The Romulan Republic
'You're a bully putting on an air of civility while saying that everything western and/or capitalistic must be bad, and a lot of other posters (loomer, Stas Bush, Gandalf) are also going along with it for their own personal reasons (Stas in particular is looking through rose colored glasses)' - Darth Yan