Russia-Ukraine conflict: America needs a better idea than NATO expansion to keep the peace

Russia-Ukraine conflict: America needs a better idea than NATO expansion to keep the peace

Dec 14, 2021

Ukraine and other former Soviet republics are proud countries. They are not, with all due respect, places we should send U.S. troops to fight and die.

Michael O’Hanlon  |  Opinion contributor

Can it really be true, at this date in 2021, that large-scale war in Europe is again possible?  Why are about 100,000 Russian troops massing near their country’s border with neighboring Ukraine – a country with which Russia shares a close history, religion, culture and previous membership in the Soviet Union? And most of all, what can the United States and allies do about the situation?

President Joe Biden has taken the Russian troop buildup seriously, as he should. His call last week with President Vladimir Putin provided a good start to crisis management. Warning Putin about much more severe economic punishment than Russia has experienced to date, if it should invade Ukraine, Biden struck the right balance. He appears to have avoided ill-advised threats to start World War III over a distant part of Europe not integral to core American security, yet sent an unmistakable message of firmness. 

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U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed over the past seven years, since Russia grabbed back Crimea back from Ukraine with its “little green men” attack and then fomented a separatist revolt in Ukraine’s east (that has since killed at least 13,000), have kept the Russian economy on its back. Its gross domestic product growth has for a decade averaged just about 1% a year

I would have preferred that Biden be even more specific about the types of new sanctions and related steps we might consider – for example, he could have promised that NATO would fund construction of more liquid natural gas terminals in Western Europe to reduce the region’s need for Russian gas, should Putin choose war. But the message was still well delivered, in a calm yet firm manner, and the past seven years of previous policy give it credibility.

NATO membership won’t prevent war

However, we need to think bigger. The crisis this year arose partly because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently asked NATO to bring his country into the Western alliance soon. He wonders why we have not done so. After all, back in 2008 during the Bush administration, the United States and NATO allies promised they would in fact someday invite Ukraine and Georgia into NATO  – though they provided no timetable and no interim security help, in effect painting a bullseye on the back of both countries. Putin has been sure to keep them unstable, and thus ineligible for NATO membership, ever since. (…)

Full text here:

Epidemic of insanity strikes America’s leaders
Epidemic of insanity strikes America’s leaders
Biden administration is sleepwalking America into wars it can’t feasibly win against
Russia and China
by Spengler January 21, 2022
It must be a hitherto unreported side-effect of the Omicron strain, perhaps a malignant
protein activated by the rays of the full moon. America’s political class, Democrat and
Republican alike, appear to have gone babbling, barking mad, starting with President Joe
Biden, but afflicting his political opponents as well.
Biden’s January 19 press conference drew pity from the global press, with verbal gaffes
unlike anything that has escaped the mouth of an American president before. He predicted a
Russian military move into Ukraine: “My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.”
Russia will be “held accountable if it invades,” Biden said, but added, “It depends on what it
does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do
and not do, et cetera.”
A baffled reporter asked if he was giving Russia permission for a “minor incursion,” and
Biden dug himself in deeper: “If it’s something significantly short of a significant invasion or
not even significant — major military forces coming in…for example, it’s one thing to
determine that if they continue to use cyber efforts, we can respond the same way, with
cyber…There are differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do, depending on
what happens. The degree to which they are able to go.”
The White House press office spent the next several hours “clarifying” the “minor incursion”
remark. The world simply concluded that Biden was senile.(…)

Darum fordert Russland den Stop der NATO-Osterweiterung

Darum fordert Russland den Stop der NATO-Osterweiterung

Darum fordert Russland den Stop der NATO-Osterweiterung
Christian Müller / 23.01.2022

«Jeder Staat hat das Recht auf eigene Sicherheit – aber
nicht auf Kosten der Sicherheit eines anderen Staates» – OSZE-Istanbul 1999

Russland hat am 17. Dezember 2021 von den USA und von der NATO die klar formulierte
und schriftlich festgehaltene Zusicherung verlangt, dass die NATO keine weiteren Länder an
der Grenze Russlands mehr zu Mitgliedern macht und dass die zunehmende Aufrüstung der
Länder an der Grenze Russlands durch NATO-Länder gestoppt wird. Dabei wurde eine
schriftliche Antwort bis am 14. Januar 2022 erwartet. Doch sowohl die USA als auch die
NATO haben bisher nicht schriftlich geantwortet und sowohl die USA als auch die NATO
haben die von Russland geforderten Sicherheitsgarantien bis heute – mündlich – rundweg
Die USA und die NATO berufen sich darauf, dass von westlicher Seite nie versprochen
worden sei, nach dem Kollaps der Sowjetunion die NATO nicht nach Osten zu erweitern.
Aber auch wenn Michail Gorbatschow – aus heutiger Sicht leider – nicht darauf bestanden
hat, das in einem Vertrag festzuhalten, es herrschte damals in diesem Punkt Konsens. (…)
Gerade wieder hat Andreas Zumach, der seit Jahrzehnten die Ost-West-Beziehungen als
politischer Korrespondent genau beobachtet, auf diesen Punkt hingewiesen. Er selber sass
am 11. Februar 1990 im selben Flugzeug wie der damalige deutsche Aussenminister und
Vize-Bundeskanzler Hans-Dietrich Genscher auf dem Flug nach Ottawa zur KSZE-Konfe-
renz zum Thema «Open Skies» und hat es aus den Gesprächen mit den Politikern im
Flugzeug auch selber gehört (siehe blaue Box unten). Geschrieben hat damals niemand
darüber, weil es eben klar war. Und die USA wussten es bestens, dass Russland in diesem
Punkt äusserst sensibel war, was auch immer der damalige russische Präsident Boris Jelzin
dem Geld von Bill Clinton für seine Wiederwahl zuliebe später noch gesagt haben sollte. Im
Mai 1995 hat das Jelzin an einem Treffen in Budapest Bill Clinton in aller Deutlichkeit klar
gemacht. Und auch dieser Satz von Boris Jelzin zu Bill Clinton ist im «National Security
Archive» der USA jetzt einsehbar: «For me to agree to the borders of NATO expanding
towards those of Russia – that would constitute a betrayal on my part of the Russian
people.» («Für mich wäre eine Zustimmung zur Ausweitung der NATO näher an die Grenzen
Russlands ein Verrat an der russischen Bevölkerung.»)

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