Saturday, July 21, 2018

NATO’s purpose ended with fall of Soviet Union. Instead of gracefully retiring, NATO expanded and failed to include Russia. This was a tragic mistake, unnecessarily provocative, and ruined West’s chances of bringing Russia into the fold-George Kennan, 1998

7/18/18, “The Day “Strategic Ambiguity” Died,” 

NATO Expansion Was A Mistake” 

“Before going further let us state for the record, we believe the expansion of NATO without including Russia was a big mistake, unnecessarily provocative, and ruined the West chances of bringing Russia “in.” 

With the fall of the Soviet Union and the sudden shift in the military balance in Europe in the early 1990’s, NATO faced an existential crisis.  Rather than winding down, the conventional wisdom was that NATO must goout of area or out of business.” Bureaucracies don’t die easily. 

The Russian backlash to NATO’s expansion was devastating. In 1991, 80 percent of the Russian public had a favorable opinion of the United States.  After the expansion of the alliance and bombing of Serbia in 1999 without UN Security Council authorization,  Russians had a negative view of America.  In 2000, Vladimir Putin was elected president of the Russian Federation. 

George Kennan 

Listen to George Kennan in 1998, the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of America’s great statesmen of the 20th century, who was “present at the creation” of NATO, and authored the anonymous 1947 Foreign Affairs article, signed ”X,” defining America’s cold-war policy for 40 years, 

”I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ”I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.” – NY Times, 1998 

So, to some extent, we agree on many of the philosophical tenets that we think what President Trump believes. The problem lies in implementation and execution. 

Just as, we believe, trade disagreements should be settled in a rules-based multilateral framework, such at the WTO. 

We  also agree with another American president about being suspicious and trying to avoid  “foreign entanglements. The web of foreign entanglements among European nations led to World War I, a war that nobody wanted. 

The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. – George Washington””

Added: More on George Kennan, for those interested: An interview with George Kennan 

“This is a transcript of the interview Kennan gave to CNN for the Cold War’ series in May and June of 1996.” 

“George F. Kennan was the chief architect of the policy of containment and one of the most influential figures of the Cold War. Trained as a diplomat, Kennan began his career in Moscow in 1933. He served there off and on for the next three decades. In Moscow in 1946, he drafted his famous “Long Telegram,” a document that sounded the alarm over Soviet expansionism and became a prescient warning about the coming Cold War.”... 

On why the United States viewed the Soviet Union as an enemy after World War II:” 

“We had accustomed ourselves, through our wartime experience, to having a great enemy before us who had to be considered capable and desirous of doing everything that was evil and bad for us. And as our attention shifted then from Hitler’s Germany to what was now the other greatest military power in Europe, we began to attach these sort of extremist views to Russia, too. 

We like to have our enemies in the singular, our friends, if you will, multiple. But the enemy must always be a center, he must be totally evil, he must wish all the terrible things that could happen to uswhether [that] made sense from his standpoint or not. … Carrying wartime extremisms into a period which was nominally one of peace … is one of the great fundamental causes of the Cold War…. 

On whether he feels satisfied in the success of the policy of containment, of which he was one of the principal architects: 

Yes, I do, because if the alternative was to have a great military conflagration, I could see no good coming out of this. Regardless of who considered himself to be the victor. 

You must remember my view of warfare: that everybody is a defeated power with modern warfare, with modern weapons. I don’t know any more to say about that. My thoughts about containment were of course distorted by the people who understood it and pursued it exclusively as a military concept; and I think that that, as much as any other cause, led to [the] 40 years of unnecessary, fearfully expensive and disoriented process of the Cold War.””

Added: From Kennan NY Times obituary, 3/18/2005: 

Mr. Kennan was the man to whom the White House and the Pentagon turned when they sought to understand the Soviet Union after World War II. He conceived the cold-war policy of containment, the idea that the United States should stop the global spread of Communism by diplomacy, politics, and covert action — by any means short of war. 

As the State Department’s first policy planning chief in the late 1940’s, serving Secretary of State George C. Marshall, Mr. Kennan was an intellectual architect of the Marshall Plan, which sent billions of dollars of American aid to nations devastated by World War II. At the same time, he conceived a secret “political warfare” unit that aimed to roll back Communism, not merely contain it.”…

Added: US oligarchy has become the Mafia: “In the years following the end of the Soviet Union, the idea that Russia was “ours to lose” gained wide currency in American foreign policy circles. The idea that Russia is an enemy culture in addition to a geopolitical adversary has since gained wide purchase among American media and political elites. As one prominent commentator put it: “Russia has been targeting the American right.”” 

May 2018, “The Cold War Culture War,” James Carden, American Affairs Journal (“Carden served as an advisor to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the State Department in 2011–12”)

Added: Believing themselves entitled, US oligarchs plundered Russia: Bill Clinton Harvard cronies, George Soros, and Harvard Institute for International Development destroyed Russia’s wealth and its middle class. Hundreds of millions of US tax dollars were also lost through lavish USAID grants-May 14, 1998, “The Harvard Boys Do Russia, The Nation, Janine R. Wedel


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