Did NATO promise Russia never to expand to the east? | DW News

Just before his army invaded Ukraine, Vladimir 
Putin outlined his motivations in a speech. His first and main argument: He blamed the extension of the military 
alliance ever closer to Russia’s borders  and accused Western leaders of breaking 
alleged promises to never do so But experts disagree on whether that’s true the U.S. broke these assurances that had been made I think it’s false.

It’s really sort of a pretext So was anything really promised?
And why is that such a crucial point for Russia? After WWII two spheres of influence emerged in 
Europe, each one with their military alliance.   NATO in the west, countries that would soon 
become part of the Warsaw Pact in the east. This created a clear red line 
between the two superpowers.  Their spheres of influence were clearly 
defined and for many years NATO grew slowly  – until 1990, when that divide 
started to crumble…here in Germany Germany was the key focal point 
of the Cold War in Europe. Joshua Shifrinson has done extensive archival 
research on the U.S. and Soviet foreign policy including this great question of 
what was or was not promised in 1990 At the time, Germany was speeding toward 
reunification. And for many in Europe,   this was a bit scary. The US did not want to see a reunified 
Germany either in the Soviet camp or neutral.   And the concern with neutrality was that 
a neutral Germany might one day run amok. Washington decided the best option 
was to bring Germany into NATO.  But first, they had to convince the Soviets.  And here we get to the famous 
assurances about NATO’s expansion.

In February of 1990, in a series of meetings, 
U.S. and West German leaders very openly said   that if the Soviet leadership consented to German 
reunification and Germany remaining in NATO,   then NATO would not expand one inch to the East Logs of those conversations 
have since been declassified.   And they show what Soviet politicians were 
told by western leaders like… (show several   of the documents) So, what happened to NATO after Germany unified? In 1999 the Czech Republic, 
Hungary, and Poland joined NATO  In 2004 it was the baltic 
states and four other countries  And finally four more from 
2009 to just a few years ago  Georgia and Ukraine were promised 
membership in 2008 but are not yet members This would seem to justify Putin’s grievances.  But one historical event could 
suggest a different interpretation: Back in 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union This is Steven Pifer.He was the US ambassador 
to Ukraine when NATO was expanding,   and deputy director on the Soviet 
desk when those assurances were made. When Secretary Baker at that time 
was talking about not extending   forward.

I understood not into East Germany Pifer says that those commitments didn’t refer 
to countries like Poland or Lithuania because… and at that time, the Warsaw Pact still 
existed. It didn't collapse for another year,   so I saw the discussions about not one 
inch really in the context of Germany. But many experts disagree That doesn't quite hold water for two 
different reasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *