Blake Fleetwood International Original

‘Not One Inch Eastward:’ How the War in Ukraine Could Have Been Prevented Decades Ago

America broke its promises about Eastern Europe. Now Ukraine is paying the price.
[spoilt.exile / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Blake Fleetwood / Original to ScheerPost

Thirty years ago the current conflict with Russia was foretold and feared. George Kennan, James Baker, Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Sam Nunn, and Thomas Friedman, among others, all warned in the 1990s of a new Cold War if NATO was expanded without including Russia.

In order to understand what’s going on in Ukraine from Vladimir Putin’s point of view, you have to go back to 1990 when the Soviet Union was collapsing. Talks were proceeding about the pending unification of Germany, which the Soviets could have vetoed. 

There is no question that the U.S. and NATO — President George Bush and Secretary of State James A. Baker — made a deal in early February 1990 with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. 

According to documents declassified in 2017, the deal essentially was that the Soviets would allow German unification with the written “ironclad guarantees”, that NATO would not expand “one inch eastward”, in the words of James Baker. 

‘Not One Inch Eastward:’ How America Broke Its Promises About Eastern Europe

A week later Gorbachev began German reunification talks. So what happened next?

At this point with Russia in chaos and its nascent democracy and free market was just emerging.  They needed help. The U.S. could have entered into a real Marshall Plan arrangement, as we did after World War II with our enemies, Germany and Italy.  This plan could have included Russia and all of the Eastern Bloc and offered an opportunity for a long standing partnership to nurture the roots of democracy and capitalism in the region.  

But this opportunity was lost because Cold War hardliners, within President George H. Bush’s foreign policy circle could not see the enormous differences between an emerging Russian democracy/capitalism and the Soviet Communist Empire. 

These hardliners proclaimed the Wolfowitz/Bush doctrine in 1992 which held that the US was the only remaining superpower and should thus project its dominance over any region in the world.

Senator Edward Kennedy described the doctrine as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.”

The Bush/Baker promises regarding NATO expansion into eastern Europe were kept through the Republican administration.

But in 1998 after the Democrats took over,  Bill Clinton’s foreign policy team said “we’re going to cram NATO expansion down the Russian’s throats because Moscow is weak…, The cold war is over for you but not for us.” according to an article in The New York Times. 

The Democratic administration essentially took the position that the cascade of promises  to halt NATO expansion were made to the Soviet Union not Russia, and anyway didn’t apply to the new administration.

The Beginning of a New Cold War

To the great humiliation of Boris Yeltsin and the Russian people, Clinton would not allow Russia to join NATO, but it started a process which would lead to 14 other former Warsaw Pact members joining what was an anti-Soviet military alliance.

Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, joined first and were eventually followed by Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.

Russian journalists felt that America had taken advantage of a weakened Russia to impose a new world order that did not include them or their historical need for a buffer zone.

While the Senate was first debating NATO expansion, excluding Russia, New York Times Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Thomas Friedman, reached out to the dean of American scholars of Russia, George Kennan. He said “I think it is the beginning of a new cold war.”

“I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake.”

Kennan believed that expanding NATO would forever damage America’s efforts to transform Russia from an enemy to a friend.

Kennan was right. From that point on Russian leaders felt that America had taken advantage of a weakened Russia to impose a new world order, that did not include them or their historical need for a geographic buffer zone.

The shame that NATO’s expansion bred in Russia was critical in fueling Putin’s 2000 rise to power after Boris Yeltsin moved on. Russia’s crumbling economy, with millions dying from malnutrition, also helped doom the decade of Glasnost, democracy, and capitalism from taking root. The Russians were desperate, and Putin exploited their desperation by promising a return to greatness. He also turned away from the hard-fought reforms of democracy and free speech. which didn’t seem to be making life better for the Russian people. 

America Made Putin Who He is After 2007

But from 2000 to 2007 Putin remained relatively subdued, according to American raised, Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner. Desperate to revive his economy and plagued by growing Islamic terrorism, Putin again inquired about Russian membership in NATO and the European Union and was told that he could not join. Russian was too big.  Maybe Putin  thought that America and Russia, after 9/11, could become partners in the war against terrorism, which was then plaguing both countries. Pozner, no great fan of the Russian dictator,  suggests that America made Putin who he became after 2007

The fires of Russophobia, stoked by many neoconservatives as well as partisan Democrats, were still burning strong in the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing in 9/11/2001.

The Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 had been one of the cornerstones of superpower relations for nearly 30 years. But George W. Bush again infuriated the new Russian leader by pulling out of the treaty in December 2001 and directing the Pentagon to build a new system in Eastern Europe, under the pretext that it would ward off the threat of missiles from Iran.  

If Ukraine draws closer to NATO, Putin thundered this month, “Modern offensive weapons will be deployed on its territory just like in Poland and Romania.”   

Washington has argued that the two missile sites in eastern Europe do not have offensive capability, but independent experts believe that they could be rejiggered to fire offensive missiles.  The US Navy did not respond to a request by the New York Times for a visit.

Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000 deeply affronted by the broken promises and Russia’s reduced status in world affairs.  In 2002 Putin asked again about joining NATO and the EU and was refused.

So today, with hundreds of thousands of troops massing on both sides of the Ukrainian border, the fate of millions of  civilians hangs in the balance at the possibility of a new European land war. What should we do?

America should understand that this is not only a conflict in the Ukraine, there are larger, long standing issues at stake. Russia wants to revise the European world order that was forced upon it in the chaos of the 1990s.

Russia doesn’t want NATO arms or military equipment on its borders in Ukraine or anywhere else. They don’t want Ukraine to join NATO, a military alliance that was formed to aggressively confront the Soviet Union.

Discreetly, the US and other NATO nations agree that membership is not in the cards for Ukraine as a practical matter for some time. It has long been one of the most corrupt nations in Europe with a kleptocratic legal and judicial system, a corrupt economy, a fragile democracy and a crude defense sector.

The US is not willing to say that in writing, though they are saying it privately to the Russians. America should do away with all the diplomatic gibberish.

Putin thinks that America is lying and has broken promises over the last 30 years. Vladimir Putin is no saint. He is ruthless and brutish, intolerant of free speech, democratic elections or an unbiased judicial system. Clearly an autocratic leader.

But most rational people would say Russia has somewhat of a point. Would the US permit Russia to send military assets to Cuba or Venezuela? Of course not. Nor should we. 

But neither should we assume the role of the World’s Policeman anymore. That time has passed. Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, are countries that we invaded in the name of “democracy”. When will the hardliners learn that America’s strength lies in soft power: its economy, its values, its democracy, its example, not military intervention.

If the Ukraine tinderbox is ever to be defused, Putin must be allowed to save face. He has to walk away with something. Russia feels it is being slowly put into a cage and Putin has the support of the Russian people with a 68 percent favorable rating.

Give the separatists a measure of autonomy. There are a few pockets in Ukraine on the Russian border that are still loyal to Russia. Give them small bits of land, a decentralized status. No doubt, within a few years, they will rethink the wisdom of their decision. Just as Ukraine wants self determination, so too do the pro-Russian rebels in the Donbas. They don’t want Kiev to appoint their governors and mayors;  and they want to be able to speak the Russian language, which they have spoken for many centuries.

The collapse of the Soviet Empire, which threatened the free world, was a war that America won without firing a shot. But America didn’t follow up its historic victory by welcoming Russian democratization and Westernization. Instead we are now facing another autocratic state and a New Cold War with nuclear bombs. 

In 1993 James Baker, Bush’s Secretary of State, who made the original promises to Russia, wrote a prescient Op Ed in The Los Angeles Times in which he argued for admitting Russia into NATO.  He wrote, Russia’s membership “is key to any long-term vision for NATO.”

“The Russian leadership in the months ahead should be given the choice of aligning with the West. Ruling Russia out of NATO would only undercut the hopes of Russia’s Westernizers while fueling the fear-mongering neo-fascists.”

Bringing other Warsaw Pact members into NATO, without including Russia, would be “ill-advised” Baker asserted, because it would sow the seeds of revanchism and a revived Russian empire.

Baker further argued that bringing Russia into NATO would strengthen  the perestroika reformers and encourage Russian democracy. In the 90’s during the period of  Glosnost, many elements of democracy, and a nascent turn to capitalism, Russia’s further integration with Europe seemed possible. But it was not to be and a great opportunity was lost.

George Kennan, who helped create NATO and fashioned America’s original  cold-war containment policy, said years ago of NATO expansion, “This has been my life, and it pains me to see it so screwed up in the end.”

Blake Fleetwood
Blake Fleetwood

Blake Fleetwood was formerly a reporter on the staff of The New York Times and has written for The New York Times MagazineNew York MagazineThe New York Daily News, the Wall Street JournalUSA Today, the Village Voice, Atlantic, and the Washington Monthly on a number of issues. He was born in Santiago, Chile and moved to New York City at the age of three. He graduated from Bard College and did graduate work in political science and comparative politics at Columbia University. He has also taught politics at New York University. He can be reached at jfleetwood@aol.com.

33 comments

  1. Friedman? Absurd. Same old same old legacy media dude. Yikes!

    Being a pundit means never having to say you’re sorry.

    Thomas Friedman can wax pompous on the Iraq disaster, as he did in Sunday’s New York Times, without acknowledging his own cheerleading for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which led directly to the current catastrophe.

    In his piece, Friedman chastises everyone from Iran to the Arabs for the calamity in Iraq in his usual glib style. (He actually uses the phrase: “This Bud’s for you.”) But one principal actor is missing: the Bush invasion Friedman backed. He should read terrorism expert Peter Bergen to jog his memory.

    “From where did ISIS spring?” Bergen asks on CNN, referring to the extremist group now controlling much of Iraq. “One of George W. Bush’s most toxic legacies is the introduction of al Qaeda into Iraq, which is the ISIS mother ship.”

    The U.S. intelligence community is in broad agreement that there was no cooperation, as Bush alleged in the run-up to the war, between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

    But a year and a half after the war started, Al Qaeda set up shop in Iraq, taking advantage of the chaos to promote itself as a protector of the Sunni minority. (For more on how the U.S. invasion led to the current situation, read Professor Stephen Zunes’ piece on The Progressive website.)

    Friedman displays total amnesia on this point, as he does on his support of the U.S. attack. At the start of the Iraq War, he indelicately laid out his rationale for why the U.S. had to steamroll Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

    “We needed to go over there, basically, and take out a very big stick right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it,” he told Charlie Rose in March 2003. “What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying, ‘Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?’ You don’t think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This.”

    1. Yes, Friedman turned into a complete idiot. At one point he was mediocre and not too harmful but the NYT keeps and hires only stenographers of Langley output. Caitlin Johnstone said we might as well get out press releases straight from Langley. I think we already do.

  2. It has always been obvious to any sane person or country that when you put an animal or country in a corner with no escape, that animal or country will attack the threat. Putin is doing what he has to do, no choice. He wants to take out the U.S. trained Nazi’s that the U.S. and Great Britain put in place both to insult and taunt Russia which includes the Russian Separatists in Ukraine.

      1. Yes, Moderator, Nazis. Established by our own Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Barack Obama in their illegal coup in 2014. The military national guard wear swastikas on their helmets and Nazi insignia on their uniforms. They are the Above Battalion, the Right Sector and follow the fascist teachings of Stephen Bandera. I hear people say, “Ukraine wants freedom and democracy.” Bull. They had it before the invasion of Americans who overthrew a democratically elected president. I didn’t like Yanokovych but he was elected, a process of which this country doesn’t give a hoot. And when people say he rejected a turn toward the European Union, not true. He needed money and asked the EU for 30B and they said no, so he asked Russia and they said yes to 15B. When the uprisings began, he tried to get a foothold talking to people about what they wanted, but had to give up and leave.

      2. You really need to catch up one what’s been going on there if you’re unaware of the US-orchestrated coup in 2014 that installed a puppet government led by Nazis. The Azov Battalion, a special forces commando unit of a few hundred thousand, are all Nazis.

      3. The BBC (2/13/22), for instance, showed a clip of “civilians lining up for a few hours’ military training with the National Guard,” with International Correspondent Orla Guerin describing Konstantynovska endearingly as “a granny with a gun.” Though Azov Battalion insignia was visible in the report, Guerin made no reference to it, and the report ends perversely with an NGU combatant helping a child to load an ammunition magazine.

        BBC depiction of a boy learning how to load ammo
        The BBC (2/13/22) depicts a young boy getting a lesson on how to load ammo—without mentioning that the training was sponsored by a far-right paramilitary.

        The BBC (12/13/14) has not always been so reluctant to discuss the Azov Battalion’s neo-Nazism. In 2014, the broadcaster noted that its leader “considers Jews and other minorities ‘sub-human’ and calls for a white, Christian crusade against them,” while it “sports three Nazi symbols on its insignia.”

        Both MSNBC (2/14/22) and ABC News (2/13/22) also reported from Mariupol, showing similar video footage of an Azov Battalion member teaching Konstantynovska to use a rifle. As with the BBC, no mention was made of the regiment’s far right association.

        Sky News updated its initial report (2/13/22) to include mention of the “far right” trainers (2/14/22), while Euronews (2/13/22) made a rare mention of the Azov Battalion in its initial coverage.

        ‘Glorification of Nazism’
        Telegraph: Ukraine Crisis: The Neo-Nazi Brigade Fighting Pro-Russian Separatists
        There was a time when Western news outlets (Daily Telegraph, 8/11/14) recognized the Azov Battalion as a neo-Nazi force rather than a source of photo ops.

        The printed press fared little better. On February 13, UK newspapers the London Times and the Daily Telegraph ran front-page spreads showing Konstantynovska preparing her weapon, without any reference to the Azov Battalion running the training course.

        Worse still, both the Times and the Daily Telegraph had already reported on the militia’s neo-Nazi associations. In September 2014, the Times described the Azov Battalion as “a group of heavily armed men” with “at least one sporting a Nazi logo…preparing for the defense of Mariupol,” adding that the group had been “formed by a white supremacist.” For its part, the Daily Telegraph described the battalion in 2014 as “the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists.”

        In light of NATO’s recent posturing in defense of Ukraine, the fact of the Azov Battalion’s neo-Nazism seems to have become an inconvenience.

        On December 16, 2021, only the US and Ukraine voted against a United Nations resolution condemning the “glorification of Nazism,” while the United Kingdom and Canada abstained. There can be little doubt that this decision was made with the conflict in Ukraine in mind.

        In the doctrine of Western militarism, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And if that friend happens to enlist neo-Nazis, Western corporate media can be relied on to look the other way.

        https://fair.org/home/western-media-fall-in-lockstep-for-neo-nazi-publicity-stunt-in-ukraine/

      1. Scott Ritter for one, I believe. You can tell by the removal of anti-Nazi statues replaced by Nazi “heroes.” Also the political parties such as Svoboda, the Right Sector, the Azov Battalion, the following of the teachings of fascist Stefan Bandera. Or, heck, just check out the swastikas on the army helmets and the Nazi insignia on their uniforms.

      2. I will try one last time to get this information out there, I won’t post it in links. But here, there are even interviews with the nazis. Fact, in ww2 there were Ukrainian SS units in W. Ukraine. Simon Wiesenthal hunted many of them.
        #TheJimmyDoreShow
        Ukraine Neo-Nazis Infiltrate EVERY LEVEL Of Military & Government
        Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting cries of “We are all Ukraine,” many have been eager to downplay the proliferation of neo-Nazis in Ukrainian paramilitary groups, the Ukrainian armed forces and even parts of the government.

        As Jimmy and The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal discuss, reports of neo-Nazis in Ukraine are not at all exaggerated, and the Zelensky government is, in fact, largely beholden to these racist, xenophobic, anti-gay groups that brag of the “fun” they get from fighting and killing.

  3. I’m thinking NATO & Biden are behind this war as they bombarded media with their arguments for threats of war.

  4. “But most rational people would say Russia has somewhat of a point. ”

    Really?

    No Rational person (let alone someone with even a rudimentary shred of common decency) would view Russia’s point as just or sufficient cause to start an imperialistic war of conquest.

    Furthermore, the idea that someone with such a point can make it at the back end of actual smoking guns, artillery shots, areal bombardment and tanks’ shelling, is atrociously cynical (and more than a little insane).

    The Soviet conquest of its former satellite states was an imperialistic crime, as is Putin’s claim that those states has an obligation to be a buffer between it and the rest of Europe, and the idea that a promise made to a country that does not exist anymore, or NATO refusal to consider Russia as a candidate member somehow justify or even makes Putin’s deadly tantrum in Ukraine understandable is, simply put, beyond incredulous!

    1. Dear Democracy Gone Astray:

      Hear this out. I think you will like it. Copy and paste in your search.

      Glenn Greenwald on the War in Ukraine and the War at Home (video) – Antiwar.com Blog
      Antiwar.com

  5. Is Mr. Fleetwood sure Russia would play out into a democratic society if in NATO? Look at Turkey and Hungary., both NATO members. Turkey evolved into an autocracy which is suffering. And Hungary is as corrupt and undemocratic as it gets with the present leader.

    1. Oh my world… an other evidence of the monopolium of the “liberal” media.
      Undemocratic? It is just as big lie that does’t worth a word.
      Corrupt. True. And it is so bad.
      But just put in context a little bit, we call it corruption, but it is almost the same that you call in the US lobbying…

      Someone from Hungary.

      1. @Ferenc
        I heard the following from someone in eastern Europe: We see news and think it’s propaganda. You in the west see propaganda and think it’s news. Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Wow, you can tell that Blake Fleetwood wrote for corporate/establishment/mainstream media. This was a good post until the paragraph that begins, “Putin thinks that America is lying …” Then the American propaganda comes out: Putin is brutal, he’s an autocrat, the U.S. shouldn’t allow arms to be shipped to other countries so they can defend themselves, the “Soviet Empire” threatened the “free world” (whatever that is), etc. What a load of crap!

    Even Breaking Points, which I watch regularly and which is almost always an honest assessment and reporting of political news, felt compelled to equivocate by saying that the invasion is all Putin’s fault, despite constantly mentioning, then downplaying, the same context that Fleetwood provide above. When will Americans realize that 1) if they cause a bad situation, it’s wrong in every way to blame other countries and/or leaders who react to it; and 2) that we we live in the U.S., not elsewhere, we don’t vote or pay taxes in other countries, we have no control over what other countries do, and we therefore should limit our political criticisms to what the U.S. does. This is supposedly a Christian country (i.e., the large majority of people here are Christians), and Jesus said to look at oneself and stop being hypocritical.

  7. Quad and Aukus is much the same as Nato, designed to contain and diminish China and Iran as well.
    The Yankee Empire will never allow anyone to be better.
    All efforts, legal or not will be applied.

    Western media and culture can overwhelm any society, for example Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Philippines are merely brown and yellow wannabes of Anglo identity.
    They have lost their cultures, spirit, and dignity to Facebook, Murdoch Media Empire, Twitter, you tube, Fox News, Hollywood, and MSM.

  8. Good stuff here:

    Ukraine, the ‘borderlands’ between Russia and ‘civilized’ Europe is on fire. For centuries, it has been at the center of a tug-of-war between powers seeking to control its rich lands and Russia’s access to the Mediterranean.

    The Maidan Massacre in early 2014 triggered a bloody uprising that ousted president Viktor Yanukovych, spurred Crimeans to secede and join Russia, and sparked a civil war in Eastern Ukraine.

    Russia was portrayed by Western media as the perpetrator, and has been sanctioned and widely condemned as such. But was Russia responsible for what happened?

    Ukraine on Fire provides a historical perspective for the deep divisions in the region which led to the 2004 Orange Revolution, the 2014 uprisings, and the violent overthrow of democratically-elected Yanukovych.

    Covered by Western media as a ‘popular revolution’, it was in fact a coup d’état scripted and staged by ultra-nationalist groups and the US State Department.

    Investigative journalist Robert Parry reveals how US-funded political NGOs and media companies have emerged since the 1980s, replacing the CIA in promoting America’s geopolitical agenda abroad.

    Executive producer Oliver Stone gained unprecedented access to the inside story through his on-camera interviews with former President Viktor Yanukovych and Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Zakharchenko, who explain how the US Ambassador and factions in Washington actively plotted for regime change.

    And, in his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Stone solicits Putin’s take on the significance of Crimea, NATO and the US’s history of interference in elections and regime change in the region.

    Now, at last, the full exposé is available in the West. Though, of course, everyone is encouraged to purchase a copy to support Stone’s important work.

  9. Summing things up, American worked hard for years to prove that it cannot be trusted. Look what’s happening right now. For months, we’ve been pointing to the buildup of US/NATO troops in Eastern Europe/along Ukraine’s border. We noted this violation of the 1990 NATO agreement against eastward expansion, and wondered if this showed US intent to instigate a war. Then as the US got into position to invade Ukraine (then Russia), media began their expected shouts of, “Russia’s invading Ukraine!” Watching this is like watching a classic train collision in slow motion.

    1. Even MEARSHEIMER blame US/NATO for all of this, and he is openly PRO US hegemony.
      See Professor Mearsheimer just before war broke out:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbj1AR_aAcE
      And Prof.Alfred de Zayas
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbTkxyRt9-M

      And also here
      ALSO THIS MORE UPDATED MEARSHEIMER, ROY MCGOVERN, JACK MATLOCK, AND OTHERS. GOOD!
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppD_bhWODDc
      NULAND caught planning coup in 2014 LAST VIDEO Ray McGovern tried to play this but it didn’t come through. Listen to Ray McGovern and when he tries to play it, just click to here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2XNN0Yt6D8
      Transcript
      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957
      Just who is Nuland (EVIL) best article on her:
      https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/01/14/will-senate-confirm-coup-plotter-victoria-nuland

  10. Very sobering article. The rich and the powerful, who control whole nations, battle each other – all to the ends of becoming even more rich and powerful to the detriment of millions of souls underfoot.

  11. Thank you for decades of TRUTH you have been my personal pastor as had a great English teacher in 10th grade in 1966 teaching me exactly what “propaganda” learned by Germany by Brown Shirts then Hitler that American Madison Avenue knew to use humans emotions to sell people things products that humans actually haven’t a need . My ancestors ranchers from Montana territory from Dakota Territory big differences between a “need” from a “want”!
    Humans need calorics intake, fluids with H2O that doesn’t harm our body.
    My dad became a photo journalist for Stars & Stripes as he was a major with 101st Airborne too small to have been a paratrooper today.
    He wrote the book, “Thunder Over Heaven” with the military’s approval.
    He helped Margaret Burke White to write her book about the liberation of the concentration camps that the officers made the locals walk through those camps to “shame” then punish the locals who tried to give excuses that they hadn’t any knowledge which made Patton become extremely angry that he witnessed! My dad was passionate about human history that he studied his entire life .
    He loved journalism but he wouldn’t be able to afford a family on that salary since he had a pharmaceutical degree in three years at Uni of Montana .
    His father taught him survival skills required him to exist in Yellowstone for entire summer with only his 22 to feed himself. He always disliked the class system when he left from NY to build in UK the invasion camps before the allies troops arrived for the invasion. He bought the Great Books to become more educated that I was required to read costing $3000 in 1966.
    Diplomacy with respect for all nations was taught to me his daughter even though he was an atheist. His daughter became a Buddhist.
    You with Cornel West are my pastors for life💕☦️🕌🔯🛕

  12. Baker’s comment about not moving an inch eastward referred to East & West Berlin, not NATO & Europe.

  13. We don’t want a small piece of a big pie, we want all of a small pie.

  14. In the first paragraph under the section headed “America Made Putin Who He is After 2007” there is the type: “Russian was too big.” The article is neither so well written nor so well laid out that it suffers typos well.

  15. Your argument falls over at the first hurdle. Why? Because the promise was never broken. NATO didn’t head east; previous soviet states and regions headed west.

  16. eedipus

    Let us consider the problem from a different perspective than the postulates and posturings of the self satisfied elites, the corporations, and their interpretation of democracy – for they are the puppeteers. It could be a model for the greatest farce yet to be produced by theater if it were not so serious. It is man exhibiting himself as the most ridiculous creature on the planet.

    Unfortunately the unpalatable fact is that we cannot measure up to the illusions we have of ourselves but there are those of us still with the fond hope that common decency will prevail against gross entitlement.

    I consider it apt to end my comments by quoting part of the Alexander Text introduction dealing with the Shakespearean tragedies.

    “Many critics have dwelt on the bitterness and disgust in the works of this period. And it is true that nowhere can one find a fiercer invective and more withering scorn than that poured by these plays on the baser side of our nature. The picture of man dressed in a little brief authority playing his fantastic tricks before high heaven with an effrontery that makes the angels weep has never been drawn with more penetrating irony. And as a background we have the cowardly or malignant complacency in our natures that tolerates such shameless wickedness. Passage after passage emphasizes the degradation to which men can sink. It is summed up in one terrible line from King Lear – A dog’s obeyed in office”.

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