Sunday, February 11, 2007

Nato Expansion - a threat to Russia?

NATO expansion - a threat to Russia?

The US Defense Secretary claims that it is not. The US has often tied the democratic foundations of Eastern and Central European states with their entry into NATO; and has similarly presented this as a "no-threat" to Russia.

NATO is a military alliance, and military alliances have no reason to be tied up with democratic institutions; a democracy is the rule of the majority taking into account the views of the minority. There is nothing in this statement that concerns the necessity of a democratic state to be a part of NATO or any other military alliance. Being a part of the EU is undoubtedly a version of progressive democracy and economic cooperation. Being a part of NATO is not. NATO was created in the late 1940-s, and we all know the underlying reasons.

In 2007, the time is not ripe for military confrontation or cold-war scenario confrontation, but going back in history, the political and military conditions of the Eastern European states and those of Belarus an Ukraine have been the key determinants and measures of control over Russia. Germany did that in 1918 to the young Soviet State, and later in 1939. Roosevelt and Churchill are still highly criticized for giving up Eastern Europe to the Soviets (for oversight, not occupation).

If the states of Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Belarus become members of NATO, Russia will be limited in the scope of its economic and political influence on the heart of Europe (France, Germany, UK). It will be cut off from direct communication through the Eastern states and especially through Ukraine and Belarus, whose political past does not provide for a calm future. By influence, I mean the ability to promote its interests in the global economy and the decision-making in foreign policy.

NATO is establishing a cushion in the East, and it still exists in Europe to counter not the current might of Russia (nuclear weapons cannot be defended against), but the upcoming; the ability of Russia to force on certain countries its own goals, its own views on foreign policy. In 1999, Russia was promised that the aggressive expansion of NATO would stop; stop it did not. Ukraine will likely be in NATO by 2010-2015.

If Russia can prevent Ukraine from entering NATO, it will at least be able to maintain its own cushion (a backyard).

The role of NATO in the world has not changed, and it cannot change; it can only be dismantled to create a different institution with different goals. This will either happen when Russia will enter NATO, or when Eastern Europe shifts away from NATO. Neither of these will happen in the near future. NATO will continue to pursue expansion, despite the fact that it disintegrates itself.

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