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Western leaders misled Gorbachev with promises that NATO wouldn’t expand – released archives

In 1990, Western politicians repeatedly assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand east of Germany’s borders, but broke that promise less than a decade later, say insider archives from both sides of negotiations following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall.

Researchers from the respected George Washington University-based National Security Archive, which specializes in obtaining key declassified information from the government, have put together 30 crucial documents that clearly show several top Western officials vowing to Gorbachev in unison that NATO would not expand eastward. Some of these have been publicly available for several years, others have been revealed as a result of Freedom of Information requests for the study.

Through 1990 as the two Germanies, and the leaders of four World War II victors, the USSR, the US, the UK and France, negotiated a reunification treaty, signed by the six parties in Moscow in September, the capitalist states tried to defuse Moscow’s fears that a reunified state in the heart of Europe would present a threat to the Soviet Union.

In February, George H. W. Bush’s secretary of state, James Baker, assured his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, that in a post-Cold War Europe NATO would no longer be belligerent – “less of a military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability.”

Nonetheless, Baker promised Shevardnadze “iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.” On the same day in Moscow, he famously told the Soviet General Secretary that the alliance would not move “one inch to the east.”

The following day, February 10, 1990, Helmut Kohl, the future chancellor of a united Germany, repeated the same thought to Gorbachev, even as they disagreed on other issues.

“We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people,” Kohl said.

Later that month, talking with Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel, President George H. W. Bush himself said that “we will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying, ‘We win, you lose.’”

“Tell Gorbachev that… I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me,” the US president said, talking to the Czech reformer and former dissident.

The French president, Socialist Francois Mitterand, went further and said that he was not in favor of even a unified Germany joining NATO, something he openly shared with the Soviet leader.

In the end, the Soviets moved their forces out of Germany, and later other eastern European states, without a single hostile incident. Among those going home was KGB officer Vladimir Putin, who was stationed in Dresden between 1985 and 1990.

The promise lasted only until 1997, however, when Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were invited into the alliance. In total, 13 Eastern European states have become NATO members since then.

Gorbachev and subsequently Putin have frequently bemoaned the West’s broken promise, with the latter insisting that it fundamentally undermined the fragile trust between an internationally retreating Russia and an ascendant US.

Nonetheless NATO and top Western officials have continued to claim that there was no promise. None of the assurances of non-expansion were included in any treaty documents, which means they were just that – words.

“NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Personal assurances, from NATO leaders, cannot replace alliance consensus and do not constitute a formal NATO agreement,” the alliance said in its official explainer on its website.

Robert Zoellick, a key negotiator during the reunification talks, has also spoken of the promise as a “misperception,” while former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul has labeled the idea of a reneged promise a “myth” in an interview given last year.

But the weight of evidence now uncovered suggests that these stances are disingenuous at best and duplicitous at worst.

December 13, 2017 - Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. this is one of the most stupid, unsophisticated and demeaning period in the existence of he Russian state, its empire and later the Russian Federation. it was an incredibly stupid Russian period that can be explained only as sabotage

    I am tired of this argument that Gorby was misled. He could not possibly have been misled. misled makes absolutely no sense. there is a whole history of relations between euro nations and the USA that any examination of should have, would have led Gorby not to take the american word seriously

    the Russians had then all the expertise in the world necessary, in all relative disciplines, to know not to take the world of western capitalists seriously. any proper understanding of capitalism would lead to such a conclusion: that the Americans were lying and they would take over and absorb all of the Russian empire and near regions..including Russia itself.. in due course

    did the western capitalists have an alternative?

    no! they had none. they had to, must expand to consume the whole world for capitalist exploitation and profits, or they would roll back, decline and collapse

    so who did not know all this at that time? there must have been a million Russian scholars who could have advised Gorbachev properly. why then didn’t Gorby know..did he ask for advice..did he convene Russian experts to consider that decision, to work out a proper plan to ensure that the Americans did not take advantage of Russian weakness ?

    But Gorbachev knew! he was no fool! he had to have known. how could he rise to lead an empire of 300+ million people and be as stupid as that decision suggests he is?

    if Gorby was sincere he would have insisted on a treaty. he did not and that had t have been deliberate.

    but even a signed treaty would not have stopped the Americans/western capitalists. treaties have never stopped them. the Americans/western capitalists have always betrayed their own word…ALWAYS..from the inception of their power to currently. they have never kept their word to anyone. and the Russians would have known all of this..their economists and historians for sure

    there was absolutely no reason at all for Gorbachev/the Russians to trust the American/western capitalists word…. period.

    the conclusion is obvious. Gorbachev was the result of a coup pulled on Russian empire by the America/western capitalists. he was a deep spy set up to become leader after the old men Breznev etc., died out..and to sabotage the Russian empire when he got in

    I can see no other reasonable conclusion to this issue

    Comment by navin lamervich | December 14, 2017 | Reply


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