Ukraine, NATO, Russia and World War
Enlarging NATO would ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge. From US policy paper, in 1993 the US approached Ukraine to ask Ukraine to apply for NATO membership. It is important to stress from the onset that Ukraine was no go. The US gave numerous assertions to the effect that NATO would not move one inch beyond its 1991 boundary. Nevertheless this policy was not set in stone. If an opportunity arose to breach that policy, the US would do so.
Helmut Kohl, the German Chancellor, suggested to Clinton that he should view Yeltsin whom he met 18 face- to-face times to view Clinton as Harry Truman viewed defeated Europe as a defeated adversary in need of great help. Europe map was extended with the unification of Germany beyond the old lines as proposed by secretary of State Baker to Gorbachev. The US was now willing to play hard ball with Gorbachev. They bribed the Soviets, this did not help. They lost Gorbachev and centralized control of nuclear arsenal altogether. The genie was out of the bottle with German unification and membership of NATO.
Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, lamented that East Europe and the former Warsaw countries were living in a vacuum and wanted to join NATO. Lech Walesa, President of Poland agreed with Havel. “We are afraid of Russia; if Russia once again adopted an aggressive foreign policy, that of re-establishing the old boundaries, it would be directed at Ukraine and Poland. Why was Western Europe not accepting Poland and the Czech Republic?
Why was the US not capitalizing on the biggest victory in History namely the defeat of Communism, asked another official in the state department? There was however no politically accepted way to draw a new line of NATO in Europe. If the line excluded Russia, it would in effect tell Moscow that the end result of the internal revolution and the forsaking of the Soviet Union Warsaw Pact Empire is the expansion of NATO to its boarders.
In 1993, the prevailing opinion in Moscow was that the US had deceived them. Kohl saw the deception as a tragedy. Russia was attempting three revolutions simultaneously, political from the authoritarian to democracy, economic from central command to market based economy and the third from multi-ethnic empire to something smaller. Kohl concluded that the west must help Russia mightily and heavily.
Not an inch more to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge -that’s US policy paper 1993. Most of what we know about the USSR and Russia is from the Western Press. This was a situation where Russia was painted as having a sinister policy where everyone was counted for and was under KGB whose tentacles extended to all cities in the world. Russia, we were told, hitherto was strung with powers to spy on all people. Russia could poison all its enemies hence the poisoning of the Schiphol’s from former KGB officers who had asylum in the UK and so on and so forth. The Russia facing the almighty Ukraine is now portrayed as a big bumbling undisciplined army who will run away at the slightest opposition. Whose generals had been overthrown and have no military knowledge nor even less of a plan, who would abandon their army and who had ordered Kiev with an army 40 miles long which had been so easily overcome by what is no more and rhetorically David’s sling and stone to the mighty Russian Goliath.
Russia, the country that defeated the mighty third Reich of Hitler is now a sitting duck of the championed cradle of democracy called Ukraine. As a Nation that beat the US in the race to the space is now unable to subdue Ukraine and has to descend to killing civilians and raping women, a nation that abandons its equipment at the slightest opposition in Ukraine.
The US was concerned as to who would control the 27 thousand nuclear weapons in the USSR if Gorbachev was no longer the leader of USSR. Who would take the essential codes necessary to set up the nuclear weapons if it wasn’t Gorbachev who was increasingly sidelined by Yeltsin in present day Russia?
The pivotal position of Ukraine in the psyche and position of Russia was well known to the west. Most of the knowledge was told to the West by Russia itself.
The whole balkanization of USSR was led by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. It was claimed by the leaders of the breakup of the USSR that if Ukraine did not join, there would be no breakup. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus were the slab units in USSR.
The USSR is championing a cause for the trial of Rubin and his generals under the international criminal court to which the US does not subject its own citizens who have committed war crimes.
They are not sent to the court for trial, instead hundreds of prisoners of war from the Arab countries who were captured by the US were not sent to court, instead were taken to Guantanamo bay to be tried there. Guantanamo bay and Cuba form one large island.
The Western press has taken the issue of Ukraine to heart and in reality, it is extremely difficult to fight against the Western press when they’re so united on an issue. It is also uncharacteristic for them to be so unanimous. Whenever that happens, there is an agenda and script they are following.
What is it that unites them such that every single anchor in CNN, in ABC, in CBS, in NBC, in Sky, BBC etc.? Every single anchor at this particular moment is in Ukraine? The issue of Ukraine looks so simple but perhaps it is a lot more complicated. The issue that is being dished out is that Ukraine, a peace-loving country which the Russians for whatever reason, invaded unjustly, and not only have they invaded them but in the process, have committed war crimes for which it is promised, will suffer.
The West insists that Russian Soldiers have killed civilian, bombed civilian targets, raped women and there is a plethora of other crimes that are placed on the Russians. Putin is portrayed as a demagogue, who for no justification whatsoever has gone ahead to subdue a peaceful loving people. Putin is a war criminal and must pay for his crimes. Nothing that is written here, is supposed to excuse Putin and his unjustifiable war in the Ukraine. But is there another story?
The Russian successors to the Soviet Union have for a long time been suspicious of what the United States and the so-called allies have been up to. The Russians/USSR believed that they were the ones who at great cost. 27 million Russians they claim died in the Second World War in order to defeat Hitler. This sacrifice of 27 million Russians has never really been fully appreciated by the West. After the war, Russians proposed a series of peaceful conferences/treaties, none succeeded. The only one that succeeded was in the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
To be continued tomorrow
Dr. Cole (OFR) is a former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil.