National Security Archive Releases Declassified Docs Proving Once & For All that Gorbachev Was Lied to About NATO Expansion; Russia Offers to Mediate Israel-Palestine Conflict After U.S. Declares Jerusalem Capital of Israel; U.S. Government to Send Arms to Ukraine While European Leaders Call for Dialogue; Iran Reportedly Close to Joining Russian-Led Eurasian Economic Union

Front Left of Monument to Siege of Leningrad, St. Petersburg; photo by Natylie Baldwin, May 2017

 

Declassified documents have now been published by the National Security Archive (a program of George Washington University) that evidence once and for all that Gorbachev was, in fact, lied to by Washington about NATO expansion during negotiations to allow reunification of Germany.

Here is an excerpt of the write-up that accompanied the publication:

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.”[1] The key phrase, buttressed by the documents, is “led to believe.”

….The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear “that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an ‘impairment of Soviet security interests.’ Therefore, NATO should rule out an ‘expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.’” The Bonn cable also noted Genscher’s proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO.[3]

….Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.” (See Document 6)

I don’t think it gets much clearer than that.  Read the complete analysis and see the documents here.

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After the Trump administration received near-unanimous opprobrium from the UN General Assembly for officially declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, it seems to be no longer feasible to pretend that Washington is anything close to a credible mediator in the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Of course, in reality, they have not been for decades as one cannot be a neutral arbiter when arming one side to the tune of $3-4 billion a year, enabling that side to implement its brutal and illegal occupation of the other.

Into the void, Russia has stepped, with its deputy UN envoy declaring that Russia stands ready and willing to serve as a mediator of the seemingly intractable conflict, after a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Washington’s move and demanding its withdrawal was vetoed by the U.S.:

Moscow is ready to become a new mediator in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Russian deputy UN envoy Vladimir Safronkov said. He also added that Russia is ready to host direct talks between the two sides.

Russia is ready to become “an honest mediator” in the Middle Eastern peace process, Nebenzia said at the UN Security Council meeting, after a resolution on Jerusalem demanding the US decision recognizing it as the Israeli capital be withdrawn was vetoed by Washington.

In my opinion, Russia, China, the UN or some combination thereof would be more credible mediators.

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The Trump administration, on a roll with its dumb foreign policy moves, has agreed to send arms to the Ukrainian government, which will serve no purpose but to potentially inflame the situation in the Donbass.  Daniel Larison of The American Conservative summed it up best:

As I said last month, Trump would be a fool to arm Ukraine, so it comes as no surprise that this is what he has decided. While the U.S. isn’t giving Ukraine everything it was asking for, it is still recklessly throwing weapons at the problem. Russia will view this as a provocative act on our part, and it will respond with its own aggressive measures before long. When these weapons fail to have the desired effect, the drumbeat for sending more and more advanced weapons will start. Trump has already shown how easily he can be led by his advisers to endorse needlessly destructive measures. The U.S. will find itself caught in a fruitless and unnecessary competition with another major power that has far more at stake in the conflict. Because it has more at stake, Russia will always outmatch whatever support the U.S. provides, and so by adding more weapons to the mix the U.S. is simply fueling a conflict that it should be trying to resolve peacefully.

Meanwhile, there has been an increase in the fighting in the Donbass, which of course, motivated German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron to reiterate that the Minsk 2 Agreement was the only solution to the problem (as opposed to armed conflict) but publicly put the pressure on Russia to stop it.  This is despite the fact that the Minsk 2 Agreement requires Kiev to take the next steps in resolving the crisis, which it has steadfastly refused to do for a long time.

As a goodwill gesture, both sides agreed to a prisoner release which took place on December 27th.  The OSCE Chairperson-in-office Karen Kneissl made the following statement:

“Allowing such a significant number of people, who have been held on both sides, to return home before the New Year and Orthodox Christmas is a very welcome development. Today’s exchange is not only a humanitarian act but also a helpful step in confidence-building. We encourage the sides to continue their efforts to improve the life of people directly affected by the conflict”, said Chairperson-in-Office Kneissl.

….Kneissl and Greminger stressed that today’s exchange of prisoners, together with the lower number of ceasefire violations during the last several days, represent a step forward.

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Wrapping up this post, I wanted to share what international journalist Pepe Escobar reported recently at the Asia Times about Iran joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) as soon as February, with other countries possibly poised to follow suit:

….In a parallel development, Iran is bound to join the EAEU as early as February, according to Behrouz Hassanolfat, director of the Europe and Americas Department of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, as quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

….As much as Beijing in relation to its BRI [One Belt, One Road Initiative], Moscow has been on a charm offensive to enlarge the EAEU. Turkey – already on board the BRI – is a possible EAEU candidate for the near future, as well as India and Pakistan.

2 thoughts on “National Security Archive Releases Declassified Docs Proving Once & For All that Gorbachev Was Lied to About NATO Expansion; Russia Offers to Mediate Israel-Palestine Conflict After U.S. Declares Jerusalem Capital of Israel; U.S. Government to Send Arms to Ukraine While European Leaders Call for Dialogue; Iran Reportedly Close to Joining Russian-Led Eurasian Economic Union”

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