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Did NATO provoke Russia?

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 July 2017

As we slide back to a 1980s style of relationship between the U.S. and Russia, I think it’s fair to ask whether the U.S. provoked Russia by adding new countries to NATO.

I’m not trying to defend Putin, but I think we need to realize that we’re not entirely faultless in the increased tension between Russia and the west.

2017-07-31  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 8

  1. Robin R.
    31 July 2017 @ 8:28 pm

    Right after the Soviet Union collapsed, a bunch of the eastern block countries joined NATO. The powers-that-be in Russia definitely did not like it. The move in Crimea a few years ago was in fact prompted by overtures among the Ukrainians to join the EU. Putin and co. absolutely hate to see western unity and long to see it destroyed. But I, for one, totally love it!

  2. pentamom
    31 July 2017 @ 10:30 pm

    Is “letting” countries join an alliance they wish to join something that should be determined by whether it “provokes” the country that thinks it has the right to tell those other countries what to do?

    It might be a provocation, in the same way that refusing to give a bully your lunch money is a provocation, but I’m not sure that’s the metric we should use to judge whether it’s a good idea.

  3. smitemouth
    1 August 2017 @ 12:37 am

    I think if Obama said that you and your readership would be having a conniption. Weak. Hates America. Anti-Colonial.

  4. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    1 August 2017 @ 7:30 am

    @Pentamom, whether the countries have a right to do it is a different question from whether it is provocative. Eastern European nations joining NATO is somewhat analogous to Central and South American countries joining a pact with the Russians.

    @SM, everything Obama has ever said or will ever say is wrong as a matter of first principles. Just get over that.

  5. Robin R.
    1 August 2017 @ 11:44 am

    I am in favor of the domain of freedom being as extensive as possible. For all of the imperfections of the USA, which are indeed many, it did create the Pax Americana, which is more than can be said for Russia. If the shoe was on the other foot, it would be a wonderful thing for Central and South America to join a pact with the Russia. But the shoe is not on the other foot. So as things are, we want a free and open society to extend as far as possible under American protection. Putin doesn’t like that because he would actually like the power and influence of Russia to extend as far as did under the Soviet Union. If that ever happens again, I’m getting the hell out of the Czech Republic.

  6. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    1 August 2017 @ 12:23 pm

    @Robin, when you speak of “American protection,” I think of the broken promises to Ukraine when they agreed to give up their nukes.

    (BTW, I realize there is some dispute over what exactly was promised, but it seems pretty clear that we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain when Ukraine was invaded by Russia.)

    I don’t want the U.S. committing to protect more and more places.

  7. Robin R.
    1 August 2017 @ 1:42 pm

    But I do! Because it ultimately works. Not perfectly maybe, but by and large it works.

    I thought that Ukraine has never been a member of NATO. I have no idea what kind of treaty there is between the USA and Ukraine. Still, I am glad that NATO exists and it does curtail the spread of Russian power and influence.

  8. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    1 August 2017 @ 1:54 pm

    Apparently there were some promises made to Ukraine when they handed over their nukes. The consensus seems to be that we failed to keep those promises when Russian invaded Crimea.

    I’m also glad NATO exists. I’m just not thrilled with expanding it, because it puts us on more hooks.

    We already defend the world’s shipping lanes and most of Europe. I don’t want us defending the whole planet!

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