Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Opposing NATO expansion is both understandable and correct

George Bush’s insistence ahead of the NATO summit in Bucharest that Georgia and Ukraine should be set on the road to full membership exposes the train of thought which is souring relations between Russia, America and other western states following the American line. The attitude is not simply that Russia’s foreign policy concerns are not legitimate. Effectively the way the US is acting denies that Russia has any legitimate foreign policy concerns at all.

To advance this military alliance, historically hostile to the USSR, in a way that will encircle Russia and penetrate deep into the country’s sphere of influence undermines Russia’s interests without a shadow of a doubt. If Russia were to enter a military alliance with Canada and Mexico would the US remain unconcerned because the Kremlin insisted the alliance was not a threat to the US? The US may maintain that expansion does not pose a threat to Russia, but ask the states which are poised to join why exactly they wish to join the alliance. These states wish to join in order to assert their independence from Russia.

The idea that expanding NATO in this way will foster, as Bush suggests, a safer, freer world is a fallacious notion in any case. There is little evidence, certainly, that the people of Ukraine have any desire to join the alliance. Russia is right to oppose moves to expand NATO to encompass Ukraine and Georgia and France and Germany are correct in opposing such moves from within NATO.


CW said...

Part of the problem is that NATO has outlived its original cold war era purpose of providing a defense mechanism against ground attack for the west European states against the Soviet bloc. Now it seems to have taken the role of an international police force come aid agency concerned mostly with protecting the geo-strategic-economic interests of Uncle Sam. It's naturally not surprising that the French and Germans are getting pissed off with Bush & co.

As a sideline, it was interesting to note that Greece is opposed to the accession of the (former Yugoslav republic of) Macedonia purely because of its name. An ancient province that straddles the border between two European states leading to controversy over what a part of that province be called - now that sounds vaguely familiar...;)

Chekov said...

Yes CW. I'm thinking Armenia. ;-)