The Nato eastward enlargement is for a long time the central – not the only – background of a development dangerous for the world. No justification of any kind for the crime of the war against the Ukraine put into action by the Russian government can be derived from this statement!
Nato expansion or democracy expansion?
by Peter Bürger
[This article published on 3/13/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, Nato-Erweiterung oder Demokratie-Erweiterung?]
Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.
George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, interested – military-sophisticated – circles have taken advantage of the scrupulous conscience of many peace lovers and NATO critics: the unsuspecting and those who understand Russia are to blame for the death of peace. Not only did they come to the deathbed too late or not at all, but they had always made a wrong diagnosis and recommended the wrong medicine accordingly …
Perhaps the comparison is misleading, perhaps not: When a person has died, there is almost always at least one survivor who confesses his own failings and accuses himself. How could it be otherwise? After all, since we are not gods, we can never really do justice to our fellow human beings and the world even with the “best will in the world.”
In many cases, feelings of guilt and self-reproach at the death of another are simply the expression of a scrupulous conscience. With this we find preferably just those excellent, who – to call only one example for their peculiarities – as a rule really always reconcile with their neighbor before sunset, out of fear that it could be already no longer possible the next morning.
Many a person allowed himself to be frightened these days and driven into the confessional of the media business. It no longer mattered that peace-moving and peace-researching diagnoses had previously always been dismissed and, above all, that the recommended remedies had never been used.
Being late for the final worsening of a crisis need not be a matter of honor. Even an experienced physician can be late to the deathbed of his or her parents because of an incorrect assessment of the course of the day.
The situation is different, however, if a central component of the diagnosis of the disease really does turn out to be a misdiagnosis in retrospect (due to a blind spot, carelessness or incompetence). In such a case, a “Mea Culpa” would not be embarrassing at all, but mandatory.
Going to Canossa in the “asylum
The makers of the ZDF program “Die Anstalt” took a heavyweight “walk to Canossa” in their special edition of March 8. Heavyweight, because “Die Anstalt” is an institution for the critical mass in our republic, recommended with shining eyes by old and young: a consolation for all those who still believe in the possibility of the public refutation.
It was not a funny show. Who can make jokes or laugh heartily at such an oppressive time – in free flow? Under such auspices, the stamina was remarkable. In view of the assessment of recent developments, there was reason to say: We were wrong.
In the relatively brief passages on the subject of “NATO expansion to the east,” however, some viewers might get the idea that a higher institution management had pushed for a reduction in complexity.
In all humility and with respect, I would like to offer Max Uthoff and Claus von Wagner the suggestion that at a later, appropriate time, they should calmly subject this particular part of their self-reflections to further self-reflection. Do these passages live up to their own standards?
A look at the TV program these days: With strange fragments of quotations, a TV documentary “proves” that Mikhail Gorbachev, too, does not know of any agreement according to which NATO does not expand to the East. Another program then explains to the audience that it was never about NATO expansion, but that the entire genesis of the current war was in fact only to do with the rejection of an expansion of democracy. (Actually, both are about the same thing, if the good democrats of the world are welded together in NATO).
And now also “Die Anstalt” reminds of the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968 by the Warsaw Pact, which can show as its unique selling point that it invades its own alliance members!
What should the memory of sad historical facts tell us in this case? Moscow was never to be trusted, not even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union? Always only disloyalty and war violence came from there. And anyway: The current Russian president was already a follower of the “Pinochet” model before he began his first term in office, and at no time did he love anything but naked power. (What more could not be inserted here, from the juvenile backyard Mafiosi back to the mass murderer Stalin, who probably had more honorable Communists from all over the world murdered than any other ruler).
Looking at peace movements as well as peace scholars’ assessments of the last thirty years, the flashbacks and conflations on the screens undoubtedly amount to a revisionist approach.
It remains necessary for all time to understand not only the trauma of the genocidal German campaign to the East in 1941, but also the deep-seated trauma caused by the bloody military violence that once froze the Prague Spring to ice! But does this trauma of 1968 explain the faithless betrayal of the “West” to Mikhail Gorbachev and does it justify in the end a partisanship for that military power center, which after the Second World War put more than just a “Pinochet” on the throne?
It is not a matter of historical feather dustering or rightism, but of the future course!
To shorten the further preface: Who does not reflect now – mirror-inverted to the “always-known-about-it” – in view of the war of aggression on the Ukraine his perceptions and estimations of the last years together with others self-critically, probably belongs to the “right-about-it”, to whom it is never about the life-serving, but always only about the own ego. Any admission of recognized misjudgements remains exceedingly honorable!
With the topic “Nato eastward enlargement” the revision sketched above is from my view not only not convincing, but highly dangerous! The pretense currently spread on all channels is: The conflict between liberal and authoritarian conceptions of society is the apt, even sole main heading for the backward expansion of an exclusive (excluding) military alliance of interests to the East.
All considerations under another heading were consequently wrong. Even Angela Merkel , who has not caressed Russia with kid gloves – as a persistent advocate of a position that is by no means congruent with U.S. interest strategies – was wrong and had been a naive “Putin-understanding”.
If this reading of the “preceding” prevails, the NATO ideologues looking to Washington (with the assistance of the Russian war government) will have finally proven that they can control “history” and therefore also the future political course. For it is through the steering of history policy that they will determine where the journey will go:
– no “Common House Europe”, but a cementing of the (brought about) new edition of the cold war (as long as possible: transatlantic);
– no new collective system of “common security” of all neighbors (without exclusion), but still a particularistic alliance of power, protection and interests of the “good guys” against enemies of freedom and Western prosperity (with isolation and exclusion of certain countries beyond an iron line);
– accordingly, no disarmament, but a continuation of the rearmament course begun long ago – but now with astronomical increases;
– no accession to the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, but a renewal of the nuclear arms race (on all sides) and possibly a “German bomb” of its own;
– Postponement of the so urgent reform of the United Nations for further decades, in which one then shifts completely to the economic and military struggle of imperial blocs, provided that the planet is still preserved as a dwelling place of homo sapiens …
Confrontation, selective safeguarding of interests and war logic for all eternity: God have mercy on us if not enough politicians and researchers are heard who know that this can only be a road to ruin – especially in the current state of crisis of human civilization.
Recommended reading: Documentary Con-Texts
NATO’s unique selling point remains the fact that, as a Cold War military alliance, it did not dissolve itself after the end of the bloc confrontation – despite a brief window of opportunity for the establishment of a new peace architecture in Europe and for the entire world, which was soon walled off again – like the Warsaw Pact; rather, since the mid-1990s, in full awareness of its threatening effect on the former enemy of the bloc, it has carried out an unparalleled expansion.
In the documents on the Western military doctrine, one can read that it is about securing geostrategic and economic interests – about objectives that are not suitable to finally make the vision of the United Nations (1945) come true.
Meinhardt Creydt notes on Telepolis (Vergiftete Tapferkeit): “Many commentators can’t get enough of finding partisans of Putin’s propaganda already where reference is made to NATO’s decades-long strategy of moving ever closer to Russia militarily.”
So that military-conformist narratives of NATO ideologues do not burn themselves into too many heads now, it is helpful to provide timely interruptions by enlightening reading again and again and to recall in the original wording con-texts of the last three decades.
It is shocking to note how, since the 1990s, the warnings of bourgeois or outspokenly NATO-friendly politicians and experts have been thrown to the wind. The importance of the political development in Ukraine for world affairs has been known on the other side of the Atlantic for decades!
Most recently, in the forums with broad impact, the guaranteed freedom of choice of alliance of any country was declared to be the first, holy commandment of a globe freed from oppression, while one preferred to remain silent about power strategies of the most powerful military alliance NATO, which itself always freely chooses, and their effects on the outside. On such a level the fate of the world in which we live is explained by many people at present!
On the prehistory of the current war in Ukraine, the crisis weeks from December 2021 and in particular also on the question of the Nato eastward enlargement in the course of this year probably more than one high-carat book will appear, which does not support the present hegemonic reading.
However, thanks to Andreas Zumach , the Information Center for Militarization (IMI) and many others, there has long been a whole series of nonconformist presentations with con-texts (in wording) that can be accessed without barrier on the Internet. A manageable group of four selected contributions is recommended for reading at this point:
– Galen Carpenter, Ted (The Guardian): Washington’s handling of Russia was a political mistake of epic proportions. In: Der Freitag, 07.03.2022.
– Paech, Norman: Eastern enlargement – How NATO broke its word. From Wörner to Baker: numerous assurances were given to states of the ex-Soviet space. Later, no one wanted to remember them. In: Telepolis, 03.02.2022
– Wagner, Jürgen: The Nato Prologue to the Ukraine War. Nato, Russia and the decades-long road to escalation. IMI Analysis 2022/06 (March 3, 2022).
– Zumach, Andreas: Who promised whom what when in the 1990s, and why this question is still relevant today. In: Lebenshaus Schwäbische Alb website, Jan. 26, 2022.
As a heading and as a “disclaimer” at the end of this text, always read along: The Nato eastward enlargement is for a long time the central – not the only – background of a development dangerous for the world; a justification of any kind for the crime of the war against the Ukraine put into action by the Russian government can in no way be derived from this statement!
On today’s Sunday peace demonstrations take place in several large cities of the Federal Republic in the context of the internationally connected anti-war protest, a chance for the solidarization with the people of Ukraine and all refusers of the war apparatus. Information can be found on the portal Netzwerk Friedenskooperative.