NATO Picks a New Fight with Russia

Exclusive: The Obama administration and much of Official Washington have dangerously lost touch with reality, ginning up a costly new Cold War with Russia even as expensive wars continue in Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria. The latest provocation against Russia is to invite Montenegro into NATO, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

If insanity means trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, President Barack Obama’s foreign policy is best understood in a psychiatrist’s office. Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that NATO plans to expand east by inviting Montenegro to join is guaranteed to destroy hopeful prospects of renewed cooperation between Russia and Western powers over Syria.

The move follows NATO’s recent defense of Turkey’s calculated and provocative decision to bring down a Russian bomber just seconds after it may have entered Turkish air space. More important, planned expansion follows years of bad faith on the part of NATO toward Russia, led by Washington.

A map showing stages of NATO's expansion. Dark blue showing original members; lighter blue the "round one" members; aqua the "round two" members; yellow represents neutral states; and brown and red (including Ukraine), otherwise aligned. On the map, Montenegro is one of the tiny brown spots on the eastern Adriatic.

A map showing stages of NATO’s expansion. Dark blue showing original members; lighter blue the “round one” members; aqua the “round two” members; yellow represents neutral states; and brown and red (including Ukraine), otherwise aligned. On the map, Montenegro is one of the tiny brown spots on the eastern Adriatic.

NATO’s eastward expansion following the purported end of the Cold War lies at the heart of Russia’s chilly reaction to Washington’s attempts to build a uni-polar world. Many authorities agree that in 1989, Secretary of State James Baker and West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher explicitly promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not “take advantage” of upheaval in Eastern Europe by expanding toward Russia.

But it didn’t take long for the Western allies to break that promise and flex their muscles against a radically weakened Russia that had been stripped of most of its empire after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1999, against Russian opposition, NATO absorbed the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. In 2004, it added Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia….

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