NATO regularly conducted exercises, maintained an extensive presence and even planned to make it permanent with at least several land and naval bases under construction in the country at the time when Russia launched its counteroffensive. Writes Drago Bosnic
For nearly a year, the massive Western propaganda machine has been manipulating its audience into believing the “Russia’s unprovoked aggression in Ukraine” narrative. The “reporting” can be crudely boiled down to the following: “On February 24, bloodthirsty Kremlin dictator Putin got up on the wrong side of the bed and decided to attack the nascent beacon of freedom and democracy in Kiev.” This is mandatory in virtually all Western mainstream media and any attempt to even think of questioning it results in immediate “cancellation”. Propagandists posing as “pundits” flooded political talk shows with the task of presenting decades of unrelenting NATO expansion as irrelevant to Russia’s reaction.
However, WikiLeaks, an organization the United States has been trying to shut down for well over a decade, including through the horrendous treatment of its founder Julian Assange, published secret cables showing this narrative couldn’t possibly be further from reality. Data indicates that American officials weren’t only aware of the frustration NATO expansion caused in Moscow, but were even directly told it would result in Russia’s response. And while the US often insists that the current crisis is a result of Vladimir Putin’s alleged desire to “rebuild the Russian Empire”, WikiLeaks reveals that even his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, infamous for his suicidal subservience to Washington DC, warned against NATO expansion.
For approximately three decades, consecutive US administrations were explicitly warned that Ukraine’s NATO membership would be the last straw for Moscow. Numerous Russian officials kept cautioning this would destabilize the deeply divided post-Soviet country. These warnings were made both in public and private, and were reiterated by other NATO members, geopolitical experts, Russian opposition leaders and even some American diplomats, including a US ambassador in Moscow. Yeltsin once told former president Bill Clinton that NATO expansion was “nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed”. Clinton, infamous for his aggression on Yugoslavia, ignored the warning and by 1999, less than a decade after the “not an inch to the east” promise was made, most of Eastern Europe was in NATO.
Despite this encroachment, Vladimir Putin still tried to establish closer ties with the political West, ratified START II and even offered to join NATO. America responded with unilateral withdrawal from key arms control treaties and color revolutions in Moscow’s geopolitical backyard. By the mid-2000s, Russia was flanked by two hostile US-backed regimes on its southern and western borders (Georgia and Ukraine). Major NATO members, such as Germany and France, warned this would lead to an inevitable response from Moscow. A WikiLeaks cable dated September 2005 reads:
“[French presidential advisor Maurice] Gourdault-Montagne warned that the question of Ukrainian accession to NATO remained extremely sensitive for Moscow, and concluded that if there remained one potential cause for war in Europe, it was Ukraine. Some in the Russian administration felt we were doing too much in their core zone of interest, and one could wonder whether the Russians might launch a move similar to Prague in 1968, to see what the West would do.”
WikiLeaks further reveals that German officials reiterated similar concerns about Russia’s reaction to NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine, particularly the latter, with diplomat Rolf Nikel stating: “While Georgia was ‘just a bug on the skin of the bear,’ Ukraine was inseparably identified with Russia, going back to Vladimir of Kiev in 988.” Another cable dated January 2008 says that “Italy is a strong advocate” for NATO enlargement, “but is concerned about provoking Russia through hurried Georgian integration.” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere made similar remarks, an April 2008 cable indicates. Despite believing Russia shouldn’t have a saying in NATO, he said that “he understands Russia’s objections to NATO enlargement and that the alliance needs to work to normalize the relationship with Russia.”
In the US, even some high-level government officials made nearly identical assessments. WikiLeaks reveals that these warnings were presented to Washington DC by none other than William Burns himself, former US Ambassador to Russia and the current CIA chief. According to a cable dated March 2007, Burns said: “NATO enlargement and US missile defense deployments in Europe play to the classic Russian fear of encirclement.” Months later, he stated: “Ukraine’s and Georgia’s entry represents an ‘unthinkable’ predicament for Russia and Moscow would cause enough trouble in Georgia and continued political disarray in Ukraine to halt it.” Interestingly, Burns also assessed that closer ties between Russia and China were largely the “by-product of ‘bad’ US policies” and were unsustainable “unless continued NATO enlargement pushed Russia and China even closer together.”
In February 2008, Burns wrote: “Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. Russia would then have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.”
Another cable dated March 2008 stated that “opposing NATO’s enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia, was one of the few security areas where there is almost complete consensus among Russian policymakers, experts and the informed population.” One defense expert stated that “Ukraine was the line of last resort that would complete Russia’s encirclement” and that “its entry into NATO was universally viewed by the Russian political elite as an unfriendly act.” Dozens of other cables make nearly identical assessments of radical changes in Russia’s foreign policy if NATO encroachment were to continue.
However, the vast majority of US officials, regardless of the administration, simply dismissed all warnings, repeatedly describing them as “oft-heard, old, nothing new, largely predictable, familiar litany and rehashing that provided little new substance.” Astonishingly, even the aforementioned Norway’s understanding of Moscow’s objections was labeled as “parroting Russia’s line”. While many German officials warned that the east-west split within Ukraine made the idea of NATO membership “risky” and that it could “break up the country”, US officials insisted this was only temporary and that it would change over time.
And indeed, the political West invested hundreds of billions of dollars in turning Ukraine into a fervently Russophobic country, effectively becoming a giant military springboard aimed against Moscow. NATO regularly conducted exercises, maintained an extensive presence, and even planned to make it permanent with at least several land and naval bases under construction in the country at the time when Russia launched its counteroffensive. In 2019, RAND Corporation, a well-known think tank funded by the Pentagon, published a report which focused on devising strategies for overextending Russia. Part of it reads:
“The Kremlin’s anxieties over a direct military attack on Russia were very real and could drive its leaders to make rash, self-defeating decisions… …Providing more US military equipment and advice to Ukraine could lead Moscow to respond by mounting a new offensive and seizing more Ukrainian territory.”
It’s quite hard to dismiss Moscow’s claims that the Ukrainian crisis is a segment of the comprehensive aggression against Russia when the very institutions funded by the political West itself openly admit that the current events were planned years or even decades ago. And even if the impossible happened and the Eurasian giant decided to surrender and succumb to Western pressure, where does the US-led aggression against the world stop? Or worse yet, how long before a disaster of cataclysmic proportions puts an end to it?