Tensions between the United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the European Union, and Russia have been increasing with a serious risk of war in Ukraine.
The conflict in Ukraine is not new. It is the outcome of an ongoing, decades-long process of NATO expansion. In the early 1990s, the US administration of George HW Bush made repeated assurances that, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington would not seek to extend NATO into Eastern Europe, Central Asia, or the Caucasus.
“We understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees,” then-US Secretary of State James Baker told Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. “If the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”
However, since that time, 14 countries have been added to NATO’s membership list, most of them in Eastern Europe. This policy has clearly been provocative, being recognized as such even within “mainstream” US foreign policy circles. As George Kennan, the original architect of US foreign policy in the Cold War, noted: “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error in American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.”
Ukraine holds a particular geostrategic importance, given that it shares a 2,000 kilometre border with Russia. In recent years, US aggression and interference have served to turn Ukraine into a major flashpoint of the new Cold War. In 2019, the US unilaterally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, increasing the likelihood of an arms race....