While the US claims recent sanctions targeting Russia are based on alleged Russian interference in last year’s US elections, a careful examination of US policy post-Cold War reveals a systematic campaign aimed at undermining Moscow, encircling Russia and attempting to overturn the current, prevailing political order there in favor of one dominated by US interests.
At each step, various excuses are concocted, mainly to mesh with current political narratives embedded within public perception at any given time. Currently, playing left and right-leaning Americans against one another regarding the 2016 election and still-unproven allegations that Russia played a hand at tipping the election in President Donald Trump’s favor helps sell this most recent move made toward undermining Russia.
Under US President Barrack Obama, accusations that Russia instigated violence in Ukraine after a NATO-backed coup overthrew the elected government in Kiev served as justification for various rounds of sanctions targeting Moscow.
Betrayal 1: NATO Expansion
The expansion of NATO itself is a violation of commitments made to Russia post-Cold War. While publications from policy think-tanks like the Brookings Institution attempt to claim otherwise, it is clear that Russia was opposed to NATO’s continued eastward expansion post-Cold War, and was willing to cooperate with the US and Europe on a variety of issues as long as NATO didn’t do so.
Brookings, in a piece penned by Steven Pifer titled, “Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says “No”,” claims that promises made to Russia about limiting NATO expansion were made only in regards to Germany after reunification.
The piece claims:
The agreement on not deploying foreign troops on the territory of the former GDR [German Democratic Republic] was incorporated in Article 5 of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, which was signed on September 12, 1990 by the foreign ministers of the two Germanys, the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France. Article 5 had three provisions:
1. Until Soviet forces had completed their withdrawal from the former GDR, only German territorial defense units not integrated into NATO would be deployed in that territory.
2. There would be no increase in the numbers of troops or equipment of U.S., British and French forces stationed in Berlin.
3. Once Soviet forces had withdrawn, German forces assigned to NATO could be deployed in the former GDR, but foreign forces and nuclear weapons systems would not be deployed there.
Pifer claims that, “it is clear that the secretary general’s comments referred to NATO forces in eastern Germany, not a broader commitment not to enlarge the Alliance.”