The history is 30 years old and while it was happening in the early 1990s, I was a US Navy officer on exchange with the French Navy.
Here’s how it sorts out from my recollections.
I was attending Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA in the spring, summer, and fall of 1989 before taking up duties with the French, one of the 30 members of NATO (L’OTAN—l’organisation du traité de l’Atlantique Nord) when toward the end of the French course, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in November.
After a month of R&R in Thailand I began a gauntlet that would put me in Washington DC at the Pentagon and French Embassy, then the US Embassy in Paris to get all checked in an situated, then NATO HQ in Belgium. This wasn’t high-level stuff. I was a junior officer just doing the rounds, being briefed, and taking it all in.
In those early times, the really big deal was the reunification of Germany. In fact, the German-Navy exchange officer was the navigator of Duquesne’s sister ship, Suffren, right across the pier from us. I talked with him a good deal about that. It was costing the west Germans a shit ton, but they basically felt it was worth it.
But what’s interesting is that after the Wall fell and the collapse of the Soviet Union seemed somewhere on the horizon, Gorbachev conceded to let the unification go forth unopposed. Germany had devastated Russia twice already in the 20th Century. Chomsky makes the cogent point that this was a big concession on the part of the Soviets, 30 years ago.
We had lots of chats dans le carre des officiers on both Colbert and Duquesne over the two years I was the navigator and undefeated chess champion of both. Clearly, the unstabilizing breakup of the Soviet Union would put all of their satellite states of the previous 4 decades up for grabs and what they didn’t want was for them to become NATO countries. NATO was already a big and powerful alliance and the Russians had no interest in having it get bigger and more powerful without opposing such an expansion.
So the reunification of Germany was their grand offer. And it was a good one. In return, they wanted no further NATO encroachment eastward. Perfectly reasonable, and what’s more important is that the powers that be, agreed.
It was a beautiful and delightful win-win that did eventually see the breakup of the Soviet Union and the economic and business development of all of those eastern-bloc nations in all of their various and diverse ways. Lovely. This blog has been hosted and tech-supported by Bulgarians for years and it’s hands down the best host I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot.
And Russia too—though the long-established Nomenklatura of the Soviet Union was first out of the gates creating oligarchies that cover all raw and essential materials.
Over the passage of time, it’s our side that began violating the original agreement, encroaching eastward. A little bit here, a little bit there.
So, it would be like Russia massing forces in Brazil. In another decade, it’s Colombia or Venezuela. Then Cuba is next. All over again.
The point is, it’s Putin who’s really the more stabilizing influence over his tenure, and that goes for his predecessors over the last 30 years. They don’t want threatening shit on their doorstep. They have not been adventurous. They seek to secure their borders and have a decent buffer zone.
It’s we who have been creeping slowly east in myriad ways.
Of course, you can’t stop cultural and economic/business development, but NATO alliance was supposed to be off the table since that’s what was traded away in the early 1990s to provide for the unhindered reunification of Germany and a peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union back to nationalist borders.
In my view, it’s our side who fucked it up. A deal is a deal. Prove me wrong.
Here’s the two Chomsky clips.
I almost wrote this for paid members only; then I thought, no, free member. Then I thought no again, public.
My writing is member supported, never corporate sponsored and when I see that the narrative is almost identical on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, it probably means they’re all completely fucked up. Why is everyone under the same narrative? Corporate sponsorship; and the one thing corporate-sponsored media cannot do anymore in America is criticize America making war or financing it, or getting involved is it and it’s endless and continual, always some contrived crisis. And hell, half the shit is simply about beating at hornets’ nests in order to keep crisis alive.
So, no matter whether I’m right or wrong, I owe nobody anything except to tell supporting members my truly honest assessment, never beholden to anyone.
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