NATO Expansion Is a Bugbear for Both Russia and the West

We have reached a point where the long-standing controversy over NATO enlargement must somehow be resolved.

Russia’s relations with the West have come to a head. NATO expansion, which Putin brought up again in a recent speech, is a well-known issue for Russia. What is not often mentioned is that this is also an issue for the bloc. 

When decisions were taken in the 1990s, it was not considered that expansion would require a real extension in safety guarantees for a large number of new countries. It was presumed that Russia would either integrate somehow into the general order, or simply would not pose a threat for a long time. This did not materialize, partially due to the preservation of NATO, and the fact that Russia’s recovery occurred faster than expected.

As a result, decorative institutes which imitated cooperation between Russian and the alliance crumbled. Now a militarized standoff has recurred, and NATO must be held accountable for its promises. 

But the willingness of allies to carry out dangerous missions is, to put it mildly, low. Defending a string of countries that joined at the end of the last century and the beginning of this century is difficult from a military standpoint. Moreover, the multiplicity of opinions within the bloc is incomparable with what existed previously.

The new Cold War between Russia and the U.S. has, in fact, had a positive impact on relations between the two nations: They are now simpler and stricter.  

The situation within Europe is worse, because it is an entity loosely linked without a political will of its own, and a unified strategic position in such a diverse association is impossible in principle. This is where the biggest risks lie.

Russia is tempted to take advantage of Europe’s rift to correct the military-political results of 30 years ago. Europe is forced to invent more and more exotic ways of demonstrating its viability. And the U.S. is caught between reorientation toward Asia (priority) and continuing containment in Europe (tradition and symbol).

All of this causes tension, which is not conducive to the mechanisms for maintaining stability. 

According to Vladimir Putin, tension create opportunities — these are the lessons learned from the Cold War. 

The question is whether this will work today. We have reached a point where the long-standing controversy over NATO enlargement must somehow be resolved. 

Resolution will come from either by reaffirming the right to expand, or recognizing that the logic of “everyone has the right to enter the alliance,” the idea on which post 1991 NATO expansion was based, is no longer valid. Both options carry many risks.

What is disconcerting about the president’s speech is the return to strictly Western-centrism. Non-western components were listed most likely for the sake of order, as even China is linked to the West by trying to destabilize it.

It is clear that Russia cannot abandon the agenda of the past 30 years, too much is connected with it. The main thing is not to drown in it once again. After all, regardless of what happens in Europe, it will remain a strategic periphery. 

And for Russia’s international posture it will be not decisive, but auxiliary.

A Russian version of this article was first published by Kommersant.

(c) The Moscow Times


  1. “As a result, decorative institutes which imitated cooperation between Russian and the alliance crumbled. Now a militarized standoff has recurred, and NATO must be held accountable for its promises. ”

    NATO made no promises whatsoever to mafia land, even Gorby said no promises were ever made about countries joining NATO. Putler of course has other ideas and doesn’t want to admit that the former Eastern bloc countries joined NATO, because they don’t want to become serfs again. Every country that joined NATO has increased their standard of living dramatically since getting from under the Russian jackboot.

    The difference between NATO and Muscovy, is NATO don’t invade other countries to get them to align with them, in fact as Ukraine proved, it’s quite an ordeal joining NATO. Russia of course, threaten and invade other countries that want to align to NATO, instead of treating them as partners, or making them an offer to sway them from joining NATO.

    • ”Continent has become paralyzed” by NATO’s converting EU into mercenaries for Washington Colonial Mindset !!! Afgans …150,000 death !!! as US road to HR & democracy !!!
      Militaries of Denmark (Rasmussen PM, later NATO Secretary), Poland (Aleksander Kwaśniewski), together with militaries of USA, GB and Australia “introduced democracy” into Iraqu?? …is this really acting as a community of NATO Alliance ?…. America/NATO both can and should spread democracy. It just needs to do so more effectively (Michael McFaul)… in Iraque, Libia, Yeman, Syria, ….with 100,000’s dead, millions in camps and running!!! Flooding Europe ….with populisms!!!??? EU’s transatlantic puppets and …Victoria Nuland’s “Fu.. EU”!!! State’s DNA culture.
      Stoltenberg appointed Thomas de Maizière (Ger), A. Wess Mitchell (US) and …Greta Bossenmaier (Canada), Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen (Denmark), Hubert Védrine (France), Marta Dassù (Italy), Herna Verhagen (The Netherlands), Anna Fotyga (Poland), Tacan Ildem (Turkey), John Bew (United Kingdom) …to help ensure NATO isn’t brain dead !!!
      Over five months, 2019 from May until the end of September, 93 separate military exercises were held, with forces operating continuously in, above and around 29 countries, no fewer than seven separate NATO war games were held: Arrow and Bold Quest in Finland, Spring Storm in Estonia, Formidable Shield off the coast of Scotland, Immediate Response in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia; Stolen Cerberus VI in Greece, and Erciyes in Turkey. …. NATO’s modest $1.65 billion annual running costs
      Atrophy democracy triumfalismus …..US/Western Elite’s “Propaganda Democracy, HR, Sanctions,…” as pretext of Colonial Mindset!!!
      Our World: “Human Rights and Democracy Gunpowder Mill” through $ gun-barrel of arms sales 2017: US $226.6 billion + NATO Eu alliance: 80%+ = $320 billion+ of total global arms sales $398.2 billion. There are 42 US arms companies in Top 100, collective sales $226.6 billion. Lockheed Martin as world’s largest arms producer, $44.9 billion. Russian 10 companies at Top 100, $37.7 billion, China $54.1 billion …..Saga on holding to the Colonial Power as GB of 18-19th centuries?
      “Defence” spending 2018: US $649 billion, China 250, SA 67.6, Ind 66.5, Fr 63.8, Ru 61.4, GB 50, Ger 49.5, Jap 46.6, S Kor 43.1, …
      United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad-from giant “Little Americas” to small radar facilities. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined.
      Despite initial expectations, globalization has not replaced the world of nation-states, but rather introduced new conditions under which national identities, values and institutions express themselves by reviving old ideas and practices!!! …populisms???
      NS2 highly controversial?? and clear message of U.S. policy to US NATO’s “Subservient Protectorate of EU”!!! Maybe Mr Richard Grenell would like to include in his demand change of the “Traditional Family Values Law” in Russia?

      Western “Intellectual Freedom Right” denied to Americans by American Academia!
      Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn *Dec 11,1918 …100YEARS.
      American Academia CryptoBolshevism and Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s ban! Bolshevik’s ban of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn at 1970’s ….versus ADL, AJC, AIPAC, ICJP, Kennan, NED, CSIS, Cato’s “Delenda est Carthago”, ….American academia’s ban?
      Democracy and intellectual freedom preachers and propaganda reality contradiction. People who deny access to intellectual freedom act are overstepping their moral obligation to Americans and getting us into Orwellian world of arrogance and hypocrisy. Russian speaking Chabad-Lubavitch in USA have choice to read or not to read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s books “Two Hundred Years Together” as offered on Amazon, but to the “rest” of Americans this is absolutely denied! Who is writing reviews actually for these Solzhenitsyn’s books? …not the “rest”!!!
      American Library Association: “Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.”
      Away from commissars in the candle’s light we read samizdats pages of this Great Humanist writer with hope to get into hands few more typewritten following pages (in 1960’s) and now…….few decades later, several time zones west we are back to candle’s light with Solzhenitsyn’s work, “Two hundred years together” still not published in English (lingua franca) after more then 10 years, which should be part of educational curriculum pointing to man who stand-up to the evils of totalitarian oppression,…..and opening window to those events. Commissars of Thought Police in the forefather’s footsteps as in early years of 20th century Great Russia regions are mostly giving literary reviews to the contemporary goyims, as the historians, professors in higher learning. Behind accusation of “anti semitism” they are imposing their supreme judge Newspeak Correctness. Solzhenitsyn wrote not because of Nobel Price, but as human being who stand-up to the evils of totalitarian oppression with their Gulags and Thought Police. Western commissars at the time of Cold War priced his bravery, admired underground samizdats of forbidden literature & smuggling Bibles into USSR. But now, zealous “New Speakers” gained English publishing rights for the purpose to actually completely block globally printing of Solzhenitsyn’s books. Maybe, we should ask Mr Putin to samizdat Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “200 years together” in English and underground smuggling into “free press” our world. This is “free press” witch is lecturing others all over the world, or are we really free from this New Correctness, or in Dark Age under totalitarian Thought Police?
      Taboo discourse addressed by Solzhenitsyn’s books was well documented in the writings of 1920’s, 30’s,….(as Winston Churchill)..but it was pronounced as anti-semite, lunatic and sealed in “Taboo box” by these historians, professors of higher learning commissars, it did not fit in theirs interpretation of “Official History”. Now, we entered with English non publication of Solzhenitsyn’s books into another stage of “Pandora Taboo Box” to be kept closed by American academia’s ban!!!
      Karel Vesely, 79 Shadberry Dr. Toronto M2H-3C9
      I red 50-70% of this book in Czech PDF, but I would like have English edition. Czech books are not available and reediting got into International Tribe of Thought Police death hole. What coincidence? ….German and French editions have been published,….as “Intellectual freedom right” applied !!!

      Eu Polish Agony …Low Ruble exchange (thanks to sanctions)=Transit payed by Gasprom in Rubles to Gasprom into the entry point at Germany!!
      Poland with 33 (66%) cities among the 50 most-polluted (CO2) cities in Eu in 2017

      Yamal Poland: 33blm3/a, 84bar, 1.42m; 684km, 400MW (5 comp sta’s)
      North Stream1: 55blm3/a, 220bar, 1.22m; 1,224km, 366MW (1 comp sta)
      Fuel gas: NS1 ….5.5mlm3/10blm3/100km …100.0%
      Yamal Poland ..17.7mlm3/10blm3/100km ….322.7% !!!
      Poland 400MW ….fuel gas 2015: 378 mlm3 (2018: 400mlm3)/683km 

      North Stream 2 Phobia and NATO’s Mercenaries as Danish Anders Fogh Rasmussen (paid in hryvnias. Extra several 100’s km transit: €4/MWh(94.79m3) gas via Ukraine versus €2/MWh via NS 1; Arctic north with reserves for many decades and as main source of production!
      The avoidance of land and thereby transit fees in bl’s$ to Ukr, Sk, Cz or Blr, Pol; and Transit payed by Gasprom in Rubles to Gasprom into the entry point at Germany!! Only 1 compressor 220bar instead 10? of 100bar every 120km (extra equipment, maintenance, personal)??
      Offshore pipeline 200bar REQUIRE 70% LESS MW POWER/VOLUME/1200km (reff to Yamal)!! This savings of distance, expenses, CO2 environment are paying for NS2 and checking gas prices (LNG?) for Eu consumers. Gasprom’s annual 1-2 bl$ ?? saving!!
      Europe’s Coal power output 5,289TWh in 1990 down 42% to 3,057TWh in 2015!!! Gas CCGT’s with efficiency 63% are complementary to Solar and Wind generations and to replace coal burning plants (2015) in Ger (42%, 48GW), Pol (80%, 29GW), Cz (52%), …to environmental requirements for renewable energy!! …and heating element (industrial, residential) of these gas power plants, not only electric!!! …to be GREEN as of 2017 it would require extra additional gas to replace COAL:
      Ger 242TWh = 32 blm3/a, Pol 131TWh = 17.3 blm3/a, Cz 45TWh = 5.7 blm3/a, … ??!! + nuclear Ger 76TWh = 10 blm3/a …total extra gas German requirement 42 blm3/a, Poland 17.3 blm3, Cz 5.7 blm3, … !!! (1GW require 1blm3/a gas)
      Poland with 33 (66%) cities among the 50 most-polluted (CO2) cities in Eu in 2017 …HEATING COAL(Russian? Donbas? 10mlt/a?), additional requirement for more blm3 of GAS.
      GREEN Eu FUTURE …DECARBONISE ..(2017 Carbon mlt: Ger 762, Pol 315, Cz 103) dominating carbon capture & storage (CCS) process (versus electrolysis, H2 has 1/3 energy of CH4/volume) based on natural gas to play a significant role for several decades!!!
      2017 Global Gas Production: 3,680.4blm3 …Traded 1,134.1blm3 !!!
      via Pipeline 740.7blm3 …via LNG 393.4blm3 (302.6mlt)
      LNG 302.6mlt = …4,000?? tanker loads (of 20 days journey?,300-400 tankers/a?)
      Europe imported eight times more gas by pipeline than in the form of LNG in 2017.
      LNG? …Arctic productions 10-15% more efficient; CO2 emissions 20-40% higher than piped gas delivery.
      Low Ruble exchange (thanks to sanctions) = cheeper labor costs in gas extraction, distribution for export, it is advantage to Russian exporters !!! Gazprom’s Siberian production costs are $0.90/MMBtu (28.3m3) and it has $1.20 transport tariff to the border of export.
      1MWh = 94.79m3 NG = 3.41MMBtu; …1MMBtu = 28.3m3 NG = 0.341MWh Transportation 1.0€ = 1MWh/1000km = 94.79m3 NG/1,000km; Ukraine E/W 1,500km?? ~3.0bl$/a?? …1.5€ = 94.79m3/1,500km (2.0$x150blm3 NG??); 200blm3 NG = 150mlt LNG(~2000 cargos???) = 2,400TWh, Gasprom’s Export to Eu !!! …Naftogaz Ukr “plans B,…” Damocles Sword? of Russian gas as prolonged agony!

      Yamal Poland: 33blm3/a, 84bar, 1.42m; 684km, 400MW (5 comp sta’s)
      North Stream1: 55blm3/a, 220bar, 1.22m; 1,224km, 366MW (1 comp sta)
      Fuel gas: NS1 ….5.5mlm3/10blm3/100km …100.0%
      Yamal Poland ..17.7mlm3/10blm3/100km ….322.7% !!!
      Poland 400MW ….fuel gas 2015: 378 mlm3 (2018: 400mlm3)/683km 

    • Nah. It’s a piece of piss to join Nato. You just have to be not occupied or under attack from the putinazis and have lots of politicians who like licking the rodent’s tiny jackboots.
      Btw, another sackful of word salad has just been dumped in the comments by some loony.

What is your opinion?