NATO Admits that Ukraine War is The War of NATO Expansion

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

September 29, 2023 – Information Clearing House During the disastrous Vietnam War, it was said that the US government treated the public like a mushroom farm: keeping it in the dark and feeding it with manure.  The heroic Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers documenting the unrelenting US government lying about the war in order to protect politicians who would be embarrassed by the truth.  A half century later, during the Ukraine War, the manure is piled even higher. 

According to the US Government and the ever-obsequious New York Times, the Ukraine war was “unprovoked,” the New York Times’ favorite adjective to describe the war.  Putin, allegedly mistaking himself for Peter the Great, invaded Ukraine to recreate the Russian Empire.  Yet last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg committed a Washington gaffe, meaning that he accidentally blurted out the truth. 

In testimony to the European Union Parliament, Stoltenberg made clear that it was America’s relentless push to enlarge NATO to Ukraine that was the real cause of the war and why it continues today.  Here are Stoltenberg’s revealing words:

“The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition for not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn’t sign that.

The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that. 

So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.” 

To repeat, he [Putin] went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders.  

When Prof. John Mearsheimer, I, and others have said the same, we’ve been attacked as Putin apologists.  The same critics also choose to hide or flatly ignore the dire warnings against NATO enlargement to Ukraine long articulated by many of America’s leading diplomats, including the great scholar-statesman George Kennan, and the former US Ambassadors to Russia Jack Matlock and William Burns.

Burns, now CIA Director, was US Ambassador to Russia in 2008, and author of a memo entitled “Nyet means Nyet.”  In that memo, Burns explained to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the entire Russian political class, not just Putin, was dead-set against NATO enlargement. We know about the memo only because it was leaked.  Otherwise, we’d be in the dark about it.

Why does Russia oppose NATO enlargement?  For the simple reason that Russia does not accept the US military on its 2,300 km border with Ukraine in the Black Sea region. Russia does not appreciate the US placement of Aegis missiles in Poland and Romania after the US unilaterally abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.

Russia also does not welcome the fact that the US engaged in no fewer than 70 regime change operations during the Cold War (1947-1989), and countless more since, including in Serbia, Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, and Ukraine.  Nor does Russia like the fact that many leading US politicians actively advocate the destruction of Russia under the banner of “Decolonizing Russia.” That would be like Russia calling for the removal of Texas, California, Hawaii, the conquered Indian lands, and much else, from the U.S.  

Even Zelensky’s team knew that the quest for NATO enlargement meant imminent war with Russia.  Oleksiy Arestovych, former Advisor to the Office of the President of Ukraine under Zelensky, declared that “with a 99.9% probability, our price for joining NATO is a big war with Russia.” 

Arestovych claimed that even without NATO enlargement, Russia would eventually try to take Ukraine, just many years later. Yet history belies that.  Russia respected Finland’s and Austria’s neutrality for decades, with no dire threats, much less invasions.  Moreover, from Ukraine’s independence in 1991 until the US-backed overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014, Russia didn’t show any interest in taking Ukrainian territory.  It was only when the US installed a staunchly anti-Russian, pro-NATO regime in February 2014 that Russia took back Crimea, concerned that its Black Sea naval base in Crimea (since 1783) would fall into NATO’s hands. 

Even then, Russia didn’t demand other territory from Ukraine, only fulfillment of the UN-backed Minsk II Agreement, which called for autonomy of the ethnic-Russian Donbas, not a Russian claim on the territory.  Yet instead of diplomacy, the US armed, trained, and helped to organize a huge Ukrainian army to make NATO enlargement a fait accompli. 

Putin made one last attempt at diplomacy at the end of 2021, tabling a draft US-NATO Security Agreement to forestall war.  The core of the draft agreement was an end of NATO enlargement and removal of US missiles near Russia.  Russia’s security concerns were valid and the basis for negotiations.  Yet Biden flatly rejected negotiations out of a combination of arrogance, hawkishness, and profound miscalculation. NATO maintained its position that NATO would not negotiate with Russia regarding NATO enlargement, that in effect, NATO enlargement was none of Russia’s business. 

The continuing US obsession with NATO enlargement is profoundly irresponsible and hypocritical.  The US would object—by means of war, if needed—to being encircled by Russian or Chinese military bases in the Western Hemisphere, a point the US has made since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.  Yet the US is blind and deaf to the legitimate security concerns of other countries.  

So, yes, Putin went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to Russia’s border. Ukraine is being destroyed by US arrogance, proving again Henry Kissinger’s adage that to be America’s enemy is dangerous, while to be its friend is fatal.  The Ukraine War will end when the US acknowledges a simple truth: NATO enlargement to Ukraine means perpetual war and Ukraine’s destruction.  Ukraine’s neutrality could have avoided the war, and remains the key to peace.  The deeper truth is that European security depends on collective security as called for by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), not one-sided NATO demands.  

Professor at Columbia University, is Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He has served as adviser to three UN Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General António Guterres.   Article sent to Other News by the author. September 19, 2023

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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.





5 responses to “NATO Admits that Ukraine War is The War of NATO Expansion”

  1. Disadvantaged Avatar

    A wonderful opportunity was lost back in 1991. When Russia decided to end the communist economic system, disband the Warsaw Pact, withdraw hundreds of thousands of troops from Eastern Europe and decommissioned many of those army units, allow East Germany to reunite with West Germany and allow East Germany to be a part of NATO, and even allowed other ethnic groups to separate from the U.S.S.R. as well and in return Russia wanted a promise not to expand NATO eastward. President Bush and Secretary of State Baker gave a yes to that promise.

    The United States after a couple of years should have started the process of bring NATO to an end as well. Russia was looking forward to better relations with Europe and the United States even though its economic system was undergoing major changes from the old system to a new one. Bur the war hawks in Congress and the Clinton Administration saw an opportunity to push Russia over the cliff by expanding NATO eastward in violation of the promise the United States made in 1991. Russia complained several times to the U.S. provocations regarding this expansion.

    That is why we are having a NATO/U.S. conflict against Russia in the Ukraine. The goal from 2014 was to make the Ukraine a part of NATO right up to Russia’s border. Add air and missile bases in the Ukraine within striking distance of most of eastern Russia in a matter of minutes. It would give the U.S. a first strike advantage against Russia. The ultimate goal would be to break up Russia into several parts so American and European companies could exploit the country’s natural resources. A secondary reason, if you look at a map of Russia, NATO could eventually install air and missile bases on China northern border as well.

    I’m sure Russia is well aware of the United States plans for them. The end result would most likely be an all out nuclear war and that would take care of civilization for the next hundred or maybe two hundred years.

  2. Prometheus Avatar

    “That would be like Russia calling for the removal of Texas, California, Hawaii, the conquered Indian lands, and much else, from the U.S.”
    Now there is an idea…whose time is overdue.

    1. Nina Sakun Avatar
      Nina Sakun

      Yes Russia with its 11 count them 11 time zones should talk about the nerve of its neighbors asking to join NATO. How dare those countries seek safety from Russian expansion into more time zones. So of course putin apologists will say all these are puppets of the evil US

      1. abraham Weizfeld PhD Avatar

        Nina Sakun talks of Russian expansion and yet the Russian withdrawal from eastern European countries is an unprecedented peaceful withdrawal of one State from various other States. This is the opposite of what is claimed. What is ignored is the placing of intermediate range nuclear missiles in those eastern European countries. Is the argument being made here to allow Ukraine to invite US nuclear missiles into it territory next door to the Russian Federation?

      2. Realist Avatar

        Are you at all aware that Russia was sacked and thoroughly occupied for hundreds of years by Genghis Khan, the Mongols, the Golden Horde and other tribes of the Eastern steppes whose main occupation was constant attack, conquest, and either occupation and tribute or mass extermination? The only force standing between all of Europe being overrun by these tribes was Russia, which, as I said, was ruled by the warring Eastern hordes for hundreds of years and was only slowly liberated by Russian resistance, which did not exterminate the natives, as America did to its “Indians,” when its Western technology (artillery) finally turned the tide. There was no other advanced “world power” in the neighborhood to fill the power vacuum except for potentially China, and a fragmented Turkic population of many different tribes. Russia warred with the Turks (who also threatened Europe), beat them, and inherited lots of territory constituting all those “-stans” which are now lost since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia doesn’t want ’em back, it only wants stability in the region (which the US incessantly connives to destroy). China was never expansionist, and, in fact, was being dominated by the Western powers from Europe, a shame it proposes to remedy now that they have the means to outcompete the American hegemon. China does not need nor desire to rule a vast empty Siberian Russia where few people, save those tough North-eastern and Central Asian natives, can really live and thrive on either freezing cold tundra, freezing cold taiga or nearly anoxic high mountain air. Britain stuck its nasty snoot into the business of mountainous Central Asia when it tried to colonise Afghanistan. And, like everyone else who ever tried to mess with those people (including the Russians and the Americans), they got daily spankings from the locals and eventually ran home. I know you’d prefer all that vast territory were being exploited for its resources by American corporations that exploit your labor and allow you to pay all the taxes to run America and its military, but Russia is closer. It sits right on top of the buried treasure. Somebody with a large, organised and educated labor pool is required for such a massive job and the Russians are available by default. Don’t take it too hard that the stars and stripes aren’t flying over all that land and all the extracted cash value isn’t being deposited in American banks. Russia is doing a brisk business with the Chinese, who are content to conduct a cash and carry relationship with them. Before Trump’s presidency was attacked and destroyed by the entire American establishment, the US was also doing a lot of business with Russia, including huge contracts for extracting its many resources, including gas and oil. But the American hyenas never realise when they have it good. The mob did a hatchet job not only on Trump per se but also on all his initial cabinet picks including premier American capitalists who already had much experience extracting resources from the Russian wilderness and the Arctic Ocean sea bed. All that business, of course, was lost to would-be American vultures. Talk about shooting ourselves in the head! Putin had his long-term development projects penciled in for American partnership, not the Chinese. He was always considered an Atlanticist, and a firm partner with America. Then WE forcibly made him change all his plans. Largely because Trump won that election and a bitter, mentally-deranged Hillary had to create a scapegoat for her failures, and that was to be Vladimir Putin and Russia. She spent four years on a book tour ginning up hatred of Russia and Putin. “Russiagate” and all the rest of that BS was SHOWN TO BE totally fabricated by her and her collaborators in the extensive investigation by the FBI, which found absolutely NO complicity with Russia, NO collusion between Trump and Putin. Sorry, but these are the rewards you reap when your entire narrative is based on lying, cheating and stealing (and probably some murder) rather than reality.