The “NATO expansion” canard

Are you not tired, too, of those endlessly repeated arguments that, sure, it was not very polite of Putin to invade Ukraine, but you have to understand the situation, it’s all the fault of NATO’s aggressive westward expansion which, you know, was provoking the Russians!

You see this argument everywhere on social networks and also from people such as the former French prime minister Jospin (in March of 2022!). Plus of course Noam Chomsky, for whom there is no atrocity committed by a dictator anywhere that cannot be justified by some real or imagined American turpitude. (Evidence that (1) a great scientist is not immune to shameful delusions and (2) Chomsky, the kind of person who would not last two weeks in one of the regimes he praises, is really fortunate that his family landed in a country where he can safely spew out whatever theory he likes, however outrageous.) Most recently in an opinion piece of the New York Times.

Come on. NATO is a defensive alliance. It has no offensive designs on any part of the world. It does not gobble up any countries: its members all decided to join NATO for their own security.

As to the supposed provocation: if I have an aggressive neighbor with attack dogs and my other neighbors have built a fence to shield themselves from him, am I “provoking” him if I ask them to extend the fence to encompass my house?

It is obvious to all who is aggressive and who is aggressed. Shame on those who insinuate otherwise.

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2 Comments

  1. bybor@yandex.ru says:

    I am Russian, I hate this “NATO expansion” argument, but I curios that you just defy it. It may not apply to what is happening in Europe now at all, but still. Let’s leave aside if it was the real reason or whatever.

    Putin came into power in 2000. There were no “dogs” at the time. He was all into integrating Russia into the existing world economic order, obeying international rules and joining WTO (as an example). Didn’t you have a job at Russia at the time? How long did you live there? What was your opinion of that-day-Russia at the time?

    In the very much same time the neighbors kept breeding angry dogs and building fences. Do you remember the story with putting missile defense stations in Poland? So, following your analogy, Russia was trying to be a good neighbor but seeing all of their neighbors building a fence for protection. What was the menace at the time?

    Now, how exactly do you define a defensive alliance? Will they declare that they “protect” while performing military operations? Do you mean that in all actions ever performed by NATO you think they are right (lawful, executing the defensive spirit of that org)? Don’t you think that having power would eventually lead to exercising it? The whole Europe has united arms forces with a top one overseas country in the world. It’s fine for you as European, it doesn’t look OK for anybody else.

    If you see one side as “evil” and the 2nd as “kind” – will it be a better explanation for your personal opinion regarding NATO? You have every right to think the way you do – your country as well as the country of Chomsky allows you to do it. And this applies to me as well (seeing one side as evil etc), but I really don’t understand all this anti-Russian rhetoric coming out from Baltic countries and Poland – years after the Soviet Union collapse. It looks to me like a lot of manipulative and emotional techniques applied to whole societies. I am aware and I understand that it happens in Russia as well. As well as in China, Australia, USA and other countries.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    I don’t know if you read my message. But “…Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn”.

    Throwing away NATO out of the picture? You bet.

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  2. jtgm says:

    I would agree with Bybor’s comment that NATO isn’t a peaceful organization and that Russia is afraid of NATO for a reason, but I would at the same time agree with Bertrand that any attempt to justify Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is completely retarded and it has nothing to do with NATO.

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