What a contradiction not between Kozyrev and the current Russian foreign minister who threatens Ukraine and the West with “counter measures” if the West, at Ukraine’s request, sends any troops at all.
In late January, I wrote an article on nuclear weapons. There was no real discussion on this current issue, as the defectors quickly chose to start discussing other issues instead, such as German reunification and NATO enlargement. One of the debaters on HBL (29.3) got angry because of my stance on the latter.
It is common for diverse audiences of critics how easy it is for them to comprehend the story of a victim of the Putin regime, in which the United States, NATO and the West have been given a scapegoat. Today’s column was greeted by Patrick Oksanen (HBL 24.3), explaining where these so-called Friends of Peace really belong.
I didn’t touch on NATO enlargement, I just mentioned that it was not an issue that Soviet leaders discussed with the US and Germany in 1990. The willingness to cooperate was real on both sides and at the end of the same year KSSE (now OSCE) could bear fruit the so-called Paris Pact. The sovereignty of small states and their right to live in security within their borders were also guaranteed, as was the choice of the path of their security policy. Many countries wanted to join NATO as quickly as possible, but of course the decisions were made by the Western Defense Alliance. Membership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was and remains a free automatic ticket.
How did Russia react to the NATO expansion before the militant nationalist battalions regained power? Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev wrote about this issue aptly in a chapter of the book Open Door, published by Johns Hopkins University in the United States in 2019. It is a thick, high-quality book. German-Finnish professor Christina Spur is one of the editors.
Kozyrev begins by praising the United States and Western powers for being far-sighted enough to establish NATO, based on principles of democracy, individual freedoms, and the rule of law, and for the alliance to become a multinational lever in modern history.
Kozyrev then points to the President of Czechoslovakia, the human rights activist Vaclav Havel, whom he met in Moscow at a summit in 1992. Havel explained “simply and insightfully” why he wanted Czechoslovakia to become a member of NATO: “I am not a member of NATO.” . Military fan. We just want to fully join us in the Western democracies. do not you want?
President Boris Yeltsin’s position was clear, he had already announced in December 1991 in an open letter Russia’s willingness to NATO to cooperate with the alliance and the long-term goal – Russia’s membership. Kozyrev believes that the failure of things at that time was due to the fact that the West did not seize the opportunity and that diplomatic mistakes were made on both sides.
At one point, the former Russian foreign minister was crystal clear: “The United States and NATO were on the right side of history when they introduced new democracies to the alliance and they also wanted to find an acceptable solution to Russia’s adaptation. It was Moscow that returned to the hostility against NATO, which intensified. Only since then. […]
NATO remains the strongest force in securing the liberal world order, which is under attack by authoritarian, populist and extremist forces, who claim that the organization is outdated. Trumpets of the Kremlin and its followers in the West portray NATO as a bloc that strengthens American hegemony and expands in the east, and this pushes Russia into the corner.
Kozyrev’s final passage is nonetheless optimistic: “I think sooner or later the Russian people will follow in the footsteps of other European countries and will find their national interests in democratic reforms and cooperation with NATO and other institutions in the West.”
As of this writing, Russia was mounting a massive military buildup against Ukraine, with troops being moved even from the country’s outlying regions to the east. What a contradiction not between Kozyrev and the current Russian foreign minister who threatens Ukraine and the West with “countermeasures” if the West, at Ukraine’s request, sends any troops at all to somewhat support Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Stephan Force Espoo