Sarah Mysonier / Reuters // Thibault Camus / Pool / via Reuters // Sarah Meizonier / Reuters
Ukraine – In diplomacy, beware of unwritten promises. And even for those who are. Since then all eyes have been on the East Vladimir Putin chose to oppose the West Recognizes February 21st Independence from pro-Russian separatists In Ukraine and Order His forces To enter separatist territories.
Yes Kremlin supporters are very scared, Some presidential candidates in France sought to justify this aggressive strategy, pointing out that we would not be there if the West and especially NATO had kept its “promise” not to expand to the East in the 1990s. An argument, in fact, lends itself to debate.
Broken promise argument
“When the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO promised the Russians that it would not expand to the east. This promise was not fulfilled,” Jean-Luc Mலlenchon denounced at a news conference on February 22. That fact must be taken into account. “ However he promised.
The same slander on Eric Zemmer’s side CNews February 20: “There is a major geopolitical problem. Contrary to all the promises of George W. Bush, who is older than Gorbachev, extending NATO to the east for 30 years is seen as legitimate by Russia’s occupation, although Emmanuel Macron acknowledges that there is” reason to try to avoid war. ”
An argument, taken directly from the mouth of Vladimir Putin, was initially put forward March 18, 2014 To justify the annexation of Crimea by Russia: “They lied to us on many occasions, they made decisions behind our backs and they gave us a fair thing. It expanded east of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as established military infrastructure along our borders.
An indictment he renewed on February 1stA talk. “We were deceived, we were deceived. We were assured that NATO infrastructure would not advance even an inch east. They said one thing and did the opposite.
The real promise of the US Secretary of State
Did the Westerners really deceive the Russian giant by breaking their word?
To better understand the situation, let us go back to the 1989 Berlin Wall collapse. The future of reunited Germany is then under discussion, and one of the big questions is whether it will remain neutral or integrated into NATO. Russian President Michael Gorbachev has great reservations and fears Military and strategic imbalances in Europe.
To accept the Soviet Union, US Secretary of State James Baker assures Mikhail Gorbachev that “NATO’s current military jurisdiction will not extend even an inch eastward.” It was actually certified Assorted documents (In English), Minutes of meetings of American, Soviet, German, British and French documents. The glorious promise was thus specially designed. Similar statements were made several times, even during these talks.
Gorbachev’s big “mistake”
Did NATO lie? This is where opinions differ. In fact, there are many factors to consider. On the one hand, Baker’s pledge not to extend Gorbachev to the East was made within the framework of the debate on Germany and the GTR, and only within that framework. The final text, the Treaty of Moscow, signed on September 12, 1990, effectively refers to the “prohibition of the deployment of armed forces other than German forces in the territory of the former GTR”.
This promise could not worry the nations of the East because they could not have foretold at that time the fall of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of the countries of the Soviet bloc. “At the time, it made sense. The Soviet Union and its allies would not collapse until 1991. The idea of expanding NATO to Central and Eastern Europe was irrelevant, and we were only talking about the GDR.” France Information Co-researcher at Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier Thomas More Company.
Finally, it’s especially shocking for Russia: this promise of “not moving an inch to the east” does not appear in any official speech. The accounts of the debates between the Soviets and their leading Western commentators are known only in “memoirs.” “There is no need to confirm in writing these obligations beyond a reasonable doubt that Gorbachev made a mistake,” Charles Thibaut notes.IRIS.
NATO is playing on words, Moscow smokes
Vladimir Putin knows that very well. In July 2015, when he confronts US director Oliver Stone, the question arises. The Russian president then “paints” “a smile” and says:
“Nothing was written. It was Gorbachev’s fault. In politics, guarantees on paper are often violated, but everything should be in writing. Gorbachev only argued with them and considered this word enough. But things do not happen that way!”
An interview was published Conversations with PutinWritten and quoted by Oliver Stone (Albin Michael, 2017) The diplomatic world.
NATO’s arguments are based on the same. In 2014, he faced the stigma of Putin annexing Crimea. NATO ReviewIn a petition written by Michael Ruhley, head of the Department of Energy Security, a “myth”, a ”The so-called promise “:” There has never been a political or legal commitment on the part of the West not to extend NATO beyond the borders of reunited Germany. “
If NATO breaks an unwritten promise, it breaks the promises signed by Russia
Although the promise made to Gorbachev was not made to deceive him, it is true that the fall of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia completely changed the cards and opened up new perspectives. In particular, since 1975, the Helsinki Charter guarantees the right of each country to choose its own alliance, reminiscent of IRIS.
However, the fall of the Soviet bloc did not mean the disappearance of Russia, which later became the Russian Federation, nor did it break the moral obligations of NATO members toward it.
If the question on the part of NATO about the non-fulfillment of its promises is worthy of debate, it will not even arise on the side of Russia. Vladimir Putin violated his own obligations, well written in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. The latter guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine. A promise was trampled on in 2014 by the annexation of CrimeaIt was completed on February 21, 2022, Like the Minsk agreements.
See also The Hoppost: In Ukraine, tanks enter Donetsk after Putin’s statements
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