Overspecific non denial denials

19. Februar 2022

I final­ly under­stand the “struc­tu­ral poli­ti­cal decisi­ons made in the nine­ties” reference.

I came across a debun­king site today with “quiz­zes and games” but no “about us” sec­tion, just a short con­ta­ct page that then links to the EEAS Press Team for media inqui­ries, but also has a dis­c­lai­mer on the site, that it doesnt repre­sent EU posi­ti­ons in any offi­cial capacity. 

The lan­guage used on the site also is stran­ge­ly casu­al in its seman­tic coloring.

While I most­ly agree with what the site is pre­sen­ting to debunk fake rus­si­an nar­ra­ti­ves on the Ukrai­ne con­flict, one argu­ment made struck me as stran­ge­ly overspecific.

Mythos 4: „Die NATO und der Wes­ten sind Schuld an der aktu­el­len Kri­se. Hät­ten sie sich an ihre Ver­spre­chen gehal­ten, die Alli­anz nicht zu erwei­tern, wür­de Russ­land sich nicht bedroht fühlen.“
Falsch. Solch ein Ver­spre­chen wur­de nie­mals gege­ben und auch nicht von der NATO gefor­dert. Rus­si­sche Staats­me­di­en haben oft behaup­tet, dem sowje­ti­schen Prä­si­den­ten Michail Gor­bat­schow wäre „münd­lich“ ver­spro­chen wor­den, dass die NATO sich nicht über die Gren­zen des wie­der­ver­ein­ten Deutsch­lands hin­aus aus­wei­ten wür­de. In Wahr­heit hat Gor­bat­schow selbst die­se Behaup­tun­gen in einem Inter­view 2014 bestrit­ten und gesagt, dass „das The­ma einer ‚NATO-Erweiterung‘ über­haupt nicht bespro­chen wur­de und in den Jah­ren auch nicht auf­kam. Das sage ich mit vol­ler Ver­ant­wor­tung. Nicht ein ein­zi­ges ost­eu­ro­päi­sches Land hat das The­ma ange­spro­chen, nicht ein­mal, nach­dem der War­schau­er Pakt 1991 auslief.“

Die­se soge­nann­ten ver­ba­len Abkom­men sind rei­ne Fik­ti­on. Die NATO-Mitglieder haben nie poli­tisch oder recht­lich bin­den­de Ver­spre­chen gege­ben, die Alli­anz nicht über die Gren­zen des wie­der­ver­ein­ten Deutsch­lands hin­aus auszuweiten.

Die Behaup­tung, dass die NATO ver­spro­chen habe, sich nicht zu erwei­tern, ist eine fun­da­men­ta­le Fehl­dar­stel­lung der Natur der Alli­anz. Die NATO als Ver­tei­di­gungs­al­li­anz „ver­grö­ßert“ sich nicht im impe­ria­lis­ti­schen Sin­ne. Ent­schei­dun­gen über NATO-Mitgliedschaften lie­gen bei den ein­zel­nen Bewer­ber­län­dern und den aktu­el­len 30 NATO-Alliierten. Jeder sou­ve­rä­ne Staat kann sei­nen Weg selbst bestim­men und angren­zen­de Staa­ten – in die­sem Fall Russ­land – haben kein Recht einzuschreiten.

src: click

*Upbeat sigh* OMG, how beau­ti­ful… The intrinsic natu­re of the alli­an­ce. What a won­der­ful­ly poe­tic, nay - phi­lo­so­phi­cal argu­ment… --- Wait a minute!

This is the quo­te they are referencing.

Rus­sia Bey­ond the Head­lines: One of the key issu­es that has ari­sen in con­nec­tion with the events in Ukrai­ne is NATO expan­si­on into the East. Do you get the fee­ling that your Wes­tern part­ners lied to you when they were deve­lo­ping their future plans in Eas­tern Euro­pe? Why didn’t you insist that the pro­mi­ses made to you – par­ti­cu­lar­ly U.S. Secreta­ry of Sta­te James Baker’s pro­mi­se that NATO would not expand into the East – be legal­ly encoded? I will quo­te Baker: “NATO will not move one inch fur­ther east.”

Mikhail Gor­ba­chev: The topic of “NATO expan­si­on” was not dis­cus­sed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in tho­se years. I say this with full respon­si­bi­li­ty. Not a sin­ge Eas­tern Euro­pean coun­try rai­sed the issue, not even after the War­saw Pact cea­sed to exist in 1991. Wes­tern lea­ders didn’t bring it up, eit­her. Ano­t­her issue we brought up was dis­cus­sed: making sure that NATO’s mili­ta­ry struc­tures would not advan­ce and that addi­tio­nal armed for­ces from the alli­an­ce would not be deploy­ed on the ter­ri­to­ry of the then-GDR after Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­ti­on. Baker’s state­ment, men­tio­ned in your ques­ti­on, was made in that con­text. Kohl and [Ger­man Vice Chan­cellor Hans-Dietrich] Gen­scher tal­ked about it.

Ever­ything that could have been and nee­ded to be done to soli­di­fy that poli­ti­cal obli­ga­ti­on was done. And ful­fil­led. The agree­ment on a final sett­le­ment with Ger­ma­ny said that no new mili­ta­ry struc­tures would be crea­ted in the eas­tern part of the coun­try; no addi­tio­nal tro­ops would be deploy­ed; no wea­pons of mass dest­ruc­tion would be pla­ced the­re. It has been obser­ved all the­se years. So don’t por­tray Gor­ba­chev and the then-Soviet aut­ho­ri­ties as naï­ve peop­le who were wrap­ped around the West’s fin­ger. If the­re was naï­ve­té, it was later, when the issue aro­se. Rus­sia at first did not object.

The decisi­on for the U.S. and its allies to expand NATO into the east was decisi­ve­ly made in 1993. I cal­led this a big mista­ke from the very begin­ning. It was defi­ni­te­ly a vio­la­ti­on of the spi­rit of the state­ments and assuran­ces made to us in 1990. With regards to Ger­ma­ny, they were legal­ly ensh­ri­ned and are being observed.

src: click

I then dug up an inter­view with Nina Khrush­che­va that goes into more details.

Inter­view­er: And exp­lain the histo­ry of US pro­mi­ses to rus­sia around not expan­ding NATO.

Krush­che­va: Well, thats a… the­res a lot of deba­te going on about this. Appar­ent­ly James Baker in 1990 tal­king with then for­eign minis­ter Edu­ard She­vard­nad­ze, the soviet for­eign minis­ter, did say that [NATO] wouldnt push one inch bey­ond the cur­rent bor­ders. Then the ques­ti­on of cour­se… They were tal­king about east ger­ma­ny and uni­fi­ca­ti­on of ger­ma­ny after 89, after the Ber­lin wall fell. […] But they were tal­king about east ger­ma­ny that it wouldnt go fur­ther and actual­ly, we’­ve seen that ger­ma­ny in fact keeps that pro­mi­se. So it is ques­tion­ab­le… They may have meant the who­le Nato expan­si­on, but may­be they only meant ger­ma­ny. I think the more important part is the con­ver­sa­ti­on bet­ween Bill Clin­tons secreta­ry of sta­te, War­ren Chris­to­pher and Boris Jel­zin, when then the­re cer­tain­ly was a pro­mi­se that it wouldnt go - at least not in Jel­zins time - as Clin­ton put it to Jel­zin. But of cour­se Jel­zin wasnt plea­sed, but he couldnt do anything at the time and as we know in 98, the­re was a decisi­on by US con­gress that the expan­si­on could hap­pen, but once again Clin­ton said, its not going to hap­pen in your time. So thats why the Rus­si­ans now, when they are cal­ling for the arran­ge­ment of 97, they talk about that very moment in 1998, when the US Con­gress deci­ded that Nato could expand.

src: click

Then lets look at the docu­ments released sur­roun­ding the talks bet­ween Baker and She­vard­nad­ze - the natio­nal secu­ri­ty archi­ve is very hel­pful in that regard, sim­ply summerizing -

Washing­ton D.C., Decem­ber 12, 2017 – U.S. Secreta­ry of Sta­te James Baker’s famous “not one inch east­ward” assuran­ce about NATO expan­si­on in his mee­ting with Soviet lea­der Mikhail Gor­ba­chev on Febru­a­ry 9, 1990, was part of a cas­ca­de of assuran­ces about Soviet secu­ri­ty given by Wes­tern lea­ders to Gor­ba­chev and other Soviet offi­cials throughout the pro­cess of Ger­man uni­fi­ca­ti­on in 1990 and on into 1991, accord­ing to declas­si­fied U.S., Soviet, Ger­man, Bri­tish and French docu­ments pos­ted today by the Natio­nal Secu­ri­ty Archi­ve at Geor­ge Washing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).

The docu­ments show that mul­ti­ple natio­nal lea­ders were con­si­de­ring and rejec­ting Cen­tral and Eas­tern Euro­pean mem­bers­hip in NATO as of ear­ly 1990 and through 1991, that dis­cus­sions of NATO in the con­text of Ger­man uni­fi­ca­ti­on nego­tia­ti­ons in 1990 were not at all nar­row­ly limi­ted to the sta­tus of East Ger­man ter­ri­to­ry, and that sub­se­quent Soviet and Rus­si­an com­p­laints about being mis­led about NATO expan­si­on were foun­ded in writ­ten con­tem­pora­ne­ous mem­cons and tel­cons at the hig­hest levels. 

The docu­ments rein­for­ce for­mer CIA Direc­tor Robert Gates’s cri­ti­cism of “pres­sing ahead with expan­si­on of NATO east­ward [in the 1990s], when Gor­ba­chev and others were led to belie­ve that wouldn’t hap­pen.”[1] The key phra­se, but­tres­sed by the docu­ments, is “led to believe.”

src: click

So whats that stran­ge over­spe­ci­fic non deni­al deni­al doing on a debun­king site, that seems to be affi­lia­ted with the Euro­pean Action Ser­vice Press Team, but then also not in an offi­cial capacity?

Debun­king the debun­kers. Might beco­me a new trend…

This is how wes­tern pro­pa­gan­da works? (Unsu­re, actually…)

edit: Also the­re are stran­ge, obvious con­tent errors on the site as well, like the fol­lowing state­ment: “Mitt­ler­wei­le ist die Ukrai­ne der größ­te Han­dels­part­ner der EU mit einem Han­dels­an­teil von über 40 %.” The whois names the regis­trant as Vade­ar Con­sul­ting, based in Bel­gi­um. Accord­ing to b2bhint ano­t­her com­pa­ny of the foun­ders (TIPIK) is using a com­mon address also used by about 50 other com­pa­nies, situa­ted in Brussels (amongst them finan­cial and law agen­ci­es), and the com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on con­sul­ting com­pa­ny is by far not the only enter­pri­se the foun­ders have boot­strap­ped. Ano­t­her com­pa­ny they are run­ning from the same address mind you - is a sub­si­dia­ry of an IT solu­ti­ons pro­vi­der, acti­ve in twel­ve coun­tries. Make of that what you will. 🙂

edit2: Ah Der Spie­gel caught that as well - via fefe:

Bonns Ver­tre­ter Jür­gen Chro­bog erklär­te damals laut Ver­merk: „Wir haben in den Zwei-plus-Vier-Verhandlungen deut­lich gemacht, dass wir die Nato nicht über die Elbe hin­aus aus­deh­nen. Wir kön­nen daher Polen und den ande­ren kei­ne Nato-Mitgliedschaft anbieten.“
Auch Bri­ten, Fran­zo­sen und Ame­ri­ka­ner lehn­ten eine Nato-Mitgliedschaft der Ost­eu­ro­pä­er ab. US-Vertreter Ray­mond Seitz sag­te: „Wir haben gegen­über der Sowjet­uni­on klar­ge­macht – bei Zwei-plus-Vier- wie auch ande­ren Gesprä­chen –, dass wir kei­nen Vor­teil aus dem Rück­zug sowje­ti­scher Trup­pen aus Ost­eu­ro­pa zie­hen wer­den.“ Zwei Jah­re spä­ter kor­ri­gier­ten die Ame­ri­ka­ner ihre Politik.

ori­gi­nal src: click and click

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