Der Spiegel discovers: NATO’s eastward expansion is a broken promise after all

18 Feb 2022 9:45 p.m

The Spiegel editors acted very surprised in view of a meeting transcript from 1991, in which a promise to Russia is actually mentioned not to expand NATO to the east. Although one hates to admit that the Russians are right, the truth has always been discoverable.

by Dagmar Henn

At once announced the mirror an archive find. There are documents showing that promises of non-expansion of NATO were part of the two-plus-four negotiations. This fact has been disputed by the western side for years; To date, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has said nothing about it. Now a US political scientist is said to have discovered a document in the British National Archives that supports the “Russian accusation”.

The memorandum to which the mirror quotes the German representative Jürgen Chrobog at a meeting “of the political directors of the foreign ministries of the USA, Great Britain, France and Germany in Bonn on March 6, 1991”. According to the memo, Chrobog said: “We made it clear in the two-plus-four negotiations that we are not expanding NATO beyond the Elbe. We can therefore not offer Poland and the others NATO membership.”

However, as everyone knows, Poland and the others were accepted into NATO, promises or not. And to crown the audacity, it was and is alternatively claimed that these assurances never existed or that they are not valid because they were not fixed in writing. As if it were about the purchase contract for a used car and not about global security.

However, sources have been available here in the West throughout this time, confirming these assurances. The supposed sensation of mirror so it’s none at all.

In his 2016 book “Mission Failure,” the American political scientist Michael Mandelbaum, who was after all an advisor to the Clinton administration, devoted an entire chapter to this promise and its breach, under the heading “Russia: The Evil Deed.” He describes Clinton’s decision to admit Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO, thereby breaking the promise to Russia, as the decisive geostrategic mistake in US policy in recent decades.

According to him, it was Bill Clinton himself who single-handedly decided to walk away from the pledge without consulting his Secretary of Defense – who would have opposed it – or even involving the entire cabinet. The real reason for this decision, according to Mandelbaum, was of a domestic nature. “Americans, whose roots lay in the prospective new member countries, lobbied for their inclusion in the alliance. Republican politicians, wanting to confirm their reputation for foreign policy clout that had served them so well during the Cold War, pressed for enlargement.” For example, Clinton wanted to secure the votes of Polish-born US voters.

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Mandelbaum not only confirms the existence of these commitments. He also writes: “Russia accepted NATO expansion because it had no choice. It lacked the political or economic strength to stop it, and military resistance was out of the question. But the Russians have never viewed this expansion as fair, legitimate or… actually seen as anything other than a betrayal of Western promises and an assault on Russian rights and interests.” All political tendencies in Russia agree on this.

In addition, Mandelbaum is definitely an advocate of US aspirations for power, not their opponent. One cannot accuse him of being hostile to the West. Nor is he the only source to confirm that the pledge to Russia actually existed. And yet the historically clearly incorrect version had become so successful over time that the mirror now praises the evidence of historical truth as if he had discovered a lost Bach cantata.

The question that arises, however, is rather: Why? Or: why now? It is clear that for real development of relations with Russia in a more peaceful direction, public perception needs to be corrected, certain historical facts need to be reconsidered. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and a U-turn of the transatlantic assault gun mirror cannot yet be recognized in the supposed discovery. Maybe it was just about polishing up your own image a bit. The future will tell.

RT DE strives for a broad range of opinions. Guest posts and opinion pieces do not have to reflect the editor’s point of view.

more on the subject – Vladimir Putin’s second speech – or: 15 years after the Munich Security Conference in 2007

RT DE strives for a broad range of opinions. Guest posts and opinion pieces do not have to reflect the editor’s point of view.


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