03:13 GMT30 October 2020
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    In the 30 years since US Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” verbal commitment to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990 not to expand NATO beyond German lands, the alliance has swallowed up every member of the former Warsaw Pact, along with half a dozen former Soviet and Yugoslav republics.

    NATO broke all of the promises it made to Moscow, encouraged by the ‘blindness’ of Soviet leaders, Die Linke lawmaker and Bundestag Defence Committee member Alexander Neu, has stated.

    In an op-ed regarding the upcoming Defender 2020 Europe drills, touted by NATO as the largest US deployment in Europe in 25 years, the opposition lawmaker argued that the alleged ‘Russian threat’ which the drills are meant to deter was imaginary, and that NATO is the side acting like the real aggressor.

    Taking a retrospective look into the foreign and security policy developments in Europe over the past three decades which have led to the current impasse, Neu recalled that while Western leaders appeared to show support for General Secretary Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ about a common security policy in the Euro-Atlantic area ‘from Vladivostok to Vancouver’, their support proved superficial.

    “With the end of the Cold War, German unification, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West was suddenly seen as the winner of the confrontation. All ideas about a collective understanding and common security were swept aside. The promises made by the United States during negotiations on German unity stipulating that NATO would not expand beyond Germany if the Soviet Union accepted a united Germany turned out to be a lie and a fraud,” the lawmaker argued.

    According to Neu, “the Soviet side,” for its part, “proved to be blinded and refrained from asking for a contractual promise – this was an unforgivable mistake made by the then increasingly incapable Soviet leadership under Gorbachev.”
    Talks between Mikhail Gorbachev and US Secretary of State James Baker. 1990.
    © Sputnik / Sergey Guneev
    Talks between Mikhail Gorbachev and US Secretary of State James Baker. 1990.

    The rest is history, the German opposition lawmaker wrote, with NATO beginning its eastward expansion in 1999, and the process continuing ever since. “Even post-Soviet republics were admitted into the alliance. Protests by the Russian side against these gains in security policy, contrary to the 1990 US commitment, have been and will continue to be coolly brushed aside,” Neu noted.

    Ultimately, Neu suggested that amid the ongoing tensions between the West and Russia, whether over Ukraine, Georgia or Syria, instead of trying to take de-escalatory steps, the self-proclaimed winners of the Cold War “continue to claim their right to the geostrategic loot,” with Russia portrayed as an aggressor which has insolently refused to remain subordinate to the ‘New World Order’ proclaimed by George H.W. Bush.

    “In short: NATO is moving its military infrastructure further and further toward Russia’s borders, breaking the promise it made in 1990. And Russia’s reactions to these offensive actions by the US-led alliance are called aggression and threats. This is the wrong perception, but unfortunately is also widespread among most media and journalists in the West, who are full of conviction that we are the good guys. And since Russia is no longer willing to stand by and watch the geopolitics and imperialism-driven policies of the US and its vassals, NATO countries are massively increasing military spending (to 2 percent of GDP) and training as close to Russia’s borders as possible to show who is in charge.”

    The Defender 2020 Europe drills were another demonstration of this, Neu noted, but promised that he, as a lawmaker, and member of the Bundestag Defence Committee, would “call for resistance” to the drills.

    Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, based in Fort Bliss, Texas, arrives at the airport Tegel in Berlin, Thursday, March 21, 2019
    © AP Photo / Dorothee Thiesing
    Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, based in Fort Bliss, Texas, arrives at the airport Tegel in Berlin, Thursday, March 21, 2019

    The Defender 2020 drills are expected to kick off in February and will continue until August, and will involve the participation of about 37,000 troops from 18 countries.

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