Letter: Nato marches east into a great blunder

Share
Letter: Nato marches east into a great blunder

Sir: "Nato's planned expansion is not inherently threatening to Russia. Given the right circumstances, it should go ahead." So writes Tony Barber ("Forget the Bear, look to the Balkans", 6 February).

Russia does see Nato enlargement as "inherently threatening" - and a betrayal of commitments made by John Major and James Baker at the time of German unification. Clearly "circumstances" aren't right now, but without a proper European security architecture in place, they never will be.

George Kennan is only the latest in a row of British and American former ambassadors to Moscow to warn that "expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would be the most fateful blunder of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era" (International Herald Tribune, 6 February, reprinted from the New York Times).

That President Clinton gave promises to Polish and Czech constituencies in the US during his electoral campaign does not bind the rest of us to commit a great folly.

The antagonism the proposal is giving rise to is preventing most of Europe's real problems being addressed. Of which one is, as Tony Barber points out, the future of the Balkans - on which side of a new iron curtain would they fall? Above all, "Nato enlargement" is not free-standing: it is messing up most of the existing and intended arms-control treaties; it is related to, but so far un-coordinated with, European Union expansion; it is likely to be very expensive, but its funding has not been considered; above all, it belongs within the European security framework that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe provides.

President Chirac, returning from his visit to Mr Yeltsin, has suggested a five-power summit meeting in April for the leaders of the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Russia to discuss Europe's future security system. Which sounds right. Our common European future cannot properly be left in Mr Clinton's hands alone: for that he has, and can have, no democratic mandate.

ELIZABETH YOUNG

London W2

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Testing Manager

£30000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

£17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ope...

Recruitment Genius: Pricing & Purchasing Analyst

£15000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest independent ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A young person in the UK is now twice as likely to be poor as a pensioner  

Britain is no country for the young – in jobs, income or housing

Ben Chu
LaGuardia Airport: a relic from a different, gentler age  

New York's LaGuardia Airport to be rebuilt: It could become the best gateway to America

Simon Calder
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash