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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup