US and NATO are Playing with Fire

Rodolfo Bueno
Since the ill-fated 9/11, the world has changed for the worse, power in the West was taken over by an elitist, mediocre and arrogant sector, which squandered more than seven trillion dollars in predatory wars that have brought the planet to the brink of the grave.

The worst thing is that it intends to continue governing as if nothing had changed and it is still the owner and master of the planet, without repenting for the stupid things it has done.

One of them comes to mind. In 1990, the West promised Gorbachev that if the Soviet Union allowed the reunification of Germany, NATO would not expand an inch to the East. Since then it has broken its word on numerous occasions: in 1999 it incorporated Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic; in 2004, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania; in 2009, Albania and Croatia; in 2017, Montenegro, despite massive protests against such a decision by the population of that country; and in 2020, North Macedonia. In 2008, NATO agreed that Ukraine would join its ranks, although it did not specify the date or how it would do so.

Russia’s position

For these and other reasons, President Putin posited: “The buildup of U.S. and NATO military groupings immediately near Russia’s borders, as well as the conduct of large-scale, even unplanned, exercises, is of great concern” and proposed to start negotiations to work out binding agreements that would ensure the security of all, that would exclude any NATO advance eastward and the deployment of lethal weapons in countries neighboring Russia, primarily in Ukraine, a country that since June 2016 proclaims NATO membership as the primary goal of its foreign policy, despite the fact that, in order to obtain separation from the USSR, it accepted a ban on joining any military alliance.

Putin demanded credible guarantees that NATO will not place attack missiles near the borders of his country, said that Russia will behave just as the US would behave in case of installation of offensive weapons near its borders, so “if on the territory of Ukraine appear attack weapons that reach Moscow in 7-10 minutes, and in 5 minutes in the case of hypersonic weapons, we will have to create something similar against those who threaten us” and informed that Russia has the technical capability to neutralize this danger.

He also said that these negotiations should not degenerate into inconsequential talk, so he expects concrete agreements to the concerns raised, and noted that Russia reserves the right to respond with appropriate military-technical measures to hostile steps by the US. And, as if to be heard well in Washington, he added that “our actions will not depend on the course of negotiations, but on the unconditional guarantee of Russia’s security and that even if the US were to provide legal guarantees on security, they would not be very reliable, since that country easily abandons agreements.”

According to the draft for an agreement on security guarantees, which Moscow wants to reach with the US and NATO, published by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Putin proposed that both sides confirm that they do not consider each other enemies, commit to peacefully resolve their disputes and refrain from the use of force or the threat of its use in all ways incompatible with UN objectives, so as to reduce existing geopolitical tensions; that NATO should give guarantees of non-enlargement to the east, not admit into the alliance states that were members of the USSR and not deploy strike forces near Russian borders; that neither the USA nor Russia should install armaments or military forces outside their territories, where the other considers them a threat to its security, even if such installation is made in the framework of international coalitions or military alliances; that a commitment should be reached not to deploy nuclear weapons outside their borders and to eliminate the infrastructure made for this purpose.

Legal guarantees of non-aggression against Russia

On January 10, negotiations between Russia and the USA were held in Geneva; on January 12, in Brussels, the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council and the following day in Vienna the dialogue within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe took place, without any positive results in these meetings.

Sergey Riabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, after negotiating in Geneva with the US delegation, said, “We explained why it is an absolute imperative to obtain legal guarantees of non-expansion of NATO, why it is imperative that we obtain legal guarantees against deployment near Russian borders of strike forces, which could hit targets on our territory, and why we raised the issue of NATO largely abandoning material development of the territories of the states that joined NATO after 1997. We believe that it is absolutely necessary to ensure that Ukraine never becomes a member of NATO, and the same applies to Georgia.”

Alexander Grushko, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official, said, “They have two ways. The first is to take seriously what we put on the table, or to deal with a military-technical alternative,” and added that proposals on European security guarantees are necessary to engage in normal dialogue. “The moment of truth has arrived. In fact, we have arrived at a very dangerous line. And our proposals are aimed precisely at moving away from this dangerous line and finally entering into some kind of normal dialogue, in the priority of which will be security interests.” He stressed that Moscow has taken a step that it is impossible to ignore or simply surround with words, emphasized that his country possesses all the technical capabilities to ensure its military security and that NATO is currently engaged in trying to neutralize these advantages of Russia.

For Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, the position of the US and its allies is “to ensure dominance in Europe. They seek to create spearheads on Russia’s perimeter, military outposts, irritants along our borders”. He recommended everyone to read the Charter on European Security adopted in Istanbul in November 1999.

“Everything the West says and does today is a gross violation of the obligations undertaken on that date. Moreover, Russia categorically rejects the presence of the Atlantic Alliance right on our borders,” Lavrov said, so for Moscow Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be “a real red line,” even if, without joining NATO, Ukraine would allow on its territory the deployment of military bases of that organization. “Our philosophy has long been well known: Russia does not want a war, but we will firmly defend our security with the means we deem appropriate.”

Russia will respond according to what NATO does

President Putin gave several options in case the United States and NATO refuse to provide security guarantees to Russia: “The response can be very diverse. That depends on the proposals put to me by our military experts. Moscow’s future actions will depend not on the course of negotiations on security guarantees with the United States, but on the unconditionality of Russia’s security today and in the historical perspective.” In this regard, he made it clear that it is not Moscow that places missiles near the US borders, but the United States that is on Moscow’s doorstep. In particular, the US should not install offensive weapons neither in Ukraine nor in Russia’s neighboring countries.

It seems that the US and NATO behave stubbornly in rejecting the proposals put forward by Russia, belittle them, consider them unacceptable, announce that they will not allow an end to NATO’s open-door policy and will not make concessions on issues of the alliance’s enlargement and the deployment of forces to Eastern Europe; they also drag their feet, accusing Russia without evidence of preparing an invasion of Ukraine. It is therefore to be expected that they will respond negatively to Russian claims, which eliminates strategic stability between the two powers and is tantamount to playing with fire by putting world peace at risk.

What will happen when Russia responds symmetrically to those who threaten it and behaves in the same way as the US would behave in the event that any country installs lethal weapons near its borders? That the world is going to experience a danger similar or worse than that experienced during the Caribbean Crisis, because at that time there were revolutionary political forces that defended peace and, to a certain extent, stopped the aggressive hand of the circles of world power; today this is not so. In good time, the US no longer has the economic and military supremacy it had then. Hopefully, the political elite in Washington will become aware of this detail, analyze the Russian proposal point by point and avoid the possibility of a world hecatomb; otherwise, the question would not be: what is going to happen tomorrow, but is there going to be tomorrow?