In an almost universally ignored speech by Putin, on December 1st (titled “Ceremony for presenting foreign ambassadors’ letters of credence”), he said, merely as an aside [and I here shall add clarifications in brackets]:
By the way, the threat on our western border [he was referring mainly to Ukraine] is really growing, and we have mentioned it many times. It is enough to see how close NATO military infrastructure has moved to Russia’s borders. This is more than serious for us. [He meant that it is an existential threat against Russia, just as the Soviet Union’s placement of nuclear weapons in Cuba would have been an existential threat to America in 1963. But he always tries to be non-alarmist, because his real audience regarding such matters is the people who control U.S. foreign policies, and he doesn’t want to draw the public’s attention to matters of existential consequence between the superpowers.]
In this situation, we are taking appropriate military-technical measures. But, I repeat, we are not threatening anyone and it is at the very least irresponsible to accuse us of this, given the real state of affairs. This would mean laying the blame at the wrong door, as the Russian saying goes.
In my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I already stressed that the priority facing Russian diplomacy at this juncture is to try to ensure that Russia is granted reliable and long-term security guarantees.
While engaging in dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on the elaboration of concrete agreements that would rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory. We suggest that substantive talks on this topic should be started.
I would like to note in particular that we need precisely legal, juridical guarantees, because our Western colleagues have failed to deliver on verbal commitments they made. Specifically, everyone is aware of the assurances they gave verbally that NATO would not expand to the east. But they did absolutely the opposite in reality. In effect, Russia’s legitimate security concerns were ignored and they continue to be ignored in the same manner even now.
We are not demanding any special terms for ourselves. We understand that any agreements must take into account the interests of both Russia and all other states in the Euro-Atlantic region. A calm and stable situation should be ensured for everyone and is needed by all without exception.
That said, I would like to stress that Russia is interested precisely in constructive collaboration and in equitable international cooperation, and this remains the central tenet of Russian foreign policy. I hope that you will convey this signal to the leaders of your states.
He was referring there to the fact that the U.S. Government — which had, in 2013, been planning to replace Russia’s largest naval base, which had long been on Crimea, and to transform it into yet another U.S. naval base, and which U.S. Government, since 2011, had been planning and then in February 2014 actually perpetrated a coup in Ukraine so as to have a new Ukrainian government which would join NATO and allow America to position U.S. nuclear weapons less than a ten-minute flight-time away from nuking Moscow — that this U.S. Government had broken its repeated verbal promises to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that if the Soviet Union would end its side of the Cold War, then America would do likewise, and NATO would not expand “one inch to the east” (toward Russia’s border).
Putin has many times expressed his regret that the Soviet Union had agreed to quit (in 1991) the Cold War without getting ironclad commitments from the U.S. to simultaneously do the same on its side. However, this new speech from Putin (as was so brilliantly pointed out by the great geostrategic analyst Alexander Mercouris in this recent video from him — starting at 9:55 in that video) is entirely new from Russia: “The Russians have never actually set out their position on NATO’s eastward expansion in this way. They have never previously, at any point since the end of the Cold War [on Russia’s side — America never left the Cold War], or even, by the way during the Cold War, said that they now insist that there is to be in effect an international treaty which will limit the expansion of NATO eastward and which will reduce NATO military forces in areas close to Russia’s borders. The fact that Putin is talking in this way is a sign of growing Russian confidence. … (18:35) For the first time, since the end of the Cold War [on Russia’s side], it is the Russians who are now making demands of The West [the U.S. regime and its satellite states or colonies — ‘allies’]. They are saying that they now want legal guarantees that NATO’s expansion eastward [i.e., closer to Russia’s border] must stop. What they are saying is that they will not tolerate NATO expansion into places like Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and the rest, and that they insist that there must be a treaty agreed by the Western powers, that that will not happen. They also want some form of treaty which will restrict the deployment of Western military systems close to Russia’s borders. The Russians have never made this sort of demand before, but they are making it now. … It speaks of a major belief in Russian self-confidence. … Putin, in that speech which he made, at the Russian Foreign Ministry — a speech which, to my mind is going to become one of the most important speeches of the Cold War era — is going to become gradually understood to mark a fundamental break in Russian foreign policy. … until the point is finally reached, when the NATO powers, the Western powers, finally accept that the Russians have fundamental security interests in Eastern Europe, and negotiate in earnest to acknowledge those [as Khrushchev did with JFK in October 1963 regarding Cuba]. … It may take five years, it might take ten years; it might take even longer than that. But in time that negotiation … will take place, and an agreement will be reached; or, alternatively, there will be something far more dramatic.”
Mercouris’s statement got me to wondering why Putin would be demanding, now, after all of these decades when he wasn’t, that the lying promises that George Herbert Walker Bush’s representatives had been making to Gorbachev and to his representatives, that the U.S. and its allies had no goal of conquering Russia if the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw-Pact copy of America’s NATO military alliance, all would end, and that NATO would then NOT expand closer to Russia’s border, turned out to have been lies (by G.H.W. Bush) that were clearly demonstrated by all subsequent U.S. Presidents to have been lies. WHY would Putin now want those lies to be signed by the U.S. Government and its vassal-nations, after the U.S. regime’s entire record ever since the end of WW II has been one of lying? Why would he want the U.S. signature being now placed on those promises? It’s a worthless signature, entirely untrustworthy, isn’t it? Look at what the U.S. regime did to the START Treaty, Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and to so many other Treaties that it had signed-onto — unilaterally trashed them, by unilaterally abandoning the Agreement on its side. What would actually be to be gained by such a trashy signature — a signature from a nation whose trustworthiness has been so conclusively disproven?
Maybe Putin’s strategy is to get it in writing (though the U.S. routinely cancels its international agreements and therefore its “signature” is meaningless), in order subsequently to announce that if and when the U.S. ever violates what it had signed (and this follow-up by Russia will then automatically make the signed Agreement effectively inviolable-noncancellable), then, at that moment, both the full force of the Russian (and maybe also of the Chinese) nuclear forces that are targeted against the snake’s head (D.C., NYC, London, Toronto, Canberra, and Israel) will be promptly unleashed. That would be an unannounced and unwarned first-strike nuclear attack against the snake’s head. Then Russia (and maybe also China) will wait for any possible counter-attack (body-twitches from the snake) before unleashing a second unannounced nuclear attack, which would be against and destroying all nations that had participated in that counterstrike against those participating U.S.-allied nations’ counter-attack.
If that is the reason why he is now demanding that the promise be put in writing, then I think that he was correct to assert what he said. Indeed: what OTHER geostrategy from a Russian (and perhaps also from a Chinese) leader who has been placed (by that snake) into such an existentially precarious position, would make any sense, at all?
(I say this in full recognition that any WW III would produce nuclear winter and terminate all human life and perhaps all life on this planet; however, the U.S. regime, ever since at least 2006, has been planning to ‘win’ such a war; and the only way that Russia and China might possibly be able to deter such insanity would be for them to pursue a very clear path forward that includes the real possibility of their initiating the nuclear stage of the conflict. The U.S. — including NATO — regime’s rabidly neoconservative presumptions are that it will scare its opponents into ultimately complying with the regime’s imperialistic demands. If a slave is about to be killed by its master, then its only choice — if any — is to kill its master in the process, regardless whether that will save the slave’s life. If this is the only way to end imperialism, then still it must be done, and the side that issues the first-strike will be on the right side of it, and the imperialist opponent will be on the wrong side of it. The slave who kills its master is in the right, because the slave-master is always on the wrong side of the relationship. My next book, due out soon, will be about this, and will be titled America’s Empire of Evil.)
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.