Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Not One Inch Eastward

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

It turns out the Russians have a reason to be upset about the expansion of NATO.  And this isn’t from some libertarian nut-job (like bionic mosquito) or non-interventionist outfit (like The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity). 

Before getting to some of the evidence, just what is “the National Security Archive at George Washington University”?

Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents ("the world's largest nongovernmental collection" according to the Los Angeles Times), leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets.

The documents provide evidence that assurances were offered by western leaders at the highest level: Bush, Thatcher, Major, and Mitterand are but a few examples.  In other words, a Mt. Rushmore of liars.

Some excerpts:

·        The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.”
·        President George H.W. Bush had assured Gorbachev during the Malta summit in December 1989 that the U.S. would not take advantage…of the revolutions in Eastern Europe to harm Soviet interests…
·        The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990…
·        The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear “that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an ‘impairment of Soviet security interests.’
·        …the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east.
·        The conversations before Kohl’s assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification.
·        Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev.
·        Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting.

It gets better (or worse, I suppose) as you go through the article.

The National Security Archive identifies and includes 30 different documents as evidence for this post, for example: 

·        Document 05: Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
·        Document 12-1: Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
·        Document 14: Memorandum of conversation between George Bush and Eduard Shevardnadze in Washington.
·        Document 18: Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
·        Document 21: Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D.C.
·        Document 29: Paul Wolfowitz Memoranda of Conversation with Vaclav Havel and Lubos Dobrovsky in Prague.

This last document is interesting, as it offers a glimpse into one of the real enemies of peace in this world.  From the summary:

Havel informs [Wolfowitz] that Soviet Ambassador Kvitsinsky was in Prague negotiating a bilateral agreement, and the Soviets wanted the agreement to include a provision that Czechoslovakia would not join alliances hostile to the USSR. Wolfowitz advises both Havel and Dobrovsky not to enter into such agreements…

It’s the Ninth Circle for you.

The National Security Archive promises a second part to their analysis; it will cover the Yeltsin discussions with Western leaders about NATO…over vodka, I imagine.


Well, Baker never said anything about two inches eastward.  Anyway, technically these assurances were given to the Soviets, not the Russians.

The key phrase, buttressed by the documents, is “led to believe.”

I guess too bad for the Russkies…and too bad for world peace.

“Oh, but it wasn’t a treaty.”

As if a treaty would have stopped the empire.


  1. Yet for years its been the standard answer of the US government and various neo-cons and neo-libs that no such assurances were given. Usually any question along these lines was dismissed with a laugh.

    Just add this to all the other lies concerning US policy.

  2. Few people in the West understand how we mistreated Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, and not just on a geopolitical level. Western advisers went to Russia and gave terrible advice on how to de-socialize the Russian economy, and that imposed a terrible human cost on the Russian population with millions dying and many more in utter destitution. Coincidentally, people that had the same ethnicity of many of these advisers became known as "oligarchs" that plundered most of Russia's remaining wealth.

    We could have befriended Russia and brought them into a friendly alliance. Instead we stabbed them in the back.

  3. Here is a link to the story "How Harvard Lost Russia" which talks about advisers hired by the US government cheating the Russians

  4. "...Russian population with millions dying and many more in utter destitution."

    I've not read anything about this. Would you provide me with a link to an article or book where you've discovered this?

    1. "between 1992 and 2000, the number of "surplus deaths" in Russia....was between five and six million."

    2. Thank you for the linked article. I don't know much about this period in Russian history, so I appreciate any new info I can get.

      I only have two comments after reading this article.

      "In the period from 1992 to 1998, the Russian gross domestic product fell by half. This did not happen even under Nazi occupation." - Mr. Satter

      Any GDP numbers for the Russian economy under Soviet Rule are extremely unreliable. Yuri Maltsev, a former Soviet economist and currently a Senior Mises Fellow, has done a good job exposing this. I realize 1992 Russia was not Soviet, but this was still pretty close to Soviet times and the economic data available may have still been subject to the same or a comparable degree of manipulation.

      "Democracy implies the rule of law that did not exist under Yeltsin." - Mr. Satter

      Democracy is revolution in permanence. It is the rule of lawyers and legislators as opposed to law. Law is not something that should change every election season.

      See "Myth of the Rule of Law" for more.

    3. The key point is the numbers of Russians who died. A toll of 5 to 6 million is a literal holocaust in just a few years

    4. If that is true that is a crazy amount of untimely deaths. These deaths associated with the collapse of the Soviet regime reminds me of a book I just became aware of, though I have not read it. It is called "Sick from Freedom" and it details how about a million former black slaves became terribly sick or died after the emancipation of the War of Northern Aggression.

      I think when people are enslaved, to whatever degree, they lose a part of themselves. If somebody feeds you everyday like a dog your whole life, you may forget how to feed yourself. Perhaps this explains some of the deaths upon the emancipation of the Russians.

    5. This thought may outrage you. It is possible Yeltsin caused more deaths of Russians than did Stalin and over a shorter time period. Historian Timothy Snyder estimates the Stalinist regime caused 6 to 9 million deaths of civilians. But remember Stalin ruled over the entire USSR while Yeltsin ruled only in Russia.

    6. Six - nine million for Stalin? This is far lower than every estimate I have seen.

      Something like 6 million in Ukraine from the famine alone; and we haven't even come to the Gulag, purge, etc.


  5. "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
    who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
    who rules the World-Island commands the world."
    (Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, p. 150)

    1. Mackinder's "Heartland Theory" both predicted and explains virtually every war outside of South America since the day he gave the presentation more than 100 years ago.

      It is my working theory until someone shows me a better one.

    2. I've only just been introduced to Mackinder's theory, so I am not speaking from any position of authority or conviction, but could it be that the theory works better as a guide to understanding what motivated the wars rather than it does as a theory itself?

      Put differently, maybe in reality it doesn't really matter who controls the 'Heartland' of the Eurasian landmass, but if the heads of the nations believe control of this area is vital to world domination, then perhaps they will wage wars over the control of it nonetheless.

      Maybe this is a sort of early 20th century geopolitical compliment to the later Cold War politico-economic rationale for war against the Soviets. Just as the latter argument was flawed (Russian socialism was not an economic powerhouse, nor was it any more aggressive than Western democratic states), and yet it 'justified' a massive socio-political shift towards centralized power into the hands of the American state, perhaps Mackinder's theory was designed for just the same reason at the turn of the century for Great Britain.

      Or perhaps this was at the heart of the theory you've been speaking of recently concerning British elites shifting power to America?

      Congrats on getting an acclaim by Hoppe. You deserve it.

    3. ATL, thanks for the congrats. The more I read of Hoppe the less it is I decide that I know. We are blessed that he found his way to Rothbard.

      I am not sure that I am fully understanding the distinction you are making regarding Mackinder's theory. Please clarify.

      It is in this context that I see the elites found in America a tool that Britain would not be able to provide - nor compete with.

      I have not fully flushed out the following in my mind - likely won't happen until I decide to write a full piece on, be patient...and kind!

      I do believe that it doesn't matter who controls the Heartland; I believe it isn't so much that who controls it will control the world.

      I think the wealth of the world is in the Heartland - people and resources - the vast majority of both is there waiting to be controlled. Who controls the Heartland controls the wealth.

      The problem is this: he who is strong enough to control the Heartland will be unable to extract the wealth; he who is benevolent and wise enough to extract the wealth will be unable to control the Heartland.

      In other words: to extract the full potential, the occupants and the occupiers must be reasonably free. Neither has been - nor seems likely to become - very true for this least not since the days of the Silk Roads.

    4. "I do believe that it doesn't matter who controls the Heartland; I believe it isn't so much that who controls it will control the world."

      It seems we are on the same page. I was trying to make the case that maybe Mackinder's theory itself is false (i.e. who controls the heartland does not control the world), but that it did provide the Western Imperialist powers with an intelligent sounding and sufficiently urgent reason to wage war on Germany and to foment destabilizing social turmoil within Tzarist Russia.

      Learning about Mackinder's theory makes me wonder if the strange capital of Astana in Kazakhstan has anything to do with it. The place is a like an Western elite (occult) wonderland in the middle of Mackinder's heartland. Have you ever heard of this place?

      The most ominous Astana landmark to my mind is the pyramid called the 'Palace of Peace and Reconciliation' that "was specially constructed to host the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions" (from Wikipedia). This place is built like a staging ground for the dream of Western elite world domination.

      "to extract the full potential, the occupants and the occupiers must be reasonably free. Neither has been - nor seems likely to become - very true for this region"

      I totally agree. The Russian culture is part of the problem as well. They are prone to what Carl Jung called mass mind behavior. Their shedding of religion under Communism would fit Carl Jung's diagnosis of modern man's neurosis and lack of completeness which makes him vulnerable to totalitarianism. I think the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox church is a good thing for them.

    5. ATL

      I am not as familiar with the history of Central Asia as I am with that of the West and Middle East.

      I have read and written on a couple of books on the region. You can find what I have written if you check the Bibliography tab at the top.

      The first, and most relevant, is by Peter Frankopan; the second by James C. Scott. The books in the Bibliography are listed alphabetically by author.

  6. Is it bragging for the BM to refer to himself as a "libertarian nut-job (like bionic mosquito)" in his own article?

    1. Nope, just bringing myself back down to earth after what Hoppe said about bionic mosquito (oh, there I go again)!


  7. The former members of the USSR will deserve to be on the front lines of NATO's world war.