I was born in Canada when the Cold War was a reality; I remember the famous speech when USA President Ronald Reagan branded the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire” on March 8th, 1983.
Fast-forwarding history, I remember another speech by another USA President named Barack Obama to the United Nations in New York City on September 28th, 2015, regarding Russia, the USA and Ukraine.
These two speeches over thirty years apart give some idea of the thoughts of the American government and the American people concerning Russia and her neighbours. But what led to Russia going from an “Evil Empire” to a nation trying to grasp back territories and possible past glories.
As the machine gun fire echoes through the streets of numerous Ukrainian Cities, I am going to take you back to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. On November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed, as was the old Iron Curtain across Europe. How could German reunification occur without concerns of a Third German encouraged World War? Much of Europe asked this very question, as did the Soviet Union asked as well.
The solution was for NATO to be within all of Germany. NATO would be there to watch, teach and help avoid another war. The United States of America, with much diplomacy, was a vocal leader in this being achieved. Still, more quietly, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev’s reform policies made this all very much possible.
Did NATO promise not to expand further? This is still very much debated. Officially I cannot find any documents that suggest it was ever promised. An interesting article on RadioFreeEurope by Mike Eckel sheds some interesting light on this topic.
"The U.S.S.R. was never offered a formal guarantee on the limits of NATO expansion post-1990," John Lough, the research associate who authored the section, wrote. "Moscow merely distorts history to help preserve an anti-Western consensus at home."
“Nikolai Sokov, a former Russian diplomat who served in the Foreign Ministry in Moscow between 1987 and 1992, disagrees. "The Chatham House piece is very bad -- it sounds to be as a piece produced by the Ideology Department of the Central Committee" of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he told RFE/RL.
"We didn't have to come to this, though, and the issue could have remained a small script in history that does not need to be resolved," he said. "It is more about the manner of NATO enlargement and the arguments used to promote enlargement."
“In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Gorbachev complained that the West had tricked Moscow. "Many people in the West were secretly rubbing their hands and felt something like a flush of victory -- including those who had promised us: 'We will not move 1 centimetre further east,'" he was quoted as saying.”
THE PAST AND PRESENT COLLIDE.
It appears that Russia and the west are once again facing the possibilities of another version of a “Cold War,” except this time Ukraine and her people sit in the gun sites of the Russian Government and Military. .
There is never a justification for invading a neighbour, but maybe by understanding some of the underlining factors, just maybe, we can defuse the situation. But before true diplomacy can start, the guns must be silent, at least for the moment.
Possibly non-aligned nations could take up the peace process and provide true peace keeps as discussions go on. These nations cannot have been involved in sanctions (Justified or not). These nations cannot have provided military support to any nations involved in this conflict.
This could include nations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. Given a proper chance and some mutual understanding, and giving Ukraine can be spared more destruction, and the Russians can pull back, and their leadership have a chance to rethink their policies.
I suspect that a phone call from the USA President Biden to the Russian Leader Putin saying, "My God, I read all the old documents, and I can see how you might think this was planned, let's get to Geneva and talk this over before more brave Russian and Ukrainian men and women die."
If we open a door, a crack, chances are you might get the guest to come in. It is worth a try. Let's give peace and understanding a try before we destroy all that has been achieved.
A similar article exists on Medium
About the Creator
A Fifty something male that enjoys writing short stories, scripts and poetry. I have had many different types of work over my lifetime and consider myself fairly open minded and able to speak on many topics.