NATO move to deter Russia foolish and dangerous

Penny Von Eschen, professor of history at Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences and expert in the Cold War, says NATO’s attempts to increase troops in Eastern Europe is at odds with both immediate and longer historical contexts.



Von Eschen says:

“Expanding NATO forces as a deterrent to Russia is foolish and dangerous and should be questioned in both immediate and longer historical contexts. 

“We need to ask to what extent the election year context has allowed hawks in the Defense Department and administration to advance their view that Russia is a ‘greater existential threat to the United States’ than terrorism. Russia has been a critical ally in the war on terrorism and an alliance with Russia is critical to combating terrorism.

“We must remember that in the late 1980s, when George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev declared the end of the Cold War, there was a clear understanding that NATO, an explicitly Cold War organization, would not expand, and certainly not to Russia’s borders. 

“Diplomatic solutions to tensions with Russia are possible – as an alternative to military buildup – but must be approached with a historically informed understanding of Russia’s defensiveness.”  


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