NATO Increasingly Surrounds the ‘Russian Threat’

Eric Zuesse

On Saturday, April 18th, the Commander of  the U.S. Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, told Britain’s Telegraph  that “There is a Russian threat,” and that “The best insurance we have against a showdown is that NATO stands together.”

Ever since the Soviet Union’s military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, dissolved in 1991, NATO has expanded eastward to Russia’s borders, and now it is preparing to admit yet another nation on Russia’s border: Ukraine. This eastward expansion broke (and breaks, since it’s continuing) a verbal agreement which had produced the termination of the Warsaw Pact (the Soviet Union’s equivalent of America’s NATO alliance). 

In February 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent his Secretary of State, James Baker, to Moscow to negotiate with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev an end to the Cold War. According to Jack Matlock, the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union then, Baker offered Gorbachev the following deal: “Assuming there is no expansion of NATO jurisdiction to the East, not one inch, what would you prefer, a Germany embedded in NATO, or one that can go independently in any direction it chooses.” 

Baker knew that Russia, after Hitler’s invasion of Russia in June 1941 (“Operation Barbarossa”), feared, more than anything, the possibility that an independent Germany would build a nuclear-weapons force and use it against Russia. According to Ray McGovern’s account of the meeting, Gorbachev “wasted little time agreeing to the deal.”

McGovern, a retired high official of the CIA, blames U.S. President Bill Clinton for breaking that verbal agreement. Gorbachev had gotten nothing in writing from Baker on it, but acted on Baker’s verbal promise. No one has explained why, but the presumption has always been that Baker made clear to Gorbachev that congressional Republicans would have blocked approval of any deal to limit future NATO expansion. Hardly anyone, at that time, would have expected a Democratic Party initiative to expand NATO after its supposed reason-for-existence had ended; but, this is what happened, when the conservative, pro-Wall-Street, Democrat, Bill Clinton, won the White House. (Bill Clinton ended Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall Act regulation of Wall Street, and then, aided by Wall Street, became enormously wealthy himself with his Foundation. He used liberal rhetoric to hide his conservative objectives, so as to be able to win votes in the Democratic Party.) 

McGovern writes, “Clinton bragged about proposing NATO enlargement at his first NATO summit in 1994, saying it ‘should enlarge steadily, deliberately, openly.’ He never explained why.”

This move on Clinton’s part assured Clinton, in retirement, the support of his Foundation not only by Wall Street but also now by the ‘defense’ industry, for which NATO serves as the international marketing arm. Expanding NATO means expanding the sales of U.S.-made tanks, bombers, etc.

So: this is the reason why the U.S. lied to Gorbachev, and why U.S. President Barack Obama in February 2014, continued further along Clinton’s path, by overthrowing the neutralist Ukrainian government and replacing it with a racist-fascist, or ideologically nazi, rabidly anti-Russian government, bent on Russia’s destruction, which has subsequently been bombing the region of Ukraine, Donbass, that had voted 90% for the man whom Obama overthrew, and that would, if the residents there survive within Ukraine, strongly oppose the construction of nuclear-weapons sites aimed against next-door Russia.

McGovern says: 

“Clinton’s tough-guy-ism toward Russia was, in part, a response to even more aggressive NATO plans from Clinton’s Republican opponent Bob Dole, who had been calling for incorporating Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary as full members of NATO and had accused Clinton of “dragging his feet” on this. Clinton was not about to be out-toughed. Those three countries joined NATO in 1999, starting a trend. By April 2009, nine more countries became members, bringing the post-Cold War additions to 12 – equal to the number of the original 12 NATO states.” Ukraine would make that 13.

Here is the percentage-breakdown of the nations that are selling the most weapons:

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.11.05 PM

The S&P Aerospace and Defense Index stood at 2,451.18 on 20 January 2009 when Obama was inaugurated, and is at 8,692.26 as of 17 April 2015. That’s 3.55 times what it was at the start. The S&P 500 Index on 20 January 2009 was at 805.22, and on 17 April 2015 was 2,081.18; that’s 2.58 times what it was at the start. So: during Obama’s Presidency thus far, ‘defense’ stocks have gained 38% more than the total market has.

So, now we understand what Ben Hodges is selling when he sells the ‘Russian threat.’ The competition to be hired by ‘defense’ firms is intense, and he does what he must to win in his chosen field.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

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  • Ann Johns

    It is deeply distressing for some of us to watch the USA slavering and lusting after war like this.

    • MC

      Ya think? Its been going on for centuries.

  • Jo

    All praise to the gallant Uruppeans and thier selfless sacrifice in once more coming to the rescue of a bankrupt, debauched USSA. Merca ike a dead albatross lashed round the neck of the zombie union of Urupp hopes for a new lease of life as the politburo of pedophiles in NSA GESTAPO controlled BrUSsels along with STASI CIA asset Merkel in the occupied Teutonic belt, gallantly confront the Russian Bear and hopefully can kick start another “Good War” for US just in time to save the zero 1% psychopaths and their whores in Washing town before the USSAn unwashed masses finally grow some cajones and pump this sewer called Merca dry.

    So one more time the Anglozionazi Empire of Chao$ looks like getting its USeful German idiots along with the eternally USeful Britland and Polish idiots to march EAST, to suicide, as they did when USSA financed Uncle Adolf to destroy the evil Soviet Union for US…all financed with more than 30 billion US in the 1930’s to fund the NAZI “industrial miracle” which later handed US Urupp on a plate after more than 60 million sheeple dead but Mercan banksters doing great.

    So let’s show our support to our new Nudel Nuland Kievian Banderastan NAZIS and Jew oligarchs in rump Ukraine who are now as we speak blowing up those pesky Ruskie terrorists in Dombass so that blue-bloodied Mercan masses can continue to live in shit and our afro ethnics and sundry minorities can continue to be gunned down by racist supremacist white pigs protecting our collapsing infrastructure for the pschopaths and scum that own US.

    Onward to Armageddon…..or Civil War reloaded here in the land of the slave and home of the fleeced.

  • March 27, 2015 Proof that Russia and Iran Want War: Look How Close They Put Their Countries To Our Military Bases!

    Proof! Bad people are putting their countries closer and closer to our military bases:

    • MC

      Yeah..those eeee-vil Russians are pretending to be capitalists until they can get under our skin. Then BOOM!!!, they’ll take over the world. I heard they have Stalin’s DNA on ice for just such an occasion.

      • Gina

        Then again BOOM!!!

        • MC

          Who do you want to rule you, China or Russia?

          • Gina

            Actually I don’t need anybody to rule me. I wonder when all this stuff began.

          • MC

            Well, the US invaded Russia in 1918 trying to crush socialism. It also fought in China to thwart the Boxer Rebellion. Since then, most countries that tried to take a path other than the capitalist path have been smashed. The list of countries goes on and on…Now that capitalism pretty much rules the planet. It’s just a power grab going on.

          • MC
          • Gina

            Michael Parenti is down-to-earth. We need people like him.

            I posted the following video several times, because it includes this “new-world-order” stuff & the Bolshevic revolution & communism are debunked. I think all these ideologies are only for us, but the mighty ones have another design behind the curtain.

            Anti Russian Stance Is a Zionist Masterplan (Zionist doesn’t have an ethnic or religious meaning but simply means the 0,01%)

          • MC

            Wow! Never heard this.

          • Gina

            This was my reaction too. In the end I think it won’t be about any state or religion at all, it’s a pretext. It’s a small group of whom we even don’t know the names, & the politicians who have to bring this new world order about are third rate in this group. I think this skull & bones stuff as well is only for them, but the real manipulators, the super rich, don’t believe or participate in anything.

            For world power they need nukes, & I think Israel simply serves as a platform, because you have to put these devices somewhere. How the USA & Western Europe helped Israel to their nukes:
            THE SAMSON OPTION. Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, by Seymour M. Hersh – pdf

            When I read this book, I simply asked myself, are these politicians adults.

  • Gina

    Getting nervous about the southern flank:

    Greece’s fate will not turn on technicalities, but it will be the outcome of a ‘great game’ that has now begun. The European Council of leaders and the United States will provide the political anchor with the Commission, the IMF, the OECD and the ECB being the main economic actors. NATO will bring in the security angle and Russia, though absent, will undoubtedly loom large in negotiations.

  • Nockit

    I’m wary of many aspects to our US policy and action, however this situation is not simple like evil capitalist warmongers and the Russian ex-colonialists are neither pure nor noble in their foreign affairs dealings.

    We need the better angles of both sides to force a peaceable competition that corners neither contender.

    It looks to me like the ex-Soviets are, along with China, preparing for a US hegemonic terminus and working on coming out ahead. When we are at our best, we are forseeing our own loss of super-power status and instead of retreating, welcoming the new competitors onto the newer arenas where a different and better game is played.

    Seems like Russia, and China and the US will struggle with Jihad, corruption, lowered-expectations, financial calamity, pollution, technical market disruptors, and populist furor. We all shouldn’t collude too much but should keep each other honest and tested. The permanent members of the UNSC should prepare for the opening of new members and finding a healthy balance.

    My biggest worry is that desperate leaders will point to “auslanders” as the problem — we need to force out politicians that carry this theme. That is why I support the approach of this article, but we could also take that too far and just make excuses for Russia later making a very bitter play.

    We would be wise to step into the bloodlands of Europe with a long-term earnest approach rather than political manipulation. All the same, we can’t just make moral judgements when Russia poisons and corrupts Ukraine’s leaders.

    George Bush’s Chicken Kiev speech carried more of the responsibility for long term stability. I don’t think Obama has been operating in accord with it and he probably should have from the very beginning.

    After all that has now passed, where do we go from here?