A BIT OF HISTORY HELPS
|David McReynolds was a long-time national staffer at War Resisters League in NYC. He also ran for president as a Socialist Party candidate a couple times|
Let me go back to 1956, and the Hungarian Revolution. Keep in mind that NATO was formed FIRST, and the Warsaw Pact formed AFTER that, so while we think of NATO as a response to the danger of Soviet actions in the West, it was NATO that consolidated Western military power. The Soviets, who above all else feared a united Germany aligned with the US (in the days immediately after the end of the war) had NOT integrated East Germany into the economic structure of the East, hoping it could persuade the West to agree to a neutral united Germany after the pattern of Austria and Finland.
Failing that, it then brought the GDR firmly into the Eastern Bloc.
Now lets go to Hungary. I argued then that the moment that the Hungarian revolution began (and that was a genuine revolution, unlike events in Kiev) I felt the West should say to the Soviets "if you let Hungary alone, withdraw your forces, we, in exchange, will dissolve NATO - since it is perfectly clear that, if you can't control the countries in your own bloc, you can't really pose a military threat to the West. Let us both dissolve our military blocs and move toward neutrality."
But no, the West hoped to "pick up Hungary" and when, much later, the USSR collapsed, Gorbachev thought he had an understanding that the West would NOT move its military posts toward the East. But of course it did - into Poland, it tried to do this with Georgia, and clearly has made that effort with Ukraine.
Yes yes, Ukraine should be independent, but once the government in Kiev (rotten as it was, it was still the only democratically elected government Ukraine had) was toppled, the Russian move into Crimea was inevitable.
We need "deep diplomacy" now, at which Germany (and Poland) might be helpful but the US not at all. The current "Putin bashing" carries us back to the Cold War days and is dangerous.
New York City