by Gordon M. Hahn
A September 10th Wall Street Journal article by Estonia’s Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu (printed below) demonstrates why NATO expansion has been the biggest among the US’s post-Cold War foreign policy mistakes––especially when it comes to Russia. NATO expansion by the U.S. and other western countries, has made it impossible to fashion a balanced policy that takes into account the security interests of both Russia and its neighbors. Moreover, it has brought more radically Russophobic countries in the former Soviet Union into NATO, prompting more expansion and thus Moscow’s continuing angst about the military bloc. Minister Reinsalu presents a deliberately distorted view of the August 2008 Georgian-Ossetian-Russian war and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent statements regarding that war.
Minster Reinsalu claims that Putin “told reporters that he had approved Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia two years before it took place.” But Putin said nothing of the sort. Putin was responding to a journalist’s question at a press conference as to whether “Russia did not really have plan of action in the event of military aggression of Georgia against South Ossetia?” Putin responded: “There was a plan, and, in my opinion, this is no secret, specifically within the framework of this plan the Russian side also acted. I already have spoken about this publicly earlier as well. It (the plan) was approved and agreed upon by me.”