NATO promised Russia it would not expand after the Cold War

Summary

In 1989 NATO promised Russia it would not expand after the Cold War.

Mikhail Gorbachev knew: If East Germany joins NATO, the Eastern European countries could then follow this example. But the West assured him at the time that the alliance would not expand.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation that NATO had promised that the Alliance would not expand to the East.

NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded.  There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO.  Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreement.

In addition, NATO's "Open Door Policy" is based on Article 10 of the Alliance's founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty (1949). The Treaty states that NATO membership is open to any "European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area".

Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991.  The idea of their accession to NATO was not on the agenda in 1989. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines:

"The topic of 'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, and it wasn't brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility.  Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991.  Western leaders didn't bring it up, either".

The Russian narrative that NATO, a defensive alliance, is de facto aggressive is not new.  Read more in this 2015 Tagespigel analysis.

See more disinformation cases on NATO.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 144
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/04/2019
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Russia, The West
  • Keywords: security threat, EU/NATO enlargement, Cold War, Russophobia, NATO
  • Outlet: Sputnik Deutschland
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All US aid to Georgia is solely military, ignoring country’s economic and social needs

The United States is allocating financial assistance only for Georgia’s military and defence needs, ignoring non-military assistance altogether.

Disproof

Unfounded allegations about US aid to Georgia. According to the US Congressional Research Service reference paper, US aid to Georgia does not demonstrate any considerable asymmetry in favour or either military or non-military aid:

In 2010 - 2017, US non-military aid to Georgia totalled $60 million a year on average. In addition, Georgia was awarded a five-year (2014-2019) Millennium Challenge Corporation grant of $140 to support educational infrastructure and training. In 2018, US non-military aid was $70.8 million; in 2019, Congress appropriated $89.8 million in non-military aid, and the President’s fiscal year 2020 non-military aid request for Georgia is $42.4 million.

NATO cultivates Cold War block thinking and considers Russia as an enemy

NATO continues to cultivate old ways of thinking and the image of Russia as an enemy.

One of the main objectives of the Western military alliance is still the “fight against the aggression of Moscow”.

Moscow keeps calling for an end to Cold War block thinking.  But that would mean the alliance having to search for a new meaning and new goals. For NATO it is easier to live with the good old enemy image.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, portraying NATO having a belligerent agenda against Russia.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has introduced sweeping changes to its membership and working practices – changes made clear by its adoption of new Strategic Concepts in 1999 and 2010.  Accusations that NATO has retained its Cold War purpose ignore the reality of those changes.

NATO is a foreign policy instrument of the USA

NATO has become a foreign policy instrument of the USA, which has no allies but only vassals.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on NATO as a geopolitical project of the US.

NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve sovereign nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.  It has since grown to 29 Allies who each took an individual and sovereign decision to join this Alliance.