Arnaud Bertrand

Arnaud Bertrand



Most fascinating thing about the Ukraine war is the sheer number of top strategic thinkers who warned for years that it was coming if we continued down the same path. No-one listened to them and here we are. Small compilation 🧵 of these warnings, from Kissinger to Mearsheimer.

The first one is George Kennan, arguably America's greatest ever foreign policy strategist, the architect of the U.S. cold war strategy. As soon as 1998 he warned that NATO expansion was a "tragic mistake" that ought to ultimately provoke a "bad reaction from Russia".

Then there's Kissinger, in 2014 ⬇️ He warned that "to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country" and that the West therefore needs a policy that is aimed at "reconciliation". He was also adamant that "Ukraine should not join NATO"

This is John Mearsheimer - probably the leading geopolitical scholar in the US today - in 2015: "The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked [...] What we're doing is in fact encouraging that outcome."

This is Jack F. Matlock Jr., US Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987-1991, warning in 1997 that NATO expansion was "the most profound strategic blunder, [encouraging] a chain of events that could produce the most serious security threat [...] since the Soviet Union collapsed"

This is Clinton's defense secretary William Perry explaining in his memoir that to him NATO enlargement is the cause of "the rupture in relations with Russia" and that in 1996 he was so opposed to it that "in the strength of my conviction, I considered resigning".

This is Noam Chomsky in 2015, saying that "the idea that Ukraine might join a Western military alliance would be quite unacceptable to any Russian leader" and that Ukraine's desire to join NATO "is not protecting Ukraine, it is threatening Ukraine with major war."

Stephen Cohen, a famed scholar of Russian studies, warning in 2014 that "if we move NATO forces toward Russia's borders [...] it's obviously gonna militarize the situation [and] Russia will not back off, this is existential" Whole video worth watching:

This is famous Russian-American journalist Vladimir Pozner, in 2018, who says that NATO expansion in Ukraine is unacceptable to the Russian, that there has to be a compromise where "Ukraine, guaranteed, will not become a member of NATO."

More recently, right before war broke out, this is famous economist Jeffrey Sachs writing a column in the FT warning that "NATO enlargement is utterly misguided and risky. True friends of Ukraine, and of global peace, should be calling for a US and NATO compromise with Russia."

It's fair to say there has rarely been a conflict that so many strategic thinkers from the other camp saw coming and warned against for so many years, yet had their advice ignored. This begs the question: why?

If people reply with his other relevant examples of high profile figures who warned about what was coming, I'll add them to the thread. Thank you @PromisesRust, this is former United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi ⬇️

Thank you @laurenibsolm! CIA director Bill Burns in 2008: "Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for [Russia]" and "I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests"

Thank you @lt3066! Malcolm Fraser, 22nd prime minister of Australia, warned in 2014 that "the move east [by NATO is] provocative, unwise and a very clear signal to Russia". He adds that this leads to a "difficult and extraordinarily dangerous problem".

Thank you @itjohnstone! Paul Keating, former Australian PM, in 1997: expanding NATO is "an error which may rank in the end with the strategic miscalculations which prevented Germany from taking its full place in the international system [in early 20th]"

Thank you @GrayConnolly! Former US defense secretary Bob Gates in his 2015 memoirs: "Moving so quickly [to expand NATO] was a mistake. [...] Trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching [and] an especially monumental provocation"

Thank you @SamScottish5! Sir Roderic Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia, warned a year ago that "[pushing] Ukraine into NATO [...] is stupid on every level." He adds "if you want to start a war with Russia, that's the best way of doing it."

Thank you @OiseauDeGuerre! This is Pat Buchanan, in his 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire: "By moving NATO onto Russia's front porch, we have scheduled a twenty-first-century confrontation."

Thank you @ArjenPolku! This Wikileaks cable from 2008 by Bill Burns when he was ambassador to Russia. I know I already have Burns in the thread but what I had was from his memoirs so it makes sense to put him twice.

Thank you @LedaAlepi! This is British journalist @Itwitius, former Sky News foreign affairs editor, in his 2015 book Prisoners of Geography: for Russia "a pro-Western Ukraine with ambitions to join [EU or NATO] could not stand" and "could spark a war".

Thank you @dekathlos! In 1997, 50 prominent foreign policy experts (former senators, military officers, diplomats, etc.) sent an open letter to Clinton outlining their opposition to NATO expansion. It's a "policy error of historic proportions" they write

Another one, George Beebe who used to be the CIA's top Russia analyst who in January this year linked Russia's actions in Ukraine directly to NATO expansion, explaining that Russia "feels threatened" and "inaction on [the Kremlin’s] part is risky".

Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Institute's senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies, wrote in a 1994 book that NATO expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia.” Today he adds "we are now paying the price for the US’s arrogance".

Thank you @TonySim79012667! This is Frank Blackaby, former director of SIPRI, writing in 1996 that "any Russian Government will react, militarily as well as politically to [NATO’s expansion]" and that it makes "Europe drift [...] towards Cold War II".

Thank you @mystery_dave! This is legendary journalist @johnpilger who wrote this article in 2014: He describes Ukraine as having become a "CIA theme park", a situation that he foresaw would lead to "a Nato-run guerrilla war"

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