NATO expansion: a hypothetical question

23 03 2022

If I counted all the articles arguing that NATO expansion contributed to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, I would be kept up all night. (All are variations on Mearsheimer.)

Can someone convince me that they aren’t all missing one fundamental point: that if NATO had not expanded, we have no idea if that would mean that Russia would not have attacked Ukraine in 2014, or Georgia in 2008 (from which it militarily carved out South Ossetia and Abkhazia), or supported separatists in Moldova (from which it carved out Transnistria in 1992)?

These are all non-NATO countries. Doesn’t the logic suggest that Russia would have, by now, also invaded the three Baltic states as well, if not others?

Since we don’t know that, we are all talking hypotheticals: on one side, the hypothetical that NATO expansion got Russia so mad that they attacked those non-NATO countries; on the other side, the hypothetical that they attacked them precisely because they could still do that without attacking NATO.

Which do you find more plausible?

I get that the West could have, and should have, done better with integrating Russia into its economic and political alliances. It shouldn’t have let the neoliberal “shock therapists” hold so much sway over the immediate aftermath of the Soviet collapse. But that’s not the argument being made here.

r/PoliticalCompassMemes - Literally nato expansion!



One response

24 03 2022
Michael Dawson

Thesis #2 seems more likely to me.

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