By Lucy Komisar
Sept 23, 2023
My question to NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg at the Council on Foreign Relations meeting Thurs Sept 22 elicited his lies about NATO’s “not one inch East” agreement and the US-sponsored 2014 coup against the elected president of Ukraine. I was stopped before talking about Ukraine shelling of Donbass from 2014 and Ukraine forces massed on Donbass border that provoked Russian to move troops in. Stoltenberg’s response is a defense of U.S. hegemony.
Stoltenberg is an apparatchik and a mediocrity. Here is our interaction:
Q: Thank you. My name is Lucy Komisar. I’m a journalist.
So I like to go back to where things begin. And talking about the declassified documents, there was declassified the memo between Baker and Gorbachev where they agreed NATO would not go one step further east.
And then when it started to happen, George Kennan predicted it would be a disaster, which has turned out to be true. However you want to parse it, it’s not wonderful what’s going on. Then there was the U.S.-supported coup in 2014 against an elected head of the Ukrainian government, because he was not considered to be enough pro-American.
Are you satisfied with how these things have turned out? Has this protected anybody? Or have you, in a sense, bated the Russian bear in a way that perhaps you didn’t expect how it was going to turn out? Could anything have done differently so that Putin was not persuaded that the defensive alliance that NATO was started out to be has become a defensive—an offensive alliance, with troops and weapons on its border? What could have been done differently? Are you satisfied with how things are turning out in Ukraine now?
(Jane) HARMAN: Thank you. [Harman was a 9-term congresswoman from California, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, served on advisory boards of the CIA, Defense Dept, State Dept, Homeland Security. A militarist and hawk of the first order.]
STOLTENBERG: No, I’m not satisfied with how things are turning out in Ukraine. But that’s Russia’s fault. It’s Russia that has decided, by choice, to invade another country. And regardless of what do you think about NATO enlargement, that doesn’t give Russia any excuse to invade another democratic, independent nation. So I think there’s a—there’s a—(inaudible)—that even if you agree that NATO may have made some mistakes, done the wrong things in the past, that doesn’t give Russia an excuse to invade another country. It’s like saying that, you know, maybe the Versailles Treaty was a bit too tough on Germany. I’m not saying it was, but I’m saying that some experts say. But when Germany invaded Norway on the ninth of April 1940, you couldn’t say, oh, that’s—we understand it, because the Versailles Treaty was a bit too harsh. (Laughter, applause.)
So it’s—but it is important, because actually many people are thinking these ways. That in a way, because NATO and NATO allies did something wrong that five, ten, twenty years ago, right or wrong, it doesn’t give an excuse to invade another country and kill tens of thousands of people. And if you don’t understand that, then you really don’t understand a fundamental principle and fundamental values, which is about the relationship between countries but those between people. This is about killing people. And there is no excuse for doing that. That’s the first thing.
The only thing, just to say, is that this idea that it is a provocation, a threat to Russia that countries through democratic free decision-making join NATO is also very dangerous. Because what you say then is that small countries in Europe cannot choose their own path. And I come from Norway, a small country bordering Russia, or the Soviet Union. And in 1949, Norway is the only country bordering the Soviet Union joining NATO. Stalin said that was a provocation, a threat. But I’m very glad that Washington, Paris, and all the other big countries in NATO said: It’s for Norway to decide it, not for Stalin. So we joined NATO.
And if you had to—if you accept that Latvia, Lithuania joining NATO is a threat to Russia, then you take away the right of the people in Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to decide their own future. And they have the right to try to decide. It’s not Moscow. It is the people in Lithuania that decides about Lithuania. And this idea that NATO is aggressively going in, no. It’s the east and countries that are going into NATO, democratic free decisions. So these are fundamental ideas, we should respect them. And that’s what NATO is about.
The VIDEO. Lucy’s question at 47:20 minutes in.
So no chance to ask about U.S.-financed Ukraine shelling of Donbass from 2014 (Victoria Nuland said we gave them $5 billion: 14,000 people killed) and Ukraine forces massed on Donbass border that provoked Russian to move troops in. Of course, no chance to ask about U.S. and often NATO allied invasions of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan or the bombings of Serbia, Libya and Syria that killed millions of people. Because U.S./NATO can invade/kill who they choose.
See his statement here July 9, 2023.