Yeah, poor Russia:
A staple of Russian, pro-Russian, and so-called realist narratives is that NATO not only reneged on its promises to not enlarge after German reunification, it also rebuffed all Russian efforts to integrate with the organization. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, it is pretty to think so—but that is not the truth.
As Mikhail Gorbachev himself said, the issue of NATO enlargement was not discussed during negotiations on German reunification. Moreover, Russia never evinced any interest in joining NATO.
Yeah, I read that linked article in Blank's response and nearly spewed an adult beverage across my screen.
The Soviets didn't even think they'd lost the Warsaw Pact in that period of so-called promises, let alone think they needed NATO promises not to push into eastern Europe (from Blank's article above).
Indeed, the Soviets held some hope that they could leverage German unification into the neutralization of Germany and get them out of NATO!
Nothing we did or did not do led to Russia's behavior today. Their actions are baked into their souls:
Really, is Russia incapable of having friends or allies? Is Russia only capable of dealing with foreigners as conquered people or client states, targets for conquest or dominance, potential enemies that have to be resisted before it comes to armed conflict, or potential enemies who must be appeased while Russia prepares to resist them?
Or baked into their flat geography that makes them expand until they meet resistance.
Not that geography is a reason we should accept their paranoia, mind you. What are the limits of accepting that kind of thinking?
Oh, and if you really believe that NATO should have accepted Russia to demonstrate our benign nature, are you seriously telling me that we should have obligated NATO to defend Russia's border with China?
One can excuse the Russian people for thinking this way:
The new tyrants, like past ones, use propaganda and control of the mass media to justify the mess and convincingly depict Russia as under siege by outsiders. Opinion polls show wide popular support for this paranoid fantasy and most Russians are willing to tolerate a police state to get some economic and personal security.
The Russians have history that makes them ready to believe the fantasies that the modern West is out to get them. But what excuse do Westerners have?
The Russians are being seriously dangerous and making excuses for them is daft.
And sadly typical for a large segment of the West eager to believe our enemies are fully justified in hating us.