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NATO is somehow to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? (Hein Goemans)

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Hein Goemans@hgoemans

I’ve been annoyed some time now about the really offensive stupidity of the arguments that NATO is somehow to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So, I’m going to post a thread. I hope that @anneapplebaumwill read. FYI, Mearsheimer and Walt both served on my Ph.D. committee.

  • Let’s start with a thing that Realists like Walt and Mearsheimer don’t seem to understand: bargaining. If Russia really didn’t want Ukraine to join NATO, or the EU, why did they not offer a better deal?
  • Next, let’s extend the Mearsheimer Walt inanity back in time. (This might actually make an impact on JJM.)
  • Let’s take another example where a Great Power was thwarted in its sphere of influence: Germany after the First World War.
  • 1919. Versailles is signed. It promises self-determination. But not for Germans or German speakers, apparently. There are lots of German speakers all over the place.
  • Hitler comes to power and vows to bring all the Germans «heim ins Reich.» (Home into the Empire.) Hey, that’s what Versailles and Wilson’s Fourteen Points was all about, right? ‘National’ self-determination?!
  • And there are lots of important and powerful people in France and the UK who actually agree. Even in 1938.
  • So Hitler wants his sphere of influence and feels blocked by France and the UK. First he annexes Austria, and then claims the Sudetenland, because the Germans there are ‘horribly oppressed’. Sounds familiar?
  • But there still lots of Germans left in the «lost territories» that make up half of the new state of Poland.
  • Germany, as Hitler said many times, has to break out of the straightjacket imposed by the US, UK and France.
  • So Germany makes a deal with the SU and invades Poland. And takes half of Poland.
  • Those poor Germans. So very misunderstood! And they had warned France and the UK over and over again that denying German unification of «lost» Germans into the Reich was imply intolerable.
  • In fact, Germany was forced to act. And it was all the UK, France and the US’s fault.
  • At least according to the logic of Mearsheimer and Walt. (John really won’t like this and try very hard to wiggle out from underneath it.)
  • So what then explains Hitler’s invasion of Western Europe? That was way beyond the incorporation of lost German speakers. Now, all of a sudden, Hitler had unlimited aims. (As Putin announced in his 24 February megalomaniacal speech.)
  • So, two questions for Mearsheimer and Walt: 1) Who is responsible for World War II? 2) What explains Hitler’s behavior 1938-39: Self-determination and reunification of German speakers or unlimited aims?
  • And please, no silly excuses that NATO is an offensive alliance. Germany had less than 300 tanks. Poland has less than 300 tanks.
En respuesta a @hgoemans
Another addition to this: according to Mearsheimer’s theory, could the US/NATO/EU or even Ukraine act differently? Does the security dilemma work only for Russia? Wasn’t EVERY concession always a bad idea?

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