News Release

* “The Long War” * Russia and Expanding NATO


Professor of history and international relations at Boston University, Bacevich is author of the just-released The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. He also just wrote the piece “Is Perpetual War Our Future? Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Bush Era” and will be the guest for a full hour on “Bill Moyers Journal” Friday evening. Bacevich retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of colonel.

He said today: “Sen. Obama has pledged to end the U.S. combat role in Iraq, a necessary step if we are to restore realism and good sense to U.S. foreign policy. Yet we should temper our expectations about exactly how much change Obama’s election would represent. In key respects, his differences with Sen. McCain are operational rather than strategic. McCain describes Iraq as the ‘central front’ in the global war on terror. Obama insists that Afghanistan is the ‘central front,’ implicitly affirming that global war will continue to frame U.S. national security. What the campaign needs, but does not have, is a viable candidate to challenge the assumption that open-ended global war — or as styled by the Pentagon, ‘The Long War’ — offers a viable response to violent Islamic radicalism. A serious foreign policy debate would be one that entertained strategic alternatives.”
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Director of the Arms and Security Project at the New America Foundation, Hartung said today: “The U.S. has acted like a lot of triumphant powers. When Russia was down, we pushed them around, we expanded NATO up to their borders knowing it would seem threatening to them, and we are moving to put in place an anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe. It was almost like a one-sided Cold War — until now.

“Unfortunately, advisers to both major presidential candidates were in favor of the expansion of NATO — and a continued expansion of the U.S. military — but there’s a particular irresponsibility on the part of the McCain campaign. McCain’s senior foreign policy person, Randy Scheunemann, has been a lobbyist for the Georgian government and was pushing for NATO expansion there.”

See “McCain’s Top Foreign Policy Adviser Lobbied For Georgia: What Did He Tell Tbilisi?” and Right Web’s profile of Scheunemann.
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Note: Mikhail Gorbachev will be on “Larry King Live” Thursday night.

Background: “In February 1990, after talks with West Germany’s foreign minister, Secretary of State James Baker had assured Gorbachev and [then Soviet Foreign Minister, later Georgian President Eduard] Shevardnadze that ‘NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position.’ The [first] Bush administration began backing away from that pledge almost immediately. The Clinton administration reneged on that commitment altogether when it decided to expand NATO to Eastern Europe. …

“‘The issue is not just whether Czechs, Hungarians and Poles join NATO. The problem is more serious: the rejection of the strategy for a new, common European system agreed to by myself and all the Western leaders when we ended the Cold War,’ Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in March 1999. ‘I feel betrayed by the West. The opportunity we seized on behalf of peace has been lost. The whole idea of a new world order has been completely abandoned.'”

— From the book “Hang Separately: Cooperative Security Between the United States and Russia, 1985-1994” by Leon V. Sigal, The Century Foundation Press, 2000.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167