David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen discusses NATO’s role in the Ukraine crisis (“Pugliese: How NATO backed Russia into a corner” Ottawa Citizen, September 4, 2014):
Over the last five years, Russia has continually accused the West of breaking its promises made after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Mikhail Gorbachev said in 2009 he was given assurances NATO would not expand “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East.”
Peggy Mason, who served as Canada’s disarmament ambassador under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, said there are various arguments on both sides of the debate about whether the West reneged on its promise not to enlarge NATO to Russia’s borders.
“What I think is not open to as much debate is the fact that this is a very strongly held Russian perception, which the West should have taken far more seriously….” said Mason, president of the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute.
She noted the Conservative government’s foreign policy on Ukraine is that one side, Russia, is entirely wrong and the other side, Ukraine and the West, are entirely right.
“Not only is this approach rarely factually defensible, given the many sides of most issues, it also misses the point that, to find solutions, we have to be able to take into account what others perceive as their legitimate security concerns,” she said.