NATO non-enlargement promises to Soviet leaders following the fall of the Berlin Wall have again prompted a debate in the media. What’s behind the timing of the Western media’s renewed attempt to downplay the famous “not one inch eastward” assurance as a myth?
Earlier this month two reports emerged concerning the “myth” of NATO’s post-Cold War non-enlargement guarantees given to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his entourage in 1989-91.
The first one, published by the London-based think tank Chatham House on 13 May claimed that “the USSR was never offered a formal guarantee on the limits of NATO expansion post-1990″ listing it as one of multiple “myths” in the debate on Russia.
The second, released by US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) discussed the genesis of the issue, citing 20th century political dinosaurs and academics who argued that Soviet leader Gorbachev did not seek any assurances about NATO enlargement to other Warsaw Pact countries beyond re-unifying Germany “and certainly did not receive any.”
RFE/RL also quotes Gorbachev’s 2014 October interview with Kommersant in which the former politician back-pedalled on his earlier remarks that the West had “tricked” the Soviet Union, saying: “The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was never discussed; it was not raised in those years. I am saying this with a full sense of responsibility.”
However, RFE/RL somehow failed to cite a National Security Archive publication from December 2017 of…