On 2 May 1998, New York Times commentator Thomas Friedman, to my astonishment, did something sensible: for an op-ed piece he interviewed George F. Kennan, who was 94 at the time, on the expansion of NATO. I suppose it would be wrong to reproduce all of Kennan's remarks, but I will quote some bits:
I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. … We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. … It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong.As was often the case, it seems that Kennan was right.