Or, Owned by George F. Kennan
Writing in 1998, George F. Kennan, interviewed by Thomas Friedman:
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. […] [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.
I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don't people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.
Russia's democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we've just signed up to defend from Russia. 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. – George F. Kennan, 1998, “Foreign Affairs; Now a Word From X.”
When the USSR fell, its citizens turned to the United States, the arsenal of democracy, for aid, and we sent them Reaganist plutocracy. There were no guarantees of democracy, of course, but the USA did nothing to prevent the rise of the Russian oligarchs, even helped them emerge, in the naïve belief that capitalism necessarily gave rise to democracy. The United States could, instead, have worked to promote democracy in Russia, rather than allowing it to become subordinate to the oligarchs. Russia would then have been a much easier neighbor for the eastern European states.
It is an utter shame that so many of our most influential legislators are so ignorant.
And here we are.