It is a topic that has been reported honestly by alt_media and dishonestly by the Obama worshipping leftists of mainstream media. When mainstream media, that is print and broadcast news, talks about escalating tensions between NATO, the western alliance, and Russia, Russia has routinely been portrayed, since the turn of the century as the aggressor.
Russia’s standard response is usually that it has been forced to protect its interests because the U.S.A and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,) are actively trying to encircle the country within a ring of NATO allies. This would essentially enable the U.S.A. to place American troops and missiles right on its borders. This is exactly what has happened in Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and in Romania, despite NATO having agreed not to recruit these former Warsaw Pact nations and Soviet republics in an agreement made at the end of the Cold War that NATO would not expand into eastern Europe.
Western critics are still debating whether such a promise ever existed, while NATO itself is denying the undertaking was given, despite ample evidence that it did. As a result of this attack of institutional amnesia NATO has continued to expand as far into eastern Europe as possible, with Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic all joining in 1999. The alliance has further broadened its reach in the years since, ultimately to Russia’s detriment. Russia finally drew the line when NATO and the European Union tried to recruit Ukraine in 2011. The mostly pro Russian population of Ukraine responded by electing a pro Russian government which was quickly ousted by a 'colour revolution' regime change coup engineered by the CIA whih put a pro - western neo-fascist government in power in Kiev. Rusia move to annex The Crimea and has propped up the separatist movement formed by the ethnic Russian majority in the eastern provinces.
In an article for Foreign Affairs in December 2014, Mark Kramer, director of the Harvard Project on Cold War studies, stated he had "examined the declassified negotiating records and concluded that no such promise was ever offered."
"Mary Elise Sarotte (“A Broken Promise?” September/October 2014) points to my article as an example of the history she intends to correct," Kramer wrote, "but she provides nothing that would change my judgment about what happened. As I wrote, the question of NATO’s possible expansion eastward arose numerous times during negotiations Gorbachev conducted with U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and U.S. President George H. W. Bush. Viewed in context, however, it is clear that they were speaking solely about expanding the alliance into East Germany." [emphasis added]
Kramer’s position rests on the claim that that while it has always been understood that then-Secretary of State James Baker had assured Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would expand "not one inch eastward" during a meeting that took place on February 9, 1990, the context was that of German reunification, not wider Europe.
However, as the National Interest recently learned, Kramer’s interpretation appears to be incorrect, as is revealed by the release of some further declassified material.
The recently declassified documents show that many national leaders were considering rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton wrote in the National Security Archives. "Discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels."
According to the National Interest — and Russia continuously argues — Gorbachev only accepted the proposal for German reunification (which Gorbachev could have vetoed) due to these assurances that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe. This sequence of events is similar to how Russia was duped out of using its veto power on a U.N. Security Council Resolution in Libya in 2011 after having received assurances that the NATO coalition would not pursue regime change.
The documents also show that Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders received assurances against NATO expansion from Baker; President George H.W. Bush; West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher; West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl; former CIA Director Robert Gates; French leader Francois Mitterrand (who told Gorbachev he was in favor of "gradually dismantling the military blocs"; Margaret Thatcher; British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd; and NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner.