[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 19 (Tuesday, March 3, 1998)]
[Pages S1283-S1286]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS



 Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, in this morning's New York Times, 
Thomas L. Friedman has written a powerful critique of what he calls 
``fumbling on NATO expansion.'' In it he refers to a letter in the 
spring issue of The National Interest from George F. Kennan who warns 
that NATO expansion is an historic blunder. Ambassador Kennan's letter 
came in response to an article by Owen Harries, editor of The National 
Interest, on ``The Dangers of Expansive Realism'' in the current, 
winter issue of The National Interest.

[[Page S1284]]

  It is surely a rare moment when three respected commentators on 
foreign affairs, and in Ambassador Kennan's case, a participant of 
historic standing, each of quite distinctive points of view, come 
together in such strong agreement. In an article in The New York Times 
of February 5th, 1997, Ambassador Kennan stated that ``expanding NATO 
would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-
cold-war era.''
  I ask that the column by Thomas L. Friedman, the letter by George F. 
Kennan, the article by Owen Harries, and the article by Ambassador 
Kennan in The New York Times be printed in the Record.

                [From the New York Times, March 3, 1998]

                             Ohio State II

                        (By Thomas L. Friedman)

       Last week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put on a 
     shameful performance. Senators Jesse Helms, Joe Biden & Co. 
     rolled over like puppies having their bellies rubbed when 
     Clinton officials explained their plans for NATO expansion by 
     dodging all the hard questions. It's too bad CNN couldn't 
     entice the Clinton team to go out to Ohio State again and 
     hold a town meeting on NATO expansion. If they had, it would 
     sound like this:
       Student: ``I've got a question for Secretary of Defense 
     Cohen. When you were here before, you had a hard time 
     defining what the endgame would be if we bombed Iraq. What's 
     the endgame of NATO expansion? I mean, if we just admit 
     Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, all we will be doing 
     is redividing Europe slightly to the east. And if we actually 
     do what you advocate, expand NATO to the Baltic States, up to 
     Russia's border, we will be redividing NATO, since the 
     British, French and Germans are not ready to go that far 
     because they know it would be treated by Russia as a 
     strategic threat.''
       Secretary Cohen: ``Son, we've got our endgame on NATO 
     figured out just like we do on Iraq. It's called kick the can 
     down the road and hope it all works out in the end.''
       Student: ``National security adviser Berger, you now say 
     NATO expansion will only cost $1.5 billion over 10 years, 
     when just last year the Pentagon said it would be $27 billion 
     over 13 years, and the Congressional Budget Office said it 
     could be $125 billion over 15 years. How come NATO expansion 
     gets cheaper every day it gets closer to a Senate vote? And 
     how does it get cheaper when France says it won't pay a dime 
     and the Czech Republic doesn't own a single advanced fighter 
     jet, so it will need to buy a whole new air force?''
       Mr. Berger: ``Our NATO numbers were prepared by the same 
     accountants who said the U.S. budget was balanced. I rest my 
       Student: ``Secretary Albright, you say we have to bomb 
     Iraq, because Saddam has all these weapons of mass 
     destruction. But the Russians have 7,500 long-range nuclear 
     missiles, loose warheads falling off trucks and a bunch of 
     Dr. Strangelove scientists looking for work. And we have a 
     Start 2 nuclear reduction treaty that the Russians have 
     signed but not implemented because of resistance in the 
     Russian Parliament to NATO expansion. How could you put a 
     higher priority on bringing Hungary into NATO than working 
     with Russia on proliferation?''
       Albright: ``Oh, please. You want to blame everything on 
     NATO expansion, like it's El Nino.''
       Student: ``I'm sorry, Madame Secretary, but that's not an 
     answer. You keep dodging this question. You can say that the 
     Russians can't stop NATO expansion. And you can say that it's 
     worth risking a new cold war to bring these three countries 
     into NATO. But you can't deny that NATO expansion has 
     contributed to Russia's refusal to ratify the Start 2 treaty, 
     which is an enormous loss to U.S. national security.''
       War veteran: ``Secretary Cohen, I thought we fought the 
     cold war to change Russia, not to expand NATO. But now that 
     we've changed Russia and should be consolidating that, you 
     want to expand NATO?''
       Secretary Cohen: ``NATO expansion is not directed against 
     Russia. It's meant to secure the new democracies in East 
       Heckler: ``If it's meant to secure democracy in new 
     democracies, isn't the most important new democracy Russia? 
     And why is your P.R. campaign for NATO expansion being funded 
     by U.S. arms sellers, who see NATO expansion as market 
     expansion for their new weapons?''
       Student: ``I just got the spring issue of The National 
     Interest magazine. It contains a letter from George Kennan, 
     the architect of America's cold-war containment of the Soviet 
     Union and one of our nation's greatest statesmen. Kennan says 
     NATO expansion is a historic blunder. What do you all know 
     that he doesn't?''
       Mr. Berger: ``I have the greatest respect for Mr. Kennan, 
     but our team has its own Russia expert, Strobe Talbott, who 
     speaks Russian, has written books about Russia, and some of 
     his best friends are Russians. He couldn't possible be anti-
     Russian, and he's for NATO expansion.''
       Student: ``Excuse me, but didn't Talbott write the first 
     memo to Secretary of State Christopher opposing NATO 
     expansion, because. . . .''
       Bernard Shaw: ``Sorry to interrupt. We've got to close.''

               [From the National Interest--Spring 1998]

                    The Dangers of Expansive Realism

       I read your article [Owen Harries, ``The Dangers of 
     Expansive Realism'', Winter 1997/98] with strong approval. It 
     was in some respects a surprise because certain of your major 
     arguments were ones I myself had made, or had wanted to make, 
     but had not expected to see them so well expressed by the pen 
     of anyone else. I can perhaps make this clear by commenting 
     specifically on certain of your points.
       First, your reference to the implicit understanding that 
     the West would not take advantage of the Russian strategic 
     and political withdrawal from Eastern Europe is not only 
     warranted, but could have been strengthened. It is my 
     understanding that Gorbachev on more than one occasion was 
     given to understand, in informal talks with senior American 
     and other Western personalities, that if the USSR would 
     accept a united Germany remaining in NATO, the jurisdiction 
     of that alliance would not be moved further eastward. We did 
     not, I am sure, intend to trick the Russians; but the actual 
     determinants of our later behavior--lack of coordination of 
     political with military policy, and the amateurism of later 
     White House diplomacy--would scarcely have been more 
     creditable on our part than a real intention to deceive.
       Secondly, I could not associate myself more strongly with 
     what you write about the realist case that sees Russia as an 
     inherently and incorrigibly expansionist country, and suggest 
     that this tendency marks the present Russian regime no less 
     than it did the Russian regimes of the past. We have seen 
     this view reflected time and again, occasionally in even more 
     violent forms, in efforts to justify the recent expansion of 
     NATO's boundaries and further possible expansions of that 
     name. So numerous and extensive have the distortions and 
     misunderstandings on which this view is based been that it 
     would be hard even to list them in a letter of this sort. It 
     grossly oversimplifies and misconstrues must of the history 
     of Russian diplomacy of the czarist period. It ignores the 
     whole great complexity of Russia's part in World War II. It 
     allows and encourages one to forget that the Soviet military 
     advances into Western Europe during the last war took place 
     with our enthusiastic approval, and the political ones of the 
     ensuing period at least wit hour initial consent and support. 
     It usually avoids mention of the Communist period, and 
     attributes to ``the Russians'' generally all the excesses of 
     the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe in the Cold War 
       Worst of all, it tends to equate, at least by implication, 
     the Russian-Communist dictatorship of recent memory with the 
     present Russian republic--a republic, the product of an 
     amazingly bloodless revolution, which has, for all its many 
     faults, succeeded in carrying on for several years with an 
     elected government, a largely free press and media, without 
     concentration camps or executions, and with a minimum of 
     police brutality. This curious present Russia, we are asked 
     to believe, is obsessed by the same dreams of conquest and 
     oppression of others as were the worst examples, real or 
     imaginative, of its predecessors.
       You, I think, were among the first, if not indeed the 
     first, to bring some of the above to the attention of your 
     readers; and this, in my opinion, was an important and 
     valuable service.
                                                 George F. Kennan,
                                            Princeton, New Jersey.

              [From the National Interest--Winter 1997/98]

                    The Dangers of Expansive Realism

                           (By Owen Harries)

     . . . it is sometimes necessary to repeat what all know. All 
     mapmakers should place the Mississippi in the same location 
     and avoid originality. It may be boring, but one has to know 
     where it is. We cannot have the Mississippi flowing toward 
     the Rockies, just for a change.
                               --Saul Bellow, Mr. Sammler's Planet
       In many ways NATO is a boring organization. It is a thing 
     of acronyms, jargon, organizational charts, arcane strategic 
     doctrines, and tried rhetoric. But there is no gainsaying 
     that it has a Mississippi-like centrality and importance in 
     American foreign policy. When, then, proposals are made to 
     change it radically--to give it new (and very different) 
     members, new purposes, new ways of conducting business, new 
     non-totalitarian enemies (or, conversely, to dispense 
     altogether with the concept of enemies as a rationale)--it is 
     sensible to pay close attention and to scrutinize carefully 
     and repeatedly the arguments that bolster those proposals. 
     Even at the risk of making NATO boring in new ways, it is 
     important to get things rights.
       Before getting down to particular arguments, the proposed 
     expansion of NATO into Central and Eastern Europe should be 
     placed in the wider context that made it an issue. For nearly 
     half a century the United States and its allies fought the 
     Cold War, not, it was always insisted, against Russia and the 
     Russian people, but against the Soviet regime and the 
     ideology it represented. An implicit Western objective in the 
     Cold War was the conversion of Russia from totalitarianism to 
     a more or less normal state, and, if possible, to democracy.
       Between 1989 and 1991, a political miracle occurred. The 
     Soviet regime, steeped in blood and obsessed with total 
     control as it had been throughout most of its history, 
     voluntarily gave up its Warsaw Pact empire,

[[Page S1285]]

     collapsed the Soviet system upon itself, and then acquiesced 
     in its own demise--all with virtually no violence. This 
     extraordinary sequence of events was by no means inevitable. 
     Had it so chosen, the regime could have resisted the force of 
     change as it had on previous occasions, thus either extending 
     its life, perhaps for decades more, or going down in a welter 
     of blood and destruction. That, indeed, would have been more 
     normal behavior, for as the English scholar Martin Wight once 
     observed, ``Great power status is lost, as it is won, by 
     violence. A Great Power does not die in its bed.'' What 
     occurred in the case of the Soviet Union was very much the 
       A necessary condition for its being so was an 
     understanding--explicit according to some, but in any case 
     certainly implicit--that the West would not take strategic 
     and political advantage of what the Soviet Union was allowing 
     to happen to its empire and to itself. Whatever it said now, 
     such a bargain was assumed by both sides, for it was evident 
     to all involved that in its absence--if, that is, it had 
     become apparent that the West was intent on exploiting any 
     retreat by Moscow--events would not be allowed to proceed 
     along the liberalizing course that they actually took. 
     Further, there seemed to be basis for the United States 
     objecting to such a bargain. For after all, its avowed 
     objective was not the eastward extension of its own power and 
     influence in Europe, but the restoration of the independence 
     of the countries of the region. In effect, the bargain gave 
     the United States everything it wanted (more, in fact, for 
     the breakup of the Soviet Union had never been a Cold War 
     objective), and in return required it only to refrain from 
     doing what it had never expressed any intention of doing.
       Now, and very much at the initiative of the United States, 
     the West is in the process of reneging on that implicit 
     bargain by extending NATO into countries recently vacated by 
     Moscow. It is an ominous step, Whatever is said, however 
     ingenious and vigorous the attempts to obscure the facts or 
     change the subject, NATO is a military alliance, the most 
     powerful in the history of the world, and the United States 
     is the dominant force in that alliance. And whatever is 
     claimed about spreading democracy, making Europe ``whole'', 
     promoting stability, peacekeeping, and righting past 
     injustices--all formulations that serve, either consciously 
     or inadvertently, to divert attention from the political and 
     strategic reality of what is now occurring--cannot succeed in 
     obscuring the truth that the eastward extension of NATO will 
     represent an unprecedented projection of American power into 
     a sensitive region hitherto beyond its reach. It will 
     constitute a veritable geopolitical revolution. It is not 
     necessary to accept in its entirety the resonant but 
     overwrought dictum of Sir Halford Mackinder (``Who rules East 
     Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland 
     commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island 
     commands the World'') to recognize the profound strategic 
     implications of what the U.S. Senate is being asked to 
     \1\ When I wrote this, I thought that I was drawing attention 
     to something that was implicit but unacknowledged in the 
     policy of NATO expansion. But in his latest book, Zbigniew 
     Brzezinski directly and honestly links American primacy to 
     ``preponderance on the Eurasian continent.'' In the same 
     chapter he quotes Mackinder's dictum. See The Grand 
     Chessboard (New York: Basic Books, 1997), chapter 2.
       Why is the Clinton administration acting in this way? And--
     a different question--does it serve American interests that 
     it is doing so, and that its expressed intention is to 
     proceed much further along the same path?
       Immediately after the end of the Cold War there was no 
     great enthusiasm either in America or Western Europe for 
     enlarging NATO. In the early days of the Clinton 
     administration, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, 
     Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, and Ambassador-at-Large 
     Strobe Talbott were all opposed to it.
       How, then, did it come about that by the beginning of 1994 
     President Clinton was declaring that ``the question is no 
     longer whether NATO will take on new members, but when and 
     how''? It was certainly not by a process of ratiocination, 
     vigorous debate, and the creation of an intellectual 
     consensus concerning interests, purposes, and means. To this 
     day there is no such consensus, and no coherent case for NATO 
     expansion on which all of its principal supporters agree.

                        how enlargement happened

       The Clinton administration's conversion from indifference, 
     or even skepticism, to insistence on NATO expansion was the 
     result of a combination of disparate events and pressures:
       The strength of the Polish-American vote, as well as that 
     of other Americans of Central and East European origin.
       The enormous vested interests--careers, contracts, 
     consultancies, accumulated expertise--represented by the NATO 
     establishment, which now needed a new reason and purpose to 
     justify the organization's continued existence.
       The ``moral'' pressure exerted by East European leaders, 
     for whom NATO membership is principally important as a symbol 
     that they are fully European, and as a means of back door 
     entry into the European Union.
       Conversely, the growing eagerness of some West European 
     governments to grant these states membership of NATO as an 
     acceptable price for keeping them out of, or at least 
     delaying their entry into, the European Union.
       The concern and self-distrust felt by some Germans, and not 
     least by Chancellor Helmut Kohl, at the prospect of their 
     country's being left on the eastern frontier of NATO, 
     adjacent to an area of political weakness and potential 
       Growing doubts about democracy's prospect of success in 
     Russia, and fear of the reemergence of an assertive 
     nationalism there.
       The need of some American conservative intellectuals for a 
     bold foreign policy stroke to ``remoralize'' their own ranks 
     after some dispiriting domestic defeats, the enthusiasm of 
     others for ``a democratic crusade'' in Central and Eastern 
     Europe, and the difficulty of yet others to break a 
     lifetime's habit of regarding Moscow as the enemy.
       Formidable as this combination of pressures was, it is 
     doubtful that it would have been capable of converting the 
     Clinton administration on NATO expansion were it not for the 
     addition of one other crucial factor: Bosnia. The war in 
     Bosnia focused American attention on post-Cold War Central 
     Europe, and it did so in a most emotional way. Bosnia also 
     raised in acute form the question of the future of NATO, as 
     the alliance's feeble response to the crisis cast doubt on 
     its continued viability, and it raised the question 
     specifically in the context of instability in Central and 
     Eastern Europe. The domino theory, forgotten for two decades, 
     was quickly resurrected and applied. ``Bosnia'' was 
     increasingly understood not as referring to a discrete event 
     but as a metaphor for the chronic, historically ordained 
     instability of a whole region.

                       russia is russia is russia

       Taken together, these pressures were politically 
     formidable, especially for an administration as sensitive to 
     pressure as was Clinton's. But they had very little to do 
     with America's national interests, and the administration's 
     subsequent attempts to make a case for NATO's eastward 
     expansion in terms of those interests have been perfunctory 
     and shallow. A much more serious attempt has been made 
     outside the administration, mainly by commentators of a 
     realist persuasion. The case they have made, however, is 
     badly flawed.
       The realist case is based largely on the conviction that 
     Russia is inherently and incorrigibly expansionist, 
     regardless of how and by whom it is governed. Kissinger has 
     warned of ``the fateful rhythm of Russian history.'' Zbigniew 
     Brzezinski emphasizes the centrality in Russia's history of 
     ``the imperial impulse'' and claims that in post-communist 
     Russia that impulse ``remains strong and even appears to be 
     strengthening.'' Thus Brzezinski sees an ``unfortunate 
     continuity'' between the Soviet era and today in defining 
     national interests and formulating foreign policy. Another 
     realist, Peter Rodman, speaks in the same vein, explaining 
     the ``lengthening shadow of Russian strength'' by asserting 
     that ``Russia is a force of nature.''
       In arguing in this way, these commentators are being very 
     true to their realist position. But they are also drawing 
     attention to what is one of the most serious intellectual 
     weaknesses of that position--namely, that in its stress on 
     the structure of the international system and on how states 
     are placed within that system, realism attaches little or no 
     importance to what is going on inside particular states: what 
     kind of regimes are in power, what kind of ideologies 
     prevail, what kind of leadership is provided. For these 
     realists, Russia is Russia is Russia, regardless of whether 
     it is under czarist, communist, or nascent democratic rule.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                             ends and means

       Another of the central tenets of realism is that if the end 
     is willed, so should be the means. The two should be kept in 
     balance, preferably, as Walter Lippmann urged, ``with a 
     comfortable surplus of power in reserve.'' In the case of 
     NATO expansion, this tenet is being ignored. The NATO members 
     are moving to assume very large additional commitments at a 
     time when they have all made substantial cuts to their 
     defense budgets, and when more such cuts are virtually 
     certain. (The French Cabinet, for example, announced in 
     August that the military draft, which dates back two 
     centuries, is to be phased out and that defense procurement 
     expenditure is to be cut by 11 percent.) The irresponsibility 
     of such a course of action raises the question of the 
     seriousness of the new commitments being undertaken. After 
     all, such pledges have been made in the past, only to be 
     broken: Munich, 1938, was the last occasion on which Western 
     powers guaranteed the security of what is today the Czech 
       It is not only in terms of power that realists should be 
     concerned with the balancing of ends and means. They should 
     also consider the suitability of the instruments involved--
     particularly the human instruments--for the tasks at hand. 
     Not to do so is likely to result in the sort of unpleasant 
     surprise that some realist supporters of NATO expansion got 
     as a result of the March 1997 Helsinki summit. At that 
     meeting, so many concessions were made to Moscow by the 
     Clinton administration that we now have an almost lunatic 
     state of affairs: in order to make acceptable the expanding 
     of NATO to contain a potentially dangerous Russia, we are 
     coming close to making Russia an honorary member of NATO, 
     with something approximating veto power.
       Some of the initially most ardent supporters of expansion 
     are now deeply dismayed by

[[Page S1286]]

     these developments. But surely the likelihood of such an 
     outcome was foreseeable. After all, they knew from the start 
     that the policy they were pushing would be negotiated not by 
     a Talleyrand or a Metternich--or an Acheson or a Kissinger--
     but by Bill Clinton, the man who feels everyone's pain. 
     Kissinger has been clear-eyed enough to label what happened 
     at Helsinki a fiasco.
       This image of a Europe ``made whole'' again after the 
     division of the Cold War is one that the advocates of NATO 
     expansion appeal to frequently. But it is not a convincing 
     appeal. For one thing, coming from some mouths it tends to 
     bring to mind Bismarck's comment: ``I have always found the 
     word Europe on the lips of those politicians who wanted 
     something from other Powers which they dared not demand in 
     their own name.'' For another, it invites the question of 
     when exactly was the last time that Europe was ``whole.'' In 
     the 1930s, when the dictators were on the rampage? In the 
     1920s, when Germany and Russia were virtual non-actors? In 
     1910, when Europe was an armed camp and a furious arms race 
     was in progress? In the 1860s, when Prussia was creating an 
     empire with ``blood and iron''? When exactly? And then there 
     is the simple and undeniable fact that at every step of the 
     way--and regardless of how many tranches of new members are 
     taken in--the line dividing Europe will not be eliminated but 
     simply moved to a different place. Only if Russia itself were 
     to be included would Europe be ``whole.'' Anyone who doubts 
     this should consult an atlas.
       One final note: During the last few months advocates of 
     expansion have been resorting more and more to an argument of 
     last resort--one of process, not of substance. It is that the 
     United States is now so far committed that it is too late to 
     turn back. That argument is not without some merit, for 
     prestige does count, and undoubtedly prestige would be lost 
     by a reversal at this stage. But that granted, prestige is 
     not everything. When the alternative is to persist in serious 
     error it may be necessary to sacrifice some prestige early, 
     rather than much more later. To proceed resolutely down a 
     wrong road--especially one that has a slippery slope--is not 
     statesmanship. After all, the last time the argument that is 
     too late to turn back prevailed was exactly thirty years ago, 
     as, without clear purpose, we were advancing deeper and 
     deeper into Vietnam.

              [From the New York Times, February 5, 1997]

 A Fateful Error--Expanding NATO Would Be a Rebuff to Russian Democracy

                         (By George F. Kennan)

       In late 1996, the impression was allowed, or caused, to 
     become prevalent that it had been somehow and somewhere 
     decided to expand NATO up to Russia's borders. This despite 
     the fact that no formal decision can be made before the 
     alliance's next summit meeting in June.
       The timing of this revelation--coinciding with the 
     Presidential election and the pursuant changes in responsible 
     personalities in Washington--did not make it easy for the 
     outsider to know how or where to insert a modest word of 
     comment. Nor did the assurance given to the public that the 
     decision, however preliminary, was irrevocable encourage 
     outside opinion.
       But something of the highest importance is at stake here. 
     And perhaps it is not too late to advance a view that, I 
     believe, is not only mine alone but is shared by a number of 
     others with extensive and in most instances more recent 
     experience in Russian matters. The view, bluntly stated, is 
     that expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of 
     American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.
       Such a decision may be expected to inflame the 
     nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in 
     Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development 
     of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold 
     war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign 
     policy in directions decidedly not to our liking. And, last 
     but not least, it might make it much more difficult, if not 
     impossible, to secure the Russian Duma's ratification of the 
     Start II agreement and to achieve further reductions of 
     nuclear weaponry.
       It is, of course, unfortunate that Russia should be 
     confronted with such a challenge at a time when its executive 
     power is in a state of high uncertainty and near-paralysis. 
     And it is doubly unfortunate considering the total lack of 
     any necessity for this move. Why, with all the hopeful 
     possibilities engendered by the end of the cold war, should 
     East-West relations become centered on the question of who 
     would be allied with whom and, by implication, against whom 
     in some fanciful, totally unforeseeable and most improbable 
     future military conflict?
       I am aware, of course, that NATO is conducting talks with 
     the Russian authorities in hopes of making the idea of 
     expansion tolerable and palatable to Russia. One can, in the 
     existing circumstances, only wish these efforts success. But 
     anyone who gives serious attention to the Russian press 
     cannot fail to note that neither the public nor the 
     Government is waiting for the proposed expansion to occur 
     before reacting to it.
       Russians are little impressed with American assurances that 
     it reflects no hostile intentions. They would see their 
     prestige (always uppermost in the Russian mind) and their 
     security interests as adversely affected. They would, of 
     course, have no choice but to accept expansion as a military 
     fait accompli. But they would continue to regard it as a 
     rebuff by the West and would likely look elsewhere for 
     guarantees of a secure and hopeful future for themselves.
       It will obviously not be easy to change a decision already 
     made or tacitly accepted by the alliance's 16 member 
     countries. But there are a few intervening months before the 
     decision is to be made final; perhaps this period can be used 
     to alter the proposed expansion in ways that would mitigate 
     the unhappy effects it is already having on Russian opinion 
     and policy.