Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said that Washington’s attempts to incorporate Ukraine into NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union were not prudent.
Speaking on Friday to the Council on Foreign Relations, Kissinger said that “it was not a wise American policy to attempt to include Ukraine into NATO.”
He said Russia regarded its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe as a “safety belt” and US efforts to encroach upon former members of the Soviet bloc under its umbrella after the Berlin wall fell basically compromised Russian security.
He, however, claimed that the US-led NATO move to encroach on former members of the Soviet Union did not justify attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to re-incorporate Ukraine into Moscow’s sphere of influence by a “surprise attack.”
Kissinger said he does not know if it is possible to make peace with the Russian leader, but stressed that the West “must seek an opportunity for an arrangement that guarantees Ukrainian freedom” and keeps the country part of the European system.
Moreover, Kissinger opined that in a way, Russia has “already lost the war” because its capacity to threaten Europe with conventional attacks, which it had enjoyed for decades or even centuries, “has now been demonstrably overcome.”
Despite that, the former secretary of state signaled that sooner or later, the West and Russia must engage in dialogue. “Some dialogue, maybe on an unofficial level, maybe in an exploratory way is very important,” he reiterated, adding that “in the nuclear environment” such an outcome is preferable to a “battlefield decision.”
In August, Kissinger blamed the United States’ lack of visionary leadership for bringing the world to "the edge of war with Russia and China".
The 99-year-old Republican Kissinger is a distinguished professor of global affairs at the prestigious American Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
He is also a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
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