As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, veteran journalist Andrew Cockburn and Yale historian Timothy Snyder discuss the history of the region and what role NATO’s expansion played in the current crisis. Cockburn says the United States and its allies broke promises made in the 1990s not to expand the military alliance into Eastern Europe, setting the stage for an eventual confrontation.
“What Putin has done is absolutely disgraceful, but it’s kind of easy to understand. There have been sustained efforts to push NATO forward,” he says. But Snyder says the focus on NATO ignores the agency of leaders in Ukraine and elsewhere who have the right to seek their own arrangements. “It’s very important to remember that the world isn’t just about Washington and Moscow. It’s also about other sovereign states and other peoples who can express their desires and have their own foreign policies,” says Snyder.
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