During Putin's visit to Australia for the G20 meeting former Australian PM Paul Keating gave an interview to Australian TV starkly critical of NATO.
He heavily criticized the West for making a serious error in extending NATO at the end of the Cold War.
He thinks that current events are a result of that flawed decision.
Why is it that top Western leaders seem to have a tendency toward wisdom only after leaving top office?
We already heard former chief of German armed forces, former German Chancellor Schroeder, former Italian PM and president of European Commission Romano Prodi and many other former officials criticizing current counter-productive Western Russia policy.
Some of the key points from his interview are:
- The West had a chance at the end of the Cold War to settle the status of Russia, like we did with Germany after Second World War, but basically US blew it.
- The West extended the NATO into the boundary of Russia to the west. Hungary, Poland, Baltic States should have been the bridges between the Russia and the West instead of Western outposts.
- Inflamed Russian nationalism is just reaction to US behavior.
- North European plain is fundamentally indefensible. NATO Baltic states are not capable of defense against Russian infantry and artillery.
- The West has bitten of the pieces of the pie crust when Russians were weak, instead of taking the longer view.
- Russia is a great state whatever we think about it. It has one particular unique characteristic in the world - capacity to obliterate the United States. For that reason alone, if no other, you would have a smart policy towards it.
- The ambition of the Clinton administration should have been integrating Russia to Europe. It was Clinton who decided to extend NATO and Bush extended it even further.