Is This NATO's 'Peaceful and Undivided' Europe?

NATO's military campaigns could be in violation of a 1997 agreement signed with Russia

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What is the agreement between NATO and Russia? A recent AFP article detailing increased NATO activity in the Baltics mentioned that troop deployments could "breach a 1997 agreement between NATO and Russia."

A Cold War relic
A Cold War relic

But what are the exact arrangements outlined in this agreement? For the curious and those searching for clarity on a much-discussed issue, here is a link to the agreement between NATO and Russia that was held in France back in 1997.

The 1997 agreement "reaffirms the determination of NATO and Russia to give concrete substance to their shared commitment to build a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe, whole and free, to the benefit of all its peoples.” Rosy language — but does it have any basis in reality? Consider Serbia, where NATO and the U.S. destabilized the Balkans. Clinton arrogantly proclaimed that he “stopped a genocide in Kosovo”, but what he really did was assist in ethnic cleansing. Is this what NATO means by creating a “stable, peaceful and undivided Europe, whole and free, to the benefit of all its peoples”?

The Founding Act also states that:

NATO has radically reduced and continues the adaptation of its conventional and nuclear forces. While preserving the capability to meet the commitments undertaken in the Washington Treaty, NATO has expanded and will continue to expand its political functions, and taken on new missions of peacekeeping and crisis management in support of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), such as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to address new security challenges in close association with other countries and international organisations.

It's true that NATO has reduced conventional and nuclear forces, but the alliance has also expanded and will continue to expand its political functions and "peacekeeping" missions. NATO's post-Cold War function is ambiguous at best, and perhaps this is why NATO keeps moving towards Russia's border. Is this a case of mission creep, or back-stabbing?

We can draw parallels between NATO meddling in Yugoslavia and the current conflict in Ukraine. But it's clear that this time around, Russia has lost its patience. 

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