Reader 01/19/2023 (Thu) 09:52 Id: a7934b No.19666 del
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Cables record Russian intellectuals across the political spectrum making such points again and again. One June 2007 cable records the words of a “liberal defense expert” and the “liberal editor” of a leading Russian foreign policy journal, that after Russia had done “everything to ‘help’ the US post-9/11, including opening up Central Asia for coalition anti-terrorism efforts,” it had expected “respect for Russia’s ‘legitimate interests.’” Instead, Lyukanov said, it had been “confronted with NATO expansion, zero-sum competition in Georgia and Ukraine, and US military installations in Russia’s backyard.”

Indeed, opposing NATO’s enlargement eastward, particulary in Ukraine and Georgia, was “one of the few security areas where there is almost complete consensus among Russian policymakers, experts and the informed population,” he cabled in March 2008. Ukraine was the “line of last resort” that would complete Russia’s encirclement, said one defense expert, and its entry into NATO was universally viewed by the Russian political elite as an “unfriendly act.” Other experts cautioned “that Putin would be forced to respond to Russian nationalist feelings opposing membership” of Georgia, and that MAPs for either would trigger a cut-back in the Russian military’s genuine desire for co-operation with NATO.

NATO enlargement was “worrisome” said one Duma member, while Russian generals were “suspicious of NATO and US intentions,” cables record. Just as analysts and NATO officials had said, Kremlin officials characterized NATO’s designs on Georgia and Ukraine as especially objectionable, with ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin stressing in a February 2008 cable that offering MAPs to either “would negatively impact NATO’s relations with Russia” and “raise tension along the borders between NATO and Russia.”

Deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin “underscored the depth of Russian opposition” to their membership, a different March 2008 cable states, underlining that the political elite “firmly believes” it “represented a direct security threat to Russia.” The future, he said, rested on the “strategic choice” Washington made about “what kind of Russia” it wanted to deal with: “a Russia that is stable and ready to calmly discuss issues with the US, Europe and China, or one that is deeply concerned and filled with nervousness.”