I stumbled upon this Wikipedia article the other day, describing an event I hadn’t heard of before; George H W Bush’s “Chicken Kiev” speech. The gist of the speech is that Bush senior states his opposition to Ukrainian independence from the USSR:
“Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.”
This in turn reminded me of a recent article on War On The Rocks that covered Gorbatjev-era discussions between the US and the USSR, and later Russia, on the topic of NATO’s role in Europe:
More than a quarter-century ago, in February 1990, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discussed NATO’s future role in a unified Germany. Baker told Gorbachev that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east” and agreed with Gorbachev’s statement that “Any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable.”
These fragments stand in contrast to the “end of history”-narrative of the Clinton administration and, of course, later on the neocon-era of Bush Junior and beyond. I find them interesting in relation to recent events like the Russo-Georgian war, and of course the ongoing situation in Ukraine.