Buying Freedom on the Free Market
Obscured by the mythology of pursuing economic and political autonomy, Ukraine plays the latest role in a long, unfolding process of western corporate, political and military interests establishing the “territorial integrity” not of independent Eastern European states, but of “NATO’s border” under the monolithic control of the United States. Ukraine has long served as a Western frontier—its political and economic ambitions co-opted by Washington’s pundits and financiers—and what the NATO Association of Canada has described as “the only country standing between Russia and the EU”.
While NATO regularly conducts military training at the Russian border, including intensified military exercises through Forward Presence in Latvia, Canada maintains a presence in Ukraine through Operation UNIFIER, and in the Balkans through NATO’s Operation Reassurance. Canada’s own slogan for its military mission, Operation UNIFIER—“Linking people to reforms”—reflects much more than the military aid it has given to Ukraine, signifying the vast economic reforms imposed upon an “independent” Ukraine.
NATO has recently intensified its US-led military exercises in Eastern Europe by launching Defender Europe 2020, the largest exercise in 25 years, based on an imaginary war in 2028. The exercise shipped 20,000 American soldiers to Europe, and spans Russia’s borders with the Baltic States, Poland and Georgia.
In the media’s flaunting of NATO militarization in Eastern Europe, however, it’s often overlooked that the encroachment of NATO bases and intensifying military exercises in Eastern Europe have long been in blatant violation of an agreement that “broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable”, “not one inch eastward”—as was agreed between U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990. The question of NATO’s military expansion was deliberated within the context of competing economic systems.
“You are moving to a price system that is very important,” Baker had praised the perestroika during their conversation, “I am delighted that you made the decision and it is not easy to get there.”
Just three years earlier, during a meeting on March 30, 1987, Gorbachev had confronted Margaret Thatcher about the “whiff of the spirit of the 1940s-1950s” that was present in Thatcher’s earlier speech in the English resort town of Torquay.