Even the “Boldest” 1990s Plan to Integrate Russia With the West Would Have Kept It as 2nd Grade Member

A demeaning "Associate NATO member" category without Article 5 guarantees would have been invented for it

Former defence secretary Malcolm Rifkind once considered plans to bring Russia in from the cold and make it associate member of Nato, secret documents reveal.

A memo from January 1995 ahead of a Chequers summit discussing foreign policy proffered the opportunity to change the relationship with Russia and central Europe for the first time since the end of the Cold War, highlighting the political and military north Atlantic alliance as a possible means for doing so.

The note from Mr Rifkind’s department – released among a tranche of declassified documents at the National Archives at Kew – identified how “integrating Russia into the European and western family of nations in a realistic and sensitive way” was “the most difficult problem we face”.

It said making Boris Yeltsin‘s Russia a full member of Nato would “always be impossible”, and said giving it an Article V guarantee – a core tenet of Nato’s founding treaty, committing to collective defence responsibilities – could prove difficult in sending forces to the farthest flung corners of Europe to fight on Russia’s vast borders.

A possible solution, it was claimed in the memo, was to “create a new category of Associate Member of Nato”, giving Russia a formal status to attend meetings but without the Article V guarantee.

Aides agreed to keep the suggestion confidential ahead of the the Chequers summit.

Minutes from that summit described how the chancellor, Ken Clarke, “was cautious about [Nato] expansion”.

It added: “At the extreme, some were even contemplating including Russia in Nato.

“That was farcical and should not be on our agenda.”

Mr Rifkind agreed at Chequers that Russia should not become a full member of Nato, but stressed the need to make it “a more normal member of our western family”, or risk it  reverting to authoritarianism.

Minutes also reveal how John Major used a literary flourish to sum up the UK’s position in the world as he saw it at the time, describing the country as “too much of a team player”.

Referring to the prime minister’s comments, the minutes add: “We did not pursue our self-interest with the ruthless determination of the US and France.

“We had tended to play Sancho Panza to the US Don Quixote.”

The reference was to the Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, where Sancho Panza is a simple peasant who loyally follows land noble Don Quixote.

The prime minister said the main threat from Russia was “as a source of trouble” through arms deals with poorer countries.

Nato currently has 29 member countries, although Russia is not among them.

Source: The Independent

  1. Canosin says

    cannot imagine this scenario….. Russia as a NATO member would have caused the disappearance of Russia in itself….
    thanks to Putin, he did abstain to such ideas…. even though he was ready for a new pan European new cooperation and order incl. Russia from Lissabon to Wladiwostok….which of course never materialized thanks to the hawks in Washington and Brüssel…. and all other major European capitals….they (we) had the chance… now it’s too late….
    Russia is back as a superpower. .. and China is the new kid in town….

    1. Nick Rhynes says

      Russia isn’t back as a superpower, they are simply lead by the greatest strategist of this young century.

      China, we’ll see. They are undoubtedly an economic force and a growing military power but they aren’t exiting this trade war unscathed and the Belt and Road sin’t always what it’s touted to be. Some nations are balking.

      People talk about how young or short America’s empire has been but China’s power has been a blink of an eye in contrast.

      1. Canosin says

        “… they are simply lead by the greatest strategist of this young century….”
        this is the only sentence in your statement to which I do agree one hundred percent…..
        all others is not worth the reading nor the discussion….. which I’d love to due to the contrapoints neede to say….. but it seems to be a waste of time…..

        1. Nick Rhynes says

          Why would it be a waste of time? I’m open to new ideas.

          Just don’t waste my time with half-truths, misdirections or lies.

          1. Canosin says

            hey Nick…. did I piss you off with some basic truth and facts you don’t like? greatly you made my day…. if you need some more, don’t hesitate to reply…. love to teach you with more truth…. even when it’s hard for you face reality…. never mind though…

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