Dialogue of the Deaf in Geneva, by Alastair Crooke

We’ll do as we want and you’ll do as we say isn’t much of a negotiating position. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Western politics today are no more about considered strategy: It is pretty evident that the U.S. team arrived at Geneva strategy-less.

A curious event occurred on Monday in Geneva. It seems that the only substantive outcome from the U.S.–Russia talks is that the U.S. has promised to provide a formal response to the earlier Russian demand for security guarantees within a week. The Russian counterparts outlined their own position unambiguously, and in full detail. This, however, was wholly disdained by the Biden Team, who, according to the Russians, were “diehard/stubborn”. The Russian delegation was told that its key request of ‘no more NATO eastward expansion’ was simply “a non-starter”.

It plainly was not then ‘a negotiation’. The U.S. is discussing only missile deployment issues and mutual limitations on military exercises, but avoiding the crux of Russian demands (the roll-back of NATO from its near abroad, to be achieved either through diplomacy or a by ‘a strategy of tension’, i.e. escalating pain). And the U.S. has neither a negotiating strategy tied to realisable objectives, nor real options, beyond the symbolical assertion of NATO ‘openness’.

NATO’s door must remain ‘open’ is the U.S.’ meme-narrative – yet it is an assertion that lacks substance. Washington has already conceded that neither it, nor NATO, will fight (at least overtly), over Ukraine – whereas Russia has said that it will so do, were Ukraine to be subsumed into NATO.

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