Most fascinating thing about the Ukraine war is the sheer number of top strategic thinkers who warned for years that it was coming if we continued down the same path.

No-one listened to them and here we are.

Small compilation 🧵 of these warnings, from Kissinger to Mearsheimer.
The first one is George Kennan, arguably America's greatest ever foreign policy strategist, the architect of the U.S. cold war strategy.

As soon as 1998 he warned that NATO expansion was a "tragic mistake" that ought to ultimately provoke a "bad reaction from Russia". Image
Then there's Kissinger, in 2014 ⬇️

He warned that "to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country" and that the West therefore needs a policy that is aimed at "reconciliation".

He was also adamant that "Ukraine should not join NATO"
This is John Mearsheimer - probably the leading geopolitical scholar in the US today - in 2015:

"The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path and the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked [...] What we're doing is in fact encouraging that outcome."
This is Jack F. Matlock Jr., US Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987-1991, warning in 1997 that NATO expansion was "the most profound strategic blunder, [encouraging] a chain of events that could produce the most serious security threat [...] since the Soviet Union collapsed" Image
This is Clinton's defense secretary William Perry explaining in his memoir that to him NATO enlargement is the cause of "the rupture in relations with Russia" and that in 1996 he was so opposed to it that "in the strength of my conviction, I considered resigning". ImageImageImage
This is Noam Chomsky in 2015, saying that "the idea that Ukraine might join a Western military alliance would be quite unacceptable to any Russian leader" and that Ukraine's desire to join NATO "is not protecting Ukraine, it is threatening Ukraine with major war."
Stephen Cohen, a famed scholar of Russian studies, warning in 2014 that "if we move NATO forces toward Russia's borders [...] it's obviously gonna militarize the situation [and] Russia will not back off, this is existential"

Whole video worth watching:
This is famous Russian-American journalist Vladimir Pozner, in 2018, who says that NATO expansion in Ukraine is unacceptable to the Russian, that there has to be a compromise where "Ukraine, guaranteed, will not become a member of NATO."
More recently, right before war broke out, this is famous economist Jeffrey Sachs writing a column in the FT warning that "NATO enlargement is utterly misguided and risky. True friends of Ukraine, and of global peace, should be calling for a US and NATO compromise with Russia." Image
It's fair to say there has rarely been a conflict that so many strategic thinkers from the other camp saw coming and warned against for so many years, yet had their advice ignored.

This begs the question: why?
If people reply with his other relevant examples of high profile figures who warned about what was coming, I'll add them to the thread.

Thank you @PromisesRust, this is former United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi ⬇️
Thank you @laurenibsolm!

CIA director Bill Burns in 2008: "Ukrainian entry into NATO is the brightest of all redlines for [Russia]" and "I have yet to find anyone who views Ukraine in NATO as anything other than a direct challenge to Russian interests"
Thank you @lt3066!

Malcolm Fraser, 22nd prime minister of Australia, warned in 2014 that "the move east [by NATO is] provocative, unwise and a very clear signal to Russia". He adds that this leads to a "difficult and extraordinarily dangerous problem".
Thank you @itjohnstone!

Paul Keating, former Australian PM, in 1997: expanding NATO is "an error which may rank in the end with the strategic miscalculations which prevented Germany from taking its full place in the international system [in early 20th]"
Thank you @GrayConnolly!

Former US defense secretary Bob Gates in his 2015 memoirs: "Moving so quickly [to expand NATO] was a mistake. [...] Trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching [and] an especially monumental provocation"
Thank you @SamScottish5!

Sir Roderic Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia, warned a year ago that "[pushing] Ukraine into NATO [...] is stupid on every level." He adds "if you want to start a war with Russia, that's the best way of doing it."
Thank you @OiseauDeGuerre!

This is Pat Buchanan, in his 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire: "By moving NATO onto Russia's front porch, we have scheduled a twenty-first-century confrontation."
Image
Thank you @ArjenPolku!

This Wikileaks cable from 2008 by Bill Burns when he was ambassador to Russia. I know I already have Burns in the thread but what I had was from his memoirs so it makes sense to put him twice.
Image
Thank you @LedaAlepi!

This is British journalist @Itwitius, former Sky News foreign affairs editor, in his 2015 book Prisoners of Geography: for Russia "a pro-Western Ukraine with ambitions to join [EU or NATO] could not stand" and "could spark a war".
Thank you @dekathlos!

In 1997, 50 prominent foreign policy experts (former senators, military officers, diplomats, etc.) sent an open letter to Clinton outlining their opposition to NATO expansion.

It's a "policy error of historic proportions" they write
ImageImage
Another one, George Beebe who used to be the CIA's top Russia analyst who in January this year linked Russia's actions in Ukraine directly to NATO expansion, explaining that Russia "feels threatened" and "inaction on [the Kremlin’s] part is risky".
Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Institute's senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies, wrote in a 1994 book that NATO expansion “would constitute a needless provocation of Russia.”

Today he adds "we are now paying the price for the US’s arrogance".
Thank you @TonySim79012667!

This is Frank Blackaby, former director of SIPRI, writing in 1996 that "any Russian Government will react, militarily as well as politically to [NATO’s expansion]" and that it makes "Europe drift [...] towards Cold War II".
ImageImageImageImage
Thank you @mystery_dave!

This is legendary journalist @johnpilger who wrote this article in 2014: theguardian.com/commentisfree/…

He describes Ukraine as having become a "CIA theme park", a situation that he foresaw would lead to "a Nato-run guerrilla war"
Image
Chinese experts also saw it coming long ago. This is Shiping Tang, one of China's foremost International Relations scholars, writing in 2009.
His entire text has recently been re-published in @ZichenWanghere's excellent Pekingnology substack: pekingnology.substack.com/p/ukraine-as-a… Image
This is Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych in 2015.

He says that if Ukraine continues down the path of joining NATO "it will prompt Russia to launch a large scale military operation [...] before we join NATO", "with a probability of 99.9%", likely "in 2021-2022".
I haven't updated this thread for a while but when I saw that even the Pope agrees with this, I had to add it ⬇️

"Pope Says NATO Might Have Provoked Russian Invasion of Ukraine"
wsj.com/livecoverage/r…
And another one: Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator and candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.

"We kicked [Russia] when they were down, we expanded NATO. [...] It was a blunder of monumental proportions [and] a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Even legendary Soviet dissident Solzhenitsyn saw NATO expansion as "an effort to encircle Russia and destroy its sovereignty".

He says Russia could never "renounce our unity" with the "Russian population in Ukraine" (original: noblit.ru/node/1041)
nytimes.com/2006/05/03/new…

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More from @RnaudBertrand

Jan 24
Interesting read on Xiongan, the Chinese city of the future.

A 650 square miles, 3mio-inhabitant city built from the (under)ground up on which China already spent 400 billion yuan (and it's far from complete). China-scale 😲

A few interesting features 🧵
foreignpolicy.com/2023/01/22/chi…
Xiongan is designed as “3 cities”:
1) Aboveground
2) Underground (utility corridors & automated logistics delivery)
3) The city in the cloud (for algorithm-driven management of traffic and other urban systems as well as better maintenance of infrastructure and technology systems)
This "city in the cloud" will for instance enable 5G-powered autonomous vehicles throughout the city, both aboveground and underground (for automated logistics delivery).

No more uber-type-jobs in Xiongan, it'll all be automated!
Read 10 tweets
Jan 16
A lot of people comment that this is idiotic but there are health systems that exist where you don't go through a GP to go see a specialist and they're immensely more efficient... Which makes sense, you cut out one step.

So, not that stupid IMHO!
Example, the Chinese healthcare system, which I experienced A LOT and is incredibly efficient. I made a thread about it a few months back 🔽

What would take you weeks or even months to do in the UK (or France) takes you a just few hours in China...
Read 4 tweets
Jan 13
Emmanuel Todd, one of the greatest French intellectuals today, claims that the "Third World War has started."

Small 🧵 translating the most important points in this fascinating interview.
lefigaro.fr/vox/monde/emma…
He says "it's obvious that the conflict, started as a limited territorial war and escalating to a global economic confrontation, between the whole of the West on the one hand and Russia and China on the other hand, has become a world war."
He believes that "Putin made a big mistake early on, which is [that] on the eve of the war [everyone saw Ukraine] not as a fledgling democracy, but as a society in decay and a “failed state” in the making. [...] I think the Kremlin's calculation was that this decaying society...
Read 29 tweets
Jan 12
Articles by @stephenWalt are must-reads.

His brief to new members of congress:
- "US position in the world ain’t what it used to be", "multipolar world" now
- US can't "expect [countries] to simply fall into line" anymore, like during "unipolar moment"
foreignpolicy.com/2023/01/11/con…
- "US is now trying to inflict decisive defeats on [both Russia and China] simultaneously", US doesn't do "restraint". Which is foolish because "the US tends to attract more support from others when it acts with restraint and forbearance than when it appears to be trigger-happy"
- "We live in an interdependent world... Americans will be poorer and weaker if protectionism becomes widespread"
- Ukraine outcome doesn't matter much to US: "won’t matter that much to the US if [Moscow ends up controlling Crimea or the Donbas]"
Read 5 tweets
Jan 9
Must-read statement by 182 leading economists - including Ghosh, Piketty and Varoufakis - on Sri Lanka's debt.

They accuse private creditors - mostly Western banks & hedge funds - who hold 40% of Sri Lanka's debt of effectively taking the country hostage
debtjustice.org.uk/press-release/…
They also accuse the IMF and the World Bank of "not currently living up to [their] responsibilities" and of having "encouraged the very policies of more open capital accounts and deregulation that have led to the current crisis".
Here are the "private creditors" targeted by the statement: asia.nikkei.com/Location/South…
Read 4 tweets
Jan 7
We're now in Kuala Lumpur where we just travelled from France.

One thing I am always struck by when I move from the "West" to Asia with my daughters is how much warmer and caring people generally are towards children. Not sure why that is.

A small 🧵
In France in everyday life - except from close family of course - no-one cares about your children.

No-one gives them a second look and it's not uncommon to receive a nasty remark if someone judges their behavior disagreeable to them.
Basically people start caring about your kids only if they get annoyed by them, at which point they won't hesitate to let you know.

Two examples of this during our stay in France.
Read 13 tweets

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