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sovereign states decided they wanted to join NATO.

And the Kurds want their own country, but what other states and peoples want is not the question. The question is what it is in the interests of the US and NATO to grant. If the goal was a united Europe that was at peace with Russia, accepting these countries into NATP was not the thing to do. This could always have been revisited had Russian behavior re its former republics and Comintern allies been threatening in more specific ways than just assuming that Russia will always want them back. On some level there is no doubt that Russia would. The question, the answer to which was preempted by NATO expansion, is whether Russia would have tried. Finland survived. The rest is counterfactual speculation.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Mar 6th, 2015 at 11:20:00 PM EST
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