NATO Chief: NATO Expansion Caused Russian Invasion

It’s the damnedest thing how you’re called a Kremlin agent for saying the war was provoked by NATO expansionism and it serves U.S. interests, even when NATO and U.S. officials openly admit the same thing, writes Caitlin Johnstone. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky at the summit in Vilnius on July 11. (NATO)

By Caitlin Johnstone
Caitlin’s Newsletter 

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article. 

During a speech at the E.U. Parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg clearly and repeatedly acknowledged that Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine because of fears of NATO expansionism.

His comments, initially flagged by journalist Thomas Fazi, read as follows:

“The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition for not invade Ukraine. Of course we didn’t sign that.

The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second class membership. We rejected that.

So he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders.”

Stoltenberg made these remarks as part of a general gloat about the fact that Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent NATO expansion and yet the invasion has resulted in Sweden and Finland applying to join the alliance, saying it “demonstrates that when President Putin invaded a European country to prevent more NATO, he’s getting the exact opposite.”

Stoltenberg’s remarks would probably have been classified as Russian propaganda by plutocrat-funded “disinformation experts” and imperial “fact checkers” if it had been said online by someone like you or me, but because it came from the head of NATO as part of a screed against the Russian president it’s been allowed to pass through without objection.

In reality Stoltenberg is just stating a well-established fact: contrary to the official western narrative, Putin invaded Ukraine not because he is evil and hates freedom but because no great power ever allows foreign military threats to amass on its borders ?—? including the United States.

That’s why so many western analysts and officials spent years warning that NATO’s actions were going to provoke a war, and yet when war broke out we were slammed with a tsunami of mass media propaganda repeating over and over and over again that this was an “unprovoked invasion”.

It would have been so very, very easy to prevent this horrific war. Off-ramp after off-ramp after off-ramp was passed to get us to where we’re at now. Chance after chance after chance to avoid all this pointless death and misery was passed up, both before 2014 and every year since.

The U.S.-centralized power structure knowingly chose this war, and it did so to advance its own interests. If people really, deeply understood this, the entire western empire would collapse.

It’s the damnedest thing how you’ll get called a Kremlin agent for saying that this war was provoked by NATO expansionism and that it serves U.S. interests, even when NATO openly says this war was provoked by NATO expansionism and U.S. officials keep openly saying that this war serves U.S. interests.

The latest entry in the latter category came in the form of a Thursday tweet by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which reads, “Standing with our allies against Russian aggression isn’t charity. In fact?—?it’s a direct investment in replenishing America’s arsenal with American weapons built by American workers. Expanding our defense industrial base puts America in a stronger position to out-compete China.”

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When official authorized narrative-makers acknowledge these things it’s okay, but when normal human beings do it it’s Kremlin disinformation. This is because when the authorized narrative-makers do it they’re doing it to advance the information interests of the U.S. empire?—?to explain to war-weary Americans how this war benefits their country, or to mock Putin’s failure to stop the enlargement of NATO?—?whereas when normal people do it it’s to establish what’s true and factual.

This all happens as a study sponsored by the EU with a group funded by U.S. oligarch Pierre Omidyar is being circulated by mass media outlets like The Washington Post finding that Twitter under Elon Musk has not been doing enough to censor “Russian propaganda” on the platform. This would put Musk in violation of the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which requires platforms to restrict such materials.

As Glenn Greenwald has noted, the Digital Services Act defines “Russian propaganda” so extremely broadly that it includes “ideological alignment with the Russian state” in the category of materials that must be censored, which includes people who “parrot the Kremlin’s narratives through originally produced content or by spreading Kremlin aligned narratives to different target audiences and languages.”

Anyone who speaks out against U.S. foreign policy relating to Russia online is always immediately accused of “parroting Kremlin narratives” by empire apologists mindlessly regurgitating what they’ve been told to believe by outlets like The Washington Post, whether they have anything to do with the Russian government or not. I myself have no affiliation or interaction with the Russian state whatsoever, yet I receive many of these accusations every single day online just for criticizing U.S. foreign policy.

If I were the NATO Secretary General publicly gloating about how Putin’s efforts to stop the expansion of NATO have failed, it would be fine for me to acknowledge that NATO expansion provoked this war after our refusal to prevent a needless conflict. But because I am harming the information interests of the western empire instead of helping them, that makes me a Russian propagandist.

This isn’t because the definition of “Russian propaganda” is flawed, but because it is working exactly as intended. The push to marginalize and eliminate “Russian propaganda” has never had anything to do with fighting the actual materials put out by the Russian state (which have essentially zero meaningful existence in the western world); the push has always been about stomping out opposition to U.S. foreign policy. 

Like so much else in this world when examining the behavior of power, it’s ultimately all about narrative control. The powerful understand that whoever controls the dominant narrative about world events actually controls the world, because real power isn’t just controlling what happens but controlling what people think about what happens. That’s the real glue holding the U.S.-centralized empire together, and the world will never have a chance at knowing peace until people start bringing consciousness to it.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from Caitlin’s Newsletter and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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23 comments for “NATO Chief: NATO Expansion Caused Russian Invasion

  1. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    September 12, 2023 at 10:44

    A nice piece by Caitlin here calling a spade a spade. It also implicitly gives a new twist to “who controls the heartland controls the world” ; who controls the (informational) heartland also now aspires to control the world.

  2. LeoSun
    September 11, 2023 at 16:38

    Caitlin Johnstone is aka “A Russian propagandist?” “A Kremlin Agent?” “Natasha!?!”…. Fugg‘Em!!! Everybody, knows, “Russia didn’t go into Ukraine to play NATO’s war games. Russia went into Ukraine, to change it.”

    The refrain, “Ukraine’s the sacrificial Pawn on the Imperial Chessboard.” Russia rocks The Queen. Et tu, USG?!?

    What “Ate Your Lunch” looks like, “The U.S.-centralized power structure knowingly chose this war, and it did so to advance its own interests. If people really, deeply understood this, the entire western empire would collapse.” Caitlin Johnstone.

    There’s no doubt, the USG’s manufacturing hate, war, & fascism; masquerading it as “democracy.” Concluding, “Everywhere there’s lots of piggies, living piggy lives. You can see them out to dinner w/their piggy wives. Clutching forks & knives, to eat the bacon!!”

    “Bringing [CONSCIOUSNESS] to it,” i.e., Reason is Wealth! Does ‘letting go’ mean losing everything “we” have, or does it mean gaining everything “we” never had?!?” Don’t Panic. It’s Organic, “Consciousness!” Peace NOT War. MORE, Cooperativas Terra Livre, “Revolution, anyone? Everyone?!?”

    A MUST READ, by CAITLIN JOHNSTONE, “Consciousness & Dysfunction CANNOT Coexist!!!”

    “people start “bringing consciousness to it.” [“The only thing that ever leads to positive changes in human behavior is an expansion of [CONSCIOUSNESS].” “Real REVOLUTION Means Expanding Consciousness, Both Inwardly & Outwardly.”

    “Much like a physical law, this is a constant principle of human life in this world.” Caitlin Johnstone @ hxxps://

    TY, Caitlin Johnstone, Tim Foley, CN, “NEVER was good work done w/o much trouble.” Don’t let the f/piggies, bring you down. “KEEP IT LIT!!!”

  3. Kev Kvisle
    September 11, 2023 at 16:01

    This is the hugest news of the year!!

    Ironically, it comes on the anniiversary of the biggest lie, 9-11.

    P.S. – trying to repost this huge news is NOT ALLOWED in Canada. For shame.

  4. peter mcloughlin
    September 11, 2023 at 09:10

    To understand the nature of war rulers must first understand a simple historic syllogism: every empire eventually faces the conflict it is trying to avoid; every power wants to avoid WW III; therefore, nuclear Armageddon is the fate that awaits. Paradoxically, the only chance of avoiding is to accept it.

  5. Sick and tired
    September 11, 2023 at 08:21

    Surely Sweden and Finland knew Russia was no threat to them despite the Ukraine invasion. Would love to know what “behind the scenes”thuggery the US and UK used to compel their joining.

    • Caliman
      September 11, 2023 at 12:17

      Erikson and Nokia and Saab et al will likely get some sweet deals and were tired of being left out of the general western Mil-Ind gravy train.

      Corporations are always waiting to seize more crony power … it is the job of an aware citizenry to head them off. Swedes and Finns held the line for a long time, but even there corruption has set in.

  6. Arch Stanton
    September 11, 2023 at 07:19

    Yet again a great article Caitlin, thank you

  7. Carlton Meyer
    September 10, 2023 at 22:54

    NATO posts the text and video of all its Secretary General’s speeches on-line. He gave a lot that day but I couldn’t find the one cited here. Maybe I missed it or they chose not to post it.


    • Duane M
      September 12, 2023 at 09:47

      Try here:


  8. Pawlik
    September 10, 2023 at 14:20

    Millions of Ukrainians (including ethnic Russians) driven from their homes with their lives shattered. A quarter of a million dead Russian and Ukrainian soldiers – young men whose lives have been snuffed out way before they should have. Equal numbers physically and mentally scarred for life. Thousands of civilians killed. Thousands of destroyed buildings – schools, churches, theaters, apartment buildings, food warehouses and civilian infrastructure. Prime agricultural land ripped up and land mines all over Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Civilian infrastructure destroyed. War is never the answer. Never.

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    September 10, 2023 at 10:27

    I guess they don’t keep tract of all the lies they keep telling…They don’t even know what ‘shame’ is…

  10. jamie
    September 10, 2023 at 05:40

    I think there is a connection between how information is controlled by our governments and the fact that western culture is much more prone to develop cults and sects, particularly in the US.
    Why do we tend to alienate from reality more often than other cultures? Christianity has surely something to do with it, the idea of a “superior human being” like Jesus has influenced/shaped our culture, his rebellious nature, etc.
    Also, faced with fear, weakness and failure, we tend to favor fugue and alienation over vulnerability acceptance and responsibility; we can’t stand (we abhor) the fact the we are humans, weak, afraid, vulnerable and mortal.
    The survival of the fittest still dominate our culture, perhaps that’s why we are more willing to spend ten bucks for a superhero movie than to give it to homeless on the street.
    Whatever the reasons, our governments act like sects, trying to cut off “its adepts” from any information that might undermine their believe, ideology and symbols. Sects feed the “right” information in order to make their adepts fully dependent and even more fearful of the outside world (or foreign nations).
    Our idea of democracy and liberal values has turned into a cult, the idea of us as “superior beings” and endowed with the right to “save the world (by conquering it)” dominates and controls our thinking, sort of an “Alexander’s complex”.
    Nazi ideology (a continuum in our culture) did not die in Germany. It has adapted and evolved, well incorporated into our current ideology of political correctness. “The Aryan stock is bound to triumph” Winston Churchill once said, that still is our chant, and Borrell just proved it.
    I think from Washington, to London, to Rome the sympathy for Hitler’s idea of superior race was well received; sparred/saved from the “purging fire” that burned Germany to the ground; that idea was brought to US and cherished to these days.
    In a way, today, we are still fighting the “cult of the superior race.”
    Whoever has studied political violence knows that information is key, eliminating all other sources of information is very important to move the masses and enable the worse human behavior; Rwanda genocide is a well-known case.
    What is surprising is that media plurality can be even worse (although way more difficult) than one state media in enabling violence, and Ukraine is the example. When all “diverse” media say the same thing, it can have a huge psychological impact on how populations perceive reality – to make evil so indistinguishable from good.
    At least the Nazis were genuine on their nature and intent, we are not, and perhaps even worse… history will tell

  11. anaisanesse
    September 10, 2023 at 03:26

    Pepe Escobar described Stoltenberg as “the piece of Norwegian wood claiming to be the man in charge” and the whole structure of the obsolete “defensive alliance” which has chosen to make Russia an enemy has no basis in reality. Any fair person bothering to observe Russia’s behaviour and listen to any of the speeches made by President Putin since his accession to power could easily accept that Russia wants peace and security, like anyone else. Look at the rest of the world instead of the “golden billion” and its steep decline-Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan,( just to mention this century’s democratic interventions!!!) and notice the cooperation possible if different nations get together in good faith.

  12. September 9, 2023 at 17:15

    Stoltenberg made these remarks as part of a general gloat about the fact that Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent NATO expansion and yet the invasion has resulted in Sweden and Finland applying to join the alliance, saying it “demonstrates that when President Putin invaded a European country to prevent more NATO, he’s getting the exact opposite.”

    Showing their true colors. We’re not going to let Putin tell us what to do or what not to do, even as we encroach on his own space. Absolute unmitigated gall. Absolute unmitigated hubris. The true character of NATO, and of the American empire.

    That is what good people or liberals who think they are supporting Ukraine or the Ukrainian people are really and actually supporting.

  13. Jeff Harrison
    September 9, 2023 at 17:15

    A very concise summation. Thanx. I’ve had arguments with Americans who try to insist that this is Putin’s war.

  14. Henry Steen
    September 9, 2023 at 15:21

    Another piece on the mark. Thanks!

  15. Caliman
    September 9, 2023 at 14:43

    Tell the truth, have you read anything as intelligent as this analysis on the Times or the Post or CNN etc. the past few years? Anything so devastatingly succinct and true?

    And to know that this kind of writing will soon (if not already) be downrated by the algorithm masters of Meta and Google such that no one will be able to find it even if they are looking for it …

    Free speech means little if one cannot be heard.

  16. Rudy Haugeneder
    September 9, 2023 at 14:26

    The longer the Ukraine war continues the more sophisticated American and Nato weapons are introduced until nothing in the arsenal is out- of-bounds, including once unthinkable black flag nuclear war. Unfortunately, based on what is happening, it is not that far off.

  17. Tony
    September 9, 2023 at 13:05

    NATO is very effective at profiting from crises that it has deliberately caused.

  18. James White
    September 9, 2023 at 12:03

    All of the U.S. $billions being funneled to Zelensky’s hopelessly corrupt and dying regime are borrowed. I doubt very much that Mitch McConnell invests in his own portfolio with borrowed money. But he thinks so little of the U.S. taxpayer that he prints money to send to Ukraine with zero accountability for where it goes. Only a fool would ‘invest’ using borrowed funds. Usage of the term ‘investment’ is straight, in your face disinformation. European countries only join NATO to get free military protection from the U.S. As Russia has no desire whatsoever to invade Europe, all of the NATO missiles pointed only at Russia are ultimately a ruse. A mock defense of an attack that is never threatened and will never come. U.S. hegemons want to marginalize Russia economically in trade with Europe. Half a million Ukrainians have already been sacrificed on the pretense that Russia is imperialist. The globalists always project their own imperialism on their adversary Russia. Their NATO governments all repeat the lies and the corrupt press amplifies the subterfuge. Racketeering is what this practice is called. The U.S. has laws against it but our corrupt DOJ evaluates all prosecution on the political ramifications before deciding any legal action. The U.S. has been in a constitutional crisis ever since Trump took office. Trump’s election activated the Deep State. Once Trump was replaced by Biden, the U.S. finalized our transition to totalitarianism. Constitutionally protected free speech is now punishable by 20-30 year prison sentences. The oligarchy, that is the Uniparty must be voted out of office or conditions will only worsen.

  19. Robert
    September 9, 2023 at 11:54

    Per McConnell, due to the Ukraine war the US will be rebuilding our weapons of war inventory “using American worlers” and therefore the war is a good investment for Americans.

    And to make matters worse about half of our voting citizens agree with him. Mitt Romney recently said something similar about Ukraine being a good “investment” . Given the already existing carnage in Ukraine, the callousness, stupidity, and inhumanity in these statements should alarm all Americans and Europeans, but it just doesn’t register.

    Meanwhile our economic competitor China goes around the world building roads, bridges, ports, high speed railways, and clean water facilities. And the vast majority of non western governments have chosen to, or are leaning towards, aligning with China rather than us. This realignment should not surprise D.C. but yet collectively the inhabitants seem bewildered.

    It’s apparent to me that empires that have peaked are even more dangerous than they are while ascending.

  20. September 9, 2023 at 11:11

    Thanks Caitlin, I miss the comment section at your web site, so I will take advantage of it here. Please keep up you great work, even if sometimes it seems like screaming into the wind when so many people continue to rely on the Corporate Owned News for their (mis)information. Many Blue Team voters have lost all sense of being anti-war, now that wars are out of sight and mind on the “news”. But everyone who understands must keep trying, not matter how futile it seems at times. So keep on doing what you are doing, and Thank You!

    • Bob Martin
      September 10, 2023 at 02:25

      I echo what you say. Caitlin Johnstone is the clearest thinker and explainer out there. I applaud her work and tell everyone I know about her. ???

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