Mearsheimer is Wrong — NATO Saved Europe

Jakub Ferencik
4 min readMar 1

My recent articles on Mearsheimer have created a storm, it seems. So, I thought I’d devote some more time to the man, as his ideas have created some confusion on this platform.

In my view, it’s very clear that Mearsheimer’s view that the war in Ukraine is chiefly the United States’ fault, is wrong. In his view — one that Putin himself invokes to justify the killing of tens of thousands of Ukrainians — NATO expansion threatened Russia’s borders.

When we look at the arguments, there’s not much sanity to them. Of course, the US didn’t help Ukraine in some of its foreign policy. For example, the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan was most certainly a sign to Putin that the US is becoming more isolationist, even after Trump.

The US seemed not to have the stomach to become involved, even when humiliation was at stake. Putin, however, misjudged the US’ alliance with Ukraine and their commitment to preserving the territorial integrity of its allies.

So, Mearsheimer is wrong. But what are his views on NATO expansion? And what’s the reality?

Photo by Cody West on Unsplash

Mearsheimer has for much of his career been critical of NATO. He argues that NATO’s expansion eastward towards Russia has been a major cause of tension between the West and Russia, and that it has increased the risk of conflict in Europe.

According to Mearsheimer, NATO’s expansion was a mistake because it violated a promise made to Russia by the United States that NATO would not expand eastward after the Cold War.

He further argues that this expansion has threatened Russia’s security and sovereignty, and has led to a more aggressive Russian foreign policy.

Mearsheimer also believes that NATO’s expansion has been unnecessary, as Russia is not a credible military threat to the West.

Lastly, he argues that the West should focus on engagement and diplomacy with Russia, rather than military buildup and expansion.

Overall, Mearsheimer sees NATO as a problematic institution that has contributed to instability and conflict in Europe, and he believes that the West should reconsider its approach to Russia and its security policies in the region.

Jakub Ferencik

Author of “Up in the Air” & “Beyond Reason” available on AMAZON | MA McGill Uni | Research assistant for EUROPEUM Prague | 700+ blog posts with 1+ mil. views