To the U.S. Senate

We believe that NATO expansion is a serious mistake. In this post-Cold War period, we should concentrate on reducing Russia’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, ensuring that her warheads and nuclear materials are secure from diversion, and bringing Russia into the Western family of democratic nations. As you know, Russia has delayed ratification of the START II Treaty because of NATO expansion. Further, the tensions raised by expanding NATO towards Russia’s borders can only make more difficult our critical effort to ensure her stockpile of nuclear warheads do not fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue regimes.

We lament that, after the expensive and dangerous Cold War, we seem to take rather cavalierly the opportunity at long last to build a friendship with Russia. Surely, moving NATO right up to Poland’s border with the Russian province of Kaliningrad cannot be taken as an act of friendship, however we might dress it up with rhetoric. Admitting the Baltics, who share long borders with Russia, will make matters even worse.

The Administration has stated repeatedly the first round “will not be the last.” Thus, this first vote is not simply about Poland Hungary and the Czech Republic. It is as much about Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia and the several others whose expectations have been raised. How can we admit some and exclude others without creating instability and tensions? Indeed, how can there be stability if Russia is destabilized by expansion?

We share the goal of a stable Europe, but suggest that it would be far better to address the needs of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics by opening the markets of Western Europe to them and by pressing our allies to admit them to the European Union, an organization much better suited to nation-building than a military alliance.

Signed by former Republican Senators

Jim Abdnor of South Dakota
Edward Brooke of Massachusetts
Dick Clark of Iowa
John Culver of Iowa
Mark Hatfield of Oregon
Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire
Roger W. Jepsen of Iowa
Mack Mattingly of Georgia.

Signed by former Democratic Senators

Thomas Eagleton of Missouri
Gary Hart of Colorado
John Melcher of Montana
George McGovern of South Dakota
Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin
Sam Nann of Georgia
Adlai Stevenson of Illinois
Harrison Williams of New Jersey.