In Leningrad in January of 1990 (it didn’t become St. Petersburg again until late that year), Vladimir Putin was still in the KGB. Only the year before he had single-handedly, Gary Cooper style, faced down a mob at a Soviet consulate in East Germany as the Berlin Wall came down.
Unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans, and deliberately ignored by so-called Russian experts, then president George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State, the Mephistophelian James Baker, had promised Mikhail Gorbachev that if he allowed Germany to re-unify, the United States would not expand NATO beyond the unified German border.
Bush and Baker began breaking that promise, which Gorbi was foolish enough not to get in writing, by May of 1990. Thereafter the expansion of NATO,