South Africa’s president blames NATO for Russia’s invasion: ‘The war could have been avoided’

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has chosen a side in the Ukrainian/Russian conflict, and that side is largely against NATO.

While taking questions from the South African Parliament this Thursday, Ramaphosa essentially blamed NATO for the conflict, thus echoing the sentiment of a notable number of contemporary non-establishment voices both here and abroad.

“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” he said.

However, Ramaphosa did then turn around and seemingly gently chastise Russia for invading Ukraine, saying South Africa “cannot condone the use of force and violation of international law.”


The South African president’s words reflect a viewpoint held by a large number of non-establishment voices, from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald to conservative commentator Candace Owens.

They say that for years, NATO has ignored Russia’s concerns about the alliance’s expansion into territories in its region of the world, particularly Ukraine.

These non-establishment voices also point to the establishment voices of the past, including but not limited to diplomat and historian George Kennan, Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger, “leading geopolitical scholar” John Mearsheimer and former U.S. envoy to the Soviet Union Jack F. Matlock Jr.

As recently as 2014, Kissinger penned a column for The Washington Post stressing that because of Ukraine’s deep ties to Russia, it can never side with the West. But for similar reasons, it can never definitely side with Russia as well.

“Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them,” he wrote.

Matlock meanwhile warned just this past February that trying to pull Ukraine into NATO would force Russia’s hand and trigger conflict.

“If you start piecemeal expanding NATO, you are going to — without including Russia — you are going to once again precipitate a buildup of arms and a competition, an armed competition,” he said to Democracy Now.

Dovetailing back to Ramaphosa’s remarks to the South African Parliament, he said that his personal goal is to serve as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia.

“There are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance against Russia. The approach we are going to take [instead] is … insisting there should be dialogue. Screaming and shouting is not going to bring an end to this conflict,” he said.

And thus, he added, taking direct sides with either Ukraine or Russia would hurt his country’s role as a possible mediator.

“Ramaphosa said he did not want to take sides because it would hurt his country’s role as a possible mediator. He alluded to South Africa playing a similar role in a conflict between Northern Ireland and former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari,” Fox News explains.

“South Africa was one of 35 countries that abstained from voting on the UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia was joined in voting against the resolution by Belarus, which is providing staging for Russia’s military, North Korea, Eritrea, and Syria. The United States and 140 other countries voted to adopt the resolution.”

Watch his full remarks below:

Amazingly, Ramaphosa, the president of a foreign nation, now has an army of Westerners bashing him on Twitter for not falling in line.



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