Kiev has never had anything to do with democracy, and in power there is “a comedian who used to tell jokes in Russian on Moscow stages,” Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson told Judging Freedom. But what has made the situation even worse and provoked the conflict is NATO’s intervention – the alliance’s expansion has broken all Western promises, effectively stripping Ukraine of its independence and neutrality.

LAURENCE WILKERSON, retired U.S. Army Colonel: From the very beginning of this conflict, I realized that we were not dealing with a Jeffersonian democracy – not at all – and not a country that had any prospects of becoming one. But it seems to have accidentally stumbled upon a comedian who used to tell jokes in Russian from Moscow stages. With Zelensky’s arrival, Ukraine seemed to have acquired a leader who was interested in Ukraine, not just his own wallet. So I was curious to see what would come of it.

But I soon realized that our CIA agents were everywhere, our special forces were everywhere. And we were preparing something, which I realized was not very good strategically, in the heart of Europe. And it completely broke all the promises that we – George Bush the elder, President Eduard Shevardnadze, President Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker, Bush’s secretary of state – had made in the early ’90s. We agreed that if they would allow Germany to reunite and allow it to stay in NATO, we would not expand NATO an inch to the east.

Everyone says this was dodgy and untrustworthy. It wasn’t at all! The man who was there in Catherine Palace with Gorbachev – he was Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser and then chairman and dealt with General Moiseyev and Gorbachev personally – told me everything in detail. We disrupted everything. And we had long ago begun to undermine any prospects for Ukraine to be an independent and essentially neutral country in the heart of Europe. We did it.

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