Not One Inch America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate M. E. Sarotte

Publication date:
08 Feb 2022
Yale University Press
568 pages: 235 x 156mm
8 maps
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A leading expert on foreign policy reveals how tensions between America, NATO, and Russia transformed geopolitics in a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2021
“Sarotte is the unofficial dean of ‘end of Cold War’ studies. . . . With her latest book, she tackles head-on the not-controversial-at-all questions about NATO’s eastward growth and the effect it had on Russia’s relations with the west.”—Daniel W. Drezner, Washington Post
“The most engaging and carefully documented account of this period in East-West diplomacy currently available.”—Andrew Moravscik, Foreign Affairs
Based on over a hundred interviews and on secret records of White House–Kremlin contacts, Not One Inch shows how the United States successfully overcame Russian resistance in the 1990s to expand NATO to more than 900 million people. But it also reveals how Washington’s hardball tactics transformed the era between the Cold War and the present day, undermining what could have become a lasting partnership.
Vladimir Putin swears that Washington betrayed a promise that NATO would move “not one inch” eastward and justifies renewed confrontation as a necessary response to the alliance’s illegitimate “deployment of military infrastructure to our borders.”  But the United States insists that neither President George H.W. Bush nor any other leader made such a promise.
Pulling back the curtain on U.S.–Russian relations in the critical years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Putin’s rise to power, prize-winning Cold War historian M. E. Sarotte reveals the bitter clashes over NATO behind the facade of friendship and comes to a sobering conclusion: the damage did not have to happen. In this deeply researched and compellingly written book, Sarotte shows what went wrong.

M. E. Sarotte is the Kravis Professor of Historical Studies at Johns Hopkins University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author, among other books, of The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall.

“Sarotte is the unofficial dean of ‘end of Cold War’ studies. . . . With her latest book, she tackles head-on the not-controversial-at-all questions about NATO’s eastward growth and the effect it had on Russia’s relations with the west. I look forward to the contretemps this book will inevitably produce.”—Daniel W. Drezner, Washington Post

“‘Not one inch to the east’ . . . [is] a history so often repeated that it’s practically conventional wisdom. Mary Sarotte . . . [describes] what actually happened [between the US and Russia], and how both the reality and distortion really shape today’s events.”—Max Fisher, New York Times,from “The Interpreter” newsletter

"Prize-winning historian Mary Elise Sarotte…charts all the private discussions within the western alliance and with Russia over enlargement and reveals Russia as powerless to slow the ratchet effect of the opening of Nato’s door."—Patrick Wintour, The Guardian

“There’s no one who has researched the relevant sources more thoroughly than historian Mary E. Sarotte, who has just published Not One Inch…successfully reconstructing the most significant days [in NATO expansion].”—Stefan Kornelius, Süddeutsche Zeitung

“A riveting account of fateful choices to expand NATO and their consequences for relations with Russia today.”—Graham Allison, author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

"Sarotte deftly unpacks one of the most important strategic moves of the post–Cold War Era: the decision to enlarge NATO. Her detailed history of the 1990s is groundbreaking, and her assessment of the impacts of NATO expansion on European security is balanced and nuanced. A major accomplishment and a must-read."—Charles A. Kupchan, Georgetown University and the Council on Foreign Relations

Not One Inch will be considered the best-documented and best-argued history of the NATO expansion during the crucial 1989–1999 period.”—Norman Naimark, author of Stalin and the Fate of Europe: The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty

“Sarotte explores how and why NATO expanded and relations with Russia deteriorated in the post–Cold War world. It is an important book, well documented and told."—Joseph Nye Jr., author of Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump 

“Mary Sarotte’s insightful story of NATO’s enlargement in the 1990s will be the foundation for debates about lessons among policy-makers as well as a fascinating read for people interested in recent history.”—Robert B. Zoellick, US negotiator for German unification and author of America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy