Imperialism within the United States is forward looking. It is not interested in historical issues and claims and decries any attempt to bring them up. Wald acknowledges the Monroe Doctrine but is lying when he suggests the US wouldn't care if China and Mexico formed a partnership.
Overall I was struck by his hubris and in general the amorality of Imperial thought. Wald finds the idea that US policy and actions can be questioned or compared with that of other nations to be offensive. The US is not to be judged or compared. It stands alone and above all such comparisons.
I thought the professor was correct. Regardless of what we think of Putin as a person, his actions are not illogical in any sense, or even aggressive. NATO is not a defensive alliance. It ceased to be that after the Soviet collapse in 1991. It is but one of many tools in the American arsenal.
Since 1991 it has represented expansionism. I am ashamed to admit that under then Colonel Wald I participated in NATO's consolidation of power in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Russia was on its knees and could do nothing while NATO established claims and rights to territories that historically have been within the Russian-Byzantine orbit. The idea that any European government would refuse conformity to the new global order was in the eyes of men like Wald a sufficient casus belli.
The Soviet Union, even the whole of the Cold War was a parenthesis. But even during that period history did not evaporate. The Soviet Union didn't declare the year 'one' and try and start over. Russia was still very much part of the historical current. World War II only emphasized this and because of the scale of that cataclysm there were situations created in Europe that fell beyond the historical context. In light of history the Cold War was a relatively short period of time, a blip even. History as it were returned to a normal current in 1991, but Russia was in a state very much as she was after the Crimean War, a period wherein German unification took place the first time.
The United States is determined to negate history and not allow the world to return to historic patterns and spheres. In 1989 and especially in 2001 the United States all but declared this is the year 'one'... the era of a new global order.
Nations cannot move against other nations when they're down and expect there to be no consequence. Gorbachev perhaps the most admirable figure of the Cold War allowed the mostly peaceful collapse, but that was largely premised on guarantees... every one of which was broken by the United States during the decade following the end of the USSR. The ultimate culmination of this betrayal and aggression was the America's unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002. That sent a clear signal to Moscow. There were no doubts any more.
For an American general to sit and talk about Westphalian Sovereignty is really beyond the pale. It strays into the absurd. Since the 1990's, projects like the NATO expansion and the EU itself are in effect renunciations of Westphalia. Globalization which was the Imperial model for men like the first Bush and Clinton undermines state sovereignty.
Wald criticizes any notion that Russia has a claim to a sphere beyond its borders but then all but affirms the US has global interests. American global hegemony rejects all state sovereignty and any notion of international parity. It places the United States above all laws. This has been the US position since 1945 and was reiterated with an exclamation point in1989. It was declared with a threat in 2001. The previous geopolitical lessons of the Panama Invasion and the Gulf War were not sufficient. September 11 gave the US the final justification for the full implementation of the globalized Monroe Doctrine.
At the conclusion of the Cold War the United States became not only the most powerful country in the world but the most powerful country in the history of the world and men like Wald want to see that continue. They're heavily invested in it.
But they would do well to learn from history. Empires don't last. They overreach and self-destruct.
I do admire Wald on one point... that he agreed to appear on a programme like Democracy Now!.