“The phrase ‘not one inch’ is a reference to a statement made by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, in 1990, and in the years since it has taken on the qualities of a geopolitical ‘Rashomon’ moment. Who promised what to whom? At what cost? … In a way, the argument boils down to ‘not one inch’ and its legacy: Did the West, led by the U.S., promise to limit nato expansion eastward? ‘At one extreme, there’s a position you sometimes hear from the American side, that none of this ever came up, it’s a total myth, the Russians are psychotic,’ Sarotte said. ‘On the other end, you have the very adamant Russian position: ‘We were totally betrayed, there’s no doubt about it.’ Unsurprisingly, when you get into the evidence, the truth looks to be somewhere in between.” The New Yorker’s Joshua Yaffa with a really interesting look at The Historical Dispute Behind Russia’s Threat to Invade Ukraine.

+ This story, like many others involving Putin, goes back the fall of the Berlin Wall. BBC: Vladimir Putin’s formative German years. And Globe and Mail: What Putin learned when the Berlin Wall fell.