Biden Deals Blow to Ukraine

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At a press conference, Joe Biden declared that NATO membership for Ukraine while the war with Russia is ongoing would be of the table, Reuters reports.

U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Britain on Sunday, starting a three-nation trip that will be dominated by a NATO summit in Lithuania aimed at showing solidarity with Ukraine in its fight against Russia while not yet accepting Kyiv as a member of the alliance.

But the challenges of forging solidarity among NATO’s 31 member countries were highlighted in a call between Biden and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan before the alliance summit in Lithuania this week, with Sweden’s bid for membership in the Western alliance a continued point of contention.

This is a blow to Ukraine, which has counting on NATO membership for its security since even before the conflict broke out in 2022. The ongoing war with Russia would probably trigger an armed response by NATO if Ukraine were a member, potentially escalating it to the use of nuclear weapons.

Russia’s fear of NATO expansion goes back to the end of the Cold War, when a misunderstanding between George HW Bush and Gorbachev led to a progressive absorption of former Warsaw Pact members into its ranks. The intervention in Kosovo, where regime change and democracy promotion became NATO’s new mission, followed by Iraq in 2003, installed fear in Russia’s leadership.

In a bid to prevent former Soviet states from joining NATO, Putin has been embarking on a series of “frozen conflicts”, where regions of these countries secede and install a pro-Russian government. South Ossetia/Abkhazia in Georgia, Transdniestria in Moldova, and Crimea/Donbas in Ukraine are all examples of this.

Ukraine not joining NATO will prevent the conflict from spiraling out of control, but it will also incentivize Russia to prolong the conflict and delay Ukraine’s membership. Should Ukraine join NATO and Western forces station troops in Ukraine, a crisis on the scale of the Cuban Missile Crisis could very well erupt. A neutral, Western-leaning, and well armed Ukraine might be the best situation for regional security.


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