NATO has doubled down on its determination to eventually add Ukraine to its membership, renewing its 2008 commitment to that goal in a meeting between the foreign ministers of the alliance in Bucharest, Romania this past Tuesday.
Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes:
The Romanian city was where NATO initially made the promise to Ukraine back in 2008, and at the time, US officials acknowledged that attempting to bring the country into the alliance could spark a war in the region.
“We made the decision in Bucharest in 2008 at the summit,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. “I was there … representing Norway as Prime Minister. I remember very well the decisions. We stand by those decisions. NATO’s door is open.”
In a joint statement, the NATO foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said that they “reaffirm” the decisions that were made at the 2008 Bucharest summit.
It has become fashionable among the mainstream western commentariat to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had nothing to do with NATO expansion, but as recently explained by Philippe Lemoine for the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, that’s a completely false narrative that requires snipping past comments made by Putin out of the context in which they were made. Many western experts warned for years in advance that NATO expansion would lead to a conflict like the one we’re seeing today, and they were of course correct.
The recent push to expand NATO in Ukraine along with nations like Finland and Sweden as justified by “Russian aggression” is a good example of what professor Richard Sakwa has called the “fateful geographical paradox: that NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence.” As the late scholar on US-Russia relations Stephen Cohen explained years before the Ukraine crisis erupted in 2014, Moscow sees NATO as an “American sphere of influence,” and the expansion of NATO and NATO influence as expansion of that sphere. It reacts to this with hostility just as the US would react to China or Russia building up aggressive military alliances on its borders, and arguably with vastly more restraint than the US would.