Thursday, May 19 2022

Is Ukraine’s territorial integrity worth America waging war on Russia?

No, this is not the case. And that’s why President Joe Biden said the United States would not get involved militarily if Russia invaded Ukraine.

Biden says that whatever our feelings, our vital interests dictate staying out of a Russian-Ukrainian war.

But why then does Secretary of State Antony Blinken keep insisting that there is an ‘open door’ for Ukraine’s NATO membership – when that would require us to do what the vital interests of the United States tell us not to do: fight a war with Russia for Ukraine?

NATO’s “Open Door Policy” is based on Article 10, which states that NATO members “may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European state…to accede to this Treaty” .

In addition, membership is open to “any other European state in a position to promote the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic region”.

Note that joining NATO requires the “unanimous” consent of the 30 members present.

Blinken has often stated it as US policy: “From our perspective, the door to NATO is open and remains open, and that is our commitment.

What Blinken is saying is this: while America will not fight for Ukraine today, America remains open to Ukraine joining NATO, in which case we would have to fight for Ukraine tomorrow, if attacked by Russia.

What the United States needs to do is make it clear that if Ukraine is free to apply for NATO, NATO is free to veto that application, and NATO enlargement beyond its current eastern borders is over, over.

In this crisis, we must remember how and why NATO was created.

In 1949, the year China fell to Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin detonated an atomic bomb, we formed NATO as a defensive alliance to prevent a Russian push westward from the Elbe to the Rhine via the English Channel.

Of the original 12 members of NATO, the United States and Canada were on the western side of the Atlantic. Iceland and the UK were islands in the Atlantic. France and Portugal were on the eastern shore of the Atlantic.

Denmark, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg straddled the path of attack that the Red Army had to take to reach the English Channel.

Norway was the only original NATO country that shared a border with the USSR itself. Italy was the 12th member.

Clearly, this was a defensive alliance to prevent a Soviet invasion of Western Europe as Hitler had executed in the spring of 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and France, and drove the British from the mainland to Dunkirk.

The countries that joined NATO during the Cold War were Greece and Turkey in 1952, Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982.

But, with the end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the overthrow of Soviet Communism and the breakup of the USSR into 15 nations in 1991, NATO, its purpose – the defense of Central Europe and Western – reached, his job done, did not go bankrupt.

Instead, NATO added 14 new members and moved nearly 1,000 miles east, into Russia’s front yard, and then onto Russia’s porch.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO in 1999. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became NATO countries in 2004. The Albania and Croatia joined NATO in 2009, Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020.

Naturally, Russian President Vladimir Putin wondered: to what end, and for what benevolent purpose, this doubling in size of an alliance that has formed to contain us and, if necessary, wage war against Mother Russia ?

Alliances, which involve guarantees of war, commitments to fight in defense of allied nations, invariably carry costs and risks as well as rewards and benefits in terms of enhanced security.

But when we brought Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into NATO, what advantages in terms of additional force did we receive to justify the provocation this would represent for Russia, and the risk this could entail if Moscow opposed this and one fine day returned to those Baltic States?

If we are not fighting for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe with a population of over 40 million, why would we go to war with a Russia endowed with nuclear weapons about Estonia, a tiny and almost indefensible nation with a population of 1.3 million?

In addition to Ukraine, two countries are considering joining NATO: Finland and Georgia. Joining either would place NATO on another frontier of Russia, with the usual US bases and forces.

While that would enrage Russia, how would that make us stronger?

Perhaps, instead of adding new nations for which we will go to war with a great power like Russia, we could consider reducing the NATO list and limiting the number of nations for which we must fight at nations that are vital to our security and bring additional strength to the alliance.

— Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To learn more about Patrick Buchanan and read articles by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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