NATO, Russia and Ukraine

The question of a possible accession of Ukraine to the NATO has been put aside since at least 2014. The war in Ukraine has diametrically changed the international and regional situation. Beyond doubt, the accession would be a win-win outcome for both – the state of Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Nevertheless, Russia would lose its dominant position in the region, a position builds upon historical, economic and cultural approach. Russia always rejects a further expansion of the NATO arguing that the organisation has lost its role since the end of Cold War.

Conversely to Warsaw Pact; NATO is an example of successful military cooperation. It has expanded from 8 countries in 1949 to 29 in 2017 and many states almost desire to join the pact. NATO guarantees not only the independence of their members but also peace and stability in the region. Although, there were military tensions between different members (particularly 1973 involving Greece and Turkey), thanks to NATO they were solved with peaceful means.

Its article 4 has a strong meaning – in case of aggression on one of NATO state, all members will undertake necessary measures as they would be a subject of the aggression. In practical terms, this article, however, imposes significant limitations. A fully democratic and peace-loving state in northern Europe which has boarder problem with NATO- non-member state would in all probability have no chance to join the alliance. In the XXI century, the role of NATO is not restricted to maintain peace and stability among their members. Since 1991, the external threat is also limited. No state around the world, even Russia contests the NATO and its activity. Due to the power of the article 4, Ukraine or Georgia cannot join the structure and their borders cannot enjoy stability.

The key to solving the lock-down is Russia. The government of Russia has fears over the expansion of NATO, even if the role of the organisation has utterly since 1991. The borders of NATO – needs an enemy’s alliance – are getting closer to Russia. If we take the Cold-War philosophy of confrontations, the fears might be justified. In 1961 when Cuba agreed to install Soviet military infrastructure on their territory far only over 70 km from Florida, President Kennedy set a military blockade of the island followed by an economic embargo.

Nonetheless, the world is not any more follows this cold-war approach. To that end, Russia but also NATO must change its philosophy. Russia is not a threat to NATO member states and NATO does not constitute a threat. In this regard, NATO must show Moscow that its hands are clear. As NATO is mainly a military organisation, I could imagine join exercises between Russia and NATO states, further political and military cooperation, which would also include joining monitoring and disarmament. I would go even one step further – I do believe the world would be a safer place if Russia joined NATO eventually. We would create an inclusive political and military alliance above the 45 parallel. The accession could increase stability in the whole Europe ultimately ending the Cold-War divide. No doubt that other states such as Ukraine, Belarus, Finland, Armenia, Moldavia and Georgia would follow suit. Europe, America and Russia easier solve problems of the XXI century – terrorism, border problems, and refugee crises, to name few. A NATO with Russia would be stronger and it would positively impact the role of other organisations, for example the European Union and United Nations. In the XXI century, NATO must be an organisation, which provides stability, security worldwide, not only in Europe. A new role of NATO is also to promote fraternity among nations. These tasks cannot be achieved without Moscow.

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