Given that Vladimir Putin continues to annoy the west with displays of feudal-medieval political methods, starting with disinformation and rumor mongering and putting a point on it with hybrid warfare and passportization, NATO would seem well advised to hasten Ukraine’s accession to its defense community.
Today’s Ukraine is not only a security recipient, but a security donor in its region. Ukraine has been successfully countering Russian aggression for almost seven years now, protecting not only itself but a wider region between the Baltic and Black Seas. Ukraine has gained invaluable experience deterring Russian aggression on the traditional military battlefield and in the realm of hybrid warfare, which extends from cyber to disinformation and beyond. These factors would appear to make Ukraine a strong candidate for NATO membership.
That is the rational side to answering President Zelenskyy’s question. However, there is also an emotional side to consider. Perhaps the best way to understand this dialectic is by adopting a neuroscientific approach and exploring both the rational and the emotional approaches to Ukraine’s future membership in NATO.Kuleba, Dmytro. “Why is Ukraine still not in NATO?” Atlantic Council, February 16, 2021.
That emotional side accesses the same arguments the KGB has woven into the Palestinian narrative to see Fatah and Hamas elites — and all their cousins — at once loot the refugees of UN funds (and much else) while claiming their defense (see the rest of Dmytro Kuleba’s insightful essay as noted above and listed below). The arguments — essentially forms of “Accusation in a Mirror” — have been the same that have excused numerous vain and ruthless personalities on their way to establishing brutal dictatorships under cover of popular “revolutions” that bypass always those who believed they were going to get some attention at last.
In that Russian autocratic power from the Imperial Period through the Bolshevik Revolution with its imperious, omnipresent, and totalitarian Party, and right through to the rein of “Vertical of Power” Putin has long played this game against Russians, what makes Ukrainian Russians think the establishment of greater Russian military presence would actually defend either their economic or ethnic interests? Most would be dumb and duped to believe the malarkey passed along from Russia’s traumatized and trauma-producing and now perpetuated medieval political tradition.
Drawing from my impression of Euromaidan seven years ago, Ukrainians wish to be democratic, lawful, and modern — not fodder for barbaric medieval throwbacks inclined to threaten geopolitical space with massed forces or through incursion install corrupt elites inclined to be just as ruthless with Russian speakers as with Ukrainian ones.
I’m sure Alexei Navalny would have something to say about that were he in good health and free to speak.
Khurshudyan, Isabelle, David L. Stern, Loveday Morris, and John Hudson. “On Ukraine’s doorstep, Russia boosts military and sends message of regional clout to Biden.” The Washington Post, April 10, 2021.
“Military echolon filmed in Rostov-na-Donu”, April 9, 2021, 47°13′N 39°41′E.