Warning Against Drawing Ukraine into NATO

The National Interest featured an article by Barry R. Posen yesterday, which answers a firm “no” to the question: Is “Ukraine Part of America’s ‘Vital Interests’?” The one security interest in Ukraine that the U.S. does have, Posen argues, is “the preservation of an independent neutral zone between NATO and Russian military forces.”

Despite the talk, “the United States and even its allies have few interests in Ukraine, and our past and present policies are at odds with the interests we have…. If, in the worst case, all Ukraine were to ‘fall’ to Russia, it would have little impact on the security of the United States,'” Posen writes here.

“The United States does have one security interest in Ukraine. Though it is not a vital interest, the preservation of an independent neutral zone between NATO and Russian military forces has been a stabilizing factor in east-west relations.” Neither the U.S. nor the Russians should wish to return to Cold War days when “NATO and Soviet forces faced each other head to head….

” If Ukraine falls into civil war, with Russia and the West aiding their respective favorites, the risk of a direct NATO-Russia clash also rises. To ensure peace between Russia and the West, the question of foreign alignment should be taken out of Ukrainian politics.”

Posen is a MIT professor, Director of MIT’s Security Studies Program, and Executive Committee member for MIT’s “Seminar XXI” educational program for senior military officers, government officials and business executives in the national security policy community, who has warned of the destabilizing strategic threat of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile program in the recent period.

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