Defending Democracy: Include Ukraine in NATO
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the world’s most successful military alliance. It provided security for Europe’s economic recovery after the Second World War and protected Europe’s democracies from Soviet aggression during the Cold War. NATO reinforces America’s commitment to international peace and stability. NATO makes Europe and the world a safer place.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine challenges NATO’s success. It paves the way for further Russian aggression. It challenges Ukraine’s efforts to become a democracy. It challenges U.S. security interests in Europe. To promote peace and stability in Europe, NATO should offer membership to Ukraine.
NATO membership for Ukraine will stop Russian aggression. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 using the excuse that it was protecting Russians living inside Georgia’s borders. Russia used the same excuse to invade Ukraine. Its words and actions set a dangerous precedent. NATO allies such as Estonia have a large Russian minority living within their borders. NATO membership for Ukraine will send the right message and deter further Russian aggression.
NATO membership for Ukraine will support democracy. The alliance’s protection promotes a stable environment for the growth of democracy and a market economy. Russia has an alternative vision. It is rolling back democracy and trying to rebuild its sphere of influence. The Ukrainian people reject that vision and have their own. They have made great strides toward a liberal democracy. They are not done yet. A security guarantee from NATO will protect them from Russia as they continue toward that goal.
NATO membership for Ukraine will remind the world of America’s commitment to international peace and security. China and Russia are testing U.S. resolve. Allies worry that America is no longer interested in their security. By including Ukraine in NATO, we show both our allies and adversaries that America is not just defending itself but promoting its values.
Many worry such a step will cause great tension and maybe even a war between NATO and Russia. However, NATO’s forces are superior to Russia’s. The United States alone is more powerful than Russia. A strong NATO has deterred Russia in the past and will do so in the future.
NATO membership for Ukraine will stop Russian aggression, support the growth of democracy, and reassure America’s allies. As President Kennedy said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” Now is the moment to act. America and its NATO allies can show their resolve to the world. NATO membership for Ukraine will make the world a safer place.