Sweden’s admission as a full member of NATO will be the big question at the NATO summit in Vilnius on Tuesday.
At the same time, another question is boiling under the surface: Should Ukraine be accepted into NATO?
A former US ambassador to NATO says the rift over the future of the alliance could have dire consequences.
– Any rift or lack of solidarity opens an opportunity for those who are against the coalition. You can’t show any weaknesses, Douglas Lott told the news agency AP.
– You don’t want a world war
The United States remains the most reluctant of NATO countries to quickly accept Ukraine into the alliance.
Publicly, President Joe Biden has said Ukraine must make more reforms to qualify for NATO membership, and he has said in the past that he will not “make it easy” for Kiev.
“We’re not looking to start World War III,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told the national newspaper. Voice of America (Voice of America).
But the Biden administration is receiving criticism from several quarters for its reluctance to invite Ukraine to join the coalition.
Among the critics was the former US ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst.
– This is a historic crossroads. It is clear that the Biden administration has gone to great lengths to ensure that Ukraine does not lose the war. So why hesitate to ensure that Ukraine emerges well from this crisis? Herbst told Voice of America.
The hawk and the dove
– This makes it clear that there is a fundamental conflict in NATO, between hawks and doves, Tormod Heyer tells Dagbladet.
He is Professor of Military Strategy and Operations at the Norwegian Defense Academy.
For him, pigeons are the USA, Germany, France and Norway. They are criticizing Ukraine’s accession to NATO now.
The hawks in NATO, according to the professor, are Poland, the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
– It seems that the United States is the adult in the class. Heyer says they have displayed a very cautious attitude, fearful of unnecessarily provoking the Russians.
Haier supports their reasoning that Ukraine should not join NATO now.
– He says that the consequences if something goes wrong are insurmountable.
In any case, Professor Heyer believes that this question will not be a big issue at the summit, because NATO will need to appear united to the outside world.
– Our war to fight
But Ukraine itself will not pressure the alliance to gain membership immediately, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
– We do not apply for membership immediately. We will not drag NATO into this war. We have never asked foreign troops on the ground in Ukraine. With the generous help of our partners, we will single-handedly defeat Russia. He told the magazine that this war is our war Foreign Policy.
However, Ukraine will ask NATO to recognize that it should be invited to become a member of the alliance, once the conditions for membership are met.
He claims that the invitation to the summit will not provoke Putin, but rather will have a deterrent effect.
Kuleba believes that NATO combat forces can learn a lot about how to fight the Russians on the battlefield from those who have already done so.
– Today the commanders and soldiers of Ukraine and our entire society are gaining valuable experience in defense against the Russian threat. Tomorrow they will contribute their strength to make the entire NATO alliance safe.
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