June 23, 2008
At the NATO meeting in Bucharest, the USA has failed to reach a consensus on Ukrainian membership. Still, the Bucharest Declaration makes Ukrainian membership a long-term NATO objective.
Ukraine is deeply divided on its future relation with NATO, as recent demonstrations in Kiev witness.
Russia strongly rejects the country’s NATO Membership; it feels that it is being encircled by NATO and raises the status of the Crimean peninsula and Sebastopol. Clearly Ukrainian NATO membership is of extremely high sensitivity for Russia and the Black Sea region.
Though NATO is free to ignore any Russian opposition, it would be well advised to reconsider its expansion strategy, after having given satisfactory answers to questions like these:
- What is its future role in the global security structure?
- Against what military and other risks does it need to prepare? China, Russia, India, Iran? By what means?
- What risks does Russia pose to EU and US security?
The EU should no longer let Washington decide on its security. European citizens are entitled to understand the motives behind strategic decisions. The EU needs a thorough debate on its future security, beyond “strategy papers” by the High Representative. European security should to be debated at the European Parliament, in think tanks and the media.
There is no hurry for pushing NATO expansion ahead. The EU should wait for a new US Administration to review US strategic options and prepare itself for constructive discussions on the future of global security.
Hopefully the latest French initiative will spur this overdue debate.