Friday, March 28, 2014

Frum: The West CAN do something in Ukraine

Well worth reading!  This was my favorite chunk [emphasis mine]:

Tell me if you’ve recently heard a pundit or strategist say something like the following:

Russia is a great power. It is entitled to a sphere of influence on its borders. NATO and the European Union pushed Russia too hard while Russia was weak. Russia is stronger now, and so naturally it’s pushing back. We have to understand Russia’s need for friendly governments on its border.

Familiar, right? Now let’s consider why it’s an awful thing to say.

Every great power, of course, wants friendly neighbors. But the surest way to secure friendly neighbors is to be friendly yourself. It didn’t just happen that Germany is bordered by a friendly France to the west and a friendly Poland to the east. Germany has earned that friendship with its constructive policies in the years since World War II. Germany doesn’t need to subvert French and Polish democracy to ensure French and Polish friendship. Nobody can win an election in France or Poland on a platform of hostility to Germany.

If Russia finds itself in a different situation, it’s because of Russia’s own actions. Russia’s neighbors are frightened of Russia because Russia is frightening. Rather than allay those neighbors’ concerns, Moscow tries to manipulate neighboring political systems and install stooge governments. Neighbors a little further away—Poland, for example, or the Baltic republics—have every reason to worry that Russia would do the same to them, if it could.

But it can’t. And that’s because of the security guarantees enjoyed by NATO members.

That is why, Frum argues, "As a more effective and accountable government takes shape in Ukraine, it will become time to renew its application for NATO membership. This time, the answer should be ‘yes.’"

That's a pretty controversial stand in both the East and West, especially if you agree with many foreign policy "realists" that Ukraine is destined to be an eternal buffer zone between NATO and Russia. But Putin has just proven that a weak Ukraine is no buffer at all for Russia.  Putin could roll right over it to reach Moldova, Poland, and beyond.  Putin "changed the calculus," as Frum wrote, and so NATO expansion to Ukraine should be back on the table.

By David Frum
March 27, 2014 | The Atlantic

No comments: