After Friday’s NATO summit refused to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the allies’ failure to “close the skies” to military aircraft gives “the green light to new bombardments of Ukrainian cities”.
“All the people who will die from this day on (…) will die because of you,” Zelensky told NATO, “because of your weakness.”
Zelensky’s indictment against NATO for cowardice came after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ruled out a no-fly zone:
“NATO is not a party to the conflict. NATO is a defensive alliance. … We are not looking for war, conflict with Russia. … We should not have NATO planes operating over Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed Stoltenberg:
“Ours is a defensive alliance. We are not looking for any conflict. … President Biden has made it clear that we are not going to go to war with Russia.”
On Sunday, Blinken elaborated:
President Joe Biden has ‘a responsibility not to plunge us into direct conflict, direct war with Russia, nuclear power, and risk a war that extends even beyond Ukraine into Europe . … What we are trying to do is end this war in Ukraine, not start a bigger one.”
US policy in a nutshell: Ukrainians should keep fighting and dying, killing Russians, while we stay away – and cheering them on.
In the greatest European military crisis since the creation of NATO, the actions and inaction of the United States speak louder than their words.
Simply put, establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would involve American planes and pilots shooting down Russian planes and pilots. It would mean a war between Russia and America. Given Russian military doctrine, such a war could quickly escalate into the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
Conclusion: We are not willing to risk a war with Russia over Ukraine, because this nation of 44 million people is not a vital interest or a member of NATO.
We will not establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, because that would mean war with Russia. But if Russia had attacked Estonia, and not Ukraine, we would be at war with Russia, because Estonia is a member of NATO.
To repeat: if Russia attacks its neighbors Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Moldova or Georgia, we stay out of the war. But if Russia attacks Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Romania or Bulgaria, we enter, even at the risk of a nuclear war.
Does that make sense to you? Does that make sense?
Why did we commit to doing for Bulgaria – risking war with Russia – which, for the most part, would be foolish in the case of Ukraine?
On this point, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been clear and convincing.
Any attempt to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine will be considered an act of war. And Russia reserves the right to attack any nation whose planes enforce this no-fly zone.
As for the transfer from former Warsaw Pact countries like Poland of old MiGs to Ukraine, for use against Russian troops, Putin says, that would be an act of war, and Russia would retaliate against nations putting the MiG in battle.
Biden also met last week with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, a neutral nation that shares an 833-mile border with Russia. Niinisto could consider joining NATO.
Yet there are problems with this, among them the warning on Friday from Maria Zakharova of the Russian Foreign Ministry:
“We consider the commitment of the Finnish government to a military policy of non-alignment as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in Northern Europe. … Finland’s membership in NATO would have serious military and political repercussions.”
If the Finns showed an interest in joining NATO, would NATO defend Finland against Russian military action while its application for NATO membership was under consideration?
Would all 30 NATO members welcome a new member, with 5.5 million people and a long border with Russia, for whom the whole of NATO would be forced to go to war with Russia, under of the war guarantee of article 5?
Reminder: the NATO membership of Georgia and Ukraine was the subject of allied discussions, before they clashed with Russia.
This discussion has since been put on hold.
How would adding a new nation to defend, a new duty to fight the most heavily armed nuclear power in the world, Russia, serve American interests, when Stoltenberg, Blinken and Biden seem extremely relieved not to have to fight for Ukraine now?
Did Ukraine’s pursuit of NATO membership trigger Putin’s war?
Friday’s Wall Street Journal writes:
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted from two huge strategic blunders,” says (Russian historian) Robert Service. The first came on November 10, when the United States and Ukraine signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership, which affirmed American support for Kiev’s right to seek membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. . The pact has made Ukraine’s NATO membership more likely than ever – an intolerable prospect for Vladimir Putin. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says Mr. Service. Preparations immediately began for Russia’s so-called special military operation in Ukraine.
An alliance established to prevent war may have just sparked one.
— Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To learn more about Patrick Buchanan and read articles by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.