At the NATO summit in Romania in 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush took everyone by surprise by lobbying for Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance. It was Bush’s last NATO summit as President and he wanted to “lay down a marker” for his legacy, according to an administration official at the time. A number of European member states, including Germany and France, balked at the idea out of concern over the inevitable Russian reaction and the implications for the alliance. The diplomatic deadlock yielded a compromise in which NATO declared that the countries would become members someday but provided no plan for getting them there. Yet even this compromise brought a forceful denunciation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Speaking in Bucharest, Putin said:
“We view the appearance of a powerful military bloc on our borders, a bloc whose members are subject in part to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, as a direct threat to the security of our country. The claim that this process is not directed against Russia will not suffice. National security is not based on promises”.
Four months later, Russia invaded Georgia and still occupies some of its territory to this day. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea in order to prevent the loss of its Black Sea Fleet naval base.
Moscow has long felt that the Eastward expansion of NATO to its borders breaks an agreement made at the end of the Cold War. Further NATO enlargement into areas that Moscow views as uniquely central to its national security means courting war with Russia and the US pressed on, knowingly.
Ukraine should never be admitted to NATO. It is a country much more strategic to nearby Russia than to NATO and especially to the faraway United States. The military power of the United States greatly exceeds any of its European allies and is already expected, in addition to its global commitments, to defend 30 NATO countries, some already near Russia.
The United States is not only already overextended militarily but also economically. European countries have a GDP larger than that of the United States and perhaps ought to start paying a greater percentage of their GDP for their own Defence; if they believe there is a credible threat.