The United States should welcome the affirmation of a European security and defense identity. Geostrategically, Ukraine can never be part of NATO’s defensive alignment.
Robert Roudney, Washington
The writer retired in 2012 as a senior adviser to the United States Department of the Air Force.
The autocratic ruler of a large, once-dominant European nation that has lost its empire but dreams of a return to past glories threatens to crush a newly independent but much smaller neighbor with overwhelming military force under the guise of ‘protecting’ a minority ethnicity there, with which the wider nation claims kinship on the basis of its common language and cultural heritage. Sound familiar? See Adolf Hitler’s capture of the Sudetenland, with its large German-speaking population, from Czechoslovakia in 1938. The rest of Europe followed for “peace in our time.” Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.
As diplomats from most countries leave Kyiv, yet again a tyrannical dictator is about to argue that “might is good”. [“Biden warns Putin of ‘severe costs,’“ front page, Feb. 13]. Despite assurances to the contrary, the United States and its allies will essentially sit idly by and watch a fledgling pro-Western democracy fall for lack of a credible deterrent short of a global nuclear war.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton persuaded Ukraine to dismantle all of its nuclear weapons left over from the Soviet Union, probably both tactical and strategic. This was in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Britain and Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s miscalculation has come back to haunt him. He believed that his threat to invade Ukraine would prevent Ukraine from fulfilling its worst nightmare: joining or becoming a de facto member of NATO.
Instead, it seems to have had the opposite effect: bringing Ukraine and the countries of the Atlantic Alliance closer together.
Mr Putin underestimated the power that negative world opinion, bolstered by the threat of multinational military resources, could have over him and Russia as a result of his action against Ukraine.
The United States mobilized world opinion and the threat of military intervention against Mr. Putin. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s willingness to jeopardize the crucial gas pipeline between Russia and Germany must prove to Putin that Germany strongly supports the Atlantic Alliance’s opposition to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.