Neutrality for Ukraine Is the Right Answer

The West won't fight for Ukraine and couldn't win if it did, but Moscow is offering to leave it alone anyway, under one condition

Kiev is the ancient capital of Ukrainians but also of the Russians. Russians are offering the land around their earliest capital as a buffer zone.

The best solution to the current Ukraine crisis is for all parties to agree to Ukrainian neutrality, but this is exactly what Western governments and the Ukrainian government refuse to consider. US and NATO officials have said that Russian demands to rule out further NATO expansion to the east is a non-starter. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba explicitly rejected Ukrainian neutrality in his latest article for Foreign Affairs, and he repeated his demand that Ukraine’s future membership in the NATO and the EU essentially be guaranteed:

“That means making it plain that Ukraine is part of the West and a future member of the EU and NATO and that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are non-negotiable.”

Kuleba presents this position as part of an effort to deter Russia, but it risks goading Russia to take military action. Intensified Western support for Ukraine is far more likely to provoke Russia than it is to deter them, and ordinary Ukrainians could end up paying the price for the policymakers’ hubris.

A neutral Ukraine would reassure Russia, and it would remove a flashpoint in relations between Russia and NATO. It would also acknowledge the reality that the US and NATO are not in a position to defend Ukraine and have no compelling reason to make that kind of commitment. Ukraine has never mattered to the US and its European allies as much as it matters to Russia and accepting Ukrainian neutrality would mean finally accepting that reality. Agreeing to neutrality would also allow for the settlement of the current conflict in eastern Ukraine and the resumption of normal relations with Russia. It would represent a compromise with Russia, but necessary compromise is at the heart of all successful diplomacy.

Western policymakers have ignored Russian complaints about NATO expansion and NATO involvement in neighboring countries for decades, and that has helped to create the conditions for the crisis we are seeing today. The Western refusal to take Russian security concerns seriously has been a dangerous mistake. NATO is obviously an anti-Russian alliance, and it has arguably become more anti-Russian in the last 15 years, so it is reasonable that Russia views its continued expansion towards them as a security threat. Putting a stop to talk of further expansion is a cost-free way to reduce tensions and avert possible conflict.

Western governments could still defuse the crisis and de-escalate the situation if they were willing to start paying serious attention to what Russia has been saying. The fact is that Russia is not asking for anything that our government wouldn’t ask for under similar conditions. If a hostile major power had been arming and training the military in a neighboring country with a promise to bring that country into their military bloc, we know that our government would view that as a serious threat. The very least that our government would expect in that scenario is for the promise of membership in a hostile alliance to be withdrawn.

Ukraine is not going to be a member of NATO in the future, but the US and NATO keep pretending as if it could be. Russia is reacting to that irresponsible pretense. Admitting the truth now could make Ukraine more secure than the empty promise of future membership ever could. It would have been wiser to rescind the promise of future membership years ago before there was a crisis, but it costs the alliance nothing to correct an error that should never have been made. Instead, the US and NATO are exposing Ukraine to greater risk to avoid climbing down from a reckless Bush-era pledge.

It is not surprising that the Ukrainian government takes such an uncompromising position when major Western governments, including the U.S., continue to express their support in the strongest terms. Those expressions of support mask the reality that Western governments are really setting Ukraine up for a fall. The US and its European allies may very well impose more sanctions in the event of Russian military action, but Ukraine cannot expect much more support than that. Western unwillingness and inability to defend Ukraine highlight how foolish it has been to suggest that Ukraine might one day be made an alliance member. The US and its allies have proven by their actions that they do not believe Ukraine is worth fighting for, so it makes no sense to keep the alliance’s doors open to new members that we know they will never let in.

The latest crisis over Ukraine reminds us that we are still dealing with the aftershocks of Bush’s arrogant “freedom agenda” almost twenty years later. Trying to drag Ukraine into a Western orbit has contributed greatly to instability in Europe. It has been entirely unnecessary for US and allied security, and it has been a disaster for Ukraine. Continuing on the same dangerous path that has led to the current crisis would be ruinous for all concerned. There is an off-ramp available: an end to further eastward NATO expansion and neutrality for Ukraine. The US, its allies, and Ukraine only have to take it.


  1. Steve Ginn says

    Another zio Yankee clusterf*ck! Piss off and leave Ukraine alone!!

  2. GMC says

    The Borderland has always been a “neutral place” – as in where the politicians steal, lie and murder, the Jew Mafia rules, the Banderos murder whoever is on their list – just as the Chka did in the 20s and 30s, and the food shortages from the great famine of theft to Monsanto and others owning the breadbasket – today.

    No, Ukraine will never be neutral because it has always been a Land for Banditos to hide out in, and it would take a very large amount of push, money and an honest military occupation , in order to turn things around. My 2 rubles worth.

  3. Jerry Hood says

    U-kraine does not exists! It is Khazaria!!!

  4. Danny.white20 says

    Russia should take ukraine
    capture and burn to ash all nationalists
    replace them with russian nationalist.
    Then vote to dissolve the ukrainian government and return to Russia.
    It just makes economic sense

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