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The Nato alliance should not invite Ukraine to become a member | Open letter

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At last year’s Nato summit, the United States focused on improving Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities rather than addressing the country’s potential membership in Nato. At Nato’s upcoming summit in July, some are pushing for Nato to bring Ukraine significantly closer toward membership, such as by defining an accession process for Kyiv or inviting the country to join that process. Any such step would be unwise.

Nato’s Article 5 is widely considered to bind members of the alliance – in practice the United States above all – to go to war to repel an attack against any member. If Ukraine were to join Nato after the current war, the US and its allies would be understood to be making a commitment to fight Russian forces over Ukraine, should Russia invade again. Reflecting a broad political consensus, Joe Biden has ruled out the direct use of US military force since the start of Russia’s deplorable full-scale invasion two years ago. As the administration recognizes, the security and prosperity of the United States are not implicated in the current war to the degree that would warrant direct US military intervention. Indeed, both the US president and former president Donald Trump have warned that the conflict could escalate into “World War III”. For the same reason that the United States should not go to war against Russia over Ukraine today, it should not make a commitment to go to war against Russia over Ukraine in the future.

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Other signatories include: James Acton, Aisha Ahmad, Robert J Art, Emma Ashford, Andrew Bacevich, Doug Bandow, George Beebe, Daniel Bessner, Brian Blankenship, Rachel Bovard, Dan Caldwell, Jasen J Castillo, Ed Corrigan, Daniel Davis, Daniel R DePetris, Michael C Desch, Monica Duffy Toft, Jeffrey Engel, Benjamin Friedman, John Allen Gay, Eugene Gholz, Peter Goettler, Kelly A Grieco, Mark Hannah, Peter Harris, David Hendrickson, John C. Hulsman, Van Jackson, Jennifer Kavanagh, Edward King, Charles Kupchan, Anatol Lieven, Jennifer Lind, Justin Logan, Lora Lumpe, Sumantra Maitra, Daniel McCarthy, John Mearsheimer, Arta Moeini, Samuel Moyn, Lindsey A O’Rourke, George Perkovich, Paul R Pillar, Patrick Porter, Barry Posen, Christopher Preble, Daryl G Press, William Ruger, John Schuessler, Peter Slezkine, Reid Smith, Marc Trachtenberg, Kelley B Vlahos, Will Walldorf, Stephen M Walt, Jim Webb, Stephen Wertheim, Christian Whiton, Gavin Wilde, William Wohlforth

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