Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a newspaper interview has called insistently for his country being admitted to NATO even before all necessary internal reforms are completed, citing for the pressing nature of his demand what he called Russian aggression. He didn’t describe any incidents of intrusions into or attacks against Ukraine in his statement. An Interfax-Ukraine account of the interview characterized his rationale as, although it was necessary for Ukraine to match NATO’s expectations, “everything cannot be reduced to only reforms, and especially now, when clearly not reforms are able to prevent the expansion of Russian aggression.”
In short, full NATO membership with Article 5 collective military guarantees – including nuclear guarantees – must be expedited, indeed accelerated.
By which one supposes he intended some such logic as: NATO membership with its Article 5 assistance will stop Russia but the continued transformation of the Ukrainian armed forces to be fully NATO interoperable in itself will not. In his own words: “Today Ukraine needs action. The best thing for this is to give us an Action Plan for NATO membership. Our Armed Forces are holding back the only aggression in Europe, we have stood for more than seven years and are constantly improving. This is definitely not a secret for those of our friends from NATO, who come to Ukraine, participate in joint exercises with our military, conduct trainings.”
By portraying his NATO-trained and -armed military as the frontline forces keeping the barbarians at bay to the east, he was also using that fictional Spartans-at-the-Thermopylae-pass theme to raise the price for his services to the West.
In another newspaper interview, this one with Le Figaro, he extended his demand to the European Union as well as NATO. All thirteen of the NATO members inducted in the post-Cold War era that have also joined the EU joined NATO first, the EU next. Zelensky was aware of that sequence, no doubt, when he said: “If the EU leaders say that the security situation in Europe depends on Ukraine, if we pay for it with victims, and more than 14,000 people have already died, then we must have some kind of status. Ukraine cannot feel itself in the EU and NATO as a guest. We want to be insiders. I believe that we deserved this long ago.”
To appeal to a guilty conscience that surely doesn’t exist, Zelensky was reproaching the EU and NATO for not compensating Ukrainian blood with Western money and weapons.
Perhaps in part to dramatize his nation’s imaginary plight with a coup de théâtre likely to grab the attention of officials in Brussels, UNIAN reported today that authorities in the capital city of Kiev have published an updated map of bomb shelters. According to the report, most all underground facilities and structures – civil defense storage facilities, subways, basements in apartment complexes, underground parking lots, etc. – have been identified as civil defense shelters for use in unspecified “emergency situations.”
Government officials may be conducting an emotion-based public relations effort to garner a sense of obligation to the nation that is single-handedly fending off the Russian hordes while being compelled to retreat to subterranean depths because NATO has abandoned it to the eastern menace. Such contrived scenarios have substantially contributed to more than one war in the past thirty years.
Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.