What Difficulties Could Ukraine’s Accession To NATO Create For The Alliance?
This year, the NATO summit in Vilnius ended with the 31-member alliance rejecting Ukraine’s membership once more. The move swiftly drew flak from Volodymyr Zelensky, who expressed his dissatisfaction with NATO’s lack of a decisive timeline.
It was merely stated in the summit’s final statement that Ukraine would be allowed to join NATO if it met the conditions and obtained the approval from all members. While a number of countries advocated for Ukraine’s inclusion, the final move represents deep differences.
Nevertheless, irrespective of their divergent approaches, there is one concept all members concur on. The alliance expects Ukraine’s membership to escalate the likelihood of a direct clash between the members and Russia. But there is more.
Ukraine’s NATO Accession After War
While Ukraine joining NATO during the full-scale invasion is likely to make things difficult for the alliance, the country’s accession after the war could also introduce several different challenges. Let’s understand a couple of them first.
Owing to the security guarantee stipulated in Article 5, Ukraine’s membership could lead to the US engaging in direct confrontation with Russia as it is likely there will be unresolved border issues between Ukraine and Russia after the war.
Second, is Washington ready to go to war for Ukraine? If the US chooses to abandon the war-torn nation, other NATO members will lose faith in the US security commitments and NATO will become an untrustworthy and unstable alliance.
Diverting US’s Focus From Other Interests And Priorities
How much would it cost to defend Ukraine? The ongoing invasion has clearly demonstrated how costly modern and conventional warfare is. Inviting Ukraine to join the group will only exacerbate the gap between NATO’s promises and its capabilities.
While the member states are generally more affluent and technologically advanced, the ones in Europe will need to put in a lot more efforts to improve military capability as they haven’t substantially invested in conventional military power for decades.
Furthermore, with Ukraine’s membership, the US – which has already offered the war-ravaged nation plenty of military assistance – will incur a lot more costs at a period that demands Washington’s focus and resources elsewhere.