Der Weg aus der Ukraine-Krise – The Atlantic

The Way Out of the Ukraine Crisis – The Atlantic.

(….) What would a deal look like? In keeping with the advice of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the United States should commit to not inviting Ukraine to join NATO, and thereby preserving for the country a status of neutrality identical to that enjoyed by Finland. The architect of America’s containment policy, the diplomat George Kennan, from the start opposed NATO expansion to the east, warning two decades ago that such a move would lead to “a new Cold War, probably ending in a hot one, and the end of the effort to achieve a workable democracy in Russia.” (In 2002, I also made the case in this magazine against enlarging the alliance.) The United States should take Putin at his word that the possibility of NATO membership for Ukraine prompted him to annex Crimea in March, and surely motivates him to support separatists in eastern Ukraine now.

Russia’s concerns about NATO expansion are legitimate. The alliance, after all, was created with one purpose: countering Soviet military might. In 2008, NATO member countries jointly declared that they welcomed “Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO,” adding that “these countries will become members of NATO.” The prospect, however distant, of NATO troops, tanks, missiles, and intelligence-gathering operations eventually being stationed a few hundred miles south of Moscow, and of Russia losing access to its sole warm-water port in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, can only alarm the Kremlin.

Obama needs to formally rescind the NATO members’ declaration welcoming eventual Ukrainian and Georgian membership. In return for such a commitment, Russia must stop aiding separatists and destabilizing Ukraine, and allow the country to pursue its own path to democracy and economic prosperity. Ukraine would, in effect, to the benefit of all parties, be “Finlandized”—that is, neutral. There is nothing negative in the term. Finland shares a long land border with Russia, of which it once was a part, and with which it now enjoys normal relations. ……

viaThe Way Out of the Ukraine Crisis – The Atlantic.