Americans Must Stop the March to World War III over Ukraine

Americans Must Stop the March to World War III over Ukraine

Gripped by a false sense of morality enveloped in hubris and Machiavellian calculations, Washington risks taking the world over the precipice of the abyss. This must be prevented.


Ahead of NATO’s Vilnius meeting on July 11, forty-six foreign policy experts, in an open letter, recommended measures to secure Ukraine’s victory and reestablish full control over its internationally recognized 1991 borders; as well as anchoring Kyiv in the security and economic arrangements of the transatlantic alliance.

Departing from the notion that Russian president Vladimir Putin had failed in his revisionist ambition to remake the security of Europe, the authors emphasized that Putin had to abandon his goal of establishing control of Ukraine and that Kyiv not to be left in a gray zone of ambiguity inviting Russian aggression. The authors stressed that the transatlantic community can only be stable and secure if Ukraine itself is secure, and that Ukraine’s entry into NATO, fulfilling the promise made at the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, would achieve that.


It is with these goals in mind that the authors supported a swift admission of Ukraine into NATO while at the same time offering Kyiv the same security guarantees each NATO member has under Article 4. Theirs is a roadmap to make Ukraine a member of NATO in all but in name until its official admission. In this respect, the authors recommended that NATO 1) supply Ukraine with all kind of weapons— including longer-range missiles such as ATACMS, Western advanced combat aircraft, tanks and necessary ammunition— in sufficient quantities to prevail on the battlefield, and 2) develop a Ukrainian long-term national security strategy, national defense strategy, and national defense posture compatible with NATO standards and planning.

Only then, the authors conclude in their letter, the transatlantic community would be a more stable, secure, and prosperous.

Simply put, this letter is an open invitation to WWIII and the mutual destruction of the West and Eurasia. It is based in flawed analysis wrapped in hubris, indifference, and ignorance of history, geography and geopolitics.

The authors made the crafty argument that Putin had a revisionist policy to remake the security of Europe without even giving lip service to the impact of NATO’s eastward expansion to the hearth of the capital of Peter the Great. Yet they underscored that Ukraine’s admission into NATO would fulfill the promise made in Bucharest in 2008, disregarding the obvious that NATO would therefore encircle Russia.

At the same time, the authors paid no attention to the objections and attempts the Russian leadership made to dissuade the West from expanding NATO. Seen through the Russian prism, the West, especially United States, has continued to either renege on its assurances or beguile Russia into burying its head in the sand regarding its national security. Reconfirming what President George H. W. Bush had told Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Malta Summit in December 1989, Secretary of State James Baker told Gorbachev in February 1990 in Moscow: “We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.”

Few years later, at its summit in Madrid in July 1997, NATO formally invited three former Soviet satellites, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join the Western alliance. No less than two weeks after their membership became effective in March 1999, NATO began to bomb Serbia, Russia’s ally, in an effort to end its military operations in Kosovo.

Discounting any Russian security consideration, the second round of NATO enlargement began in 2002, whereupon Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia became NATO members in March 2004. Moscow was clear and vocal about its concern particularly with the accession of the Baltic States to NATO.

Before long U.S.-Russian relations cooled following the Rose, Orange and Maidan Revolutions in Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Ukraine (2014) respectively, placing Washington and Moscow on a headlong clash. Long regarded as buffer zones between Russia and the West, the pro-Western change of governments in Georgia and Ukraine more or less instigated by United States reconfirmed to Moscow that NATO’s expansion targeted Russia and left it with an unabated perceived security threats. This led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and invading Ukraine in 2022 following a comprehensive and systematic expansion of NATO’s security in the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria, while at the same time arming Ukraine.

In fact, back in Evian in 2008, President Dmitry Medvedev summarized Russia’s concerns:

The real issue is that NATO is bringing its military infrastructure right up to our borders and is drawing new dividing lines in Europe, this time along our western and southern frontiers. No matter what we are told, it is only natural that we should see this as action directed against us.

Medvedev was not alone in amplifying NATO’s security threats to Russia. George Kennan, author of Washington’s containment policy of the Soviet Union and preeminent Russian expert, asserted that “expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.” He later on explained:

I think it is the beginning of a new cold war…I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves.

And if as looking into a crystal ball, he rightly underscored that there is “little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history,” and predicted “Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong.''

Treading in his footsteps, fifty prominent foreign policy experts, including former senators, retired military officers, diplomats and academicians, sent an open letter to President Bill Clinton in June 1997 outlining their opposition to NATO expansion, penning it as “a policy error of historic proportions.”

As Kennan’s prophecy actualized in 2022, the misguided foreign policy mindset that paved the way for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has assumed an infallible standpoint. Supporting Ukraine rose to the altar of a divine obligation to protect democracy and defend peace in the West against autocracy and wickedness. Russian President Vladimir Putin, like Saddam Hussein, epitomized evil and therefore had to be removed or defanged to redeem Russia. Dissent has become tantamount to violation of a sacrosanct script, a script for war for democracy detached from reality, democratic norms, and the staggering cost of war. In much the same vein as the Clinton administration, the Biden administration, encouraged and incited by the mainstream media, neoconservatives, liberal interventionists and think tanks tied to the defense establishment, has gradually escalated the tempo of war by dismissing prospects of peace and steadily upgrading the quantity and quality of deadly weapons delivered to Ukraine.

To be sure, despite its grievances, Russia committed a strategic blunder by invading Ukraine and underestimating the will of Ukrainians to fight a patriotic war. NATO’s military support of Ukraine led to Russia’s retreat to Crimea and Donbas, where Moscow dug its defenses. Herein, neither Putin nor any Russian leader will concede defeat in those areas. The Donbas has been integral to the formation of Russia and thereafter the Soviet Union since Moscow’s defeat of the Mongols in the fifteenth century. Significantly, Crimea and its vicinity in eastern-southern Russia figured prominently in Moscow’s drive to expand, protect, and project the power of the Tsarist Empire. Early on, Peter the Great set his sights on the Sea of Azov and Crimea. He seized the Azov fortress from the Ottomans, formerly known as Azak fortress, overlooking the port of Azov, and in September 1698, he founded the first Russian navy base, Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov. Catherine the Great continued his imperial project and seized Crimea and its vicinity in 1774, whereupon Moscow established its strategic naval base at Sevastopol, which has served as the main base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Moscow not only established a strategic foothold on the Black Sea but also projected its power over the restive Caucuses. From Moscow’s past to the present, Crimea and Donbas have constituted a center of geopolitical gravity and prestige for Moscow as a big power, save a legitimate pretext for Putin’s belief in his righteous war.

Putin has not only underscored their historical, strategic, and cultural importance but also made them a testament to his legitimacy as the leader who reconstituted Russia as a big power. In his address to the Duma in March 2014, for example, Putin stressed:

Everything in Crimea speaks of our shared history and pride. This is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptized. His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilization and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

He then added:

It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realized that it was not simply robbed, it was plundered… Now, many years later, I heard residents of Crimea say that back in 1991 they were handed over like a sack of potatoes. This is hard to disagree with. And what about the Russian state? What about Russia? It humbly accepted the situation. This country was going through such hard times then that realistically it was incapable of protecting its interests. However, the people could not reconcile themselves to this outrageous historical injustice.