As he usually is, John Bolton is wrong about Ukraine and NATO:
Thus the West collectively made a terrible mistake at the NATO summit in April 2008 by not placing Ukraine (and Georgia) on a clear path to NATO membership. Had we done so, the question of EU economic relations would doubtless have been more easily resolved. Ambiguity over Ukraine, leaving it in a no man’s land between Russia and NATO, obviously didn’t lead to Ukrainian stability, domestically or internationally.
There was a terrible mistake made at the Bucharest summit, but this wasn’t it. When NATO promised Ukraine and Georgia that they would become members of the alliance in the future, that needlessly added to the tensions between Russia and Georgia and gave the Georgian government the false expectation that Western governments would support it in a direct conflict with Russia. It didn’t cause the August 2008 war by itself, but the decision to offer NATO membership to Georgia made an escalated conflict more likely, and that certainly didn’t lead to more stability or security for Georgia. The promise to bring Ukraine into the alliance was also misguided, but fortunately it didn’t immediately have the same disastrous effects. Most Ukrainians never wanted to belong to the alliance in the first place, and it has been a moot question for several years now that Ukraine has opted not to join any military alliance.
Bringing Ukraine into NATO could have been the cause of a greater and even more dangerous reaction from Moscow, and Western governments would have then been forced to back up their unwise commitment to Ukraine or confirm that they weren’t ever really willing to defend it. The decision not to expand NATO in 2008 deeper into the former Soviet Union was one of the smartest moves that the alliance made since the end of the Cold War. If anything, the political turmoil in Ukraine should be a warning to us that NATO doesn’t ever want to bring this country into its tent.