Ukraine and “Obvious” Choices (II)
Alex Berezow’s approach to foreign policy might be summed up as “doing stupid things because Russia won’t like them”:
(3) Fast-track Ukraine to NATO and EU membership. A Ukraine fully integrated into the West is what Mr. Putin fears the most. The West should make it clear that its goal is to accomplish that sooner rather than later.
(4) Deploy NATO troops to western Ukraine. If Ukraine allows it, NATO should deploy troops into western Ukraine. If Mr. Putin finds this objectionable, NATO can claim to be protecting the interests of ethnic Ukrainians and other Europeans. Two can play at that game.
(5) Surround Kaliningrad with NATO troops.
If one wanted to come up with quick ways to escalate and widen the conflict, these would be a good start. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be the slightest chance that NATO would do any of these things, but it is still remarkable that anyone can look at the crisis in Ukraine and ask, “How can we possibly militarize the situation more and get many more countries involved in a war?” This is the sort of mentality that would take a regional crisis and potentially turn it into a major war if enough Western governments were insane enough to share it. Western governments’ choices aren’t always as “obvious” as Berezow would like to think, but it should be obvious that NATO and EU membership are farther away for Ukraine than ever and there is no chance that NATO as an alliance will intervene in Ukraine.
Economic and diplomatic sanctions may be appropriate, but the priority at the moment has to be to prevent the crisis from escalating into armed conflict, and sanctions could very well make that more difficult.