By Andrew Murray, Stop the War Coalition
States have a right to join NATO
The media give the impression that not joining NATO would breach Ukraine’s fundamental rights. In fact, no state has a right to join NATO – the existing member countries determine who should be admitted. Ultimately, the matter is decided by the US government. That is why its 2008 decision to admit Ukraine (and Georgia) at some point is so important and threatening to Russia. The extension of NATO is the extension of US power and military hegemony. It should have been wound up at the same time as the Warsaw Pact thirty years ago and replaced by new Europe-wide security arrangements.
NATO is peaceful, so no-one should feel threatened by its expansion
NATO was founded after the Second World War, ostensibly to protect against “Soviet expansion.” Leading supporters at the time, like Labour right-winger Denis Healey, later admitted that it was a mistake. However, NATO was not directly associated with international aggression during the Cold War. The US and Britain operated outside it when required. However, that is no longer true. After the collapse of the USSR NATO not only expanded geographically, it also extended its mission. It led the illegal war against Yugoslavia in 1999 and was the flag under which Afghanistan was invaded and occupied for twenty years. It also took the lead in the 2011 war against Libya. So, over the last generation NATO has a substantial record as an instrument of war initiated by the US and Britain above all.
The Ukrainian government wants peace
In fact, the Ukrainian government has failed to implement the agreements signed in Minsk to end the conflict over the Donbass. These required it to offer autonomy to the breakaway regions within a new Ukrainian constitutional settlement, recognising its diversity. It has taken no steps to act on this signed commitment, nor have the western powers pushed it to. It is true that Russia too has not implemented its obligations arising from Minsk, but it cannot be pretended that Ukraine is actually working for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.