“For Ukraine to become a NATO member at any point, points to a WWIII scenario. Has the NATO boss lost his mind or is the plan of the Americans coming off the rails?” – asks Martin Jay, an award-winning British journalist based in Morocco where he is a correspondent for The Daily Mail.
So NATO now is planning on making Ukraine a member, or at least this is the rhetoric coming from its secretary general who recently announced it. Given that the very essence of what the Ukraine war is about is membership of this 31 member defence organisation it would seem unfitting for Stoltenberg to make such an announcement, especially considering that Hungary would always veto such an idea anyway.
So what’s really behind this latest ‘news’ item? Here are the five ways to interpret the subject of Ukraine becoming a NATO member. Buckle up.
News fodder not to be taken seriously. Could Stoltenberg just be bluffing? It’s quite possible, given the lack of any progress or battle victories on the side of Ukraine that he is concerned about the lull in media coverage and needs to throw the journalists a bone to chew on, to distract them away from reporting “Ukraine is losing the war”. And this NATO membership subject would certainly do that for a couple of weeks while Ukrainian troops cede defeat in Bakhmut which is slowly being taken by Russia. Although this town is not considered a ‘prize’ by either side, it is still a crush to the morale of Ukrainian forces who have taken heavy losses and will always be a negative talking point for western journalists – or the few who at least decide to report on Ukraine’s loss there.
Preparing for NATO troops to fight in Ukraine. It is entirely possible that NATO members and its chief are in a panic mode now that well over 100 bn dollars given to the Ukrainians in the last year seems to have vanished in terms of battlefield hardware with no real progress in site; and also that the spring offensive which Ukraine is preparing – which would probably target the Crimean bridge and strategic towns like Mariupol – is being prepared for but is highly risky. For Ukraine to make any headway the offensive needs to be bold and this all-or-nothing game plan is worrying NATO as, in the event of heavy losses, it will push the West into a corner in how they explain this to their own voters (especially with U.S. election campaigning expected to start at the end of the summer).
Are things so desperate that the Plan B that Stoltenberg has is that NATO troops – probably from eastern European countries that have the most to lose – will be sent to Ukraine? And that this NATO membership story is a ruse to prepare the west for this scenario as if NATO were to make Ukraine a member immediately, then, in theory Article 5 would apply and it would be automatic process to send other NATO troops there?
Preparing for mercenaries from neo-Nazi groups in Europe to be sent there. This notion could well be the compromise for going full throttle on NATO membership and sending troops to Ukraine. Instead, would western countries consider looking at their own neo-Nazi groups and consider sending them on an informal basis with maximum plausible deniability that this is official policy? This is not as far-fetched as it sounds.
In the UK in 2011, the security services gave full support to young Libyan men to travel there and fight with Al Qaeda groups against Ghaddafi so why wouldn’t they allow skinheads to travel to Ukraine in great numbers to fight Russians while keeping their social security benefits at home?
Guarantee that no negotiation for peace can take place. One of the nightmare scenarios for the West, in particular the U.S., is that Zelensky can’t keep his side of the bargain and looks to end the war. NATO and the U.S. clearly would like to rule this out and so how to do it without causing too much of a fall-out? Announce NATO membership as an incentive for when the war is over. But this narrative is too hard for the Ukrainian president to swallow given the losses that he is enduring on a daily basis and for the promises made for military hardware to bear fruit and in time. It seems a neat, swift and clever way of ruling out any peace talks between the U.S. and Russia also. One clean blow.
Panic after Zelensky reached out to China to broker peace. The problem with the former plan about guaranteeing that peace talks are blocked between U.S. and Russia is of course it swings the spotlight onto other superpowers, or the main one, in fact, China to step up to the mark. It must be incredibly frustrating for the Biden administration and the NATO boss to read in the newspaper at the end of February that Zelensky is openly asking the Chinese premier to come to Ukraine and to “call” him. There can be no grey area here with this appeal. Zelensky wants China to broker a peace deal as he knows it is impossible for his own sponsors and so-called allies to do so.
This, on its own, may well explain a certain panic reaction by the U.S. which has been felt by the NATO boss as well and both of these camps are looking at “when shit hits the fan” scenarios of boots on the ground, Martin Jay stresses.
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