Should NATO Welcome Ukraine?

With Ukraine’s effort to subdue the pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country faltering, it is understandable that its Prime Minister submitted a proposal to Parliament seeking NATO membership. What is surprising – and dangerous – is the response of NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: “We fully respect Ukraine’s decisions as regards Ukraine’s security policy and alliance affiliations.”


While NATO membership for Ukraine would almost surely make Russia more cautious in its treatment of that nation, the immediate risk of NATO membership is likely to make Russia much more aggressive in an attempt to prevent that from ever happening.

Furthermore, if Ukraine were to join NATO, the risk of a war between the US and Russia actually would increase. That’s because any suspicion of an attack by Russia on Ukraine – as is now the case – then would risk the US being treaty-bound to respond just as if New York had been attacked by Russia.

NATO Treaty, Article V: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

And it can be very murky determining who is behind an attack, whether or not it was provoked, and even whether or not it even occurred.

Unless we want to risk the survival of our homeland (and possibly the world) on allegations and perceptions of what is happening in a civil war in Ukraine, we should be much more circumspect in welcoming Ukraine into NATO.

Martin Hellman

About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, since 1982, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book, co-written with my wife Dorothie, with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." It's on Amazon and a free PDF can be downloaded from its website:
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1 Response to Should NATO Welcome Ukraine?

  1. Me says:

    I think Ukraine should be allowed to Join NATO, then I will be proud to join the military to go and fight Russians

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