American Committee for US-Russia Accord Statement on NATO’s Washington Summit

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NATO will mark its 75th year at a three day summit in Washington this week. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is scheduled to attend the proceedings, during which the alliance is expected to offer, in lieu of membership, what has been described by Biden administration officials as a “Bridge to NATO.”

In other words, a promise of accession, not unlike the one proffered by the alliance 16 years ago at the NATO summit in Bucharest.

We believe that prioritizing Ukraine’s NATO membership is dangerously misguided. It is unarguable that the human costs of the war in Ukraine – and the concomitant costs to the European economy and the American treasury–have been enormous. Proposals to end the hostilities have been met with stubborn silence from Ukraine’s sponsors in the West.

If NATO had the security interests of its member states as its highest priority, the alliance would convene in Washington to discuss a “Bridge to Peace” rather than yet another round of NATO expansion. After all, NATO exists to ensure the security of its members – to act as a force for regional stability. Yet, the project of expanding NATO right up to Russia’s borders has undermined that mission.

The war in Ukraine has been a catastrophe for the Ukrainian people; it is therefore crucial that we learn the lessons that may prevent such tragic conflicts in the future.

NATO should take the opportunity of the week’s summit to take a cold eyed look at itself; at its record; and at its mission – and begin the hard work of self-evaluation.

The American Committee for US-Russia Accord (ACURA) is a nonpartisan, tax-exempt educational organization of concerned citizens from different professions – business, academia, government service, science, law, and journalism – who are deeply concerned about the serious decline in relations between the United States and Russia.  ACURA is the successor organization to the Committee for East-West Accord which was founded by the late Professor Stephen F. Cohen in 2015. Steve recognized far earlier than most the danger posed by a return to hostile relations between the world’s leading nuclear powers.