The NATO Summit Is On July 9, But Zelensky Is Already Angry

The NATO Summit Is On July 9, But Zelensky Is Already Angry

 

By Ted Snider via AntiWar.com

Another year of war and another NATO summit, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is still not going to get the NATO membership Ukrainians are fighting and dying for. At last year’s NATO summit, Zelensky was offered only “an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met.”

“Ukraine isn’t ready for NATO membership,” U.S. President Joe Biden said because, as he told CNN, there are “qualifications that need to be met, including democratization.”

Zelensky was outraged: “It’s unprecedented and absurd when time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership. While at the same time vague wording about ‘conditions’ is added even for inviting Ukraine.”

At this year’s NATO summit, to be held in Washington from July 9-11, corruption reform will be added to democratic reform. Ukraine will neither be offered membership in NATO nor a timeline to membership. Instead, they will be told that they are still too corrupt to join NATO.

According to a senior official in the State Department, although the U.S. has to “applaud everything that Ukraine has done in the name of reforms over the last two-plus years… we want to talk about additional steps that need to be taken, particularly in the area of anti-corruption.” In a recent interview with TIME, Biden cited “significant corruption” for not being “prepared to support the NATOization of Ukraine.”

Instead of being given membership, Ukraine will be given “a list of reforms it will be expected to carry out before its membership ambitions can be realized.”

As a consolation, Ukraine will be offered a headquarters in Germany “to give something solid to Kyiv at the summit even as they maintain the time is not right for Ukraine to join.” The mission, to be called NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine, will match the weapons the West sends to Ukrainian needs and coordinate training of Ukrainian troops without NATO itself providing that training. NATO will also offer Ukraine a senior civilian official to be stationed in Kiev who will oversee Ukraine’s “longer-term military- modernization requirements and nonmilitary support.”

Via AP

NATO leaders at this year’s summit will attempt the sleight of hand of making the same old offer being made to Ukraine look shiny and new. Though what is being promised Ukraine won’t change, the wording of the promise will. Ukraine won’t be offered membership in NATO, but they will be offered “a bridge to their membership inside the alliance.” They will be offered a “path” to membership, though NATO is “very sceptical about bringing Ukraine any further along the path to full Nato membership this year.”

In an attempt to mollify Ukraine, NATO is considering labelling the path to NATO membership as an “irreversible” path. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has used that language, promising that “[t]he work we are undertaking now puts you on an irreversible path towards NATO membership so that when the time is right, Ukraine can become a NATO member straightaway.” But Ukraine might not even get that. The U.S. and Germany have reportedly stymied even that concession, favoring replacing “irreversible path” with “well-lit bridge.”

In order to avoid the debacle of last year’s offer of an invitation to NATO when NATO is ready and Zelensky’s angry reaction, NATO officials have engaged in “expectation management,” muting NATO members supportive of Ukraine accession, while warning Zelensky not to demand the “impossible.” NATO officials have asked Zelensky not to pressure NATO members to publicly support a timetable to NATO membership this time. “The hope,” The New York Times reports“is that the mission and the commitment it represents will satisfy Mr. Zelensky and lead to a smoother summit than the last one, a year ago in Vilnius.. where he made his unhappiness clear.”

It didn’t work. Zelensky is already publicly stating his frustration and anger. “We understand that the White House is not ready to give us the invitation,” Zelensky said in a June 30 interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. He castigated the U.S. for being “afraid to annoy Putin,” saying “this is the reason why we are not invited.” Zelensky criticized U.S. policy, saying, “I don’t think this is the policy of world leaders. These are the very cautious steps of my de-miners in the minefield.” He added in resignation that “If NATO is not ready to protect us, and to take us into the alliance, then we ask NATO to give us everything so we can protect ourselves.”

Unless something changes between now and the convening of the NATO summit on July 9, Ukraine will, again, not be given what it has been led to believe it is fighting for, and Zelensky will, again, loudly express his anger.

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(TLB) published this article by Ted Snider via AntiWar.com as posted at ZeroHedge

Header featured image (edited) credit: Zelensky/Via AP

Emphasis added by (TLB)

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