Ukraine’s ambitious attempt to join the European Union is a decision marred with short sight and poor policy considerations that sends the wrong signals to both our adversaries and allies. This decision demonstrates that, irrespective of turbulent pasts or wrongdoings, adversaries may become allies when it suits the interests of feckless policymakers.
This decision sets a dangerous precedent for the future and demonstrates to the world that our leaders care more about party politics than the people they govern. It is not a mystery that the people of the developed nations overwhelmingly support Ukraine, but it is also not a mystery that this burgeoning desire of every developed nation to align with Ukraine may culminate in losses that far surpass what was intended or anticipated.
Despite our desire to do what is right, we often act inappropriately. It is simple to see why Ukraine’s entry into the EU would be so problematic.
First, it may prolong the conflict. Russia, regardless of their power to follow through, has made it clear that anyone aligning themselves too closely with Ukraine will be held accountable. Whether or not these threats should be taken at face value, a powerful nation like Russia should not be trifled with for too long, particularly for a simple political show of unity.
Second, they could expand the conflict areas by allying themselves with Ukraine. The EU has tacitly forced each of its member nations to side with Russia’s sworn adversary, Ukraine. It would be unwise to bring innocent parties into the conflict.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, it will remove a crucial negotiating point prior to the start of negotiations. Almost everyone is aware of how contentious this subject is for Russia, and how determined they are to ensure Ukraine loses its sovereignty. Ukraine need not be a member of the EU to be recognized as a legitimate force on the international scene. Why, then, would you unilaterally give up a crucial negotiating point so early in the game?
The best approach at this time would be to negotiate a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia to end the bloodshed for at least a short period of time and halt Russian military gains, thereby allowing Finland and Sweden to join NATO, bolstering their existing structure and increasing the EU’s economic power. After all, without question, the EU is a financial husk. It is no more than the German economy, which is an Achilles’ heel. Knowing this, it is obvious why the EU must bolster its economic might before engaging in an unnecessary conflict with a tenacious foe.
The West must facilitate Russia’s gradual withdrawal from Ukraine over time. Externally, this is vastly preferable because Russia would no longer pose a threat to Ukraine.
Internally, however, this course of action would lead to a rift in the Russian government and possibly a change in leadership, as President Vladimir Putin’s allies and constituents realize that he has utterly failed to succeed in a war in which the outcome was virtually predestined from the outset. The aging communists of the Cold War era will cycle out as they die off, resulting in a long-term improvement for the nation, since this generational transition and ideological shift will bring about a beneficial development in both international and internal policy. There are now credible Russian leadership figures only waiting for the opportunity to challenge the Putin administration, and with widespread support, a victory may be all but certain.
Despite the obvious incapacity of President Joe Biden, so many disastrous actions throughout this conflict have seemed to be deliberate. It seems that the Biden administration has prolonged the conflict, which is so immoral that it cannot be adequately described. In fact, at the outset of the Ukraine conflict, the United States did basically nothing to intervene strategically for months. Now, the intensity of the fighting is entering a new phase, so the destruction, death toll and economic impact will continue to grow and be felt well beyond the borders of Ukraine and Russia. However, because the U.S. has been on its hands for so long, it will be extremely difficult and expensive to effect any meaningful change at this time.
Russia’s exhibition of hostility has persuaded Finland and Sweden to abandon their neutral stance and instead seek NATO membership. Obviously, this action seems to be largely favored by the general populations of both countries. Yet, as was previously noted, regardless of whether this symbolic action is significant or advantageous, it is not the preferable course of action during a time of war. As Russia starts to feel the diplomatic pressure that accompanies NATO membership, a move to welcome Ukraine into the EU will certainly be seen as an increase in strategic risk. So, why do this now? Clearly, this will exacerbate the conflict.
The EU and the U.S. seem to believe, erroneously, that Ukraine will outlive the Russians or somehow force them back into Russia. Our Ukraine strategy must be founded on fact, such as this: If Russia chooses to destroy Ukraine with artillery, the nation’s cities will be reduced to gravel. The U.S., the EU and NATO are repeating the same strategic and tactical errors from the previous two decades. The “measured response,” the “gradual escalation,” the “piecemeal” and the slow delivery of supplies, ammunition and weaponry. The Russians understand this predictable policy escalation and methodical, single-issue approach. The present lack of initiative and emphasis, as well as the unclear signal of EU membership, suggest inadequate preparation by all parties involved.