‘Ukraine joining NATO unwise step that would bring all-out war closer’
RT:Ukraine is clearly eager to become a member of NATO and the EU.What does Kiev need to do to make that possible? How soon could that happen?
Neil Clark: The NATO member states themselves are very divided on this because it is quite clear that this ratchets it up the dangers…If Ukraine was to join NATO then we would be in an incredibly dangerous situation because then we’d have the hawks in the US, for example, claiming - how many times have we have heard this year about Russian invasion in Ukraine - about these phantom invasions. That could be the trigger for an all-out war. So it is a very dangerous step.
RT: Is it likely to happen, will NATO allow it to happen?
NC: If you look at the NATO expansion documents, they say that it is preferable if the states that have territorial disputes with neighbors; these are resolved through the OSCE process. It doesn’t prohibit countries that have territory disputes from joining. But the inference is that states wouldn’t be allowed in if they have outstanding territorial disputes - which of course Ukraine does have with Russia...
But NATO has broken its own laws in the past. Many times we saw NATO break its own rules when it bombed Yugoslavia in 1999. Yugoslavia was not a member state, so NATO went way beyond its charter of doing that. NATO could bend its rules again and get Ukraine in. I think there will be certain countries in the NATO alliance who want Ukraine in, the more hawkish countries. And other countries will be pretty terrified at the prospect. Let’s face it because this, as I said, will be a very dangerous step and it would make all-out war much closer.
RT:Some countries don't appear too keen for Ukraine to join at this point. And also Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev said that Ukraine joining NATO would turn the country into its potential enemy. What could the repercussions of that be?
NC: Christmas is supposed to be the time of peace on Earth and good will to all man. This is a very provocative step from Poroshenko, just a few days before Christmas. It is only going to increase tensions between Ukraine and Russia. I think it is very unwise step; it is certainly not in Ukraine’s best interest. And is it really democratic? Because while you have got from 60-70 percent of people in the west according to polls in favor of Ukraine joining NATO, you’ve got much less than that, 40 percent less than that, around 20 percent or so wanting it in the east. So the country is very, very divided. And this is the last thing that Poroshenko should be doing if he wants to bring his people together.
RT:That is exactly what the Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said, that the crisis in the east would not be solved if Ukraine joins NATO. Now it is a divided country. How would we know that divided country wants to go all together into NATO?
NC: It doesn’t, does it? And I think that is why neutrality is the most sensible policy. When you have got an extremely divided country with radically different opinions on this in one half of the country to the other half then the sensible step is a policy of neutrality.
RT:So who is pushing it to join NATO?
NC: The fact is that the US put in an awful lot of money. We know the amounts they put in - the billions of dollars they put in to try to bring about a change of government in Ukraine which they succeeded in earlier this year. And did they really put up the money just to have a government following the same policy of neutrality? No, I think the US is very clearly wanted regime change in Ukraine because precisely they wanted to get Ukraine in NATO as they wanted to get other countries bordering Russia into NATO. That has been a strategy over the past 15-20 years or so. Poroshenko is very likely coming under pressure from the US to embark on this path because as I said an awful a lot of money and time was invested in this project of bringing about a new government in Ukraine by the US and the EU. The end of the game was to lock the country in what we call the Euro- Atlantic structures which, on one hand, is getting Ukraine on the path towards EU membership and, on the other hand, locking it into NATO.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.