NATO Summit kicks off in Washington, DC

NATO leaders might declare Ukraine’s path to membership “irreversible” as war in Ukraine rages on

July 09, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Photo: NATO

July 9 marked the first day of the 75th NATO Summit in Washington, DC. The ongoing war in Ukraine is once again center stage, as on the previous day, Ukraine accused Russia of bombing a children’s hospital in Kiev, an accusation which Russia denies. This latest summit shows the United States and the West continuing to play an instigating role in the war, as NATO leaders might use the gathering to declare Ukraine’s path to membership “irreversible.” 

NATO expansion eastward into Ukraine has long been a red line for Russia, with many arguing that it is the cause of the war itself. If NATO leaders are to declare that Ukraine has a path to NATO membership. This would confirm Russia’s initial concerns about NATO expansion into Ukraine and represent a violation of all prior agreements such as Minsk II.

Other key topics on the agenda for the summit include assistance to Ukraine and NATO’s partnerships, including with nations in the Indo-Pacific region such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

On Sunday evening, a US official told USA Today that Biden himself had agreed to use the word “irreversible” to denote Ukraine’s path to membership if Ukraine met a given set of requirements.

A surefire way in which the NATO alliance plans to prolong the war is through the new support package they will announce for Ukraine. This will likely include a “minimum baseline” of USD 43 billion in combined military support over the span of the next year. The package will also include more weapons, including a “substantial” increase in air defense capabilities, and measures that will integrate Ukrainian armed forces more with European powers, such as training programs and programs to help the Ukrainian military become fully interoperable with NATO. 

The NATO Summit has encountered opposition within the United States by the anti-war movement, who denounce the alliance’s role in perpetuating war, violence, and imperialism. Last week, hundreds of anti-war organizers marched in Washington, DC against the NATO Summit. At the march, Cody Urban of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) denounced the United States for “putting an all out effort into expanding NATO as one of the most consolidated military expressions of the US.”