Warriors of Light
The next NATO summit has begun in Vilnius, and Ukraine has high expectations for it. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated unequivocally that the lack of movement on our country's accession to the Alliance is unacceptable, and that Ukraine expects a clear step towards membership from the meeting in Lithuania. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was even more categorical: "Already during the war, we want to hear a clear signal that we will be in NATO after the war."
Incidentally, Zelenskyy will personally attend the summit, on the eve of which he harshly criticised NATO members for their position on our country. Kyiv has received a signal that the allies are discussing the wording of the summit without Ukraine on the sidelines. "We value our allies. We value our common security. And we always value an open conversation. Ukraine will be represented in Vilnius, at the NATO summit. Because this is respect. But Ukraine also deserves respect. Now, on the way to Vilnius, we have received signals that wording without Ukraine is being discussed," Zelenskyy wrote. The President stressed that this wording is only about the invitation, not about Ukraine's membership.
It is clear that de jure Ukraine will be able to join the Alliance only after the victory over the "Russian empire", but the prospects for accession are already becoming more and more clear. On the one hand, support for Ukraine's accession to NATO among Ukrainians has risen to a record high of 82%. On the other hand, the level of support for our country's membership in the Alliance ranges from 50% to 56% in the EU countries surveyed, and 70% in the United States. All that remains is to wait for a political decision to complete Ukraine's 29-year journey towards this alliance.
To accelerate this process, we need to shift the focus from "why Ukraine should be in NATO" to "why NATO needs Ukraine to be in the Alliance". Ukraine's benefits from joining this military bloc are obvious: the very existence of its statehood and sovereignty depends on it. It is time to start explaining to the West why they need Ukraine and what function it will fill in NATO.
The North Atlantic Alliance is a military and defence alliance. And this implies that member states receive certain rights and preferences, solve certain common problems, and perform necessary functions and share responsibility for the common good. And Ukraine needs to clearly articulate to NATO what the Alliance will receive from Ukraine in exchange for membership.
Given that the Ukrainian army has been successfully resisting the superior forces of Putin's hordes for more than a year, and is currently the most trained and experienced in Europe, it is precisely its combat experience that it can provide NATO with as a bonus. Ukraine can actually fulfil the function of a competent military contingent in the Alliance. It could become something similar to the French Foreign Legion, but on a larger scale.
The prerequisites for this exist. The United States, as a major NATO member, adopted a strategy to reduce its military presence and the number of army bases around the world even before the invasion of Ukraine by Russian occupation forces. Ukraine can easily replace the US military. Especially given that NATO will gradually take over the role of the UN in resolving military conflicts.
First, the United Nations needs to be reformed. During the Russian invasion, the UN proved to be incapable of acting as an international arbiter. Secondly, at the moment, only NATO has the necessary tools to be a global player and solve problems that the UN cannot solve, particularly in Africa and Asia. NATO, thanks to Ukrainians, will be able to expand its influence. In fact, it will become a new, more advanced "UN".
The Alliance has long outgrown the epithet "North Atlantic". Japan has already declared its desire to join NATO. Similar applications from Korea, Australia and other countries are not far off. Moreover, the world has become very small today. China and Russia are playing geopolitics in both Africa and Asia, forcing NATO to extend its influence far beyond the conservative perception of the Alliance.
Accordingly, this will involve the expansion of NATO troops and bases around the world. In this strategy, the Ukrainian army will be able to play a key role as an instrument of the Alliance. Become part of the process of ensuring global security. By forming contingents on a voluntary basis and deploying them to NATO bases, Ukraine will receive funding from other member states.
By the time it defeats Russia, Ukraine will have the first army in the world. If not in terms of equipment and numbers, then in terms of professionalism and experience in fighting against a superior enemy. In addition, during the war against the Russian occupation hordes, Ukrainian soldiers will have time to work with all types of Western weapons used by the Alliance.
This will be our contribution, the much-discussed 2% of GDP on defense, as required by the organization's rules.
And thanks to this, we can integrate into the global defence industry production chains and develop our army, becoming a serious player in the international arena.
And I realise that the Vilnius summit will not solve this problem. And we are not keeping up with the campaign. But this summit is not the end of the road to NATO, and there will be another summit in a year. And this year should be used to conduct a massive information campaign in the United States and Germany with the thesis of bringing Americans and Germans home.