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Biden’s Worst Nightmare: World War III with Russia over Ukraine

NATO should not accept Ukraine as a member, because NATO should not risk open conflict with Russia. It could mean World War III.

Terminator Tank Ukraine
Terminator. Image Credit: Russian State Media.

The ongoing Russo-Ukraine War is a tragedy in and of itself. But the conflict is fraught with the potential for a grander, more consequential conflagration. Especially given Ukraine’s ties to the west and to the United States.

So, with respect to the massive casualty counts being accrued in the struggle for cities like Bakhmut and Kherson, one of the most critical dimensions of the conflict is whether it will prompt more direct foreign intervention – from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), for example.

NATO and Ukraine 

NATO is a collective security system, an intergovernmental military alliance, between 31 member states. NATO was created in the aftermath of World War II as a check against Soviet hegemony in Europe. At the time of NATO’s creation, the alliance served a valuable function in deterring what was initially believed to be a plausible Soviet threat. But in the years since the Soviet dissolution, NATO has been used to invade Afghanistan, train Iraqis, assist in counter-piracy operations, and enforce a no-fly zone in Libya. 

The lynchpin of the NATO alliance is Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which requires all member states to come to the aid of any member state subjected to an armed attack. And that, Article 5, is why membership within NATO is so consequential. And that, Article 5, is why Russia opposes Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO.

Without question, the courtship between NATO and Ukraine was a primary motive for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. Russia, who understandably views NATO as an enemy alliance, was clear in their position that having NATO resting directly against the Russian border (Ukraine) was unacceptable.

While the courtship alone caused irreversible damage and, in large part, initiated the Russo-Ukraine War, NATO members ultimately demurred in accepting Ukraine as a new member state of the alliance – a wise decision.

Of course, were Ukraine a full-fledged member of NATO, then Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine would trigger Article 5. That’s not going to happen – fortunately. Because it would be catastrophic.

NATO vs. Russia 

I don’t mean to dismiss our friends in Britain, Germany, France, and Italy. But what a Russia versus NATO conflict really means is a Russia versus the United States conflict.

The US is far and away NATO’s most powerful member and would bear the brunt of any NATO engagement against Russia – which would be bad for everyone, of course, given that the US and Russia possess the world’s two largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

Open conflict between the US and the Soviet Union loomed like a specter over the entire world for nearly five decades. That open conflict never erupted is a geopolitical miracle – and a precedent that should be honored today. While the suffering of Ukraine and its people is acute and a clear tragedy, neither NATO nor the United States has a good incentive to become directly embroiled in the conflict. Russia has proven itself to be incapable – incapable of even securing territory in eastern Ukraine. So, what is NATO worried about exactly?

Russia barely poses a threat to Western Ukraine, let alone Western Europe. This means that any NATO or US intervention in Ukraine would be for preserving territory, specifically within Ukraine. And that’s not worth the human lives or fiscal resources invested in such an undertaking. It’s not worth incurring such a pronounced risk of nuclear war.

NATO should not accept Ukraine as a member, because NATO should not risk open conflict with Russia.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Commentar

    May 4, 2023 at 9:29 am

    WW3 with Russia over Ukraine problem would be a losing proposition for Biden, even if we take into account current US established ability to intercept hostile nuclear missiles plus the guaranteed ability to wipe out rivals’ silo fields.

    The reason is while Russia today could perhaps succeed in walloping only a mere handful of minor US sites, it still possesses full ability to obliterate European lackeys and US bases in Europe.

    Thus a victory for Biden over Russia in the delicious WW3 would be totally meaningless.

    However, Biden could enjoy far better returns if he were to initiate WW3 with asian nations like china & north Korea over minor or even non-existent or fake reasons.

    That’s because US systems today could easily intercept incoming missiles 100% while any vestigial retaliation would only vanquish asian nations like Japan and Philippines which are totally expendable unlike those European ones.

    Thus if Biden wants to leave this planet with a bang, he needs to fully focus on Asia for his WW3, not on Russia.

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