Close the Door to Avert a War
It is not as if maintaining the illusion of future membership for Ukraine and Georgia is doing these countries any favors.
Michael Kimmage calls for closing NATO’s “open door”:
To simplify its strategic purpose and to improve its defensive capacities, NATO should publicly and explicitly forswear adding any more members. The alliance should make clear that its long phase of expansion is over. Ending the open-door policy, tricky as it would be to execute, and rethinking the security architecture of central and eastern Europe would not be a concession to Putin. To the contrary, it is necessary in order for the most successful alliance of the twentieth century to endure and prosper in the twenty-first.
Closing the door to further NATO expansion is the right thing to do for the alliance, and it is also the best thing for European stability and security. It is unfortunate that it has required a serious crisis over Ukraine to drive this point home when critics of expansion have been shouting this message from the rooftops for at least the last 20 years, but there is still an opportunity for NATO to do what it should have done long ago. One of the critical details in the North Atlantic Treaty that expansionists like to gloss over is that the alliance may invite new European members “in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty,” but this does not require the alliance keep its door open to all comers. Does Ukraine contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area? No, of course not. So why not simply admit as much and stop pretending that some vital principle is at stake?