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Henry Kissinger Reverses Stance on NATO Membership for Kiev

May 19, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a somewhat tortured argument, caged within British geopolitics, Henry Kissinger—who turns 100 on May 27—is now arguing that NATO membership for Ukraine may be good for Europe, and even for Russia. Kissinger’s remarks were presented on May 17 in a late-April interview with The Economist, a key mouthpiece for the City of London and Global Britain’s power center—a place that Kissinger feels comfortable, having famously told Chatham House on May 10, 1982 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Foreign Office, that as Secretary of State he had kept Britain’s Foreign Office better informed than the U.S. State Department.

Kissinger had previously argued against NATO membership for Kiev, but his reversal appears to be related to his concerns that it is the “least strategically experienced leadership in Europe,” while also now the best-armed country, and would be tempted to resolve disputes by force. Were it to join NATO, Kissinger argues that Kiev’s proclivities for force would be tempered by the other European nations. Kissinger’s abstract argument is based on his convenient overlooking that Ukraine is a captive nation, in the grip of “Global NATO,” that seeks to destroy Russia. Perhaps Kissinger is still being informed by the British Foreign Office.

“What the Europeans are now saying is, in my view, madly dangerous,” Kissinger told The Economist. “Because the Europeans are saying: ‘We don’t want them in NATO, because they’re too risky. And therefore, we’ll arm the hell out of them and give them the most advanced weapons.’ ” Kissinger then adds that the outcome of the conflict “should be one in which Ukraine remains protected by Europe and doesn’t become a solitary state just looking out for itself.”

In terms of the end of the war, Kissinger anticipates that Russia will lose its gains, but retain Crimea, in which case, “we may have a dissatisfied Russia, but also a dissatisfied Ukraine—in other words, a balance of dissatisfaction. So, for the safety of Europe, it is better to have Ukraine in NATO, where it cannot make national decisions on territorial claims.”

In the other world not confined by the zero-sum game of British geopolitics, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin in his May 18 press conference commented on Kissinger’s suggestion from the standpoint of international law, and argued that NATO membership for Ukraine would only further inflame tensions. “Ukraine should not become the frontier in a major power confrontation,” he said, adding that “to strengthen or even expand military groups is not a viable way to ensure the security of a region. One country’s security should not be achieved at the expense of the security of other countries.”

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