NATO, Ukraine, and US National Security

Senior Fellow, Center on Europe and Eurasia
(Screenshot via You Tube)

Below is an excerpt from Senior Fellow Luke Coffey’s testimony (“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization at 75: Reflecting on Past Successes and Planning for the Future”) before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, January 31, 2024 .

Regardless of the fanfare and celebration leading up to and surrounding the seventy-fifth anniversary of NATO, the summit’s main focus will be the situation in Ukraine. This is to be expected. For the U.S. and NATO, the stakes are high. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the first time since 1990, when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, that one country used military force to annex a section of another country. Allowing Russia to getaway with its reckless behavior on the international stage would set a very dangerous precedent for the 21st century. 

The outcome of the war in Ukraine will establish the geopolitical conditions across the Eurasian landmass for the foreseeable future. A Russian victory in Ukraine could further destabilize Europe, which is America’s largest export market and the source of millions of jobs in the U.S. As the war continues, Russian-Iranian arms trade and technology transfers continue to grow. As Russia grows desperate in Ukraine, there is no doubt Moscow is pushing Tehran to escalate against us elsewhere. Recent events in the Middle East are proof of this. 

A lack of U.S. and NATO resolve to arm and equip Ukraine could embolden North Korea and China to act in an aggressive manner in East Asia. A Ukraine fully under the Kremlin’s control would mean even more Russian troops and equipment along NATO’s borders. Closer to home, Venezuela’s dubious claims on territory that is considered by the international community to be a part of Guyana are no doubt inspired by Russia’s action in Ukraine. A Ukrainian defeat, on the heels of America’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan, will embolden Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela to challenge American influence around the globe. No serious policymaker should find this outcome satisfactory for U.S. national interest.