I’m not really sure what to make of this NY Times report. After failing to secure Membership Action Plans for Georgia and Ukraine this past April in the face of strong German and French resistance to provoking Russia, in the aftermath of the intervening Georgia War that showed both the recklessness of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Russia’s willingness to turn the frozen conflict into a hot war, and despite widespread popular opposition in Ukraine to the very idea of NATO membership, the Bush administration is now pushing to scrap the lengthy MAP procedures that guarantee operational compatibility altogether and just integrate the two countries into the Alliance straight away.
I like the approach formulated by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, outlined by David Capezza’s WPR piece yesterday. Expanding NATO should take place within the context of a European security equation that satisfies both sides’ needs for mutual reassurance. Russian Prime Minister Valdimir Putin articulated a “Three No’s” formula yesterday for how that might look. I’d add a fourth one to refer to the Bush administration’s latest and hopefully last stunt: No insanity.