2008 statement on NATO expansion from then Senator Clinton:

I enthusiastically welcome the January 11 letter from Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Arsenii Yatsenyuk to NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, which outlines Ukraine’s desire for a closer relationship with NATO, including a Membership Action Plan. Like Ukraine’s leaders, I hope that important steps toward reaching these goals will be made at the NATO summit in Bucharest in early April. I applaud the fact that Ukraine aspires to anchor itself firmly in the trans-Atlantic community through membership in NATO and look forward to working with Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans to reach that goal.
Since the earliest days of Ukrainian independence, the strategy of the United States has always been to respect and support the Ukrainian people’s democratic choices in shaping their future. Ukraine has been and remains an extremely important partner for the United States, and I take great pride in Ukraine’s contributions to our common goal of building a Europe that is whole and free, peaceful and prosperous.
When I traveled to Ukraine in 1997, I visited a memorial to the victims of Communist repression in Lviv, and made a commitment to the Ukrainian people on behalf of the United States: “In your fight for freedom, your fight for democracy, the American people will stand with you.” In recalling that commitment more than ten years later I applaud the immense contributions that Ukrainian-Americans have made to our country and the indispensable role they have played in broadening and deepening the bonds between the United States and Ukraine. I have been greatly impressed by the courage of the Ukrainian people as they emerged from decades of Soviet oppression and as they have experienced both victories and struggles on the path to democracy and freedom.
I have worked for more than 15 years to strengthen the U.S.-Ukraine relationship and help improve the lives of Ukrainians. Even before my first visit to Kyiv in 1995, I supported health care programs for Ukraine, including partnerships between hospitals in the United States and Ukraine and airlifts of critical pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies. After hearing pleas from Ukrainian women in 1997 to help combat human trafficking, which had become a growing problem in Ukraine, I helped initiate an international effort to combat trafficking, including several programs specifically to help Ukraine. In 1996, I organized a 10th anniversary White House commemoration of the Chornobyl disaster and, as honorary chair of Chornobyl Challenge ’96, committed to continuing support for humanitarian efforts on behalf of those who suffer severe health consequences from the tragedy. I was honored to receive the Children of Chornobyl’s Relief Fund Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement Award in 1999 for my work in helping to improve the health of women and children in Ukraine. As Senator I traveled to Ukraine in 2005 and met with President Yushchenko and offered the U.S. government’s support for reform efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy.
The United States has always favored the closest possible ties between NATO and Ukraine, including the creation of the NATO-Ukraine Council. We have always insisted on an open door policy for European democracies that want to join the Alliance. The enlargement of NATO is not directed against any state; NATO does not see any nation as its enemy. I pledge to support Ukraine’s efforts to meet the criteria for MAP and eventual membership. The United States should actively encourage our NATO Allies to deepen their own ties with Ukraine, a country that has broken with an authoritarian past and pursues good relations with all its neighbors. Ukraine deserves a chance to pursue its aspirations for a wider role in the Euro-Atlantic community. In the same spirit, I call on the Bush Administration to give Ukraine all the support it needs to complete its accession to the World Trade Organization.
As President, I will ensure that the United States does everything necessary to help Ukraine realize these important and achievable goals.

– Hillary Clinton

Statement from Senator Hillary Clinton on Ukrainian Membership in NATO
January 28, 2008 (From The American Presidency Project)

15 thoughts on “2008 statement on NATO expansion from then Senator Clinton:”

  1. More Democracy Promotion:


    Nuland’s work for Talbott coincided with a NATO project called Partnership for Peace, similar to today’s E.U. Eastern Partnership, although it was offered publicly (as even the Marshall Plan was) to anyone east of the old Iron Curtain, including Russia. For reasons that are still opaque, Talbott and his team came instead to endorse a policy of enlarging NATO itself, which in effect supplanted the Partnership for Peace. The scholar Michael Mandelbaum, who had been well disposed toward the Clinton administration, called this nothing less than a “bridge to the nineteenth century.”
    The Russians haven’t been idle, of course. They nearly got into a shooting match with NATO in the former Yugoslavia, which NATO bombed and then occupied. Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, meanwhile, carried the point against any further NATO enlargement. It also prompted the E.U.’s Eastern Partnership scheme. It is no surprise that its offer was not extended to Russia. Moscow’s reaction is even less surprising.

  2. MikeK,

    Good catch on the survey. I’ve seen it referenced (perhaps at Althouse) but hadn’t looked at the actual article.

    OMG! Are these people demented, or what??? “I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color“? WTF? How could you know???

  3. http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/nato-expansion-the-source-russias-anger-10369?page=show

    The point is that neutrality, nonalignment or any form of ambiguous East-West orientation for countries emerging from communism was categorically rejected—not by the United States and its European allies, and not by just the Visegrad 3, but soon by most of the former Warsaw Pact, all of former Yugoslavia, and Albania. The headlong plunge to join the West from across such a large, diverse region suggests deep historical forces at work, not a calculated conspiracy to encircle and demean Russia. The truth is that the expansion of NATO and the EU was a policy response to an express, unanticipated imperative generated by the aspirant countries themselves. Even today, after the devastating, continuing effects of Europe’s financial crisis, the irresistible, magnetic attraction of the West is in evidence. Serbia, a country with close relations and historical affinity with Russia, is actively pursuing EU membership—wholly out of its own volition and not as result of any cynical anti-Russian stratagem from Brussels. Fully respecting Serbian sovereignty, neither the EU nor the US has pressed Belgrade to join NATO first.

    I would also add that during the Maidan uprising, Ukraine’s army didn’t participate in the crackdown because they’re also oriented towards NATO (although likely riddled with Russian agents and spies). The reason Ukraine never joined NATO, even though they wanted to, is because we feared the Russian response and didn’t admit them. The scenario of an opportunistic NATO bullying Russia into a corner ignores the other actors – the newly liberated former satellites running not walking away from the Russian orbit.

  4. Grurray:

    A Johns’ Hopkins SAIS piece full of assertions and conventional wisdom that doesn’t dig deep and can be easily fact checked as being entirely too certain of itself? Shocking :) You and I won’t agree on this but for now I am reading this terrible Strobe Talbott piece from 1995:

    Research is hard for many of our finest foreign policy and military pundits, it seems. Julia Ioffe comes to mind but then it is The New Republic we are talking about:

    This 1995 Strobe Talbott piece on NATO expansion is about as confused and contradictory as the Talbottian Brookings wallah South Asian stuff. I know the retrospectoscope is powerful, but what an intellectual and conceptual mess:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1995/aug/10/why-nato-should-gro… has decided it should accept new members for three main reasons.

    Collective defense remains an imperative need of European and transatlantic security, and central to American engagement in Europe. The end of Soviet communism, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the USSR have eliminated the threat that NATO was created to counter during the cold war. But new threats may arise that would require NATO to protect its members and to deter attack. During the cold war, membership in the Alliance was limited by the artificial division of Europe into two camps. With the cold war’s end, NATO should be open to the new democracies that have regained their independence, that share common values, and that can advance the military and political goals of the Alliance.

    The prospect of being admitted to NATO provides the nations of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union with additional incentives to strengthen their democratic and legal institutions, ensure civilian command of their armed forces, liberalize their economies, and respect human rights, including the rights of national minorities. In short, nations that are encouraged in their aspirations to join NATO are more likely to make a successful transition from their communist past.

    The prospect of membership can also foster among the nations of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union a greater willingness to resolve disputes peacefully and contribute to peace-keeping operations. Thus the process of expansion can help to promote regional stability and peace


  5. For discussion:

    “In 1983, the ABC television network broadcast a movie called The Day After about how a superpower nuclear exchange devastated the lives of typical Americans in two midwestern cities. The conflict began with a Russian troop buildup in Eastern Europe (which Moscow initially claimed to be a military exercise), and then gradually escalated to a point where both sides launched their nuclear missiles for fear of losing them in a preemptive attack. Coming as it did during a period of U.S.-Soviet tensions and controversy surrounding Reagan Administration nuclear policies, the broadcast attracted a huge audience of over 100 million viewers; it is still the highest rated made-for-television movie in U.S. history. Americans haven’t thought much about such scenarios since the Cold War ended, because the Soviet Union dissolved and the ideological rivalry between Washington and Moscow ceased. However, this year’s crisis over Ukraine is a reminder that Russia remains a nuclear superpower, and that the geopolitical sources of its security concerns have not vanished. In fact, Moscow may have greater reason for worrying today, because it has lost the buffer of allies that insulated it from Western attack during the Cold War, and now finds its capital only a few minutes from the eastern border of Ukraine by jet (less by missile). If you know the history of the region, then it is easy to see why Moscow might fear aggression.” Forbes

    Loren Thompson quoted on Pat Lang’s blog:


    I know unconventional and subconventional–or whatever–warfare is designed to occur beneath a nuclear threshold but given what has happened at the LOC between India and Pakistan what era are we entering as NATO abuts the Russian border?

    Can anyone direct me to some academic articles along that line, discussing how this doctrine is conceived? May this area remain forever theoretical.

    I will never agree with Robert Jones on some subjects but I am coming closer and closer to his point of view. It’s weird, by walking a different path, I come to the same point. Interesting.

    (A comment I made at SWJ)

  6. }}} As President, I will ensure that the United States does everything necessary to help Ukraine realize these important and achievable goals.

    “She never became president, so it’s hardly reasonable to hold her to anything like that NOW…”

    — Sez members of the party of “It depends on what you mean by ‘No’…” —

  7. Currently the US has 600 ‘advisers’ helping the coup-plotters suppress the Ukrainian Russian people. Now that US troops have invaded Russia and are killing Russian patriots, isn’t time that Congress declared War on Russia. Or should we wait for Putin to lauch a 1000 missiles. After all, Bush got a declaration of war before he invaded Iraq. Shouldn’t Obama get congress to declare war. Remember, Obama taught constitutional law & loopholes.

  8. “Can anyone direct me to some academic articles along that line, discussing how this doctrine is conceived?”

    The doctrine of NATO expansion was a continuation of Wilsonian liberal internationalism

    You might want to explore why and how this doctrine came about first.

  9. What is to be done?

    If Obama wants to invade the Ukraine and go to war with Russia he should get Congress to declare war on Russia. That is in the US Constitution.

    I tried out this argument 50 years ago when I was vice-chairman of the Young Republican Resolution Assembly arguing that JFK can’t go to war in Vietnam without a declaration of war. My resolution, requiring a declaration of war before invading South East Asia, was shot down.

    Now is a good time to argue that Obama should do what Bush did in re Iraq – get congress to declare war on Russia before sending US troops/advisers to invade the Ukraine and Russia.

    We need a debate about the consequences of such an invasion.

    All we got out of Vietnam is a monument with over 30,000 names of dead draftees. If missles flie, we won’t even get a monument with 300,000,000 names.

    It is certain that Russia (with or without Putin) will fight to keep the Ukraine.

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