Brzezinski: Russia Has to Be Assured That Ukraine Will Never Join NATO

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Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski stands by his convictions that Ukraine should never join the North Atlantic Alliance if peace and stability in the war-torn country and the region as a whole is to last.

Brzezinski's full recipe for solving the yearlong Ukrainian crisis is the following:

"Ukraine must have a right to freely choose its political identity and forge closer ties with Europe. At the same time, Russia must be reassured that Ukraine will never become a NATO member," Brzezinski said, as quoted by Spiegel Online.

In other words, Ukraine needs to become Finland of sorts. Brzezinski's ideas echo those of Henry Kissinger. In an opinion piece for the Washington Post published in March 2014, the former secretary of state urged the West to understand Russia's concerns and its attachment to Ukraine.

"Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with Europe," Kissinger stated, adding that Kiev should not join NATO and "should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland."

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Brzezinski defended the US decision to position more troops and heavy weaponry in the Eastern European states and the Baltics, saying it was a cycle of action and reaction. In his mind, the United States would provoke a war with Russia if Washington does not respond to Moscow's steps.

Russia has made its stance on the issue abundantly clear: the US and NATO's increased military presence close to Russia's borders and intensified war-games in Russia's neighborhood risk undermining stability and security in the whole region. Western saber-rattling runs counter to the bloc's promises and prompts Moscow to seek ways to improve its defense capabilities.

Many call mounting tensions between Russia and the West a new installment of the Cold War. Brzezinski thinks the second Cold War has long since started. But it will not last as long and is unlikely to turn hot, he told Spiegel Online.

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