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US Foreign Policy Advisor Warns Against Further NATO Expansion

NATO flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2022
The US preliminary expressed readiness to approve the NATO membership bids filed by Finland and Sweden last week. The two states decided to rescind their long-standing neutral status amid the crisis in Ukraine.
The US Senate, which will be tasked with approving NATO membership bids by Finland and Sweden in the near future, should think twice before doing so, a long-term foreign policy advisor for the US Congress, Diana Ohlbaum, has stated in an op-ed for the Hill.
According to Ohlbaum, NATO expansion might greatly worsen the situation in Europe and increase chances of a global conflict. She goes on to say that while the desire to expand NATO was a natural response to the actions of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is not in the interest of the US, western states, or other countries.
Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia ('12-'14), seen seated next to former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski MEP, reacts to Harvard University professor Stephen Walt remarks at the semi-annual Munk Debate, which focused on the ongoing situation in Ukraine.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2022
‘That’s the Real World’: Fmr. US Ambassador to Russia Says US Was Lying to Ukraine About NATO Bid
The veteran congressional advisor called the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO "short-sighted and dangerous" and stressed that they will only prolong the conflict in Ukraine, strip Putin of end-game options and increase the possibility of the use of tactical nuclear armaments that may prompt a global exchange of nukes.
Ohlbaum further pointed out that the US strategy in Ukraine is already creating unnecessary risks. Despite the fact that ending the conflict is supposed to be a priority for Washington, currently policy does quite the opposite, the foreign policy advisor claimed, by shipping more weapons to Ukraine, supplying it with intelligence to strike Russians and whipping up rhetoric.
"Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described the US goal as seeing 'Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kinds of things it has done in invading Ukraine', while Democratic leaders called for an outright military 'victory'", Ohlbaum recalled.
The advisor further noted that accepting Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids would only raise the stakes for Russia in its operation and make it difficult to de-escalate, especially as western weapons shipments embolden Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to expand demands for restarting peace talks.
Ohlbaum stressed that instead of adding two more members to NATO and doubling its border with Russia, the US and the world needs a new security architecture that not just Europe, but eventually Russia, could be part of. The advisor further suggested that Ukraine, Finland and Sweden's NATO membership should be on the negotiating table with Moscow as part of broader effort to stop the conflict, while addressing "Russia’s legitimate security concerns".
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