Nato is 'wasting time' by considering Ukraine's membership during war, former US national security adviser tells LBC

11 July 2023, 19:05 | Updated: 11 July 2023, 19:39

Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks to LBC's Andrew Marr
Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks to LBC's Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Nato is 'wasting time' by considering Ukraine's membership during the war, a former US National Security Adviser has told LBC.

Speaking to LBC's Andrew Marr, Mr Bolton said: "This is making the same mistake Nato made in 2008. In April of that year, George W. Bush proposed bringing Ukraine and Georgia into fast-track at the Bucharest summit.

"Germany and France objected. Nato ended up with a statement saying, in effect, that Ukraine and Georgia would ultimately become Nato members.

"That created a grey zone between Nato’s border and Russia’s border that Russia exploited, invading Georgia four months later and then getting around to Ukraine in 2014. We’re about the make the same mistake again."

Read More: Smiling Nato leaders begin crunch summit after absent Zelenskyy blasts allies for 'absurd' membership timeframe

It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hit out at Nato ahead of the summit, blasting allies for failing to set a firm timeline for his country to join the alliance.

But Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, hit back, saying members are admitted based on conditions, not timelines.

"If you look at all the membership processes they are not based on timelines, they are conditions-based as it has always been," he added.

Trump's ex-National Security Adviser: Accepting 'countries at war' put's all other members at risk

But according to Mr Bolton, even discussing Ukraine's future Nato membership is a 'waste of time'.

"I think Biden has compounded it by saying things like ‘Ukraine’s not ready to join Nato’," he continued.

"There’s one issue that is dispositive here and suggests to me we should have said to Ukraine months ago: ‘don’t bring this up’.

"It’s a policy that’s based on the Treaty of Washington. Article 5 says an attack on one shall be deemed an attack on all.

"Nato has never admitted to membership a country at war because that would mean, inevitably, that the rest of the alliance is at war.“I think this whole thing is a massive waste of time and a signal to Russia of disunity in the alliance."

Read More: Nato chief says Ukraine will join 'when allies agree and conditions are met' - after Zelenskyy blasts 'absurd' delay

US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda attend the first work session as part of the NATO summit, in Vilnius
US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda attend the first work session as part of the NATO summit, in Vilnius. Picture: Getty

He continued: “This is a conclusion that Finland and Sweden reached, giving up 75 year of neutrality that Germany and France couldn’t understand back in 2008 -  that the only secure defence against Russian military attack is to behind behind a Nato border.

"If the Europeans had agreed to this when Bush first proposed it, I don’t think we’d be at war now. But now that we are, Ukraine has to understand that Nato membership is simply not possible because you wouldn’t get 31 - soon to be 32 - other members to agree to it.

"It is a mistake as I say, however, for Joe Biden or others to talk about lack of democracy, corruption and 58 other things the Ukrainians need to do."

Mr Bolton added that when a number of Eastern and central European nations were admitted after the Berlin Wall’s collapse, they were not “paradigms” of transparency and democracy. "That’s not the issue,” he said.“This just complicates things at a time of real crisis in Ukraine."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The Muslim Council of Britain has called for an investigation into institutional Islamophobia in the Conservative Party

Conservatives must investigate 'institutional Islamophobia' in the party, Muslim Council of Britain says

Oliver Dowden said Lee Anderson 'didn't mean to be Islamophobic'

Deputy PM says Lee Anderson 'didn't intend to be Islamophobic' by saying that Khan was controlled by Islamists

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty says he 'was healthier on heroin' as he reveals life-changing diagnosis after saying he's a 'sick man'

Donald Trump

Nikki Haley vows to fight on after Donald Trump wins in her home state

Biden Governors

Calls to ‘disagree better’ as US state governors meet at White House

Grant Shapps

Vladimir Putin 'wants to kill again with Novichok poison in the UK', warns Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

Israel Palestinians

Mediators seeking Israel-Hamas ceasefire and release of hostages

Curtis Arnold made videos about Nicola Bulley's disappearance

TikTok sleuth accused of filming Nicola Bulley’s body 'still making money' under fake name 'investigating' migrant hotels

Portugal Election

Populists hope to make impact in Portuguese election

Donald Trump

Donald Trump claims fourth straight primary win in South Carolina, as he marches towards Republican nomination

Keir Starmer called Lee Anderson's comments Islamophobic

Starmer says Sunak is harbouring 'extremists' among Tories as Lee Anderson suspended following Islamist claim

Exclusive
Met Police urged to expand deep dive for rogue officers after multiple rape and kidnap conviction for cop

Rapist Met PC wasn’t included in search for rogue officers as campaigners call on force to expand cleanup efforts

Belarus Election

Belarusians vote in tightly controlled election amid calls for boycott

Exclusive
Sadiq Khan has called for Russian oligarchs' assets to be seized

Sadiq Khan calls for £1 billion of property owned by Russian oligarchs in London to be seized to fund 4,000 new homes

Election 2024 Trump

Donald Trump easily beats Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina

Bridget Jones set to return for fourth film when cult rom-com starring Renee Zellweger begins filming later this year

Bridget Jones set to return for fourth film when cult rom-com starring Renee Zellweger begins filming later this year