Andrew Marr: Even Joe Biden thinks Ukraine joining NATO may be a step too far

10 July 2023, 18:10

10/07 Andrew Marr

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Even pro-Ukraine Joe Biden seems to think that the war-torn country joining NATO would be a step too far, Andrew Marr has said.

It comes after President Biden visited the UK ahead NATO's summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Mr Biden met with Rishi Sunak at Downing Street amid UK concerns over the US's decision to send Ukraine cluster bombs, before a meeting with King Charles at Windsor Castle.

Referencing the meeting, LBC's Andrew Marr said that at first, the meeting seemed "all very grand in a mildly pointless way". 

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US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden. Picture: Getty

He continued: "But you have to look behind the pageantry. 

"Take Windsor Castle itself: it looks like a castle, indeed, it looks like a child's drawing of a castle, but it hasn't actually been properly attacked since I think 1217, and not even Joe Biden remembers that.

"He was obliged to walk up and down in front of the Welsh Guards in their ceremonial scarlet tunics which go back to Tudor times; he didn't look hugely impressed - Biden is of course a proud Irish nationalist.

"The slow ceremonial pomp, overseen by two white-haired gentlemen, all looks a million miles away from real war, any sense of actual, imminent danger.

"But the truth is that President Biden's mission to Europe and, one assumes, his conversation with King Charles, is potentially indeed a matter of life and death.

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Andrew went on: "He’s off next to the NATO summit in Lithuania where the big question is: should Ukraine join NATO and if it should, when should it? Here's the problem.

"We all want to support Ukraine in defending itself against unprovoked Russian invasion. But if Ukraine joins NATO and is therefore covered by article 5 - an attack on one is an attack on all - doesn't that mean that all of us in NATO, including Britain, are drawn into war with Russia?

"And even if you say okay, to avoid that, NATO won't take in Ukraine until this war is over, then what about Crimea - the hard to attack peninsula Russia is completely determined to hang onto?

"Crimea would then theoretically be part of Nato territory and the us-against-them potentially nuclear war would still be a very live issue. In other words, however pro-Ukraine you are - and Biden is pro-Ukraine enough to want to send them cluster bombs, a dreadful weapon - isn't offering up NATO an unnecessarily provocative step?

"That seems to be what Biden thinks and that's why, behind the bearskins and the Castle walls this is a truly momentous story."