On Victory Day this year, active duty U.S. soldiers were invited to march through Red Square for the first time in history … does this signal a willingness on behalf of Moscow to entertain discussions about NATO ascension? Is such a conversation even possible when so many factions oppose the move on both sides? Donald K. Bandler and Jakub Kulhanek of the Atlantic Council discuss the issue.
Nonetheless, for Russia to join NATO a number of practical hurdles remain in place. NATO membership entails the acceptance of certain limits on a member country’s sovereignty and freedom of action. This would make Russia’s full integration into the Alliance problematic for the near to mid term. One might argue that Russian membership in NATO would signal an end to the Alliance as we know it. Since all of NATO’s decisions have to be unanimous, member countries have the right to exercise a de facto veto. For its part, Moscow could in theory paralyze the Alliance if it wished. Yet, the naysayers tend to ignore the fact that despite its anti-NATO rhetoric, Moscow might seek to gain deeper influence in NATO as a means to stay more fully engaged in the European security dialogue – a theme that was evident in President Medvedev’s Security Pact proposal.
Will the Alliance accept Russia as a member — as was suggested in an open letter published in Der Spiegel Magazine in March of this year by a group of German politicians, including former defense minister Volker Rühe? The issue of NATO membership for Russia will remain confined to the realm of speculation, at least in the foreseeable future.