A few hours ago, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for several hours via video conference and discussed several issues. Most importantly, they discussed rising tensions in Ukraine.  This was how the White House referred to President Biden expressing his concern over Russian aggression in the region.

“President Biden voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the US and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,”


“President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy. The two presidents tasked their teams to follow up, and the US will do so in close coordination with allies and partners,”

There is not much here that Ukraine should take heart in. Russia has 170,000 troops massing on the Ukraine border threatening an invasion and the response of the United States is that we will respond with economic sanctions and “other measures” should get his tanks rolling West.

President Putin would probably be correct in assuming that the U.S. and our European allies will not respond militarily should he choose to invade Ukraine.  If we actually wanted to signal our seriousness about defending Ukraine, here is how we could make that very clear to Putin and Russia.

Admit Ukraine to NATO

Ukraine has gone back and forth several times over an application they made to join NATO in 2008.  When Putin hinted he would back down if Ukraine withdrew that application they did so trying to appease him. Now, the people of Ukraine themselves are solidly behind joining NATO as a means of self-preservation in the face of continued aggression coming from Putin.

NATO should grant membership to Ukraine immediately, this would be a major strategic setback to Russia which is loath to have NATO planes, tanks, and guns right on its border. Membership in NATO obligates the members to the mutual defense of each other.  Massing troops on the border of a NATO member would bring U.S. and other NATO troops to the Ukraine border in response. It would also mean NATO ships in the Baltic Sea, which Russia very much wants to assert total control over.