A spot-on piece by Thomas Friedman:
Most Americans don’t know a lot about Ukraine, but I say this without any hyperbole: Ukraine is a game-changing country for the West, for better or for worse depending on the war’s outcome. Its integration into the European Union and NATO someday would constitute a power shift that could rival the fall of the Berlin Wall and German unification. Ukraine is a country with impressive human capital, agricultural resources and natural resources — “hands, brains and grains,” as Western investors in Kyiv like to say. Its full-fledged integration into Europe’s democratic security and economic architecture would be felt in Moscow and Beijing.
Putin knows that. His war, in my view, has never been primarily about countering NATO expansion. It has always been much more about stopping a Slavic Ukraine from joining the European Union and becoming a successful counter example to Putin’s Slavic thieving autocracy. NATO expansion is Putin’s friend — it allows him to justify militarizing Russian society and to present himself as the indispensable guardian of Russia’s strength. E.U. expansion to Ukraine is a mortal threat — it exposes Putinism as the source of Russia’s weakness.“A Trip to Ukraine Clarified the Stakes. And They’re Huge.” – The New York Times, September 15, 2023.
I’ve always believed that Putin is more threatened by Ukraine joining the E.U. than joining NATO. I hope it happens sooner rather than later, and it will only happen sooner when all the necessary weapons are supplied to Ukraine.