Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban sat down with Tucker Carlson in a candid conversation that shed light on Western sentiments about Ukraine’s potential integration into NATO. The interview, which made waves after being posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, delved into what Orban views as a missed opportunity back in 2008.
Recalling the NATO summit in Bucharest that year, Orban elucidated, "There was a real chance to integrate Ukraine into the North Atlantic Alliance." However, a collective decision among the major Western powers never materialized, leading to the rejection of the idea.
"We missed the historical opportunity to do so (to integrate the Ukrainians into NATO)," lamented Orban. The implications of that missed chance echo today, as the Hungarian premier believes that the window of opportunity is firmly closed.
"We can’t afford to have that long borderline between Russia and Ukraine which belongs to NATO - that would mean immediate war danger to all of us, even in Washington," Orban warned.
New Security Architecture Proposed
Instead of persisting with the integration plan, Orban has a different suggestion for the future.
He believes that NATO should "forget about" Ukraine's membership and focus on crafting a fresh security blueprint in collaboration with Moscow. The idea is clear: "We should make a deal with the Russians on the new security architecture to provide security and sovereignty for Ukraine, but not membership in NATO," Orban opined.
The emphasis here is on mutual understanding and regional stability rather than the expansion of a strategic alliance.
Recent NATO Resolutions
Contrastingly, NATO’s recent summit in Vilnius showcased a seemingly different direction.
On July 11-12, the alliance's chief, Jens Stoltenberg, declared that the allies had taken significant strides toward bringing Ukraine into the NATO fold. The key steps included the removal of the requirement for a Membership Action Plan, multi-year military assistance promises to Kiev, and the inception of the NATO-Ukraine Council.
The evolving narrative around Ukraine’s association with NATO clearly has varying perspectives. While leaders like Orban emphasize caution and diplomatic re-alignment, NATO's recent actions suggest a continuing commitment to Ukrainian integration.
Only time will reveal the path forward, but it's evident that discussions about Ukraine's geopolitical alignment will remain at the forefront of international discourse.