George Bush’s insistence ahead of the NATO summit in Bucharest that Georgia and Ukraine should be set on the road to full membership exposes the train of thought which is souring relations between Russia, America and other western states following the American line. The attitude is not simply that Russia’s foreign policy concerns are not legitimate. Effectively the way the US is acting denies that Russia has any legitimate foreign policy concerns at all.
To advance this military alliance, historically hostile to the USSR, in a way that will encircle Russia and penetrate deep into the country’s sphere of influence undermines Russia’s interests without a shadow of a doubt. If Russia were to enter a military alliance with Canada and Mexico would the US remain unconcerned because the Kremlin insisted the alliance was not a threat to the US? The US may maintain that expansion does not pose a threat to Russia, but ask the states which are poised to join why exactly they wish to join the alliance. These states wish to join in order to assert their independence from Russia.
The idea that expanding NATO in this way will foster, as Bush suggests, a safer, freer world is a fallacious notion in any case. There is little evidence, certainly, that the people of Ukraine have any desire to join the alliance. Russia is right to oppose moves to expand NATO to encompass Ukraine and Georgia and France and Germany are correct in opposing such moves from within NATO.