The US shatters Ukraine’s NATO dreams

Today marks the start of a two-day NATO summit, where leaders will be discussing the most pressing issue of the day: Barbie vs. Oppenheimer  Ukraine’s odds of joining the alliance.

Driving the news: Ukraine’s path to NATO membership is rockier than it may have initially thought after both US and German leaders said the country wasn’t ready to be let in. 

  • In other big NATO news, Turkey finally agreed to let Sweden join the club. Turkey had previously relented as it believed Sweden was too soft on Kurdish rebels.

The subject of Ukraine’s readiness has created a split among NATO nations, and while Zelenskyy is supposed to meet with Joe Biden at the summit, he might skip out on it.

  • Ukraine officially applied for membership last September, with Volodymyr Zelenskyy requesting entry into the security pact once its war with Russia ended.

Why it matters: Membership would protect Ukraine under NATO’s mutual defence clause, which could drag member nations, like Canada, into potential future conflicts with Russia.

  • Zelenskyy has argued this retaliation threat is necessary for any long-term peace deal and to stop Russian expansion into not just Ukraine but other parts of Europe. 

Zoom out: Another hot topic at the summit will be military spending. NATO will reportedly unveil a new agreement recommitting member nations to the 2% of GDP spending target

In Canada: Military spending has never reached that target and won’t anytime soon. That’s why Canada has reportedly lobbied NATO for months now to expand the scope of what “military spending” entails to include stuff like space, cybersecurity, and AI research.—QH