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Major non-NATO ally status: Does Ukraine need it?

Author : Oleksiy Kushch

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine's parliament wants to appeal to US Congress to grant Ukraine major non-NATO ally status
23:13, 9 September 2021

Ukraine becomes a member of NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Program
NATO in Ukraine/Twitter

The parliament decided to starve the Western allies and letters, naively hoping that sooner or later quantity will grow into quality. It is about the initiative of MP of the European Solidarity faction, Oleksiy Goncharenko, to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada to appeal to the US Congress on granting Ukraine the status of the main ally outside NATO (MNNA). At the same time, as you know, this faction, by an amazing coincidence, is in favor of Ukraine's entry into the North Atlantic Alliance. Apparently, for the deputies of "European Solidarity" that NATO, that the status of the main US ally outside NATO are synonymous concepts, although the semantics of the above categories clearly suggests otherwise. We must understand perfectly well that our country has been living with such a level of "strategy" for the last seven years when for a people's deputy there are no differences in the status of a NATO member country and a non-NATO ally.

Related: Ukraine govt opposes Parliament's initiative to ask US for Major Non-NATO Ally status

It is worth noting that Goncharenko still could not get around this contradiction in his proposed strategy, which lies across the movement forward like a telegraph pole: he noted that the MNNA status allegedly does not contradict Ukraine's desire to become a NATO member through the MAP. However, here is one misfortune: in the history of the MNNA format there is NOT a SINGLE example of a country that became a US ally outside NATO and then was admitted to the North Atlantic Alliance. And this is absolutely natural, given that these formats of military-political cooperation have completely different levels of institutional organization, different goals and objectives. In particular, the MNNA format does not imply a system of collective security for its conditional participants (in this case, these are a kind of cross-links through the United States, since there are simply no mutual obligations among the countries - allies of the United States). Moreover, the very status of a US ally does not at all mean that America will sign for this country in the event of a full-scale war with someone: the fifth article on mutual protection, unlike NATO, this model of cooperation does not provide. In fact, MNNA is a mechanism for the presence of American armed forces in a particular region and support for those countries that, for some reason, will never become NATO members (for example, Israel). In return, the United States removes the restrictions imposed by the "Arms Export Control Act" from such a country, that is, such an ally can buy modern weapons and military equipment from America. The procedure for granting this status is extremely simple: the decision of the Congress - and the President signs the corresponding decree within 30 days. That is, there is no need for any referendums and the consent of third countries - just the goodwill of the White House and a request from the candidate country. And such a request from Ukraine has already arrived in Washington: in 2014, President Petro Poroshenko pedaled this topic, but his American counterpart Barack Obama refused.

In 2017, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially appealed to the US Congress with a request to grant our country the MNNA status. The most interesting (or saddest) thing here is that they are trying to present the status of a US ally outside NATO as something absolutely cosmic, akin to the status of an ally of the Galactic Republic in Star Wars, as a kind of jackpot that falls only to the lucky ones chosen by the hand of fate. Forgetting to say that there are already as many as 17 such countries in the world, and not all of them were blessed.

The history of the MNNA format begins in 1987. The first countries (presidency of Ronald Reagan) to receive this status were Israel, Australia, Egypt, Japan and South Korea.

The list of these countries is quite logical: Australia is the largest state that does not fit into the concept of transatlantism, but at the same time is a member of the British Commonwealth. Israel is a key ally of the United States in the Middle East, and Egypt is extremely important to it as the main element of its strategy of a broken enemy ring. In addition, Egypt is one of the largest Arab states and the key to North Africa. Japan and South Korea are key US allies in the Pacific, and this status simply institutionalized their post-World War II military cooperation.

Related: Official Kyiv asks US to grant Ukraine Major Non-NATO Ally status: What does it mean?

The next format expansion took place under President Bill Clinton: Jordan, New Zealand, and Argentina. As for the first - here are about the same reasons as in the case of Egypt. New Zealand is the final piece of the Alliance of Five puzzles of engagement within the British Commonwealth. Argentina is the key to South America, in addition, for her, this status became a kind of bonus in terms of softening the aftertaste from the defeat in the Falklands War with Great Britain.

Under George W. Bush, MNNA status was granted in the period 2002-2004 to Bahrain, the Philippines, Thailand, Kuwait, Morocco and Pakistan. It is not hard to guess that all these numerous "alliances" were associated exclusively with the war that the United States waged against international terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The same story continued during Barack Obama's tenure: Afghanistan and Tunisia (2015).

The seventeenth MNNA status was granted to Brazil under Trump (formally in light of the situation in Venezuela). But in reality - because of Trump's personal sympathies for Brazilian President Bolsonar. And if in truth, it’s solely for the sake of commerce: Brazil could become the largest buyer of weapons in the United States.

There is also a hidden 18th member, Taiwan, with which the United States has close military cooperation, but which is partially internationally recognized.

Related: Official Kyiv to address US Congress to grant Ukraine major non-NATO ally

Currently, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine are in the queue for MNNA.

All countries that have received MNNA status, for all their diversity, have one common characteristic - they are not members of NATO and are not considered as the closest candidates for membership. Moreover, if we look at the composition of the latest waves of expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance, we will not see there a single country that became a member of the bloc with the help of MNNA status.

There is one more important nuance. Among the countries with the MNNA status, there is not a single state that would have a pronounced anti-Russian orientation (Japan in this list is now, rather, an element of deterring China, and South Korea is experiencing the greatest threat from the DPRK). In any case, if an exception is made in this matter, it can only be Japan, but only in terms of counterbalancing the USSR. Since 1991 and even after the 2008 Georgian-Russian war, MNNA status has never been granted to opponents of the Russian Federation.

For the United States, MNNA is an opportunity to place its military bases around the world in key geostrategic nodes; it is a commercial mechanism for the sale of military products; it is a way to combat international terrorism as the main threat to American national security (and this requires a network of allies around the world and in the hottest regions); it is a mechanism for splitting the Arab world into allies and opponents; it is a tool to defend Israel in the Middle East; it is a format for controlling your underbelly in the form of distant Latin America. And this is a way to sew together allies in the British Commonwealth in the framework of the Atlantic-Pacific engagement. And one more important observation: although there are no opponents of Russia among the countries with the MNNA status, there are opponents of China (as Henry Kissinger said: United States cannot afford to fight simultaneously with China and Russia, this is like death for America).

Related: Parliament to appeal to US Congress to grant Ukraine major non-NATO ally status

In this context, our politicians, who want to eat both the MAP and sit on the MNNA, are like a monkey who could not decide who she was with: smart or beautiful. As the PACE President recently said to the same Goncharenko in response to his next performance: "We are not here to create problems, but to solve them." Unfortunately, in domestic policy, as well as in foreign policy, our pro-government political "elites" are doing just that.

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