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TOM COTTON: Ukraine is not ready to join NATO today. There are Russian troops on Ukrainian soil. If Ukraine were to join NATO, that would mean right away that Russia and NATO are in open conflict. However, this is not about Ukrainian membership in NATO. President Bush stated it as an aspiration 14 years ago. There is no plan for Ukraine to join NATO. It’s not something that’s coming up. That is all a pretext for Vladimir Putin to do what he has wanted to do since he took power more than 20 years ago, which is reassemble the greater Russian Empire. He simply believes that now conditions are ripe for him to do so. Unfortunately, a lot of that has to do with a long train of concessions and weakness demonstrated by Joe Biden toward Russia over the last year. And then, of course, the humiliating debacle of our withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. Those are reasons why I think Vladimir Putin thinks now is the time to do what he’s wanted to do for 20 years, which is go for the jugular in Ukraine.
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