The Case for a Binding Security Agreement With Ukraine

Uncertainty about U.S. policy toward Ukraine is fueling Russia’s confidence. A NATO-integrated security agreement approved by Congress could help.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the city of Bucha in the Kyiv region.

The U.S.-led strategy to defeat Russian aggression is on shakier ground than at any point since Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine two years ago. Last year’s Ukrainian counteroffensive, supported by an influx of U.S. and European weapons and training, failed to deliver on its promise to break through Russian lines and to put Kyiv on a clear path to victory. Instead, Russia begins 2024 in a strong position. Its economy has withstood international sanctions, its defense industry has mobilized for wartime production, Russian forces are adapting on the battlefield, and Putin is coasting to another six-year term in office with an iron grip on Russia’s society and elites. 

And yet in the face of Moscow’s growing confidence, Washington cannot get its act together. After mobilizing a vast international coalition to support Ukraine, the United States is now the weakest link in it. For months, President Biden’s request for $61 billion in aid for Ukraine has languished in Congress, where Republicans and Democrats embarked on a futile mission to tie the aid to an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy. The dithering has come at the cost of Ukrainian lives: Commanders have been forced to ration munitions as Russian troops continue their relentless assaults. On Feb. 16, the Ukrainian armed forces announced that they had withdrawn from Avdiivka, a stronghold near Donetsk, because of ammunition shortages.

European leaders are doing their part: They recently approved a new four-year budgetary support package for Ukraine worth $54 billion and invited it to begin negotiations to join the European Union (EU). That process will take years to play out but carries with it the prospect of greater prosperity and security for Ukrainians. But Ukraine’s future depends on weapons and ammunition, which Europe cannot deliver to Ukraine in sufficient quantities without America’s defense industrial might. 

Congress urgently needs to allocate additional funds for Ukraine. But it is equally urgent for the United States to craft a coherent, sustainable long-term strategy to support Ukraine in what is likely to be a yearslong confrontation with an unrelenting Russia. In July, NATO leaders will gather in Washington, D.C., for a summit marking the alliance’s 75th anniversary. Ukraine and some of its supporters argue that only membership in NATO will guarantee that Russia will never again attack. But this question will not be resolved at the summit. The United States is unwilling to invite Ukraine into the alliance—thereby starting a process that would culminate in a guarantee to defend Ukraine once it officially joins—until the war is over. 

What the U.S. can do now is develop an interim security framework that ensures Ukraine can defend itself and deter future Russian attacks and that anchors it in the European security order before formal membership in NATO and the EU. Fortunately, the building blocks for a robust arrangement are already in place. Several of Ukraine’s partners have made, or are on the verge of making, serious long-term commitments to provide military, intelligence, and defense industrial support to Kyiv. These agreements will not constitute a guarantee to commit troops to Ukraine’s defense. But this strategy, if designed and resourced properly, will raise the cost of Putin’s aggression to such a point that he will be hard-pressed to continue it. 

A legally binding U.S. commitment to provide aid to Ukraine will be critical to the credibility and durability of this arrangement. Notwithstanding Washington’s polarization, Congress and the White House must find a way to reset the debate on Ukraine and get back to basics: The United States has a vital interest in ensuring that Russia’s territorial aggression fails. While the president most likely has the authority to conclude a legally binding executive agreement to provide long-term security aid to Ukraine, that commitment would be far more credible if Congress affirmatively approved it. 

It may be hard to imagine how Congress could endorse such a commitment when it has been unable to approve a new aid package. But a legally binding U.S. commitment would create a new policy framework that would guarantee both parties in Congress greater influence in shaping and overseeing U.S. policy on Ukraine than they currently have, no matter who is in the White House. It would forge a new paradigm of interbranch cooperation on a vital national security issue and would make the policy debate on Ukraine more democratically transparent and sustainable over time.

How Arming Ukraine Really Works

In designing a security arrangement, Ukraine and its partners can build on the policy successes of the past two years. Since spring 2022, the United States has led a vast multinational effort to provide military aid to Ukraine, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG). According to U.S. officials, the UDCG numbers some 50 countries and has committed more than $85 billion in aid to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs.

This U.S.-led coalition is unprecedented in its scale and impact. Over time, it has evolved from an ad hoc, fragmented system to a more formalized and bureaucratized set of bodies that manage the military pipeline to Ukraine on a daily basis. At the highest level, the UDCG functions as the political venue to secure partner-country aid pledges for Ukraine. Alongside it, the International Donor Coordination Center (IDCC), a U.K.-led multinational team of around 200 personnel located at a U.S. army base in Wiesbaden, Germany, receives real-time requests from Ukraine’s military and identifies the equipment, munitions, spare parts, or other assistance available in partner-country stocks that can be sent to the front lines immediately.

In late 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense established the Security Assistance-Group (SAG-U), a dedicated headquarters of approximately 500 U.S. and partner-nation personnel and commanded by a three-star U.S. general. Located alongside the IDCC at Wiesbaden, the SAG-U provides greater focus, structure, and resources to the long-term U.S. effort to train, advise, and sustain the Ukrainian armed forces. For example, the SAG-U identifies the training needed for Ukrainian personnel to operate and maintain donated equipment. The SAG-U also coordinates the complex multimodal logistics of transporting munitions and equipment to staging points near Ukraine, from which the Ukrainian military takes possession of the materiel for onward delivery to the front lines. In preparation for last year’s counteroffensive, the SAG-U also trained Ukraine on how to synchronize and coordinate large-scale ground operations.

Kyiv and its partners have understandably prioritized urgent aid that is needed to fend off Russia’s ground offensives and aerial attacks. But they have also begun planning for the long term. For well over a year, U.S. and Ukrainian officials have developed plans for Ukraine’s “future force.” The aim is to construct a sustainable vision for Ukraine’s armed forces, with a robust defense industrial capacity and capabilities that are tailored to counter the Russian threat over the next decade and that are increasingly interoperable with those of NATO. 

UDCG participants are examining Kyiv’s future requirements and developing resourcing plans through a series of “capability coalitions” that will focus on air power, armor, artillery, information technology, demining, drones, ground-based air defense, and maritime security. These coalitions, each led by a different partner nation or nations, will help Ukraine standardize the equipment in its arsenal and make long-term procurement decisions in a coherent manner that will reduce the costs of sustainment over time.

The Vilnius Declaration

The mechanics of military aid for Ukraine were created on the fly in a moment of crisis. But the United States and its partners have been slow to institutionalize a long-term policy framework. In June 2022, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations first articulated a desire to “reach arrangements … on sustained security commitments to help Ukraine defend itself … and deter future Russian aggression.” A few months later, Ukraine issued its own vision of a multilateral security framework, known as the Kyiv Security Compact. That document proposed a set of multilateral and bilateral agreements aimed at ensuring a predictable and sustainable supply of weapons and intelligence support in the period before Ukraine joins NATO. 

Work on this long-term vision was relegated to the back burner as Washington and its partners focused on surging weapons and training for Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive. But the discussion gained momentum in July 2023, when the leaders of the G7 and the EU signed a joint declaration on the margins of the NATO summit in Vilnius in which they promised enduring support to Ukraine. The centerpiece of the Vilnius Declaration, which has attracted two dozen additional signatories, is a pledge to enumerate “specific, bilateral, long-term security commitments and arrangements” related to the provision of equipment, training, defense industrial support, intelligence sharing, cyber assistance, and reconstruction aid. The declaration commits the parties to consult with Ukraine and develop an “enhanced package” of security aid “in the event of future Russian armed attack.” Ukraine, in turn, has committed to reforming its defense sector, ensuring accountability for foreign aid, and deepening the rule of law.

The Vilnius Declaration is a nonbinding political statement. It falls short of the security guarantees Ukrainian leaders want from the United States and Europe once the war ends: namely, a commitment to come to Ukraine’s defense in case it is attacked, similar to NATO’s Article 5. But the declaration represents a significant step up from previous pledges. The Budapest Memorandum of 1994, in which the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia offered Ukraine “assurances” of its territorial integrity in exchange for its renunciation of nuclear weapons, did not oblige the signatories to provide military support in case of attack. That experience embittered many Ukrainians toward Western pledges that fall short of a legally binding guarantee.

The Vilnius Declaration signatories are already making good on their promises to enumerate specific bilateral commitments to Ukraine. Recently, CanadaDenmarkFranceGermanyItalythe Netherlands, and the United Kingdom concluded sweeping 10-year bilateral agreements with Ukraine under the declaration’s rubric. These texts outline partners’ commitments related to long-term security aid, intelligence cooperation, defense industrial support, and sanctions policy, as well as pledges to provide Ukraine “swift and sustained” assistance in case of a future attack. In parallel with these agreements, Denmark and Norway have adopted multiyear budgets for Ukraine aid. Concrete multiyear financial pledges, if replicated by other partners, will give Ukraine a more predictable basis on which to plan its future force.

How to Make a Credible U.S. Security Aid Commitment

Last August, the United States launched negotiations with Kyiv on its own bilateral security commitment. Biden administration officials have not announced what form this agreement will take. An ambitious approach is needed. History shows that America’s most enduring overseas commitments depend on strong cooperation between the executive and legislative branches and clear bipartisan agreement on U.S. strategy. For the U.S. commitment to Ukraine to be credible, therefore, Congress must weigh in on the matter.

What are the president’s options? The simplest way for the president to make a long-term security aid commitment to Ukraine would be a nonbinding instrument, such as a political declaration or a nonbinding memorandum of understanding. The State Department notes that nonbinding agreements “may carry significant moral or political weight”—indeed, significant examples include the Atlantic Charter of 1941, which set out Allied aims for World War II, and the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which eased Cold War tensions between the West and the Soviet bloc. But they are the weakest form of an international commitment. There is minimal cost for Congress or a future president to ignore a nonbinding commitment made by a previous president.

A legally binding agreement would be a far better option. In U.S. practice, there are five widely accepted vehicles for making such agreements: (a) a treaty that requires the advice and consent of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, consistent with the procedures laid out in Article II of the Constitution; (b) an ex ante congressional-executive agreement, in which the president reaches an agreement based on prior congressional authorization; (c) an ex post congressional-executive agreement, in which the president submits an agreement to Congress for approval by statute or joint resolution; (d) an agreement that stems from a prior Article II treaty; or (e) a “sole” executive agreement based on the president’s own constitutional authority.

During the Cold War era, Article II treaties were eclipsed by a ballooning number of legally binding executive agreements. In the security domain, these agreements cover a wide range of U.S. overseas commitments, to include foreign basing, troop rotations, security aid, foreign military training, military-technical cooperation, and arms transfers. In her landmark study on the topic, Oona Hathaway finds that ex ante congressional-executive agreements constitute the lion’s share of binding executive agreements. Their legal bases are often found in vague, decades-old congressional authorizations, such as the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. These agreements, along with treaty-derived or sole executive agreements, constitute well over 90 percent of U.S. international agreements. None entails meaningful coordination with Congress.

The White House asserts that the president has the authority, without requiring affirmative approval by Congress, to conclude binding agreements with significant long-term security assistance provisions. In September 2023, the United States and Bahrain signed the Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement, a wide-ranging text that commits the United States to a variety of security-related measures aimed at deterring threats to Bahrain. According to White House officials, the agreement is “internationally binding” but will not be put to Congress for ratification. The State Department has yet to clarify whether the agreement was concluded based on prior statutory authority or on the president’s sole authority. In any case, without affirmative backing from Congress, a Bahrain-style executive agreement might not persuade Ukraine that it can count on U.S. support in the future.

Gaining Congress’s affirmative approval of a U.S.-Ukraine agreement is a harder path, but one that would produce a more durable commitment. Two vehicles offer such an opportunity. The first is an Article II treaty, the gold standard for a U.S. security commitment. In the decade after World War II, Presidents Truman and Eisenhower entered into defense treaties with Western Europe (NATO); with Australia and New Zealand (ANZUS); and bilaterally with JapanSouth Korea, and the Philippines. These treaties, each of which received the advice and consent of the Senate, are widely understood to constitute the strongest form of a U.S. security guarantee: an obligation to come to the other party’s defense in case it is attacked.

There is no precedent for an Article II treaty that enshrines a U.S. commitment to provide arms to, rather than to defend, another nation. But Ukraine’s unique case warrants innovation. Given the wide bipartisan support for Ukraine in the Senate—as demonstrated in the recent vote to approve new aid—there may be a path to 67 votes. Allocating floor time for what could be a lengthy and contentious debate during an election year would be a challenge, however. 

A second option would be an ex post congressional-executive agreement involving ratification by both houses of Congress in a statute or joint resolution. These agreements are rare: Most concern international trade. Legal scholars generally agree that ex post congressional-executive agreements are functionally interchangeable with Article II treaties, although the courts have not weighed in on the matter. An ex post agreement would have the benefit of including the House, whose buy-in would be crucial for future appropriations. But getting the House’s approval would be no easy feat in the current political environment.

As an alternative to endorsing the text of an agreement negotiated by the executive branch, Congress could author its own long-term U.S. commitment to Ukraine. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which Congress adopted after President Carter withdrew the United States from a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan, is one such example of Congress setting principles for long-term U.S. security assistance to a key partner. The law states that the United States will help Taiwan maintain a “sufficient self-defense capability” and has been the cornerstone of U.S. policy for more than 40 years. 

Congress could also codify an aspect of the U.S. commitment to Ukraine in another piece of legislation. In 2008, for example, Congress amended the Arms Export Control Act to codify a requirement that the United States help Israel maintain a “qualitative military edge,” defined as the technological and tactical superiority to deter and defeat aggression by a larger adversary. This statutory requirement deepened Congress’s role in monitoring—and enhanced the resilience of—the U.S.-Israel security arrangement, which since the mid-1970s had been based on nonbinding memoranda of understanding. In Ukraine’s case, Congress could develop a different term of art, such as “qualitative deterrent balance,” and require that the executive branch certify that U.S. and partner-country aid is tailored to help Ukraine deter Russian aggression through a suite of capabilities and technologies that negate Moscow’s battlefield advantages.

A New Interbranch Understanding on Ukraine

Why would Congress—specifically, Republicans in Congress—ever agree to codify a long-term commitment to Ukraine when merely approving aid has proved so difficult? In short, by doing so Congress would guarantee itself greater input into, and oversight of, U.S. strategy and policy on Ukraine for years to come. A legally binding framework would rebalance authority on this core national security issue from primarily a presidential prerogative to one that is shared more equitably between the executive and legislative branches. It would allow Congress to reassert its role in international agreement-making, which has eroded significantly in recent decades. 

A rebalancing of the interbranch relationship on Ukraine policy could also help alleviate some Republican policy critiques of the current U.S. approach. For instance, many Republicans have criticized what they see as a “blank check” for Ukraine. Although U.S. aid is tailored to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs and has served to reinvigorate the American defense industrial base, Republicans are not wrong to be frustrated by the White House’s continued reliance on emergency supplemental budget requests whose timing and size have been impossible to predict. 

Better planning would reduce the costs of supporting Ukraine over the long haul. By codifying a binding commitment to Ukraine, Congress can enshrine a more predictable and transparent process for future appropriations. It can require the executive branch to furnish multiyear cost projections and investment plans related to Ukrainian capabilities, as is required for items in the base U.S. defense budget. It can also require annual testimony from senior U.S. officials, similar to the Annual Threat Assessment process that sees U.S. intelligence leaders lay out the threats to America’s security in public and classified settings. 

As part of this new interbranch framework, both houses of Congress could commit to voting on Ukraine-related appropriations through expedited procedures. The fast-track process for congressional disapproval of U.S. military base closures or U.S. military action overseas might offer clues for how to do this. Alternatively, Congress could guarantee that any appropriations packages to implement a security commitment to Ukraine would receive a floor vote, for which a supermajority in the Senate would still be required to end debate. 

Meanwhile, some Republicans have slammed the Biden White House for failing to provide Ukraine with certain weapons systems, such as Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS). They argue that the United States can accept the attendant risk to its own combat capability and that the White House has not explained why it has refrained from these deliveries. Congress already has the power to require that the executive branch provide a comprehensive inventory of available systems and a clear rationale for providing or not providing certain systems of high interest to legislators. It could probably even require that the president give Ukraine specific weapons systems, although executive branch lawyers would no doubt consider that an encroachment on the president’s role as commander in chief. In any case, enshrining mechanisms for Congress to voice disagreements within a formalized long-term policy framework on Ukraine would create new incentives for interbranch accommodation.

Republican members of Congress have also complained that there is insufficient oversight of how U.S. military aid to Ukraine has been disbursed. While government inspectors have found no evidence that U.S. weapons have been diverted, the White House should welcome Republican proposals to beef up accountability and oversight mechanisms as part of a deal to codify a long-term commitment to Ukraine. Some Republicans also have argued that Europe is not paying enough to support Ukraine, when in fact European nations have individually and collectively committed more aid to Ukraine than the United States has. In ratifying a U.S. commitment, Congress could create a special bipartisan legislative-executive commission—similar to the U.S. Helsinki Commission that monitors compliance with the Helsinki Final Act—to oversee American commitments to Ukraine and ensure proper accountability and allied burden-sharing. 

There has long been a tug of war between the branches about how international agreements, and security commitments in particular, should be made. In the 1960s, worried by deepening U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, Congress tried to counteract what it saw as the executive branch’s overextension of U.S. military power abroad. In 1969, the Senate passed the National Commitments Resolution, expressing its view that the United States should make security commitments only through “affirmative action taken by the executive and legislative branches … by means of a treaty, statute, or concurrent resolution of both houses of Congress.” As a senator, Biden himself weighed in repeatedly on the side of giving Congress a greater voice in major international security commitments.

The White House should consult with Congress soon on what type of agreement it prefers. Given the unprecedented nature of U.S. military support for Ukraine and the gravity of the national security threat that Russia’s aggression poses, it would be to both branches’ and political parties’ benefit to reach a clear understanding on what a long-term commitment should entail and Congress’s role therein. Depending on the vehicle chosen, Congress would have opportunities to enshrine preferences and conditions to guide executive branch implementation: either through reservations, declarations, and understandings in the case of an Article II treaty, or in an authorizing statute in the case of an ex post congressional-executive agreement.

There is ample precedent for involving legislators in the crafting of major international agreements. During World War II, for example, the Roosevelt administration went out of its way to bring members of Congress from both parties into internal deliberations about the postwar order. Starting in 1942, Roosevelt’s State Department invited Republican and Democratic members of Congress to participate in a series of planning sessions that would lay the groundwork for the creation of the United Nations, even as many Republicans were bitterly opposed to his New Deal policies. When the UN Charter was drafted at the San Francisco Conference in 1945, half of the delegation were members of Congress, two from each party. 

One major benefit of an affirmative interbranch agreement on Ukraine is that Congress can ensure that it has a voice in a potential future presidential decision to withdraw. The Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to rule on the president’s treaty withdrawal authority when it has been challenged by Congress, and most scholars agree that presidents can withdraw from legally binding agreements when Congress places no restrictions in advance. But if Congress imposes limitations on presidential withdrawal, either through the Article II advice and consent process or as part of an ex post congressional-executive agreement, the legislative branch could be in a stronger position to constrain unilateral executive action if it so chose. 

Building NATO’s Shield

Involving Congress in drawing up a blueprint for a revised European security order that recognizes Ukraine’s centrality in it would ensure that the policy framework is coherent, has democratic legitimacy, and is more sustainable across electoral cycles. Other allies would likely codify their own commitments to Ukraine in response; for most European nations with parliamentary systems, codification is a far simpler process than it is in the United States. A more predictable bipartisan U.S. policy would also help Kyiv plan its future force more cost-effectively and would spur the defense industrial investments on both sides of the Atlantic required to fill depleted stocks and counteract Russia’s military reconstitution. 

Congressional action to codify a U.S. commitment to Ukraine would pave the way for NATO leaders to make pivotal decisions at the upcoming summit in Washington. The allies are not ready to offer Ukraine an invitation to join NATO, at least not until the war ends. But they should unveil a vision for how their various bilateral security agreements with Ukraine fit into a coherent multilateral policy framework—in essence, a formalized version of the Vilnius Declaration—and how that framework dovetails with NATO’s own posture and plans. 

Let’s call this framework the Ukraine Deterrence Pact (UDP). Its purpose, which could be set out in a charter signed on the eve of the NATO summit, would be to enshrine signatories’ long-term commitments to Ukraine, set out how these commitments interact with one another, and formalize the military aid pipeline and coordination mechanisms discussed earlier in this piece. Non-NATO countries should be invited to join; for example, JapanSouth Korea, and Australia have been stalwart supporters of Ukraine, seeing its victory as key to deterring China. The UDP must also make room for the EU, which will play a key role in funding and coordinating Europe’s defense industrial ramp-up and Ukraine’s security-sector reform.

In essence, the UDP would serve as a shield for NATO’s eastern flank. It would establish a clear military, political, and legal link between the alliance’s core territorial defense mission and the long-term security of nonmember Ukraine. Until Ukraine joins the alliance, the UDP would operate as a flexible coalition of the willing rather than as a subordinate to NATO, skirting the ponderous consensus-based decision-making that would place Kyiv at the mercy of individual veto-wielding allies. At the same time, neither Ukraine nor the allies would want to turn the UDP into a parallel organization that could undermine NATO’s primacy in European security. 

UDP signatories might wish to appoint special envoys to coordinate their respective Ukraine-related security assistance activities, as some members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS have done. Signatories should convene periodically at the defense and foreign minister levels, and at least yearly at the leader level, to evaluate the threat environment, assess Ukraine’s capabilities, inventory partner-nation stocks, and help Kyiv make procurement decisions that facilitate standardization, interoperability with NATO, and technological innovation. 

There would be a substantial role for NATO in the UDP. Certain elements of the ongoing U.S.-led train, advise, and assist mission could be transitioned to the alliance’s formal purview. That would allow Kyiv access to NATO’s robust planning, capacity building, and bureaucratic resources. It would also insulate these activities from political shocks in allied capitals: If the allies reached consensus on establishing a dedicated mission for Ukraine, an unlikely second act of consensus would be required to unwind it prematurely. Eventually, allies could decide to relocate such a mission to Ukrainian territory, where it would be far easier for trainers to interact with Ukrainian commanders and civilian officials.

NATO leaders might also decide to give the alliance a formal role in elaborating contingency plans to surge aid to Ukraine in case of another large-scale military attack in the future, enhancing the deterrent effect of the surge provisions that individual allies have included in their bilateral security agreements. The plan should authorize the creation and prepositioning of a “Ukraine war reserve stock” on NATO territory. It would take allies some time to amass the weapons and ammunition needed for this reserve given how depleted their inventories currently are. But its creation would signal to Russia that NATO is mobilizing its collective industrial weight behind Ukraine and that any future aggression will be met with even greater costs than Kyiv and its partners have already imposed.

The Race to Rearm 

The United States and like-minded states have reached a decision point in the race to counter Russia. Ukraine’s ability to defend the frontlines and protect its cities and infrastructure from Russian attacks is already eroding amid delays in U.S. aid. The situation will only deteriorate further if Washington and its partners cannot articulate a credible long-term strategy to support Kyiv. In that dark scenario, Putin will be in a stronger position by year end to impose his will on Ukraine. An overconfident, threatening Russia with a grievance against the United States and Europe will emerge from this war. Emboldened, Putin will not settle for his victory against Ukraine. He will seek to rewrite the rules of European security without firing a shot at NATO. He knows he will not win a war with the alliance, but he does not need one. He will have proved his point: that Europe cannot count on America.

But the United States has the power—if it can overcome its political dysfunction—to help Ukraine defend itself, deter a future invasion, and regain the battlefield advantage. That will require more predictable policies from aiding nations, sustainable choices about Ukraine’s future force, and, most importantly, leadership in both the White House and Congress. Europe is stepping up to meet the unexpected challenge of a massive land war on the continent, and the United States must do the same. U.S. security and prosperity are linked closely to Europe’s security, the fulcrum of which now runs through Ukraine. 

Putin’s criminal blunder shattered the security equilibrium in Europe that the United States built and has carefully maintained for more than seven decades. By investing in Ukraine’s long-term defense and deterrence capabilities, the United States can redouble and update its long-standing and mutually beneficial commitment to European security. Giving Ukraine the tools to stop Russian aggression is an insurance policy for the whole transatlantic alliance. Failing to pay this premium now could very well leave Washington footing an enormous bill down the line.

Eric Ciaramella, a Lawfare contributing editor, is also a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he specializes in Ukraine and post-Soviet affairs. He previously served in the U.S. government as an intelligence analyst and policy official, including at the CIA, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council. Published courtesy of Lawfare

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