Bringing Ukraine into NATO, even after Russia's invasion and continued warfare, would be a mistake that would "lead to world war," Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday on Newsmax.
"We would be in the middle of World War III right now if Ukraine were part of NATO," the Kentucky Republican said on Newsmax's "National Report." "So if you put them in now, in the middle of the war, that means U.S. troops. That means German troops. It means all of our planes."
In that case, Russia could be defeated in "all likelihood," said Paul, "unless Russia decides to launch a nuclear attack and we lose half the world."
Russian President Vladimir Putin did miscalculate the levels of opposition he'd get from Europe, NATO, and the United States over attacking Ukraine, and he miscalculated the will of the Ukrainian people to fight back, said Paul.
Meanwhile, over time there will be more pressure put on Russia as other countries become major exporters of energy, and Paul noted that the United States could get access to oil and natural gas "almost immediately" if it wanted to.
Paul said that Putin also sees votes and opinion in the United States going against him, and that would potentially happen in his own country as well.
"How long will the Russian people allow this to go? Will there eventually be discontent in Russia? Enough so that he will actually withdraw?" asked Paul. "The resistance of the Ukrainians is important, probably the most important thing. How lethal that is, and how much they struggle, but also the viewpoint of the Russians at home. It's hard for them to express themselves without going to jail."
Paul, meanwhile, said he does not necessarily agree with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's contention that Putin is planning to further his hold with invading other European countries, saying the Ukrainian leader is putting that forward to "try to get more unity."
However, NATO promised, after Germany unified in the 1990s and joined the organization, that NATO wouldn't be extended to Russia's borders.
"I think it was foolish over the years to keep promising this because it was a false promise," said Paul. "We kept egging Ukraine on saying we'll make you part of NATO and will defend you and protect you. But this went on for more than a decade. Then Ukrainians became excited about it.
"Zelenskyy became excited about it, but it was very provocative because Russia had always said that these former satellites, these former provinces of Russia, should never be part of NATO. Ultimately, I think the Europeans probably would have vetoed it anyway."
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Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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