US scholar says Russia-Ukraine conflict roots in NATO expansion

A boy rides a scooter past ancient shopping arcades in central Kostroma on April 24, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

CHICAGO, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The deep cause of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is the expansion of NATO, and "the Russians are reacting to the West attempt to make Ukraine a western bulwark on Russia's border," said U.S. scholar John Mearsheimer.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, the political science professor at the University of Chicago said that the United States and its European allies want to make Ukraine a member of NATO, which is all part of making Ukraine part of the West.

"From the Russian point of view, this is categorically unacceptable. It represents an existential threat, and that is what has precipitated the crisis," said Mearsheimer, who is famous for his political science and international relations study.

Russia's strategy is to make sure that Ukraine does not become part of NATO, and more generally does not become part of the West, Mearsheimer said.

"The Americans are determined to win, the Russians are determined to win. In a situation like that, it's hard to see how you can work out some sort of peace agreement that puts this war to an end," said the scholar.

Being a realist scholar in international relations, Mearsheimer, nonetheless, holds that NATO's expansion will largely be confined to Europe.

Mearsheimer also named some ramifications of the conflict, including a potential food crisis worldwide.

"It is quite clear that there will be truly significant ramifications, and we will look back 20, 30 years from now and see this is a major turning point," he stressed.

"When you talk about the future of international peace, the situation looks quite gloomy," the scholar said, adding that "relations between Russia and the United States are really terrible and hopefully won't get worse."