Is Ukraine Ready?

Sameer Lalwani, blogging live from the NATO summit in Bucharest, raises another set of questions about the idea of NATO membership for Ukraine -- is it really a good candidate state? He cites some insights from Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves:

Ilves went on to explain that countries attempting to wield the threat of internal upheavel, civil war or political collapse to leverage entrance into NATO would likely fall short or undermine their own case for membership. "Don't say you're owed anything" he argued. Rather, prospective countries needed to make the case on their own merits -- that they are on par with other admits and have made domestic reforms that warrant entrance. Overall, he argued that entrance needed to be sought for the sake of the country, for the citizens of the nation.

Ukraine, as Sameer notes, is suffering from various sorts of ills that make it questionable at the moment as to whether or not bringing it into the alliance would be any kind of real asset. Meanwhile, we have President Bush arguing that NATO is not an anti-Russian alliance but Ukraine needs to be a member so it can fight Russia (or else perhaps robots) so there continues to be some underlying confusion among proponents of further expansion as to what they want to do. It's worth noting, however, that John McCain is a real outlier in terms of anti-Russian sentiments and seems to take the view that the proper role of the President is to go out of his way to cast all U.S. action in as an aggressively Russophobic light as possible, so things could get much worse.