Despite, no, because of, eight years of sabre rattling from Russia, Ukraine is on the verge of joining NATO.
This event has rather little to do with American policy initiatives, though the Bush administration is one of Ukraine's backers as it seeks NATO admission. Rather, it's a reaction to and reflection of Russian belligerence against its neighbors from the moment Putin assumed office, including Poland, Georgia, and Ukraine. This belligerence has included gas shutdowns, electoral manipulation, support of insurgents and terrorists, arguably the poisoning of Ukraine's current President Yushchenko, and threats to target missiles at these countries, which cannot and do not pose a military threat to Russia.
Ukrainian NATO membership would be a stunning though well-deserved humiliation for Russia's tactics under Putin. It might not be productive for the west, but then Putin isn't exactly a friend to anyone in Europe other than Serbia.
I've noticed that western media, when they cover Putin (who is going to assume the Prime Ministership under incoming President Medvedev), have a tendency to present him as a brilliant schemer, making the world dance to his tune, but at least as far as his eastern European policy goes, he's often Vladmir Putin, suuuuper genius.