US plays correct role in Ukraine

To the Journal editor:

On Dec. 21, 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced the breakup of the Soviet Union into independent states, something he more than anyone had desired.

Coming out of a meeting of national leaders in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, he said, “We are no longer forcibly bound by the chains of the center … the center has been destroyed and the totalitarian communist system has been destroyed.”

Three years later, in December 1994, the United States, the UK and Russia signed the Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances. These agreements assured Ukraine of the security of their sovereign borders as they existed at that time — to include Crimea — in exchange for Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons.

It should be noted that Ukraine wasn’t at all enthusiastic about relinquishing what was then the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, but the U.S. played the primary role in convincing them to do so. It should also be noted that the U.S. acted in good faith, pressuring Ukraine to give up the nuclear warheads, strategic bombers, and ICBMs to Russia rather than to us.

This is why Ukraine does not have a nuclear deterrent force today and how the United States became morally responsible for Ukraine’s security from Russian attack. Of course, Russia solemnly promised at that time, in writing, never to attack Ukraine.

We see now that Russia has broken their word, in grand style. The 1994 agreement gives Ukraine two options, one being to appeal to the United Nations Security Council for a remedy.

But since Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and has unlimited veto power, that route isn’t helping Ukraine. Ukraine’s other specified option is to consult together with the U.S., the UK, and Russia to find a solution. In effect, this is exactly what has happened and Russia has been out-voted. The U.S., UK and Ukraine are now working together, as promised, to fix the problem.

In the bigger picture, our own American Declaration of Independence says that it’s the natural right of “Free and Independent States” to “have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,” etc. on their own… in other words, to pick their own friends. Ukraine wants to pick their own friends.

Whoever thinks America should not be helping Ukraine is either ignorant of the facts, or is a traitor to American principles and places no value on keeping promises.


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