Before I begin, I would like to say that the view you read here is my own. I am not speaking on behalf of anyone else. I encourage you to comment on this piece. Your opinion matters.
Ukraine is showing the rest of the world just what measures it will go to in order to preserve their independence from Russia. Their democratic ideals are impressive and the strength they are showing to maintain their freedom is unbelievably brave. Their own people, rose up and overthrew the pro-Russian government in Ukraine. It’s ousted President, Viktor Yanukovych, is now residing in Russia, where he is firmly in the pocket of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
This whole situation is very complicated and disturbing.
At the time of the fall of the U.S.S.R., (now known as Russia), Ukraine held nuclear weapons of its own. Russia, the USA and the UK signed an agreement called the “Budapest Memorandum”. This agreement states all three countries will insure Ukraine’s independence from Russia, provided it turned over its nuclear weapons to Russia (which it did). Russia was to dismantle the nuclear weapons (which they did) and everyone lives happily ever after.
Ok, so the happily ever after part is my own wishful thinking.
The truth is, fundamentally, Russia does not like or trust the West and is not happy Ukraine has become so “westernized”. Putin has gone so far as to say the westernization of Ukraine has caused anarchy. The Ukraine has expressed interest in joining/aligning with NATO. Their resolve is so strong. However, alone, what chance does Ukraine have against the mega force of Russia?
Further, Russia needs the heavily Russian influenced Crimea, for agricultural and logistical reasons. Russia has gained strength by housing Ukraine’s ousted President, who says he is still in power. This gives Russia the “in” they are looking for to go back on their word of the Budapest Memorandum. Russia is planning to take control of the Ukraine once again, with an eye on several other countries in the region..
Where do the USA and the UK come in to play here? They are directly involved because both also signed the Budapest Memorandum insuring Ukraine’s independence. My understanding is the agreement states that if one of the three countries goes back on its word, the remaining 2 will step in to assist Ukraine.Though it is an agreement and not a treaty, it is conceivable, though not likely, that the USA and the UK do nothing and stay out of it.
The problem here is two-fold. Whether you call it a treaty, a memorandum or an agreement, it is still a binding document. For the USA and UK to not uphold the agreement shows the rest of the world that they cannot be trusted. This would be disastrous as both have treaties and agreements with many other countries around the world. Trust is the critical part of any agreements, treaties or otherwise.
The second issue is that both the USA and the UK somewhat loosely subscribe to the same ideals. Democracy, Freedom and Independence. How then, could either country turn their backs on Ukraine and it’s people?
The options here do not look good. Russian forces are already in the Crimea and will easily take it over, as it is already heavily Russian populated.
UPDATE: Warning shots have been fired in Crimea, though Putin incredibly says he has no intention of battling Ukraine. Meanwhile, troops are on the move and getting in position to do just that. Russia has a military base there so Putin is using it as an excuse for the movement..
That said, I very much admire the Ukrainian people for having the courage to stand up to and overthrow its eastern leaning government and demand their freedom. If this is not the definition of a democracy, I don’t know what is.
It seems to me the USA and UK must step in and hold up their end of the Budapest Memorandum. They must align with an independent Ukraine.
But how? That is what scares the hell out of me.
USA’s President Barack Obama does not, in my opinion, have what it takes to do what is necessary as Commander and Chief of its Armed Forces. A first step would be to create sanctions against Russia. You can see where, from here, this could get messy, very quickly.
I do not have the solution for this. That’s why my name tag does not say “President Barack Obama”.
I am very curious to know what your take is on this serious situation. Please comment below. Let’s get some dialog started. Who knows? Maybe we could even make a difference. Do you see the issue with the Ukraine as I have explained it? Do you have another view? What options do you see for all 4 countries?
I’m looking forward to hearing from you. I will approve and reply to all comments left. Please remember to keep it clean and no name calling.
Talk to you soon! xoxo