Saturday, December 06, 2014

US official defends betrayal of Ukraine

From AFP via Yahoo! News:

"US rejects criticism of historic Ukraine nuclear deal

Kiev (AFP) - A top US official hit back on Friday against accusations the West has failed to live up to promises made exactly 20 years ago to Ukraine in exchange for it giving up nuclear weapons.

The Budapest Memorandum that came into force on December 5, 1994 led to Ukraine voluntarily giving up the huge stockpile of nuclear warheads it inherited from the Soviet Union.

In exchange, Britain, the United States and Russia agreed to respect Ukraine's borders and ensure its security -- a promise which many Ukrainians see as unkept in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for eastern separatists this year.

But on a visit to Kiev on Friday, Rose Gottemoeller, head of arms control and international security for the US government, said her country "has gone every step towards continuing to defend and develop a means of bolstering Ukraine". 

Gottemoeller, who was a negotiator at the Budapest talks 20 years ago, sidestepped questions from reporters on whether Ukraine would have been spared a Russian invasion if it still had nuclear weapons.

"We regret of course that Russia has not lived up to its commitments," she said.

But she added that the failure to rid Ukraine of atomic bombs "would have contributed to a very unstable 20 years not only in Ukraine's history but also in the history of the entire world because it would have placed a barrier in the way of further nuclear disarmament elsewhere."..."

This is a perfect example of the impotent arrogance that creates anti-Americanism even in decent people.

It is clear to everybody that Britain and the USA were not to sign that they would not violate Ukraine's borders, because they were never likely to do so in the first place. Only Russia was a threat to Ukraine, and the signature of the USA was to guarantee that the USA would not let Russia attack Ukraine. (Small Britain was invoked only to prevent the agreement from looking like the bilateral deal it was.)

Ms. Goettemoller claims that the USA "has gone every step towards continuing to defend and develop a means of bolstering Ukraine". I'd wish to hear what these steps were. Because what I see is that Russia invades Ukraine and grabs its land with impunity, and the USA stands by and doesn't move a finger.

In the face of the relentless Russian attack against Ukraine, Ms. Goettemoller's statement that the continuing presence of atomic bombs in Ukraine "would have contributed to a very unstable 20 years... in Ukraine's history" sounds like cruel mockery. And it sounds so because it is so.

As for the opinion that such continuing presence "would have placed a barrier in the way of further nuclear disarmament elsewhere" - I haven't heard of any other country renouncing its nuclear arsenal. But even if any nuclear power had intention to disarm, it will surely renounce this good intention, seeing the consequences of USA tricking Ukraine to give up its only means for self-defense. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if some unstable countries are now conceiving their own nuclear programs for first time, and I would not blame these countries.

Of course, it is wonderful to wish a world without nuclear bombs. However, this doesn't justify using false promises to make other countries defenseless and then abandoning them to the mercy of their enemies. In a word, Ukraine was sold out by the great country that is too often tired of being the only civilized superpower.

If you think that Americans are not obliged to die for other countries, I'd answer - true, but then your government must not sign defense treaties with other countries, knowing all along that it does not intend even to begin "living up to its commitments". This is disgrace, and I think that US citizens should not ignore it.

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