Author Topic: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited  (Read 1005 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AkMike

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1944
  • -Receive: 1478
  • Posts: 2678
  • Gender: Male
The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« on: 06:16 11-Feb-2015 »
This is a long very interesting article that has bearing on todays peace negotiations.
by Dr. Irina Paliashvili

Until now the current US Administration undertook a cautious position with regards to the Budapest Memorandum, downplaying its significance.  Under present circumstances it is no longer possible to maintain this position without undermining not only the US credibility in the world, but also the collective efforts aimed at nuclear non-proliferation.  Instead of shying away from the Budapest Memorandum, it makes sense to revisit it and to reverse the current position.  This will be an important signal to the world that the US confronts its high responsibility with regards to its commitments and leadership role, and this will not only strengthen the US credibility, but will also result in many other advantages, most importantly putting an end to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.  The Budapest Memorandum provides the legal and moral basis for the US to provide Ukraine with encompassing assistance, including military assistance.  In light of renewed peace efforts by Germany and France, such assistance will be part of the solution and will safeguard any potential peace deal. 

In the past few days there has been an extensive discussion in the US about assisting Ukraine with defense weapons, and a consensus was formed in the expert community that this is high time for the US to do so.  This conclusion is confirmed in the report “Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do” You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login recently released by three leading US think-tanks and co-authored by eight highly respected former US senior diplomatic and military officials.  The same call has been repeatedly made by individual US lawmakers, culminating on 3 February with an appeal to President Obama by a bipartisan group of Senators urging him to provide defense weapons to Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian military aggression.

The solid legal and moral ground for such measures lays on the surface: it is called the Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, signed on 5 December 1994 by the Presidents of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, and the UK Prime Minister, which is known as the “Budapest Memorandum”  You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login  The technical and legal intricacies of its language can be discussed ad nauseam, but nothing can change its bottom-line: the three signatories – the US, the UK and Russia – confirm and reaffirm “their commitment to Ukraine in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”.

It is also well-known and well-documented that Ukraine was persuaded by the US (supported by the UK) to give up its large nuclear arsenal, the single most solid guarantee of its security, territorial integrity and importance in global affairs, in exchange for guarantees of its sovereignty and borders.  The US, which spearheaded the effort to take the nuclear arsenal away from Ukraine and transfer it to Russia, publicly undertook the responsibility for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

The Budapest Memorandum’s core issue was nuclear non-proliferation, the single most serious issue for the world’s collective security.  How then can the Budapest Memorandum not be taken seriously?  Who will trust the US and its allies when they urge the states seeking nuclear weapons to abandon this goal in exchange for guarantees?  No level of irresponsibility, first and foremost by the world’s major super-powers, can be tolerated on this issue.

In fact there are numerous international-law documents on respect of borders and territorial integrity of the states (in particular the obligations Russia undertook on multinational, trilateral and bilateral levels to respect the borders and territorial integrity of Ukraine), but the Budapest Memorandum focuses specifically on the non-proliferation issue, and contains specific commitments, given specifically by the US, the UK and Russia in exchange for specific commitments by Ukraine.

There is no doubt that Ukraine has delivered on its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum promptly, fully and in a good faith.

The two guarantors, the US and the UK, are in a possession of overwhelming and undeniable evidence of continuing violation by Russia of “sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”, first by occupying and annexing Crimea, and then by invading and waging war in Eastern Ukraine.

It is understandable that until now the Budapest Memorandum was sidelined because the US and the UK joined a group of their allies in their general undertaking of a host of diplomatic and economic measures to end the aggression against Ukraine and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity.  Unfortunately these measures failed: Russia is presently engaged in a new major escalation of its aggression, causing numerous casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe on the Ukrainian territory.

Under these circumstances, as US lawmakers stated in their appeal to President Obama on Tuesday: “a change in our response is also needed”.  The US and the UK must now deliver on their commitments under the Budapest Memorandum, which is the legal and moral basis for the US to provide Ukraine with military assistance because all other protection mechanisms have been exhausted with no result.  The most recent efforts by Germany and France to broker a peace deal may or may not be successful, but if a peace deal is achieved, the US assistance with defense weapons will be part of the solution and will safeguard any potential peace deal.

It is now time for the US to honestly confront its responsibility, and for the UK, as its co-signatory, to put similar measures into action.  As to other European allies, such as Germany, the Budapest Memorandum gives them flexibility to join or not to join these particular US measures, but it does not give them flexibility to oppose them, or to prevent the US and the UK from fulfilling their legal and moral commitments.  Moreover, it would be in their best interest to follow the US leadership and support such measures both morally and in kind.

The original article was published in VoxUkraine on February 5, 2015

Written by Dr. Irina Paliashvili
 RULG – Ukrainian Legal Group, P.A.
 Chair, Legal Committee of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
 Co-Chair, ECA (Europe-Caucasus-Asia) Legal Forum
 Washington, DC, USA

 



You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login


In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One. Yakov Smirnoff

Online David Rochlin

  • Vip Lounge member
  • I live here
  • ***
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 821
  • -Receive: 1173
  • Posts: 6335
  • Gender: Male
  • Statue of the Motherland
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #1 on: 06:43 11-Feb-2015 »
You could also argue that the chances of any country volunteering to surrender a nuclear arsenal ever again, are negligible and so the credibility of non-proliferation is irreversibly, irretrievably lost.  Therefore the US, and UK and interested parties can't win that credibility back by arming Ukraine.
   Ukraine should be armed, but for other reasons.
   Ukraine had some very practical reasons, involving self interest and unrelated to the humanitarian goal of world peace, for surrendering nuclear weapons and fissile material.   Nuclear reactor fuel, jobs and bilateral relations with Russia were among the motives Ukraine had for cooperating.   

Online Fraucha

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2662
  • -Receive: 4144
  • Posts: 6643
  • Gender: Male
  • I have equal disrespect for everyone.
    • Sundra-Tanakoh
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #2 on: 07:06 11-Feb-2015 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You could also argue that the chances of any country volunteering to surrender a nuclear arsenal ever again, are negligible

Negligible implies insignificant, insignificant implies there is an actual number above zero. Your statement should read "are less than zero"

only because I haven't had my coffee yet...   :D
Peace is the failure of the military to convince the government that it can and should kick its enemies ass.

Offline Jay

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 694
  • -Receive: 261
  • Posts: 615
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #3 on: 00:54 11-Oct-2017 »
Interesting  story that adds a little more to the background.
In his new book, The Eagle and the Trident: US-Relations in Turbulent Times, Ambassador Steven Pifer offers a detailed and well-written study of US policy on Ukraine from 1991-2004 in 366 pages

 Repeatedly, Pifer emphasizes how the Americans said one thing, and the Ukrainians heard something else.


US Wrongly Thought Nukes Were Ukraine's Biggest Problem

Pifer is upright: ?No goal figured higher on the US agenda for Ukraine than ensuring the elimination of [nuclear] weapons?and it no doubt often seemed to many in Kyiv to be the United States? only goal? (p. 5)

But the United States was not ready. ?Washington wanted nuclear weapons out of Ukraine, but neither the Bush nor the Clinton administration was prepared to offer [any] kind of guarantee? (p. 76). In the infamous Budapest Memorandum of December 1994, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia offered Ukraine security ?assurances? if it gave up its nuclear arms. Pifer notes ?that ?guarantee? and ?assurance? both translate as ?guarantee? in Ukrainian and Russian? (p. 59). ?Kyiv treated the memorandum as, in effect, an international treaty? (p. 71).

 President Leonid Kuchma still insists that he was cheated when signing that memorandum.



You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

The quoted words below are particularly relevant today -- after 3 years of the Russian invasion the US is still dithering .Now it is the complication of a conflicted President -- following on the previous inept understanding of Obama and his inner circle  on Ukraine -- and how to handle Russia.

"In this highly readable account, Pifer explains why the United States succeeded in ridding Ukraine of nukes but failed to contain Russian aggression or spur irreversible reforms. US engagement was considerable, and it is striking how the United States accomplished what it focused on, but it often lacked focus until too late."
« Last Edit: 01:00 11-Oct-2017 by Jay »

Online David Rochlin

  • Vip Lounge member
  • I live here
  • ***
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 821
  • -Receive: 1173
  • Posts: 6335
  • Gender: Male
  • Statue of the Motherland
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #4 on: 07:32 11-Oct-2017 »
My recollection is that Russia and Ukraine, which were on better terms in those days, mutually decided to go with security assurances, not guarantees.  The difference between the two types of security related promises are not really a matter of English, so much as established and clear diplomatic language.   Calling it a mistranslation is probably just intended to excuse what were very different priorities, back then.  Ultimately, Ukrainians needed Uranium fuel more than nuclear weapons, and enriched Uranium was on offer, as well as years of contractor work that was ripe for graft and corruption.   
Ukrainians would not have believed it if someone predicted back then, that someday Russia would level much of Donetsk to "Save" Russian culture.

Offline kyivkpic

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1443
  • -Receive: 1360
  • Posts: 2103
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #5 on: 10:10 11-Oct-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
My recollection is that Russia and Ukraine, which were on better terms in those days, mutually decided to go with security assurances, not guarantees.  The difference between the two types of security related promises are not really a matter of English, so much as established and clear diplomatic language.   Calling it a mistranslation is probably just intended to excuse what were very different priorities, back then.  Ultimately, Ukrainians needed Uranium fuel more than nuclear weapons, and enriched Uranium was on offer, as well as years of contractor work that was ripe for graft and corruption.   
Ukrainians would not have believed it if someone predicted back then, that someday Russia would level much of Donetsk to "Save" Russian culture.

The future is consistently hard to predict. It was a memorandum and Ukraine needed cash and from what I understand the nukes were too expensive to maintain or renovate as the Kremlin still actually had control over the launch codes or something like that.

Ultimately, the memorandum is certainly not a military alliance and despite Crimea and the war in Donbass (it is actually small on the map) Ukraine is still standing and is more or less being propped up by the US with training, a lot of diplomatic/economic assistance and now possibly lethal aide.

It's not like the US has abandoned Ukraine but it's hard to help those who don't help themselves much.
Твоя голова всегда в ответе за то, куда сядет твой зад.

Online Fraucha

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2662
  • -Receive: 4144
  • Posts: 6643
  • Gender: Male
  • I have equal disrespect for everyone.
    • Sundra-Tanakoh
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #6 on: 13:30 11-Oct-2017 »
Canada is helping a lot also.

Peace is the failure of the military to convince the government that it can and should kick its enemies ass.

Offline kyivkpic

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1443
  • -Receive: 1360
  • Posts: 2103
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #7 on: 14:40 11-Oct-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Canada is helping a lot also.

F#%k Canada
Твоя голова всегда в ответе за то, куда сядет твой зад.

Online julienp

  • Expat XO
  • ****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 56
  • -Receive: 231
  • Posts: 322
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #8 on: 19:07 11-Oct-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Canada is helping a lot also.
F#%k Canada
That's constructive

Online Tnic

  • My own TITLE? omg, omg, omg.....
  • Vip Lounge member
  • I live here
  • ***
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 3124
  • -Receive: 1353
  • Posts: 3163
  • Gender: Male
  • Gainfully unemployed
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #9 on: 19:37 11-Oct-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Canada is helping a lot also.
F#%k Canada
That's constructive
That's our Fraucha.  Deal with it.   :D
If you didn't come here to be insulted where do you usually go?

Offline kyivkpic

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1443
  • -Receive: 1360
  • Posts: 2103
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Budapest Memorandum Revisited
« Reply #10 on: 22:01 11-Oct-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Canada is helping a lot also.
F#%k Canada
That's constructive
That's our Fraucha.  Deal with it.   :D

Sorry, I had a South Park moment.
Твоя голова всегда в ответе за то, куда сядет твой зад.