When does avoiding escalation become appease...

Appeasement failed to stop World War IIIn his excellent book...


Russian Radar Plane Down - Did Ukraine Do It...

The proclaimed A50 radar plane was introduced to the Russian...

Our obligation to Ukraine

Jim DoughertyMay 3, 2024 Updated May 17, 2024 (0)


Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from us - we promised to assist them if they came under nuclear attack or threat

Ukraine has a unique place in the history of nations. After the Soviet Union broke up, Ukraine held about one-third of the old Soviet nuclear arsenal - enough, as we were told in the Cold War days, to destroy the whole planet many times over. Yet Ukraine voluntarily gave up its nuclear arsenal, the largest of the post-Soviet states to do so, and thereby sacrificed its own ultimate defense and security for the sake of world peace.

With one stroke of a pen, more was achieved for world peace than in all other negotiations, protests and tense cold-war summits put together.

Ukraine made that possible.

Why would Ukraine make such a concession? Of course there was technical assistance and financial support to facilitate the safe decommissioning of so many nuclear weapons. Also, though, and very important today, there was a promise, in the form of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which the Russian Federation, the U.K. and the U.S. gave security guarantees to Ukraine.

We promised “to provide assistance to Ukraine… if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.”

Putin has clearly threatened Ukraine and the West with nuclear "consequences"

Since the invasion of Ukraine, according to Reuters, Putin has mentioned nuclear war 11 times, including on Feb. 24: "Whoever tries to hinder us, or threaten our country or our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to consequences that you have never faced in your history" - this after mentioning that Russia is a leading nuclear power.

Before the clichéd reference to "threaten our country" reassures us too much, note the very important "or" and the alarming condition preceding it, that merely acting to "hinder" Russia justifies, in Putin's own words, nuclear war. For example, hindering Russia's illegal, unprovoked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine, carries the threat of those strongly implied nuclear "consequences". Could any threat be more clear? Nice country you have there, be a shame if anything should happen to it.

While creating understandable fear, and caution, those same threats also obligate us to assist Ukraine

The timid half-measures from the U.S. administration prove that it clearly understands, and is duly intimidated by, Russia's nuclear threats. However, the promise we made to Ukraine - in consideration of their unique in all human history nuclear disarmament and contribution to world peace - means in this case that the threat that intimidates also obligates.

And now, while Ukraine lies vulnerable because of the great sacrifice it made for peace, a new kind of modern evil rains destruction and death down from the skies on the peaceful people of Ukraine.

Missile strikes, bombing, drones and constant artillery bring death to Ukrainian hospitals, schools and homes indiscriminately, or purposefully, targeting military and civilian alike.

It is an unimaginable evil so great the mind rebels, and cannot grasp the enormity of the suffering. As Stalin said, the death of one person is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic. In the case of Ukraine, the massacre at Bucha early in the war was shocking - now, after two years of unrelenting savagery against the people of Ukraine, we are in danger of becoming inured to it, and accepting such suffering as normal.

Remember our promise to the people of Ukraine.

It's not just about Ukraine. It's about us, and whether we stand by the commitments we've made

We promised to help Ukraine if they came under nuclear threat, and they gave up the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons ever decommissioned because of that promise. Scholars debate about whether the Budapest Memorandum is legally binding, but can there be any doubt of our moral obligation? Can the soul of a nation be in peril? Can all the blessings of liberty, peace and prosperity we enjoy, and the promise of a better and more just future be ruined by neglect of the most basic moral obligation of the powerful, to protect the innocent, comfort the afflicted and advance where we can justice for all?

Put more practically, with all the rancor and division over issues we bitterly disagree about and fight over, couldn't we use one where we can all agree, and the only debate is about how best to fulfill our obligation - not only from the Budapest Memorandum but out of common human decency - to do everything we can to save Ukraine?

If not, though the body of Ukraine may be destroyed, it is our national soul, the very heart of our country, that is in mortal peril. With all the problems we already face, are we so sure that we can withstand - even survive - the guilt and consequences from such an immense crime of staggering moral neglect?

World peace may be at stake. Expansion by conquest must be resisted, peaceful progress encouraged

Though this is reason enough to act without delay to do much, much more to aid Ukraine, it is not just the soul of our country that is in peril, but potentially the survival of our planet.

Every nation considering whether to pursue the path of peace versus nuclear weapons is waiting to see if we will honor our promise. Living up to that promise could usher in a new era of peace by deterring potential aggressors and strengthening the peaceful elements within those same countries: “See, the Ukrainians gave up their nuclear weapons, and the West protected them,” the world will note. Powerful nations will direct more of their aspirations and resources toward the prosperity of their own people and national advancement through science, culture, technology and exploration - rather than conquest.

Or, the opposite if we fail, “See, the Ukrainians gave up their nuclear weapons, and look what happened to them.” Iran, North Korea, China,  Russia itself and others are watching.

Our credibility to stop the spread of nuclear weapons will be reduced to nothing if we allow a country that voluntarily gave up its nuclear arsenal to be destroyed after we promised to help them

If we allow Ukraine to fail, what will be our credibility when we seek to advance peace through encouraging nuclear or nuclear-aspiring states to disarm? The West can't be trusted, they will say, and the only real security comes from the launch codes of an ICBM.

That's a very dangerous world we shouldn't want our children or grandchildren to have to grow up in.

We must do more to help Ukraine!

We must do whatever it takes to save Ukraine, not only for itself, but for the sake of our own national soul - the health of our body politic if you will - and the survival of the whole planet. Fear is understandable, caution necessary, courage required.



Welcome to the discussion.
0 0 0 0 0