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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Keep Ukraine Out of NATO, Washington Panel Recommends

Now that they made promises, wrote letters, pushed buttons and made more promises, they want to keep Ukraine out of the door.

That’s the foreign policy prescribed by a “high-level bipartisan commission” in Washington. Below are excerpts from the IHT article Panel flags state of U.S.-Russia relations:

The panel was headed by Gary Hart, a former Democratic senator from Colorado, and Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska. Its members include two former national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft and Robert C. McFarlane; Sam Nunn, a former Georgia senator experienced in Russia issues; and Lee H. Hamilton, a former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The commission report said that the new administration should "accept that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership" but that it should also work with NATO allies to find other ways “to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty.” The United States, it said, does not now have “a compelling security interest” in NATO membership for either country.


An excerpt from AFP's Obama urged to oppose Georgia, Ukraine NATO bids:

“A special relationship with NATO short of membership could serve the same function as membership, and would be a useful way to ensure that those Ukrainians and Georgians seeking to join NATO do not become discouraged,” it said.


Look who’s here! Sam Nunn! Is that the Democratic “disarmament diplomat” who patronized Ukraine in the ‘90s and happily oversaw our giveaway of the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal?


OK, guys. If you think you can trade friends for favors, then you should know the probable price of your trade.

If you decide to trade us in, then we should reciprocate by pushing our own reset button. We should keep the door open to mutually beneficial trade with Iran.

The day Russia decides to move in, our commitment to the MTCR should be null and void.

Don't be discouraged!


Sources:
http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2009/3/17/91450.htm
http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/03/16/america/diplo.php
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090316/pl_afp/usrussiapoliticsdiplomacy_20090316210308

17 comments:

Leopolis said...

Taras, you posted earlier that Ukrainian pilots get 9 flying hours per year, compared to NATO’s standard of 180-200.

Ukraine is not ready for NATO. The bigger problem is that U.S. politicians and think tankers treat NATO entry as the ultimate political card -- and look! The Russians are playing it.

If the discussion is about arcane military realities, then the politicians won't get involved. But now the issue is completely politicized, the military alliance has become just a political club and Ukraine a pawn.

Anonymous said...

Your bitterness about having 'given up' the nuclear weapons that ended up in Ukrainian territory after the USSR broke up makes no sense.
1) Ukraine is broke. The country cannot even maintain its conventional forces. What makes you think that Ukraine could properly store and maintain 'the 3rd largest nuclear arsenal' in the world? Even Russia, which is much richer and has more resources than Ukraine, is struggling to maintain its nuclear arsenal, and has been downsizing it for years. Not because of any aggreements with the Americans, but simply because they cannot afford to keep all those weapons. Improperly maintained nuclear weapons are dangerous! An accident waiting to happen. Having those things around would have been infinitely more dangerous than any threat the Russians could make to you.
2) You are obviously pro-NATO. It is funny how Western Ukrainians think. They are pro-democracy when it is convenient, but when the majority of the country disagrees with what they want (as in a clear majority of Ukrainians being opposed to NATO entry), then the problem is lack of information, and we have to go against the majority because they have been brainwashed. I say hog-wash! What makes you think that entering NATO is good for Ukraine? The country will break up before that happens!
3) Which leads me to another point: Why is it that the people who fought for Ukraine's independence from the USSR are heroes, but anyone who dares talk about Ukraine breaking up is a traitor? Very nice double-standards.
4) Finally, what are you so upset about with Obama? While Ukraine's entry into NATO would make people like you feel better, what does that gain the current NATO members? How does it increase their security? This is not a one-way street, you know. Ukraine has nothing to offer except problems for NATO, and West Europe is clearly not going to shed blood to defend Ukraine. Now it looks like Obama is starting to come around to that point of view. Ukraine (and Georgia) will never be in NATO. NATO's expansion eastwards is over. Deal with it.

Taras said...

Leopolis,

Ukraine is not ready for NATO membership. Ukraine is ready for a NATO Membership Action Plan. That’s what presidential candidate Obama wrote in a letter to the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.

So I just wonder if Obama can keep his word.

If he thinks that by disarming and disowning Ukraine he will somehow make America more secure, he should think again. He won’t be able to build a paradise for America by digging a grave for Ukraine.

The sooner he gets it right, the safer America will be.


Anonymous,

We’ve had this conversation before, haven’t we?

You still haven’t answered my question. So let me reiterate my question: Will you be here to show me how to deal with it if and when the Russians come?

In the meantime,


1. Maintaining a hundred nuclear warheads would be enough to deter a conventional attack. If Pakistan can do it, so can Ukraine.

2. Yes, I’m pro-NATO. I was born and live in Kyiv though. On my mother’s side, I have roots in Kharkiv oblast. On my father’s side, I have roots in Rivne oblast.

3. Despite having large Russian minorities, neither Lithuania (5.1%) nor Latvia (28%) nor Estonia (25.6%) has broken up after joining NATO.

4. Joining NATO would require a referendum. By contrast, joining a Membership Action Plan would require the approval of the president and the parliamentary majority.

5. If you want my country to disintegrate, do it to your own country first.

6. I’m upset with Obama because he appears to be unwilling to keep his word while entertaining a dangerous set of illusions about Russia.

I don’t need your blood. But if you bring the Russians to my door, you will have my country’s blood on your hands.

Then, you too will have to deal with it.

elmer said...

This "high level bi-partisan panel" is a bunch of has-beens which appeared out of nowhere.

Apparently, "bi-partisanship" is the fashionable way to go now, even if there is no substance, and downright stupidity involved.

Gary Hartpence withdrew from a US presidential race after daring the press to find his girlfriend - and the press did! "No excuses" was later his girlfriend's brand of jeans.

Likewise, all of these other people are has-beens.

They have somehow been resurrected - by current Democrats - to create an illusion of "bi-partisanship" to support bending over for Pootler.

There is no mention of how this "bi-partisan panel" was created, who called for its creation and why, what it calls itself, and there is no link to its "report."

Has-beens trying to generate some attention for themselves, and trying to resurrect the idea that bending over for the KGB and Roosha is somehow a noble goal.

Anyone who knows roosha knows that those scumbags won't stop. When it comes to government and the "glory of oily orthodox mother roosha," those scumbags won't build anything - just like during sovok times - except propaganda about how glorious they are in ruining other countries that they have taken over.


And, yes, a Membership Action Plan is the way to go right now for Ukraine.

Ukraine may not be ready for NATO.

But are these "bi-partisan" has-beens ready for roosha to take over Ukraine? And then other countries?

Ronald Reagan showed everyone the right way to do it.

These has-beens have not learned a thing.

Except "bi-partishanship" for the sake of publicity.

Anonymous said...

OK:
1) I had never posted here before, so you must have been having an argument with somebody else.
2) 100 nukes?? Are you kidding? That's about how many nukes India or Israel have, both states with many more resources than Ukraine. Let's for a moment entertain this madness. Suppose Ukraine keeps 100 nukes. That would mean that either ALL the defense budget would go to maintain this nuclear arsenal, OR cuts have to be made to other budget items, like feeding your elderly. Let's think about the first scenario: So Ukraine basically has no conventional forces. One decapitation strike takes out your nuclear arsenal and you are done. Game over. Now let's assume that you cut social spending to increase the military budget. Great, let your people starve, way to go. Bush and Cheney would be proud.
3) You still haven't answered what makes you think you have the right to impose your pro-NATO views on the country when the majority of the country is anti-NATO. Democracy is not only for when the majority agrees with you. People like you that cherry-pick when democracy is convenient, and want to impose their will by diktat when inconvenient, only show that Ukraine is not a real democracy. And your distinction between MAP and joining NATO is academic. MAP is used to prepare for joining NATO. If the majority of Ukrainians don't want to join NATO, what's the need for a MAP?
4) If you don't want the Russians at your door, then learn to deal with them appropriately. Ukraine is a minor nation at the doorstep of a major power and must learn to act accordingly. If you think that sucks, that's too bad. But let me remind you that the Finns didn't do so badly with just such a policy.
5) If by your inability to develop a good relationship with Russia, you bring the "Russians to your doorstep", you'll have only yourself to blame. West Europe is not responsible for the problems you create with the Russians. As I said before, NATO membership is a two-way street. Ukraine's membership would not increase the security of West Europe, but rather decrease it. West Europe has made that now very clear. Therefore, Ukraine will never be a part of NATO.

elmer said...

Well, the last part of the last comment is just plain wrong.

First, Ukraine is the size of France. If Ukraine ever got its act together, it would be a major power, greater than France or Germany. The problem is that Ukraine is bogged down by RUSSIAN Sovok legacy, and a bunch of oligarchs who view government as their own personal business enrichment scheme.

By way of example, Ukraine's agricultural development is only at 25% of its potential, by the admission of its own agricultural minister.

Second, have you learned nothing from Russia's invasion of Georgia, and the gas cutoff, and Pootler's vicious threats aimed towards Ukraine?

Russia is a country which has perpetually thrown temper tantrums, which is perpetually in the "terrible twos", and which as oily orthodox mother roosha ambitions no matter what form of government it has.

Russia has taken a former German Chancellor, Schroeder, among others, and turned him into an appeasement mouthpiece.

Ukraine, in one way or another, is protection for Europe. And it's not Ukraine that has conducted trade wars with every trading partner it has - it's Russia that has done that.

West Europe should learn that its appeasement talk only encourages Russia's imperialistic ambitions.

And if you have any doubt that at the very least, Russia will continue to try to poke fingers in everyone's eye, for any reason or for no good reason, just to show "rooshan oily orthodox mother roosha glory," just look at Kyrgyzstan and Iran, and remind yourself again of Georgia and ALL of roosha's trade wars, and the REPEATED gas cutoffs which were initiated by RUSSIA - noone else.

President Yushchenko called on Russia to be a good neighbor.

The sad fact is that Russia does not want to be a good neighbor - it wants to continue poking fingers in peoples' eyes, and worse.

I suggest you re-think your statement about Western Europe "not being responsible" for problems with Russia.

Appeasement of Russia is what is not responsible.

And it is Russia that is responsible for problems with everyone.

Western Europeans who don't realize that will wake up to the sound of Russian in Paris and Berlin. And it won't be pleasant.

Leopolis said...

Elmer,

The group of "has-beens" is organized by the Partnership for a Secure America. I attended their press briefing a few weeks ago at the Ntl Press Club, and walked away with that same feeling -- like it was 1993. Or it just could have been the baggy suits and ugly ties that Washington is regrettably known for.


Anonymous,

You said,"Ukraine is a minor nation at the doorstep of a major power and must learn to act accordingly."

To put things in perspective, Russia is a minor nation at the doorstep of a major power (the EU) and must learn to act accordingly.

For what it's worth, Forbes Best Countries For Business 2009 ranked Russia #109, sandwiched between Mauritania and Honduras: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/6/bizcountries09-best-countries-for-business_Russia_CHI103.html

Perspective is a very fascinating and relative thing.

Living in a so-called democracy myself, I must admit that showing leadership on tough issues is how countries are run, not just the rule of popular opinion. There are mechanisms -- free press, civil society, etc -- to present disagreements with issues that lead to well-formulated discussions.

No matter what side you are on, the fact is that both Ukraine and Russia are very ill-informed about NATO: what it does, what it can't do, what Ukraine offers, what it cannot offer, etc.

I heard an anecdote -- maybe you can find the source, Taras -- that while a large majority of Ukrainians are against "NATO", support rises when Ukrainians are asked whether they support the "North Atlantic Treaty Organization."

Taras said...

Thank you for your support, Elmer!

This bipartisan panel clearly wants to open a BBQ stand at a gas station.


Anonymous,

1. Thank you for your clarification statement.

2. I kid you not. So far, the Pakistan-India model of deterrence has worked. Ukraine and Pakistan have comparable resources. You should also know that Ukraine did not just “inherit” the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. Not only did Ukraine produce its share of the delivery vehicles, but it also carried more than its fair share of the humanitarian burden. In Ukraine, Soviet authorities deployed the missiles in densely populated areas, blurring distinctions between counterforce and countervalue.

3. A conventional strike against Ukraine would be sufficiently deterred by an arsenal of a hundred high-yield nuclear weapons, some of them placed on mobile launchers. An all-out nuclear strike would not be sufficiently deterred, given the Kremlin’s historical disdain for human life, both at home and abroad. This decapitation strike would kill thousands, if not millions, ethnic Russians, rendering occupation and annexation irrelevant. We should keep in mind that Ukraine has never — and will never — attack Russia. It has always been the other way around.

4. Nobody will starve once Ukraine’s government (including our legal system and income distribution) starts serving Ukraine’s social and defense needs. So far, it hasn’t been the case. I have never been a fan of Bush and Cheney. Nor have I been a fan of Clinton, who promised us that “sweet harvest” and then took loads of money harvested from our pockets.

5. I'm not imposing anything. I’m advocating. Besides, I’m telling you that it requires a referendum to join NATO. By contrast, it requires the approval of the president and the parliamentary majority to join a MAP. MAP involvement does not automatically guarantee NATO membership.

6.My country’s relations with Russia is my country’s business. Should you choose to influence those relations in any way — or size — that will hurt my country, don’t think it won’t be held against you. Don’t think you’ll be secure. The last thing we need is another Munich Agreement or a replica of the Winter War between the USSR and Finland. Both approaches took a heavy toll on both sides.

Taras said...

Elmer,

You’re absolutely right! Appeasement leads to adventurism.

When push comes to shove, the wages of war will not be Ukraine’s alone.

Haven't we learned enough from history?


Leopolis,

Thank you for commenting!

It’s not a joke. It’s poll data.

The poll was conducted by a local activist group in Odesa in 2007. The question read: “In your opinion, what is more important for Ukraine: accession into NATO or into the North Atlantic Alliance?”

Approximately, 30% of respondents opted for the North Atlantic Alliance.

Only 12% of respondents knew that NATO and the North Atlantic Alliance mean the same thing.

elmer said...

Leopolis

"Partnership for a Secure America"?

Who the heck thought that one up, and who invited them?

As far as I can see, only the International Herald Tribune reported on these baggy suit guys.

Although I must say, Donna what's-her-face was indeed eye candy - remember the picture of her sitting on Gary Hartpence's lap on that boat in Florida?

It must have been a slow news day at IHT.

I hope you are recovered from the bad haberdashery - and the bad opinions these guys put out.

elmer said...

well, Radio Free Europe did a more detailed report on this than did IHT. The fact is, the IHT report gave it short shrift because 1) there's no official government policy here and 2) it's a bunch of self-appointed, self-important has-beens.

Here's the link to the report, which includes a bunch of non-sensical double-talk, including this little pearl:

"A new, more forthcoming
approach to Russia is far from guaranteed to succeed, but we are
convinced that the risk in making the effort is far smaller than the
costs of a slide into hostility."


http://www.nixoncenter.org/RussiaReport09.pdf

There are no facts here, no detailed analysis here, only feel-good wishful thinking and gibberish.

And, oh, look, there's Dmitri Simes, sometime Kremlin mouthpiece.

And how did Dov Zakheim get on the panel? Or Carla Hills, another Dimwitcrat, whose interest in foreign policy is very doubtful?

Leopolis, you will get a kick out of the listing of the Members. Oh, look, Susan Eisenhower, who has never been in government.

It really must have been a very slow news day for IHT to have picked this up.

The Nixon Center and the Belfer Center (at the Kremlin-on-the-Charles-River, Harvard) needed something to do. So they put together a non-report, which consists of nothing but ignorant platitudes.

No acknowledgment of the fact that Roosha is conducting trade wars with EVERYONE - oh, no, let's get roosha into the WTO.

Some acknowledgment of roosha turning off the gas, and the invasion of Georgia - mustn't piss roosha off, because roosha has "legitimate interests" here, although we sort of also want to recognize Ukraine's and Georgia's "sovereignty" - but mustn't piss roosha off.

And a "special relationship" for Ukraine and Georgia, like you do for retards, with respect to NATO - after all, the US mustn't be used as a tool of Ukraine and Georgia when roosha tries to stomp on them - yet again.

Iran? Well, gee, we'll just all get along, and roosha will stop selling nuclear materials to Iran - see how easy that is?

Roosha, headed by the KGB, starting with Pootler, and his friends all the way down the line, will stop poking fingers in people's eyes and throwing temper tantrums, and we will all hold hands as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, etc. all become part of the new, glorious oily orthodox mother roosha sovok union of the Near Abroad.

Here's the RFE/RFL report:

http://www.rferl.org/content/Senior_US_Delegations_Hope_To_Reset_US_Russia_Relations/1514015.html

At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on March 6, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized a similar agenda, especially the need for a new strategic-arms agreement, as the START 1 treaty expires at the end of this year.

"We intend to have an agreement by the end of the year. This is of the highest priority to our governments," Clinton said. "I believe we will be instructed by both of our presidents to make sure we do have an agreement, and we're going to get to work immediately."

Bulking Up

Just 10 days later, though, Medvedev announced a major upgrading of Russia's strategic forces, citing the threat from NATO as its justification. "The threats of local conflicts and international terrorism are still present," Medvedev said. "NATO's attempts to expand its military infrastructure near our country's borders continue. All this requires a qualitative modernization of our armed forces, giving them a new, modern shape."


Oh, yes, Hartpence-Hagel, bend over for Pootler - Donna "No Excuse Jeans" would be so proud!

elmer said...

Here is Donna Rice, the babe that Gary Hartpence was fooling around with while he was married and running for Prez of the US.

This "panel" apparently has the same motto: "No Excuses."

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x15prh_donna-rice-no-excuses_ads

And here's the photo that surfaced after reporters were dared to find a girlfriend:

http://img2.timeinc.net/people/i/2004/04/gallery/scandals/ghart.jpg

I'm not throwing stones at Donna Rice here, by the way.

Gary Hartpence and Pootler appeasers - that's a different matter.

But, hey, Pootler has his own little young gymnast squeeze on the side, "manly man" that he is.

Taras said...

Thank you for all the links, Elmer!

The Right Direction for U.S. Policy toward Russia reads like the good old Russian proverb “И волки сыты, и овцы целы” (“The wolves are well-fed, the sheep are safe”).

Except that the goal appears to be more like “И овцы сыты, и волки целы (“The sheep are well-fed, the wolves are safe”).

After all, there’s another one: “За двумя зайцами погонишься — ни одного не поймаешь” (“If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both”).

elmer said...

Taras, you are right, they are trying to have it both ways. It's like the dog with one bone looking at his reflection in the water, and going after the "second bone" and losing them both.

These morons - there is no other word for it - have placed their bets on the wrong pony.

Roosha has NEVER had an Enlightenment, as did Western Europe, has NEVER had any sort of rational, coherent, democratic form of government.

It has ALWAYS had a brutal form of government. St. Petersburg ("Piter") was built on the bones of Ukrainian Cossacks. The sovok union was built on gulags.

Yet these morons want to throw Ukraine under the bus, for the sake of a country that has shown, and continues to show, that it is not interested in anything other than a "strongman" form of government, and re-creating an empire of oily orthodox mother roosha.

Ukraine already has a democracy. It may be fierce, it may be flawed, but it is a democracy, and it is developing rapidly.

These morons want to throw all of that under the bus as a sacrifice to Roosha, and suck up to Pootler, and the basis that even though any good will probably not come out of it, it's somehow "worth the risk."

It defies any rational, logical thought.

Leopolis said...

Elmer and Taras,

I am as pro-Ukraine as anyone. But our policy toward Russia is in desperate need of revision.

The experts and self-invited panels may have interesting insights but the lack of authority (washed-up former officials) and too much wishful thinking is bothersome. Keep in mind that there is a power vacuum inside State, Treasury, Energy, Defense, Commerce, etc. since top-level picks dealing with Russia policy are now just starting to gel. In the meantime, we have the amateurs. It will pass.

elmer said...

It looks like the report was bought and paid for - by Deripaska.

http://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/editorial-deripaska-buys-himself-a-senator/

Taras said...

Thank you for the follow-up comment, Leopolis!

The sooner the U.S. government fills this vacuum with competent people — as opposed to quid-pro-Kremlinites — the more value it will create in the region.


Thank you for the link, Elmer!

Looks like Deripaska is learning from some of our philanthroligarchs, eh?