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Much has been made in the media about the Ukrainian government, if there is such a thing, 'invoking' the Budapest Memorandum as if it were a real military treaty. As I've pointed out much in the comments, this is false. It is not a treaty, has no effect of law that binds the United States to anything. It is merely a statement of diplomatic policy that continues at the whim of the consensus of the leaders that are party to it.

But if you want to see what a real, absolutely legal, ratified by the Senate, clear as day military alliance treaty really looks like, look no further than Lithuania:

Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania's foreign minister, responded on Saturday by invoking Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, whereby NATO member states consult one another if their territorial integrity or political independence is threatened, for only the fourth time in the alliance's history (Ukraine is not a NATO member).
Poland and Latvia have done so as well, as is their right under the North Atlantic Treaty.

So far, there are no indications that NATO allies are at risk from attack by Russia. But should such a thing happen, as hysterical commentary alleges, the United States is duty bound by the Constitution to defend its NATO allies.

NATO ARTICLE 5:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
US CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 6 (Supremacy Clause):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
US CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 2, SECTION 2:
He (the President) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY RATIFICATION BY THE SENATE:
The Senate gave its advice and consent to the North Atlantic Treaty on July 21, 1949, by a vote of 82-13.
The only way this country is going to be automatically at war with anybody is if we or our treaty allies are attacked or face an imminent, immediate danger to our or their security.

None of these facts apply to Ukraine, which is not a NATO member and has no legal military alliance or defense pact with the United States of any kind. The Budapest Memorandum carries nothing even close to the language that you see above with respect to a real defense treaty. Therefore, the United States is not obligated to defend Ukraine by any reading of American Law.

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Comment Preferences

  •  facts! amazing! (8+ / 0-)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:19:09 AM PST

  •  Thanks bbb (4+ / 0-)

    there's a lot of misinformation and high emotion running around right now. It's good to have some clear light on the subject.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:21:37 AM PST

  •  And......the Black Sea is more like a lake. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi
  •  What does Hilary say about it? She was SoS . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, kharma, FarWestGirl

    Let's check on that . . . Here's her State Dept release from February 2011

    The United States reconfirmed that the 1994 Budapest Memorandum security assurances remain in effect, and agreed to hold bilateral consultations with Ukraine on security assurances.
    I can check further . . .

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:33:47 AM PST

    •  You'll want the link > > > > > (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kharma, FarWestGirl

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:35:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't matter what she says. (6+ / 0-)

        The law is the law.

        •  It was wrapped into the START Treaty . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kharma, FarWestGirl

          but I don't think you want to know facts. That link I provided isn't just what Hilary says. It's policy posted on the State Dept website.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:02:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The START Treaty is not a defense pact, (7+ / 0-)

            first of all. And second of all, the very document you link to is all about the removal of nuclear weapons and the normal, ordinary diplomacy the United States conducts with all nations.

            Once again, if you are looking for a legal angle by which the United States is obligated to come to the defense of Ukraine, you're going to be hard pressed to find one. Because there isn't one. Not that we didn't try of course:

            "Regarding NATO, let me say very clearly: Ukraine is a sovereign and independent country that has the right to choose your own alliances," Clinton told Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko.

            "NATO'S door remains open but it is up to Ukraine to decide whether or not you wish to pursue that or any other course for your own security interests," she added.

            The vehicle by which Ukraine would get a security guarantee is NATO. The United States and its NATO allies would welcome Ukraine into NATO and still can, provided it has some form of legitimate government, which it does not now have. But as of today, as of the time Ukraine overthrew its Democratically elected government, and at the time Russia intervened military to protect its interests, no such instrument of defense exists or existed.
            •  Exactly. If Ukraine were a NATO member, all bets (4+ / 0-)

              would be off, and military intervention obligated by treaty. But it is not, and while the tenor of support for Ukraine still applies, the U.S. gov't is under no official, treaty obligation. However, there is, as always, the delicate issue of diplomatic optics and soft power. Putin is daring us to do more than condemn this, and it's still a very dangerous situation, I'm sure you and everyone else would agree.

              "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by Kombema on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:26:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  might help explicitly to separate the points (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Onomastic, FarWestGirl

              (1) The Budapest Memorandum isn't a treaty.

              (2) The "security assurances" in the BM don't obligate the U.S. to treat an attack on Ukraine as an attack on itself. Mostly they pledge the parties not to encroach on Ukraine. (Point 4 seems to pledge the parties to seek Security Council assistance if Ukraine is subjected to or threatened with nuclear attack.)

              So, really, I don't think (1) matters much.

              "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

              by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:31:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure what you're implying or assuming (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kharma

              about what I'm trying to do regarding Ukraine's defense.

              There's a record that can be checked in the diaries I posted on DK about Ukraine. It's a cluster to be avoided.

              Being a Budapest Memorandum denialist doesn't help us avoid this cluster. Especially when all of the parties involved have re-affirmed it and its binding nature numerous times.

              Russia signed it and issued a joint statement about it with President Obama. The Budapest Memorandum is the basis for diplomatic negotiation with Russia to adhere to the terms. The signatories are almost  the same one that negotiated the nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran. They can find a peaceful agreement for this too.

              There is no existence without doubt.

              by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:53:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think anyone says it's an (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kharma

              'obligation' to use force. At least, here at DKos. No idea if McCain's claiming it

              The document does commit the US to acting, in some manner, if Ukraine's territorial integrity is threatened. The commitment has little or nothing to  do with the Ukraine itself. It's a commitment of the US to act on behalf of states that give up nukes.

              I think you've pretty much run down this hobby horse of the US 'invading' the Ukraine. Move onto what's actually occurring.

              •  The folks who keep saying its a treaty, (3+ / 0-)

                and we're obligated to defend, and blah blah blah...they're the ones this diary is meant to push back on. As a policy matter, I quite clearly have stated I don't really give a shit about Ukraine. But I can separate that from a clear reading of what our obligations are.

                I don't like how easily Americans like going around getting militarily involved in other people's problems. I'll push back every time with what voice I have in the matter.

                So far, I think the president has done just fine. Use diplomatic pressures whenever reasonable. Reassure our NATO allies of our total commitment to their defense. And otherwise leave the Russians to stew in their own fuck up.

                •  So we're pretty much on the same page (0+ / 0-)

                  except maybe for how intense that diplomatic/economic/social pressure should be. Me, I'd suggest as antagonizing as possible. It's not like Putin is going to invade NATO or us in retaliation.

                  •  I would do the opposite, actually. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wednesday Bizzare

                    Quite frankly I'd let him have the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine if it wants it. Hell, he can have the whole damn country. I'd throw the Budapest Memo in the trash. It isn't law. Fuck em.

                    But what I would encourage, however, is slow bleed. Because I think Russia is getting itself into a quagmire of Iraq like proportions. If we can weaken Russia with an extended quagmire, it helps us in dealing with the country that should be our real foreign policy concern, China.

                    Russia did this because its weak, not strong. We release the oil reserves, half the price of oil and Russia is dead broke in 30 days.

                    China. China is the real threat.

                •  Oh, and I do think we're obligated (0+ / 0-)

                  just not militarily.

        •  and what is a "security assurance" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Involuntary Exile

          anyway? nothing in that statement suggests an obligation to take military action.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:44:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  security assurances are not a treaty (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kombema, Involuntary Exile

      they're assurances, which we can bow out of at any time.

      Do you understand the difference between something the executive is obligated to do by the law of the land, and an executive policy he can change by executive order at any time?

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:54:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Our assurance was that we would not attack Ukraine (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, Reston history guy

        not that we would defend them.

          •  Please don't link to a nut like larouche (6+ / 0-)

            there are plenty of other links to the document.

            I've read it carefully and its quite clear what our assurances are should Ukraine be attacked: it is a matter for the UN Security Council. Not us.

            •  It references the CSCE.... (0+ / 0-)

              ...which is incorporated by reference. Have you read those too?

              •  Yes, quite clearly. (3+ / 0-)

                While Ukraine never signed the Helsinki Accords, the memo clearly states, as the Accords did, that the United States would RESPECT the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Well, we have done so. We have not occupied or attacked it.

                But what it does not do, which a mutual defense agreement would, is spell out that the United States would DEFEND such integrity.

                •  You're reading it wrong. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kharma

                  The memo has a specific plank dealing with military intervention. So, it would be redundant to read the "territorial integrity" plank as solely relating to an agreement not to invade or use military force in a way contrary to Ukrainian sovereignty.

                  Therefore, it is an implicit agreement -- especially given that it was also signed by Russia -- to guarantee Ukraine's territorial integrity from outside actors, especially the signatories of the memorandum.

                  In any case, it is open to enough interpretation to legally justify military action by the US to defend Ukraine. Which, in any case, is probably moot if the Ukrainian interim government and parliament specifically asks for US help. Clearly, it is legally permissible under international law to come to the aid of a state that is requesting help.

                  The only importance if the Budapest memorandum is that it gives the US grounds under international law to intervene. Something it did not have in Syria.

                  •  No, you wish I were reading it wrong. (2+ / 0-)

                    Here are the parts that deal with military intervention:

                    The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 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.
                    Seek action from the UN Security Council to provide assistance. We've done that.

                    And there is this:

                    The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm, in the case of the Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a state in association or alliance with a nuclear weapon state.
                    We promise not to nuke them. We haven't.

                    That's about the size of it. I'm not reading it wrong, I'm reading it quite clearly. Because if it were a mutual defense pact, it would read a lot more like Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and not like what you see above.

      •  The START Treaty is where the provisions of the (0+ / 0-)

        Budapest Memorandum were codified into law.

        Whenever resistance to factual information became a Progressive value is indeed one memo I did not get.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:18:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you referring to the (0+ / 0-)

          original START treaty that expired in 2009, or the New START treaty signed in 2010? The only references I see to Ukraine, which was not a signatory to New START since it had already given up its nuclear weapons, are in the preamble section:

          Recognizing that the START Treaty has been implemented by
          the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the
          Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States of America,
          and that the reduction levels envisaged by the START Treaty
          were achieved,
          Deeply appreciating the contribution of the Republic of
          Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to nuclear
          disarmament and to strengthening international peace and
          security as non-nuclear-weapon states under the Treaty on the
          Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of July 1, 1968,

          Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:37:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  But the influx of refugees into Poland IS a NATO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, Kombema

    issue, as is Polish security.

    And if I recall correctly, there is little love lost between the Poles and the Russians (or Germans, for that matter).

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:54:19 AM PST

  •  No, the memorandum is NOT legally binding (4+ / 0-)

    under the Constitution as it is not a treaty duly ratified by the Senate.  As for it how binding it is under international law, that is a thornier question.  The customary nature of international law encourages states to uphold agreements (whether or not they are treaties) entered into freely.

    But, the point regarding the Budapest Memorandum is not whether or not it is legally binding, but whether it is morally binding on us.  What effect will not living up to its guarantees have on our ability to utilize soft power in other places?  That is where the whole thing gets even murkier.

    I don't pretend to have the answers to those thornier issues.  Only wish to point out that the significance of the Budapest Memorandum goes beyond the fact that it is not legally binding.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:02:19 AM PST

    •  That is a valid, albeit lesser question. A policy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kombema

      matter for the President to deal with. As a matter of 'upholding our standing' in the world, for example, the memo itself could be construed, as a political matter, as something that requires the U.S. to have some sort of response. Well, as a political and policy matter, the United States is responding. With condemnations and sternly worded letters and hostile phonecalls. Possibly beefier action on the diplomatic front could occur.

      But as a military and Constitutional matter, the moral imperative is clear: We are under no obligation to defend Ukraine. Period. That is the idea this diary is meant to push back against.

      •  A distinction without a difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JWK

        Whether the US has a legal obligation under US law (it does, arguably under International law) to defend Ukraine is a separate question from whether it is morally and ethically obligated to do so, given that the President promised the US would do so.

        If the United States argues that it has no legal obligation to defend Ukraine as an excuse to throw Ukraine under the bus, that tremendously damages US credibility across the board. Why should any country assume we'd defend them, unless we have a treaty obligation to do so? Israel, I'm sure, is really thrilled by that prospect.

        There is no formal defense treaty or pact between Israel and the United States. There are a lot of informal "agreements" similar to the Budapest memo, however.

        •  Wrong. Israel is an MNNA. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson

          The President made no such promise. And that is the idea this diary is meant to push back against. A president would be insane to make such a promise because such a promise is extremely difficult to keep. If such a promise were made, it would be made through NATO and not unilaterally. NATO has made no such promise either.

          There is no formal defense treaty or pact between Israel and the United States. There are a lot of informal "agreements" similar to the Budapest memo, however.
          You'd be wrong on that front. Israel is, by statute authorized by the Nunn Amendment, a legally recognized Major Non-NATO Ally. It calls for extensive security cooperation, ability to supply them with weapons if attacked, and other arrangements. The Nunn Amendment stated in its language that it would have the effect of a treaty and passed by the requisite 2/3ds vote.

          And even this does not compel the United States to come to Israel's defense if attacked. Israel, in fact, has been attacked by its neighbors over the years since its creation and the United States did send forces to her aid.

          •  Exactly my point. (0+ / 0-)

            There is NO US legal obligation to defend Israel. None. It is totally discretionary.

            Just like the Budapest memorandum.

            So, again, my point is that if the US declines to defend Ukraine, it cannot be relied upon to defend ANY ally that it does not have a binding treaty obligation requiring it to do so.

            You don't think Bibi Netanyahu is carefully watching how we handle this thing? What if a US defense guarantee is part of any final agreement between Iran and Israel? What if it's not a treaty obligation? Why should he believe it will be honored?

            •  No, not 'just like.' (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bootsykronos

              Total opposite of.

              Once again, the United States did not send forces to defend Israel in ANY of her wars. It was not obligated to and did not.

              The question as to can the United States defend Ukraine should it choose to obvious. We invade countries all the time whenever we feel like it. But Ukraine, and her friends, are saying we are OBLIGATED to under this memorandum. That is, and you seem to agree, false.

              On a final note, Israel is a nation perfectly capable of her own self-defense and it isn't in US interests to be a party to her foreign policy problems.

              •  Keep on beating up that straw man. (0+ / 0-)

                I AGREE with you that there is no binding legal obligation on the part of the United States to come to the defense of Ukraine.

                Just as there is no binding legal obligation for the United States to defend Israel.

                That's the point.

                If we use our discretion and let Ukraine rot, we are sending a signal to every other country  like Israel -- with whom we do not have a mutual defense pact -- that you can't trust us.

        •  Furthermore, Israel has sought membership (0+ / 0-)

          in NATO, which would compel a defense pact with the United States, but such membership has been consistently opposed in the Senate and among other NATO members. And rightly so.

      •  Another point (4+ / 0-)

        is that this:

        The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 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.
        Doesn't take the form of an agreement to act alone.  It lays out that the obligation is to take it to the UN.  Which Obama already did.

        As for dropping the escalating steps back from thermonuclear war, I think that expelling Russian non-immigrant visa holders is a plausible next step.  Global elites send their children to American universities.  Why not send them home as a message?

        Yet, this probably won't be on the table, because it makes our own oligarchs nervous.  If money can't buy privilege , what's the point of having it.

        Forgive me if I'm jaded, my nephew just told me that he's joining the military yesterday.  It's the way he gets to go to college.  Rich man's war, poor man's fight, I know where my boy will be.  And I'll be damned if I'm going to take the march to war lying down.  

        http://www.economicpopulist.org

        by ManfromMiddletown on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:37:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think in context, the least likely outcome is (0+ / 0-)

      that there's a lot of concern about the UNITED STATES living up to international agreements and moral obligations.  

      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

      by Inland on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:24:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Laws, treaties, constitutions, memoranda... (0+ / 0-)

    ...we know they're all just baselines for word smithing for whoever's whatever plans du jour, but the media and blogs really should try to contain the lust for a bloody brink...but they prefer to bait and bluster about brinksmanship when there are real lives at stake. Thanks, bbb.

  •  The US isn't legally OBLIGATED by it, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    ...the memorandum does give the US justification under international law for taking action.

    Of course, if the US fails to honor the memorandum, it has now signalled that its promise to protect the territorial integrity of countries doesn't mean diddly squat; treaty or no treaty.

  •  No, it's not legally binding that we respond (0+ / 0-)

    especially in a military sense.  

    But we convinced the third largest nuclear power in the world to give up all of its nuclear weapons in exchange for assurances that there would be a response - which I think is playing out right now.

    Imagine if other nuclear, or wannabe nuclear powers, get told that we will assure that no one will violate their sovereignty if they give up their weapons, and they see Russia entering the Ukraine with no consequences.  Why would they give them up?  Sounds a bit like Iran to me.

    So, no, there's not a direct treaty.  But there is a need, and it's in our interest, to purse the actions we can take.

    "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

    by anonevent on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:25:06 AM PST

  •  Of course not. If it was, we would be already at (0+ / 0-)

    war with Russia.

  •  Ya know, (and this is sorta tangential) (0+ / 0-)

    with any country that is as plugged into the world economy as Russia is, economic pressure is a hell of a big deal, if it can be coordinated.

    While there's a quote going around about Russia taking 19th century actions in a 21rst century world, a military response would equally be a 19th century response.  With any global economy country, economics can be as damaging as any military response.

  •  the white house (0+ / 0-)

    has total flexibility on ukraine. whatever one may think it ought to do, it is not bound to do anything.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:42:44 AM PST

  •  Here's the actual Memorandum (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheMomCat, Eric Nelson
    Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the NPT

    Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons sign by Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America
    ...
    Confirm the following:

    1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America 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;

    2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

    3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

    4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 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;

    5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;

    6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

    This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.

  •  The lesson here is a simple one for those in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb

    bleachers:

    1. Don't give up any weapons (indeed, don't give up anything of value) if the only security guarantee for doing so flows through the United Nations.

    2. The words "commitment" and "obligation" don't necessarily mean to others what they mean to you.

    3. The United States is no longer the captain of the team, and it's willingness and ability to provide meaningful diplomatic, military, or economic guarantees are not to be taken at face value, regardless of stated intentions.

    •  iran (0+ / 0-)

      is taking notes

    •  this is hardly a new thing in diplomacy (0+ / 0-)

         I can't remember which Austrian diplomat said it, but after Russian troops helped the Austrian monarchy crush the rebels of 1848 he was asked what the Austrian state now owed the Russians. His response: "We shall astonish the world with our ingratitude." Promises made by diplomats and even heads of state have always--and always will have--an implicit asterisk. "We promise to do x, y, and z." *      *until it is not convenient for us to do so.    One could make a very very long list of treaties which were broken on one pretext or another with little or no advance warning. Because the Constitution puts treaty obligations on a par with other constitutional provisions, the United States has always taken a far more serious and legalistic view of diplomatic relations than other nations.
           But we have no legal obligation to defend Ukraine, though we are free to do so in a manner of our own choosing if we wish. (and to suffer the consequences of our acts) As far as the credibility argument--I was sure that the endless use of that argument to defend continuing the war in Vietnam year after dreary year had discredited it once and for all. I was wrong. It's as if no one can remember the dire predictions of loss of our credibility as a world power in the 70s followed shortly thereafter by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
           

      "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

      by Reston history guy on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 02:10:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, McCain and others pushing this idea.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..is counter productive with perhaps even worse results:

    McCain: "Russia’s own commitments to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum."

     - emphasis added

    As usual from the neo-cons, troops are the answer (if you dissect the neo-con language that puts eveything on the table while eliminating any & all peaceful solutions)  according to Bill Kristol (who defended himself this weekend on MTP against past accusations of "imperialism" - Kristol himself brought up the accusation). McCain is right there with the troops 'solution'
    On Saturday, the day after President Obama addressed the nation on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made a statement. As per his usual self, McCain made sure to undermine the President regarding his foreign policy strategy. At the same time, he pushed for the US to commit to sending troops into Ukraine and confronting Russia directly.
    so thx for pointing this memorandum meme out. It seems to me that trying to corner Putin in this fashion and clouding things up (with partisan neo-con agenda) will make negotiations less likely to succeed not more.
      If Ukraine is ever going to get a chance to join the EU and then maybe NATO eventually.
    "European integration" is still part of Ukraine's national security strategy and co-operation with NATO was not excluded.[6] Ukraine considers its relations with NATO as a partnership.[7][8] Ukraine and NATO still hold joint seminars and joint tactical and strategical exercises and operations
  •  "Not our monkey, not our circus" n/t (0+ / 0-)

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