Upcoming Events 2019
US-UA Security Dialogue X
Washington, DC
February 28, 2019
UA HES Special Event:
Sobornist' at 100
Ukrainian Museum
May 4, 2019   
US-UA BNS Special Event
Washington DC
May 23, 2019
US-UA WG Yearly Summit VI
Washington, DC
June 13, 2019

US-UA Energy Dialogue VI
Kyiv, Ukraine
August 29, 2019 
UA HES Special Event:
UA-AM Community at 125
Princeton Club/NY
September 21, 2019 
Washington, DC
October 10, 2019
LT-PL-UA Relations
November 9, 2019   

CUSUR 2016 - Project I
US-UA “Working Group” Initiative

The US-Ukraine “Working Group” Initiative was launched in 2007 in order to secure an array of experts in "areas of interest” for CUSUR and its various forums/proceedings; at the same time, it was hoped that the ‘experts’ might agree to write a series of ‘occasional papers’ to identify “major issues” impacting on US-Ukrainian relations.
CUSUR 2017 - Project II
Publication Efforts

Recognizing the urgent need to set up proper channels for the maximum circulation of the information/analysis CUSUR possessed or had at its disposal, the Center long focused on having ‘a publication presence’ of some form or another.
CUSUR 2018 - Project III
DC Occasional Briefings Series

CUSUR did not turn its attention to having a DC presence until summer 2012. Borrowing space when the need arose (particularly for various forum steering committees meetings) from the American Foreign Policy Council, its longest abiding partner, seemed to suffice; an Acela ride from the Center’s NY office did the rest. If there was a concern, it was to open an office in Kyiv.
NATO Requirements Met? "Shared Values" Standard III

Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VII:
"Ukraine and NATO Membership"

Has Ukraine Met the "External Political Requirements" for NATO Membership?
The "Shared Values" Standard

Carlos Pascual

Plenary remarks by Ambassador Carlos Pascual, Vice President of the Foreign Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, delivered during Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VII: "Ukraine and NATO Membership" Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington DC, October 17, 2006.

I think Bruce and Yuri have done a terrific job of setting the foundations for the discussion of both the importance of domestic leadership, which I think is fundamentally the key to what’s going to happen with Ukraine. I would say that in fact, if there is one thing that you take away from this panel is that the make or break difference in Ukraine's position on NATO is going to revolve around what happens on domestic issues leadership. That is a fundamental issue. I wonder, Bruce, if you actually ever gave your wife the list of those criteria which determine a marriage… because surely she would not have married you if that were the case. (Whispered warning: Bruce: Do not try this at home). Fortunately he’s my friend; we can be frank about these things.

Let me try to offer a few things that might be helpful to complement what the two speakers have said because I think they have done an outstanding job of putting on the table some core matters that are at stake. If I were to translate some of Bruce's values into a few key points, I would highlight the following criteria for NATO membership.

First… Do you want to join and are you willing to communicate it? The most fundamental point: “You’ve got to ask for it; you’ve got to want it!!!” Second… "Do you have a democratic government and, equally, an effective government?" When some one looks at your government, will they actually claim that it is a government that seems to really function in a predictable and practical way. Thirdly, do you have a market economy? Fourthly, is there commitment to the rule of law and to using that rule of law to fight corruption. Fifth, is there civilian control of the military? Sixth, do you respect your neighbors? And finally seventh, is there an active civil society in your country which provides a check and balance on government?

If you look at those seven criteria, and these aren’t written anywhere in any NATO handbook, I think they are the common sense of what has emerged with NATO over time. I also think they are consistent with the values that Bruce has laid out. Five of those seven really have to do with domestic policy issues and hence the next point… the importance of leadership again. Let me simply say that unless there is clarity on the part of the government on how there is a merger between international policy, or foreign-policy, and domestic policy, the whole process isn’t going to go forward. Just as a point for background. I think it's interesting to remember and I don't know if everybody recognizes this. Ukraine first declared its interest, its aspiration to become a member of NATO, in May of 2002, in a decision that was set forth in a statement that was issued by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council under President Kuchma. Mr. Marchuk was at that time the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Counsel; our friend, Leonid Kozhara, who just stepped out this moment, was at that point, Senior Advisor to President Kuchma. So, in essence, this is actually something which has been on the table for some period of time. It has gone through the Kolchuha tapes, a NATO summit which set out to exclude President Kuchma, the deployment of Ukrainian troops to Iraq and the East-West divide which occurred during the presidential elections in November 2004, the euphoria of the Orange Revolution, the collapse of the first Orange Revolution government, the disappointment that was expressed in governmental efforts in the parliamentary elections of March of this year and the inability to form a government for a period of four months after those elections.

In this context, I think that the good news is that the fact that NATO is still an issue for debate, that it's even on the table; that is the good news.

The disappointment is that if, indeed, even in April of this year, there had been the capacity to form a government after the parliamentary elections, and if that government had sent a letter to Ukraine saying that it wished to be considered for Membership Action Plan… even leaving the possibility of a referendum later that would be the basis for joining NATO, not a referendum for Membership Action Plan, but a referendum for joining NATO… NATO would have issued an invitation to Ukraine, for a Membership Action Plan at the Summit, which will take place in Riga in November, and that opportunity has now been lost.

And I think it's important for everybody to recognize that, because regaining that ground is going to be all the more difficult. There was a peak of interest, a peak of commitment and the opportunity was lost. And hence I would disagree with Bruce and just one thing that he said. He said the debate on shared values is about to begin in Ukraine. In a sense, the Orange Revolution and what happened in the Maidan was a debate on those shared values. It was a demonstration of a political commitment to a country which is integrated with Europe, in which people have the opportunity to have a voice in their future. That was a statement on shared values, which was made by hundreds of thousands of people in a very powerful way. And it could not have been more demonstrable than it took place on the Maidan at that point. Once again, Ukrainians are going to have to come back and convince the international community that they are committed to that vision of the future.

I think that Bruce and Ambassador Scherbak and earlier Ambassador Shamsur and Deputy Foreign Minister Khandohiy did a good job of describing what some of the assets are for Ukraine: a democratic practice, civilian control of the military, a strong civil society, a vibrant media, a resilient economy, which amazingly now is on a path to grow at about 5% despite the political turmoil of this year.

And interestingly with Russia, one of the dynamics which often doesn't get noticed is that, as Russia has moved toward international gas prices and as those gas prices will become a reality for Ukraine within a period of one or two years, in the oligarch community, there has arisen a recognition that the special relationship with Russia has changed. There is no longer a way to maintain the same kind of relationship for the benefit of preferential gas prices; in fact, that history is over. And so increasingly even what you see among the oligarchs of Ukraine is a willingness to turn to a European market and a global market in which to compete and not just have Ukrainian- Russian market of special privilege. That situation internally within Ukraine creates an opportunity… although it is still a complicated one. It is complicated because among many of the older oligarchs, there is still a very strong concern of not angering Russia and, in effect, in doing so, closing out Ukrainian products from the Russian market. I suspect that my colleagues will speak more about these issues in the next panel.

Now, where are some of the real weaknesses? I think that, again, it's important to understand this void in leadership; you know there was a collapse of the first Orange Revolution government. The second Orange Revolution government was listless, it was impossible to get a decision for four months on a coalition. It's been extremely difficult for President Yushchenko to hold a party together and in fact, some would argue that he hasn't been able to hold a presidential administration together. And so if all of those things have been the case, where is the leadership that has to be provided for the country right now? All this is complicated further, as I said, because if you look at both NATO and the European Union, the majority of the issues that are affecting your ability to be considered seriously have to deal with domestic policy. So, one can say that President Yushchenko is responsible for foreign-policy, but it means nothing, unless there is an understanding between the president and the prime minister on how the fundamental issues of domestic policy are going to be handled. There needs to be an ability on the part of the political leadership of the country to put politics behind policy or policy over politics. And there hasn't been a capacity to do that yet.

This was a characteristic during the Kuchma period. We also saw that in the Zinchenko, Poroshenko and Tymoshenko debate in the first government of the Orange Revolution. There was a bit of a freeze on this during the Yekhanurov government. But even now there is a seeming identification of different political factions with different oligarchs and the danger is whether or not those associations between political factions and oligarchs are going to become the dominant factors on how policy is being defined in within the country. In other words: “Is Mr. Akhmetov the principal force behind policy for Prime Minister Yanykovych?”. “Has the Industrial Union of the Donbas, especially with the changes in the Presidential Administration, become the dominant political force for President Yushchenko?” “Has Mr. Kolomojsky and Pryvat bank become the dominant political force and how Julia Tymoshenko will guide her policy?” Hryhoriy [ed.- Nemyria] is already moaning “How can that could be?” But I think that these are some of the questions that have to be asked. Where will the impetus for policy come from and how will these be played out in a domestic context?

I think that there is also a critical need to recognize that it is a much more difficult Western climate in which to operate right now. In Europe there has been essentially a void of leadership. And that void of leadership is going to continue. Look at the big three countries UK, France and Germany. In France and the UK there will be a change in political leadership. In Germany, Angela Merkel has certainly provided a much more balanced, I think, foundation of leadership than existed under Schroeder, but still Germany's perspective is principally focused on its relationship with Russia. And to the extent to which Ukraine is seen as an irritant in that relationship, particularly on energy issues, Germany's perspective is going to be: "We really have no time for Ukraine as a central partner in our relationship." So, among those three, there's no willingness on the part of France, the UK or Germany to play a leadership role in pressing for Ukraine's “European future” in either NATO or the EU.

Poland, I think, is a big issue, because, since President Kwasniewski has left, their influence throughout Europe has radically diminished. So, even though Poland continues to press hard for Ukraine, that pressure has seriously decreased in importance. On the part of the United States, you've all seen public opinion polls in the EU reports which we've seen on the United States. In those public opinion polls. the views toward the United States are remarkably negative and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the United States to play an effective leader whether in the European context or Euro Atlantic or NATO context.

Above that, Europe is absolutely saturated with the process of digesting the last enlargement and dealing with the issue of Turkey as well. And so it is an extraordinarily difficult environment in which to work and the disarray internally within Ukraine essentially is providing Europe the excuse it wants, to essentially wash its hands and say Ukraine can't figure out its own future. You know the story: “It's not for us to come in and play a leadership role with Ukraine because they have to get their act together”. And so both sides are playing negatively against one and other. In that context, what I would do is come back to just reinforce a couple of points.

First, Yuriy Scherbak’s point about the importance of an future understanding between the president and the prime minister needs to be fully understood. A comment about the steep price of division was shared by me a little bit earlier; I think that it really is only those two who can now come to that understanding of how they want to lead and guide and manage the country.

The second issue is on WTO. It may not seem something that is part of a NATO agenda, but it is fundamentally a signal about Ukraine's willingness to integrate with the global community. If the president and the prime minister support this, they not only should say it, they should have a joint agenda, they should lobby together, they should have a joint strategy with one and other.

On corruption, both the president and the prime minister have an opportunity to stand together and say that they will have a zero tolerance for corruption and put forward certain symbolic actions. For example, the 20 largest firms should have their tax liabilities and payments posted publicly, so that everybody can see them and everybody will know and understand whether there is political favoritism in the administration of tax policy.

On the rule of law, it was mentioned earlier, the importance of having an aggressive program on judicial reform can not be stressed enough. Certainly this has been a problem waiting for a solution for a long period of time.

Energy is a crucial, crucial issue. The next president of the EU in January of next year and the next president of the G-8 will be Germany. The biggest issue on Germany's agenda will be energy and if Ukraine does not take this issue on seriously and demonstrate that it can deal with energy issues on a level of transparency with which it can be trusted in European markets, it will hurt itself terribly in its credibility—in making a bid for credibility with its European partners.

And finally then I would come back to the question of civil society. It is been Ukraine's strength. It needs to be maintained as a strength. There needs to be close monitoring to ensure that that civil society has the space to be vibrant. But there are some tough questions that have to be asked about whether [inaudible] or whether there is a need to get on with some of the basic issues of governance that people are calling for… because, in fact, the people's interest right now is simply seeing a government that can actually function.

Perhaps the greatest need is for that government to get in partnership with the president, to set a clear agenda, to begin acting on it, to demonstrate actions such as WTO and on corruption and with that to create a little bit of momentum that can allow for greater space for discussing international issues that would give people a sense of credibility that government’s focus international agenda doesn't need to be contradictory with addressing some of the basic needs that they have as citizens of Ukraine. Thank you.


Past Highlight Events

RT XVII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XVII: Ukraine & Religious Freedom, held in Washington, DC on Oct. 27, 2016
UA HES SE: UA 25th B-Day
Highlights from UA HES Special Event: 'Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Modern Ukrainian State', held at the NY Princeton Club on Sept. 17, 2016
US-UA WG YS IV Highlights
Highlights from US-UA WG Yearly Summit IV: Providing Ukraine with an Annual Report Card, held at the University Club in Washington, DC on June 16, 2016
US-UA SD VII Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue VII held on February 25, 2016 in Washington DC
UA HES SE: WW2 Legacy
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: 'Contested Ground': The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe, held in Edmonton on October 23-24, 2015
Holodomor SE Highlights
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, held at the Princeton Club of NY on November 5-6, 2013
US-UA SD III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue III held on May 19, 2012 in Chicago, IL

  • Former UA Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko's keynote
UEAF Forum VI Highlights
Highlights from UEAF Forum VI, held in Ottawa, Canada on March 7-8, 2012
RT XII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XII: PL-UA & TR-UA, held in Washington, DC on Oct 19–20, 2011
US-UA ED III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue III, held in Washington DC
on April 15-16, 2008
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