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.
US Perspective on UA's Accession to NATO Membership

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

Ukraine's Accession to NATO Membership—A US Perspective

Senior Administration Official

Keynote address by a Senior United States Government Official, 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 18, 2006.

Good afternoon. I want to thank the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations and other conference organizers for the opportunity to be here. I welcome all of you to Washington, especially those of you here from Ukraine, for this important discussion about your country's future.

My State Department colleague Kurt Volker sends his regrets for having to miss this event today. However it is apt that I have stepped in for him as Kurt and I have a history of close collaboration on NATO. Kurt and I have both worked in the State Department's NATO office. We have both spent time in countries which were aspiring to join the Alliance. I succeeded Kurt as Deputy Director of the Private Office of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, and then followed Kurt to the National Security Council staff where we were colleagues working to improve transatlantic relations and ensure NATO's enlargement process continued.

I am passionate about Ukraine and its future, and find it an honor to be part of team that is able to help the people of Ukraine achieve a brighter future. Although, perhaps like many of you, I must also acknowledge that I have often found myself frustrated working on Ukraine.

But I remain optimistic about Ukraine's future because I have confidence in the power of the vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. We have seen the tremendous allure and success of this vision as it has become a reality in much of Central Europe and increasingly the Balkans. I believe Ukraine will also find a home in a Euro-Atlantic community bound together by shared values and interests.

This means that I am also optimistic about Ukraine's ultimate prospects for NATO membership. NATO's performance-based enlargement process has been a historic success in strengthening the Alliance and advancing freedom and democracy. The enlargement processes of both NATO and the European Union, while distinct, motivate countries to pursue difficult democratic, market and defense reforms.

The door to NATO membership remains open and the United States continues to support the enlargement of the Alliance. But the decision to pursue membership is Ukraine's alone, and Ukraine must set the pace. Enlargement has always been a demand-driven process. I firmly believe that Ukraine's future lies in Europe, as a prosperous, democratic country working with all of its neighbors to expand freedom and security in Europe and beyond. And the United States is committed to helping Ukraine achieve that future.

In this context, it is clear that NATO membership remains a strategic objective of Ukraine even if it is not the agenda at this fall's Riga Summit. While the timeline for seeking membership may be extended, we commend the Government of Ukraine for committing to address the issue of low public support for NATO membership. Strong public support is crucial to success in joining the Alliance. And public support depends on a realistic understanding of the advantages and responsibilities of NATO membership.

We therefore expect Ukraine to follow through on its intentions to pursue a credible public information campaign to address the biases and misunderstandings of the Alliance among many in Ukraine, something I suspect is a legacy of Cold War rhetoric.

We also welcome signals that Ukraine will continue to deepen its cooperation with NATO, including participation in operations. Those currently include national contributions funded by Ukraine to NATO efforts in Kosovo and Darfur. In the coming months, Ukraine plans to contribute a frigate to NATO's Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean and provide specialists to NATO's operation in Afghanistan. And Ukraine still has nearly 50 trainers and staff officers working in Iraq. So Ukraine is already working hard to expand freedom and security in Europe and beyond with its NATO partners, and we very much appreciate that.

We also continue to build cooperation with Ukraine through the NATO-Ukraine Commission, the Joint Working Group on Defense Reform, Partnership for Peace Trust Fund projects helping to destroying excess munitions, and a NATO-supported resettlement and retraining Center to assist with the transition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Now, we expect to work with the Government of Ukraine to deepen this practical engagement with the Alliance.

I think everyone here would agree that the Ukrainian public currently lacks sufficient information to make an informed decision about NATO, and I am confident that this conference will contribute to that educational process. The first step in this process is to ensure that average Ukrainians understand what NATO is and, perhaps more importantly, what it isn't.

For the United States, NATO is the premier political-military strategic Alliance and, we believe, the most successful and most promising Alliance in history. NATO is at the core of an increasingly global democratic security community. NATO is the United States' primary forum for strategic dialogue with Europe. When Europe and America act together on security and defense, we act through NATO. Our leaders increasingly turn to NATO when they want to get something done, and we intend to ensure that NATO can accomplish its missions. For these reasons, at NATO's Summit in Riga this November, the United States would like to see NATO deepen its capabilities for current and future operations, and enhance its global reach to meet today's demands.

NATO's Core Accomplishments

Ukrainian audiences need to understand NATO's three fundamental accomplishments over the past fifty-eight years. NATO's first and most obvious accomplishment was helping end the Cold War, and allowing for the creation of a Europe whole, free and at peace. NATO united the transatlantic community, allowing it to stand against an existential threat.

In a period of time when Europe was divided, NATO was the means by which we gathered the democratic allies from World War II to form a permanent alliance to stand together for freedom, democracy, and other values we share. Our goal was to strengthen and protect our societies so that we could withstand the challenges that we faced.

It took a long time. And although it wasn't NATO that pushed over the Berlin Wall or that drove the Communist Party of the Soviet Union out of power, it was NATO that guaranteed basic security, making the political and economic development of Europe possible, and creating the transatlantic democratic community we see today.

In this context, it is important to emphasize that NATO has always been a defensive alliance. It did not harbor offensive plans against the Soviet Union, and in the post-Cold War era it certainly does not have hostile intentions toward Russia or other countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union. In fact, NATO's attention is now focused on 21st century threats, most of which originate south and east of Europe and Russia.

NATO's second core accomplishment was stabilizing and securing freedom in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of communism.

NATO started as an alliance of 12 countries in 1949, and grew gradually. In nearly 50 years, NATO added only four countries. Then in just five years, we added ten more members - three at the Madrid Summit in 1997, and seven more at the Prague Summit in 2002 - helping secure a future of freedom, democracy, market economy, human rights, and the rule of law for over 100 million people.

It is easy to forget today, but back in 1989 and 1991, people spoke of a "security vacuum" in Central and Eastern Europe, and debated how it could be filled. With bipartisan American leadership, NATO acted boldly, and the security vacuum never came to be. The democratic future of much of the East was secured.

The European Union played an enormous and irreplaceable role in this development as well. But NATO led. And the development we have seen would not have been possible without NATO.

And it was not just membership, but the realistic prospect of membership that made the difference. In their pursuit of NATO and EU membership, these countries implemented reforms that improved the lives and opportunities of their citizens in ways far beyond basic security and defense. These reforms strengthened individual rights and freedoms, institutionalized democratic systems, fostered market economies, resolved border disputes, and protected minorities.

NATO's third core accomplishment was transforming itself - from a static alliance engaged in planning the territorial defense of its members, to an effective instrument for putting the vast political and military resources of its members to work in ending conflict and promoting security and stability well beyond transatlantic geography. That process of transformation never ends, as NATO continues to adapt to the rapidly changing threats of the 21st century.

This ongoing transformation has major implications for countries such as Ukraine. NATO's transformation demands defense reforms, specialization, technology sharing, and interoperability among Allies. These processes all boost individual Allies' efforts to transform their standing armies of yesterday into the flexible, expeditionary, technologically advanced forces of tomorrow. Ukraine shares the transatlantic community's view of 21st century threats and has real military and technical capabilities to bring to the Alliance. Its participation in NATO's transformation process would benefit both Ukraine and NATO.

NATO helped end the Cold War without firing a shot. After the Cold War, NATO has realized that it must be willing to fire shots against terrorists and extremists - whether in the Balkans or Afghanistan - as security and development in conflict zones go hand in hand.

NATO Will Enlarge Again

NATO has enlarged successfully a number of times, and that process has not run its course. There are countries in Europe, such as Ukraine, which may seek to join NATO and which are strengthening their democracies, their economies, and their militaries through reform by working together with NATO. But it is also in NATO's interest to add new members who meet its performance-based standards because they strengthen the alliance, and our collective security in Europe.

Make no mistake: NATO membership is not a mere political decision. While there is undeniably a political component, membership requires that an aspirant meet the standards. It benefits neither NATO nor aspirant nations to admit them before they are prepared to shoulder the significant responsibilities of membership.

As you know, enlargement will not happen this year, but we do believe that it is time to start talking among the Allies, taking stock of the countries that are interested in membership, and planning for decisions in 2008 when NATO will have another Summit. As President Bush made clear most recently yesterday in his meeting at the White House with Prime Minister Sanadar of Croatia, the United States backs the enlargement of NATO again.

And, just as in the past, the realistic prospect of NATO membership is inspiring countries to make difficult reforms that benefit their own citizens. And, just as in the past, we anticipate NATO will again lead, especially as the EU sorts out its own views on the extent of its future enlargement.

Ukraine's Prospective Membership in NATO

There is another set of benefits that Ukraine can continue to enjoy prior to actual membership, or even without membership. There is perhaps as much to be gained from the process of seeking NATO membership as there is to gain from membership itself.

NATO is, first and foremost, a community of shared values. The foundation of those values is the belief that liberal democratic principles and free market practices, when wedded together under rule of law, provide the only truly effective system for ensuring long-term prosperity and security.

These ideas of democracy and free markets are not simply "Western," but instead are "universal." Ukraine need not choose, therefore, between East and West, but rather must decide which institutions best serve its sovereign interests. NATO is but one such organization, albeit an important one.

But joining the club is not easy. It requires political will and the resources to implement difficult reforms. Old habits of corruption and power consolidation must be replaced by respect for laws and checks and balances. Long-supported subsidies and other market distortions must be eliminated or they will undermine economic growth. Courts and laws must be strengthened to defend property and enforce contracts -- otherwise investment will flee. And above all, individual liberties must be protected and the citizens' power over the state strengthened.

In many ways, what happens inside Ukraine is perhaps more important than what happens in Ukraine's relations with NATO. That is to say, protecting the independence and rule of law in institutions such as the State Tax Administration and the Central Election Commission, as well as moving forward with judicial reform, is as, if not more, important than the progress made in the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defense Reform.

The agenda with NATO therefore is all-encompassing - what happens in terms of democratic institutions, rule of law, corruption, economic transparency, as well as Ukraine's policy toward its neighbors are just as important as defense-related issues. In the past, some Ukrainian interlocutors failed to understand the connection between domestic developments inside Ukraine and Ukraine's relations with NATO or the United States.

Pursuing NATO membership is one of many tools that can help Ukraine tackle these challenging reforms systematically. In our eyes, such reforms are valuable and desirable in and of themselves, regardless of whether Ukraine chooses to join NATO. If Ukraine is successful in implementing reforms, it will be preparing itself for NATO membership, EU membership, or whatever its strategic goals may be. But only the people of Ukraine can make those choices. They must choose and they must lead. It is our job to educate, not argue about the costs and benefits of NATO membership, and not recruit additional members.

In conclusion, the United States continues to support Ukraine's NATO aspirations because we fully support its desire to take its rightful place in the transatlantic community as a prosperous, democratic, and secure member of a Europe whole, free and at peace. Ukraine's choice goes to the heart of President Bush's Freedom Agenda, in which we are all made safer and better off by promoting a world dominated by liberty, democracy, and economic interdependence. I believe Ukraine's future in that world is not a question of "if," but rather "when." We look forward to working with you to help make that future a reality.


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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