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.
Conference examines Ukraine's progress in nation-building

Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood: A Roundtable
Washington conference examines Ukraine's progress in nation-building

Yaro Bihun

Special to The Ukrainian Weekly

Washington—More than 200 official and non-governmental representatives with an interest in developments in Ukraine gathered here for a conference on September 19-20 to exchange views on Ukraine's progress in its nation-building efforts and external relationships.

The two-day event, titled "Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood: A Roundtable," included a dozen panel discussions, with more than 70 panelists and discussants participating. The conference sessions were held at the U.S. Library of Congress and the Council on Foreign Relations, and were transmitted live on the World Wide Web and videotaped for cable television by C-Span.

The program featured two keynote speakers - national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former undersecretary of defense in the administration of President George Bush, Paul Wolfowitz - as well as remarks by Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Borys Tarasyuk [who has since been relieved of that post - see story on the right], Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko's Chief of Staff Oleh Rybachuk, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Rep. Sander Levin, a co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, one of the conference's numerous sponsors.

In his keynote presentation, which he titled "Ukraine is not Russia," Dr. Brzezinski underscored the various areas in which Ukraine outshines Russia, among them in protecting human rights, building a democracy, economic reforms, effective use of foreign assistance and in its attitude toward Europe, NATO and the United States.

Neither is Ukraine "being misguided by a historical nostalgia for a past that cannot be entirely recreated," he said, as is the current ruling elite in Russia, which he characterized as "the pampered children of a decaying regime" who yearn for the lost empire and international recognition as a superpower, "even though there is no longer a basis for it."

Dr. Brzezinski stressed that the United States should deal with Ukraine as a strategically important independent nation and not tie it to Russia in every level of its relationship, including the "symbolic" level.

"I do not think it is a good practice for the U.S. president, when he visits Moscow, or for the U.S. secretary of state, when the secretary of state visits Moscow, to tack on to the visit a few hours of a hasty visit to Ukraine, punctuated by loud slogans pronounced in Ukrainian regarding America's affection for Ukrainian independence," he said.

Neither, he added, should the State Department handle Ukrainian affairs through an office with the "strangely ambiguous" name of "Newly Independent States." It belongs in the European division, he said.

Dr. Brzezinski currently is counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and professor of U.S. foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Dr. Wolfowitz, now dean at SAIS, expressed similar views on how the U.S. government should treat Ukraine independently of Russia and get out of the "Russia must be first" box in developing trade and other relations with Ukraine. Washington should also not pursue a policy that suggests Russia has a veto over Ukraine's entry into NATO and other matters.

He also expressed his disdain for the practice of always tying U.S. presidential visits to Kyiv to Moscow visits.

Dr. Wolfowitz served as undersecretary in Richard Cheney's Defense Department, which, as be pointed out, successfully fought to shift the Bush administration's initial pro-Soviet policy against Ukraine's independence, as demonstrated in the president's so-called "Chicken Kiev" speech, to that of recognition of Ukrainian statehood.

In addition to his position at SAIS, Dr. Wolfowitz also serves as a foreign policy advisor to the Republican Bush-Cheney presidential ticket. He stressed, however, that at the conference he was expressing his own personal views.

One of the last panel discussions of the conference featured foreign policy advisors from the presidential campaigns of the Republican and Democratic parties: William Schneider, president of International Planning Services, who was undersecretary of state in the Reagan administration, and John Tedstrom, of the Rand Corp. who until recently handled Ukrainian and Russian affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton White House.

Discussing Ukrainian relations with the United States and Europe, Mr. Schneider said that, while granting Ukraine free trade status with the United States is "complicated," the U.S. government should pursue it and it should move to help Ukraine's entry into the European Union and increase its involvement in European security.

Ukraine's reliance on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank had been a "mixed blessing," he said, adding that what Ukraine needs is more trade, not aid.

Mr. Tedstrom read a letter to the conference from Vice-President Al Gore, in which the Democratic presidential candidate outlined his strong personal interest in Ukraine and his role in developing the U.S.-Ukrainian strategic partnership through the Kuchma-Gore Binational Commission.

Ukraine, he said, still needs a balanced mix of trade and aid.

If elected president, Mr. Gore, with a track record of accomplishments, "won't start from scratch," Mr. Tedstrom said. "And," he added, "there will be no 'Chicken Kiev' served up in an Al Gore administration."

Foreign Affairs Minister Tarasyuk underscored the accomplishments achieved under what he called the "new internal situation" in Ukraine, which boasts a new president, a reformist government and a democratic parliament.

Speaking at an evening reception at the home of Washington businessman George Chopivsky Jr., an investor in the development of Ukraine's agriculture, he pointed out that for the first time since independence there now was an increase (5.6 percent) in the gross domestic product, a 12 percent increase in industrial output, and 260 percent increase in direct investment.

"We know our difficulties; we know our problems," Mr. Tarasyuk said, "and we a very grateful to all of you who are trying with your advice and your expertise to help us to move ahead."

Also addressing the reception guests, Sen. McConnell welcomed these recent improvements in Ukraine and noted that the United States, too, has made some progress - in looking at Ukraine "as an independent entity and not just as still part of the old Soviet Union."

Sen. McConnell said he is proud of the billion dollars in aid the United States has given Ukraine over the past nine years - much of it earmarked in the Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee he chairs.

The ineffectiveness of past U.S. assistance programs in Ukraine as well as such statements as "Ukraine is the third largest recipient of American assistance" was criticized by a number of panelists and discussants at the conference.

Some panelists charged that large amounts of U.S. assistance funds for Ukraine were wasted on highly paid American consultants.

Prime Minister Yushchenko's chief of staff, Mr. Rybachuk, agreed. Ukraine needs "less consulting and more training," he said, especially in the fields of management and communications.

Following similar criticism during an earlier panel by consultant Eugene Iwanciw, Ukrainian World Congress President Askold S. Lozynskyj debunked the oft-repeated representation that Ukraine is the third largest recipient of U.S. aid. He pointed out that Ukraine's $190 million to 225 million annual allocation "pales" in comparison to the $4.5 billion and $2.5 billion received by the top two beneficiaries of U.S. foreign assistance, Israel and Egypt. And on a per capita basis, it amounts to $4.75 - "frankly, a ridiculous amount," he added.

On the question of corruption in Ukraine, a number of American participants cautioned against being so hasty in criticizing Ukraine.

"Americans should be careful about preaching about corruption," said Ambassador William B. Taylor, the State Department's coordinator for U.S. assistance to the new independent states. His feeling was echoed by Ronald McNamara of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, who added that "certainly our record is not stellar here."

Presenting the business viewpoint, Kempton B. Jenkins, president of the Ukraine-U.S. Business Council, appealed for a measure of "intellectual humility" from those who are quick to criticize. Corruption, after all, "is not a Ukrainian phenomenon," he added.

Mr. Jenkins also took issue, as did some other speakers, with those who, for example, pillory Ukraine for detaining gypsies and other "dark-skinned" persons without cause, and fail to see its mirror image in the practice of "racial profiling" used by many in U.S. law enforcement.

During various panels a number of speakers called on the Kuchma administration to do everything possible to locate Heorhii Gongadze, an outspoken Ukrainian journalist, who disappeared without a trace on September 16.

Among the many other experts participating in the conference were: Ukrainian Constitutional Court Justice Petro Martynenko, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Thomas Dine, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State on the NIS Daniel Fried, Commerce Department Counselor Jan Kalicki, Verkhovna Rada National Deputy Mykhailo Ratushnyi, American Foreign Policy Council President Herman Prichner, Freedom House President Adrian Karatnycky, Columbia University Harriman Institute Director Mark von Hagen, Anders Aslund of the Carnegie Endowment, DynaMeridian President William Courtney, Council on Foreign Relations Vice-President Paula Dobriansky, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Green Miller, William Kaufmann of the World Bank Institute, Olexander Poteikhin and Yaroslav Voitko of the Embassy of Ukraine, and U.S.-Ukraine Foundation President Nadia McConnell.

The conference was organized at the initiative of the Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and sponsored by 16 other governmental, academic and private organizations, institutions and foundations: the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, Embassy of Ukraine, U.S. Library of Congress, American Foreign Policy Council, Freedom House, International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, Harriman Institute/Columbia University, SAIS/Johns Hopkins University, The Chopivsky Family Foundation, Romyr & Associates, Ukrainian World Congress, Ukrainian National Information Service, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, and the Ukrainian Academic and Professional Association.

The two-day meeting was funded by more than 20 business and financial institutions, foundations and institutes.


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
© 2019 CUSUR—Center for US Ukrainian Relations