Upcoming Events 2020
US-UA Security Dialogue XI
Washington, DC
March 5, 2020 
New York City
April 30, 2020
US-UA WG Yearly Summit VIII
Washington, DC
June 11, 2020

US-UA Energy Dialogue VI
Kyiv, Ukraine
August 29, 2020 
UA HES Special Event:
Ukrainians in 1945/75th 
Year Retrospective 
Ukrainian Institute of America
September 19, 2020 
Washington, DC
October 8, 2020
PL-LT-UA Relations
Chicago, IL 
November 14, 2020 


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.
Security Advantages of Euro-Atlantic Integration for Ukraine

Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic Future: International Forum I

Security Advantages of Euro-Atlantic Integration for Ukraine

James Sherr

Speaking Notes for Session VIII: Security Advantages of Euro-Atlantic Integration for Ukraine

As ever, my views are my own, and they do not necessarily correspond to those of the British government.

Let us put this question in context.

  1. Until Ukraine makes substantial, sustainable progress in adopting Euro-Atlantic standards, the advantages of integration will be outweighed by its strains, traumas and risks.

  2. The most fundamental of these standards is public trust in the integrity of state institutions, beginning with the judiciary, but encompassing as a sine qua non the National Security and Defence Council, the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces, the security and intelligence services and the departments of law enforcement. This explains why NATO and the EU have put such emphasis on helping Ukraine develop its institutional capacity. To mature democracies, the character of institutions matters more than the character of politicians. When politicians are stronger than institutions, the country is hostage to their personal whims, ambitions and weaknesses. Democracies cease to be effective, and political conflict threatens the foundations of the state.

  3. The issue of Euro-Atlantic standards—which is essentially apolitical—must not be confused with the issue of membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions, which is a matter of political choice. Sweden, Switzerland and Finland are not members of NATO. Yet their armed forces, security services and law enforcement structures adhere to the same high standards of accountability, transparency, and civil democratic control as in Britain, The Netherlands and Germany. Why? Because these standards enhance security. They strengthen training regimes, career development and competence; they encourage honesty, communication and the sharing of expertise; they provide value for money, and they secure public support. Debate about NATO membership in Ukraine will inevitably be political. But it is time that the issue of Euro-Atlantic standards were removed from political controversy.

If Ukraine were to join NATO, what would the advantages be?

  1. From the moment that Ukraine joined NATO, it would never have to deal with any serious security problem on its own. It would be part of a collective structure in which risks and burdens are shared. Why should this matter? For good or ill, Ukraine is situated in an extremely important area of the world, not only for Ukrainians, but for other states and also for powerful, transnational criminal structures. President Kuchma once remarked that Ukraine is not Switzerland. Neither is it China. It is neither safe enough nor powerful enough to master its own geopolitical environment. If it turns its back on Euro-Atlantic integration, it will be obliged to defer to another neighbour who might not have Ukraine’s interests at heart and whose commitment to its independence is questionable.

  2. Ukraine would also be joining an organisation that shares costs and provides disproportionate benefits to its less powerful members. Even a member as powerful as the United Kingdom spends only 2.2 per cent of its GDP on defence, and most members spend less. Even the UK cannot meet the full spectrum of its defence and security needs with the money it spends. But thanks to NATO, its integrated military structures and its strategic assets, it can rely upon support from others when its interests are threatened.

  3. Does that mean that joining NATO will save money? Not necessarily. Meeting Euro-Atlantic standards costs money. Decriminalising the state, modernising and reforming the police, security and border services costs money. But what are the costs of keeping things as they are? Security costs more money than insecurity. Security inside NATO will cost more money than insecurity outside it. These choices need to be faced squarely and realistically. And they need to be made by Ukrainians. It is not for NATO to make them.

  4. Finally, Ukraine will be joining an organisation that makes decisions by consensus. And it will be joining an organisation based upon the sovereignty of its members. The Iraq conflict never became a NATO conflict for the simple reason that several NATO members opposed it. And whilst 26 members have agreed that NATO should conduct military operations in Afghanistan, not all members contribute armed forces to that operation, and some do so under restricted rules of engagement. No one but Ukrainians will have the authority to send Ukrainians into armed conflict.

Finally, what are the possible disadvantages of joining NATO?

There are many mythical disadvantages. But in reality, there is only one. It is obvious, and today it divides Ukraine: the risk, as continually reiterated by Moscow, that joining NATO will have ‘grave consequences’ for Ukraine’s relations with Russia. A hasty, ill-prepared path to NATO membership would turn this risk into a threat. But the threat is only made real by the divisions and vulnerabilities of Ukraine. The challenge is to overcome these vulnerabilities and, by doing so, change the calculus of thinking in Russia. That challenge dictates a more gradual, but also more determined course towards integration: improving public understanding, diminishing regional divisions and developing Ukraine’s capacity, cohesion and samostiynist’. Russia cannot be expected to respect Ukraine’s choice until it is clear that Ukraine has made one—and until Ukraine has the capacity to act on it. NATO will continue to help Ukraine make choices and act upon them. The question today, as in the past, is whether Ukraine will help itself.


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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