Right? That is just one piece of fallout from the current crisis. As an American, with little at stake in Ukraine per se, I am glad the country gave up its nuclear weapons, so as to limit the risk of broader conflict. But if I were a Ukrainian citizen, my view would be somewhat different.
Here is an interesting study by Robert Stephen Mathers (pdf) on the denuclearization of Ukraine. It appears to have been written as a term paper for Martin Felstein in 2003. Excerpt:
The back and forth negotiations about Ukraine’s nuclear status would finally end in Moscow in January 1994 with the signing of the Trilateral Statement by Presidents Clinton, Yeltsin and Kravchuk. The agreement held Ukraine to the promise of “the elimination of all nuclear weapons, including strategic offensive arms, located in its territory.” In exchange for these concessions, the U.S. and Russia agreed to preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity (a primary concern for Ukraine) and ensured that no state would use or threaten to use military force or coercion against it…Ukraine’s main concerns were finally met.
It seems the value of a formal NATO guarantee is falling as well. Rapidly. Various Eastern European countries are asking for stronger or clarified U.S. guarantees. What are they thinking in Latvia? Taiwan? Japan? How about the Israelis negotiating with John Kerry?
For the pointer I thank Bill Badrick.