Ukraine-U.S. relations. What should be borne in mind ahead of high-level contacts

Oleh Bielokolos
17:50, 19 September 2019
Politics
1107 0
Opinion

On the eve of the announced high-level Ukrainian-U.S. meetings, it would probably be worth to voice some thoughts on the further development of bilateral relations. It is no secret that at this historical stage, the United States is, in fact, the only real guarantor of Ukraine's independence in the face of the ongoing aggression on the part of Russia. The weight of the United States for Ukraine is also increasing because some Western European countries are reluctant to isolate Vladimir Putin's empire in the international arena.

However, it should be borne in mind that the United States is no longer as dominant a power in the international stage as it used to be immediately after the end of the Cold War. However, the United States remains the pivotal world power, which has the most powerful army, the most innovative economy, modern energy with significant export capabilities, and a huge influence in the global financial system and international trade.

Today, there is no alternative for Kyiv but to develop relations with the United States

It seems that today there is no alternative for Kyiv but to develop relations with the United States. In this context, the first task for Ukraine should be to review the performance of existing bilateral mechanisms and to develop practical plans for the future.

Kyiv should also take into account the American style of foreign policy thinking which has in its base the Anglo-Saxon style, that is, not a purely formal approach to alliances, but an in-depth understanding and recognition that relations with another country are based primarily on shared interests and values. This is the approach that was applied by the United States to Britain during World War 2. And this is precisely the approach applied by the United States in its relations with its current key ally, Israel.

The current strengthening of the U.S.-Poland partnership is also worth noting. Today, the alliance between the United States and Poland is stronger than ever before, according to Vice President Mike Pence.

Given Washington's sustained course for support for Ukraine (numerous votes at the UN Security Council, the Crimean Declaration of July 25, 2018, stating that "the United States rejects Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea and pledges to maintain this policy until Ukraine's territorial integrity is restored," lethal aid, other types of assistance, etc.), it is clearly advisable to focus efforts on deepening it and ensuring that it is further affirmed in the U.S. foreign policy traditions.

The next possible step would be to grant Ukraine the status of Major non-NATO Ally, a status that was granted to Brazil on July 31 this year. In addition to its important political implications, it will also have significant practical ones, including new opportunities to deepen military cooperation with the United States, preferences in U.S. arms procurement and streamlined procedures to this end, broad assistance in military training, and more.

Undoubtedly, Ukraine's value as a partner to the United States will increase in the case of success of internal reforms, active economic development, and strengthening of relations with countries with which the United States is already actively cooperating in the region, in particular Poland, Lithuania, and Romania.

Oleh Bielokolos is an expert with the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation

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