OWN VOICE. ~ InPerspective by Gregg Dieguez —
Of course you remember the The Budapest Memorandum of 1994… NOT. Well, we, the Russians and other nations pledged to assist Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine giving up their nuclear weapons. Now Ukraine wants a ‘no-fly’ zone to stop Russian bombing and protect its civilians from this Russian attack…
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Just now a Ukrainian has asked the UK to enforce such a no-fly zone, and Boris Johnson has declined citing fear of a broader war. The 1994 agreement is shown below this article. It makes clear that Russia has violated a very explicit agreement, atop all the principles of international law, in invading Ukraine.
The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
People are justifiably afraid of WWIII. But does a country have to be part of NATO or SEATO or some other treaty group to be protected from unwarranted invasion? And why wasn’t the West helping back in 2014 when Putin took over Crimea? The answer is partly the ineffectiveness of the U.N., because Russia and China and the U.S. have seats on the Security Council, and can veto measures against themselves (as we have done). Although Ukraine first attempted to join NATO in 2008 through the Membership Action Plan, this was shelved by the Russian puppet president after 2010 elections. Ukraine is an Enhanced Opportunities Partner of the alliance but not a full NATO member, which means that the NATO treaty is not justification to intervene in the current conflict in Ukrainian soil. The final ‘Why Not’ answer is: WWIII. But the handling, or should I say, NON-handling of the Russian seizure of Crimea has led to an emboldened Putin doing just what Hitler did after the 1938 Munich Agreement – do more of the same.
This time we at least have new words. Switzerland, Sweden, Finland – all previously neutral countries – have come out against Russia and taken economic actions. And now Russia is threatening Sweden and Finland to keep them from joining NATO. And Germany’s reversal of half a century’s focus on substantial disarmament may turn out to be the long term biggest fallout of Putin’s misadventure.
With his invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, President Putin created a new reality,” Scholz told the Bundestag, his speech repeatedly greeted by applause, particularly his condemnations of the Russian leader. “This reality demands a clear answer. We’ve given one.”
The 1994 Memorandum doesn’t directly say the U.S. will go to war – it says it will “seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine”. And how’s that going? It’s a tough moral issue: watch thousands suffer and die, or get involved and have a bigger war with even more deaths? The easy way out would be for the Russian people to solve their own leadership problem. But that’s easy for us to say when the Russians helped elect Trump, and we couldn’t even impeach him (twice) for actions that in any prior decade would have been clear and obvious grounds.
Putin’s a smart guy in some ways: he got his puppet President here, he got the NATO alliance frayed under Trump, he got away with invasions of Georgia and Crimea. Let’s hope he’s outsmarted himself and we can leverage this set of war crimes to get rid of him. But it isn’t going to be easy. If it goes on long enough, some of you students of history will see parallels with the Spanish Civil War. I say it’s worth an effort. If we don’t stop him, Taiwan is next, because China is watching and learning. I don’t want WWIII, so this will take some time and some skill to advance without global calamity, but if we don’t counter the Russian – no, Putin, invasion of Ukraine, there’s no limit to the use of force elsewhere.Budapest1994UkraineAgreement
 Diplomats walk out on Lavrov’s speech at UN rights council
At least U.N. diplomats walked out on Russia’s Foreign minister Lavrov’s speech at the U.N. today, for what that’s worth.
Mr. Dieguez is a native San Franciscan, longtime San Mateo County resident, and semi-retired entrepreneur who causes occasional controversy on the Coastside. He is a member of the MCC, but his opinions here are his own, and not those of the Council. In 2003 he co-founded MIT’s Clean Tech Program here in NorCal, which became MIT’s largest alumni speaker program. He lives in Montara. He loves a productive dialog in search of shared understanding.