“To succeed, we must face the world as it is” (Obama, 2010, p.1). Globalization has resulted in interconnecting the world in such a manner that was unimaginable even two decades ago. No longer can any state, nation, or people expect to remain an island. Indeed, as we are interconnected, so too are our fates. If the United States is to ensure security and prosperity for her citizens now and for future generations, we must clearly acknowledge that part we play in the continuum of shifting word powers and peace. We must recognize that although we are the world’s leading power, we are not the sole possessor and arbiter of influence.
The nuclear arms race of the Cold War years ...view middle of the document...
Ninety percent of Ukrainians voted for independence from Russia via the Ukrainian Referendum of December 1991. This break from Moscow served as the “final nail in the coffin” of dissolution of the Soviet Union (Conant, 2014).
Following Ukraine’s independence, citizens who had previously been deported began to return. A new constitution was adopted, a new currency was introduced, they began to pursue membership into North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and a “friendship treaty” was signed with Russia (BBC, 2014). As the world’s holder of the third largest nuclear arsenal, Ukraine next made the bold move to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for collective security assurances. The 1994 Budapest Memorandum guaranteed that the United States, United Kingdom, and Russian Federation would “respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine” and “refrain from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence” (cfr.org, 1994). However, the newly independent state was not without its troubles. Allegations of election fraud, abuse of power, and economic fragility soon plagued Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan of $15 billion in 2008, and an agreement to extend Russia’s lease on its Black Sea fleet based in Crimea provided temporary relief (BBC, 2014). Shortly after, however, Ukrainian Parliament voted to abandon NATO membership. An additional $15 billion was offered by the IMF in 2010. Unfortunately this offer was withdrawn as President Yanukovych refused to implement austerity measures. Parliamentary elections in 2012 further strengthened Yanukovych’s rule, even though there were widespread domestic and international concerns of election fraud (BBC, 2014).
After being in negotiations for several years, President Yanukovych suddenly aborted plans in November of 2013 to sign an agreement that would have strengthened Ukrainian ties with the European Union. Hundreds of thousands gathered in protest at Kiev’s Independence Square denouncing both his decision and his rule. Activists soon sieged Kiev City Hall (Associated Press, 2014). In December, Putin announced a Ukraine economic aid package of $15 billion plus a discounted price on natural gas. However, protests continued to mount, with the first casualties occurring in January 2014. The escalation of violence prompted the resignation of the Prime Minister on January 28, and led President Yanukovych’s attempt to appease the Parliament with an agreement to bring the crisis to a peaceful end (Associated Press, 2014). On February 21, Foreign Ministers from Poland, Germany and France, and the Russian Human Rights Commissioner...