Saturday, March 1, 2014

Treaty Could Force US, UK Into War With Russia

Revealed: The forgotten treaty which could drag the US and UK into war with Russia if Putin's troops intervene in Ukraine

The Memorandum of Budapest (1994) sees signatories promise to protect Ukraine's borders.

Putin currently has 150,000 troops on Ukraine's borders and it is reported some have crossed into the country. President Obama says he is 'deeply concerned' by the news. The US and Britain have both made 'crisis calls' to President Putin to warn him to respect territorial boundaries. Here's why. A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin's troops cross into the country.

Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine - agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the de-nuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war. The revelation comes as reports suggest the Kremlin was moving up to 2,000 troops across the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to their fleet base at Sevastopol. At least 20 men wearing the uniform of the Russian fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in a standoff near the port yesterday.  (Source)

The relevant portion of the memorandum of Budapest reads as follows:
The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.
The Ukrainian parliament has now reached out directly to all the countries who signed the treaty.

According to one interpretation this memorandum does not concern any territorial guarantees by the US and the UK. The portion: "an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used", is also dubious.

Reaffirming a “commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and being legally required to go to war are two very different ideas. There will surely be much debate over whether the Budapest Memorandum is a legally binding agreement requiring action. The US going to war with Russia is likely a last resort for the Obama administration.

According to, the Budapest Memorandum is a diplomatic memorandum, not an official treaty. Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law, told the website that the answers to questions about whether the agreement is binding are “complex.”

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere,” the professor added.

The sudden arrival of men in military uniforms patrolling key strategic facilities prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” – a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis. Obama urged Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine. "Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty...would be deeply would represent profound interference".

The logic on the side of the Obama administration probably was the spread of democracy without considering the possibility that the Russians would go ballistic over so many fingers poking them in the eye, the final one taking place in their very backyard. After Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya and Syria, the Crimea, home of the Black Sea fleet was just one poke too many. 

In all, this would explain why the US involved the EU in the matter 'as mediators' and saw the UN as an alternative when the EU dragged its feet for too long. No free world power play by Obama after all, but more 'leading from behind'. Yes, it does explain matters. 

To be continued.