By GIL TROY – Jerusalem Post
If Ukraine had not surrendered its nuclear warheads, its situation now would be very different.
Imagine if Ukraine had 1,700 nuclear warheads at its disposal today because it had not surrendered them in 1994 – in exchange for supposedly-binding promises of peace and territorial integrity from Russia, America and the world. Admittedly, history is a river; you cannot isolate one current. Had Ukrainians resisted the American and Russian pressure then, Ukraine might be a rogue state today. Still, as they dodge another Russian missile, fight tanks with pistols, remove more corpses from rubble or flee their homes, historically-minded Ukrainians must be thinking, “Boy, were we suckers,” as sober-minded Israelis sadly agree. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine controlled one-third of the USSR’s nukes. Bruising negotiations led Ukraine to relinquish the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal. Years before this Putin-triggered invasion, one Ukrainian website called the Budapest Memorandum, which also neutralized the nuclear powers of Belarus and Kazakhstan, “the Greatest Treason in Ukrainian History.” The international community’s impotence, and the irrelevance of promises made 28-years-ago, haunts Israelis. Despite Volodymyr Zelensky’s inaccurate Holocaust shaming, most Israelis have rallied with the rest of the Jewish community and the West to support Ukraine – sidestepping without sanitizing Ukraine’s blood-drenched Jew-hating past. But for most Israelis, Vladimir Putin’s war has stirred this rarely mentioned but ever-present anxiety that our little Promised Land paradise could become a warzone instantaneously.