The future of US-Ukrainian Strategic Partnership

Mykhaylo Komarnytskyy,
Ph.D. (Political Science), Associate Professor,
Department of International Relations and Diplomacy,
Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,

Center for American Studies,
Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,

It is an indisputable fact that the United States continues to be among the world’s leading powers in the system of international relations and one of the main strategic partners of the Eastern European countries, including Ukraine. Among the main areas of strategic partnerships between Ukraine and the United States can be distinguished economic, political and military spheres. In particular, Ukraine pursues a policy of close cooperation with the United States States, developing cooperative programs that have been agreed upon in the contractual framework. Legal basis of bilateral relations covers a wide range of spheres of Ukrainian-American cooperation, including trade, economic, technical, educational, humanitarian, law enforcement, etc.

United States is not only interested in spreading democracy, but also in establishing a strategic partnership in Central Europe for the sake of ensuring sustainable development and further transformation of countries of post-Soviet space. The main focus in relations between US and Ukraine is made on the issue of security and stability, including promotion of NATO membership, trade and economic cooperation and implementation of energy independence. In my opinion, through the resolution of these components of the strategic partnership between Ukraine and United States, Ukraine can strengthen its economy and the military-industrial complex, which in turn will partially influence on the resolution of the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and conflict elimination in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Strategic partnership is an important tool in the relationship between countries in foreign policy, which are increasingly used by leading countries and integration associations as it enhances the effectiveness of their actions in the international arena. Strategic partnership is a type of interstate relations, built as a coherent system of states’ interaction with the direction of the realization of common strategic goals and interests. Unlike allied relations, strategic partnership does not imply a rigid system commitment of a political, economic, humanitarian or security nature. In a broad sense, strategic partnership is a system of interaction between the two or several states, which is based on the recognition of shared values and the vision of high level of cooperation in certain areas, mutual foreign policy support, in particular in the framework of international organizations, coordination of positions in crisis situations and in solving international ones conflicts. It is necessary to emphasize the need for developing strategic and parity partnerships between Ukraine, the US and the EU for the sake of stabilization of the situation in the eastern part of Ukraine, as well as for reclaiming annexed Crimea peninsula from Russia.

It seems that today there is no alternative for the government in Kyiv to develop relations with the US comprehensively. In this context, the first task for Ukraine in the forthcoming years should be reviewing the performance of existing bilateral mechanisms and developing practical plans for the future. Official Kyiv should also take into account the American style of foreign policy thinking, which underlies Anglo-Saxon, that is, not a purely formal approach to alliances, but a deep understanding and recognition that relations with another country are based primarily on common interests and values. This is the approach the United States has applied to Britain during World War II and is applying to its current key ally, Israel.

Attention should also be paid to today’s strengthening of the US-Poland partnership. Given the already steady course of US support for Ukraine, it is advisable to concentrate efforts on its rooting and further solidification in the American foreign policy tradition. Possible first step would be to grant Ukraine the status of Major Non-NATO Ally, a status that was granted to Brazil on July 31, 2019. In addition to its important political implications, it will also have significant practical implications, including new opportunities to deepen military co-operation with the US, preferences in US arms procurement and streamline procedures, broad assistance in military training, and more.

Undoubtedly, Ukraine’s value as a partner to the United States will increase in case of the success of internal reforms, active economic development, and strengthening of relations with the countries with which the United States is already actively cooperating in our region, in particular, Poland, Lithuania, Romania. In my opinion, it is also worth analyzing in a more detail strategic partnership between Ukraine and the US in the context of global threats. After all, world transformation processes show that dynamic and multi-vector changes in the system of international relations affect not only politics or economy but also the whole structure of international relations in its global manifestations.

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