Ambassador Kurt Volker: Ukraine, NATO, and the US

Feb 12, 2021

Aliyan Jafri

Ambassador Kurt Volker is a leading expert in U.S. foreign and national security policy with some 30 years of experience in a variety of government, academic and private sector capacities. He served as the U.S Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations from 2017 to 2019. The 5 main takeaways from the webinar with Ambassador Kurt Volker:

The Importance of NATO for the United States and the world

The Ambassador begins the seminar by emphasizing the importance of NATO by stating that the United States is a nation of ideals such as freedom, democracy, and rule of law. He realizes that other countries in the world value these same ideals but do not have the means to fight off the threats to those ideals on their own. Therefore, the countries are willing to contribute by defending a larger community against all threats made to any one in the partnership. He quotes a line from the Three Musketeers to demonstrate the premise of the alliance, “all for one, and one for all.” Moreover, he carries on that thread by saying that, “an attack against one or a threat against one, is an attack against all.” Apart from the 9/11 incident, Ambassador Volker believes there has been no major attack or threat in the past 70-odd years of the alliance.

Ambassador welcomes the increase of countries joining the alliance

“Without question,” was the immediate response from Mr. Volker when asked whether it is a positive for more countries such as Latvia to join the alliance of NATO. He cites his time in Hungary, when the country was not a part of NATO, and how places like Hungary did not have the choice previously to run a democracy due to the Warsaw Pact of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, he believes that when given the choice, all of these countries want to build a free, democratic society with a market economy. The people in these countries share the values of

people in the United States. Above all, they want their children and grandchildren to not go through what they and their predecessors did.

The United States has a lot to gain from NATO

Contrary to the belief that the United States is helping out other countries without any benefit to themselves, the Ambassador believed that our country is gaining allies and friends in distant territories. Furthermore, these relationships form economic relationships, allowing for an increase in trade. In addition, it is positive from a military and geographical perspective as it has allowed the United States to build bases in Poland and to deploy troops in the Baltic States. It has allowed the United States to extend its reach of providing security and stability in a wider radius constraining American threats and making these relationships mutually beneficial.

The goals of the Ambassador in his new role in Ukraine in 2017

In 2017, Kurt Volker took the position of Special Representative of the United States to Ukraine. The Ambassador believes he arrived in Ukraine amidst a multitude of events and incidents the country was facing politically, domestically, and internationally. Thus, he outlined his goals as he arrived in his role. The main goal highlighted by Volker was the restoration of Ukraine’s territories, sovereignty and security, as well as the respect for the rights of all Ukrainians regardless of whether they are ethnic Ukrainians, Russian speaking, or Tatars. With what we know thus far, Russia did not have like minded goals as Ukraine. The Ambassador was pushing the government of Ukraine to defend themselves against Russia and bringing them to the negotiation table instead of the stimulation of war from the Russians.