In his letter to the editor published in the September 5 issue of The Ukrainian Weekly, Lt. Col. Bohdan Hetmansky implies that those who voted for Joe Biden could be questioning their choice. But why? President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s recent working visit to Washington was solid and successful, returning stability to a relationship abused and neglected by the previous administration. The message from Mr. Biden was clear: America supports Ukraine.
Lt. Col Hetmansky, no doubt, understands the difference between aspirations and reality. Advocating for the aspirational goal of Ukraine’s independence, for example, even despite active discouragement, was consistent regardless of which U.S. political party was in power. Republican Henry Kissinger enacted a cynical “realpolitik” approach to the USSR, one that denied Ukraine the possibility of independence. Republican President George Bush gave his infamous “Chicken Kiev” speech strenuously denouncing the “suicidal nationalism” that supposedly motivated Ukraine’s quest. Such actions by U.S. presidents, however, did not stop Ukraine from attaining the aspirational goal of independence.
Modern Ukraine’s aspirational goals, such as admission to NATO, while more modest than independence, are still complex. The reality is that Mr. Zelenskyy must keep articulating these goals. However, the reality also is that achieving these goals, even with support from the West, will be difficult. As tempting as it is to place the burden on the United States to come to Ukraine’s rescue, as with independence, Ukraine must do the heavy lifting to meet these goals, not America.
Passaic Park, N.J.