Remember the Memorandum

S M Chen
6 min readMar 23, 2023

“I’m flawed; I need grace and forgiveness.”

  • Joshua Dressel, MO (January 6, 2022 U. S. Capitol rioter)


Sometimes inconvenient, but generally worth stating.

Even restating.

Such as: 2 + 2 = 4.

Night follows day.

Day follows night.

In this universe (I am not discounting the possibility of other parallel ones, in which these rules may not apply), the apple always falls down.

Never up.

Gravity works that way.

And, per Ben Franklin (1706–1790), one of America’s Founding Fathers, the only two sure things are death and taxes.

Maybe we can add somewhat to those verities.

At least in this universe.

In 1991, the former USSR disintegrated.

Russia remained its largest former member.

In 1994, the U.S., anxious to stabilize matters, persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weaponry.

There were 1900 armed and ready nuclear warheads at stake. The world’s third largest nuclear arsenal.

Then POTUS Bill Clinton took personal interest in this (he has since apologized for his role, but it was too late).

The Memorandum, thereafter known as the Budapest Memorandum, was executed by Ukraine, England, Russia and the U.S.

What did it say?

In return for relinquishing its 1900 warheads (to Russia), Ukraine’s sovereign status as a nation would be guaranteed by the Memorandum’s signatories.

Neither force nor economic means would be used to compromise the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.

I find it a bit peculiar (and perhaps of some significance) the agreement was termed a Memorandum, rather than a word potentially carrying more weight, like ‘Pact.’

Any number of words might have been used instead of Memorandum.

But they weren’t.

Maybe the Memorandum was designed to fail from inception. Maybe that was by design.