Penn State International Law Review


Kate Klunk

First Paragraph

In 1991, Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union and set out on a path toward democracy and freedom. As a struggling new democracy in Europe, Ukraine was taken under the wing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ("NATO"). Throughout its working relationship with NATO, Ukraine has made strides towards forming a democratic government and a free market economy. In 2002, Ukraine set forth a goal to one day become a member of the NATO Alliance. Most recently, Ukraine has petitioned NATO to create a Membership Action Plan ("MAP"), which is the last major step in gaining a membership invitation to join the NATO Alliance. While Ukraine has achieved great successes in areas of reform, NATO has agreed that Ukraine needs to implement more reforms before Ukraine can become a NATO member. After the December 2008 meeting on Ukraine's MAP application, NATO tasked Ukraine and former President Viktor Yushchenko and his administration with devising a strategy for implementing its reform goals for 2009. Since 2008, Ukraine has faced great economic and political challenges. Ultimately, Ukraine needs to decide if it wants to move forward with pro-western policies of democracy, free markets, and military cooperation, or if it prefers aligning itself with Russia. If Ukraine decides that strong ties with NATO is beneficial to its long-term success and security, Ukraine will need to complete its NATO homework to help put it back on track for a MAP.