The Eagle and the Trident
U.S.—Ukraine Relations in Turbulent Times
An insider’s account of the complex relations between the United States and post-Soviet Ukraine
The Eagle and the Trident provides the first comprehensive account of the development of U.S. diplomatic relations with an independent Ukraine, covering the years 1992 through 2004 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States devoted greater attention to Ukraine than any other post-Soviet state (except Russia) after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Steven Pifer, a career Foreign Service officer, worked on U.S.-Ukraine relations at the State Department and the White House during that period and also served as ambassador to Ukraine. With this volume he has written the definitive narrative of the ups and downs in the relationship between Washington and newly independent Ukraine.
The relationship between the two countries moved from heady days in the mid- 1990s, when they declared a strategic partnership, to troubled times after 2002. During the period covered by the book, the United States generally succeeded in its major goals in Ukraine, notably the safe transfer of nearly 2,000 strategic nuclear weapons left there after the Soviet collapse. Washington also provided robust support for Ukraine’s effort to develop into a modern, democratic, market-oriented state. But these efforts aimed at reforming the state proved only modestly successful, leaving a nation that was not resilient enough to stand up to Russian aggression in Crimea in 2014.
The author reflects on what worked and what did not work in the various U.S. approaches toward Ukraine. He also offers a practitioner’s recommendations for current U.S. policies in the context of ongoing uncertainty about the political stability of Ukraine and Russia’s long-term intentions toward its smaller but important neighbor.
Praise for The Eagle and the Trident
—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs
"I am very much impressed by the political insights and broad historical perspective of The Eagle and the Trident. It should be an essential item in anyone’s operational library, given the high probability that Ukraine will continue to be an important issue for the United States, for East-West relations, and as a critical test of Russia’s ability to be a genuine European state."—Zbigniew Brzezinski, Counselor and Trustee, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and former U.S. National Security Adviser
"Ambassador Pifer has long been respected as a diplomat, policymaker, and commentator on the high-stakes challenges of our time. In The Eagle and the Trident, he has achieved a trifecta: an engaging memoir of his role in the painful rebirth of a long-oppressed nation; a must-read for historians and students of the post–Cold War period; and a highly relevant guide to the ongoing crisis among Ukraine, Russia, and the West."—Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings Institution, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State