West Berlin had a status all its own. Was it a member of NATO that we needed to safeguard by that treaty? Not really. But we had a president who was determined not to submit to a communist thug and instead stand behind the two and a half million citizens of West Berlin and not subject them to be taken over by the Soviet Union. When Kennedy said in his inauguration to we Americans that we needn’t ask what our country can do for us, rather we should ask what we can do for our country. He wasn’t phony. He meant every word, and he was truly a leader we could follow.
Our country entered into an agreement in Budapest, Hungary when the Soviet Union was breaking up that we would guarantee the independence of Ukraine. Some political commentators have since used some weasel words that we didn’t think we would ever be forced to honor that commitment at the time we made it. Is that what we’ve come down to? Those weasel mouthed people are not us, are they? Kennedy didn’t abandon the souls of Berlin because a Russian thug was brandishing his nuclear weapons at him. Kennedy was a courageous man, a Navy veteran who fought in the Pacific, who had the intestinal fortitude to honor his country’s word, nuclear threat or not.
Kennedy wouldn’t abandon two and a half million Berliners, but our government seems to be willing to dishonor its pledge to safeguard forty million Ukrainians. I feel ashamed. I wish we had a leader like Kennedy who would stand up and proclaim, “Ich bin ein Ukrainer.”