Why Have World Powers Not Rushed to Ukraine’s Aid? I Have Two Theories.

It’s hard to focus on anything else but the war that has erupted in Ukraine. For years, Russia has taunted the U.S. and other countries about its military prowess and nuclear weapons. And, unlike most other wealthy governments, it does not concern itself with whether its people or other nations think it’s the bad guy. It does as it pleases and consequences, be damned.

Though we have all known this about Russia and its leader, few of us believed we would be witnessing what we are today. The people of Ukraine and its leader have been incredibly brave and continue to fight Russian forces on their own.

The vast majority of countries around the world have said that they stand with Ukraine, so why aren’t we standing beside them on the battlefield? These are my two theories.

1. We Are on the Brink of World War III

If you studied history at the college level, you know firsthand that it doesn’t take very much to spark a World War. All you need is at least one egomaniac leader with a dream of expansion and the resources to accomplish it. Back then, World Powers had no choice but to join the wars because it was happening in their territory. Just as Ukraine is fighting a war whether it likes it or not because Russia brought the war to them.

For the first time, World Powers have the privilege of staying on the outskirts. Ironically, Ukraine’s closest neighbors are in Europe. But, the country everyone is waiting to engage in the conflict, is America. After all, that is its modus operandi, isn’t it?

America’s World War Tactic

Actually, it’s not. America joined both World Wars late. It waited until Europe had all but exhausted its own resources to throw its own into the mix. This allowed it to minimize collateral damage and maintain an image of being the hero who saved the day in both wars. Consequently, America has built its fair share of allies over the years.

The Protection vs Risk of Allies

The idea behind a coalition is that there’s safety in numbers. This serves as a deterrent against war because there’s no fighting just one country. You have to fight all of them.

Ukraine had hoped to benefit from this protection by joining NATO. Ironically, its desire to do so is a big part of what angered Russia enough to go to war.

Biden, himself, confirmed that avoiding a World War is one of the reasons he has kept the U.S. out of the conflict. When asked if any situation would prompt him to send U.S. troops to Ukraine, he said:

There’s not. That’s a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another.

2. The World Powers Are Waiting to Justify Mass Collateral Damage

If you only paid attention to social media, it would seem like everyone in the world—minus the Republicans cheering for Russia—want the World Powers to fight with Ukraine. This is in stark contrast to virtually any armed conflict we have ever witnessed anywhere in the world. Granted, social media has come a long way since we last went to war, but when have we ever seen storytelling this heart-wrenching?

Media Sentiment

Every day, there is a new video on my feed from the Ukraine president, showing strength and courage. He did not run off to Cancun or Poland and has not even evacuated his family. He is fighting in the capital, despite it and him being the prime targets of the Russian invasion. In fact, when Biden offered to help him evacuate, he stated:

The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.

We have also seen interviews with everyday men and women who stand ready to defend their country. We have watched them line up in freezing weather to get the weapons and training necessary to do so.

Actual Reality

In the comments, many people are asking the same question:

When are we going to give up on sanctions and actually fight?

But, the actual polls across America tell a different story. Only 26% of Americans believe the U.S. should go to war. Across both major U.S. parties, and especially among Independents, Americans believe their place is right here at home.

Public Support

Until this sentiment changes, America cannot join the fight. Unlike Russia, true democratic leaders must consider public sentiment and international favor when making decisions. For better or worse, our leaders do care what the people they serve think or say about their leadership and their decisions. Even worse, America has already had an embarrassing and fatal example of what happens when it fights a war without public support.

War Risk

What we should note is that Russia is the only country not concerned about a World War. Even China—an economic ally of Ukraine and political ally of Russia—has called for peace and a return to negotiations. If we let Russia continue to run wild and do as it pleases, the consequences of that impertinence could take lifetimes to resolve. So, do we fight a war to bring the beast to heel? Or, do we let it throw its tantrum in Ukraine’s living room and hope that is enough to cool its temper?

My Final Thoughts

The question of whether to join the war in Ukraine puts leaders around the world between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, most people wish we could offer better support to Ukraine. People who have studied history and international relations know the risk of doing so. But, perhaps, even more prevalent, are the people who would rather focus on arguing over mask mandates and gas prices instead of resolving a growing humanitarian crisis overseas.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Should America and its European allies go to war? Or should we continue to throw sanctions at the problem? I mean, obviously, it’s been working so well…

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine is rapidly unfolding. I wrote and scheduled this article on Saturday afternoon, February 26th 2022. Hours later, the New York Times shared a video of President Volodymyr Zelensky stating that Italy, India, and Turkey have now stepped up to offer support. Others may soon follow suit.

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23 thoughts on “Why Have World Powers Not Rushed to Ukraine’s Aid? I Have Two Theories.

  1. Countries are sending support to Ukraine but no country wants to fight head to head with Russia because of nuclear weapons. It really feels like a lose-lose situation. Sanctions might help in the long term. My opinion is if someone was going to take Putin down it would come from within, but those things usually don’t end well either.

    1. I know they’re sending military support in the form of weapons, but Ukraine needs people to man them. The president recently called for volunteers and so far 16,000 volunteers are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine to fight. That’s amazing. I hope they get more volunteers. More importantly, I hope Putin finally realizes the situation he’s creating for himself and his country and just accepts defeat. The war isn’t exactly going well for him either. He’s just stubborn! But we all know….that won’t happen.

      1. Wow that’s a lot of volunteers. I hope they’re trained well. Yes I don’t think Putin expected so much resistance. It will take a lot to change Putin’s mind but for him to withdraw would be the best outcome.

      2. I don’t think he did either. He’s in a very embarrassing situation right now.

  2. Thoughtful post Alexis. The fear of WWIII is very real, although some say it’s already happening at a cyber level. It seems to me that the Russian people are no more in favour of this war than the rest of the world. Putin is the contaminating force. He seems to have been empowered by the last US president, and I doubt very much he will stop at Ukraine.

    1. Someone said to me recently that they think the last president provided information to Putin that he shouldn’t have. I think it’s a very real possibility. I hope they find a good solution to all this.

      Thanks so much for reading!

    1. This is true. I’m actually proud of our leaders for all managing to abstain. But, I feel like that abstinence isn’t really helping. The sanctions are also kicking in, but it’s affecting the ordinary Russians more than the government causing everyone’s suffering. I’m not sure what a good solution is, but what’s happening now isn’t it either.

  3. The UN has no forces of its own and supply military and police personnel, provided by member states, for peacekeeping duties only. NATO has no mandate to get involved because it was created to provide collective security, for member states, against the Soviet block. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Horrible as it is to watch, we can only hope that someone within Russia finds the strength to get rid of Putin and puts their country onto a human and humane path once more.

    1. Putin actually blew up a consulate for a NATO country (Sweden, I think) and has been violating the closed air space. They now have reason to enter the war if they feel like it. NATO forces have already been stationed in their respective countries, close to Ukraine.

      As someone said, bullying is winning like it always has, because no one wants to call Putin’s bluff. Or, as I put it, he doesn’t care about being the bad guy. That A OK in his books….. I do not doubt for a second that he would use nuclear weapons.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. I forgot about their whole neutrality approach. Now, I’m actually surprised they’re getting involved at all.

  4. You make excellent points, Alexis. I do not doubt that if the US joined the fight with troops and air power, Putin would pull the plug and use a nuclear weapon. I hate having to sit by and watch Ukrainians get slaughtered – I feel helpless. But Putin is an egomaniac and one can only hope that a Russian will stop him. Pull a Julius Caesar, as it were. In the meantime, sending all the assistance and aid everyone can is the best we can do. What I fear is that if he takes over Ukraine, things will go back to normal like it never happened.

    1. I have a feeling Ukrainians would keep fighting so badly that it would be unsustainable to hold the country. But, so many innocent lives would be lost in the process. I hope it doesn’t come to that. And thanks for reading!

  5. I feel the fear of Putin using nukes is holding NATO and other nations back from sending anything more than what they are sending now to help Ukraine. If forces outside of Ukraine are used, I feel they should be U.N. forces to show a united front to Putin. Putin is crazy and I feel has an itchy finger on the button to use nukes. I can only hope that the people who actually have the control to the use of nukes have the courage for the sake of humanity not to obey the madness of Putin’s order.

    1. I do not doubt for a second that he would press that button. And I think the worse things become, the more likely it is that he will. He seems like the “if I can’t win, no one can” kinda guy.

  6. No western country wants to call Putin’s bluff. He has implied that if anyone tries to interfere with his plans, he is prepared to use his nuclear weapons. No-one wants nuclear war, so the world holds back from engaging. Once again, bullying wins. Bullying almost always wins.

    1. Agreed on that! And I don’t doubt for a second that he would do it. He seems like the type who would rather blow up the world than admit defeat.

      1. Buahaha! You know, one must wonder when it gets this bad! Remember how mad that certain president was about people saying he had tiny hands?? 😂

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