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?
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.
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.
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.
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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