By: Keegan Wagner
On Feb. 24, Russia launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine, complete with shelling of the country’s capital, Kyiv. In the days following, Russian forces have displaced hundreds of Ukrainian citizens while the Ukrainian government has urged its citizens to take up arms against the Russian soldiers.
As a response to the invasion, U.S. President Joe Biden has implemented a growing list of strict economic sanctions on Russia. This move has been mirrored by many other countries that support Ukraine. But these sanctions, along with some military and care supplies, are the extent of foreign aid sent to the country.
Because Ukraine is not officially a part of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), there is little incentive to actually send allied forces to help defend against the Russians. Additionally, Russian officials have stated that the sanctions alone are an “unofficial declaration of war,” and that if the U.S. fulfilled Ukraine’s request for fighter jets, they would have direct involvement in the conflict. This is something that American politicians, including the Biden Administration, are trying to avoid, for the time being.
In addition to the conflict in Europe, the possibility of China Invading Taiwan has recently been making headlines. Many attribute this to the similar situation both Ukraine and Taiwan are in, being that both have “Mother countries” that want to reclaim the independent nations of Ukraine and Taiwan. The situation in Asia is different from that in Europe, however, as the U.S. has stated that it will help actively defend Taiwan in a potential invasion.
Historically, however, the U.S. has been a very big fan of Proxy Wars, especially during the time through the Cold War and the Post 9/11 deployment of troops in the Middle East. Due to the previous military strategy of the United States, many citizens are skeptical about the promises of not sending troops to defend Ukraine.
There are a wide variety of different outcomes if America does decide to actively defend Ukrainian soil, and these consequences range from increased polarization between the Eastern and Western worlds, to a full blown World War III. While a third World War is highly unlikely, the chances are not zero, and Russian Leader Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he is not afraid to use nuclear weapons if push comes to shove.
Many American citizens tend to be on the fence about issues such as these, and it can be mostly boiled down to the fact that no one likes war, especially those that don’t involve the U.S. directly. But, on the other hand, the decline of American influence in the Eastern world leaves room for regimes like that of China and Russia to take its place. Both of these options are not desirable.
The least devastating course of action would be for American politicians to focus more on improving and resolving domestic issues, rather than debating foreign conflict, even if it means sacrificing global influence to do so. The nearly $934 billion spent on supporting the U.S. Military last year could have easily been reduced to support the ⅓ of Americans living below the poverty line.