Ukraine, Russia, NATO, and the Next Great Global Conflict


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

In the dark hours of February 23, 2022, the tense silence that cloaked Ukraine violently broke with the devastating sounds of an anticipated Russian invasion. Explosions were reported in the Ukrainian cities of Odesa and Kharkiv along with the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of military action.

Over the past few months, the United States and its allies, including the countries that comprise the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), have been sending troops to nations bordering Ukraine as a now failed means to deter a Russian invasion after Putin accumulated more than 190,000 troops along the Ukrainian border.

President Joe Biden released a presidential statement addressing the most recent advances of Russia’s attack. Biden stated, “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.” Biden believes that Russia’s advancements against Ukraine not only poses a threat to its citizens and sovereignty but has the ability to endanger “global peace and security” in its entirety. 

The full-scale Russian offense will result in devastating consequences. Such aggression by the Russian military could cause an immense amount of bloodshed and casualties for all actors involved and demolish Ukraine’s newly found democratic government. A world-scale conflict, such as these actions could lead to, would impose disastrous implications on various global relations such as energy, stability, and financial markets. 

President Putin gave a chilling warning to the rest of the world, “Whoever tries to impede us, let alone create threats for our country and its people, must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history.”

By invading Ukraine, Russia threatens the United States’s position as the world’s lone superpower and the unipolar international system that has prevented large-scale wars since the end of World War II. By invading Ukraine, Russia has dramatically disrupted the balance of power on our planet. It has jeopardized the post-Cold War balance that has kept our continent relatively peaceful for decades. 

Just as the United States is preparing for a war-like conflict, the elected Ukrainian president does not plan on going down without a fight. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Russia’s government and its citizens warning if his country and his people become victim to a Russian siege, or “if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.” Ukraine is prepared to defend itself forcefully and proudly. 

According to former democratic Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, “President Biden could end this crisis and prevent a war with Russia by doing something very simple: guaranteeing that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO. If Ukraine became a part of NATO, that would put US and NATO troops directly on the doorstep of Russia, which would undermine their national security interests.” In reality, it is improbable that Ukraine will ever be welcomed to join NATO forces.

To become a part of the NATO alliance, the country in question, in this case, Ukraine, must “uphold democracy, including tolerating diversity, be making progress toward a market economy, and their military forces must be under firm civilian control.” Unfortunately, although Ukraine has been considered a democracy for a little more than 30 years now, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, its democratic system is not stable and riddled with malice and corruption. 

The Economic Intelligence Unit recently released the 2021 Democracy Index that categorized Ukraine as a “‘hybrid regime’ bucket, tied for 86th place with Mexico in the democracy rankings.” This classification even excludes Ukraine from being considered a flawed democracy, let alone a full-fledge, healthy, stabilized democracy. 

Sadly, Russia’s recent attack on Ukraine is just the beginning of a conflict that has the potential to uproot the world as we know it. Russia does not appear to have any intentions of halting its offense against Ukraine. The United States, NATO, Ukraine, and, frankly, all other actors in the world must begin to prepare for large-scale conflict. 

Blake Mauro is a sophomore political science major with a media studies minor at Clemson University. She is very passionate about politics and journalism and hopes to pursue a career in the media industry as a voice for the silent majority following her graduation.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Blake Mauro

Blake Mauro is a sophomore political science major with a media studies minor at Clemson University. She is very passionate about politics and journalism and hopes to pursue a career in the media industry as a voice for the silent majority following her graduation.

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