How should the United States respond to Ukraine?


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Russia may invade Ukraine because Ukraine is not recognized as a country by Russia. There has been heavy debate as to whether or not the United States should retaliate against Russia.

It has been the topic of every major news station all over the world for the last few months. Everyone, from regular Americans to college professors, has been trying to predict the outcome. It is clear to me that the best response the United States can have if Russia invades Ukraine would be little to no response at all (at least not militarily.) In any way one looks at the situation in Europe, it simply does not behoove the United States to retaliate and attack Russia over Ukraine.

From a theoretical standpoint, going to war does not make sense. President Biden is a “realist” when it comes to foreign policy, and that basically entails that he does not believe in sending troops or using American military might unless a vital area of the world is being attacked. This aforementioned “vital area” basically covers all of Western Europe, the Northern coast of Africa, the Middle East, parts of East Asia and Japan. The key takeaways are the idea that one, the United States should only go to war if one of the previously mentioned regions are attacked, and two, all the places previously mentioned are on the coast. Ukraine is not on the coast as it borders an inland sea (the Black Sea) as well as Russia. Biden, then, as a realist, would not send the full United States military into this region as it isn’t considered vital.

Theories aside, it would not be a savvy political move for President Biden to join this potential conflict either. Just this summer, America ended its 20+ year war in Afghanistan, pulling all American troops out of the state very rapidly, which ultimately resulted in the Taliban regaining control of the nation. After Afghanistan fell around mid-August, Biden’s approval numbers among Americans dipped below 50% for the first time in his presidency. Simply put, the last major conflict President Biden engaged in abroad hurt his approval ratings and he will be keen on making sure that does not happen again.

Even from an ethical perspective, the answer is still a resounding no to the question of war in Ukraine. Historically, Ukraine and Russia are very intertwined. Hundreds of years ago in the days of the Czars, Ukraine was simply another part of the Russian Empire. Out of a country with a population of around 44 million, 8 million identify as ethnically Russian. That is the largest minority group in the entire country. Many of these ethnic Russians live in the Eastern part of the country, where they border Russia. If a war ever did break out, it is likely this part of Ukraine would not mind being absorbed into Russia, and also very likely Russia would be unable to annex the Western portion, as they are too closely tied with the European powers to fall into Russian hands.

Personally, I do not think a war is likely to happen. Russia would lose way too much profit from its natural gas shipments to Europe if they choose to invade. However, as previously mentioned, it would be wisest for the United States to stay out of the conflict if it does arise.