On February 24, 2022, Russian president Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. Although the war has, so far, mostly involved the two countries, the United States has been increasing their involvement in the conflict.
President Biden has not sent troops to Ukraine, as it is not a NATO country. NATO is an acronym for the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” and is a military alliance between 30 nations including the United States, Canada, UK, and France, among many others. In short, if one NATO member state is invaded, the other NATO countries will send troops and support them in war efforts.
Like most other countries, the Russian economy depends heavily on imports, exports, and doing business with people abroad. A White House press release details these economic sanctions. Many US-based businesses – such as Starbucks, Netflix, and YouTube – have either pulled out of Russia, or are restricting their services in the nation. The United States has also stopped importing oil from Russia, resulting in the record-high gas prices that are all to familiar.
In addition to emphasizing economic sanctions on Russia, President Biden proposed a $40 million military and humanitarian support package, which passed in a landslide victory in the House. This package allocates funds to a variety of specified areas, including trauma support for the war’s victims, weaponry support, military training, and emergency food assistance.
Amidst NATO’s increasing involvement in the conflict, many have speculated that Putin’s invasion will lead to a third world war. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of adults in America were either “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about Russia invading other neighboring nations. If Putin were to invade a NATO country – such as Poland – the United States and other NATO nations would likely send troops to fight in the war. With this in mind, Pew found that half of adults were concerned that the conflict would escalate into a war between Russia and the USA.
Despite these concerns, citizen support for Ukraine has been prominent. Only 12% believe that the US is doing too much, while the vast majority believe that the Biden administration’s level of support is “about right” or “not enough” (Pew).
Even though NATO has been offering various forms of support, the Russian military has not backed down. Ukraine president Volodymyr Zalinsky has continued to push for increased support, suggesting the development of a “no fly zone.” This would mean that NATO would shoot down any Russian planes that flew over Ukraine. However, president Biden rejected this idea, worried that it could lead to a full-on war against Russia.
The war in Ukraine has forced politicians to exercise a delicate balance between exercising support and not getting their own country too involved. Many have gone as far as to speculate that this is the beginning of a third world war. Some also speculate that Putin may be trying to revive the old Russian Empire. This would not only involve taking over Ukraine, but other nations such as Latvia, Armenia, and Estonia.
Nevertheless, the war in Ukraine has proved to be a demonstration of how one corrupt leader can change the global dynamics and shake the entire world. There is no clear end in sight, but the Ukrainian people have experienced hardships and demonstrated courage unfathomable to the average person.