On Ukraine and U.S Policy Part I
In the course of human history, there have been a great many instances in which the ideologies of nation-states have reached a limit in their ability to cooperate, when diametrically opposing nations begin the inevitable slow process of tipping over the pot of stability. In the wake of the spill, it is here when the tensions of long finally erupt, resulting in a contest for territorial hegemony or influence. One need only look through the shorty documented history of the human race to draw parallels from then to now. From the ancient tensions between the Spartans and Athenians in the Peloponnesian War to the European power conglomerate before World War I, a pattern emerges when great spheres of power can no longer appease the other or contain any form of transgressions. Thus, war, whether indirectly or directly, is an inevitability.
As the war in Ukraine reaches its eighth month, it has allowed the opportunity for western countries to oppose the growing influence of its ideological adversaries indirectly. In simpler terms, the war is an opportunity for the United States and its allies to deteriorate the influence of Russia and similar regimes. This opportunity thus leaves only one acceptable outcome, Ukraine must win this war not only to ensure the survival of its sovereignty but, to illustrate the power and good western nations continue to provide against developing totalitarian governments.
Despite the emerging opinion of the U.S and other Western countries as parasites to the development of nations by many emerging liberal scholars, it should be taken with a grain of salt. The consequences of a total Ukrainian victory illustrate the dependability of NATO and other alliances in providing weapons and protection for the sake of freedom and expose the vulnerabilities behind governments that portray themselves as rightful superpowers, as evident in the case of Russia currently. What the war has helped illustrate is the ability of western nations to assist smaller republics militarily, politically, and economically. This display shows the burden of responsibility that Democratically aligned nations have in the future as instability within smaller republics becomes increasingly common, and those same republics push the limits of their governmental power.
It becomes clear that those same democratic nations must be tasked with safeguarding the rights of man globally by way of adhering to democratic principles, global institutions, and international law. To counter the overarching power of totalitarian regimes that do not follow such prerequisites of stability is paramount if the world is to remain peaceful and evolve.
U.S Position and its Interests
Domestically, U.S voters may be confused as to why the U.S spends more on foreign wars than first tackling its internal struggles. Undoubtedly, domestic politics within the U.S has never been more polarizing. With President Biden committing billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, American voters may feel neglected, knowing its government cares more for Ukrainians. So why continue? One can argue that many voters fail to realize the big-picture in protecting American interests and homeland security.
The position the U.S holds is incomparable to what history has seen before, economically, politically, and militarily. Since its inception, the U.S has been the symbol of freedom globally. The great revolution that destroyed the shackles of oppressive British colonialism paved the way for other nations to follow. And since then, by cooperation with other democratic countries and submitting its sons to die for the liberation of entire continents has led the world in spreading liberal ideals. By becoming this beacon of hope and freedom, it is tasked with fighting any fight involving freedom’s degradation. ‘Tis part of the reason the U.S and western nations are keen on supporting the war. Another is in the interest of diminishing our adversaries’ geopolitical influence.
Since the onset of the war, the U.S and NATO have invested billions of dollars in aid, financially and militarily. Total expenditure for U.S economic aid has risen to approximately $17 billion since January 2021 and over $20 billion since the war erupted back in 2014. On top of the billions sent by the U.S and other NATO nations, Ukraine has been given high-tech military equipment, which has tremendously affected defending against the Russian army. Anti-aircraft weapons, Javelins (anti-tank missiles), helmets, load carriers, artillery munitions, vehicles, drones, western military training, and intelligence cooperation among NATO nations have transformed Ukraine’s capabilities to succeed that of its foes. But, with Russia losing the war and Putin becoming increasingly unpredictable, the U.S walks a fine line in supporting Ukraine.
Although Russia may be our top adversary, it is not the only one. For the past 20 years, Russia, China, and Iran have expanded their sphere of influence worldwide. Now, it is in direct competition with the U.S in terms of global impact. Our adversaries have recognized the instability growing within the U.S politically and have taken full advantage of this opportunity. Division within the American government is at the top of their list in hopes that the rest of the system will not recuperate. Misinformation campaigns during the presidential elections and the hacking and sabotaging of American and allied infrastructure illustrate the Russian strategy. Chinese data miners stealing the information of millions of Americans through false applications depicts their attempts. And Iranian-aligned militia forces directly engaging American service members in the Middle East portray their intentions. These are prominent examples of how these nations combat American influence.
Yet, the problem goes much deeper. One must understand that National security and national interest are not exclusive to our borders. To protect national security is to ensure that other nations are not aligned with those who wish to see our demise. For example, the active role China and Russia have played in African and Latin American countries is unbeknownst to many. Between 2001 and 2018, China loaned approximately $126 billion to African countries.  With the lack of American presence due to a twenty-year war and political division, Chinese investments have dominated African infrastructure and development. This has, in a sense, created a quid pro quo system that has seen the construction of China’s first overseas Naval base in Djibouti, located at the horn of Africa, next to the most significant shipping lanes in the world. Africa is especially unstable as more governments face the risks of coups and Islamic extremism recruitment continues. On top of this, China has been pushing the limits of its power across the South China Sea, seizing island chains and threatening to reunite Taiwan with mainland China.
It is no surprise that Russia, on the other hand, has been investing in Latin American countries. They have already supplied Russian arms and propaganda to various Latin nations such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Venezuela, more so, as Russia recognizes Nicolas Maduro as the national President and Russia becomes its most prominent trade ally. Political instability, declining relations with the U.S, and nationalist political candidates taking office present a prime opportunity for Russian investments and influence to expand in the Western Hemisphere. This expansion now becomes a direct threat to the U.S, as Russian influence is only several countries to the South rather than thousands of miles to the East.
Coupled with the lack of U.S presence in other parts of the world and failed leadership decisions, as represented in the evacuation of Afghanistan, U.S adversaries have been amassing at its doorstep for quite some time now. To re-establish its position on the world scale, the U.S must take every opportunity to counter the influence of these totalitarian regimes with haste.
The following 30 years of U.S interest and policy depend on total Ukrainian victory. What a defeat will mean for Russia is the exposure of its incapabilities to wage war, provide security, and provide substantial economic assistance to its new allies globally. Most importantly, however, a Ukrainian victory will showcase the resolve and dependability of the U.S and other democratic nations. Despite the portrayal of China and Russia as superpowers, there lies more beneath the surface. The U.S can defend its territories and the territories of its allies while ensuring a stable and strong economic foundation. The actions of allied nations through sanctions and other means of cooperation illustrate to any government seeking an alliance with China and Russia that consequences may follow suit. It is in the best interest of the U.S, despite the many opposing opinions of its voters, to continue its support for Ukraine. It is the surest way to expose the lies of U.S adversaries and move the world toward a more democratic and free course.