Opinion: Ukraine, And Why We Should Care

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, many people in the U.S. were sympathetic toward Ukraine’s situation and outraged at Russia’s unprovoked aggression. The majority of citizens believed that the best course of action was to help Ukraine. However, there were other ideas of what the U.S. should or should not do.

Arguments For Why The U.S. Shouldn’t Help And Why They Don’t Work

According to Forbes Magazine, some claim that it would be too costly for the U.S. to participate in the war. The article, “Half Of Republicans Believe U.S. Sends Too Much Support To Ukraine, Poll Suggests,” quotes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy voicing concerns about a recession, suggesting that taxpayer dollars could be spent elsewhere. 

However, what that camp doesn’t mention is that according to Statista, the U.S. spent over 800 billion dollars in 2021 on military alone; and much of that money could be used to help Ukraine.  

U.S. Citizens with ties to Ukraine believe that a little help from the US can make all the difference.

“If the help is adequate and timely, and enough, then Ukraine will succeed and win the war, [and] basically overthrow Russian tyranny,” said Natasha Alexander, a Ukrainian and Longfellow parent, who has relatives and friends in Kyiv, in the thick of the war.But if we don’t help enough, or help is not timely, then it’s really hard to say; it’s really scary what might happen.” 

But so far, more money or troops to help Ukraine is a hard sell in congress. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, is urging the two countries to find a “political solution,” suggesting the conflict between the nations could be resolved through negotiations. 

In the Fox News Article, “Milley urges Ukraine to negotiate with Russia, saying chances of total military victory ‘unlikely,’” Milley suggests that 

Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia, is likely to stay in Russian hands. 

Some, most notably billionaire Elon Musk, have suggested that Ukraine cede Crimea to Russia in an attempt to broker peace.

But this argument is heavily based on pacifism, undermining the fact that Russian forces are committing atrocities and war crimes on Ukrainian soil, so much that Russia has been classified as a terrorist state by the European Union, according to the New York Times

Others, like former President Donald Trump, say that the war is simply not something the United States should be worrying about, in a sort of isolationist stance. They often are the same people claiming that helping would cost too much, as the two arguments go hand-in-hand. 

Why the U.S. Should Help Ukraine

These arguments all crumble at the mention of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which states that America, Britain, and Russia must “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”  The Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization, outlines how the G.W. Bush administration negotiated with Russia and Ukraine after the USSR broke up.  

The Budapest Memorandum was designed to minimize the chances of nuclear war, giving Ukraine assurance that if they ceded the USSR Nuclear weapons located in their territory to Russia, the U. S.  would back them up in the face of Russian aggression. By this agreement, the U.S. should have intervened when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

They did not, and now Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons if they do.  This is exactly the situation that the Budapest Memorandum sought to avoid. 

Many, including civics teacher Marin Parker, think that this threat is a bluff.

“I truly don’t really believe that Russia would go that far just because that is an escalation no one wants,” said Parker. “We learned that in the Cold War. There’s a reason the buttons were never pressed because that is the end of the world as we know it.” 

Many in the world are failing to see the importance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which arguably began on February 20, 2014, when Russia began its annexation of Crimea. 

“Putin came in and kind of double-dipped,” explained civics teacher CJ Aldrich, describing the current invasion as the second instance of Russian aggression. “I think that’s when Ukraine was like, okay, they’re not going to stop. So we need to kind of defend ourselves.” 

War Affects Everyone

Ukraine is being bombed and attacked; many in the sovereign nation are dying or otherwise injured badly, and many locations in the country have been left in ruin.

Around the globe, there has been an energy crisis linked to this war; after sanctions had been put on Russia’s oil industry, many countries that received oil from Russia now have to purchase energy that is more expensive from other countries. 

Millions of Ukrainian refugees have been taken in by other countries in Europe. This migration put a strain on these countries, some of which even declared that they couldn’t take any more refugees.

The war even affects Russia in an unexpected way. “There’s actually a lot of Russian men who are dodging the draft right now that’s happening in Russia, and they’re leaving the country, so they don’t have to go fight in a war they don’t believe in,” said civics teacher Meghan McLain.

The End of The War

“I believe, and I hope, and I pray, that Ukraine and Ukrainian people will carry their effort through and win their independence, dignity, freedom, and happiness. I hope the Russian federation will collapse under the burden of the cost of this war and the unhappiness and determination of their people”, said Alexander.

Though Ukraine seems to be in the winning position, in my opinion, and in those that I have interviewed, if Russia is not treated right at the end of the war, world peace may be at a higher risk than at the start.

“I think back to World War I all the time and how the countries treated Germany after World War I and how that essentially led to World War Two. I think it is important to be mindful of how do we move forward and not move back,” said McLain.

Ukraine is seemingly going to be the victor of this war, and we should be a catalyst for this future.