Russia Invades Ukraine

Russia has invaded Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir declared certain portions of Ukraine to be independent, and for the past several months Putin has been threatening to invade Ukraine under the guise of protecting those independent areas.

The invasion mainly involved aerial strikes on certain specific military targets in Ukraine, but anyone who has ever learned literally anything about literally any war that has ever been fought will understand that the targets are unlikely to remain strictly military. This is, frankly, terrifying.

The invasion is too new to offer much beyond a superficial reaction. That said, there are a few things we can say with a reasonable amount of certainty:

  1. Vladimir Putin has declared war on Ukraine. Maybe not through any official channels, but it’s tough to view this invasion as anything other than a de facto declaration of war.
  2. The invasion has already had devastating effects. The amount of fear and human suffering in Ukraine and other parts of Europe is already staggering. Of course, Europe is no stranger to violent strife since World War II. The Troubles in Ireland, the Bosnian War, revolutions in Spain and Romania, war among the many countries that were once part of Yugoslavia, etc. But the difference between those conflicts and this one is that those conflicts did not really have widespread global implications. This attack, however, could legitimately lead to World War III.
  3. The economic repercussions could be dire. Inflation in the US recently hit 7.5%, which is ridiculously high. If the US gets involved in a more significant way, the our already worn down and somewhat fragile economy could be thrown into real disarray.
  4. The next few weeks and months will be tense and crucial. This will likely draw many comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy stood toe-to-toe with the Soviet Union, and the Soviets blinked first. I think President Biden is probably better qualified to do that this time around than President Trump would have been, but ultimately I’m not sure how much faith I have in this administration to succeed. I, of course, hope they do and will be openly rooting for the Biden administration, but I have my doubts. How things play out in the next few weeks could tell us whether we will remember this as the beginning of a devastating war or a tense but ultimately minimally violent chapter in world history.
  5. This is the time to shine for NATO and the UN. The entire point of both of those organizations is to maintain peace by putting high value on diplomacy, treaties, and a sense of “a rising tide raises all ships.” These organizations have never truly been tested in such a way, so this will tell us a lot about their effectiveness. I’m pretty cynical when it comes to governmental abilities to accomplish things, but I sincerely hope that NATO and the UN do their jobs this time.

We will, naturally, continue to monitor this situation, but ultimately this is an example of an authoritarian committing an act of war against a peaceful neighbor. I will stand with Ukraine and support Ukraine however I can, and I encourage you to do the same.

In the meantime, all we can do is hope for peace.

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