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Friday, April 19, 2024

We cannot afford a world without Ukraine

How the fall of a democratic European nation would destabilize global peace

 

By MAYA KORNYEYEVA — mkornyeyeva@ucdavis.edu

 

After nearly two years of daily air strikes, bombings and raids on Ukrainian cities, the war between Russia and Ukraine is nowhere near over. Despite fading from American mainstream media, the Ukrainian people are fighting and dying to protect their freedom and culture from Russian aggression.

Yet, in spite of numerous pleas from the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, foreign countries are being parsimonious in terms of what aid they provide in support. European nations are looking toward the United States and following in their footsteps, only sending weaker, smaller amounts of weaponry and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

To those that say providing aid to Ukraine goes against our national interest: I say that you are wrong. Our national interest, at its core, values protecting foreign democracies. It has done so for centuries, encouraging the creation of democracies in countries around the world and spending millions of dollars on the upkeep of these governmental systems — of course, this rhetoric is typically used as a cover for the interference and destabilization of other countries. 

In not focusing enough attention on Ukraine, the United States government essentially closes their eyes to a dangerous future, which has the potential to put the daily lives of Americans at risk. In refusing to fund a quick Russian defeat, America is allowing a risky stalemate to continue. 

In the event of a Ukrainian loss, the people would lose their national identity, and the world would lose a country, which (coincidentally?) is the only thing standing between Russia and the United Nations. By allowing the elimination of the barrier between NATO and Russia, the world is left exposed. Russian aggression has proved to be persistent and illogical, defying expectations and resulting in extreme devastation and death. 

Who would be next? Poland, perhaps, or Hungary, Romania, Moldova? Or, fueled by their victory over Ukraine, would Russia align itself with other military powers — for instance China or North Korea? While this may seem pessimistic, it is not something that politicians should be ignoring. 

It is truly unbelievable that, in the 21st century, seven genocides are happening simultaneously around the world, at the expense of innocent people and with the sole desire for power. In helping Ukraine now, we are, to an extent, also helping ourselves: we are ensuring that in the future, a more powerful Russian aggression is not pointed toward the United States. 

I do understand that there is a general fear among the American people that, if the government sides with Ukraine and announces their alliance against Russia, there will be an immediate and deadly retaliation. Russia is one of the world’s largest military forces — having inherited the Soviet Union’s powerful nuclear arsenal — so this fear is genuine and real. 

However, if the United States decides to wholeheartedly join Ukraine’s efforts, there may be a consensus among other countries that they can do the same. Out of the world’s 193 countries, 41 have pledged support to Ukraine; what can global cooperation achieve if not peace? Even given Russia’s military strength, 42 countries against one are big odds. 

We need to be reminded that the people of Ukraine are not going to stop fighting. They are not going to give themselves up to Russia. They will continue taking up arms on the front lines, weaving nets and caring for wounded soldiers, distributing food, water and basic necessities to refugees and standing strong in their culture and beliefs. 

The Ukrainian people need the world to notice their resolve and to realize that allowing continuous warfare to exist is not an option. Whether it’s communities crowdsourcing medical supplies, people petitioning their local and state governments, journalists reporting on the war or the federal government taking action, sending military and financial aid to Ukraine can and should be prioritized. 

Without Ukraine, the global social, economic and political balance will be forever altered in favor of apathetic greed. 

 

Written by: Maya Kornyeyeva — mkornyeyeva@ucdavis.edu

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

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