The recent military invasion of Ukraine by Russia has put all eyes on Eastern Europe. With the Cold War and Russia’s tragic history not too far in the past, it’s important to understand the facts about this conflict so that freedom may soon prevail.
Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about Russia’s history and its recent military invasion in Ukraine?
A. Russia’s natural resources and nuclear power arsenal make it a formidable actor on the world stage.
B. Putin aspires to reassemble the Russian empire.
C. The Russian people all stand behind Putin and support his recent actions in Ukraine.
Let’s take these statements one at a time:
A. TRUTH! Russia has been steadily working to regain prominence as a major power on the world stage. Thanks in part to its vast natural resources, Russia’s influence has grown as countries have become more reliant on its exports. For instance, Russia leads the world in natural gas production and is the second largest exporter of oil. With around 45% of its gas imports coming from Russia, the EU’s response to the Ukrainian invasion has been crippled as it fears being cut off from Russian oil.
Not only does Russia enjoy leverage and influence through its natural resources, it also fields a huge nuclear arsenal, which it is now using to try to deter full-scale help to Ukraine..
B. TRUTH! When the Soviet Union dissolved, Russia shed much of its communist system, but not its spirit of domination. Putin has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the 20th century’s “greatest political catastrophe,” and has been seeking remedy for it. He aspires to reassemble the pre-Soviet Russian empire through sheer military strength and aggregation of global power. The invasion of Ukraine comes as no surprise, especially considering the current U.S. administration’s weak approach to foreign affairs.
C. LIE! Not all Russians share Putin’s messianic vision or endorse his brutal ways. For generations, many Russians have been trying to steer their country in a better direction, towards reform, freedom, and away from propaganda, centralized control, and deceit. There are Russians who have bravely stood up as dissidents, sounded the alarm as defectors, or tried to reform Russian politics. They tend to end up threatened, assaulted, imprisoned, exiled, poisoned or shot. Despite Putin’s efforts to crush dissent, thousands of Russians have taken to the streets in protest against Russia’s war on Ukraine. More than 8,000 people in 13 Russian cities have been detained.
Bottom Line: Russian aggression is not new. The United States, as leader of the free world, won the first Cold War by confronting the USSR and building up a military with which the Soviet system could not complete. Today, the U.S. President and his administration have been focused on a radical domestic agenda and have done too little to deter Putin or his imperialist invasion of Ukraine. President Biden must change course, free U.S. energy to counter Putin’s hold, and build up a U.S. military focused on winning and deterring wars, instead of social issues and eco-fuels.