Is World War Three imminent amid Russian invasion of Ukraine?

As war takes grip of Ukraine, where will Russia stop?

Nick Shelton, Managing Editor; Sports Editor

Numerous sanctions, from countries all over the world, have yet to dissuade Russia from halting its invasion of Ukraine. 

Canada is the most recent country to impose new sanctions on Russia, announcing on March 8 that the new sanctions will be used to “put increased pressure on Russia’s leadership including Putin’s inner circle,” Trudeau said. 

In the midst of all of these sanctions, Russia’s currency, the Ruble, is now worth 0.0065 of a U.S. dollar. Russia has also been cut off from accessing it’s foreign currency reserves, which kills Russia’s hopes of being able to offset sanctions with their $630 billion dollar foreign currency war chest. 

“No country is sanctions-proof when we act together,” a senior Biden administration official said in an interview last week. 

However, despite a large number of far reaching sanctions from all over the world, Russia appears unphased. 

Russia’s interest in Ukraine is self-evident with Russia being in a tough position faced with the prospect of nearly all of its western neighboring countries being members of NATO as Ukraine’s probability of joining is on the rise. In Russia’s eyes, NATO is an enemy who commonly threatens war and call Putin a murderer, terrorist, unstable, etc. 

For Russia, if Ukraine joins the EU/NATO, it would be the equivalent of Russia controlling Canada or Mexico and conducting military exercises, surveillance and having a defense alliance that would call for war if we attempted to invade. This would obviously be unacceptable to us and is, likewise, unacceptable to Russia. 

Regardless of Russia’s clear vested interest in Ukraine, the world seemed to predict that Russia would not be able to withstand the kind of sanctions which have been imposed, but this is clearly not the case. 

The question is, at this point, does the United States allow Russia to continue to invade Ukraine with limited support, namely in the form of monetary support and military equipment, or do we start an all out war with Russia. 

Both would have far reaching consequences, and this is where the dilemma arises. An all out war with Russia could tank a recovering U.S. economy and cause the loss of numerous American lives that would be sacrificed for the defense of Ukraine, which is a very small trade partner to the United States. 

Allowing Russia to continue it’s invasion with limited support would fulfill the United States defense agreement with Ukraine but could cause a larger increase in gas prices, give China license to invade Taiwan and set a potentially dangerous precedent in regards to U.S. foreign policy. 

The United States foreign policy has previously been one of clear lines in the sand that countries are not allowed to cross unless they want the threat of war. President Joe Biden’s statements about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, have been much less clear. 

“What you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does,” Biden said. “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having to fight over what to do or not to do.”

Putin’s actions in Ukraine are very similar in some ways to Israel’s actions in Syria and Palestine, yet the U.S. has taken a much different approach when it comes to Israel. If Israel’s concerns of living with hostile border countries are legitimate, then Russia’s concerns are equally legitimate as a NATO aligned Ukraine would be just that.

Russia’s demands are also not particularly extensive, although they do directly contradict the UN position of allowing European nations to join NATO if they choose. They ask that Ukraine not be allowed to join NATO and that no military tests be conducted near Russia in Ukraine. These are legitimate concerns on the part of Russia and war with Russia over Ukraine may not be in the best interest of America and more importantly the American people.

Is direct U.S. military involvement a good idea considering the rapidly expanding militaries of rival countries? Can the United States spread its influence across the world, especially to countries that border our biggest rivals when we no longer have global military hegemony? Can we, in turn, allow Russia to take over Ukraine and potentially set a bad precedent for future U.S. foreign military involvement?