Daily Column – 14th February 2022

The Russia–Ukraine crisis kept getting worse over the weekend, with the U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan saying that a Russian invasion could happen “almost at any time.”

They say Russia doesn’t plan to move into Ukraine, but its military has more than 130,000 troops on its side of the border. A lot of money was put into this, so it’s very risky.

It might make you wonder…why? Why does Vladimir Putin want to put people’s lives and the economy at risk over Ukraine? It’s not about getting more land, though. People living in Russia, the world’s largest country by area, have a lot of that.

Putin hasn’t explained why he thinks this is a good idea, so it’s hard to say what it is about. But it probably comes down to this: Taking over Ukraine would be a way for Putin to channel his inner Joker and start chaos in Eastern Europe.

It isn’t like the Joker’s antics: Putin’s chaos serves a lot of different purposes, like making people angry.

Return Russian power that was lost when the Soviet Union broke up.

People who work for Western governments, especially the United States, should tell them not to get more involved in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine is important to all of that: People in Ukraine have a lot in common with people in Russia. Putin has even said that Russia and Ukraine are “one country.” There have been a few things that have made Putin angry recently, including Ukraine’s government making moves to join NATO, which was set up to fight the Soviet Union. Russia wants the United States to say that Ukraine will never join NATO.

All of this means that the stakes are so high, not just for Ukraine, but for Europe in general. “Europeans would soon be living in a world where Russia would have the right to intervene anywhere in its near abroad or even beyond, any time it felt important interests were at stake,” geopolitics analyst Bruno Maçes said in a blog post.

To solve the problem, Western leaders have been scrambling to come up with a diplomatic way to do it. In a speech yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that a Ukraine invasion would be a “assault on democracy.”

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