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Ukraine is the new Afghanistan; Western hypocrisy in support for Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has truly been in progression for quite some time, in which its democracy has been challenged consistently since its independence in 1991. Starting in 2014 during the Euromaidan revolution where Crimea was annexed, Russian involvement in politics in neighboring former Soviet Union countries has continued to pose threats to sovereignty. Therefore, it has been far from a surprise for Ukrainians that Russia has held interests in further monopolizing its political control over Ukrainian territory. The true surprise, or rather gravest disappointment, is that Russia is deeply invested in air, land, sea, cyber and perhaps even nuclear warfare in order to achieve this goal, largely signaling an even more serious endeavor of occupying and absorbing former Soviet Union states, effectively changing the political geography of Europe and Eurasia.

America’s grave interest in this particular incident in which a foreign power is violating another state’s sovereignty goes beyond just mere humanitarian concern for Ukrainians. This is particularly evident by the fact that America has been the recent subject of multiple incidents of violating another state’s sovereignty, namely within the Middle East. Consequently, America’s intrinsic placement in this conflict is the fact that one of the key players is Russia, and NATO allies are expected to be in some way affected soon. If any NATO ally is to be affected during this highly sensitive “western” conflict, it would mean that virtually all 30 NATO countries would be involved; an indication of quite literally a World War. 

Amongst these recent escalations within the Russo-Ukrainian war, it seems increasingly evident that Ukraine overestimated their importance to the West, and have significantly acted on social media in a reactionary fashion. Historically speaking, America and the West have always supported “freedom fighters” against Soviet, or in this case Russian, influence. They have routinely provided weapons, financial aid, and global support as they did in Afghanistan. Ukrainians and western media’s diction on covering the crisis, however, seem to be relying on white privilege and Ukrainian’s proximity to European identity in order to garner enough support to fully deter Russian forces. This is in contrast to Afghanistan and Iraq who were both demonized by western media and were neglected the opportunity to represent themselves on the world stage before their culture was painted as mystic and their people as radical extremists. It is both Ukrainians proximity to European identity and their access to western capital (technology and social media) that have made their fight so widely popularized. 

What the Ukrainian government has neglected to wholly understand, however, is that they are merely another actor on the world stage that is not fully integrated into the West and is under the global influence of Russia’s history. Whether America and the West engage in the war, or provide significant post-war funding, stands to be an indication of whether European and white proximity can truly prevent desperation and oppression in a political globe of constant exploitation of those not part of The West. As witnessed by the historical precedents of military pullouts from Afghanistan and Iraq and from colonial precedents of Europe’s pullout from Africa, leaving nations in a state of war without proper post-war funding leads to widespread systemic political disarray. It is worthy to note that Ukraine has only been independent since 1991 and has had corrupt and popularly disputed presidents ever since. This democracy is quite literally still in the making, thus inclination towards corruption remains even more plausible in this particular state of emergency. 

The biggest concerns I see forthcoming are not an engagement of all major military forces in the Russo-Ukrainian war spanning into a world war, although it truly is plausible, but rather a subsequent radicalization of Ukrainians and long-term deterioration of international politics. Supplying military weapons and support to enraged political individuals has historically never resulted in peace, especially when notably not combined with post-war reparation measures. Historically, these “freedom-fighters” have always become derailed, radicalized, highly militarized, and demonized by western media. Within the coming months, it is inevitable that Ukrainian “freedom-fighters” will continue to overestimate their importance and underestimate their inclinations to radicalization and anger stemming from global injustice. Whether Ukraine, and the West, win the war or not, the global stage will soon be dealing with a highly politicized population of radicalized individuals (rightfully so) furthering the calling out of international political debate to comprise of sovereignty concerns and aggressive measures against world actors, which will undoubtedly continue to shake the global community off of its 70 year long foothold on “peace.” Somewhat ironically, this eventual question for international politics has been long brought up by Middle Eastern countries calling out America’s imperialism, but will only now be taken more seriously due to Ukraine’s European and white proximity. The largest question we must ask ourselves in order to enter into a new global political age of liberty, independence and free trade is whether white privilege and American capitalism continues to take precedence over the indiscrete physical and economical massacre of the global south.

 

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