The U.S. should aid Ukraine from afar

Emily Roberge

“I think [Putin] is a war criminal,” United States President Joe Biden said.

Vladimir Putin is ravaging Ukraine, taking every little piece of power and domination he can grasp with his blood-covered hands. Furthermore, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. There’s no denying it: Putin is an evil monster. But what about the country that loves war? Should the U.S. risk the lives of troops to fight in a war that is no direct threat to our country?

It’s no shock that Russia has extreme nuclear capabilities, and frighteningly enough, Putin hasn’t ruled out the possibility of using them. In a recent interview with CNN, a Putin spokesperson repeatedly refused to rule out Russia utilizing nuclear weapons. In fact, when asked under what conditions would Russia use its nuclear capabilities, the Kremlin spokesperson said, “if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be.” The ambiguity of his words is telling– Putin is unpredictable, and we can’t risk the lives of our soldiers without knowing all of the information.

The implications of a direct U.S. military intervention could be catastrophic, leading to what could be World War Three. It’s not a given that the U.S. sending troops to Ukraine will result in Russia using nuclear weapons, but it’s highly likely as Putin will feel a “threat” to his intervention. Look at the nuclear capabilities for both the U.S. and Russia for proof. If the United States were to intervene and bring soldiers to Russia, they have the military capabilities for up to 5,943 warheads. It has been estimated that Russia has up to 5,977 nuclear warheads, with 1,185 being intercontinental ballistic missiles, 800 being submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 580 air-launched nuclear bombers. Both Russia and the United States are nuclear powerhouses, and a U.S. intervention by troops could possibly lead to two things: irreparable damage in Ukraine and increased U.S. soldier fatalities. Other than the protection of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, there seems to be more bad than good that can come out of this.

For Putin, it’s all about a power game. With a military intervention, the U.S. could possibly disrupt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Putin recognizes that. The United States is a threat to Russia. In 2022, they ranked #1 in the world for global fire power. Now, these are where Russian threats come into play.

“No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more create threats for our country and for our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” Putin said in a televised message in February.

That’s what we must consider.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I want the United States to respond to Volodymyr Zelensky’s pleas for help, but sending more troops isn’t the answer. Do I feel morally wrong saying this? Of course. I wish our troops could help fight alongside the Ukrainian forces in defeating Putin, but we shouldn’t lose the lives of U.S. soldiers to something that could have even greater catastrophic effects if we intervene.

In my history class, we are learning about foreign policy, and it really has me thinking. There are so many connections between the past and present. In 1917, the United States under President Woodrow Wilson was debating whether or not to keep neutrality or to enter into World War I, sparking the creation of Wilson’s 14 Points, where the ultimate goal was to “keep the world peace.” Since then, the U.S. has had a history of budding into foreign conflicts like in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the lives of many soldiers and innocent civilians have been lost. However, we are still having the same timeless foreign policy conversations today as we were over a hundred years ago. Needless to say, we are a ‘war-obsessed country.’ There’s a notion that the United States must be the “policemen” and saviors of the world, when in reality, that hasn’t always worked out for us.

So, are the U.S. troops being sent to Ukraine? Originally, Biden said no, but there has been recent talks after a NATO summit that he might deploy some troops to Ukraine. As of right now, we don’t really know the answer. But, we do know that Putin’s actions are like a ticking time bomb ready to blow up. What happens next? We just have to wait and see.

I am no foreign policy expert, but I do know that we must be strategic with how we position our troops if the U.S. chooses to deploy some to Ukraine. Yes, it is our moral duty to protect and aid other countries, especially Ukrainians who need our help.  However, we also must remember to protect our soldiers first and foremost.

No matter where you stand on the discussion of whether troops should be brought to Ukraine, I think we can all agree that Putin must be stopped before it’s too late. No more lives should be lost, and no more blood should be shed for his extreme greed and cruelty.