The other morning I awoke to the sound of what I hoped to be laughter, but in my heart of hearts, I knew full well was no sound of joy.
"They are bombing Ukraine." Said the voice from across the room.
A sentence I thought I had prepared myself to hear over the last month.
Leading up to the day of the invasion, I had been foolishly convincing myself, and hopefully my Ukrainian friend, that a US aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea would respond if such an overt attack occurred.
But this, of course, never happened. After months of NATO utilizing Ukraine as a chess piece to aggravate Russia, explosions were now ripping buildings apart in major cities across the country as a full-scale, blitzkrieg-style assault had begun.
Where was this helping hand of NATO? Where was the United States, the country that beat its chest until it was black and blue, crying freedom and democracy? Possibly the most angering part of this conflict is that the betrayal of Ukraine is nothing new at all.
In 1994 The Budapest Memorandum was signed by the United States, Russia, and
The United Kingdom. This political agreement was intended to provide security to Ukraine in exchange for dismantling Ukraine's nuclear defenses and transferring them to Russia.
In 2014 Russia blatantly violated this treaty and stole the Crimea region from Ukraine. Russia also invaded and began an eight-year conflict in two eastern areas of Ukraine that would eventually become the war going on today. The rest of the world went about their business doing nearly nothing, leaving a mostly de-weaponized Ukraine to fend for itself.
In the last few months, we saw NATO members place Ukraine in significant danger during the negotiations that led up to the invasion by continuing to double down on saying “NATO had an open door policy.” The west played a game with Russia but risked nothing of its own, and now Ukraine is suffering because of it. The diplomacy is so appallingly bad it almost plays as though the west wanted this to happen.
Could it be that the governments that claim to support life, liberty, and justice are, in fact, so callous that they would antagonize Russia to invade a sovereign nation? Why would they do this? It's been theorized that Russia's economy couldn't support a full-on war.
Some sanctions have been placed on Russia, just like the sanctions we placed on Japan, right before they bombed pearl harbor. Or perhaps it is more relevant to compare the sanctions to the ones we placed on Russia during the 2014 invasion. Sanctions have proven to be little more effective in deterring Russia than thoughts and prayers.
The onus is on the west to come to the aid of Ukraine, and if that aid can not come in the form of firepower, then every single non-violent option must be employed immediately. Threats no longer work after your bluff has been called.
This destruction has been wrought by insufferable arrogance, reckless policy, and a flippant attitude towards the sanctity of life. I am crippled by anger over this war and the unfairness of Ukraine's position.
In a better world, we could have worked to make Ukraine an eastern version of Switzerland. A truly neutral county with ample defensive programs to ensure its safety and prosperity. The world is missing a great opportunity to have a nation with strong people that could grow and become a leader in advancements that could serve humanity. Instead, that courageous spirit was directed to fighting a war that should never have happened.