In some ways, the war in Ukraine has turned into a proxy battlefield in a broader fight between liberal democracies in the West and the world authoritarian regimes. In analysis for Sky News, Security and Defense Editor Deborah Haynes said that the risk of these events leading us to World War III has never been higher and advances in weapons such as nuclear warheads means that “the potential consequences for the entire planet could not be graver.”
While it's clear that Russia's current invasion will spell utter devastation for an entire generation of Ukrainians when all is said and done, the effects are also being felt throughout the international system, largely severing ties between Russia and the West on the financial, cultural, trade, economic and even athletic, fronts.
Moreover, Putin himself has described the West's decision to impose steep sanctions against his regime as being “akin to declaring a war.”
For its part, NATO has repeatedly said that imposing a no-fly zone over the skies of Ukraine would ultimately involve pitting western warplanes against Russian jets, something that could trigger a much wider war, even though it would likely significantly reduce the ability of Russia to launch airstrikes against Ukrainian cities and save countless civilian lives.
In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden affirmed that should the European Union or NATO get involved in the conflict, America would be compelled to join in the fight.
The situation could even escalate to all-out war accidentally if, for example, the conflict persists and a stray Russian rocket hits a NATO country. With allies currently bolstering their defenses, there is a much greater potential for mistakes that could spur a devastating war.
Many are worried that financial motives in favor of an escalation could be at play, with considerations including everything from the World Economic Forum's Great Reset and desire for global governance to the immense profits that could be made related to nuclear warfare. A recent study from Rasmussen Reports found that rich Americans support helping the military prepare for war should the conflict between Ukraine and Russia extend to Europe, while those who are below the poverty line are mostly opposed to the idea of the U.S. getting involved.
When asked the question: “If a wider war breaks out in Europe, should the U.S. military be involved?”, 66% of people who earn more than $200,000 annually said they approved the idea of sending in military troops, while just 37% of those who earn less than $30,000 agreed with the idea of active involvement.
These findings are in line with previous research showing that nearly three fourths of American adults felt that the conflict between the two nations would affect the American economy and that poor Americans would feel the greatest impact. In addition to the ultra-wealthy often having access to stockpiles of food and supplies as well as bunkers, they are also in a better position to afford the higher costs of goods and services that are being put in motion by the spike in crude oil prices. Should the war escalate, poor people will struggle to afford the staples needed for daily life and many will be sent out to battle as well.
It's hard to say where this will end, but it's not a stretch to imagine that Putin has his sights set on something much bigger than Ukraine. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said: “Thanks to Ukrainian soldiers he is being defeated for now. But Putin hates all democratic countries; his aim is to diminish us all. He has started moving from east to west. Ukraine just happens to be the first country on his way.”
Unfortunately, a Russian victory here could well inspire other authoritarian regimes like China to use similar moves to take over other nations.
Sources for this article include: