Staying on the right side of history

The international community is not showing enough support for Ukraine, nor enough push-back on Russia.

A spontaneous scroll through the neighborhood community app, Nextdoor, made a war of aggression a world away feel that much closer to home. Sitting idly on my phone screen, a picture of a Ukrainian family forced to flee their home being hosted a fifteen minute drive away from me. The atrocities being committed by Russia in Ukraine were very much known to me, but seeing a far away conflict reach my home changed my perspective.

On Friday, Sept. 30, Russia’s “president,” Vladimir Putin also announced the illegal annexation of occupied territory in the Donbas region of Ukraine. This comes after the disastrous 7 months of warfare and 14000+ casualties due to the fighting, according to the United Nations (UN).

Both of these circumstances caused an internal dialogue to spin up in my head that had previously occupied the back of my mind. The international community has already assisted Ukraine massively: tens of billions of dollars worth of aid, opening of borders for refugees, modernization of out-dated Soviet-era military technology and condemnation of Russia, according to the US Department of State. But, should it do more? The answer is not straightforward, but it is yes.

While NATO aids Ukraine, they also finance its aggressors. Countries like Germany support Russia with purchases of oil they’ve become dependent on, according to the NY Times. And, with winter approaching Germany must either allow their citizens to freeze or continue financing the wrong side of a war. This decision’s existence emphasizes that the grip Russia has on the global economy has persisted for too long. It is the duty of the world to end dependence on Russia, especially now.

We live in a post Cold War society, where international cooperation is supposed to flourish and we all live in one big, happy family but obviously this is not reality. Russia has dealt a first blow and the US and NATO dance around them in fear of further retaliation. The Kremlin has made it clear Ukraine is to be a part of Russia, whether they like it or not and they won’t stop their invasion after an arbitrary amount of time. This war, if left as it is now, continues the precedent established by Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. When Russia comes knocking, the world reacts too little and too late.

As of now, Ukraine is also not a NATO member, so NATO countries will not formally call to arms and fight with them. Two options then exist in my mind: Ukraine be allowed into NATO and gain the military might of 30 countries or continue in a limbo of aid and international condemnation, but with no decisive foreign military. As a society, we have an obligation to protect people from oppression and those who seek to steal freedoms, so to me it’s a no-brainer which option I would pick.

I’d be remiss to not acknowledge the multifaceted aspects of this issue. Why should countries like our own be giving aid to Ukraine when total household debt was as high as $14.6 trillion last year, according to To that I say our government spends $700+ billion dollars a year on all aspects of the military and defense, so what is a small portion of that to help preserve the freedoms of millions of people? And what if Ukraine joining NATO and uniting in arms causes a larger, continental-scale European war? That chance does exist, but if NATO doesn’t take a stand against Russia, what’ll stop them in the future? They have and will continue to take advantage of fear and inaction to do what they please. This isn’t the first time they’ve annexed a country, but I hope it’ll be the last.

Considering the strength that lies within a unified collective, it is an embarrassing shame to have allowed the Russo-Ukrainian War to carry on for as long as it already has. If it ends poorly, history will not kindly remember the nations who chose to walk rather than run to Ukraine’s side.