War has defined world order throughout history. It is the battleground of good vs evil. But war is not just the meeting of military forces but the meeting of values, principles, and the basic tenets of human decency and the rule of law. The struggle between these forces is unrelenting and I must state unequivocally that the stress of these forces is greater now than they have been in memory of our generation and the outcome could be the catalyst for a new chapter in the history of the new world order.
Ukraine has been in the front row seat of this war since the restoration of its independence from Russia in 1991. Through assaults via cyber warfare on our military, banks, and infrastructure; unrelenting fake news via social media that divides us a nation; blatant disregard for international law and Ukraine’s territorial integrity through the illegal taking of Crimea, the invasion of the Donbas, and now the official recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states; as well as the psychological bullying from a growing military threat on our borders this war has been constant and unrelenting. What could happen next in Ukraine is not a new war but the escalation of the war that Putin has been solely responsible for. Ukraine has become the proxy fight between the East and West in Putin’s maniacal and egotistical attempt at setting a new world order in which Russia is the conductor. Let’s make no mistake – this war has been and will continue to be a war of global consequences.
This is why the world should care. As we all sit in our homes and watch the tv of conflicts around the world we many times don’t think of why we should listen – not because we condone war but because we fail to see how such conflict impacts our daily lives as we focus on providing the basic needs to our families. I must be honest: in the past, I treated the news of this kind in a similar way. But the war between Ukraine and Russia, especially if it escalates, is not playing out only on our televisions, it will soon impact the daily lives of every citizen around the globe. A war will disrupt supply chains, the global economy, stock markets, covid recovery, travel. But even more than that it will set a tone and precedent to how the rest of the world acts. If you allow a bully to control the sandbox then he will only look to grow his sandbox. If you allow an authoritarian monster who thrives on creating global conflict to go unchecked, he will simply become a bigger monster searching for food far greater than that of Ukraine. This is why the world should care. Putin has never honored any international agreement. Putin has never respected democracy and the rule of law. Putin has never respected human dignity or rights. Putin’s goal is simple – to restore the former Soviet Union at whatever cost and the “no limits” relationship he has built with China should be a wake-up call to all the world. A relationship of two authoritarian regimes controlled by two men whose only interest is their personal legacy and not that of their citizens – two people who condone genocide, imperialism, world instability, and military and economic blackmail. If Putin goes unchecked then there is little doubt that every single bad actor in the world, including China and Iran, will test the limits of the league of democratic nations. This isn’t a war solely about NATO or EU integration – it is a war about the evil of authoritarianism and the possibility of new world order – not of good but evil.
Faced with these realities what can and should be done to bring an end to this daily assault on our sovereignty and democracy and to ensure the stability of the world?
First, we must rid the world of authoritarianism. Our fight is not a fight against Russia and the Russian people but a fight against two evils – Putin and an authoritarian system of government that keeps the Russian people in economic and social bondage.
Secondly, we must be STRONG! Strong economically. Strong militarily and most importantly strong through togetherness.
Through a STRONG ECONOMY, Ukraine will be able to stand on its own two feet without international loans and the possible economic blackmail from countries like China and Russia. When all Ukrainians have a quality of life from a strong economy we will be strong against any force domestic or foreign. This is our first line of defense.
Through a STRONG MILITARY, we can stop the physical aggression from external forces. Ukraine MUST invest in the best equipment, the best cyber security, the best intelligence, and most importantly in the troops and their families who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We owe a lot to our allies for helping build a strong military which is our second line of defense.
And our ultimate line of defense is through a STRONG TOGETHERNESS where we are inclusive and not divided. Where those in government put the people ahead of their own self-interest. Where they talk about inclusion and not division. Where they show our adversaries that no matter our political, social, and economic differences we can come together in times of crisis and show that Ukraine’s territorial integrity is absolute and not negotiable. This togetherness is not just about Ukraine it is about the world for the Bible tells us that a house divided will fall and history has so many examples of that. Let’s not let Putin use any global division to make Ukraine the next example with the ultimate fall being that of democracy to authoritarianism. Only together can Ukraine and the league of democratic nations bring an end, not to war in Ukraine but an end to the cancer of Putin and authoritarianism to the world.
Prime Minister Ukraine 2016-2019