New York – Dozens of wars have taken place in the 80 years since the end of World War II. But yes Russia occupied Ukraine On a larger scale in the coming days, this will be unlike almost everything. This will be another sign of entering the world An increasingly dangerous new era of authoritarianism.
Here are two main reasons why a war is coming Ukraine Will be different:
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, one of the largest armies in the world, will launch a ground invasion without provocation on the neighboring country. The obvious goal would be to expand regional dominance. By merging or establishing a puppet government.
Some post-World War II conflicts apply to this interpretation.. The closest analogies are the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1970s, Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and Hungary in the 1950s, as well as Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The United States, for its part, invaded Panama. Used the CIA to overthrow the elected government in Guatemala in the 1980s and 1950s. Of course, it waged many wars in Iraq, Vietnam and elsewhere.
But the most powerful countries in the world rarely use force to expand their borders or create customer countries in their region. On the contrary, Generally respect international agreements and standards established in the 1940s. The phrase “Pax Americana” describes this consistency.
Relatively peace has enormous benefits. The quality of life has improved and people are living longer, healthier and more comfortable lives than their ancestors. In recent decades, tremendous progress has been made in low-income countries. The decline of wars played a fundamental role: at the beginning of this century, The death toll from armed conflict has dropped to an all-time lowJoshua Goldstein, Steven Finger and other scholars have pointed out.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been unprecedented for the past 80 years and at one time resembled a general war. It will be a powerful nation that seeks to expand its regional dominance by capturing its neighbor. There will be a war like this – a war of voluntary aggression It is a sign that Putin believes that Box America is over and that the United States, the European Union and their allies are too weak to demand painful consequences.
As Anne Applebam wrote AtlanticPutin and his inner circle are part of the new dictatorship, along with the rulers of China, Iran and Venezuela: “People who are not interested in contracts and documents, who only value hard work.”
That is why for many Taiwanese the situation in Ukraine is cold, my colleagues New York Times Steven Lee Myers and Amy Kinn. “If Western powers do not respond to Russia, they are encouraging Chinese thinking about action on Taiwan.”Lai I-Chung, a Taiwanese official associated with their leaders, said. If the world enters an era of once again decision-making based on what countries’ military power allows them to do, it will be a major change.
Political scientists have been warning that for years Democracy is declining around the world. Larry Diamond of Stanford University described the trend “Democratic Recession”.
Freedom House, which monitors every country in the world, reports that global political freedom has been declining every year since 2006. Last year, Freedom House concluded, “Countries that have experienced degeneration have performed better than those that have progressed by the largest difference recorded since the onset of the negative trend.”
Russia’s occupation of Ukraine will contribute to this democratic recession in a new way: An arbitrariness will seize democracy by force.
Ukraine is a democracy with a population of over 40 million. Volodymyr Zhelensky, Which received 73% of the vote in the final round of the 2019 elections. Both that success and recent polls show it Most Ukrainians prefer to live in a country similar to their European countries in the West – and the United States – than Russia.
But Putin and his inner circle believe that liberal democracies are collapsing, a view they share. Xi Jinping And other Chinese officials.
They know that the United States and Europe are struggling to raise the living standards of the vast majority of their population. Putin and Zik know that many Western nations are polarized and opposed to cultural conflicts between cities and the countryside. The major political parties are weak (like the old center-left parties in Britain, France and elsewhere) or anti-democratic (like the Republicans in the United States).
These problems have given Putin and his top aides the confidence to act aggressively in this regard. “US-led order in deep crisis”Written by Alexander Kapov of the Carnegie Moscow Center Economist This weekend.
In the wake of the Putin regime, Kapuyev explained: “A new multidisciplinary order is taking shape, which reflects the irreversible shift of power toward dictatorial regimes that support traditional values.
The situation in Ukraine remains very precarious. Given the potential for a protracted war, severe Russian casualties and economic turmoil, Putin may choose not to invade. An invasion would be a wonderful gamble, almost no modern equivalent, so it would also be a sign that the world might change.
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