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The Ukrainian Crisis and the United States

As summer draws near, I have been completing internship applications left and right.  Therefore, I have written a few samples for various organizations and thought it would be interesting to publish them.  Below is a short text I wrote on the following prompt: ‘There is an ongoing debate over the extent to which the Ukraine crisis impacts US interests.’  While it is almost absurd to reduce one’s opinion on such complex matters to 300-400 words, it is a good exercise in concise thinking and clear writing.  A final comment to be made is that the situation in Ukraine is extremely flexible and thus my current ideas might be slightly different.  Nevertheless, the arguments below still stand and hopefully can lead to an expanded debate both on the Hippo Collective and elsewhere.  Enjoy!

In the past it was easy to claim that the US should not be interested in distant international issues or conflicts.  However, in a modern, globalized world, instances such as the Ukrainian crisis generally undermine isolationist arguments.  In fact, the Ukrainian situation has a great impact on US interests in Europe and elsewhere by undermining international democracy, political and socio-economic stability and US diplomatic power.

The Ukrainian crisis significantly impacts the US’ interest in promoting democracy and human rights across the globe.  The current situation was initiated by peaceful and democratic protestors expressing their desire to develop stronger economic and political ties with the European Union rather than with the Russian Federation.  Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatist rebels violated those and many other democratic rights, values, and processes.  The US seeks to promote the international development of democracy and support Ukrainian citizens’ universal human rights.  Therefore the current situation in Ukraine greatly impacts and threatens US interests.

The Ukrainian conflict is primarily unfolding in ‘Europe’s backyard’ and as such poses a direct and serious threat to peace and stability in the region.  This places important US political and socio-economic interests at great risk.  Furthermore, as the founding member of NATO, it is in the US’ direct interest to reassure and protect its cross-Atlantic allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe against Russian aggression.  As European and NATO relations are vital to the US’ economy, security and way of life, the Ukrainian crisis greatly impacts US interests.

Finally, there is a distinct possibility that President Putin could pursue further expansionist policies.  Through intimidation and aggression Putin could seek either territory or influence in other Eastern European states.  US interests are threatened as greater Russian sway in Europe could provide Putin with ‘bargaining chips’ when negotiating other issues such as the international response to the Syrian crisis.  This would therefore destabilize or undermine the US’ diplomatic ability and power.  The Ukrainian crisis greatly impacts US’ interests and threatens its affairs or influence in other regions such as the Middle East.

The Ukrainian crisis greatly affects and threatens US interests.  The conflict has undermined democratic values and processes, put important US-EU relations at risk and provided Putin with undue diplomatic influence.  The US should act to protect its interests and allies while countering Russian aggression and expansion through sanctions, diplomatic means and the promotion of democracy.

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