With more than 100,000 Russian troops at Ukraine's borders, we are being warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. While we hope that diplomacy and sanctions will deter Putin, we should review the reasons why the US and our NATO allies should defend Ukraine.
While democracy- and nation-building springs to mind, these are not the primary reasons. There are three primary reasons.
First, the affairs of our European allies are critical to America. While most of Europe is transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources, they rely on Russia for their current oil and gas supplies. Ukraine is vital for the transportation of Russian energy to Europe, and an invasion will destroy infrastructure which will disrupt energy supplies causing prices to skyrocket worldwide.
Second, and more importantly, after achieving independence from the USSR in 1991, Ukraine held an immense stockpile of nuclear weapons. As part of our effort to deter and reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Ukraine entered into an agreement with the US, the UK, and Russia called the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. Ukraine agreed to surrender its stockpile for assurances from the signatories to respect the borders and sovereignty of Ukraine. If the US does nothing now to defend Ukraine, then how can American diplomacy in the future continue its nuclear nonproliferation goals? And the stakes are real, as we try to convince Iran that a nuclear bomb is not needed.
Third, and most important, an invasion would challenge the principals of international law, which prohibits the conquest of sovereign nations. FDR and Winston Churchill formed these principals in the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which was then codified in the UN Charter. These principals are crucial to global stability and human rights. If we allow Russia to violate international law, then other aggressive nations, like China and North Korea, will feel free to do the same.
Ronald Reagan said, "War comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.”
To the commentators and individuals who criticize Biden for rightly defending Ukraine, understand that "the road to instability and war begins where aggression is unmet, security promises are unkept and when America ignores its own, real interests in the world."