There are many lessons to be learned from the current invasion of the Ukraine by Russia. Like the investigation of January 6, the story is still unfolding and the outcome cannot yet be known. Still there are some observations worth considering for where we are in the world at present and what may happen.
Lesson 1: Only Russia and China Can/Will Invade countries
When it comes to traditional wars between counties and nation-states, in the world as it exists today, only two countries are likely to invade another country – Russia and China. Yes they are two big nuclear-armed countries but the prospects for actual invasions is limited to a few specific targets. (India/Pakistan?)
For Russia, it already is in the midst of an invasion of Ukraine. The war is not going well and could even get worse. It has stalked a huge portion of its military resources on the now comparatively small goal of seizing a portion of neighbor. Given the prospects that even more of its once vaunted military force could be destroyed, the chances of any additional invasions such as to the Baltics or Poland seem slim. In the end, this may be the last gasp of a Russian military threat. In fact, its own continued existence as a Putin-dictatorship may be jeopardized.
For China, its one and only target for invasion in Taiwan. Certainly it will throw its weight around in the South China Sea, but that does not mean it has any intentions of invading any country in the Pacific yet alone Japan or Australia. Instead its preferred path to power is through economic domination and bullying the way it does over the NBA, Hollywood, and the Olympics. Like Russia with Ukraine, China considers Taiwan to be part of its country so it remains a target for invasion.
Lesson 2: Are only invaded Nations allowed to strike the invader?
The present war in the Ukraine is being fought under the rules that only it can directly strike the invading the nation on its own grounds. This is due to Russia having nuclear weapons. Otherwise the 40-mile and 8-mile convoys would be decimated and the supply depots in Russia would have exploded by now.
On the other hand, Russia is free to interfere with American elections as it did especially in 2016.
The United States and its allies are free to accept the invitation from the Ukraine to send troops to that country and to begin planning for the rebuilding of the country. As previously stated, there are vast areas in the country where there are no Russian present (Cranes for Ukraine: Build It Back Better). What are we waiting for? There is a huge amount of rebuilding which needs to be in the capital and elsewhere. What are we waiting for? The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom visits that capital city and we do not even have an embassy there? What are we waiting for?
Russia is putting practically everything it has into this war and we are not. Why not?
If China decides to invade Taiwan, will only Taiwan be allowed to strike China? What precedents are we establishing now?
Lesson 3: The Wars within Nations Are Really International Wars
The wars that we are having and will continue to have technically are considered domestic wars because of the way Europeans have drawn the maps. Yugoslavia never was a country or nation-state except that others pretended it was. That kind of division or breakup into its constituent parts is the more typical type of war that is and will be likely to occur.
How come non-Arab Kurds were part of Iraq while Arab Kuwait was not?
How come Arab Sudanese who for centuries raided multiple black African tribes to the south and independent Darfur were combined into one country instead of being three right from the start?
Pakistan already divided once politically reflecting its geographic separation. Will it separate into its constituent part as well?
At present, there are multiple nations on paper in Africa and Asia that exist solely because European colonizers drew the borders that way. The lack of stability of these entities will be a sore point for years to come as they often are already. There is no mechanism at present to undo the artificiality of these false nations except by war among the different peoples forced to live in one political entity with other people with whom they little in common besides geographic proximity. Even without climate change, the situation is ripe for emigration and refugees as is happening anyway. At some point, the so-called United Nations will have to face the fact that many of its members are nations in name only and we are not united.
The world is changing rapidly while we still use the same old playbook.
COVID was and continues to be a global threat. Who knows what the next pandemic will be?
Climate change increases whether we choose to recognize it or not? Why do we think coping with refugees is the best way to deal with climate change?
More and more countries will be destabilized. We have and are seeing it in Central America and in parts of Africa and Asia. How much longer can we pretend the United Nations is an effective way to deal with this collapse?
Finally, what happens if the United States is both unwilling and unable to be the leader the world needs us to be? Right now we are trapped between the Woke and the Trumpicans with a weak president.
The Woke assault on the country will only accelerate as we approach the 250th anniversary of its birth. They will continually undermine the very idea of America playing a leadership role in the world. For them it is an example of American Exceptionalism that is best abandoned. Tell that to the Ukrainians.
The Trumpicans have paid no price for their blatant attempt to seize power after an election they knew they had lost. They have conned tens of millions of Americans into believing their attempted coup was legitimate political discourse. They are poised to seize power in one house of the government in the next election. If Putin can hold out, he may no longer need to be concerned about American support for the Ukraine and instead become the savvy genius the American former president says he is.
This is a critical moment in world history and we are not ready for it. Even in his prime, Joe Biden was not a dynamic visionary leader even in his prime. Now that shortcoming matters. Big time.