Ukraine's desire for economic and military aid in the fight against the Russian aggressor has been met in many countries with the suggestion that politicians should care about their people first. This article argues that helping Ukraine is essential not only for peace in Europe but also throughout the world. Ending Russia's expansionist goals in Ukraine will help limit the hegemonic ambitions of China, which, given its economic weight as the largest economy in the world, represents a greater threat to world peace than Russia.
Western support for Ukraine against the full-scale brutal invasion by Russia on February 24, 2022, is often presented as a form of solidarity with, or even charity towards, the innocent victims of this brutal and cruel act of Russian imperialism. From that perspective, Ukraine's continuous requests for economic and military aid against the Russian aggressor are met in many countries with comments that aid to Ukraine has limits and that politicians should first care about their people. These views are totally misguided and partly naive. Helping Ukraine win against Russia is as existential for Europe - and indeed the world - as it is for Ukrainians fighting for their survival and freedom. Seen this way, Ukraine needs adequate aid and faster delivery than is the case now - aid to win the war.
European leaders increasingly understand that a Russian victory in Ukraine will only be a first step in Russia's expansionist goal of invading other countries and ultimately destroying the EU and NATO. Leaders in the Baltic states, Moldova, Poland, Finland, and other countries that have at some point in their history suffered Russian invasion and occupation understand very well the nature of the Russian imperialist threat. They understand that Ukrainians also fight and die to defend their own country's freedom and independence. The Ukrainian people have suffered under Moscow's terror for more than 100 years.
Helping Ukraine chase Russia from all its occupied territories is thus of existential self-interest for all European countries. And helping Ukraine win against the Russian invasion is not only in Europe's interest, it is also in the interest of world peace. The first reason is that a Russian victory would destroy for years the efforts of the past decades to try to build a law-governed international order that would guarantee peace and prosperity. A Russian victory would mean a return to the crude and violent international politics of the 19th century based on military force and threats, terror, invasion, and colonization of smaller countries.
Russia's decision to invade Ukraine increased the likelihood of China militarily invading Taiwan, which would have huge consequences for all of Asia and the world as a whole. A Russian victory in Ukraine would undoubtedly encourage China to invade Taiwan, but a Russian defeat would certainly have the opposite effect. While Russia is militarily superior to Ukraine (at least in terms of troop numbers and weapons), China's superiority over Taiwan is greater.
A Russian defeat in Ukraine, in addition to possibly having very negative consequences for the Putin regime in Russia, will almost certainly convince many Chinese leaders that invading Taiwan would be too risky. Helping Ukraine to win against Russia is thus not only in the interest of peace in Europe but also in the interest of world peace.
The autocratic regimes of Russia and China are the last two remaining empires. It is no coincidence that they are trying to ally. Helping Ukraine crush Russia's expansionist goals will certainly help limit China's ambitions. Given its economic weight as the largest economy in the world, China represents a greater threat to world peace than Russia.
Our advice in the new year is that it would be better if the governments and people of all existing democracies fully understood this and increased aid to Ukraine as a consequence to win peace and freedom in Ukraine, for Europe, and for the world.
We wish you a happy and peaceful new year.