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Although direct trade links between the US and Russia and the US and Ukraine are minimal, the US has been compelled to intervene because of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) obligations. Consequently, the Russia-Ukraine war has impacted on the US economy, political outlook, and weakened the post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery. It has the potential to cause more uncertainty, agitate commodity markets, create split views on refugee hosting, military aid, trade sanctions, and the international relations with Russia, Belorussian, UK, and Europe. This essay will show that the Russia-Ukraine war impacts negatively on the US.
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Military and Economic Assistance and Humanitarian Crisis
On one hand, there does not appear to be the possibility that the US would offer troops to fight on the behalf of Ukraine (although it has already deployed troops to Europe), primarily because such a move has the potential to result in a wider war and possibly nuclear conflict. On the other hand, however, the US is supplying Ukraine with weapons and technological assistance to complement the direct financial support already being given (Mbah & Wasum, 2022). Such military assistance has significantly increased defense spending, costing the US taxpayers almost $4billion in arms and equipment since 24 February 2022. From a geopolitical perspective, the war is distracting the US from its previous efforts to heighten its military influence in Asia. It is not expected that the US will successfully maintain a strong trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic presence; rather, it is more likely to maintain a hostile position towards regional trade agreements in a bid to erode China’s influence (Lim et al., 2022). This argument is premised on the notion that China, facing less competition, will possibly seek to broaden its influence via economic means, including trade and investment rules. Ultimately, Russia and China on one side and the US and the EU on the other will position themselves into the geopolitical domain using military and economic levers to appeal to countries not aligned with both sides.
The war has triggered a wave of humanitarian crisis, with over 5 million refugees fleeing Ukraine, mostly women and children (Magula et al., 2022). On its part, the US has committed to receive 100,000 refugees displaced by the war. While Ukrainians fleeing the war could enter the US through other means, they presently need a visa for legal entry although the avenues are limited. Further, although the US suspended visa processing in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, it later allowed Ukrainians to process temporary visas at any US consulate, designating the US consulate in Frankfurt as the processing hub. The bottom line, though, is that the US will need to spend more on the humanitarian aid for the refugees amidst the homelessness crisis in the country (Wittner, 2022). This has the potential to create divided views from the general US public about the federal government’s priorities.
Sanctions and International Relations
The US has imposed sanctions that are injuring the Russian economy. Sanctions are an exceptionally powerful foreign policy tool available to the US because most of the global trade is transacted in US dollars, the implication of which is that it is ultimately subject to US law (Mbah & Wasum, 2022). Effectively, the economic sanctions placed on Russia have not only limited the Kremlin’s access to international trade but also banking and technology. With regard to international relations, the war has already caused massive suffering but a successful Russian invasion into Ukraine has the potential to further destabilize future European generations. Yet, an excessively aggressive American response such as imposing a no-fly zone would almost certainly set off a broader conflict between the US and Russia (Lim et al., 2022). However, this also causes divisions within the US between Russia’s and Ukraine’s sympathizers while also providing grounds for more criticism from Russia’s global allies. For example, in the event that the war persists, small bipartisan majorities are more likely to support a no-fly zone over Ukraine, while large US majorities are concerned about the likelihood of a US-Russia war and nuclear conflict (Magula et al., 2022). Although most Americans view Washington’s response to the war more favorably than unfavorably, their attitudes are largely divided along party lines, whereby more Republicans than Democrats support the response (Wittner, 2022). Additionally, the war has the potential to accelerate further the fragmentation of the global geopolitical outlook; most notably, it is already deepening the US-China rift. As Mbah and Wasum (2022) explain, sanctions against Russia are prompting the Russian government to turn to China for financial and technological support, the implication of which is that the US may retaliate by placing secondary sanctions on Chinese firms that opt to trade with Russia.
The Russia-Ukraine war has been shown to impact negatively on the US, especially in the contexts of sanctions, refugees, military aid, and international relations. Although the US has not offered troops to fight directly on behalf of Ukraine, it has given substantial military and financial aid, significantly impacting on the country’s defense spending. It is also noted that the war is creating divided views among American citizens about Washington’s response to the war, and the views are also influenced by political alignments. Internationally, the war has impacted negatively on the US’s relations with other countries such as China as well as Russia itself, whereby the sanctions placed on Russia have forced it (Russia) to seek financial and technological assistance from China. This creates the possibility that the US may be forced to place sanctions on China, injuring their relations. It has also been noted that the US’s commitment to accept refugees from Ukraine will further burden the national budget. Ultimately, while there are several negative impacts, the war is seen to mostly affect the economy and international relations.
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- Magula, J., Rouland, M., & Zwack, P. (2022). NATO and Russia: defense and deterrence in a time of conflict. Defence Studies, 1-8.
- Mbah, R. E., & Wasum, D. F. (2022). Russian-Ukraine 2022 War: A review of the economic impact of Russian-Ukraine crisis on the USA, UK, Canada, and Europe. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 9(3), 144-153.
- Wittner, L. S. (2022). The war in Ukraine underscores the need to strengthen the international security system. Peace & Change.