Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a horrific act of aggression against a peaceful democratic neighbor. The world should not be confused. This represents one of the gravest violations of the UN Charter since it was founded in 1945. This is a war of choice and is the fault of one man: Vladimir Putin, who has rejected all efforts to negotiate and instead has sought a war of regime change against a country that simply wants a democratic future, not an autocratic one.
The Biden administration’s response to this crisis has been vigorous and decisive. The administration was the first to sound the alarm back in the fall when it saw Russian forces moving toward Ukraine’s borders, engaging in non-stop diplomacy to try to prevent this conflict. It has rallied our allies, built a united front, and surged military support to Ukraine. Ukraine is now the third largest recipient of U.S. security assistance in the world. The Biden administration worked hard to negotiate with the Russians, de-escalate tensions, and seek a peaceful resolution. But the Russians weren’t interested in talking and rejected these overtures.
The United States, together with our allies, must now impose economic costs on the Kremlin. We need to go after the oligarch money that has corrupted politics and the economy. We need to provide support to Ukraine’s economy and its military. And we need to keep pushing Russia to climb down and come to the negotiating table. This should also be a wakeup call that the time to decarbonize our economies is now. Europe must end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels and should dramatically accelerate its decarbonization efforts, as the security of NATO depends on it.
The American public must also be prepared for what’s to come. While sanctions are necessary, they will inevitably have some impact on us here at home. Energy and commodity prices may rise; markets may slump. Russia will also no doubt respond to sanctions, just as they did in 2016 when they attacked our election. We need to steel ourselves and be vigilant for potential Russian cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and businesses, renewed efforts to interfere in our politics, and divisive disinformation campaigns.
This crisis will therefore be a test for America as well. This is a time for us to come together as a country. Leaders from both sides of the aisle must put partisanship aside, work together, and show the world the true strength of America.