When President Joe Biden outlines his response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at Tuesday’s State of the Union address, he should talk about something Americans are often loathe to hear: sacrifice.
Putin’s terrible decision to invade Ukraine — which raised concerns about his mental stability — so far has ushered a united and decisive response by most of the rest of the world. While weapons, equipment and humanitarian aid flow to Ukraine, the actual fighting will be carried out by Ukrainians.
Instead of supplying troops, the United States and other nations are fighting Putin’s unjustified invasion with unprecedented economic pressure.
Cratering Russia’s resource-rich economy comes with inevitable risk, but it is morally and strategically the right thing to do.
In 1990, just a few months before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, the U.S. faced another international crisis: Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. As then-President George H.W. Bush rallied a global coalition, he spoke of a new world order that would replace the dynamic of the Soviet-American rivalry. In the end, the new world order looked a lot like a conventional war as America and her allies swiftly defeated Saddam Hussein with tanks on the battlefield and stealth fighters in the air.
Some 30 years later, we are truly seeing a new way of responding to aggression. Economic sanctions may not draw American blood, but America will feel pain.
Oil prices will likely rise, further fueling inflation. Russia, its forces faltering and using ever more violent methods to achieve its objective of setting up a puppet government in Kyiv, is expected to increase cyberattacks around the world.
According to a company blog, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center identified a new malware operation from Russia against Ukraine. Microsoft noted ransomware is on the rise globally, and an extremely connected and complex supply chain presents a ripe target for cybercriminals.
As Biden makes his speech, many viewers will wonder how they can help fleeing Ukrainian refugees and those left behind to defend their country with rifles and Molotov cocktails.
Biden should tell Americans to stand strong, to rally behind the cause of democracy, self-determination and common decency. This is how we all do our part, by not flinching in the face of rising prices, scarce goods and untimely services. Previous generations have sacrificed much more.
In this moment — fraught with peril — these are the costs we must expect and be willing to bear.