What if The United States Hadn’t Assisted Ukraine?: After ten months of the war, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, finally left his nation and traveled to Washington, D.C., to express gratitude to Americans for their support. This happened on the shortest day of the year. He traveled to the White House and attended a press conference there.
He went to Congress and presented the speaker of the House and the vice president with a Ukrainian flag bearing the signatures of Bakhmut’s supporters. On our first combined American-Ukrainian triumph, he congratulated us all, saying, “We vanquished Russia in the struggle for the minds of the world.”
Nothing about this trip was predetermined, including the cheers, the flag, and the speech. Zelensky’s continued existence was not guaranteed. It was not inevitable that Ukraine would remain a sovereign nation. Many people believed these developments to be unlikely in February.
Some American analysts cautioned against providing military assistance to Ukraine on the eve of the invasion, arguing that the war would end too quickly. Others in the United States echoed Russian propaganda by debating whether Ukraine deserved to exist or to be protected. These opinions have been mirrored by certain American politicians and still are.
- Jamie Lopez Cause of Death: Where Was She Before Passing Away?
- El Paso Mayor Declares Emergency Over Migrant Influx
What if they had been successful? What if a different president had occupied the White House? What if Ukraine’s president had been chosen differently? Let’s consider a world without the bravery of the Ukrainian people, American and European armaments, and the unification and backing of democracies worldwide.
Kyiv would have been taken over in a matter of days if the Russian plan had been implemented exactly as intended. One of the killing teams that prowled the capital city would have assassinated Zelensky, his wife, and his children. The collaborators, who had already selected their apartments in Kyiv, would have seized control of the Ukrainian state.
The Russian army would have then engaged the remnants of the Ukrainian army city by city and region by region until it ultimately seized the entire nation. The Russian military staff initially believed that this triumph would take six weeks.
The concentration camps, torture facilities, and improvised jails uncovered in Bucha, Izyum, Kherson, and all the other areas temporarily controlled by Russia and then freed by the Ukrainian army would now be strewn throughout Ukraine if all had gone according to plan.
Mass graves would already contain the remains of a generation of Ukrainian authors, artists, politicians, journalists, and civic leaders. Books about Ukraine would have been taken out of classrooms and libraries. All public areas would have been forbidden to speak Ukrainian. If not for international trafficking, hundreds of thousands more Ukrainian children would have been abducted and taken to Russia.
Russian troops will already be on Poland’s borders, building up new command posts and digging new trenches after their great win. To prepare for the inevitable attack of Warsaw, Vilnius, or Berlin, NATO would be in complete disarray and would have to spend billions of dollars. With no hope of ever going home, millions of Ukrainian refugees would languish in camps around Europe;
the first wave of sympathy for them would have long since subsided; money would be running out, and a backlash would already be in motion. A pro-Russian government in Moldova might already be trying to include that nation in the newly formed Russian-Belarusian-Ukrainian federation that one Russian propagandist prematurely celebrated on February 26. The Moldovan economy would have collapsed entirely.
This catastrophe would not have only affected Europe. Chinese plans to invade Taiwan would already be well underway on the other side of the globe because Beijing would believe that an America unwilling to defend a European ally and now wholly engaged in a protracted conflict with an emboldened Russia would never go out of its way to assist a Pacific island.
The Iranian clerics would have proudly declared that they had finally acquired nuclear weapons, equally encouraged by Russia’s victory and Ukraine’s humiliation. With the certainty that the previous rules—the conventions on human rights and genocide, the laws of war, and the taboo against changing borders by force
no longer applied, dictatorships all over the world, from Venezuela to Zimbabwe to Myanmar, would have tightened their systems and increased the persecution of their opponents. The democratic world would bitterly accept its obsolescence from Washington to London, from Tokyo to Canberra.
However, none of this occurred. We don’t live in that ugly alternate reality because Zelensky stayed in Kyiv and said he needed “ammunition, not a ride,” Ukrainian soldiers repelled the first Russian attack on their capital, Ukrainian society came together to support their army, Ukrainians from all levels were resourceful in how they used their limited resources, and Ukrainian civilians were and are willing to endure excruciating hardship.
President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress overcame the temptation of “America Early” isolationism. They rejected the religion of autocracy that now enthralls a portion of the American right because they were motivated by those first weeks of Ukrainian bravery.
The leaders of Europe also refused to be intimidated by carefully targeted Russian disinformation and blackmail campaigns. They agreed to support Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid, except for the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, one of the leading ideologues of that same cult. After witnessing the Ukrainians resist a harsh government, people offered their time and money to aid.
Kyiv is still standing because of everything that we accomplished together. Most of Ukraine is still under Ukrainian sovereignty. Most of Ukraine was spared the mass killings, executions, and bloodshed that the Russians had intended. The myth about Russia’s military might has been dispelled. Unhappiness and discontent are roiling China and Iran.
The democratic world has grown more robust rather than collapsing. We “succeeded in unifying the world community to safeguard freedom and international law,” as the president of Ukraine remarked last night. Zelensky traveled to Washington to express Ukraine’s gratitude to Americans, but we should be the ones to do so.