The world is at the precipice of World War III and American leadership is missing. The unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, along with the increased campaign of aggression and intimidation toward Taiwan and Australia at the direction of President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party have brought increased tension and uncertainty to the European Union and the Asia-Pacific regions respectively.
In fact, the world has not seen such destabilizing actions since pre-WWII brought on by the actions of Germany, Italy and Japan. Some view these moves as a prelude to WWIII.
Since the end of WWII, the world has not had a major war between strong militarized nations. Much of this is due to the formation of NATO and the security alliances created between member nations. The United States has played a pivotal role in maintaining world peace through leadership and forging strong security alliances with countries inside and outside of the NATO umbrella.
Countries that the U.S. has strong cooperation and inter-operative security relationships with outside of the NATO umbrella are Japan, South Korea, India and Australia, which by working together helps maintain world stability. The United States leadership along with our allies have established and have worked to maintain a rule based world order that honors international laws, treaties and national sovereignty.
Mr. Putin’s maniacal attack on Ukraine is strictly a move to recreate what he views as the lost motherland due to the financial breakup of Russia. Thousands of Ukrainians and Russians have been murdered to date by Mr. Putin’s actions. His motive is solely to appease his narcissistic ambitions to recreate “Mother Russia.”
Ukraine became a sovereign and independent nation after the breakup of the failed Soviet Union. The Soviet Union failed because it forced its citizens to serve the socialist authoritarian government instead of a government protecting the rights of the people, and went broke in the process. History has moved on. Mr. Putin too, should move on to make the remaining parts of Russia a productive member of responsible nations in the world and stop being the pariah of the northern Euro-Asia region. His actions will go down in history and face the same fate paralleling other irrational and egomaniac authoritarians such as Hitler and Mussolini.
The rapid response of disdain, condemnation and sanctions evoked by the many nations of the world, including all the EU, U.S., U.K., Canada, Latin America and many Asian nations, should be proof enough for Mr. Putin to reverse course and withdraw from Ukraine. The message is clear, nation invasion and destabilizing actions in the 21st century are not acceptable. China’s Mr. Xi should take note.
At the southern end of the region, China’s provocation and rhetoric toward the nation of Taiwan have increased tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s intentional and belligerent actions that violates Taiwan’s sovereign airspace and economic exclusive zones are attempts to intimidate the Taiwanese government and are nothing more than a bullying attempt to force unification with mainland China. Beijing’s actions are also increasing tensions in the region as China taunts other sovereign nations such as Australia, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines in the same fashion. This again is a narcissistic desire for Mr. Xi and the CCP to reestablish China as the world hegemon.
The recent CCP sponsored social media sites — which praise the assassination of the respected former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, while also encouraging stabbing to death Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to aid the unification of Taiwan and China — only increase the tension in the region and further isolates China.
The actions of both Russia and China are creating a destabilizing tectonic shift in the world order not seen since WWII. At the conclusion of WWII and with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, America became the sole superpower in the world. The strong leadership of the United States along with its allies is what many say kept the world peace dividend in place since then. Unfortunately, America’s leadership on the world stage has weakened and lost its focus, thus creating a vacuum which nature abhors. That vacuum is in danger of being filled by two of the world’s strong authoritarian leaders.
It’s time for America to regain its focus and work at shoring up that peace dividend by reestablishing strong partnerships with like-minded countries along with clear, concise foreign policies that do not change with each new administration.
If Congress puts forth a long-reaching foreign policy that promotes peace to guide each subsequent administration it will reassure our allies and adversaries alike of America’s stance on future foreign policy issues. We need to have a united front and let Mr. Putin’s Russia and Mr. Xi’s China understand that disrupting the world order will have severe consequences for them both. All nations should be allowed to exist in the 21st century, and the threat of an invading force desiring to conquer foreign lands should be relegated too and remain in the history books of past centuries.
• Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M., was a member of Congress for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District from 2013 to 2021 and was chair of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in the 115th Congress.