Please, America — for our sake and for yours, don’t let your allies down

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted in solidarity with Ukraine and other democracies threatened by authoritarian tyranny. Eighty years after the United States and Allied forces liberated Nazi-occupied Europe in World War II, history is once again challenging freedom-loving nations.

What will history write about this new conflict between democracy and authoritarianism? Will history be just as kind to the Allies this time? Did the victory of World War II over the Nazis usher in the greatest era of peace and progress Europe had ever experienced, and for America unlimited prosperity?

A page in the history of the 21st century is now being written in Ukraine. It depends on the leaders of the free world whether freedom, peace, and prosperity can triumph once again.

For the past 80 years, the United States and its allies and partners have honored the sacrifices of our brave dead by keeping the bright light of democracy shining. To this day, people around the world look to the United States as a beacon of democracy. Today, Ukraine holds up the torch of democracy and remembers the words of John Adams: We have the right to it, and we got it from our manufacturers. ”

The U.S. Senate upheld America’s Founders’ desire to uphold the right of all people to seek freedom.

As Russia’s war with Ukraine enters its third year, dark forces are once again challenging the freedoms of people living in a democratic society. While fighting occurring far from the shores of the United States may seem like an extended threat to many, look to history.

When war began in 1938, Britain and France negotiated agreements with Nazi and fascist regimes to stop Hitler’s war. Far from placating Hitler, they gave him room to plunge the world into the greatest war the world had ever seen. As a result, the distant coasts of Europe became burial grounds for hundreds of thousands of American soldiers.

The threat is as real today as it was in 1938. Russia under Putin has shown a willingness to challenge the West, first with its invasion of Georgia in 2008, then with its annexation of Crimea in 2014, and now across the board. The war against Ukraine continues from 2022 to the present. And the similarities with World War II are numerous. Just as the Nazis united authoritarian states, today’s Russian Federation shares common objectives with Iran and North Korea, which provide drones and missiles.

As in the late 1930s, what happened in Ukraine will not be limited to Europe, but will have a lasting impact on the United States and its allies and partners around the world. We have already witnessed horrific attacks by Iran against Israel through its proxy organization Hamas. Although some may wish to separate the two attacks because they take place in different military theaters, they are attacks by a common enemy directed at U.S. national interests. If the United States blinks in Ukraine, our common enemy will not hesitate to further test our democratic resolve.

We don’t know how long this war will last, when or how it will end. But we know that this is not a binary choice between war and peace. Because if the aggressor wins, there will be no peace. If Russia defeats Ukraine, it will not only be a victory for the Russian dictatorship, but also the first victory for the coalition of dictators. And what will the winners do with their victories? they continue.

When Hitler dismantled Czechoslovakia and invaded Poland in 1939, the end result was a world war. If the United States and the West capitulate to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, global security will be compromised for Israel, the Baltic states, and U.S. forces overseas.

But this doesn’t have to be 21st century history. After World War II, the United States rebuilt Europe through the Marshall Plan. This injection of American capital into Europe created a market for American products and allies with whom the United States could share the responsibility of defending democracy.

The prosperity and goodwill created through the Marshall Plan is a blueprint for Ukraine’s future that creates opportunities for American businesses. This includes the U.S. defense sector, which already benefits from U.S. spending on military supplies deployed in Ukraine, and creates a Ukrainian military ready to deter further attacks by Western adversaries. .

With U.S. support, Ukraine can not only win this war, but also demonstrate to America’s adversaries that the United States and its allies around the world will not blink in the face of invasion. They will not allow the flame of freedom that America’s founders lit to be extinguished. We cannot allow the sacrifices of the past two years to go to waste. They will not allow those responsible for this destruction to go unpunished.

President Ronald Reagan said in 1984, “We Americans learned a bitter lesson from both world wars.” He said, “It’s better to be prepared to defend the peace here than to blindly evacuate across the ocean and then scramble to react after freedom is lost.” We have learned that isolationism has never been, and never will be, an acceptable response to oppressive governments with expansionist intentions. ”

Today, some would really like America to forget this and retreat in the face of tyranny. Ukraine believes in the power of America and its Founding Fathers to ensure that the flame of freedom is lit not only in America but also in our allies around the world. Please, America, don’t let us down.

Andriy Yermak is the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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