The current happenings in Ukraine have many people concerned about the possible emergence of a third world war. The country is under attack by Russia, its neighbor, and its former controller under the USSR treaty. Investigations into the matter reveal several underlying issues vital in understanding the happenings. Russia maintains that the attack on the sovereign state comes from the need to protect the Russians and Russia-speaking citizens in Ukraine, who face daily mistreatment by the neo-Nazi group supported by the country’s leadership and the Western societies. Russia’s actions in Ukraine exhibit several implications, especially looking at the resulting reactions worldwide. The issue is probably the renewal of the long-time power struggles between the East and the West. Russia is a falling superpower, while America is the world’s current giant based on economic, political, and military influence. The world needs to understand various aspects concerning the current occurrences involving geopolitical wars. This work applies the various concepts learned during the seminar on cases such as “On the verge of WWIII” and Putin’s statement about “Crimea annexation” to demystify the power problem between Russia and America.
Ukraine’s Crisis and Third World War
Russia is a European state and the past leader of the powerful USSR unit. The nation exhibits significant power and control in military command and technology. Russia was once an ally of America, especially before the First and second world wars (Lind, 2018). The nations worked together to establish peace by defeating Hitler’s aggression and power. Posen (2018) reports that Russia was the ultimate global giant from the 1940s through the 1970s. However, the period after WWII introduced noteworthy changes in global governance, especially after America expressed interest in becoming a superpower, possibly by crumbling the formerly mighty USSR. The cold war era mainly involved the search for soft power between two America and Russia, with the former winning significantly since the 1990s after USSR’s death in 1991 (Marten, 2020). The deliberate and forceful ally-formation by the U.S. and the alienation of states from Communism, coupled with management issues, form part of the reasons for the past economic block’s end. Consequently, the Russian government blames the U.S. for the nation’s plights, with America’s growing influence in past USSR members seen as a direct threat.
The present work applies public administration and governance, governance and ownership, fundamental needs, dominance and territory control, manipulative systems, and power to analyze the two covered cases. As described by Max Weber, bureaucracy forms a central part of the public administration facet. The term refers to a scheme of administration where state officials make the most crucial decisions instead of the elected representatives (Owen, 2020). Bureaucracy is real in authoritarian and neocommunism societies and democracies, as depicted in the two cases under analysis. For example, President Reagan’s decisions to target USSR and Russia in the 1980s imply significant bureaucracy. The president led the nation’s defense team to develop and test nuclear weaponry and tactics on the USSR-protected territories without involving the elected representatives in the sensitive decisions (Reveron & Mahoney-Norris, 2018). Putin’s speech further implies bureaucracy elements when he speaks with finality, one crucial thing that the nation’s leaders need to discuss before making a verdict. The speech simply seeks the public’s support after the president, together with his close allies, single-handedly decides about Ukraine’s fat, implying barefaced bureaucracy.
The governance and ownership concepts also explain the conflict between America and Russia, as per the cases under examination. Tsalis et al. (2020) argue that leading countries are similar to operating a business corporation. Unlike before, the manager is not always the owner of many businesses operating during contemporary times. For instance, organizations’ CEO and departmental managers take care of the day-to-day operations but do not make strategic decisions. On the other hand, business owners do not participate in daily operations decisions, though they make critical tactical resolutions for their organizations. The existence of two equally powerful parties with diverse interests in the same business often introduces conflicts and costly divisions that threaten the entity’s survival. Such are the issues existing in Ukraine, according to Putin’s speech. The Russian leader maintains that Ukraine and Crimea are Russia’s belongs. The statement “all things in Crimea speak of our communal past and superiority” implies ownership interests over Crimea (Borrowman, 2019). In addition, America views Ukraine as a possible ally, further depicting the interest in exercising power over Crimea, thus the conflict.
Personality differences between Yuri Andropov, Reagan, and Putin further lead to fundamental needs. Naqshbandi and Jasimuddin (2018) maintain that a leader’s character significantly influences the type of administration one will apply. The personalities and socioeconomic levels of Ronald Reagan and Andropov saved the U.S. and Russia from using a nuclear weapon during the cold-war’s climax. Reagan was possibly in the self-actualization stage in the 1980s due to access to power, influence, and resources as the U.S. President. The administrator’s love to control the world by defeating USSR made him finance several military operations that challenged the former giants. His character and level of understanding prevented him from detonating a nuclear weapon on Russia, even when all the arrangements for such were complete (“On the verge of WWIII?” n.d.). However, for physical illness, Yuri’s power, influence, maturity, intelligence, and confidence put him in the “esteem” category of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The leader’s respect for others made it hard for him to attack even when enough evidence demanded that Russia acts before America wiped it away. Nonetheless, Putin’s struggle with love and belonging makes him easily provoked and fierce, unlike Andropov.
The two analyzed cases also depict Russia and America’s dominance and territory control issues. The Cold War era mainly involved a power tussle between the two global superpowers, with the U.S. determined to overpower USSR to become the new giant. Other than engaging in a physical war, such as the one witnessed in WWI and WWII, the 1980s’ Russian and American leaderships applied soft power to prove their ability. For example, America managed to make more nuclear missiles after using one on Japan to end WWII (“On the Verge of WWIII?” n.d.). America also deliberately penetrated the protected USSR airspace without permission to test Russia’s radar’s strength (“On the verge of WWIII?” n.d.). The nation did this to show growth in power and control relative to past situations, especially in the 1970s (Wasson & Bluesteen, 2018). On the other hand, Russia’s Project Ryan purposed to investigate and intercept America’s military deeds (Ryan et al., 2022). The two initiatives almost balanced the U.S. and Russia’s powers, making it hard for any nation to proceed with its missions as earlier planned.
Manipulative systems and illusory participative schemes form the core of American and Russian searches for dominance. Almost all the Cold War American presidents used propaganda to manipulate the citizens to fight for their nation. Smith (2021) reports President Reagan as the leader of such a manipulative campaign among the top twentieth-century American leaders. Coupling the American supremacy crusade with intensive military research form President Reagan’s leading tactics to overtake the USSR. Moreover, Russia’s KGB unit also focuses on manipulating the president and the masses to launch an attack to prevent America from using a nuclear missile. It takes President Andropov’s wisdom and patience to avoid the two nations’ confrontation. Reading Putin’s speech further conveys numerous propagandist sentiments that aim to charge Russians and Communism sympathizers to act. Putin insists that “Western associates, led by the United States of America, fancy not to be directed by intercontinental law in their applied policies, but by the law of the gun” (Borrowman, 2019, para. 37). The insightful account gives many Russians, especially the army, a reason to do what the nation is doing today to the Ukrainians.
Lastly, hankering for power and the availability of informal authority also play a significant role in making America and Russia who they are. The greed for power in the two nations allows the governments to spend much money on war while many people suffer due to essential items deprivation. Russia is full of protests by the masses who feel neglected by their government, according to Tertytchnaya (2020). However, Putin remains blind to these issues while he spends a lot of money to take troops to Ukraine. The same case happens to America, which utilizes about forty percent of its budget on war (Crawford, 2019). Sushentsov and Wohlforth (2020) thus insist that America and Russia’s greed is the reason for their continued tension. The nations develop such mentalities from their leaders who prefer resources’ wastage to dialogue.
In conclusion, this work could never come at a more appropriate time than now. Analyzing the case studies on “On the verge of WWIII” and Putin’s statement about “Crimea annexation” explains the current Russian-Ukraine war, where the former is killing thousands of innocent Ukrainians. Putin is the force behind the attack and never heeds calls from the international community to quit Ukraine. The likelihood of America and other European allies joining the war is significantly high, thus threatening the emergence of WWIII.
Borrowman, A. (2019). Speech of Vladimir Putin. Dekoder. Web.
Crawford, N. C. (2019). United States budgetary costs and obligations of post-9/11 wars through FY2020: $6.4 trillion. Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University, 13.
Lind, M. (2018). Welcome to Cold War II. The National Interest, (155), 9-21.
Marten, K. (2020). NATO enlargement: Evaluating its consequences in Russia. International Politics, 57(3), 401-426.
Naqshbandi, M. M., & Jasimuddin, S. M. (2018). Knowledge-oriented leadership and open innovation: Role of knowledge management capability in France-based multinationals. International Business Review, 27(3), 701-713.
On the verge of WWIII? (n.d.).
Owen, C. (2020). Participatory authoritarianism: From bureaucratic transformation to civic participation in Russia and China. Review of International Studies, 46(4), 415-434.
Posen, B. R. (2018). The rise of illiberal hegemony: Trump’s surprising grand strategy. Foreign Affairs, 97, 20.
Reveron, D. S., & Mahoney-Norris, K. A. (2018). Human and national security: Understanding transnational challenges. Routledge.
Ryan, S., Conway, I., & Cassedy, K. (2022). Who are the great powers in 2021?. Springer, Cham.
Smith, R. C. (2021). Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, and the future of the Republican Party and conservatism in America. American Political Thought, 10(2), 283-289.
Sushentsov, A. A., & Wohlforth, W. C. (2020). The tragedy of US–Russian relations: NATO centrality and the revisionists’ spiral. International Politics, 57(3), 427-450.
Tertytchnaya, K. (2020). Protests and voter defections in electoral autocracies: Evidence from Russia. Comparative Political Studies, 53(12), 1926-1956.
Tsalis, T. A., Malamateniou, K. E., Koulouriotis, D., & Nikolaou, I. E. (2020). New challenges for corporate sustainability reporting: United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the sustainable development goals. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 27(4), 1617-1629.
Wasson, J. T., & Bluesteen, C. E. (2018). Taking the archers for granted: emerging threats to nuclear weapon delivery systems. Defence Studies, 18(4), 433-453.