The United States and its allies are girding for a long confrontation with Russia over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, current and former US and European officials say. But they face a dilemma without mutually accepted rules of the road, a volatile Russian leader willing to flout international norms, and economic blowback that would hurt both sides.
A US attack on Russia would require a substantial buildup of military force, much more than the quick troop deployments in 1991 and 2003 against Iraq. Moreover, it would likely take months to reach Russia’s borders. Moreover, most Americans and many of their closest European allies want no part of a war with Russia.
Despite the skepticism, a quarter of Democrats and Republicans believe Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine is a serious threat to US interests. Similarly, more than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners and Republicans and Republican leaners support keeping strict economic sanctions against Russia.
But the public’s moral outrage over Russia’s savage assault on Ukraine stops short of calling for direct action against Russia, Quinnipiac says. Nevertheless, the global rejection of Russia’s unprovoked aggression and support for Ukraine’s self-defense is essential not only for restoring a just peace in brutalized Ukraine but also for preserving hope that a global order can protect nations’ basic rights to freedom and democracy.