Don't Let Russia Become a Superpower Again | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Jason Nichols during a Newsweek Debate about how NATO should respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. You can listen to the podcast here:

Thus far, I'm going to believe that Ukraine is being honorable, that they're not trying to draw us into a war with Russia, that they just want to defend their territory and maintain their sovereignty. I also understand the argument in terms of American interests in Ukraine. I think America's interest as it is in Taiwan and other parts of the world is that we can't let our competitors get too powerful. Ukraine has resources, and if Russia takes control of those resources, and the other question is, what is to stop Russia?

Ukraine Army Looking to Advance
In this combination image, Ukrainian Military Forces servicemen of the 92nd mechanized brigade in Kharkiv region, on February 10, 2022 and A young boy stands on a destroyed car, waving a Ukrainian flag, at a former Russian checkpoint at the entrance of Kherson as local residents celebrate the liberation of the city, on November 13, 2022 Getty

We saw this, we should have seen Ukraine coming. If we saw what the Russians did in Chechnya 20 years ago, we should have known that Vladimir Putin wants to retake as much of the territory that they lost during the USSR. He wants to take it back and bring Russian glory back. He sees this as a historical fight, so we have a vested interest in not letting Russia become a superpower again, we have a vested interest in not waiting and saying that we're not going to fund Ukraine, or that we need to think about these things, and then all of a sudden, you've got an Eastern Bloc. I think it's within American interests to address this. How much? I'll let the experts debate that, but we definitely do have an interest in the region, and we do have an interest to help Ukraine maintain their sovereignty.

We stayed out for the most part with Crimea, but I think when they wanted to take the entire country, and we have a reason to be involved in that. We do not have a reason let me be clear, we do not have a reason to go in and fight that war. That is the Ukrainians war. We can help them, we can supply them, but we are not responsible for boots on the ground or planes in the sky. That is up to the Ukrainians and if they lose that war with NATO equipment, that's on them. But we should try to help them, and it is in our in our interest just as it is in Taiwan.

Dr. Jason Nichols is an award winning senior lecturer in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland College Park and was the longtime editor-in-chief of Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.