UNT political science experts host discussion panel on Russian-Ukraine War

Photo used from the JSU flyer

Anna Barrett, Correspondent

A panel of political science experts at the University of North Texas (UNT) hosted a joint discussion on the Russia-Ukraine War with Jacksonville State University via a Zoom meeting on Tuesday.

With tensions rising and battles being fought in Ukraine, many questions needed to be answered: Why should the U.S. care? Why did Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, launch this war? What are the likely outcomes? 

Dr. John Ishiyama, Dr. Paul R. Hensel and Dr. Michael Greig from UNT helped answer these questions and provide some clarity for students during their meeting.

The biggest question asked was “why did Putin launch this war?” Greig, expert on international and civil conflict, had a lot to offer on this topic. 

According to Greig, Putin wanted to restore the Soviet Union and demilitarize Ukraine. Putin wants weak governments surrounding Russia to bring back its former glory, he said.

Ishiyama, President of the American Political Science Association, provided the basics on why the U.S. should care about the war at all. Ishiyama explained Russia has the world’s highest gas reserve, which is why gas prices have been rising recently. The sanctions placed on the country will affect the rest of the world because of its oil production and its relationship with OPEC.

“This is the same Putin that he was three years ago,” Ishiyama said. He added that the only difference between him now and then was that Putin is now more cenile and reckless.

Grieg also provided some predictions for outcomes of this war. Of course there will be destruction with several casualties, but Grieg believes that there is no way for Russians to back down or agree to any negotiations.

“Putin is not afraid of grass roots, but he is afraid of an internal coup,” Hensel added to the discussion.

“I mean this is basically a civil war because of the split of the Soviet Union. They [Russia] are invading their home,” Grieg said.

Hensel provided some insight on how the U.S. should assess the West’s reaction to the war. He said the U.S. should resist escalation, but still criticize the lack of response from Russians. 

Ishiyama chimed in on this question by informing the attendees of the call that the European Union (EU) has a separate military doctrine than the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 

The EU was able to transfer 70 fighter jets to Ukraine to assist them. However, NATO cannot assist because of its doctrine.

“NATO can’t help Ukraine, but the EU can. The U.S. isn’t in the EU,” Ishiyama said.

UNT professors said there would be another panel in the near future as more is developed on the war.

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