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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

What can we do to help Ukraine?

James Bartlett

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine late Wednesday night, social media has been flooded with posts, stories and tweets about what’s going on and how it will affect the world. However, it’s vital that we remember those who the conflict has impacted the most: Ukrainian civilians. 

As residents in one of the richest countries in the world, we must ensure that we do everything we can to help the victims of this crisis. We can’t respond with military violence, but instead do what we can to provide humanitarian aid.

With their invasion, Russia perpetrated the largest attack on another nation since World War II, according to reports by Reuters. Russia’s siege of Ukraine has already displaced tens of thousands of people, and will likely displace tens of thousands more. 

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov predicted back in December that as many as 5 million refugees could be forced to flee the country due to the invasion.

Already, countries that border Ukraine in the west are seeing a backup of those fleeing Russia’s bombardment. According to the Associated Press, officials in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova have loosened entry requirements for Ukrainians. However, cars were reportedly backed up for miles at entry points to these countries.

Ireland has also made moves to help refugees, announcing that the country would lift all visa requirements for Ukrainian immigration. However, Ireland is an island over 1,700 miles away from Ukraine.

“We stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people and will, working with our partners in the European Union, play our part in assisting them in their time of need,” said Irish Minister of Justice Helen McEntee.

NATO officials have jumped into action against Russia, instituting economic sanctions and freezing President Vladimir Putin’s assets. 

Historically, the United State’s response to violence across the world has been to counter with more violence. 

The U.S. has fought five major conflicts since WWII: Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a Vox interview with Swarthmore College Professor Dominic Tierney, the Gulf War is the only one of these conflicts that could be considered successful.

For many college freshmen and sophomores, the United States has been at war for as long as we’ve been alive. That’s 20 years of fighting with no end in sight. During this same time, the U.S. has dramatically lowered the number of refugees who have been allowed to reside in the country. Under the Trump administration, this number fell to its lowest point since the 1980s.

The reason these wars have been sustainable is because of the United States’ astronomically high military budget. The U.S. military budget is roughly $778 billion. According to the National Priorities Project, that’s higher than the next seven largest global military budgets combined.

Imagine what could be improved with only 10% of that money? That’s $7.78 billion to improve our crumbling infrastructure, or to better our education system, or even to forgive student loan debt.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed this same sentiment in a 1953 address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,” he said.

The United States has taken the more aggressive approach time and time again throughout our history. We’ve dropped countless bombs, authorized hundreds of drone strikes and sent thousands of troops to every corner of the globe in the name of freedom, but have accomplished absolutely nothing. Tyranny and authoritarianism still exists, as does poverty and hunger. 

If the United States commits to military action, we know what will happen. More homes will be destroyed, and more innocent people will lose their lives.

Instead, let’s put that incredibly large military budget to good use. Let’s use the hundreds of planes and thousands of armored vehicles to deliver much needed supplies to those in need. Let’s commit to allowing as many refugees as possible to find a home here, no matter where in the world they are from. 

Let’s dedicate ourselves to making the United States into what it could be: a beacon of hope and opportunity to everyone.

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About the Contributors
William Woodring, Senior Editor-at-Large | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on X @woodringwill
James Bartlett, Multimedia Editor | he/him
James Bartlett is a senior studying print and web journalism. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, James has a strong interest in photojournalism and new journalism tools such as podcasting and user-generated content. James is currently a Web Journalist at WHDH Channel 7 and has previously worked at and the Newburpoty Daily News. Follow James on Twitter @James_bartlett8 Email him at [email protected]

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What can we do to help Ukraine?