TULSA, Okla. — Benjamin Peters PhD., Hazel Rodgers Associate Professor of Media Studies professor at the University of Tulsa has extensive knowledge of the history behind Ukraine. He said the events we are seeing today are the result of a deep-rooted struggle to maintain the nation's sovereignty.
“It’s clear that if Ukraine doesn’t have sovereign territory, if it has autonomous regions full of separatists it will never be part of NATO and Putin knows this so he’s effectively slowing the sovereignty of the country that he in the same breath appeals to as a little brother,” Peters said.
For the past 20 years, he has been studying the region and at one point even lived in Ukraine and Russia.
“What’s happening in the last two days in the corner of Ukraine, has potential implications for how we think about the world…in generations to come,” he said.
Peters said Ukraine's history is complex.
It has claimed its independence in 1914, 1918, 1922, and then in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. He said for years it played a strategic geo-political role in the world. While not a superpower, he said Ukraine has a significant population and an important economy that plays a key role between Europe and Asia.
“It’s central to Russia’s imperial relationship to Europe and Europe's relationship to Asia,” Peters said.
As for NATO's economic sanctions on Russia, Peters supports them, but said they often end up hurting innocent people.
“Unfortunately economic sanctions may be necessary, but they’re deeply unfair to the people on the ground, assuming you’re not a Russian separatist…your life is about to get much harder because of Western sanctions but also because an outside country just invaded you,”he said.
For us here at home, Peter said we can expect to pay more at the gas pump, but he said it's a small price to pay to stop the resurgence of the Russian empire. He said the resurgence could disrupt the balance of power and world order in Eurasia, which is also why he hopes America does not engage its military forces.
“America must not engage militarily, that would just be catastrophic, on many levels…very likely ensue a much larger global war that nobody needs," Peters said.
He said a resurgence of the Russian empire could disrupt the balance of power in Eurasia, which is why he hopes America does not engage in it's military.
Dr. Peters said how NATO responds to Russia could set a precedent for how NATO responds. to potential Chinese agressions in the Southeast Pacific.
“There’s an ongoing flirtation game about whether or not they will unify and become allies and try to organize against NATO regimes,” Peters said.
Dr. Peters said right now there is no clear pathway for Ukraine to maintain its sovereignty amid Russia's invasion.
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