The Invasion Heard 'Round the World

Arshia Desarkar

April 1, 2022

For most of us, watching little clips of the news at home, the Russia-Ukraine war is a distant event, one that couldn’t possibly change our way of life, could it? The undeniable truth is that the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war are more extensive and catastrophic than could seem possible. The Ukrainians, being besieged by Russian soldiers attempting to strip them of their national identity, have faced this terror every waking hour of their lives for the last three weeks. Ordinary Russian citizens watch powerlessly as their universe collapses all around them, as large companies terminate, and their economy spirals out of control. Though most of us don’t see how we can be directly affected by the war, the overwhelming evidence proves we can be affected, in more drastic ways than we ever thought possible.

The seemingly small bubble of conflict and catastrophe in Ukraine and Russia has expanded to encompass the entire globe. The whole world had just been shaking off the aftereffects of a pandemic when one sovereign nation launched a full-on invasion of a neighboring country. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is encountering surprising resistance, and the relatively small nation has so far managed to hold most of its ground against the nuclear superpower. While this unexpected success in restraining the Russians has bolstered the courage of many Ukrainians and given them hope that they might be able to survive the war in one piece, it has also prolonged the invasion. That has caused unforeseen consequences for everyone involved, including the many countries doing their best to thwart Russia without directly engaging in the war.

In America, the rise in gas prices has not gone unnoticed, as our government takes a stand against the Russian regime by refusing to import any of its petroleum products. Canada and Australia have also moved to ban Russian crude from their borders, causing a heavy impact on both the Russian economy and the economies of the other involved countries. All the G-7 nations, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have banned the export of high-end and luxury goods to Russia. While this hurts Russia’s economy, it is also damaging to the economies of the G-7 nations.

The imposing of economic sanctions, typically a ban or tax on trade, causes a loss of a large sum of money on sales and investment returns. Economic sanctions can also end up causing many workers to lose their jobs. The loss in sales revenue generated by the banning of the trade of certain goods causes companies to drive up the price of those goods, an effect reflected by the rising cost of gas in the United States. When governments impose sanctions on other countries, they tend to underestimate the economic backlash of every sanction it maintains and only focuses on the harm it causes the targeted nation. That has led people to overlook the cost of imposing sanctions and fantasize that imposing sanctions will not affect them. In reality, sanctions like the ones that countries are placing solely on Russia, called unilateral sanctions, can have a more substantial cost on local businesses than on Russia.

Overall, the Russia-Ukraine war has had detrimental effects on almost every country involved in the war, including several global superpowers. Both Russia and Ukraine have felt the impacts of the war stronger than anyone else, as the world takes sides with or against them. Major nations in NATO and G-7 have all risen in opposition against Russia, imposing sanctions and banning imports or exports of Russian goods, but while doing so, have also negatively impacted their economies. In general, the Russia-Ukraine war has turned into a lose-lose situation for everyone involved, and its effects will continue to worsen until the war is over.