Political science department holds panel to analyze the Ukraine crisis


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In the midst of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the department of political science at Wichita State University held a panel to attempt to explain the complexity of the issue at hand.

“This is an extremely difficult and awful situation that’s going on across the world, which is bleeding over into every country in the world,” Political Science Chair Neal Allen said.

Allen, who was moderating the debate, decided that he would take off his tie and remain in his all black ensemble to mourn the loss of people who have died and will die.

As of right now, scholars consider the conflict in Ukraine to be a crisis. 

“It is where there’s a possible path and things escalate, somebody does something that’s aggressive, somebody also responds to something that is aggressive and pretending it’s conspiring,” Michael Hall, associate professor of political science, said. 

This crisis is not something that happened overnight, but has been developing for a while. There is also no one-size solution for crises due to different factors and the unique situation.

Hall said that no one can really predict what will happen, or how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will end. What analysts can do is come up with possible scenarios. 

“There is likely to be a lot more fighting before the full extent of which scenario we’re looking at  as it is going to play itself out,” Hall said.

A factor that will most likely lead to the crisis lasting longer will be the fight over natural resources.

The Nord Stream and the Nord Stream 2 are natural gas pipelines from Russia to Germany, running through the Baltic Sea. 

“They have immense political power and they highly determine the future of energy in Europe,” political science major Dominick Lett said.

The Nord Stream pipeline runs from Russia to Germany, which in turn brings the United States into play.

This could affect how much money Americans are spending on natural resources, such as gasoline and propane. The United States has a strategic oil reserve, where they have accumulated oil with their allies if a crisis were to arise. 

“But in any major case, there will probably be major global economic ramifications so significant that could cause a global downturn,” Lett said.

The sanctions that have been imposed on Russia have come from many different countries.

“Historically, economic sanctions have had various levels of effectiveness and it really just depends on how much political will other countries have to actually enforce them,” Alexandra Middlewood, an associate professor of political science, said. 

Middlewood said that what is being seen now is that countries have the will and political power to enforce sanctions against Russia. 

“Countries are actually seizing or freezing assets of certain people who are on those sanctions lists, and we’ve never seen that before,” she said. 

Though the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is ever changing with no certainty of what tomorrow will bring, both countries have experienced a large amount of loss.

Middlewood said that the Ukrainians will undoubtedly come out stronger due to the patriotism its citizens have demonstrated.

“This war will legitimize a strong Ukrainian state in its aftermath,” Middlewood said.