The Middle East’s Indifference to Ukraine Is a Warning

This commentary was originally published in Defense One on May 12, 2022.  

We are now more than two months past the high-water mark of international solidarity on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Then, more than 140 countries voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the Russian offensive, with 35 abstentions. A casual observer might think that the vote was proof that the rules-based international order the United States had been nurturing for 75 years was alive and well.

Instead, the Ukraine crisis is a stark warning that the U.S. investments international order have not left much residue. The United States has spent trillions and sacrificed more than 100,000 lives, but for much of the world, a decision to support the United States or some semblance of international law is a present-value calculation. International support for sanctions is almost nonexistent outside of Europe and northeast Asia, and outside of those areas, there is no appetite for any further action to influence Russian actions.

Read the full article in Defense One.


Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program