Real professors, phony science
John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is known for his controversial opinions, but Americans rarely see him on TV. Recently, he gave a lengthy interview at CGTN, the international division of the official TV network in China. Xu Qinduo at CGTN introduced Professor Mearsheimer as “almost the lone voice” blaming the United States and NATO for the war in Ukraine.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned economics professor. He serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York. Not long ago, to those holding the opinion that “Putin thinks he’s Peter the Great” and that “he launched a war for no other reason than an imperial expansion,” he responded: “That is a lie,” affirming that, along with Professor Mearsheimer, he holds NATO responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Both professors are wrong.
Without Ukraine, Russia cannot rebuild its imperial power
Ukraine is a potentially rich and powerful land at a strategically important crossroads. With fertile soil, it is one of the largest worldwide food producers. Plenty of mineral resources made Ukraine a crucial industrial hub in the European part of the former Soviet Union. No wonder Russia wants it back. Most of all, because if it is not a part of Russia, Ukraine has everything needed to become a regional economic power counterbalancing Russian influence.
Ukraine did not have elites prepared to run a modern state when gaining independence in 1991. Chaos endured. Many doubted that it could survive as an independent country separated from Russia. With Putin gaining power in Russia, the weakening of Ukraine became the Russian objective.
The new state gradually shaped its identity and worked toward economic stability. Foreign observers might disagree about the players behind the Orange Revolution in 2004 and the Maidan Revolution in 2014. Ukrainians see it clearly as an ongoing struggle to free themselves from the shadow of the Soviet Union. Observers in the West point to corruption in…