A Colby College professor brings up the subject of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in class

Tizoc Chavez, visiting assistant professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine with his students. Photo courtesy of Colby College

As war rages in Eastern Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, educators closer to home discuss the global conflict in classrooms to help students better understand how the United States play a role in the ongoing international conflict.

Tizoc Chavez, a visiting assistant professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, discussed the still-developing invasion with students in his course on presidential leadership.

The professor draws on his background in the history of presidential diplomacy to guide students through the complex and convoluted issue and demonstrate why the United States plays such an important role given its strong global position after World War II.

“Historically, you haven’t seen this kind of cross-border aggression in Europe since World War II, with the potential for the biggest ground war since the end of World War II,” said Chavez in an interview on Friday.

Chavez students have spent time in recent weeks recapping the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while analyzing all US options, including economic sanctions and the “reliability and credibility” of overall security efforts. from America to Europe. President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a series of economic sanctions against Russia and its elites, as have a number of nations. This trend continued and intensified on Friday as the United States and other countries moved to also sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin and other financial institutions in an effort to isolate Russia and impose consequences.

“The students are engaged and seem worried. We haven’t seen anything like this in our lifetime, so it’s new for them too,” Chavez said. “The biggest challenge we see is that students don’t have a frame of reference.”

Given how quickly the situation is changing in Ukraine, students understand better that the invasion “is something they need to pay attention to,” Chavez said.

On Friday afternoon, Russian troops continued their attempt to take control of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Ukrainian officials reported 137 dead and 316 injured after the first day of fighting, with civilian areas and military sites targeted in Putin’s most aggressive effort yet to redraw the world map and rekindle his influence. Moscow at the time of the Cold War.

Because Ukraine is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, known as NATO, the assistance that can be offered by the United States is limited, he said. said, although that does not mean that there would be no impact on the United States.

Meanwhile, Putin on Thursday warned against Western military intervention, threatening consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history”, in remarks that raised fears of nuclear retaliation.

“The only thing that could potentially try to deter Putin would be a military option, but right now that’s not on the table,” Chavez said. “So you’re left with economic, political and national tools that at this point don’t actually seem to be doing anything.”


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Jessica C. Bell