The War in Ukraine

September 16, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 31
Will the international order withstand Russia's assault?
By Jonathan Broder


Russia's invasion of Ukraine has altered the course of world affairs, creating what some experts call the most perilous international conflict since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the United States and the Soviet Union were on the brink of nuclear war. The comparison fits, experts say, because Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly threatened to use nuclear weapons against any country that interferes with the invasion. For the West, the invasion represents an unwelcome return to Russian imperialism. It also poses a direct challenge to the U.S.-orchestrated, rules-based international order, whose cardinal tenet rejects the acquisition of territory by force. For many Russians, however, the invasion reflects Putin's determination to halt any further expansion of the NATO military alliance toward Russia's borders, which he sees as an existential threat. As the fighting continues, and Ukraine battles to repel an invasion that threatens its existence as an independent nation, analysts on both sides agree the stakes in this conflict could not be higher.

Photo of seized Russian tank in Kyiv, Ukraine, on August 21, 2022. (Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Metin Aktas)
Weapons seized from the Russian army are displayed on Aug. 21 in Kyiv. The United States and its allies regard Russia's invasion of Ukraine as an unacceptable return to Russian imperialism, but many Russians see it as a way to halt NATO expansion toward their border. (Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Metin Aktas)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in War
Sep. 16, 2022  The War in Ukraine
Jul. 13, 2012  Privatizing the Military
Aug. 06, 2010  Drone Warfare Updated
May 2010  Confronting Rape as a War Crime
Jan. 2010  Truth Commissions
Feb. 27, 2009  Closing Guantánamo Updated
Jul. 2008  Child Soldiers
Sep. 2007  Torture Debate
Aug. 25, 2006  Treatment of Detainees
Apr. 18, 2003  Torture
Dec. 13, 2002  Ethics of War
Sep. 13, 2002  New Defense Priorities
Jul. 07, 1995  War Crimes
Apr. 26, 1972  Status of War Prisoners
Oct. 07, 1970  Military Justice
Jul. 12, 1967  Treatment of War Prisoners
Dec. 03, 1952  War Prisoner Repatriation
Sep. 07, 1948  War Trials and Future Peace
Jul. 07, 1945  Enemy Property
Nov. 20, 1943  Courts-Martial and Military Law
Mar. 15, 1943  War Guilt Trials
Mar. 30, 1942  War Atrocities
Feb. 02, 1942  Prisoners of War
Aug. 11, 1938  Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations
Alliances and Security Agreements
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Campaigns and Elections
Defense Technology and Force Planning
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Export Sanctions and Restrictions
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General Defense and National Security
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Regional Political Affairs: Europe
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
United Nations
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