Hollins Professor Explains Timing of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

After two years of anxiety regarding Covid and the subsequent lockdowns and mandates, many in Southwest Virginia were then shocked by the suddenness and harshness with which the Canadian government crushed the truckers’ “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa and at some border crossings. For what most Virginians had always considered to be a free country, Canada’s freezing of bank accounts, impounding vehicles, and even trampling over peaceful protestors with horses sent shock waves.

Now, many in our region are watching in horror as massive Russian forces invade its peaceful and much smaller neighbor, Ukraine, a nation that has enjoyed independence from the former Soviet Union for about 30 years. To many, it seems freedom and self-determination are under assault across the globe.

Regarding Russia’s invasion, many are asking “Why?” and “Why now?”

To find some answers, the Roanoke Star reached out to Ed Lynch, PhD., the John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Global Politics and Society at Hollins University. Professor Lynch’s response:

“I would say the following: It took the leadership in Moscow 4 and a half years to consider Lyndon Johnson weak enough to invade Czechoslovakia. It took 3 years to consider Jimmy Carter weak enough for them to invade Afghanistan. It took 8 years for Moscow to consider Bush weak enough to invade Georgia. It took 6 years for them to consider Obama weak enough to invade Crimea.

With Biden, it took 13 months.

Of course, under some presidents, like Reagan and Trump, Moscow didn’t dare invade anybody.”

Against a backdrop of anxiety at home and chaos abroad, President Biden is scheduled to give his first State of the Union address tonight.

–Scott Dreyer

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