During a recent conversation at Rice University, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the world is at an inflection point.
“We have an end of an era, the post-Cold War era. We have an intense competition that’s underway to actually shape what comes next. One of the competitors is Russia, and Putin’s Russia. And the actions that he’s taken,” he said, “are a demonstration that he rejects the order as it’s been, or for that matter, the maintenance of the basic premises, the basic principles, that define the order – territorial sovereignty, independence.”
Secretary Blinken said in the face of Russia’s full-blown invasion of Ukraine, people understand if Putin is allowed to act with impunity, “then the message to would-be aggressors anywhere and everywhere is ‘we can get away with it, too.’ And that’s an invitation to a world of conflict.”
Putin, Secretary Blinken said, is operating under an illusion:
“His objective is to outlast, and he believes that he can. He can outlast the Ukrainians. He can outlast all those supporting Ukraine. But he’s already made a profound miscalculation, and that has played out in a way that’s been historically detrimental to Russia and its interests, because I think he believed from the outset that no one was going to stand up to the aggression.”
Not only are the Ukrainian people and the United States proving Putin wrong, so are the dozens of countries around the world that are assisting Ukraine with humanitarian, economic, and military aid.
“Often in these situations, Americans get a little bit frustrated because it seems like we’re carrying so much of the load. We are. But in terms of burden-sharing in this particular instance, the rest of the world is doing a remarkable job. In fact, the assistance being provided by other countries exceeds the assistance that the United States has provided, as significant as that’s been,” he said.
“The fundamental problem is Putin’s belief he can outlast,” said Secretary Blinken. But on the part of those standing up to Putin, Mr. Blinken declared, “There remains a tremendous determination to see this through - not only to make sure that Ukrainians come out on the right side, but that … all the rest of us do, too. Because if we let this go, then we’re opening a world of hurt for many years to come.”