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Why Should Regular People Care About What Is Happening In Ukraine?

When right-wing authoritarianism spreads anywhere it spreads everywhere.

Thousands of miles away democracy is under attack in a way reminiscent of the lead-up to World War II. So too is the case in the United States with the political division so deep that google searches for “Civil War 2” are at an all-time high. Now combine that with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and skyrocketing inflation. With all of these domestic concerns, it’s understandable that despite wall-to-wall coverage on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC; the public is less engaged in this conflict. Perhaps a statement by a Kenyan diplomat will reframe the geopolitical conflict into something relevant for our readers.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, imagine that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a step through a door that will be bringing back some of history's most perilous episodes like the holocaust, slave trade, and Cold War. At least that’s what I heard when Kenyan U.N. Ambassador Martin Kimani warned at a recent security council meeting that “we must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us into new forms of oppression.” The argument is solid in the sense that if Russia is allowed to violate the sovereignty of another country other countries will endeavor to do the same. For the working class and other marginalized groups, the return to authoritarian societies would mean a change in the quality of life that many will find difficult to imagine. For example, Russia provides no anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people nor does it prohibit hate crimes against them. Similarly, cannabis possession is a criminal offense. When right-wing authoritarianism spreads anywhere it spreads everywhere.