Urgent Efforts Necessary to Prevent a World Without Order Amid War in Ukraine

Hiroto Sekiguchi / The Yomiuri Shimbun
A woman grieves at the funeral of her son, who was killed in the war, in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Thursday.

When I first learned of Russia’s attack on Ukraine a year ago, I was shocked by the fact that a full-scale invasion had broken out in today’s world. At the same time, I felt strong resentment toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And now, I cannot help but become increasingly alarmed by the current situation in which the international community is failing to stop Putin’s war.

The United States and most European countries are supporting the Ukrainian military by providing weapons, but they are refraining from supplying fighter jets and long-range missiles so as not to provoke Russia, which has been dangling the threat of nuclear weapons.

While Ukraine is forced to fight a defensive battle on its own territory, with many civilians sacrificing their lives, Russia is in a situation where it can continue its aggression without the risk of a full-scale attack on its land.

Economic sanctions were expected to serve as a means of strongly pressuring Russia, but they have not been as effective as initially thought. This is because many countries outside the Western world are not joining such efforts.

China has been touting a narrative that makes it seem as if the United States is responsible for the war and chaos, effectively supporting Russia.

How can the international community prevent the nuclear superpower’s attempts to force its neighbor into submission? Nations that support a rules-based international order urgently need to provide an answer to the question.

If Russia cannot be held accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, more countries will stop following principles of international order, such as adherence to international law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. This could lead to the world becoming as chaotic as a dysfunctional classroom.

Such circumstances could also lower the hurdles for China, which harbors territorial ambitions, to change the status quo by force regarding Taiwan and other regions.

Although no momentum for peace is in sight, diplomatic efforts to end the war must be accelerated.

Japan is chairing the Group of Seven nations this year. The country should not only take the lead in uniting the West but also strongly promote steady diplomacy in order to increase the number of countries that support the universal international order by making the most of Japan’s post-war history of peace.