Big lesson of the Ukraine war: There’s only one superpower

By Hal Brands

12 Jan 2023 · 3 min read

Efforts to help Ukraine repel Russia have shown what a world without American power would look like—and what can happen when America uses its might well. Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands explains.

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It feels ghoulish to look for good news in Russia's war in Ukraine, given how much misery that conflict has inflicted. But geopolitical tragedies can serve pedagogical purposes. If nothing else, this war has illustrated what a world without American power would look like - and what it looks like when America uses that unmatched power well.

My day job involves teaching Johns Hopkins University undergrads and grad students about international relations. I periodically have to remind myself that one can forgive millennials and members of Gen Z for having a jaded view of America's global role.

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