TOKYO – The first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a good opportunity to reflect on the war’s global implications. In addition to untold human misery, Russia’s aggression triggered a historic food and energy crisis and caused global inflation to spike, endangering the world’s fragile economic recovery from COVID-19. But the war also highlighted the shaky foundations of the international security order that emerged after the end of World War II, sending shockwaves around the world and encouraging countries like Germany and Japan to rearm.
While some still try to justify Putin’s actions by claiming that Russia was somehow provoked by the “eastern expansion” of NATO, the fact is that Ukraine posed no threat to Russia when Putin invaded the country. Putin was not seeking to defend Russia’s territorial integrity from Ukrainian or Western encroachments; he simply wanted to pursue his imperial ambitions.