Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and ongoing extensive war in that country, seems to have united Europe and many other democracies in the West, which fairly recently were squabbling over issues related to trade, defense agreements, COVID-19 policies, and many other issues.
European countries, and the United States, have consulted closely and put together a range of similar, and tough measures, against the Russian government, including cutting it off from much of the world financial system, banning Russian planes from most of European and North American airspace, and putting heavy sanctions on Moscow. The countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance are sending significant amounts of weapons into Ukraine, including rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles.
In many ways, the Ukraine war seems like a clarifying moment of democracies vs. an authoritarian power. But while the war has sparked greater unity in the West, the reactions in Asia, even in Asian democracies, have been mixed, suggesting that Washington, Paris, and Berlin cannot take for granted that democratic countries around the world will necessarily unite because of the Ukraine war.
For more on Asia’s response to the Ukraine war, see my new Japan Times article.