The Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its eighth day. Ukraine, which was expected to be taken control of immediately, is still resisting and is sometimes described as a better fight than expected. However, looking back at the Nazi German blitzkrieg that started World War II, Poland was occupied in a week, Belgium in five days, and France in ten days, so Ukraine is not likely to have achieved notable results. At present, as US officials predict, the fall of Kyiv is only a matter of time.

This attack by Russia has shown us vividly that it is not dialogue and law that shapes order but physical force. We often hear the argument that we make diplomacy to prevent war, but this is a totally misplaced idea. The truth is that dialogue and diplomacy can only occur where power exists first. It is clear to see the situation within a country. Order is maintained in a country only because the state monopolizes coercive force: the apparatus of violence, such as the police or the army. It is not until violence exists that the law functions and there is room for dialogue. Dialogue without force is empty and meaningless.

However, even at this stage, the United States and other western countries remain limited to indirect support, such as economic sanctions and the provision of weapons. In particular, the Biden administration has been conspicuous in its passive attitude towards overseas affairs over the past few years, such as withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan last summer, considering its domestic public opinion. From this, Putin has seen that the US will not come on strong, which is why he will not relent.

This attitude of reluctance is not limited to the Biden administration. History shows that the US is an inward-looking country compared to its size. From its founding motive of breaking with the old European monarchy and rebuilding the new nation in the new continent, the history of the US has been a series of isolationism, always keeping its distance from outside powers. This national policy was embodied in the Monroe Doctrine and in the non-admission to the League of Nations. And, paradoxically, the dispatch of troops outside the country is a product of an inward-looking mindset.

I have said for a long time that the current world order is a power struggle between great powers for spheres of influence. Basically, the Cold War and the subsequent world order were musical chairs over strategically important regions, such as resource-rich areas or transport hubs. The US has achieved where it is today by extending the scope of its isolationism and successfully winning the game.

Therefore, ideology-centred perspectives, like capitalism versus communism, a conventional description of the Cold War, turn our eyes away from the essence of the conflict. Of course, the current situation is by no means a battle of liberal democracy versus tyranny. Such a view obscures the stark reality that order is a mere clash of powers and that the ideals of democracy do not always prevail.

But Biden obsesses with the ideals of democracy and reverts even more than his predecessor to traditional isolationism. His attitude is literally just looking at a fire on the opposite shore. It is an old American bad habit sometimes to fail to see events on the Old Continent as its own. But the current crisis in Ukraine does concern the US. Biden should now learn from the judgement of his past generations, who wisely insisted that the conflict with the Old Continent could only be settled there.11. Nicholas John Spykman, America’s Strategy in World Politics: The United States and the Balance of Power, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2007 (originally published in 1942), pp. 179–180. The future fate of the world depends on whether the US can overcome its corrupt practices.