A complicated ping pong match between NATO and Russia


Anna Ooka, Contributing Writer

Welcome everyone, to the annual 2022 ping pong tournament between Team Russia and team U.S.A! This is perhaps the most highly anticipated tournament since the 2014 match where Russia took home Crimea and left the U.S crying with a weaker political reputation. Who will win this exciting match this time? Will Russia take home Donbas? Let’s take a look at each team’s probability of winning. 

Suspicions of another intense match escalated when satellite imagery showed the mobilization of about 100,000 soldiers around the border between Russia and Ukraine. Of course, Team U.S was the first to back up its supposed buddy, Ukraine, with a warning from President Biden to President Putin about consequential economic sanctions if Russia were to invade. The heat between the Cold War opponents truly reemerged when Russia presented their security pact demands of making the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cease their military activity around Eastern Europe and demanding that NATO stay out of relations with Ukraine and former Soviet Union members. 

NATO members were cheering Team U.S on by repeatedly warning against Russia’s military enforcement around Ukraine and warned Russia of the devastating consequences that might occur to global security by going up against them and the U.S. Putin replied that they have no intention of invading its neighbor, but will not back down its arms until NATO formally addresses their demands. As their team philosophy, NATO will not close the door for Ukraine to join its organization to respect the sovereignty of an independent nation and still demands Russia to calm its forces. However, Putin will not back down because NATO will not address his demands. 

Due to Russia’s past “victory” of taking home Crimea, there is a genuine fear of another win by Russia that will result in a military conflict in Eastern Europe. But because Putin also has a genuine fear that a valuable ally and buffer between Russia and Europe will join NATO, invading a relatively Russia positive portion of Ukraine will allow him to have more influence on them before they become more Westernized. The continuous  military buildup is supposedly not for silly fun by Putin as well; unless, behind the often serious facade, Putin secretly had a dark sense of humor. There is also speculation by the U.S that Russia is provoking them in order to create an excuse for a larger goal of gaining more former members of the Soviet Union. This way team Russia ensures land, wealth, and glory.

There is still hope for team U.S, however, if Russia had any intention of taking home Donbas, it would have done so before any sanctions and preparation could have occurred. Another factor to consider is that Putin would have propagandized the situation between Ukraine and warned nearby civilians if he had any intentions to fire, just like he did in the headlines before Crimea. Even so, the news in Russia has been seemingly mediocre when it comes to the anxiety-stricken conflict for the world. 

This earnestly unproductive back and forth between the US, their buddies, and Russia may irritate both sides enough to start an actual conflict when it did not have to be. It is clear that both sides have terrible skills of diplomacy and do not know how to gain a middle ground. It has been this way since the start of time. That’s why we, the terrified spectators, have been hooked by their complicated rivalry for so long. Perhaps the Winter Olympics should simply include ping pong as their main event from now on because it seems like the US and Russia put up a good fight around this time. Will this terrifying ping pong match end with a winner? As of late, the audience will be completely satisfied with a tie and both players just hugging it out. Even so, it wouldn’t hurt to end it in a way that both teams use their diplomatic skills.