Back in 2014, Russia pulled the trigger on its operation to reclaim Ukraine as a territory after it became an independent nation following the fall of the Soviet Union. It began with Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and in 2022 things escalated as Russia fully invaded mainland Ukraine and started a conflict that had countries around the globe weighing in.
Though the reasons for Russia wanting to reclaim Ukraine are a mystery to some, most countries have picked their side in the conflict. An overwhelming majority of countries are supporting Ukraine in the war, but there are some that are still siding with Russia. Why is there a split opinion on a global scale? Let’s take a look at the reasons that both sides have.
Why Some Favor Ukraine
The reason for many nations supporting Ukraine in the war is simple: They’re an independent nation that’s being invaded despite no provocation. There’s also the case of Ukraine and NATO being in rather close relations with each other for many years. Ukraine had initially wanted to join NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in the late 2000s, and it looked like the country was on its way to approval.
However, Viktor Yanukovych was elected as Ukraine’s president and opted not to pursue NATO membership. He left power in 2014, with Russia annexing Crimea shortly thereafter, revamping the talks between Ukraine and NATO. The talks only got more serious after Volodymyr Zelenskyy came into power in Ukraine and the 2022 invasion began.
There are plenty of major countries that aren’t part of NATO but are considered allies of the countries that are. These countries include Brazil, Japan, and Australia. These countries have typically been on the side of the United States and England, save for Japan in World War II.
Why Some Favor Russia
While the list of countries that have supported Russia is rather short, there are still several notable countries that have sided with Vladimir Putin and Russia. The most prominent countries on the list are Venezuela, Syria, and Iran. There are some other smaller countries, as well, including Myanmar and Eritrea.
Venezuela shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the country has long since gone against what the United States has done. Russia and Venezuela had a strong relationship after World War II, but things fell out in the 1950s. The two reunited in 1972 and have remained strong allies ever since.
Iran is essentially in the same department, as they oppose the United States and especially NATO. One of the biggest reasons is that they have been stripped of much of their military power, and they want some more prestige on a global basis by backing Russia in hopes of defeating a NATO military.
As for Syria, they are still coming out of a civil war that had Russian involvement. The country felt the need to not pry into Russian doings, as half of the country opposes Russia while the other half supports them.
Why Some Remain Neutral
Most of the world has made its stance known regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but there is also a handful that has remained completely neutral. Many of these countries are located in Africa, while others are located in Asia and Latin America. Neutral countries have stayed that way in hopes of being mediators for both sides, and refusing to condemn to avoid any potential conflict.
Sometimes, these countries know that there is no benefit to being engaged in global politics, especially if they’re having difficulty within their own borders. There aren’t many neutral countries, but the fact that they’re not outright supporting Russia and going against the overall majority opinion shows that they’re focused on nationalism.
While the population within the nations that have condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine can be split, an overwhelming majority of the world’s countries have supported sanctioning Russia. Some of the major players, though, are surprising. India and China have chosen to sit out taking a side, and much of that has to do with their geographical location. Overall, the countries that are the furthest from Ukraine support them the most.
Every election cycle, the Democratic and Republican parties announce their final presidential candidates, and those two obviously get the most attention. Along the way, there are many nominees that attempt to get elected but are knocked out in the primaries. Over the course of the Democratic Party, there have been some interesting names that were interesting but didn’t make it all the way to November. Here are some of those forgotten Democratic presidential candidates:
John Wolfe Jr.
Not many party nominees would be willing to unseat an incumbent that’s up for reelection, but don’t tell that to John Wolfe Jr. In 2012, Wolfe (who had lost four congressional elections in Tennessee by that point) attempted to take Barack Obama’s Democratic Party bid. While he ultimately wouldn’t come close, he still did have the second most delegates with 23.
The former Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, Dennis Kucinich had a lot of momentum going into the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. Unfortunately for Kucinich, he took on the more famous John Kerry in his first bid and then the massively popular Barack Obama in the second. Kucinich continued to serve as a congressman following his two lost bids and was unsuccessful in trying to reclaim his spot as Cleveland’s mayor in 2021.
A former professional basketball player who went to Princeton, Bill Bradley had a long career in politics, serving as a senator representing New Jersey from 1979 until 1997. After his term in the Senate, Bradley ran for President in 2000, but it was an ill-advised run. Bradley would be pitted against Al Gore, who had just got done serving eight years as the country’s Vice President and was a shoo-in for the Democratic nod.
Very few people have been as persistent in their attempts to become the President as Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche was in charge of his own movement and represented the Socialist Workers from 1949 until 1964, then the Labor Party from 1973 until 1979, running for President under the latter party in 1976. LaRouche then switched over to the Democratic Party, where he received some votes but was never considered a serious candidate due to his imprisonment. In total, LaRouche ran in every election from 1976 until 2000.
After serving as the Governor of California from 1975 until 1983, Jerry Brown attempted to run for Senate but ultimately lost. Brown then set his sights even higher, running as the Democratic nominee for President during the 1992 election. Brown had some early momentum, but Bill Clinton’s popularity skyrocketed, leaving Brown behind. Brown would then become the Mayor of Oakland before returning to the Governorship in California.
Back in 1984, Gary Hart was serving as a Senator representing Colorado when he decided to run for President. Hart had a strong run, but was ultimately defeated by Walter Mondale. Hart then ran again in 1988 and was well on his way to earning the nomination. However, an affair scandal derailed his campaign, ultimately leading to Michael Dukakis winning the nomination. Hart’s career would recover, returning to the Senate and then working under Barack Obama as the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.
Gary Hart wasn’t the only Democratic hopeful in 1984 that people may have forgotten about. Astronaut John Glenn also ran for President during that election cycle, but would end up coming in fourth place. Glenn had a long resume by that time, having served in World War II, eventually becoming the first American to orbit Earth, and was also a Senator representing Ohio. After Glenn’s bid didn’t result in him being on the final ticket, Glenn returned to his Senate duties where he served for just over 24 years, retiring in 1999 and heading to space one more time before his death in 2016.
Throughout the course of American history, there have been plenty of politicians that many felt were primed for at least one term in the White House. Not everything goes as planned, though, and all parties know that. The Democrats have had many of these candidates, with some losing out in the presidential election while some were ousted in the primaries. Out of all of the Democratic nominees, here are the five who surprised people the most by never achieving the presidency.
5. Howard Dean
Heading into the 2004 presidential election, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean wasn’t really considered by many to be a candidate with a strong possibility of winning. However, Dean quickly became popular and almost overnight turned into a favorite for the Democratic nomination. Unfortunately for Dean, he tried to emphatically rally his supporters, but his infamous “Yeah” scream derailed his campaign.
Dean would go on to become the Chair of the Democratic National Committee. It seems odd now that Dean was lambasted so much for his enthusiasm, but the internet was still in what was basically its infancy and the standard of presidential behavior was held to a much higher standard.
4. Michael Dukakis
By the time the 1988 election came along, no party had ever won three consecutive elections. This meant that Democrat Michael Dukakis was due to take the White House after Ronald Reagan’s term limit was reached. Dukakis, the then-Governor of Massachusetts, squared off with George H.W. Bush after defeating the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Gore in the primaries.
Similar to Howard Dean, it wasn’t his policies that cost Dukakis a lot of votes. It was a photograph of him in a tank that was used ad nauseam by Republicans that swayed a lot of public opinions.
3. John Kerry
Though George W. Bush had a very high approval rating after 9/11, those numbers quickly sunk due to the ensuing War on Terror. Because of this, the door was opened for John Kerry to take the White House and make Bush a one-term president. Instead, the Massachusetts senator lost the popular vote by more than 3 million on the way to winning 251 electoral votes. Still, at the time, Kerry’s 59 million votes were the second-most ever for a candidate.
2. Al Gore
Ultimately, the 1990s were a time of growth in the United States and the country ended up with a surplus economically. Bill Clinton was the president through much of that time, so it seemed like Al Gore may have been a safe bet to win the election to stay in the White House after serving as the VP for eight years.
Going up against George W. Bush in 2000, though, Gore lost the electoral college vote despite winning the popular vote. Of course, the election is remembered by the “hanging chads” and multiple recounts in Florida that ultimately decided the vote.
1. Hillary Clinton
Many felt that it was her “time” when Hillary Clinton received the Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential election. After losing out to Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton was next in line and was going against businessman Donald Trump, who had never held elected office before. Almost all political analysts expected it to be a landslide in Clinton’s favor, but it wasn’t to be.
Even after the early results showed Trump in the lead on election day, Clinton’s campaign was still confident that a victory was coming in the evening. Hour by hour, the expressions on Clinton supporters’ faces became warier. Late in the night, Clinton conceded to Trump despite winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million, while third-party and write-in candidates received a shockingly high amount of votes.
Even in times of peace, it seems that countries around the world still find themselves in an arms race to be prepared for any sort of conflict and defend their nation from attack. With tensions escalating due to conflicts in eastern Europe, defense spending has only been increasing in the past year or so. With that in mind, which countries are the most well prepared in the event of a conflict on a global scale? Here are the five countries that spend the most money on their defense budgets as it stands right now.
Russia is a country that seems like it would be an obvious entry into the top five, though you might think it would be higher on the list. In terms of its percentage of GDP used on defense, however, Russia ranks higher than any country. It was announced that last year, Russia had spent $65.9 billion in defense. Due to the Ukraine War in 2022, expect that number to have a significant increase when the next reports come out.
4. United Kingdom
It might come as a slight surprise to see the United Kingdom toward the top of the list, but despite its size, no country has had more of a global impact. The United Kingdom was already at fourth on the list with $68.4 billion in spending in 2021, and that’s expected to increase quite dramatically when 2022 is wrapped up. “We need to invest for the long term in vital capabilities like future combat air,” former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “Whilst simultaneously adapting to a more dangerous and more competitive world.”
India hasn’t exactly been involved in many conflicts over the past several decades, at least not on a large scale. However, India clocks in with the third highest defense budget at $76.6 billion. The reason for the increase in recent years is India’s desire to be more self-reliant and join the ranks of the financial elite in the world. Rajnath Singh is the defense minister of India and says that using local infrastructure “will certainly boost the domestic defense industries,”
Countries like India, the United Kingdom and Russia have some fierce competition in the top five as numbers 6-10 are all very close, but China is a massive leap ahead of India in spending with $293 billion in 2021. That budget isn’t going to shrink anytime soon, either, as China is beefing up their defense to the tune of 7.1 percent over the next year. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said “We will move faster to modernize the military’s logistics and asset management systems, and build a modern weaponry and equipment management system.”
1. United States
You’re probably not shocked to see the United States sitting at number one by a comfortable margin, are you? With a defense budget of $801 billion, it’s not even close. That’s more than the rest of the top 10 combined. Just like China, the US defense budget won’t be going down, either. An increase to $813.3 billion was already approved for next year. With that, the United States and China will make up around 44 percent of the entire global spending on defense.