Interstate conflicts are wars that are fought between state governments. On the other
hand, intrastate conflicts are wars that involve the state's armed groups and other non-state armed
groups in the same state. It is the most common form of conflict, especially in Africa and Asian
countries. Intrastate is the most common form of conflict. It happens within the state or country.
There is also another type of conflict known as extra state conflict. It is a conflict between a state
and non-state armed groups outside the state. A good example is a conflict between the United
States and the Taliban. Interstate wars have a higher probability of being settled that the
intrastate wars. Intrastate conflicts negotiations usually fail because the proposed solution always
favors one party, and therefore, in most cases, both parties fail to come to an agreement.
According to Pettersson and Wallensteen (2015), negotiations fail because civil war opponents
are asked to do what they consider unthinkable. At a time when no legitimate government and no
legal institutions exist to enforce a contract, they are asked to demobilize, disarm, and disengage
their military forces and prepare for peace.
UKRAINE POLICY 2
The United States and Ukraine Relations History
The United States and Ukraine relations started after Ukraine's independence in 1991.
Ukraine was initially part of the Soviet Union. The United States and Ukraine have been trading
partners for so long with the US exporting coal, vehicles, agricultural products, aircraft, and fish
to Ukraine. On the other hand, Ukraine exports steel, inorganic chemicals, aircraft, oil, and
agricultural products to the United States (Pettersson & Wallensteen, 2015). Both Ukraine and
the United States are in several organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade
Organization, International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe. The United States government has been of great assistance in developing a secure,
prosperous, and democratic country (Ukraine) (McFaul, Sestanovich & Mearsheimer, 2014). The
US has been influential in making Ukraine induced into the Euro-Atlantic Community.
History of Ukraine's Conflicts
The conflicts in Ukraine first started in November 2013 in the capital Kyiv. This was
after their leader, President Viktor Yanukovych, rejected an economic deal with the European
Union. The situation became so intense, and in February 2014, President Viktor fled his country.
It was just an intrastate conflict until the Russian troops went to Ukraine in March 2014. The
situation in Ukraine became an international crisis after a Malaysian plane was downed by
Russians (according to an investigation done by Dutch air accident investigators in October
2015). This drew the attention of the United States and the European Union, who became at odds
with Russia (McFaul, Sestanovich & Mearsheimer, 2014). Ukraine has suffered a couple of
cyber-attacks, which made them lose a lot of dollars. The attacks were directed on the power and
computer systems of both the Ukrainian government and some businesses. Diplomatic solutions
have been tried, but unfortunately, they have been unsuccessful. In February 2015, there was an
agreement which was called the Minsk Accords (Mearsheimer, 2014). In the agreement, there
was not supposed to be the deployment of any cease-fire, no country was supposed to use heavy
machinery, and also, the Ukrainian government was supposed to take full control. The agreement
was not sufficiently taken into consideration.
A crisis in Ukraine does not just affect Ukraine; it has a global impact. Some Americans
always feel threatened by external conflicts. Conflicts paralyze international trade, which means
that the factories they work at may be closed or reduce the number of employees. America's
economic growth and security depend so much on political stabilities in other countries. The
main reasons for the conflicts are weak governance and economics (Mearsheimer, 2014). The
conflict has affected Ukraine in the following ways:
Displacement of People
In a country where political instability is the order of the day, there must be internally
displaced people (IDPs), whereas others flee the country (refugees) just trying to be safe. This is
the case in Ukraine. In July 2019, the Ukrainian government said that there are over 1.4 million
IDPs. Most of these people left their jobs, which economically affected the country. Some people
were psychologically affected, and now getting back to their homes will be difficult since they
are still in fear.
Loss of Lives
UKRAINE POLICY 3
Many Russians and Ukrainians have lost their lives in the conflicts. This includes the people who
died in the Malaysian plane who were killed by the Russians. Since the conflict began in 2014,
millions of lives have been lost. Some were left injured, and a lot of children left as orphans
(Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
It also led to widespread unemployment. It is challenging to conduct business where your
safety is not guaranteed. Your products can either be destroyed, stolen, or you lose them. This
affected Ukraine. A lot of companies and businesses were shut down, and therefore the
employees became jobless (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
Increase in Crime Rate
Because of joblessness, people had to get involved in crime to have or afford the stuff
they needed. Some became robbers to survive. When life becomes difficult, people will always
look for better ways or rather the shortcuts to better their lives. One of the alternatives includes
theft cases (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
Ukraine was a great producer of agricultural and industrial products. Their economy was
so great. Ukraine had the biggest GDP in the Soviet Union. The GDP went down by a small
margin after their independence from the union, and then later it rose. Right now, the GDP has
been slowed by recent activities. The conflicts reduced all their economic activities tremendously
since some factories had to be shut down (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018). Even
their agricultural production went down. Some of the people who were working there were
displaced while others died.
War is among the factors that hinder trade. For countries to be trading partners, there has
to be peace within them. If there emerges a war between states, doing business will be difficult.
It can be done, but not as it should have if there were peace. It is difficult for Russia and Ukraine
to trade. In the same way, the war also affects countries that are not even involved in the war.
Countries cannot risk doing trade on a ground that is so risky to them (Kissinger, 2014). For
example, a country can be exporting its products to Ukraine, even before the goods get to their
destinations; they are either stolen or destroyed. Some of the countries that were trading with
Ukraine cannot trade with them anymore because of their political instability. The country has
found it hard to have foreign investors (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
The weapons used in the wars affected the climate negatively. Most of them polluted the
air. Pollution of any kind affects the health of the citizens of the country because there will be a
spread of diseases, among other adverse effects of pollution. The use of chemicals, fires, and oil
destroys the environment (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018). The 1992 Rio Declaration
states that 'Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall, therefore,
UKRAINE POLICY 4
respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and
cooperate in its further development, as necessary' (Kissinger, 2014).
Ukraine is a significant producer of oil. The wars in Ukraine affected the prices of oil in various
parts of the world. It has changed the country economically since the production is low
Russia and Ukraine's enmity was brewed
Russia and Ukraine started their conflicts a long time ago after Ukraine left the Soviet
Union. After Ukraine's intrastate conflict, Russia sent its army to Ukraine. It not only made
Ukraine angry but also EU members and the US. It led to a massive battle between the two
countries. Russia is yet to remove its army from Ukraine (Kissinger, 2014).
The Tourism Sector Paralyses
When there is no political stability, the tourism sector, which is an excellent foreign
income earner, becomes dormant, hence rendering some people jobless. For a country with
attractive scenes like Ukraine, it is losing considerably in the tourism sector (Kissinger, 2014).
Most of the tourist attraction areas are empty because the tourists are afraid to go to a country
where they don't feel safe. If safety is not guaranteed, the tourism sector may die, and it may take
a lot of years to revive it (Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira, 2014). Even if it starts growing, it will take
time before it gets to where it was before the conflicts began, maybe even decades. From the
look of things, if the United States will continue to support Ukraine, it may be able to get back to
Inflation is the general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.
Inflation is a sign of a degrading economy. Since the outbreak of the wars, Ukraine has had to
suffer from inflation. Not unless peace comes back to normal, inflation will not stop. It will
continue to be a problem in the country (Averre, 2016). Also, development projects are not
initiated since a country's agenda stops, and instead, it starts working on how to end the war. It
reverses a state tremendously. There are Millennium Development Goals that are set that deal
with environmental sustainability globally, war on HIV/AIDS, improving health and health
facilities, improving education and schools, gender equality, poverty, and many other things.
How can a country achieve all this if it has to deal with war? Children cannot even go to school.
War is a calamity. In a paper done by Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira (2014), he argues that civil
wars kill and maim people long after the shooting stops. In other words, wars have a long time
effect on civilians. Some of the people who are supposed to aid in development are disabled in
wars. Peacekeeping methods have to be taken into consideration to avoid such incidents from
happening again. Before we look at the cure, what are the preventions?
Prevention of Interstate and Intrastate Conflicts
UKRAINE POLICY 5
Prevention can either happen before a problem has occurred or after it has occurred to
prevent another one from occurring. It spares a state or country from the cost of reconstructing
after a war. It is cheaper to fund the prevention measures than to fund reconstruction after a
battle. Kissinger (2014) defines conflict prevention as any structural or intercessory way of
keeping intrastate or interstate tensions and disputes from escalating into inappropriate violence
and use of armed forces to strengthen the capabilities of potential parties to the violent conflict
for resolving such disputes peacefully and to progressively reduce the underlying problems that
produce these issues and disputes. It is merely a preventive measure taken to protect a state from
conflicts. The conflict prevention policies are outlined in the policy agendas of countries and
various international organizations such as the UN, EU, and AU, among others. Some conflicts
can be prevented before they arise (Kissinger, 2014).
Methods used include a direct technique that focuses on specific events. They include
mediation, use of dialogs, and diplomacy. Another dominant approach is the use of dialogs,
which involves creating sessions where people can discuss what is best for them. The parties are
supposed to come together and agree on a satisfactory solution. Everyone’s decision is listened
to, analyzed, and then come up with a common ground where no party feels left out. Mediation is
also a significant method that can be applied (Mearsheimer, 2014). It entails using a neutral party
that comes up with a solution. The mediator has to come up with a solution where both parties
feel that they were treated equally, and the judgment was fair. Last but not least is the use of
structural methods where actions are taken, including ensuring that the governmental institutions
Causes of Conflicts
When one wants to solve a problem, it is appropriate to first of all look at its causes. The
causes of conflicts may include but not limited to:
Need to be in Power
For interstate conflicts, one state always wants to prove that it is superior to the other. In
our case, after Ukraine started their battles, Russia came in to prove their superiority. Because no
one likes to be defeated, it became a war because Ukraine also wanted to show that they are a
country that can depend on itself, and they are not as weak as their neighbors think they are
(Mearsheimer, 2014). For an intrastate conflict, some armed non-governmental troops are the
ones who try to fight the government. It is still a battle for supremacy because both parties
always tend to try to prove their supremacy.
When states differ in their ideas, there may be an outbreak of war. Russia and Ukraine
have had their differences for decades. It is one of the reasons for their war.
Past Success achieved by War
Some states have achieved peace using war. It has motivated a lot of countries to try and
do the same. It occurs both in interstate conflicts and intrastate conflicts. For Russia and Ukraine,
it is a war that is bringing peace in both states (Mearsheimer, 2014).
UKRAINE POLICY 6
Ethnic and Identity Conflicts
It has been so prevalent in the world today. Discrimination has been a significant factor in
the world today. Recently, South Africa was fighting foreigners in their land, claiming that they
are occupying businesses that are supposed to be theirs. Some people had to flee from the
country due to fear (Mearsheimer, 2014). Some people lost their investments while others lost
their lives. War has never brought something good.
The religious battle is a battle between different religions. It is commonly known as a
holy war. Some people kill because of religion. Muslims and Christians, for instance, have had
conflicts for ages. There is still no solution for this. For example, in the Middle-East, most of the
battles usually are region-based (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
Natural disasters are things that cannot be controlled by a man. They include famine and
epidemics. The disasters are unpredictable. You never know when they will come. After a
natural disaster, countries lose a lot of resources which make them scramble for the available
ones (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
Large governments attack weaker governments with oil. Oil is a tremendous resource.
Rebels are always ready to fight because the gains are more than the expected losses. Most
governments that have oil have money but have no power. Examples include Libya (Mingst,
McKibben & Arreguin-Toft, 2018).
Gender inequality can contribute to intrastate violence. When one gender feels that they are
distinguished, a war may erupt.
A quick example is Ukraine. The country is so much affected by corruption. The fight
against corruption in that country is yet to bear fruits because even after the formation of the
National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and Specialized Anti-Corruption
Prosecutor's Office (SAPO), there are still no results (Mingst, McKibben & Arreguin-Toft,
2018). Ukraine was ranked 131 out of 176 countries in the Transparency International 2016
Corruption Perception Index.
Conflict Prevention Process
It is essential to identify the conditions that can bring conflict. It is done through communication
and personal variables.
Personalization- If no one seems to be aware of the conflict, then the chance of there being
conflict is minimal.
UKRAINE POLICY 7
Intentions- There are five conflict-handling intentions:
a. Competing- There must be a winner. In this case, one party applies pressure on the other
party so that it can come out victorious. It is a competition. It solves the differences
because after one is defeated, they don't compete again.
b. Collaborating- If one wins, both win. It is not a competition. The two parties decide to
work together. No one benefits more than the other. It solves the problem of one wanting
to be higher than the other. If both parties work together, they work for the good of both
c. Avoiding- No one wins, and no one loses since both parties avoided involvement. The
two parties decide to stay away to prevent conflicts.
d. Accommodating- You succeed if I fail. This is not a competition. One party has to suffer
for the other to succeed.
e. Compromising- You do as I do. One party has to take the lead while the other follows.
You bend, I bend.
Behavior- Behaviors are easily seen; hence, this is a point where we can see that there is a
problem that needs to be solved.
Conclusion- Here, we look at the consequences of the actions to solve the problem. Ukraine and
Russia have already reached this stage. Right now, Ukraine is experiencing the consequences of
the war. This is the point where they should realize that the war has not added any value to them;
instead, it wasted them.
The United States, together with the European Union, has put some policies in place to
aid in solving the conflicts. They include supporting Ukraine to join NATO. For a country to join
NATO, it has to have a stable democracy, have freedom of the press, a country should be able to
defend itself and should also have an effective constitution (the rule of law). In other words, the
United States has to bring democracy to Ukraine effectively (Korostelina, 2010). According to
the United State's 22 nd Permanent Representative to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, it will take
too much time because democracy is a long process. The process will involve fighting
corruption, setting up institutions that promote democracy like independent and corruption-free
courts. The policy looks promising since Ukraine has already drafted a constitution, which is the
first step to democracy. On corruption, they have set up organizations to fight corruption.
Converting a country into a democratic state is not an easy task; therefore, whatever we have
achieved is not easy (McFaul, Sestanovich & Mearsheimer, 2014). It is something that most
people did not think was achievable. Corruption can never be wholly overthrown because even
in countries like the US, we still have corruption. It is something that no one expects it to get to
Ukraine's new government is another primary policy. This is a policy that is working. On
21st April 2019, Ukraine voted Zalensky as its president. It was in line with the United State's
wish for Ukraine to be independent and to be a democratic country. Russia had brought its troops
to rule over the country, but with the help of the United States and other EU countries, Ukraine
has a government. The Minsk agreement was signed in 2014 and 2015. It was aimed at
UKRAINE POLICY 8
promoting peace within the country (McFaul, Sestanovich & Mearsheimer, 2014). The Minsk
Agreement tackled the following:
Every democratic country should have a constitution. It is an important document. A
constitution has the power to protect the rights and freedom of citizens of a state. It is an
agreement between the citizens and the government. It ensures people are not mistreated
anywhere in the country. Ukraine having a constitution will help the citizens know the rights and
freedom they enjoy. This is a transition into a democracy where this is expected to reduce the
intrastate conflict, which was entirely the cause of interstate conflicts.
Restoration of full Ukrainian Control in the Government
Russia was governing Ukraine, and for the two countries to be at peace, Ukraine had to
be fully independent. It was taken into consideration with the help of the United States, and
elections were done. Now they are independent.
Release of Hostages
Everyone who was detained was supposed to be released. This was implemented, and the
prisoners of war who were arrested by the Russians were set free.
Local elections were supposed to be held. This happened, and with that, they got another
government with a new president.
Safe access to humanitarian aid to those in need, based on an international mechanism
Among all the measures in the Minsk Agreement, only one was fully implemented.
Heavy machinery has not been completely withdrawn. There are still Russian soldiers in
Ukraine, which was not part of the deal (McFaul, Sestanovich & Mearsheimer, 2014). According
to the agreement, they were supposed to be there. Nevertheless, there are some of the
negotiations which have at least been implemented although not entirely while others are still in
The government of Ukraine should include its people in decision making, discuss with
them, and make sure each party understands why a confident decision was made. Ukraine's
conflict started because of such misunderstanding after the president rejected the European
Union's deal to partner with them. If there was an agreement between the government and the
people, there is a high probability that the conflict wouldn't have started. The government can
involve the citizens using (1) Referendums where the citizens are involved directly by voting.
They are given documents explaining their options, and then they cast their votes to agree or
deny. It is the right solution since the majority is the ones who get to win. Referendums are
expensive, but they are worth it. It is a lasting solution to war because the citizens are directly
involved in decision making (McFaul, Sestanovich & Mearsheimer, 2014). (2) The use of
representatives where the leaders can decide on a matter, maybe in a parliamentary or senate
UKRAINE POLICY 9
meeting. When the president is the one who makes all the decisions, it is dictating, but if their
representatives have to agree first before the president signs, then the people will feel that they
are actively involved in making the decisions, and therefore, the conflicts will be a thing of the
past (Delcour & Wolczuk, 2015). (3) Giving information clearly and accurately to ensure each
party understands the matter in question. If everyone realizes why you are making a particular
decision that affects them, they may even support you, but when they don't, rebellious acts will
be expected. If the president had explained why he decided to deny trading with the European
Union, maybe his citizens would have understood, but on the contrary, he just made them and
kept quiet. The citizens felt left out. The democracy that is being introduced in Ukraine is
expected to solve these kinds of problems. If this is taken into considerations in Ukraine and
other parts of the world, we will have reduced a lot of conflicts in the world. (4) Compromising
can result in dissatisfaction when it is not well managed. It is useful when dealing with complex
issues. It doesn't build trust; it is just meant to bring satisfaction. The parties first find an
acceptable solution to the problem at hand that tends to satisfy both parties. It is also a faster way
of solving problems.
Partitioning is one of the beat conflict resolving methods. Stable resolutions of ethnic
civil wars are possible, but only when the opposing groups are demographically separated into
defensible enclaves. In ethnic wars, both hyper-nationalist mobilization rhetoric and real
atrocities harden ethnic identities to the point that cross-ethnic political appeals are unlikely to be
made and even less likely to be heard. Intermingled population settlement patterns create real
security dilemmas that intensify violence motive ethnic "cleansing," and prevent de-escalation
unless the groups are separated.
Using war to bring peace is not a good idea. This method has been used before, and what
we have seen is widespread loss of lives, damage of property, and poor living conditions to the
affected people. The military should not be used at all. The best thing to do is diplomacy and
mediation. Diplomacy happens when both parties come with a common understanding. It is
mostly done by signing an agreement. Sometimes a neutral party may be involved to go with
solutions. It worked for Kenyan in 2007/2008 when the late Hon. Koffi Anan mediated between
the former president Hon. Mwai Kibaki and his opponent Hon. Raila Odinga. It is not the same
case as the Ukraine conflict, but it is something that can work. In this case, if someone can
mediate between Russia and Ukraine and come up with a shared understanding, there will never
be any conflict or war. That will have solved the interstate conflict. Of course, this may not be a
lasting solution (sometimes people break agreements); it may bring peace in the region.
The intrastate conflict can also be solved after solving interstate disputes. When the
government can listen to the grievances of the citizens, then the citizens will never have to bring
any problems. Wars only come up when there are problems that are supposed to be solved. If
diplomacy were not deployed in Kenya, they would not be enjoying the peace they are having,
and maybe they would not be dominating the East African economy like they are doing at the
moment (Delcour & Wolczuk, 2015). The US should come in and mediate to bring a lasting
solution. If it comes in as a neutral party and mediates, both Ukraine and Russia will come to an
understanding. There should also be consequences for the action of war such that when one
country breaks it, it has to pay. The penalty should be high. It will not solve the problem with
Ukraine and Russia now, but it will prevent them from going back to their conflict. It will also
UKRAINE POLICY 10
prevent other countries from starting a war. This should be not only a United States burden but
also the United Nations and other international organizations.
The world has seen a lot of wars, mostly from non-democratic countries. The Middle-
East has been a war hotbed for so long. It is hard to convert non-democratic countries to
democracy; the United States tried and failed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US and the EU
should look at possible solutions to end this war because 'if we don't end wars, the wars will end
us.' Nelson Mandela once said, "If people can learn how to hate, then they can be taught how to
love." People should look at the importance of peace and learn to practice it. Most of the
countries that are proliferating are politically stable. Africa has more resources than most of the
continents in the world, but it remains to be the poorest continent in the world. There is only a
straightforward explanation for that. Peace can make you a fortune. The world's development
programs depend on political stability. War can only make them take longer to be achieved.
Averre, D. (2016). The Ukraine Conflict: Russia’s Challenge to European Security
Governance. Europe-Asia Studies, 68(4), 699-725.
Delcour, L., & Wolczuk, K. (2015). Spoiler or facilitator of democratization?: Russia's role in
Georgia and Ukraine. Democratization, 22(3), 459-478.
Kissinger, H. (2014). How the Ukraine crisis ends. The Washington Post, 6, 2014.
Korostelina, K. (2010). War of textbooks: History education in Russia and Ukraine. Communist
and Post-Communist Studies, 43(2), 129-137.
McFaul, M., Sestanovich, S., & Mearsheimer, J. J. (2014). Faulty Powers: Who Started the
Ukraine Crisis?. Foreign Affairs, 93(6), 167-178.
Mearsheimer, J. J. (2014). Why the Ukraine crisis is the West's fault: the liberal delusions that
provoked Putin. Foreign Aff., 93, 77.
Mingst, K. A., McKibben, H. E., & Arreguin-Toft, I. M. (2018). Essentials of international
relations. WW Norton & Company.
Pettersson, T., & Wallensteen, P. (2015). Armed conflicts, 1946–2014. Journal of peace
research, 52(4), 536-550.
Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira, A. (2014). Ukraine’s Crisis and Russia’s Closest Allies: A
Reinforced Intra-Alliance Security Dilemma at Work. The International Spectator, 49(4),