UPDATED: Safia Swimelar, Jason Kirk offer insights on Ukraine crisis in WXII interviews

The professors of political science were interviewed by WXII anchor Kenny Beck for the segment focused on the latest in Ukraine.

Professor Jason Kirk and Professor Safia Swimelar from the Department of Political Science and Policy Studies shared their insights into the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday with WXII as tensions escalate in the region.

Jason Kirk, professor of political science and policy studies

Speaking with WXII anchor Kenny Beck on Feb. 22, the two Elon faculty members noted that the crisis could be seen as a test of new western leadership, particularly that of U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

‘It’s really a test of the Nato alliance (and) its unity,” Kirk told Beck. “It’s a test of American leadership. It’s a test of, sort of, what rules will prevail in the 21st century? And do we return to, sort of, the old principle of international relations where the strong do what they will and the weak accept what they must?”

Countries including the U.S. began imposing sanctions after Russian military forces moved into two separatist regions in Ukraine that Mr. Putin has recognized as independent.

Safia Swimelar, professor of political science and policy Studies

“If we don’t respond to flagrant violations of international law and assumptions of how European security kind of works, and we are a fundamental pillar of European security, we’ve been since 1945, that we have a track record in the past, right?” Swimelar said. “Things that go wrong in Europe have impact on us.”

The full segment is available above and an online version of the story is available here.

Beck talked with Swimelar and Kirk again on Thursday, Feb. 24, in a more extensive interview with Swimelar and Kirk during which they discussed their thoughts about the initial military assault on Ukraine, the use of sanctions and whether a larger conflict may be coming.

“I think having NATO military assets in place to defend NATO members is a deterrent to a wide European war, but I don’t know what’s to deter Putin from taking all of Ukraine at this point,” Kirk said.

Asked whether Russia may aspire to invade other countries, Swimelar said she does not believe Putin would move to attack a member of NATO. “But we’ve been wrong about a number of things about Putin, and he’s already shown he doesn’t care about territorial borders and sovereign integrity,” Swimelar said.

Watch the entire interview here.