The tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border have led national newscasts in the U.S. for weeks now, but most Americans may not even know where Ukraine is, much less understand its geopolitical significance.
According to a Washington Post survey conducted when Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, only 16% of Americans could find Ukraine on a map. In fact, the median respondent to the survey missed Ukraine by 1,800 miles, more than the distance from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Now, the Pentagon is deploying 3,000 troops to help defend European allies in case authoritarian Russia decides to invade a democratic country most Americans know very little about. About 1,000 of the troops will be moved from Germany to Romania, with the other 2,000 mostly heading from the U.S. to Poland. Last week, the Biden administration put 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened alert for deployment to Eastern Europe.