‘Ukraine in Conflict’ panel produces political discussion

Last night, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Kessel Peace Institute hosted a discussion panel focusing on the current conflict in Ukraine. 

Panelists included Tom Inglot, MSU professor of Political Science and director of international Relations, Matt Loayza, MSU professor of History and Dean of SBS, Jameel Haque, associate professor of history and director of Kessel Peace Institute, Anaam Hashmi, MSU professor of International Business, and Glenn Kranking, Gustavus Adolphus College associate professor of History and director of Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Loayza served as the moderator for the discussion and set up three key questions for the panelists and audience to consider. These questions included: What happens once the shooting stops? How much do we really know, right now, at present? How will public opinion in various countries shape the conflict as it goes on?

After each panelist went through the three questions, they opened the discussion for audience members to ask their own questions. One member included in this was MSU senior Braondon Holthaus.

“I major in political science and I minor in international relations,” Holthaus stated. “Not currently, but in the past I’ve had classes that talk about great-power politics, essentially. I was interested in what the panelists would have to say about the Russia and Ukraine war.”

Holthaus’ question focused on whether the politics in Eastern Europe and NATO had an influence on the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Kranking began his response with, “Part of this is a question of sovereignty and whether or not the individual states have the right to determine who they are going to align with and trade with and closely partner with and where they view their security threats from.” 

He then went on to discuss how language, culture, and geography play a small role in this, but ultimately it was a split decision.

Holthaus expressed the topics of the discussion that interested him the most, including the response he received from his question earlier.

“I particularly wanted to know what the panelists would say about NATO and its expansion, and my question was kind of tailored around that,” Holthaus commented. “Mainly that issue and whether or not a nation like Ukraine has the right, essentially, to sovereignty when it’s stuck between these great powers because any move it makes, it’s under intense scrutiny.”

Holthaus kept a variety of the concepts in mind, as he figured he could use this information later in his classes. He was surprised with the topics the panelists talked about, and left the discussion with some concepts to ponder over.

“I thought I knew a lot of the history, but the three historians really illuminated it a lot. I particularly liked Inglot’s knowledge of Poland, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, and the history of the people there, the culture, and how it relates to the Soviet Union,” Holthaus stated. 

A recording of the full discussion can be found on the Kessel Peace Institute’s Facebook page.

Header Photo: MSU Professor of Political Science Tom Inglot discusses one of the questions set forward by Dr. Matt Loayza. (Jenna Peterson/The Reporter)

Write to Jenna Peterson at

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