The risks, challenges, and crisis of the Ukraine war. | The Vineyard of the Saker
By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog
The last few decades have witnessed several wars, like the Iraq war, Libya war, Yemen war, Syria war, the Afghan war, etc. But all of such wars were designed by the US and executed along with NATO/ US allies. The US-style of wars, was first building a narrative, using media as propaganda, and then, involving the UN and international community, or convincing the rest of the world for its war acts. As a result, the US achieved its objectives without getting blamed for wars, aggressions, invasions, etc. Although millions were killed, millions were injured, many serious with lifetime disabilities, millions of houses were destroyed making millions of people homeless, forcing millions of people to live in refugee camps or take asylum in other countries and spend the rest of their lives in misery. Infrastructure was damaged, the economy was destroyed, social systems were damaged totally, changed regime installed puppets and dictated them to serve American interests, etc.
All wars are equally bad and harmful to humankind. Either the victims are Muslims, Christians, Jews, or any other religion. Whether, the victims are black, yellow, or white, are equally precious. Irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or social status, all lives deserve equal treatment and respect. The UN charter guarantees the protection of all humankind equally.
But Ukraine war is very special and bears different consequences:-
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has not only created a worldwide political, diplomatic, economic, food, and energy crisis but has also exposed the double standards of the world powers towards the principles of international politics and global governance.
It is expected the conflict to be a long-drawn-out affair. This is reinforced by the fact that despite the inclination of the Russian leadership or military to end the war at an early stage, on the ground trends in the shape of military armament and around 50,000 non-state actors in Ukraine offer a very alarming specter.
The war is not a choice but perhaps a strategic compulsion that Moscow felt for several reasons like challenges ranging from the global world order to the expansion of NATO and also concerns regarding the political leadership of Ukraine and its policies.
It is an ideational conflict that shows the level of violence and degree of pain and cost that could be inflicted on Russia by the US-led western alliance. The war seems to be a grave miscalculation on Russia’s part because the ability of the western world to cause pain in an enduring fashion across several domains beyond the kinetic tactical or operational battlefield of Ukraine will make it very difficult for Moscow to sustain and achieve its objectives.
China views this conflict with a lot of concern because it offers more challenges than opportunities. A weakened Russia is not in the Chinese interest. Moreover, the revival and rearmament of NATO also indirectly do not augur well for Beijing in terms of future prospects. Another aspect is that although China wants to sustain its global economic growth but not at the cost of disturbing its trade relations with the west.
It is highlighted the buildup of the Quad, the Indo-Pacific strategy, and the recent rise of QUAD 2.0. If all these are added up most of these things are aimed at containing China and disrupting its global rise. This conflict has perhaps reminded Washington that they cannot afford to only concentrate the major share of their hard power only on Asia-Pacific and need to maintain their security commitment towards the west and Europe as well.
In the regional context, India was seen in flux because its military forces are heavily dependent on Russia for meeting its technological and operational needs but it is facing a very difficult challenge due to its growing diplomatic and economic ties with the US. As such Delhi will find it rather difficult to balance these contrasting challenges.
The Muslim world was urged to introspect because they have been accused of over 20 years of terrorism but this reality dawning in eastern Europe allows them to look at how other civilizations and value systems call upon non-state actors and militant organizations when they are challenged and how they are presented in the Western-dominated media.
In terms of identity, it poses a simultaneous challenge in terms of race, religion, and nationalism. The western alliance sees this as the frustration of the Russian orthodox Christianity facing the challenge of the western world order which is characterized by the Protestants and Catholics.
The societal aspect should be seen in the context of globalization and the perpetual process of the interconnectedness of the different civilizations, societies, peoples, cultures, and economies. This is perhaps the biggest challenge globalization has received in terms of a counter-globalization movement.
The economic aspect is not just playing out in the sanctions regime but also the trade and currency wars, and the grave concern that Beijing has because to sustain its economic expansion and global influence it is heavily dependent on Western Europe and America for maintaining its export market which is worth over $600 billion. The increasing energy prices pose a huge challenge for the developing world and the governments, especially immediately after the COVID crisis.
In the political domain, it is the greatest test of the current world order and a complex contest between the ideational powers, revivalist powers, and states that want to be identified based on nationalism. It is an ideational challenge to the status quo world order by a frustrated and provoked Russia which wants to be respected for its economic, political and strategic revival.
In terms of the security domain, the conflict has led to the revival and rearmament of NATO, which does not augur well for China and Russia. It also has reduced Russian energy leverage and soft power on Western Europe and revived sub-conventional warfare as a means of great power contest in the east European theater.
Russia is angered by the eastward expansion of NATO and has challenged the Western-led world order. He also said that Western sanctions could affect Pakistan’s ability to benefit from improving ties with Moscow, in terms of meeting its energy needs.
Ukraine conflict has created a worldwide economic, energy, and food crisis that has affected all the countries including Pakistan.
The conflict represents a Russian challenge to the US exceptionalism which the Western world is contesting by supporting the Ukraine government through militants which presents the world an opportunity to recover from its excessive focus on the Muslim world.
The Western powers cannot have one set of rules for themselves and another for other countries in terms of security and prosperity and Russia is no longer willing to access this contradictory Western approach.
Ukraine War is an ideational conflict for the US which should not merely be seen in a geopolitical context while Russia, through this military operation, wants to show the world that it is back on the world stage.
This conflict offers more challenges than opportunities for Beijing and although the Western powers view China as standing on the Russian side a weakened Russia is not in Chinese interests.
India faced a complex dilemma of maintaining its very close defense cooperation with Russia and simultaneously building deep and long-term strategic and diplomatic ties with the United States.
Muslim societies should start thinking of alternative arrangements, such as a monetary union and common market, to address their concerns during international crises.
The world banking system and global energy supply chain have badly suffered due to this conflict. He said that more than one trillion dollars have been stuck in the global banking system due to the war.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).