Well, after an year of Russia–Ukraine war or Moscow’s special ops one thing is for sure that there are no winners and the whole world especially the deprived developing countries, who had nothing to do with these power games, are big losers. This is not uncommon. Super powers have only caused damage and destruction and have not won a war in this or the last century. Track record of USA in Vietnam and Afghanistan or for that matter in Iraq and Libya, China in Vietnam and Soviet Union in Afghanistan and now Russia in Ukraine attest to their failures. Ultimately, in these unilateral interventions, the global governance and global good have suffered.
Some would argue that in the current war of attrition between Russia and the West the US military -industrial complex is a sure winner. Again nothing new about it. The wars and conflicts and in their absence creation of uncertain conditions through media and information /disinformation warfare are necessary for the profitability and influence mongering.
So while one could argue endlessly whether the infructuous war could have been prevented -answer is yes . But the pre conditions existed and new constraints were created and red lines were breached at the expense of dialogue and diplomacy and war ensued directly and by proxy. If one was to give credence to President Biden’s slip of the tongue the regime change in Russia especially that of ‘Putin the Autocrat’ as defined by western deep state could be a valid reason for testing the Russians. And Putin fell for it.
In fact, this is a war between the deep states in Moscow and Washington DC, on whose chess board Comrade Zelensky became an actor of consequence at least for the history. But large number of poor Ukrainians continue to suffer the war zone and refugee status.
President Putin has also lost reputation for Russian capability to win a quick war exposing operational and material weaknesses. Even though his own popularity ratings are only marginally lower the need and efficacy of it are being questioned.
Only saving grace is that the majority of the countries can see through the hypocrisy and the games of the West while not approving of the Russian intervention. Hence during the past one year the world has realised the limitations of brute power and the value off dialogue and diplomacy as propagated all along by India and others.
World is being divided into a Cold War scenario and the past year had only accelerated it . Hopefully , the nuclear war or the ‘ Armageddon’ as Biden put it can be avoided . But if one were to assess the high decibel speeches at Munich Security Conference ,we are inching closer to a bigger war despite the fact the both sides are facing ammunition crunch and ‘Ukraine fatigue’.
For Russia the NATO remains a threat and it has decided to be ready for that . So far the West has been fighting this war mostly by proxy and through technical and capacity building assistance and incremental fire power to the Ukrainian forces bringing about a stalemate. Both sides are using militias and mercenaries to the hilt.
Nuclear threat has become far more real despite Putin not wanting to use it unless his Nuclear doctrine is breached or Russia is on the verge of losing its sovereignty. -in other words put into a corner. One can only imagine the disaster such a tragedy will heap on the world especially Europe and Russia. So far one has heard strange and childish statements from some Pakistani influentials that the best way was to flag and flaunt Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and openly sell the technology and weapons to Islamic countries to get out of the economic meltdown.
A real threat there of proliferation and compromising of Command Control mechanisms, given the politico-economic morass and expanding power of terrorists in the country . Occasionally, Pyongyang brags about it’s missile and nuclear weapons prowess -another big threat because accidents do happen. But more important is the fact that the two superpowers have decided to weaken all agreements and mechanisms by gradually withdrawing from those disarmament on non-proliferation regimes while limiting the possession of nuclear war heads.
After President Biden’s recent visit to Kiev and then to Poland preceding the anniversary of Russian invasion, President Putin in an address to the nation decided to withdraw from the last such nuclear arms control and reduction treaty (New START) as Kremlin. Perhaps he rightly felt that the western agenda was the regime change and a strategic and decisive defeat of Russia. It may ring true as both Vice President Kamala Harris and President Biden assured the allies and Zelensky that they will stand with them as long as it takes bringing the final conflict closer.
Economic consequences and 3F ( Fuel, Food and Fertiliser) catastrophe with weaponisation of financial instruments and energy and food have already afflicted tremendous difficulties on ordinary people across the world especially the Global South for whom India has been a champion for their cause.
India, on the other hand, having taken a principled stand on the conflict would not like the Russia-Ukraine war to hijack the agenda under its G20 Presidency. It has not subscribed to the western sanctions and it may not agree to additional sanctions being imposed while it hosts ministerial delegations in the run up to the Summit.
That’s the challenge which will require adroit handling of the G7 coterie whose agenda is pretty clear at every international fora. Meanwhile , US has also called out China that it might provide lethal weaponry and assistance to Russia as the visit of President Xi Jinping to Moscow is being planned . Both Moscow and Beijing do not approve of the idea of prevailing global order whose terms and conditions have been underwritten ,approved and imposed by the dominating West.
Recently, Wang Yi informed Putin that Beijing will play a constructive role in reaching a political settlement of the crisis. Meanwhile, India has also been under pressure to try and persuade Putin to come to the negotiating table as he has a confident relationship with PM Modi, who at Samarkand had told the Russian leader that era of was over.
Many feel India can do it. In fact NSA Ajit Doval reportedly also discussed Ukrainian 10 Point Peace Plan with Andriy Yermak as the discussion at the UNSC comes up on Ukraine issue. Russians have already discarded it even though Putin has often claimed that Russia was ready for talks without preconditions.
But a way out of this war is a must. And, if New Delhi can lead it so much the better.
This article was first published by CNBC TV18 as World View: An year of Russia–Ukraine war — what’s the way out on February 24, 2023.
Read more by the author: The Ukraine-Russia War Dismantling the Post-Cold War Order.