Ongoing Russian offensive against Ukraine is being touted by all and sundry, including geo-political analysts of repute, as a war between Russia and Ukraine. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Russia has openly challenged the might of an indecisive and unreliable USA as well as EU nations. Putin’s doctrine enunciated in early 2020 clearly states that Russia will not hesitate to use nukes even against a huge conventional attack. It has taken the wind out of the sails of the USA and NATO. Ever since the disintegration of the USSR and the automatic emergence of the USA as the only superpower, western world was basking in the glory of global supremacy.
US controlled not only NATO but EU nations as its fiefdom and desired/coerced them into doing the bidding on behalf of the USA. Most notable example of such abuse of wealth and military power was the attack on Iraq in 2003 to destroy non-existing nuclear weapon capability. Western intelligence agencies had categorically confirmed that such capability did not exist. The only accomplishment of self-styled international policeman, the USA and its cronies (EU) was capture and subsequent ‘judicial killing’ of Saddam Hussein. In doing so USA brought in huge instability in the middle east, which was till then in a reasonably stable state.
China and Russia were mere onlookers to US domination. China, then was a growing economy, nearly at the same level as India. Russia was trying to gather the torn bits left over by numerous erstwhile states of the USSR breaking away, Ukraine included.
Incidentally Ukraine in 1991 was possibly more powerful than current Russia keeping in view the nukes held in the Ukrainian region. Major military industrial establishments were also in Ukraine. And then came the most startling event post disintegration of the USSR. Ukraine agreed to remove all nuclear missiles from its territory and gave it to Russia. Incidentally until the denuclearization of Ukraine, the USA considered Ukraine to be the primary adversary, not Russia.
While Ukraine was dismantling its nuclear arsenal Prof Mearsheimer of Chicago university had predicted that Ukraine sans nukes will be subjected to Russian aggression in future. That was in 1993. Ukrainians must be regretting such a decision at leisure cooped up in bunkers in 2022.
In December 1994 Ukraine signed a memorandum with Russia, UK and USA with security assurances. An interesting clause in memorandum reads;
“-----action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.”
USA and other NATO members are taking shelter behind the above clause because Russia is yet to use nukes and have therefore declined to provide any help of military value except imposing sanctions on Russia, which will take time to cripple Russia. In the meanwhile Russia is systematically destroying Ukrainian infrastructure at will.
Ukrainian design to join NATO was seen as an offensive action against Russia with NATO borders moving eastwards. Russia could not have attacked Ukraine after it had joined NATO, hence the timing of the offensive.
USA and its cronies of the EU merely provided assurances to Ukraine, hoping that Russia will not take military action. Putin had other plans.
Russian offensive against Ukraine has proved to the rest of the world that USA and NATO cannot be relied upon for timely assistance. The USA has ceased to be a superpower, instead it has emerged as the most unreliable ally. To term the USA standing in ‘pole position’ among a comity of nations is not only indicative of myopic and tunnelled vision but also a clear proof of total lack of understanding of prevailing geo-strategic scenario.
Taiwan must surely be having a rethink on expectations of US military assistance in the event of a Chinese offensive.
India as a true friend and dependable ally has stood by Russia on international platforms. Bonding of Russia with the Chinese will be to India’s advantage in the long term. India needs to recalibrate its stance on alliances viz QUAD. India’s emergence as a reliable, rational and dependable ally will be a favourable outcome.
India’s military will have to bear the consequences of a protracted Russia-Ukraine war. Will India move forward as a mediator to end the conflict? ‘ATMA NIRBHAR BHARAT’, a highly desirable national requirement but still remains at least 20 years away. We could by 2040 operate a truly indigeneous fighter, tank, aircraft carrier and PGMs. Until then we remain dependent on Russia, Israel and the USA.
Russian onslaught against Ukraine has clearly brought out that the USA cannot be considered a super power merely because of its 24 trillion economy and modern weapons. US leadership does not have the capability to assimilate international trends and consequences thereof. US accomplishment in one area remains unmatched by any other nation, which is ‘US adaptability to fight fire with Gasoline’.
- Conditions for ending the Russian offensive.
- Categorical assertion by Ukraine that it will never join NATO.
- Lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia by the west.
- Longer west takes to decide and meet Russian demands, more destruction in Ukraine will follow.
- In order to save Ukrainian citizens from ravages of unwarranted war, Zelensky ought to accept Putin’s terms. It may not be out of place to mention that during the period 14th- 21st Feb, Putin invited Zelensky for talks on four occasions. Zelensky declined (obviously egged on by USA and NATO).
- Future of NATO vis-a vis USA. NATO (read EU) must have realised the futility of US calling shots and projecting anti-Russia and China stance at the behest of USA. They ought to realise that a future Russian offensive in Europe is a reality and that the USA may not/will not come to their aid in time. It is about time NATO was dissolved as was the Warsaw Pact. Military alliances are the primary source of initiating a conflict. The USA ought to be left alone to fend for itself. Both Germany and France are not too happy with the USA on various issues. The UK's influence is no longer valid in EU/NATO.
- Future of the United Nations. Primary tenet of the UN charter states ‘maintaining global peace’ or words to that effect as the fundamental aim of the world body. But it has failed miserably in containing wars around the globe. Because the basic UN charter is flawed. It has divided the world in two distinct categories; the P-5 nations and the rest of the world. Founding fathers of the UN presumed that granting VETO powers to P-5 nations would ensure that ‘ganging up’ by a few P-5 nations will not allow a resolution to be passed in UNSC by a majority vote. But the VETO power has been and continues to be abused by P-5 nations without exception. Future validity and existence of the UN will depend on only one factor; how soon Tuvalu (a small Pacific nation) and current P-5 nations would enjoy the same rights/authority in UNSC/UNGA. India seeking a permanent seat in UNSC is, in my opinion, a self degrading desire. Are we going to support existing P-5 nation continue with their practice of ‘Arrogant Apartheid’ against remaining 200 odd nations?Nuclear Proliferation. The Ukrainian conflict would go down in history as the catalyst to force ‘fence sitters’ nations wanting to acquire nuclear weapons to make a decision to go nuclear sooner than later. Iran, South Korea, Japan and even Taiwan might exercise their option. If Ukraine had not discarded nukes, there would be no war. Nukes are ‘Currency of Power and Deterrence’.
About The Author
Gp Capt. Tej Prakash Srivastava has served in Iraq and is a graduate of both DSSC and AWC. He was Directing Staff at DSSC and Chief Instructor at College of Air Warfare. He Served at Air HQ, commanded a MiG-21 Sqn and headed the IAF establishment of Strike Corps during 'Operation Parakram'. He has authored a book titled 'Profligate Governance – Implications for National Security'. He has written extensively on international and strategic affairs and Defence Procurement Procedures. The IAF officer graduated from the NDA in June 1970 and trained at AFA with 107th Pilots Course. He can be reached at Email: [email protected]