Post the Russia-Ukraine war: Complicated polarisation on the anvil

Sep 26, 2022

Europe is important for Russia because 75 percent of its population is living in Europe, though 75 per cent of its territory is in Asia. Russia occupies roughly 40 per cent of Europe while Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe, nearly 70 per cent bigger than Germany. That way the Russia-Ukraine war can impact the European economy. Russia’s oil and gas supply by pipelines through Ukraine and Ukraine’s supply of grains can have serious impacts on the otherwise rich European life.

War has two sides, rivalry and destruction. Most rivalries usually do not last long. But the pain of destruction and devastation lasts through generations. Both are futile gestures. As we go through the history of war, we find no gain even for winners. The reason for most of the wars that human beings fought in the last 4700 years was insane. Historians couldn’t count the exact number of wars that the human world witnessed ever since the first known war was fought between Sumer and Elam. No historian knew the exact reason for the war though Sumerians were known to have won it.

Until the middle of the last century, war was for geographic domination and show of power. Rajas and oligarchs of the olden time show their muscle power through a war. Those wars were not as destructive as we saw in the two world wars and other limited wars. Lords and gentries while leading the war had luxurious life with their spouses on the periphery of the battlefield. Power and wealth were the two aims. Those emperors could hold on to their new territories for decades and centuries, unlike the modern-day invasion.

Nevertheless, the modern wars were the results of the psychotic disorders of certain rulers. Some reasons like the junta’s strategies for diverting public attention from their oppression also led to war. We saw this when Argentina invaded the Falkland Island of the United Kingdom in the early 80s. Argentina lost the war in two and half months. A war for capturing productive assets also could never be successful. We saw the last one when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein captured Kuwait and later how miserably lost it along with the destruction of Iraq.

No country can fight a war like two neighbours fighting for mango or coconut. Today, whatever may be the power a country has, war is not an affordable exercise for any economy. In the globalised era, the impact of war is felt globally. A country with economic expansion in mind does not think of war for political reasons, though everyone keeps building arsenals. Building arsenals is an economic exercise with irreplaceable middlemen. Russia has unleashed military action for political reasons much for its own pain, perhaps more than its much smaller rival’s pain.

In modern days, a more powerful country can easily invade weak countries. But the consequences of the invasion could be more devastating for the invader. A small country can unleash more lethal cyber attacks, which can defunct all movement of the troops, no matter how wealthy and mighty the armed force is. Israel shows the size of a country and population is immaterial. The Israeli-Arab war of 1967 showed it. The mighty Arab coalition diminished into misery in the six-day war when tiny Israel expanded three and half times its earlier size.

Aggressive countries have been acquiring better sense while stockpiling arms. That is one of the reasons for the decreasing number of conflicts. But the large weapon producers do not want a decrease in conflicts. Instead of war, they want fast-developing countries like India to dream of becoming more powerful militarily. As a result, countries with global interests are building regional blocs and alliances while focusing on acquiring more weapons.

Economic might and military might are comparable. After WW2, no equally-powerful developed nations fought wars. The war emerges either from the bad psychosis of the arrogant rulers or from the countries which are confident of an easy win. Barring the well-prepared 1971 India-Pakistan war, no recent war could help warring nations achieve the desired results. Even the industrially and militarily most powerful Germany and Japan had miserably lost the war.

As the Russian plan of invading Ukraine is progressing, all the powerful countries on earth are offering the dying people lip service. The US is afraid of Ukraine’s entry into NATO. It has begun to show a deficit of trustworthiness, which it did in Afghanistan. The US is showing its increasing trustworthiness and becoming toothless. Its intervention in the West Asian crisis, especially in Iraq-Syria has proved a major debacle though it could bombard both the countries entirely for the miserable loss of the Iraqis and Syrians.

In the Russia-Ukraine war, no country in the world can judge who is right and who is wrong. Both the countries have their justifications. The world cannot draw a prudent judgement in this case except by trying to restrain both countries
from further escalating the situation. Ukraine is a much smaller country than Russia geographically, economically and militarily. Ukraine is known to have four per cent of the world’s natural resources, which can boost the global economy. When the two biggest European countries fight with considerable resources, Europe is witnessing a situation almost similar to the Second World War.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is tilting the world towards a new axis and new blocs. However, let it not be the type of the out-fashioned non-alliance of the Nehru-Nasar-Castro. But Ukraine is not going to be an easy issue if controlling its natural resources is the aim of Russia, of course, until Ukraine gets a more powerful leader who is not a puppet of either Russia or NATO.

When Russia began its Ukraine invasion Russia was more confident and Ukraine was on a defensive mode. Gradually we have seen the changes in frame. Overconfidence created problems for Russia. Putin was thinking of repeating the old story of Crimea. The old story of success created trouble for him. The wealthy Crimea has become a burden for Russia later. After capturing a part of Ukraine, people who were supporting Ukraine ran away. That led to the fall in population. Putin encouraged rich Russians to migrate to Crimea. Elite Russians started to make big houses and follow a lavish lifestyle. Putin forgot one thing. Crimea has no natural water sources. Ukraine was its canal water source. When Ukraine closed the water supply canal Crimea became a desert. The rich Russian migrants lost everything. Those who trusted Putin began to blame him. Ukraine rejected the Russian request for a supply of water to Crimea. Along with that many other facts also played. Another is the geographical importance of Ukraine to Russia. It is a gateway for Russia to Europe. Here only overconfidence played. He did not expect sympathy to work for Ukraine. The United States and its allies openly supported Ukraine by giving weapons. Putin underestimated Ukraine’s military. On the other hand, Russian soldiers were not prepared for war. The Russian fighters were stuck on the treacherous battlefield without food and water. One thing we have seen, the world is not the one recently made up by liberals. When there was voting for the removal of Russia from the UN human council only 93 countries favoured the US floated resolution. That showed almost 50% of members stood with Russia or took a neutral stand. That means the US position is not safe as world police. Many countries including India rejected the resolution openly. The US invited this situation. Whether Russia wins over Ukraine or not, the ultimate winner will be Putin only.

Russia has to do something, to save the skin. The warring countries may make a ceasefire pact very soon by taking some assurance from Ukraine, or else this will continue for a long time, which both the parties may not be ready for.