As the war in Ukraine inches towards the seventh week, there is a weariness among the warring nations; unconcerned people across the globe are clapping at the sight of missile attacks, as if it is a video game. Ukrainian mothers are counting their fallen sons and daughters, but no peaceful end is in sight. It is time that we analyze and assess who is the mastermind behind this game plan.
The United States
The whole world could be critical of the United States and its role in Europe. However, the US has played a masterstroke. They have brought fragmented Europe together and rallied other nations against a common enemy, Russia.
Russia started amassing troops and war-making machines on the Ukrainian borders in March 2021, which coincided with the multistage annual NATO exercise, DEFENDER-21, involving 30,000 troops from 27 nations. Keeping in mind the significant increase in Russian activities, the US European Command raised its awareness level to “potential imminent crisis.”
Throughout the heightened activities, Russian diplomats kept sending signals that Russia had no intentions to attack Ukraine. Of course, along with these assurances, Russia kept demanding that security assurances should be initiated; else, they would be forced to pursue a “Military-Technical” solution.
Almost all European countries and most analysts assessed that Russia would not take the suicidal step of invading Ukraine. Even though I agreed until December 2021, however, by January 2022, I had changed my stance.
-I declare that there won't be any invasion of #Ukraine by #Russia until 20 Feb
-Winter #Olympics end on 20 Feb
–#Putin can't take the thunder away from #XiJinping
-After that, he will play with the West
-Your take…#UkraineCrisis #UkraineInvasion #UkraineConflict pic.twitter.com/YMWFJHfUpo
— Insightful Geopolitics (@InsightGL) January 24, 2022
Throughout this period, every nation was concentrating on Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union, and very few were observing what the United States was doing. The Americans kept raising the tempo about the possible invasion. Classic information and the psychological war were at play. This bait pushed Putin over the top, making it a cul-de-sac situation. Putin was made to believe that if he didn’t invade Ukraine, he would look weak; however, if he invaded, at least he had a chance of negotiations.
US President Joe Biden was in Poland on 26 March 2022. In a speech, he called Russian President Putin a butcher and declared that he “cannot remain in power.” Though later, Biden denied that he or the United States wanted regime change in Russia. Noteworthy is that the President of the United States doesn’t make an off-the-cuff statement on such an important topic.
On 5th April, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also stated that Sweden and Finland are welcome to join NATO. Within a week, these countries have also decided to join NATO by mid-2022. The United States and the West would try their best to make the war a stalemate, and with such statements, they plan to poke, provoke and cajole Putin to do something drastic.
In a recent interview with Resonant News, I had stated that no country would use nuclear weapons, be it strategic or tactical. However, I fear that the US would push Russia and Putin to use the tactical nukes in Ukraine. Russia has a theory called “escalate to re-evaluate.” That means doing something dramatic — a threat or actual use of a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield.
This time around, the American objectives are different. They want Putin to take such drastic steps. Appointment of Alexander Dvornikov as theatre commander of Russian forces in Ukraine could further push Russia in that direction. To achieve that aim, the US could boost Putin’s domestic ratings, giving him fake hope of public backing. If that doesn’t work, even the Russian oligarchs could be arms twisted to make Putin believe that the nukes are the only option left.
Why would the United States want Russia to use nukes? Any usage of a nuclear warhead has many advantages. Russia would be completely isolated from the world. Putin wouldn’t survive as the President of Russia. Countries neutral in the conflict would not be left with any option but to go with the West, and even China would be forced to renounce Russia. The United States would be left with only one enemy, China.
Germany is the most innovative country in the European Union. Germany gained the maximum from the Cold War. The first advantage they got was the unification of the nation. However, the second and the more significant gift they got from the Cold War was the creation of a wall of NATO nations on the eastern border. Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary joined NATO in 1999. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria became part of NATO in 2004. Ukraine, leaning toward the West, and Belarus leaning toward Russia, became the buffer states.
With its borders secured, Germany expanded the game plan. The German leadership assumed that Russia could be convinced to turn to the West. The bait was profitable trade with the European Union. Germany started buying 49 percent of its gas from Russia. Finland pitched in by purchasing 94 percent of Russian gas, Italy 46 percent, and France 24 percent. The thought was simple, make Russia dependent on revenue from the European Union, so it becomes critical for their economy.
The game plan of buying peace was flawed. These countries didn’t understand the Russian mindset. For Russia, it was the other way around. The Euros were necessary, but by supplying gas to the EU, they were making them dependent. If Russia had its way, it would soon be at Germany’s gate. Strategic dilemma and energy security present a challenging future for Germany.
For the Chinese citizens, life under Xi Jinping has become an endless Kafkaesque nightmare. The Chinese government was also looking forward to war in Ukraine to divert the attention of citizens from the Covid-19 blame, high inflation, slowest economic growth in three decades, and plummeting birth rate. However, it worked out to be an “out of the frypan into the fire” kind of situation that China had never anticipated. Like the rest of the world, even China also assumed that the war would get over in a few days, but it didn’t.
The European Union has always treated China as a trading partner and never a threat. Together, Europe and the US make up the most significant part of China’s exports. However, the situation in Ukraine and China’s wholehearted support of the Russian war has changed that perception. The 1st April meeting between the European leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping also didn’t go well, indicating that the European romance with China will take a new turn.
Chinese are generally well prepared for every situation; however, they were found lacking in every aspect of the war in Ukraine. They made the cardinal mistake of equating the invasion of Iraq with the war in Ukraine. Though the Europeans never supported Iraq’s invasion, they didn’t see both situations through the same lens.
China may have become somewhat modern, but it still applies principles of ‘the warring states’ era while dealing with other nations. Those tricks may work in domestic politics, but not in international relations. Knowing China, it would not mend its ways, and the Ukraine war could soon become a quagmire not only for Russia but for China too.
The war in Ukraine hasn’t been easy for India either. It was just recovering from the shock and economic devastation of the Covid-19 when the war pushed India to take sides. The war has inflated India’s oil bill, dented the growth projections, and enhanced security concerns.
The well-known facts are that Russia provides 70 percent of Indian military hardware, transfers technology whenever promised, and stands with India in difficult times.
The lesser-known fact is that a disinformation campaign against India is about to begin, if not already started. The psychological or information, or media warfare is to bring India in line with Western thinking. India would remain under considerable pressure from the West for months to come. Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar has done a stellar job presenting India’s perspective to the West, and only some deft diplomacy would give India further breathing space.
The Chessboard Ukraine
There have been many in history who claimed to be the savior of humanity. Muhammad bin Qasim killed Raja Dahir of Sindh (present-day Pakistan) and millions of others. They were the very people who offered asylum to Hussain Ibn-Ali, the persecuted grandson of Prophet Mohammad. However, Qasim proclaimed to bring ‘first light onto this dark land.’
Robert Clive of East India Company, who killed 10 million (one-third of the region’s population) in the forgotten Bengal famine of 1770, was bringing a cultural and educational renaissance to the land of the deprived. Last but not least, ‘man of the half-century,’ Winston Churchill saved humanity while killing 3.8 million in the Bengal famine of 1943. “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits,” are his infamous words.
The narrative and setting are always the same; only the actors change. They claim to be Messiah who liberates the people from bondage while establishing justice, freedom, and peace. They would always send spectacular war-making machines so that, from your land, you fight their battles.
Be it Zelenskyy or Putin, be it a King or a President, they have to follow their ‘Dharma’ (Sanskrit word for duty, often used wrongly for religion). They have their responsibility towards their citizens and not ambitions of winning the ‘Nobel Prize’ and international applause. Unfortunately, both Zelenskyy and Putin fight America’s war without understanding it. Zelenskyy should be wary of honeyed words, and Putin should look out for statements challenging his pride; both would lead them to doom. The war in Ukraine has only one winner, the United States of America; the rest are expendables.
“A nation is doomed if its leaders get ambitious beyond their means.” ~ Insightful Geopolitics
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Chanakya Forum. All information provided in this article including timeliness, completeness, accuracy, suitability or validity of information referenced therein, is the sole responsibility of the author. www.chanakyaforum.com does not assume any responsibility for the same.
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