History tells us that the Cold War between the US and Soviet was the basis of the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. To overthrow the Soviets, the American support to rebels led to heavy militarization of Afghan society which eventually led to 20 year occupation of Afghanistan by Americans. Before both Soviet and American intervention, Afghanistan tasted a small period of financial and social stability. China, Pakistan, Islamic Nations, USA supported mujahideen backed by Americans until Taliban took over. But what happened to Afghanistan? Afghanistan became a ‘pile of rocks’ in a famous dialogue in the movie ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ quotes. Did it help Afghans? More than 2 million Afghans have been killed by Americans and Soviets combined. What happened with all the other American interventions in the name of democracy and freedom? Most local populations have been at the receiving end of American interventions in global conflicts while the military industrial complex in the USA has made money.
Actually, NATO is the American-European alliance to control global trade through military intervention. To interpret it another way, it is a collective protection system to protect all previous colonial countries from the military attack of the colonies. It is being increasingly viewed as a threat to international security because of its asymmetric military assets and a collective resolve to use that strength against any potential adversary with or without UN sanction. It is making the UN irrelevant.
Thirty NATO nations led by the USA have cleverly used diplomacy to ensure that a non-NATO alliance never comes up. That was the rationale behind the Cold War to weaken their strongest military adversary, the Soviets.
Compare what’s happened in Afghanistan to what is happening in Ukraine. It seems that Chechen Islamic militias, especially Kadyrovtsy, have been mobilized by the west surreptitiously, especially Americans, to join Ukrainian resistance forces against Russia. This is the same Mujahideen strategy that was perfected by Americans in Afghanistan against the Soviets.
Mujahideen were used to launch jihadists attack against Soviets. That playbook has been exposed and defeated by Russians by bleeding American forces for 20 years in Afghanistan. Ultimately, Taliban backed by Russia and China overthrew the American occupiers. Russians have been warning against NATO’s eastern expansion since 1992. They directly warned Ukraine in 2008 with a missile strike should Ukraine become a NATO member. This has been in the public domain since 2008. How did NATO miss that? The main reason why this has suddenly flared up is the internal turmoil in the US economy. The US administration wants to hide the high inflation and gas prices by diverting internal discourse before the midterms. The best way to do that is to initiate a diversionary war through stepping on Russian red lines. The deployment of long range missiles in Ukraine brings the Russian capital within striking distance of NATO missiles. No nation in the world can tolerate that kind of military threat. Assuming the unlikely scenario of Russian, Chinese or Indian missiles in Mexico and/or Canada will obviously be an existential problem for the USA then why shouldn’t it be so for Russia.
As far as military capabilities are concerned, Russian military capability is almost equal to the entire NATO put together. If China is pulled into conflict by Russia then Chinese-Russian combined military strength will be twice that of NATO.
The Russian ask from Ukraine was a simple one which would have strengthened the Ukrainian economy as well as Ukrainian ties with Europe as well as Russia. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia was clearly avoidable if the international community would have respected Russian demands. The Trump administration’s Russian policy kept NATO’s eastern push into Ukraine under control which kept the conflict at bay. The United Nations peace mission in Ukraine has again failed just like the million other times previously. Why did the UN fail? Ideally the NATO and Ukraine issue should have been discussed over there. But the issue was neither brought over by Russia or Ukraine nor even NATO member states. Russia has openly communicated that their military operations in Ukraine will cease once their strategic objectives of destroying the military capability of Ukraine is attained. NATO’s eastward expansion is not only opposed by Russia but also China. Surprisingly this conflict started during the times of pandemic, another coincidence?. The inflation and Gas prices in the USA are at their peak in so many decades. Is this crisis encouraged by the current administration in the USA to distract from the challenging domestic issues in the election year? The American media is already speaking loosely of World War III. Will America and Europe be bold enough to risk the lives of millions in those continents? Is the USA & Europe capable enough to withstand another World War with mutually assured destruction?
President Putin’s resolve and President Biden’s sanctions will effectively make lives more expensive than today for most residents of the world. Any NATO – Russia conflict will be a disaster for Europe and the USA. The only beneficiary of that conflict will be China.
What is the solution? The solution in diplomatic terms is very simple if the leaders of NATO & USA and Russia agree.
- NATO must stop their eastern expansion.
- Ukraine must remain neutral to both Russia and NATO as a buffer territory
- US and NATO must retract all sanctions against Russian Government & Russian individuals
If diplomacy and negotiations fail then we are looking at a military stalemate with much higher human suffering in Europe, Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine will be the net loser in all scenarios.
Ukrainian leaders must carefully evaluate this scenario for their own future. The stakes are higher for them as their existence as a nation is in danger. There is no solution in military confrontation as it will be a Pyrrhic war. Nuclear bombs on both sides will definitely be used in this high intensity conflict as been already proclaimed by their respective leaders. Isolating Russia will increase oil & gas prices across the world which many countries such as the USA, European Union, India and China won’t be able to manage. Despite western sanctions, Russian oil will be bought by most developing countries in different currencies which will render sanctions ineffective. NATO – Russian conflict has a significant potential of removing US $ as the global currency for trade.
Has Ukraine been used as a pawn by NATO? Time will tell, but then it will be too late for Ukraine. NATO-Russian war will be pyrrhic and Ukraine will be the net loser.
Aditya Satsangi is the author of Gold, Glory and God. He champions the cause of Human Rights globally.