Multipolar World Order, Strategic Autonomy, the conflict involving Ukraine

The twenty-first century’s hope was pinned on accommodating the aspirations of as many nations as possible to make the United Nation function effectively for its designated role to enhance peace, prosperity, health, security among nations. In return, each nation will pledge to make this planet more habitable for generations to come, while avoiding armed conflict or developing weapons of mass destruction. All disputes have to be settled bilaterally among parties in a peaceful way without resorting to violence. There are no visible signs that the world is extricating itself out of the 20th-century cauldron and “Balance of power syndrome”.

Ukraine and Russia are as much part of Europe as any other east European countries, who were former members of the Soviet Union, a military block. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was the product of the beginning of the cold war when the second hot war of the world had ended. The cold war after several decades was officially ended by Reagan and Gorbachev with a fall of the Berlin Wall and a tactic understanding that each nation of the former Soviet Union will have a choice to pick any form of government, not necessarily resembling other country’s style of governance. The ethnic cultures, diversity within nations, and strength of their governing institutions play a greater role in defining and dictating the form of governance.

After a few years of stability from the Yeltsin era, it appears that Georgia and Ukraine fell into political chaos. The contesting sides blame each other for political interference with the help of outside intelligence agencies. A decade earlier, the Bush administration responded to such turbulence by issuing a threat not to renew the ABM treaty that was ultimately resolved by both parties. Russia sternly objected to the stationing of NATO missiles at the Ukrainian border and viewed that as a National security threat to herself. President Bush, Obama, and Trump then shelved the idea. However, the contest of NATO expansion continued. So, what are the issues now between NATO, Russia, and Ukraine that push them to the brink of an armed conflict? Neither Russia nor Ukraine are not even part of NATO.

It appears to most political Pundits that since the last days of the cold war, the world has evolved with the rise of China. China essentially has replaced the old cold war adversary Soviet Union. China is posing more threats to the free world through its expansive agenda. However, China unconvincingly denies it.
Over the years, the major powers (USA, Russia, China, and EU) have become more pragmatic and strongly believe that in the nuclear and space-age realm, the use of weapons of mass destruction should be avoided at all costs and gradually be eliminated. Five permanent members of the security council publicly endorsed the idea that was long championed by India. Then why do we have a confrontation in Ukraine that may go out of control? The reasons are numerous and go back to the history between these two neighbors in earlier centuries.
Queen Catherine- the Great of the Czarist regime (18th century AD) conquered Crimea and much of the Baltic regions and Ukraine from ottoman and Khanate. Over the centuries, the city of Kyiv became the homeland of Russian-speaking people, who were the descendent of the Russian settlers and natives of Ukraine. Queen Catherine was a German-born Princess and was married to the Czar of Russia, upon his death, she ruled Russia. During her rule, she established many cities like Odesa, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and L’viv all at the expense of the Ottoman caliphate and Muslim Khanate. This brings ethnicity and religious component also into this dispute.

Russia through its history has a legitimate interest in Ukraine, particularly regarding Russian-speaking minorities, who resided in Ukraine for several generations. Russia may not want Ukraine to join NATO as long as NATO views Russia as an adversary. Russia on the other hand feels that She is not a threat to Europe or NATO. Russia feels that NATO as a block no longer serves its usefulness, and this military block should be dissolved or open to all European nations including Russia. Some members of NATO also agree with that view but refuse to admit that publicly.
The binding glue for NATO is American Military Power and the European Common Market that is a free trading zone among various European countries. Perhaps, Russia may not object to Ukraine joining the EU. Some smaller states of the Baltic region of the NATO alliance still harbor the fear of Russian expansion. So, in their mind, it raises the concern, if Ukraine falls, who is next in line? There are still cold war warriors on both sides.

Russians found out that the resurrection of the Soviet Union with extreme diversities of the states under its system cannot be held together. It can also become an economic albatross for the Russian that ultimately brought about the total collapse during Gorbachev’s rule. There was no point in going back. President Trump’s effort to shift the economic burden of the NATO alliance to the shoulders of European member countries met with stiff resistance. Despite the new commitments from European members, nothing has changed in any significant ways to equitably share the economic burden of maintaining NATO. USA’s taxpayers are still carrying a larger burden of maintaining NATO in its current state. This conflict can be resolved through dialogues without resorting to an armed conflict. There is no significant economic vested interest in Ukraine for the United States and promoting divisions among Ukrainians, just to promote a certain type of governance raises the possibility of another quagmire like Afghanistan in the complicated multi-polar world.

Many geopolitical experts feel that the Trump administration’s gradual approach for integrating Russia into the western economic system along with all European states such as Belorussia, Ukraine will be the “Nixonian approach” to tame China’s expansionist agenda. China would not be a threat to western economic interest if it was not cultivated to counterbalance Russia, to begin with during the dreadful Vietnam war. Was not the Vietnam war was driven by the perceived fear of “yellow peril”? Well, the perception now has become the reality. Western countries and their corporate world overlooked the system of China’s government and ignored the political risk by handing over key technologies.

Once Russia is assured its place with or without membership of NATO, Russia for her reason may become a part of a solution to tame Xi’s China with whom it shares a long border and previous history of border conflict. This will give breathing space for countries like India and Israel to grow and cement their neighborhood alliances like the Abrahamic accord and the Indian Ocean alliance of south Asian countries.
President Biden is in a position to bring about dramatic changes within Russia and Europe by assuring Russia’s genuine security interest and aligning Russia against China. In this scenario, Russia would have an opportunity to join Western civilization, its economic system while ending the centuries-old revolutionary-driven political schism splitting Europe. Russia has enormous natural resources that can be utilized to break the monopoly of OPEC.

The economic sanctions mechanism is following a law of diminishing returns and it is not as effective as it was in a multipolar world. Strategic Autonomy-oriented allies don’t like it. It is an economic burden to the allies. The nations under sanctions find alternate ways to avoid them while stiffening their resolve to fight against the sanctions. The side effect of such a “confrontational approach “ is that allies like Israel, India, Germany, France, and others believe that “strategic autonomy” is the best way to handle their national interest dictated by their geography. Some unexplained news reports are coming after negotiating session between the USA and Russian delegates. Russia who was bidding on some military purchases by India withdrew. India has diversified its defense sources, so this is no big loss. However, Some US house democrats are perturbed over the withdrawal of US support for the East Med pipeline from Israel that potentially will provide a financial bonanza to the state of Israel while competing with the Russia-Germany Gas Pipeline. Are these issues related to the sphere of influence or something else? No one knows for sure.
Equally challenging for the Biden administration is the rise in antisemitism. CNN reported that Flyers with anti-Semitic language were distributed in neighborhoods across South Florida; and they were reported in five other states, targeting prominent Jewish intellectuals and administration officials.

BBC of the United Kingdom and New York Times of USA both ultra-leftist media do not understand the difference between Hindu, Hinduism, and Hindutva. The word “Hindu” was given to the population of India by Persians, as the people living “ east of the Sindhu river”. Hinduism itself is a secular term that encompasses all India’s religious traditions including newer imports such as Islam. Other religious traditions have existed in India for the last two thousand years or longer. India houses various religions of the world such as Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism (Krishna), Zoroasterism, Judaism, Christianity, and various sects of Islam. The best way to describe Hindutva is the way of life that exists under Indian culture.

About the Author
Born In India now a US citizen for over 40 years. Presently semi-retired and loved traveling. Visited Israel several years ago and loved it. A strong advocate of India-Israel's friendship