Folks, sharing some thoughts on the Russia-Ukraine War that has just crossed the one year mark. Strictly my opinions, so feel free to disagree.
Let me begin with this horrific video montage of relentless bombardment of a major city, housing millions of non-combatants.
Btw, the above visuals are from the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the great US of A and Even Greater Britain, plus a host of other ‘willing’ partners. Interestingly, next week will mark two decades of that invasion on an utterly false premise, for which the culprits didn’t face ANY sanctions whatsoever! Neither were any warrants issued by any International Courts against the chief perpetrators, as in the case of Vladimir Putin some hours back!
Instead, the victim country was destroyed to the extent that they are still struggling to stand up.
Btw, the same culprits are today collectively united in their ‘horror’ at the invasion of Ukraine by Russia!
So we know why the USA and others invaded and destroyed Iraq. They had irrefutable proof that Iraq had WMDs!
Proof, that was pulled out of thin air! Proof, that some say wasn’t pulled out of thin air, but from some other body part in the nether regions!
But then, that hardly matters, right? No one even talks about that anymore, despite the millions of non-combatants that died.
Well, who will dare talk about Iraq and the horrific abuses there, especially when the culprits themselves are the self-appointed custodians of the ‘Rules Based World Order’, no?
PS: When was the last time you hear about Abu Ghraib? Let me refresh you a bit :-
But then, it is Ukraine that I am supposed to be talking about in this thread, so let’s go there now!
Let me start by replugging this 11 yr old tweet here:
Throughout our history, war has been a constant. So those that are aghast at yet another war, are merely trying to imagine a utopic world which has never existed. Instead, this cacophony of voices on social as well as mainstream media is, IMO, due to the fact that the collective West sees it as an opportunity to get an advantage over Russia.
It is no secret that Russia has been one of their Principal adversaries. So much so that at the end of the cold-war, instead of reaching out to co-opt broken and hugely malleable Russia as a fellow traveller in the world order, they decided to push the knife deeper.
With the disintegration of the USSR, instead of scaling down NATO (and actually promising to do so), it instead galloped closer and closer to Russia, with newer and newer members. The Georgia War of 2009(?) was one Russian reaction that should have told them that NATO was getting too close to Russian borders for their own comfort.
Of course, I am aware NATO is a voluntary organisation and any country has the right to aspire to become a member of the organisation.
But by the same logic, a country that is the exclusive target of an ever-expanding and an ever-closing military alliance to has the right to feel concerned and consequently, secure its own interests, no?
Of course, a pragmatic neighbour would have seen such red-lines, especially from a much larger and powerful neighbour and even if begrudgingly, accepted them and made their peace. But then, you had this in Ukraine:
The war started not on 24th Feb 2022, but instead in 2014 when a democratically elected govt in Ukraine was toppled with the help of Maidan protests and replaced by one that was decidedly Anti-Russia and Anti Ethnic Russians in their own country. This resulted in the Russian invasion of Donbas in Aug 2014, followed by the Minsk Agreement in Sep 2014. However, it broke and Minsk 2 Agreement was signed in Feb 2015.
Interestingly, this brought into focus, the ‘Little Green Men’ that were said to have fought against Ukraine!
Now why I bring out ‘Little Green Men’ in the tweet above was because the same phenomenon is being repeated, but with a Green Screen instead!
The ‘show-man’ is putting up a brilliant show indeed!
And he is being feted by the entire ‘civilized’ world too, as these visuals from his recent Europe visit indicate!
In their own eyes, he is winning against the big bad wolf too! But I shall come to that in a while.
To be frank, atleast in my opinion, Ukraine is just an expendable entity so long as it is able to impose some cost on Russia before dying. Here is what folks are saying about Ukrainians being expendable, with increasing frequency!
Btw, If not the first one to say, but I think I was atleast the first one to claim copyright on this phrase – They will fight Russia till the last Ukrainian!
Heck, even Putin Ji is saying this!
And jokes apart, he isn’t wrong about it either. This is exactly what will happen.
Thanks to its unique circumstances, Ukraine was always doomed to be a fighting arena for great powers, just like Afghanistan and even Tibet have been.
Coming over to the military operations, thanks to their experiences in Chechnya and Georgia, as also Donbas, it is fair to assume that the Russians miscalculated the time required to achieve their military aims.
In addition, by delaying the launch till end of winter olympics in China, the snows thawed out & cross-country movement became much more difficult for their military vehicles.
But most importantly, they miscalculated the amount of military support the West would give Ukraine!
It pretty soon turned from a ‘Special Military Operation’, to an existential war for Russia. They took some time to recalibrate their actions. But the West took it as a sign of collapse and were V.E.R.Y quick to declare victory!
Result: Hubris set in pretty solidly.
Resultantly, the collective euphoria in the West made it nothing short of blasphemous to even talk about Russia having a point of view about their security interests wrt Ukraine! As mentioned above, Zelensky was feted all over.
And why not .. he had stood up to Putin after all!
All Russian voices were drowned out and even de-platformed by the so called CHAMPIONS of free speech!
What that caused, however, was for the West to become prisoners of their own propaganda IMO. Now they just can’t walk off without their citizens crying out bitterly in protest!
Not one of those govts tell their citizens that they kept pushing NATO closer & closer to Russia, and that now they blame Russians for being close to NATO!
They had imposed so many sanctions on Russia that it was bound to fail in its nefarious designs, they told their citizenry instead!
But apparently the sanctions didn’t have the desired impact as had been in the case of .. say .. Iraq!
In short: Whether they like it or not, but from Russia, now it has become an existential war for the Western Nations themselves. Such has been the hubris in them, in fact, that the German Foreign Minister declared war on Russia on behalf of the Entire EU!
Of course, she had to eat her words pretty quickly!
Btw, it is the same Germany that has suffered a direct & massive blow by the sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, some say done by its own allies! They tried to blame Putin, but by he not reacting to this bait, they are tripping over themselves to apportion blame to someone!
Neither do they tell their citizens that Russia is already in possession of over 20% of Ukrainian territory which they are unlikely to give back! Despite throwing billions of dollars in cash & military aid, all that they have to show is merely a slowed down pace of Russian advance.
And of course, a large number of bank failures! Oh wait, that happened in the USA .. My bad!
So perhaps it is correct to say that all those sanctions have essentially failed?
Ok, so time for a short break from all that you might have read so far. Here’s a video of a reporter and her reporting of the horrific attacks on Ukraine from last year!
(PS: I should’ve said : ‘horrific reporting’ instead of ‘horrific attacks’! My Bad!)
Carrying on, let me start by posing a question: Can Ukraine even dream of a ceasefire if its western benefactors don’t want one? Especially with the leverage that they have created over Ukraine with the 100s of billions of dollars ‘invested’ in the war?
Technically, it is no longer Ukraine fighting Russia.
It is already NATO fighting Russia, with Ukraine merely as a front.
They throw money and equipment in the war, with Ukraine gambling away its sovereign territory and sacrificing the lives of its people.
Not a very bad deal for the West, no, this ‘outsourcing’ of war?
Btw, for all that have been shouting hoarse about the Wagner Group of Russia, I find practically no one even making a peep about the Ukraine Foreign Legion!
Yes, THAT’S the power that comes with the ability to control flow of information and narratives! Of course, it also helps extinguish ‘provocative’ channels broadcasting a harmless event!
But for all the shrill narrative building, the upholders of ‘free’ speech seem to have actually painted themselves into a corner by not leaving any scope for an end to this war short of utter and complete humiliation of Russia, which, btw, doesn’t seem to be happening!
So let’s try and see what the future holds as far as this mess goes .. Some days ago when Germany placed a destroyed Russian tank in front of the Russian Embassy, instead of celebrating it, there were protesters laying flowers, seeking peace.
Fatigue and economic pain is real.
And this DESPITE their foreign minister already having declared war on Russia on behalf of the entire EU!
Btw, it is the same Germnay that is now importing much more expensive LNG from US and other sources than what it would have been getting via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia. Who destroyed the pipeline, is anybody’s guess because neither Russia nor Germany did that!
Going ahead, one thing is for sure – the moment the Russian Parliament passed a resolution to annex certain areas into the Russia State, any negotiation with respect to those is off the table.
As far as Russia goes, fight is now to ensure that Ukraine ceases to be a politico-military problem of any worth. They don’t want a Pakistan on their borders, that’s for sure. So any negotiated end to this war will be at huge cost to Ukraine – geographically as well as otherwise.
A few possible endgame scenarios that might happen are as under:-
Breaking up of Ukraine (will delve on this a bit more)
Ceasefire, followed by negotiations
Ousting of leadership, either in Ukraine or Russia or both.
Of course, there is one more potential endgame scenario that some folks are talking about in hushed tones. It is this:
The questions I asked in this tweet above still stand. I’ll add another one to it: Might it give them an excuse to finally end the war?
Unsurprisingly, there are idiots who are actually salivating even at this horrific possibility!
Coming over to a more pragmatic (in an ideal world) solution – that of a negotiated settlement. Question is, who will ensure a fair negotiation acceptable to both sides?
The experiences of Minsk 1 and 2 agreements are all too recent and too well known in any case.
In any case, Ukraine stands to lose a LOT of territory East of the Dneiper River even in case of a negotiated settlement. However, what happens to the rest of Ukraine? Can it reasonably expect to survive as a sovereign entity in the aftermath?
Or will it become a state entirely dependent on Western aid to survive, especially after losing much of its productive lands in the East?
And most importantly, will Russia accept this?
Another question: Who will pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine? The comedian is already DEMANDING to be paid hundreds of billions of dollars to keep fighting. Do you reasonably think that his successors will not demand even more monies for reconstruction?
Will the West be able to mount a Marshal Plan for Ukraine?
Will they seek reparations from Russia instead?
Well, we all know how the reparations thing will pan out in any case.
To cut a long story short, I personally don’t see any outcome that does not involve complete and utter end to Ukraine as it existed on 24th Feb 2022. All that can be done is to try and salvage as much of it as can be done.
All in all, it is a very pessimistic outcome that seems likely. Yet, the earlier we get to it, the better it is. Western sanctions on Russia and assistance to Ukraine has not worked as they had anticipated.
If not controlled now, the war seems quite likely to expand in scope, with levels of involvement (and stakes) of outside powers may end up going even higher. The recent incident with the Russian aircraft and the American drone over Black Sea is a pointer in that direction.
Of course, there is already talk in more than just a handful of world capitals regarding getting access to nukes, in order to ensure their own safety. Poland, Iran, Japan, S. Korea come to mind as far as this goes. And they do have a logic they believe in.
Of course, one positive outcome of this war could be the revival and scaling up of the American MIC which will only come in handy in case things with China go kinetic in the near future, just like they almost did during Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last year!
As I end this chain of thoughts, all I will offer is that the era of globalization is well and truly finished. The best outcome is to cut losses and sue for peace, instead of shouting about an imaginary big bad wolf outside your house.
The world order as it existed till Feb last year is well and truly finished. It took two world wars and a failed League of Nations to have come to that world order. A new one will come with much more pain, IMO.
In the end, I’ll just add this graphic here without any further comment:
Thanks for your patience!
2 thoughts on “Ukraine War – One Year On”
Awesome piece….the style and content are both top-notch!
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Thanks for the endorsement