Sanctions on Russia effects. The Ukraine conflict is approaching a critical juncture. Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown complete disdain for the implications of his actions by acknowledging the two separatist regions of Ukraine and sending troops into the “independent republics.” His televised speech, which was filled with nationalist grievances and the ahistorical rejection of Ukrainian statehood, the claim that modern Ukraine was formed by Communist Russia — specifically, by Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev, by “separating, severing what is historically Russia’s land” — and the allegation that Gorbachev allowed Ukraine to slip away from Moscow’s grasp, offered a glimpse into the thoughts of a ruler whose only plan to make Russia great again. This is the kind of nationalism that tries to redraw borders and rewrite history in the hopes of reclaiming lost glory. If countries throughout Europe, as well as Asia and Africa, whose boundaries were defined arbitrarily when they broke free from colonial domination, began regaining what they had lost in history, there would be no end to irredentist claims. The globe would be in permanent conflict. Putin appears to be unafraid of war and the damage it can wreak on his own country and people, as well as the rest of Europe, with ramifications that stretch far beyond the fighting zone. This is why, as it seeks to balance its budding friendship with Russia with its reservations about what Putin has done, China, which usually emphasizes respect for territorial integrity when it comes to Tibet and Taiwan, has released a cautious statement asking all parties. To “exercise moderation.”
The onus is now on the Western alliance of the United States and Europe to avoid escalating the crisis and instead find diplomatic means to bring it to a halt. Putin’s concerns about NATO’s expansion and Europe’s lopsided security architecture are well-founded. After all, didn’t the US use regime change in various countries during the Cold War to halt the spread of Communism in its “spheres of influence”? The West’s attempt to restrict China in the Indo-Pacific, as well as India’s fears about Chinese dominance in the Indian Ocean, stem from the same security concerns that Putin has about Europe and the eastward expansion of the transatlantic security cooperation. The Western alliance’s dismissal of these concerns is both irrational and irresponsible. Putin’s decision to concentrate troops on the Ukrainian border prompted policymakers in Washington to begin interacting with the Russian president. The Biden administration, as well as France and Germany, must now provide the leadership necessary to avoid conflict.
As the globe battles to recover from a third wave of the Covid epidemic, the last thing anyone wants is a showdown in Europe that disrupts global supply lines and imposes high costs on economies that have barely survived the last three years. Powers claiming to be global leaders must proceed more cautiously and prudently after two decades of a pointless war in Afghanistan.