“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass
Obtaining situation in Ukraine
Part – 2
by Asif Haroon Raja
Obtaining Situation in Ukraine
Biden has announced a $ I billion military aid package and decided to send long-range anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine. NATO has increased its forces on the eastern flank of Russia in the Baltic States but has no plans to send troops into Ukraine. Physical clashes and battles of minds are raging and both sides are slapping sanctions. Much against the expectations of Putin of a short and swift outcome, the war is dragging on and President Zelensky is not giving up. Moscow-Kiev parleys are going on, but Zelensky has not agreed to the Russian demand of making Ukraine a neutral country. He is egging on the US and NATO to send forces and is equating the situation to Pearl Harbor.
Third World Wooed
The USA and Russia are trying to win over as many countries of the third world to their side to swing the diplomatic balance on their side.
Russia and China stand on the higher moral ground to win the support of the countries of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa since they were not harmed by the two. China in particular has been helping the debt-ridden and low-income countries by providing easy loans for social programs, developing infrastructure, and improving their economies.
Russia helped Iran in its missile/ nuclear programs and in easing sanctions, and had a key role in saving the Assad regime in Syria.
Both Russia and China are against the fascist and racist policies of the US and Israel, apartheid, the capitalist system, and the monopoly of petrodollars.
On the other hand, prejudice, malice, and discrimination against non-whites have been the guiding principles of the western world. The only exception is India or their close allies like Japan and South Korea. Putin has called the west an empire of lies.
Today the West has no reason and justification to cry foul and dub Russia as a warmonger and an aggressor since Russia didn’t for once step into the backyard of the USA, nor meddled into the internal affairs of other countries, or brought about regime changes through proxy wars and clandestine operations, or imposed sanctions on any country.
USA’s Policy of Sanctions
“Remember when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” – St. Francis of Assisi
To compel Russia to pull out its troops, the US and EU took no time to impose a series of tough sanctions on Russia, and have closed airspaces for the Russian air movement. Anything Russian has been boycotted. The US has told Europe not to buy oil and gas from Russia. Russia’s $ 300 billion has been frozen. The purpose is to isolate Russia, crash its economy and bleed it to death through sanctions. Fifth columnists in Russia have been activated by the CIA to create trouble. Consequently, Russia has become the most sanctioned country after Iran.
Bugles of Pax-Americana sounded by George Bush after 9/11 have now been blown by Joe Biden. He has made it clear to the allies to submit to the US dictates or get perished. Neutrality is not an exercisable option.
Russia is not wilting since, in collusion with its strategic partner China, it had foreplane how to deal with the hardships of sanctions.
Russia has amassed some $600 billion, yuan and gold in reserves, stored huge stacks of grain and other commodity items, and reduced its trade-in dollars by 50%. Russia has replaced visa and master cards with Chinese cards.
China and Russia are trying to build an alternative monetary system in order to overcome the dilemma of sanctions imposed on Russian banks.
China’s central bank operationalized its digital yuan CBCD in 2015 to break the monopoly of petrodollars in the trade of oil and gas through US-controlled SWIFT. China’s System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) is equivalent to the SWIFT financial transfer system developed in 2014. SPFS is likely to be integrated with China-based Cross Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS).
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and China have agreed to design the mechanism for an independent international monetary system. China’s forex reserves are $3222.4.
Gas supply to Germany from Gazprom has been cut off by Russia.
In case Russia and China succeed in importing and exporting oil and gas in ruble, yuan and gold, it will cause a deadly blow to the power of the dollar.
Sanctions are painful but have never been productive. They proved ineffective against Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Venezuela and wouldn’t bend Putin.
USA’s Relations with Arabs & Iran
Some cracks have appeared in the US relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE. The two princes didn’t answer the phone calls made by Biden and have declined the US desire to increase production of oil so as to lower oil prices in the international market that have touched $ 140 a barrel. They are going by the policy of OPEC in which Russia is a key member. Saudis and UAE, the two largest oil producing countries are considering trading oil in yuan. Boris Johnson air dashed to Riyadh on 16 March on a one-day visit to convince MBS to enhance the oil production but couldn’t get a commitment. UAE, which has put the F-35 jets deal on hold has been put in the grey list by the FATF.
Iran has made the renewal of the nuclear deal with the US subject to clearance from Moscow. Iran doesn’t want its oil and gas trade with Russia to get affected by the 2015 deal to which Russia is one of the signatory. Russia is among the largest oil producing countries and is the largest producer of gas.
Contrasting Foreign Policies
Although Russia’s past is as sinful as of the west, with Stalin presiding over the massacre of 20 million people in the 1930s, however, after the USSR’s dismemberment in 1991, Russia has not embarked upon any external military adventure, nor has meddled into internal affairs of other countries, or ridiculed Islam. By and large it has pursued a peaceful foreign policy.
Likewise, China also adopted a defensive policy of peace and friendship after 1978, although it is accused of persecuting the Uighur Muslims. Xingjian is being developed at a fast rate so as to curb extremism and separatist movements.
Russia and China increased their spheres of influence in the developing world through peaceful means. Putin adopted friendly policies towards the Muslims in Russia and made Chechnya a close ally.
Conversely, the US used its military might, financial power and diplomatic clout to enlarge its presence all around the globe. War on terror was used as a ploy to rob the resources of the Muslim world and to neo colonize it.
Sanctions, embargoes, human rights, World Bank, IMF, FATF and proxy wars are other tools of coercion. The UN, ICJ and other world institutions are the US handmaidens.
Islam was ridiculed and demonized by the Western media under a calculated agenda. Caricatures of the Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH were repeatedly published to injure the feelings of the Muslims and to undermine Islam.
The US has the biggest stockpile of nuclear missiles and well knowing that Russia has the second largest nuclear arsenal with 4497 nukes, the US has constantly been provoking Russia by militarily encircling it and breaching it’s perimeter of security.
The US administration under the hegemony of Military Industrial Complex is anti-peace and pro-war and has established over 800 military bases all over the globe. Since WW 11, the US indulged in 19 wars causing deaths to over 21 million people. It has striven to control the sea lanes in all the oceans, and Eurasia. Domination of global supply chains by the emerging superpower China is one of the major reasons for the US antagonism against China.
The US is a Bully
The US has never directly locked horns with a big power and always chose a weak country to fight and yet never won. The two glaring examples are its humiliating defeats in Vietnam and Afghanistan.
The US has behaved like a bully. It has warned China to stay out of the conflict and not to provide a lifeline to Russia. The US has also made it clear to its allies to cut off relations with Russia.
For the first time the US is provoking the two titans, Russia in Ukraine, and China in South & East China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
Biden declared that the US will defend every inch of NATO territory with full might of a united and galvanized NATO, but will not fight war against Russia since he cannot risk a 3rd WW.
The US-Russia showdown has commenced and the US-China showdown is in the making. Both Pakistan and India will get sucked into the fight of the big elephants.
NATO’s Prestige Smeared
Although the Ukraine crisis has given a new lease of life to the west and has helped in uniting the divided EU and NATO, and both the US and EU are taking punitive steps to pressurize Russia to step back, they have yet to prove whether they can stand up to the challenge and turn the tide.
Russia has exposed the impotence of NATO which has already tarnished its reputation in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Paranoia in India
India has got hedged between the USA, Russia and China and is finding itself caught between the devil and deep sea. On one side is Russia with which it has had a strategic relationship since the late 1940s. 60-65% of India’s defence equipment is Russian origin and Russia never blackmailed India.
On the other side is the glowering USA to which it had got married in 1990 out of expediency and has been drawing huge economic and military benefits and has been helping it to become a global power. China is closely aligned with Russia and nuclear Pakistan is breathing over its neck in the Himalayas.
Today the US is demanding that India should pay back by severing ties with Russia and also become an effective member of QUAD to counter China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. For India, joining China-specific QUAD is getting highly risky.
Coming weeks will see whether India bends down to the dictates of the US, or makes another volte face, quits QUAD and reverts to nonalignment and extends a hand of friendship to China and Pakistan.
Reinvigoration of Cold War
The Cold War has reemerged with a big bang and the two belligerent camps are forming up. President Erdogan is eagerly awaiting the revival of the caliphate in 2023 that was terminated in 1924 by the European powers. War mongers and spoilers are pitched against peacemakers. The Ukraine crisis, if not defused, could lead to the worst global economic crisis which will have a catastrophic impact upon the unprivileged classes.
With so many flash points, and the climate crisis due to global warming morphing into an existential threat to humanity, the world has become a powder keg and needs a matchstick in the wrong hands to ignite. Standoff in Ukraine has revived fears of a nuclear clash and possibly a third world war.
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The realities that cannot be ignored are that dwarfed Russia has bounced back on the global central stage, China is the emerging superpower and the US is a declining power, and its global hegemony is unsustainable.
Unipolarism has been replaced by multipolarism.
The Zionists and extremist Jews wishing to rule the world, after pitching Christianity against Islam have now pitched USA against Russia, and will soon pitch USA against China. Depopulation of the world is also the Zionist game.
Democracy has waned and Far Right and Far Left have become stronger.
Arms industries of the big powers are contracting huge defence deals with the needy weaker countries, which is adding to the suffering of the deprived classes.
Wars, conflicts, civil strife, intrigues, deceit and lies have become a norm.
Piety, tolerance and forbearance have been replaced by immorality, intolerance and egotism. The world as a whole has become turbulent and insecure.
May Allah guide the megalomaniac powers to follow the path of righteousness, tolerance and co-existence!
The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, and 6th book under publication, takes part in TV talk shows and delivers talks on current issues.
Brig. General Asif Haroon Raja is on the board of advisors for Opinion Maker. He holds an MSc war studies degree. A second-generation officer, he fought the epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war,
He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt, and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is tri-lingual and speaks English, Pashto, and Punjabi fluently.
Currently, he is a defense analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defense, and political matters for numerous international/national publications. He is chairman at the Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, & Member CWC PESS & Veterans Think Tank
He is also the author of many books; ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, and Roots of 1971 Tragedy’. His latest book is ‘Tangled knot of Kashmir : Indo-Pakistan antagonism: vol. 1 and vol. 2″