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Diplomacy and Economics of War

All the countries of the world including India have to learn a lesson that if they are strong, the expansionist forces cannot think of attacking their sovereignty. To keep one’s independence intact, it is necessary that the country should be strong economically, technologically and militarily.  — Dr. Ashwani Mahajan


Russia’s missile attack on several cities in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, and air strikes and invasion into Ukraine, after Russian President Putin gave permission for special military operations in eastern Ukraine, has sparked concern around the world, as it can disturb world peace. Significantly, with the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia, an independent country Ukraine was born with a referendum and presidential election in 1991.

Ukraine had full hope that America would extend its helping hand after the Russian invasion, but after the refusal of military support from America, the President of Ukraine has no hope left to counter mighty Russia. It seems that in the coming days, Ukrainian forces will surrender before Russia due to lack of help from anywhere.

If we look at the present crisis objectively, then apparently, it may appear that it is an attack on a sovereign country. But if we look at it from Russian perspective, then we see that, since the days of Cold War till now, there has been a constant tension between Russia on the one hand and America and its allies NATO countries, on the other. No doubt, Ukraine joining the NATO grouping will result into NATO’s presence on Russia’s borders. Russia would never want Ukraine to become a member of NATO under any circumstances. At the same time, this is not the first time that Russia’s relations with Ukraine have been at loggerheads, due to this reason. Whenever Ukraine had attempted to increase its ties with NATO, Russia had retaliated.

Although any sovereign country has the freedom to join any group, but Russia’s concerns also cannot be dismissed. In such a situation, Ukraine is not going to benefit from the statements of America and the European Union and the sanctions on Russia by England etc. Ukraine has been left in the lurch, in this fight, without any material help from the US or other NATO countries. In such a situation, peace efforts by the international community including India through mutual dialogue can only be helpful.

Some international analysts believe that in the coming times, the President of Russia can also subjugate the newly born countries after the disintegration of the Soviet Union for the restoration of the USSR. But there does not appear to be any basis for this idea. First of all, Russia itself has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine. Simultaneously, some time ago when the Russian President was asked this question, he said that there is only one superpower in the world, and that is America and there is no reason and ambition to make Russia a superpower again. He said that Russia has suffered a huge financial loss in the race to remain a superpower since the days of Cold War. Significantly, during the days of the Soviet Union, due to the Cold War, a large part of Russia’s treasury went into military expenditure, due to which the standard of living of the people of Russia remained very low compared to other equally placed countries and Russia lagged in the race for human development too.

Significantly, America too has suffered a lot in their endeavour to retain its tag of superpower. In general, America has been making military interventions in several countries under its strategy to demonstrate its economic and military might. US interventions in many countries, including Afghanistan, are some recent examples.

America has incurred huge economic losses in their such endeavours. That is why the former President of America, Donald Trump, learning lessons from their past mistakes, called for avoiding such endeavours in future. Recently, despite global criticism, the US withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. This decision was taken for economic reasons only.

Russian invasion of Ukraine should not be seen as imperialist expansion, but as a Russia’s gesture to defend its borders. Russia’s reaction to the developments in Ukraine in this regard is not the first of its kind. Russia had intervened in Ukraine politically as well as militarily in the past as well. It does not want any vulnerability on its borders due to ‘NATO’.

If we go into history of Russia’s retaliation, re-elections were held in the 2004 elections in Ukraine, following allegations of rigging in the election of pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich, and after Yushchenko assuming power in the 2005 election, he promised to take Ukraine out of Russian domination to join NATO and the European Community. In 2008, NATO promised to take Ukraine into its fold. But in 2010, the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, once again won the presidency and extended the lease of the Black Sea port of Ukraine, to the Russian Navy. In 2017, Ukraine’s economic ties with the European Community began to grow once again. After many ups and downs, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, elected in 2019, appealed to US President Joe Biden in January 2021, to allow Ukraine to become a member of NATO. Russian forces reached the borders of Ukraine in mid-2021, but Ukraine nevertheless continued to act against the wishes of Russia. On December 7, 2021, Biden threatened to impose economic sanctions on Russia. Since then, NATO and the US have continued to adopt an aggressive approach against Russia. Russia was constantly threatened by the countries of the European Community, England and America.

Ignoring these threats, Russia seems to be victorious in this war, not only militarily but also diplomatically. While Ukraine did not get any support from the US, even in United Nations Security Council, three countries including India and China have decided to abstain from the resolution against Russia, which was defeated anyways due to Russia’s veto.

It is noteworthy that for some time, mutual cooperation between Russia and China has increased. The US knows that the understanding between Russia and China, so far, is limited to diplomatic and economic issues. America would never want it to ignite this to move any further towards military cooperation. Therefore, America’s non-cooperation to Ukraine shows America’s apprehension. As far as the economic sanctions on Ukraine by the US, the European Community and England are concerned, it is not going to make much difference to Russia; rather, it is possible that it will have adverse impact on the countries that impose sanctions.

Many international analysts are apprehensive that China may take advantage of this example to occupy Taiwan. Although nothing can be said about China’s plans, even though China has been staking its claim on Taiwan for a long time, but it has to be understood that to deal with such plans of China; America, India, Japan and Australia have been carrying out naval exercises under ‘Quad’. Therefore, without dealing with Quad, these plans of China cannot be successful.

India has expressed its opinion favouring resolution of this issue with the help of dialogue, and have decided to abstain from the United Nations Security Council resolution. As such, India can play an important role in this dialogue through mediation.

All the countries of the world including India have to learn a lesson that if they are strong, the expansionist forces cannot think of attacking their sovereignty. To keep one’s independence intact, it is necessary that the country should be strong economically, technologically and militarily. In such a situation, while strengthening its economy and technology, India will have to become self-reliant in defense production also, to make our country strong militarily to keep away evil forces.

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