Is the war coming?

Either the countries are involved in the war or they are impacted indirectly by rising fuel and food costs

Muhammad Ali Falak June 20, 2022
The writer is a Fulbright PhD candidate at Texas A&M University and a graduate of the University of Tokyo

The Russia-Ukraine war not only created a flashpoint for the world but also tore apart the narrative of a united Europe. As the war prolongs, the global powers are puzzled about the future, while many asks: will there be a future?

The war disrupting the supply chain and the demand-supply balance is hitting the entire globe. Either the countries are involved in the war or they are impacted indirectly by rising fuel and food costs.

Amongst all the differences one finds a consensus: the matters are going from bad to worse. The world has a flashpoint and the time is ticking.

In case Russia gets hyper adventurous, the US helping Ukraine and its allies to the extent that Moscow sees it as a direct threat, or China throws caution to the winds, one should be ready for the ringing bells of WWIII.

A protracted war favours none. With every passing day, the economic sanctions will be stressing the Russian economy and the consensus built in favour of Ukraine will start losing its zeal.

The French President has already mentioned that Moscow should not be humiliated. China, although advocates the end of the war, terms sanctions on Russia illegal. Ukraine on the other hand has been able to maintain its sovereignty. The West, therefore, should re-calculate the cost of a protracted war and the gains it expects to have by making Ukraine a stalwart for the other states.

“No matter how this war turns out — and as cynical as it sounds now — historians will say that Putin’s attack on Ukraine gave Europe the time it needed to recover so it could confront Russia and, further down the road, China,” said General Richard Barrons, an ex-commander of UK’s Joint Forces Command. “Ukraine is paying a high price to buy us time.”

The current idea of Ukraine’s victory lies in scraping more territory, pushing Russia back to its pre-2014 position.

However, putting aside the anger and following rationality one may ask the cost Ukraine has to pay for snatching those extra hectares back, after fighting for, say, the next 5 years.

Limited victory for Ukraine lies in seizing the opportunity, while it can by rapidly focusing on western funded reconstruction efforts, integrating itself into Europe, and enhancing security while floating towards a democratic future.

Reconstruction takes decades and billions of dollars of funds. Every day of war exponentially increases the destruction in the country. Ukraine must try harder for a ceasefire before the world starts moving on.

It will be a bitter pill to swallow for Ukraine after suffering so grievously at Putin’s hands, but it will make Zelenskiy’s country retain independence and prosper into a European future. USA and Europe must encourage a pragmatic solution. West must be willing to see Ukraine’s win outside the battlefield, in health, prosperity and democracy.

If the war continues, friction between the US and regional powers i.e. China and Russia will intensify. The US is closely monitoring China’s support for Moscow which can invite further world re-divisions into economic and geopolitical blocs.

China has called for an end to the war but has refused to join a global consortium of countries in imposing sanctions on Moscow, instead of laying blame for the conflict on the US and NATO expansion in Europe. However, the war in Ukraine has dragged on much longer than China had anticipated.

Putin may yet be able to achieve some of his goals and there’s every indication he may choose isolation for Russia — and permanent instability for Ukraine and Europe — over acknowledging his mistake. Defeat could call into question his political survival.

While Ukraine has received phenomenal support it will not last forever. With time, the cost of war will be rising, destruction will be exponential and reconstruction will take ages. It’s high time the world leaders learnt from the past, distant and recent how wars have played havoc in the lives of people.

League of Nations was formed after WWI ended, NATO was established after WWII ended. However, after WWIII, there would be no end! In a few minutes, missiles and nukes would be above London, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow and Washington DC.

Mars will then be the only abode left for humans!

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2022.

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