It is rightly said that nobody wins in the war. Both sides lose a little to claim it as a definite victory. The Ukraine crisis with Russia has led to critical geopolitical disruption and realignments. The steady growth of NATO influence in the central Asian hemisphere pushed Russia to curb its influence to reach Ukraine. The event unfolding in Ukraine with Russia has not developed overnight.
The historical fallout
In 2008, the issues came to a pockmark; when Bush struck out the Rubicon at the 20th NATO forum by proclaiming Ukraine and Georgia would join NATO in the future. The red line was bridged. Putin geared into warfare in Georgia and Crimea in 2008 and 2014, respectively. Despite the evidence that Ukraine went wrong to convene the standard criteria to join the NATO ranks; however, NATO, anyways, wooed Ukraine through its open-door strategy, hence NATO extension. Many powerful US policymakers named the strategy an "open invitation" to Moscow for battle. For instance, George F. Kennan, the founder of containment strategy and America's greatest specialist on Russia, noted, "I guess it is a grim mistake."
The other one, Henry Kissinger, a foreign strategy scholar, put it out bluntly: Ukraine should not enlist NATO. Even the ex-US diplomat to the Soviet Union, Jack F. Matlock, termed NATO extension as "one of the most serious strategic missteps made since the verge of the Cold war." But Biden hurled a buzzer to the wind. In the past, he tossed his weight behind Bush's absurd continuance of Ukraine must join NATO, to which his then-NATO allies retreated. Even his now-CIA director William Burns, rather perceptively, notified, since 1995, against this proliferation that will accelerate Moscow, something he openly conceded. Hence the crisis in Ukraine brewed to keep up the vested interests of the parties.
When push comes to the shove
"We have nowhere to retreat."
These statements of Putin perfectly caught Moscow's safety insecurities in a nutshell when it showed up in Ukraine. Russia is a prisoner of topography. Keeping geographical constraints aside, Ukraine was different. It was Moscow's mini Russia—with shared ancient, spiritual, cultural, economic, and strategic relations. NATO was conscious of Russia's jugular vein, and Brussels whacked them where it harmed the most. Rose Gottemoeller, ex-deputy-general of NATO, said," "NATO is not going to alter its strategy on augmentation, period. It is the basis of NATO's DNA." In reaction, Putin emitted his battle combatants against their much-smaller neighbor to accomplish a swift feat.
But the Russians were in for an insensitive awakening when they moved toward the invincible Ukrainians armed with deadly Western missiles. NATO, otherwise, was supported by the western mainstream media, who depicted the conflict in the Manichean sense—good vs. evil—which cloaked some apprehensive truths. One, there are no integrin-statemate ties. Second, Putin agreed to occupy Ukraine at the last juncture, despite streams of western intelligence news on the contrary. Third, the real conflict is between NATO and the Russo-Chinese to remodify the world order. Fourth, NATO put the tangle in Ukraine for Russians to give them their 'Kabul moment' again. Unfortunately, Ukraine was hooked in the crossfire of two elephants jockeying for leverage. And they recognized it a bit later. We must ponder what the rest of the world thinks about the crisis in Ukraine and how it has been impacted immensely by the tussle for the power of US- RUSSIA.
What does the rest think?
Equilibrium is certainly not on the table. Neither side is ready to give up. Zelenskyy, the new hero of Ukraine, is brazenly sticking his neck out. He is not ready to bow down before Russia. On the other hand, surprisingly emerging weak Russia is deploying all the toolkits to regain regional power and influence. Some might think that regime change would help the situation to ease, but that won't be the case. This question is damning to ask. Why? The reason is that the new leader won't undo the damages but would work fiercely to complete their unfinished task, Putin. Another thing that needs to be questioned here is whether it is the Russian war or the Putin war. Of course, Putin wants to leave a legacy behind his tenure, but Russians as a whole are affected by the ultimate sanctions.
After over six months of warfare, there is no threshold for the Ukraine crisis. Millions of civilians are incapable of returning home. Many still in the country are stricken to live without access to sustenance, water, health care facilities, and other essential allowances. This is not an isolated crisis—trade barriers to Ukrainian grain exports have worsened hunger in some of the world's most susceptible regions. The rest of the world is already enduring the ramifications of the European conflicts. The crisis in Ukraine has an obvious effect on those expelled by conflict. The war also has a major impact on the global markets and food supply. In 2021, Ukrainian grain will cater to the needs of 400 million people worldwide. For the first 5 months of the crisis in Ukraine, it was incapable of shipping out its grain through its central shipping ways through the Black Sea. While the food prices are soaring, inflation is increasingly rising, and the world economies have hit a new low. The global repercussions of the conflict have had disastrous effects on countries already facing tension and crises.
"Six months of crisis in Ukraine has taken an awful toll—not just on Ukrainian civilians but civilians worldwide." explained IRC President and CEO David Miliband, "IRC's clients are handling the devastating global ramifications—from East Africa to the Sahel to the Middle East to Central America."
The war is viewed from the Eurocentric perspective, and it is time and time again justified its action of protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity with little thought given to how it is impacting those who have no concern with the current crisis in Ukraine. Yet, they are risking everything they have assiduously developed, crumbling to pieces.
The role of global leadership
Though most of the votes polled against condemning Russia's actions and prompt sanctions were also imposed, no clear results came around. It is time now that Global leadership and organizations must arm themselves to the teeth to deal with the Ukraine crisis with Russia. There has been weaponization of everything. Trade, commerce, information, and globalization, which we presume will bring us closer, have torn us apart. Now trade is used as a weapon, energy as a weapon, people as a weapon, etc. there must be an end to this weaponization of things and people. The exacerbating crisis of migrants needs to be dealt with tactfully.
The world must also continue to help both the people who escaped from the crisis in Ukraine and the millions of refugees and deposed people worldwide. While there has been an outpouring of immense global support for people leaving Ukraine, equal empathy must be exhibited for refugees and replace people in many other world catastrophes, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, and Syria.
To address the starvation crises whacking East Africa and other areas due to the crisis in Ukraine, contributors should urgently direct allocation to front-line responders who can catch up with those most in want and provide the health programming, sustenance and cash subsidy, and clean water that people need to withstand.