Ukraine Crisis

Lessons for the world and Pakistan

Will Durant, in his famous book, the lessons of history, propounds that in the last 3421 years of history, only 268 has seen no war; therefore, war is the only constant in the history of humanity. The recent standoff between Russia and Ukraine supported by the clout of the West is one such example. There are many questions on the ongoing and protracted conflict of the Eurasian land. The Russian enigma, the European aversion to the Russian policy of expansionism to defend itself from NATO’s speculative aggression, the biased role of NATO has put the world into a precarious milieu. Pakistan, a country ostensibly of meager significance, has found itself yet again into another predicament with the visit of her premier to Russia at the eleventh hour when Putin was about to unleash a war of terror on innocuous Ukrainians.

Firstly, we need to understand that the battles, in essence, are not a crusade of ideologies or values. Interests are the single most responsible factor of all the wars that have been fought in different time and space. Often we wonder why some lives matter the most while others are mere souls trapped in the flesh that carries weight to none. The history of the world is replete with examples where men and women, children and oldsters were slaughtered, massacred, and brutalized for the sake of their interests.

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As Beacon in one of his essays noted, humans are inherently selfish and self-centered; they always yearn to fulfill their interests irrespective of the price or dividends their outcome entails. Their prime motives always overpower their cost-benefit analysis. Many scholars have propounded the fact that the state is individual’s writ large. It imbibes all the characteristics that glorify individual’s interests in their personal domains. The current logjam between Russia and Ukraine and the response by the west in divided form is hallmark validation of this principle. Human rights, values, freedom, respect for sovereignty have always been relative terms. Their definition and application have been subjected to the whims and wishes of the powerful since the inception of life on this planet. The west popularly cherished the principles of liberalism and human values but vehemently and blatantly crucified people in every part of the world. The hubris and war casualties are reminiscent of those widely celebrated so-called values.

The US has chosen India to counter China and provided them with modern military equipment and tools to enhance their warfare abilities. On the other hand, the relationship between us and Pakistan was not symbiotic.

Digging deeper, the Russian enigma is full of surprises, twists, and turns. Its foreign policy, approach towards foreign nations, and diplomacy have nothing but a mystery riddled in many layers. Since the days of the Vikings and the Mongol invasion, Russia has faced the dilemma of having no strategic depth. As Henry Kissinger in his famous book the new world order asserted, “Since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year.” The only reason behind that was the Russian skepticism of being invaded by foreign elements, as it did happen in WW1 and wWW2. Therefore, they directed all resources and prowess to secure the eastern border by advancing in the east, which was supposed to be the most vulnerable side. The Crimean issue, the deliberate violation of pact signed with the US secretary of the state and NATO with Gorbachev, which assured no eastward expansion of NATO have intensified the situation on the ground and compelled Russia to take military action and secure its strategic interests without taking into account the ramifications of this glaring move.

The role of the US in dominating the world is ambiguous, flawed, and marred with inconsistent policy formulations. It has invaded countries whenever its leader wanted with utmost impunity. They wreaked havoc upon different countries till the rise of an alternative superpower in the form of china, which was a child of Americans’ game of tackling the fire with fire to halt the rise of Russia in the future after the deterioration of the USSR in 1989. The Washington-based think tanks and the establishment miscalculated the intensity of the situation, and as a result, in the post-2008 economic crisis, it faced grave repercussions. In the case of Ukraine, the US now and in the past has followed a principle policy of pursuing strategic interests. So, in that case, the west, in compliance with us, cannot be pardoned for the sins they have committed in the name of universal values and democracy.

Concomitantly, this conflict is full of lessons for all the third world countries and the countries of the world which are aligned with one country or another. As Hobbes put it: in a state of anarchy, always the mightiest rules. It is a universal rule that small states are merely scapegoats. The powerful use them to further their interests and accomplish them without considering the indigenous interests of the parent countries. Ukraine supported the aggression of Israel against Palestine to applause the US. It took part in the famous Iraq war. Its military murdered people of different ethnicities in broad daylight just for having ethnic affinities with a country that was deemed a foe. This all was done to appease a single government and a block and to be a part of them in US vs. them fierce. Now, they relinquished it and. left it with no option but to defend themselves in the face of augmenting Russian advancement by themselves. The other option is apparent and certainly appears more viable than the first one that is to submit to the wishes of Putin. Ukraine cannot withstand the Russian onslaught for so long, considering the superiority of Russia in almost all spheres. So, the cure to power is more power.

The role of Pakistan in present circumstances is undoubtedly full of concerns and surprises. All the academics vociferously criticized the visit of our premier at a time of the invasion with a view of more financial sanctions and dereliction by the west. But as we discussed earlier, the US is faithful and loyal to none. If that is the case, the visit was the right step because Pakistan has been trying to move away from being permanently aligned to one camp or another. The same was enunciated in the national security policy of Pakistan, which promised to usher in a new era of geo-economics over geo-strategic. The US has chosen India to counter China and provided them with modern military equipment and tools to enhance their warfare abilities. On the other hand, the relationship between us and Pakistan was not symbiotic. It was one-sided and marked with the geostrategic interest of the US. Therefore, the course adopted by Pakistan can be hazardous short. Still, eventually, it will make Pakistan a more assertive regional country because the forthcoming time is of regionalism.

Faysal Hayyat
Faysal Hayyat
The writer can be reached at [email protected]

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