The Complex Web from Ukraine to the Pacific Rim

The USA is the key

The war in Ukraine has been going on for almost two years. People are talking about the possibility of a peace deal, but fighting is still happening. In the Middle East, there’s a bitter and intense war between Hamas and Israel that has been happening for about a month. There’s also talk about Serbia getting ready for war. Back in 1998-1999, Serbia and Kosovo had a really violent war, and the USA and NATO supported Kosovo, even bombing Serbia. I hope the information I’ve heard is wrong, but I’m worried that this could lead to more conflict beyond the Balkans.

In the Philippines, China has been causing trouble, and Japan is publicly saying it’ll help the Philippines defend itself by sending warships if China attacks. Japan is also working more closely with Malaysia. Meanwhile, China and India have been having an on-and-off border war. Japan told India that they’re ready to offer some support. China is going through economic difficulties, and even though some people think they have a strong navy, I don’t believe it’s as powerful as they say. Japan’s decision to challenge China, with US support, is a big change for Japan in the Western Pacific, and China might have a hard time dealing with that. China’s economic troubles are also making its government weaker.

Turkey is getting involved politically in Central Asia, an area that really matters to Russia. This could lead to a dangerous situation. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s influence there rapidly declined. Nearby Azerbaijan’s effective victory in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, with Turkish military support, also shifted the regional balance.

With Turkey’s rise as a regional power, Erdogan has moved to capitalize on these geopolitical shifts to expand Ankara’s influence in Central Asia. He has championed the idea of a “Turkic world” bound by historical, religious and cultural ties. Turkey is trying to be more involved globally, and this is reflected in its actions concerning Afghanistan, the Syrian refugee crisis, and its role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Recently, Turkey has been mediating peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, helping with Ukrainian grain release efforts, and assisting in a prisoner swap between the two countries.

Turkey is also looking to play a bigger role in Central Asia and China, aiming to create new trade routes that don’t rely on Russia. This move is influenced by Turkey’s own energy needs and its efforts to connect culturally and economically with the region.

The USA might be part of this complicated situation. Some people think the USA should get more involved in wars, even if they’re not directly related to us. The USA is a major global power, with the biggest economy and military, so it’s connected to a lot of countries, either through money or military alliances. Having choices is an advantage, but like Britain and Rome in the past, the USA needs to choose carefully where to get involved. 

With Russia at war with Ukraine, Turkey is strengthening its global ambitions and foreign policy goals, positioning itself as a key link between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This could bring new trade opportunities and better regional connectivity for Central Asian countries.

Turkey’s involvement also opens up access to European and global markets for these countries and China, without relying on Russia. However, the increased use of drones by Turkey might lead to conflicts between Central Asian countries, especially Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In the larger picture, Turkey is striving for more geopolitical power on the world stage. Erdogan, Turkey’s leader has stated that the country can and wants to pursue foreign policy goals that align with its own interests, rather than just those of NATO. However, it remains to be seen how successful Turkey will be in achieving these objectives.

The tensions in Southeast Asia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia don’t seem to be connected in any big way. Unlike World War II, where countries were linked by common interests, the current situation doesn’t show a clear connection between the different wars and potential conflicts.

It seems unlikely that there will be a huge global war, but it’s puzzling why there are so many ongoing and possible conflicts without a common cause. It could mean that nothing major is really happening, and the idea of disagreements turning into wars might not be true.

But there are always questions one can’t answer. Why are the Japanese talking tough at the same time as the Palestinians and Israelis are at war, and the Balkan states are on edge? It’s not just that there are war situations; it’s that they’re happening at the same time.

The USA might be part of this complicated situation. Some people think the USA should get more involved in wars, even if they’re not directly related to us. The USA is a major global power, with the biggest economy and military, so it’s connected to a lot of countries, either through money or military alliances. Having choices is an advantage, but like Britain and Rome in the past, the USA needs to choose carefully where to get involved. The USA played a big role in World War II, the Balkans, the creation of Israel, and the shaping of Ukraine. As we look at all these wars and possible wars, the USA is deeply involved in many ways.

The one country I didn’t mention in the list is the USA, and it might get dragged into wars without much time to think. Historians will probably have to figure that out later. Right now, it’s worried about whether its trusted friends really know what they’re talking about. Most of the time, rumored wars don’t actually happen.

Dr Muhammad Akram Zaheer
Dr Muhammad Akram Zaheer
The writer has a PhD in Political Science and can be reached at [email protected]

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