War Ways Than One

There are numerous opinions out there about the war raging against Ukrainian cities. Some believe the west provoked Russia to a point of no return — I see no justification to recklessly punish so many innocent families, elderly and children. And Ukrainian citizens should have the free will to choose their own political destiny whether Putin agrees or not. The proposition by Russia to offer Ukrainians a safe corridor via Russia and Belarus is sadistic. 

It is incredible to sit back and watch Ukrainian cities get decimated, and yes I agree with Zelensky on his assertion that Russia will not stop here. It is incredible to think we will go backwards to a Cold War in this day and age. 

Putin is boxed into his own corner, a place I am sure he can manage and for the time being I cannot see any immediate ending. His only way out is to threaten European gas cuts, and the red alerts on the enemy. His principal focus is to occupy Ukraine and make it known he is a force not to be reckoned with. 

Furthermore, Ukraine is rich in natural resources, particularly in mineral deposits. It possesses the world’s largest reserves of commercial-grade iron ore and 30 billion tons of ore or around one-fifth of the global total. It’s also worth noting that Ukraine ranks second in terms of known natural gas reserves in Europe, which today remain largely untapped. Ukraine remains a sore spot for Russia’s control over an economical zone, a political hotbed, a place to let the global leaders it is Russian soil, and the west is not welcomed.

The idea of Russia getting away with occupying Crimea, on March 18 marks the sixth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Donbas, a conflict that has taken some 14,000 lives, but Moscow’s seizure of Crimea was the biggest land-grab in Europe since World War II. It proves it has arguably done as much or more damage to Europe’s post-Cold War security order.

Ukraine’s maidan Revolution ended in late February 2014, when President Victor Yanukovych fled Kyiv. He turned up in Russia and Ukraine’s parliament appointed an acting president and acting prime minister to take charge. They made clear their intention to draw Ukraine closer to Europe by signing an association agreement with the European Union.

Almost immediately thereafter, armed men began occupying key facilities and checkpoints on the Crimean peninsula. Clearly professional soldiers wore Russian combat fatigues but with no identifying insignia. Ukrainians called them “little green men” and President Vladimir Putin flatly denied these were Russian soldiers, only to later admit that they were and award commendations to their commanders.

This is the way it works in Europe, as Putin’s threats help him in raging war without the interference of the west or the 30-Nato members. I just wonder when and of the war which includes Belarus will spill over or get too close for comfort. Right now, we are still focused on Kyiv and if you look at the map, there are a long way to go to conquer the entire country. I ask myself at what point, and time will Putin use munitions of mass destruction, those types he has used in Syria. 

It is true Putin is now boxed in and isolated so he will focus on his alliance with China and India to maintain his vengeance against the west. These smells of war are real but a war of a different kind. If China decides it’s prudent to act on their endeavors to take more control the south sea and Taiwan the shit hits the fan.  Never forget, a sense of history unites the leaders. Both see a world order being reshaped by American weariness and self-doubt, creating chances to test and divide the democratic West. 

If this should happen, we face global some dire consequences and the probability remains low, yet it is in the horizon if China’s government considers this an opportunity. The war over oil persists and doesn’t go away and the great divide has taken place. Short of a miracle we are going to live in some state of fear for the coming years in Europe, a fear of economic war and otherwise. It starts with threats by diverting energy away from European households further deepens the crisis. 

But this is about more than just moving borders, or oil, and both President Xi Jinping’s silk road coupled with a bonded Russia has sped up China’s advance toward becoming a superpower of the seas. Spreading not just commercial ships but naval power and influence to more and more areas of the world.

After we lived Covid shock waves, sadly we are still dependent on Chinese production, and likewise. The Chinese are controlling European economics by partnerships and when does this become a threat. The economic importance and stability in the Chinese economy is of utmost importance to China’s leadership. They still continue to invest on European soil taking advantage of the crisis, and last year a controlled Chinese government company bought a stake Norwegian Air, a troubled airline, it was just the kind of opportunistic acquisition. In 2010, the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Co., known as COSCO, started buying stakes in the port of Piraeus and six years later, the company controlled the port.  They now own 13 major ports in partnership or alone and they are well covered in infrastructure.

Yes, I am doubtful Covid’s pandemic has impacted Chinese business channels after 2 years of global slowdown, China is increasingly improving. I am not cynical, but I watched the shift of European luxury goods from European stores to European retailers located in China. Luckily China is focusing on economic woes and not economical wars, yet they annex countries when possible and are perpetrators of hate crimes.

I always thought the global pandemic shift would turn into a nightmare of economic proportions yet we haven’t yet seen the economic outcome just yet. The debts carried forward are not of any immediate concern as things resume to the new normal. But we shouldn’t ignore the economical dependence we have on China, as it still plays an important role in determining the outcome. 

We are all sitting by the sidelines and waiting, trying to defer and find a good sound reason to stop the war. It can and will happen if the shift of tides begins to turn in favour of Putin. What do we actually expect from a leader who threatens to use nuclear armament Annex is the neighbour and ignores the west and the importance of having stability. He is clearly the type of person who in a desperate moment will act desperate and spiteful.

The Europeans are united yet culturally separated and perhaps Brexit is now positive for Britain given they can act indpedenatly against Russia as a member outside the union. I am not in favour of Brexit yet I start to see the small positives, and I mean small.

The question remains whether or not Putin is capable of using nuclear armaments, and if he could cripple all of Europe with firing ballistic missiles. Defense systems to proliferate any attacks remain untested, and no doubt any nuclear threats simply scares the pants off of anyone. In the meantime all European forces are focussed on both preventing and protecting themselves against such threats. Inevitably if Russia would use any nuclear weapons it would create immediate and permanent consequences. 

Now add into the mix China and potentially India and North Korea. As I see it, we can sit back and watch the war, and assume the worst. I cannot see Russia stopping, and Ukrainians will do their best to defend their country until the bitter end.

It is true that Crimea in 2014 had an ethnic Russian majority of about 60 percent, the only part of Ukraine where ethnic Russians constituted the majority. But it is equally true that, when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, the resulting independent states recognized one another in their then-existing borders. Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine violated, among other agreements, the UN Charter, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances for Ukraine and the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia.

The Ukrainian conflicts will deepen the hatred towards Russia and this deepens the crisis and we go back to a time when trust is completely lost. The point of no return, and we are all in it together by the actions of one single leader. We saw it with Hitler, and now we see it with Putin, a man who loves money and power, and the fact he can cripple the west onto their knees in a one fell swoop.

If western allies provide too much support on the sidelines, a time will come where Putin’s arm will reach further and we all face what we all wish to think as impossible. I worry not only for Ukrainians but for everyone those people who find themselves under the leadership of a maniacal, narcissist dictator and the leader of a new wave of international terrorism.

I sit here and I really ask myself the single most important question and it’s not about oil it’s more about borders in control over territory. Is the endgame with Russia a Chinese chess play where they focus on Asia and assuming more territory including addressing their neighbours of importance Japan and Taiwan.

Are the Chinese crazy enough to consider this as an option— time will tell so hold on for a rough ride.