Ukraine War- United States, Europe and Nato

Ukraine War- United States, Europe and Nato

The US, the culprit of the Ukraine crisis, has long created crises and took advantage of others’ misfortune to maintain its hegemony. It hopes to use the Ukraine crisis, which has lasted for over a month, to drag Russia down, reap economic and political benefits, and prevent Europe from pursuing strategic autonomy, so as to consolidate the US hegemony. But with the discussion of the far-reaching impact of this crisis going deeper, it’s increasingly believed the Russia-Ukraine conflicts actually serve as a catalyst for the burial of American hegemony.

Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host, wrote in Washington Post in last March that the Russia-Ukraine war « marks the beginning of a post-America era, » meaning « the Pax Americana of the past three decades is over. » His argument holds water. Signs are plenty, from leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have depended on Washington for their security for decades, declining to arrange calls with US President Joe Biden, to India, a key partner that the US seeks to woo, refusing to follow the US’ lead in condemning and sanctioning Russia despite repeated warnings from Washington.

In fact, the U.S. is leading a new coalition of “nations of good will” as the goal expands from supporting Ukraine to weakening Russia and outlasting Putin.

America has crossed a threshold in Ukraine, both in its short-term involvement and its long-term intent. The U.S. was initially cautious during the fall and winter 2021 as Russia, a nuclear country with veto power at the U.N. Security Council, amassed more than a hundred and fifty thousand troops along the Ukrainian border. It didn’t want to poke the Russian bear—or provoke Vladimir Putin personally. Two days after long convoys of Russian tanks rolled across the border, on February 24th, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, still claimed that America’s goal—backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid—was simply to stand behind the Ukrainian people. The White House sanctioned Russia—initially targeting a few banks, oligarchs, political élites, government-owned enterprises, and Putin’s own family—to pressure the Russian leader to put his troops back in their box, without resorting to military intervention. “Direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War Three, something we must strive to prevent,” President Joe Biden said, in last March 2022.

Yet in just over few weeks, the conflict has rapidly evolved into a full proxy war with Russia, with global ramifications. U.S. officials now frame America’s role in more ambitious terms that border on aggressive. The goal—backed by tens of billions of dollars in aid—is to “weaken” Russia and insure a sovereign Ukraine outlasts Putin. “Throughout our history, we’ve learned that when dictators do not pay the price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and engage in more aggression,” the President told reporters on last march. “They keep moving. And the costs, the threats to America and the world, keep rising.”

Having basically run out of appropriated funds, Biden has asked Congress for thirty-three billion dollars—for new military, economic, and humanitarian support—in the latest of several packages for Ukraine. “The cost of this fight is not cheap,” the President acknowledged. The new aid is about half the size of the entire Russian defense budget—and also more than half of the U.S. State Department’s annual budget. Over the next five months, U.S. aid to Ukraine will average more than two hundred million dollars a day. The investment, Biden said, was a small price “to lessen the risk of future conflicts” with Russia.

Joe Biden’s $33 Billion Request for Ukrainian Aid – and Larger War Policy – Carries Hidden Risks for America’s Economic and National Security.

It doesn’t take much analysis to realize this Ukrainian package includes a lot of negatives for the United States – and the chances are a lot lower of accomplishing even the stated intent of helping Ukraine win its war than many realize.

In fact, providing tanks, armored infantry carriers, and artillery cannons to Ukraine is unlikely to make a decisive difference in the ongoing Battle of Donbas. Issues of training, logistics, and the ability to maintain the hastily procured gear will constrain their tactical effectiveness.

Secondly, trying to graft a hodge-podge of Soviet and Western military gear onto an army that is already in the fight of its life against a well-armed opponent is enormously difficult.

The best that can be hoped for – though far from guaranteed – is that eventually, the West is able to saturate Ukraine with so many heavy weapons and ammunition that the volume alone becomes more than the Russians can defeat, resulting in a stalemate, likely somewhere between the current frontlines of the Donbas and Kyiv.

That still won’t provide a capability to drive Russia out of Ukraine, however; only to stop Putin’s army from driving any further West. Before anyone celebrates such an outcome, it is crucial to understand the end state of such a condition: turning Ukraine into a European version of the Syrian or Yemen civil wars.

Creating a stalemate somewhere in central Ukraine will ensure the country remains hopelessly divided for the foreseeable future. Zelensky’s troops will continue being killed and wounded at some reduced but sustained rate, Ukrainian cities will continue to be slowly destroyed by rocket, artillery, and missile fire, and the population of the entire country will be suspended in a state of war, unable to rebuild or resume normal lives.

For Putin, the war in Ukraine always seemed to be, at least in part, a proxy fight with NATO and its U.S. leadership. Ahead of his invasion, he publicly expressed deep paranoia about the military alliance and its further expansion into countries once aligned with the Soviet Union. He also brokered a five-thousand-word agreement with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to form a de-facto alliance of “authoritarian regimes”. They jointly opposed NATO enlargement.

Biden tried to resist that framing. At the start of the invasion, the U.S. invoked the principles of sovereignty, a democratically elected government, and territorial integrity. During the past week, however, Ukraine’s existential crisis has increasingly appeared to be America’s war, too. On April 24th, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin took a train with blacked-out windows into Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and symbolically reinforce American support. The stealthy trip reflected the increasingly ambitious U.S. goal. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin told reporters, near the border in Poland. Blinken said, “We don’t know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene.”

For Putin, the military operations launched spelled the end of an epoch in the state of global affairs. Its impact will be felt in the coming years, and Moscow has positioned itself as an « agent of cardinal change for the whole world. » It remains to be seen what fundamental changes and far-reaching impact the Russia-Ukraine crisis will bring. But one certain thing is that with the East rising and the West falling, the existing international order has already started to change. The Russia-Ukraine conflict, in some sense, has accelerated the decline of US hegemony and the evolution of the world pattern, and has subverted the old older. The era in which the US can dictate how global affairs evolve has come to an end. A series of US-dominated institutional arrangements, including the dollar hegemony, are inevitably declining.

It should be the policy of the United States to end the war as soon as possible, not to see it drag out as long as possible. Laying the foundation for perpetuating the war would increase the suffering of the population while providing no path to conflict resolution. It would continue significant upward pressure on global oil prices, food prices, and increase the risk for the entire Western world of a severe recession – or if carried far enough, a depression.

It is time for a change of course. The U.S., European, and NATO leaders would be doing their own citizenry a favor and ultimately helping save Ukrainian lives if they put at least as much emphasis and effort in ending the war as they have in extending it. It is understandable that many detest Putin and desire to see him harmed. But it would be foolish – and dangerous to our way of life – to seek to degrade Russia in a way that causes damage to our own interests.