Reflecting on Ukraine Issue: One Year After

The war opposing Ukraine and Russia has been raging for a year and as in any war, the biggest casualty is not only the truth, but also the global economy. It’s also hard to fathom what impact an armed conflagration of such magnitude can have on warring nations, particularly on the rights and freedoms of their citizens as the war escalates, and on the global community.

The conflict so far has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides and displaced more than 8 million Ukrainians. While the refugees were well received by Western nations in comparison to other refugees influx caused for example by the United States and United Kingdom wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, the number of dead or injured are under reported.

Reflecting on what transpires from the concocted news we are served on daily, it’s hard to resist the simplistic view of a bully nation invading a weaker sovereign nation. The countries that have been dominating global narrative on war and peace and on what is right or wrong, have this time lost their credibility.

The biggest bully nation on this planet is not Russia despite their “special operation” in Ukraine. Russia is not the Soviet Union or, before that, the Russian Empire but has inherited a lot of their legacies. The historical ebb and flow of expansion have left the region deeply interconnected and overlapping fault lines abound all over the regions.

Three decades ago, like Ukraine, Russia emerged from the collapse of the USSR ruined and deeply scarred. As much as Ukraine fears an overpowering neighbor who has inherited the Soviet nuclear arsenal, Russia fears a Cold War victorious NATO and its uncontrollable eastward push that it sees as an existential threat.

There is no doubt that the United States of America, the undisputed leader in the Western Hemisphere, used this fear of a subdued and threatening Russia to set the stage for what happened to Ukraine after the 24 February 2022 and gain even more NATO memberships.

In its hegemonic push towards the East, the United States and the European Union slowly swallowed much of the Eastern Europe covered by the Warsaw Pact. Even though, they took an early bite of the Soviet Union territories by integrating the Baltic regions, they stumbled on Ukraine when Viktor Yanukovych refused the EU membership trap. The so-called Maiden Revolution was in fact a NATO-led coup which triggered the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Putin reacted by creating some kind of buffer zone, populated by Russian-speaking Ukrainians, which led to the Minsk Accord. But Western powers and the government they installed in Kiev were never meant to honor the agreement. In the contrary, NATO was slowly rearming Ukraine to bring back the renegade Donbas region into its fold.

Ukraine lost Crimea in 2014 due to misguided decisions received from NATO and its confrontational stance towards Russia. Western reaction to annexation ended in short-lived outcry and gesticulation, as Europe still needed Russian resources while the arming of Ukrainian forces continued.

This current war, however, could have been averted if Russia’s concerns had been taken seriously by NATO. Moscow has found itself cornered by the steady NATO encirclement, the rise of armed anti-Russian neo-Nazis and a constellation of US bioweapons labs on its doorstep. Ukraine was becoming a NATO forward operating base unbeknownst to the Ukrainian people.

Moreover, the failure to comply with the Minsk Accords, which granted greater autonomy to the Russian-speaking region of Ukraine, led to the current clash. In fact, Ukraine never intended to honor the agreement, but used it as a reprieve to fight another day.

Now, even if Ukraine does not forfeit, it will emerge from this war completely ruined, but European countries that once benefited greatly from cheap Russian natural gas and are now betting on Russia’s defeat will be too.

The US-led NATO pressured the Europeans to compromise their economy and turn their backs on social gains to sustain the war machine. The United States resorted to terrorism and sabotage of a major gas supply route like the Nord Stream Pipeline to force Germany to comply with its dictate to cut off gas supplies to Russia.

In addition to energy rationing which exposed the vulnerability of “old Europe” to winter cold, the grain and fertilizer crises have revealed the extent to which Europe suffers from food insecurity.

The world has suddenly woke up to a Europe that is hungry and cold. Food insecurity, high inflation and uncertainty, among others ills born of war, have prompted widespread street protests in many American and European capitals.

The rate of discontent among populations whose countries are financing the war has seen recruitment by various extremist groups accelerated. The anti-war camp is however still struggling to gain momentum but that could change in the coming weeks.

The US itself is in its last leg and is feeling the pinch of its ill-fated trigger-happy sanctions regime against Russia. While the US economy is less dependent on Russian oil and gas, its economy still lags behind China, and soaring US national debt means the country is dangerously living beyond its means.

With more than $113 billion spent on Ukraine so far, many Americans are rightly wondering why Joe Biden, and by extension the US deep state, is so hell-bent on investing so much in this conflict far from home.

NATO, which remains the only offensive alliance on the planet, continues to expand to include Sweden and Finland, which are also plagued by the same fear of Russia as Ukraine and the Bucharest Nine countries.

Increasingly sophisticated war equipment and “volunteers” are pouring into Ukraine making any negotiated settlement a remote possibility. Now, with only weeks, if not days, away from NATO troops openly joining the war, the rest of the world is shocked at the folly of plunging the planet into another disastrous western war, atomic or not, with global ramifications.

AbdiQani Badar

AbdiQani Badar is a historian, political commentator and avid writer. He has written extensively on Somali issues and historical events.