Russia-Ukraine War: Is The World Witnessing Another ‘Cold War’ Era?
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
Of course, it was true, which is hard to believe. We have been hearing about the first and second world wars and how they were fought, because we never had a chance to witness any of them. Nevertheless, in what appears to be akin to a recipe for the third world war, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin had in Late February authorized a ‘special military operation’ against the neighboring country, Ukraine. This is to press home his demands about Russia’s refusal to allow Ukraine join the United States and European military alliance, known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO.
The Russian forces have so far invaded the country, seized many cities, strategic institutions and facilities that are very crucial to Ukraine as a corporate nation. Alas, a lot of people have been killed, wounded while a host of others were sent packing as refugees around the border of neighboring countries. The situation has really led to a critical emergency response as the UN stated that more than 3million Ukrainians have currently plunged into deep humanitarian crises and are in dire need of assistance.
Prior to the beginning of the war, the Russian Federation had for months stationed a large number of troops around the Ukraine border as a precautionary measure for any attempt by the NATO forces to establish their presence in Ukraine. A lot of efforts have been made through mediation by international organizations to avert this unfortunate experience, but no light was found at the end of the tunnel.
This is due to the obsession of the Ukraine President, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky obsession to join forces with NATO as well as the latter’s long term ambition to also expand their geographical reach downward the eastern Europe so as to establish proximity to Russia by creating a military base in an ally country, specifically the presently war-torn Ukraine.
A lot of pundits, which I shared the same view with, argued that Zelensky was thoughtless to have engaged his country into war with Russia, a fight which he knows clearly that he never stood a chance of winning due to superior military spirits of Russia. Because, the Russian military forces put at 1,014,000 with reserve forces of 2,000,000 are five times greater than Ukrainian military forces of 200,000 and reservists of 500,000. Thus, it is obvious that the latter is no match for the former.
Even though I wasn’t born, from what I have read in history, the present Ukrainian situation is just a replica of the olden days ‘cold war’ between the two world ‘super powers’ i.e. the defunct Soviet Union (presently Russia) and the United State of America. It is obvious that they are now fighting a proxy war thereby using Ukraine as a battle ground to flex their muscles and showcase their military prowess.
Let me flash our memories a little back to the era of cold war for the purpose of adequate comprehension of this article.
After the Second World War ended with the defeat of Germany, Japan and Italy in the hands of the alliance comprising mainly Great Britain, Soviet Russia and the USA. The United States with its economic wealth and military strength, no doubt, made a matchless contribution to the victory in the War and it was felt that its strengths and leadership would be needed to maintain peace in the post-War world, too. Having contributed significantly to the victory in the war, Soviet Russia was not to be sidelined; the country claimed equal say in deciding on European problems.
Nevertheless, not so long after this gentlemen’s agreement, the US and the Soviet Union developed differences about working together for the peace and stability of Europe. There were political and ideological reasons for these differences. The US practiced and preached ‘democracy’ and ‘free market’ enterprise as the desirable model of governance, while the Soviet Union believed and practiced governance by a single (communist) party and of state-controlled economy.
These differences led to feelings of one being threatened by the other. So began the bipolar phase in the world order immediately after the War. The United States and the Soviet Union stood out as two opposite poles around which, to begin with, European politics revolved. While the countries of Western Europe joined hands with the US and called themselves the “Free World”, countries of Eastern Europe became part of the Socialist camp led by the Soviet Union. These two leading countries of rival camps were clubbed under the exclusive, new category of “super powers”.
Relations between East and West were never cordial. Short of going to war directly, the two camps indulged constantly in political and military competition. This state of affairs was widely called the “Cold War”. The Cold War was marked by a great deal of competition in forming military alliances, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO).
NATO was formed in 1949 with the United States, Canada and 10 countries in Western Europe including Belgium, Britain, Netherlands, West Germany, France etc. The Soviet Union then cleverly offered to join the alliance, but NATO turned down the offer because NATO’s real purpose was to stop the spread of the Soviet influence and ideology.
As a result, the Soviet Union set up in 1955 its own military grouping, the WTO with its allies in Eastern Europe to counter NATO. The original members are; Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.
However, the Soviet Union broke up into the Russian Federation and 14 other Republics in 1991 and the WTO was equally disbanded. All these new states abandoned socialism and embraced Western ideology of ‘democracy’ and ‘free market economy’. For example, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO on March 12 March 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia joined in March 2004 and Albania joined on 1 April 2009.
It was regarded as a grand victory for the US as it has recorded victory in the Cold War and it became an object of both admiration and fear. The US became the single remaining super power with the fall of socialism and breakup of the Soviet Union
So going back to our previous discussion, it is obviously simple to understand why Russia invaded Ukraine all of sudden. It is apparent that NATO-US would have the right to establish a military base in Ukraine soil immediately when it joins the alliance. And this gives them proximity to Russia, which is one of the vicious thorns in their flesh.
It can be recalled that the US invaded Cuba in 1961 because the Soviet wanted to build a military base in that country. Cuba is a few miles away from the US and the latter felt threatened by the Russian presence back then. So why should NATO and the US now build a military base in Ukraine which is also a few miles away from Moscow, the capital city of Russia? Putin is not stupid. He clearly knows that the moment NATO/US enters Ukraine and establishes a military base, then Russia is vulnerable to attack anytime.
Additionally, NATO and US breached the 1990 treaty which prevented NATO and US from expanding eastwards of Europe from the then East Germany. As of today, NATO establishes its presence almost everywhere in eastern Europe including Croatia, Poland and other places that are closer to Russia. Thus, getting closer to Russia means NATO and US missiles can strike Moscow very quickly without wasting time.
Over the years, as a result of their vested interests, US-NATO forces have been playing a vital role in creating tensions among various countries in the world. Recall that in 2011, NATO and French forces ransacked Libya and killed Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi of blessed memory. Libya that used to be a prosperous nation has now reduced to a poverty and war-ravaged country in Africa.
Also, US single-handedly invaded Iraq in 1990, bombed the country and also killed Saddam Hussein, the President. America claimed to have acted on ‘credible intelligence’ which turned out to be false, saying that Iraq had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction and up to now, none of such was found. Today Iraq lies in ruins with no sober government.
Additionally, they also pounded on Syria and nearly overthrew its President, Bashar Al-Asaad if not because of Russia’s intervention. For over decade, Syria has been shattered and turned to safe haven, swarmed by criminal elements including terrorists.
As of today, Afghanistan that used to be a peaceful nation has now become stateless after so many years of war occasioned by the presence of the US after the Russians have left. Today Afghanistan is a total mess.
As it stands now, US and NATO have started sending military logistics to allied nations which will apparently sneak their way into Ukraine. This is dangerous and it might prove the assertion by Russia that NATO and US wants to enter Ukraine so that it can launch attacks on Russian soil.
Believe me, when this happens, those staunch allies to Russia including China, India, Syria, Iran, the defiant boy of North Korea and others will surely waste no time in coming to its aid. In fact, North Korea has already started testing ballistic missiles and would be ready to shell her close rival and US ally, South Korea at the glimpse of an opportunity.
So, is the Third World War knocking on our doors?
Honestly, US and NATO unwarranted activities should be checked, if not, they might wake up one day and decide to replace the government of any country they deem fit with another.
Meanwhile NATO and US should cast aside their greediness of expanding eastward of Europe, especially toward Russia as a mark of respect for the treaty they signed earlier on that regard.
To the inexperienced Zelensky of Ukraine, who allowed himself to be brainwashed by turning his country into a battlefield for NATO/US and Russian forces, the earlier he shelves his interest in joining that military alliance, the better for him and his country as he never stands a chance of emerging victorious against Russia.
Because, none of NATO/US forces will engage in direct physical confrontations with fully nuclear missiles armed Russia as a result of the known consequences that might accompany such recklessness.