The report of the NATO Military Committee came to the meeting of the foreign ministers of NATO countries during the meeting held from 1-2 December 2020, entitled: “NATO Reform Report until 2030”, through which about (138 recommendations to be implemented within ten years), including considering Russia as the biggest opponent of NATO during the next ten years, and the fear of “China’s rise as a major challenge to NATO members”. Therefore, the “NATO reform report” recommended for “the establishment of an advisory body to NATO to coordinate Western policies towards China”.
This report issued by NATO to set public recommendations to “curb China’s rise and influence”, has angered China, and made it respond in practice by taking “escalation security and military measures, considering that Washington is the reason behind the NATO report in confronting it”. The Egyptian researcher here will try to summarize the most prominent Chinese defenses. The new security, defense and military, whether before or after the “NATO reform report until 2030”, as follows:
China considered for the first time in the NATO’s report as “China has been officially included in a report issued by NATO), while identifying the Chinese threat and growing Chinese influence in Europe and the world, as the “strategic concept” that should be focused on, in the “NATO Reform Report within 10 years from the date of its release” in December 2020 to 2030.
The important point for the Chinese here is to ask about the main purpose of the “NATO 2030” reform report, and is the focus on building the future of NATO related only to the threat to China? The Chinese response came, saying: “The last official “strategic concept of NATO” has been written at the end of 2020, more than 10 years ago, i.e. around 2010, at which time China was not mentioned or referred to at all.
The Chinese accusation of the United States of America being behind the “NATO Reform 2030 report”, and the proof of this is: The proposal of the administration of former US President “Barack Obama” for a strategy of “rebalancing the Asia-Pacific region without focusing on the Chinese threat or confronting China’s policies”, which is the opposite of the incident now and Washington’s attempt to “shift the geopolitical focus to China”, with the US official claim to openly view China, as an “enemy”, while the truth of this, according to the Chinese, is “the inability of the United States of America to compete with China in the economic, technological and military fields”.
The Chinese did not fail to focus on “the uselessness of NATO from the ground up”, through the reference in Chinese reports, that:
“The “NATO 2030 Report” was issued at a time when the importance of NATO’s existence is increasingly being questioned, with French President Emmanuel Macron asserting in a public statement in 2019, that NATO is suffering from “mental death”, due to a lack of strategic coordination among its members, as well as On American hegemony over most of his decisions”
The well-known Chinese Professor, “Zhang Jian”, Assistant Dean of “China Institute of Modern International Relations”, and Director of the European Institute in Beijing, commented that:
“The nature of NATO determines that it does not comply with the requirements of peaceful development in the world today, in contrast to the concepts advocated by China globally, such as the concept of win-win cooperation, which enjoys popular support in the Asia-Pacific region, while NATO failed to achieve any consensus for its policies”
China responded to those (American attempts to create a copy of NATO near its areas of influence), and Chinese criticism came publicly for any attempt by NATO to create a “copy of NATO in the heart of Asia and the Pacific”, because that is not possible in the future. Chinese official reports stated that:
“If NATO expands by force to include the Asia-Pacific region, then it will no longer be NATO in the traditional sense of the alliance, and it will become more complex, loose, virtual, and politicized”
Chinese media reports, as well as all official Chinese responses, refuted that:
“The intention of NATO to treat China as an enemy, or even as a potential competitor and an imaginary enemy, will inevitably lead to an increase in regional tensions”
The Chinese response to Washington and the West’s criticism of it was that “China has chosen the path of peace and development initiatives for the benefit of the peoples and the world, not confrontation”, and the published Chinese newspapers issued at Beijing, emphasizing:
“Peace and development is still the dominant trend in the world, but peace and stability also depends on strength. Here, China must maintain strategic determination, adhere to the path of peaceful development, and avoid walking towards a direction led by others, and at the same time, we must be ready in China to protect our legitimate rights and fundamental interests”
The first official move by (the official Chinese mission to the European Union in Brussels) to respond to the NATO report by classifying it as an enemy, came China’s reaction to classifying it as a strategic challenge to NATO, as China was quick to direct accusations to NATO countries, and affirmed that:
“North Atlantic countries adopt the mentality of the “Cold War and the politics of bloc”
China has publicly defined its security, defense and military priorities without fear during the coming period, emphasizing the following:
“China is committed to a military policy of a defensive nature and seeks defense and military modernization as a reasonable, open and transparent justification, so China calls on all NATO countries to stop exaggerating the Chinese threat theory”
An official statement published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing also stated that it did not understand the matter, and accused NATO of applying “double standards”, in terms of asking NATO member states to increase their military spending. However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement noted explicitly that:
“If China is being criticized for its military spending that does not exceed 1.3 percent of its GDP, then China does not represent a systematic challenge to anyone, and it is determined to protect its sovereignty, security and development interests”
The “Beijing News” newspaper of the Communist Party of China published in its report on June 16, 2021, an opinion article published in which it said:
“Chinese propaganda apparatuses accompanied Joe Biden’s trip to Europe with a message now known, relating to the alleged defeat of the West and the rise of the East. In an opinion piece in the Chinese newspaper, a prominent Chinese sociologist described the G7 as “the beginning of the downfall of Western power”
In general, China continued its readiness in its areas of interest and influence to confront the United States of America and its intention to provoke China there. American tensions and its naval presence under the pretext of protecting the interests of its allies in the countries bordering this vital and strategic maritime region.
Chinese government newspapers reported that (the Chinese Air Force sent for the first time long-range bombers, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, at an air base airport in the South China Sea), in response to China’s expanding US claims to take care of the interests of its Asian allies, such as: (Japan and South Korea), and others about the disputed area.
What is new in the matter is (Chinese newspapers directly refer to the Chinese power, indirectly referring to the United States of America with the Chinese readiness towards its movements), and this is what the official “China Daily” newspaper mentioned, in a report, about:
“The Chinese Air Force has conducted take-off and landing exercises, with an H-36K bomber, in the South China Sea”
However, despite the American mobilization attempt against China, criticism has become directed at NATO itself, and it has been likened to the phrase that “NATO is in a state similar to clinical death”, as French President “Emmanuel Macron”, described it, due to the retreat of the United States about its leadership role, its dedication to its conflict with China, and its attempt to mobilize countries with it.
Where the United States of America caused a state of division within “NATO”, considering Russia as a prominent opponent of NATO, and considering the threat of the Chinese threat to be getting stronger at all levels, and describing China as (the new opponent of the NATO military alliance).
Therefore, French President “Macron” called for the necessity of (NATO to move away from the vows of the Cold War with Russia and China), with his clear call to NATO, that:
“Efforts should focus more on combating terrorism, which has become a troubling security challenge for the entire world, especially with former President Trump making a shift in the relationship with Russia by withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement, accusing Moscow of violating the terms of what was agreed upon”
In a new American attempt to mobilize the capabilities of “NATO” against China, and to call for the necessity of dealing with Beijing, the statements of German Foreign Minister “Heiko Maas” came in April of 2019, stating:
“China will become the main point on both sides of the Atlantic during the twenty-first century, and the danger of China will be a challenge in all aspects, and therefore it is important to understand things well to understand what the situation requires from NATO”
In the latest statements of NATO Secretary General “Jens Stoltenberg”, he said:
“Beijing is dragging the global balance of power to a new formula, and that this fact presents some opportunities for decision-makers in the West, but it is not without challenges, and that NATO does not intend to go to the South China Sea, but it must realize that China is becoming “closer and closer”. In view of the huge investments it is pumping into the infrastructure level for its “Belt and Road” initiative”
NATO Secretary General “Jens Stoltenberg” was not satisfied with his previous statements against China, but also warned against the growth of its power in large parts of the world. That’s meaning: “China did not intervene militarily in other countries”. Hence, the matter is just a repetition of the same American accusations against Beijing, with Stoltenberg’s assertion:
“The large Chinese presence in Africa and the North Pole of land and cyber competition, and that China has become the owner of the second largest defense budget in the world. This would appeal to Trump, who presents himself as the Western official who understood the power of Beijing and took the initiative to reduce it”
The United States of America is issuing continuous warnings to confront Chinese influence and distrust of Beijing’s growing capabilities in European countries, and the administration of President “Joe Biden” has issued an explicit call to European countries to “show resistance to China’s investments in the digital sector, especially in the “fifth network Communications generation”, where Washington accuses Chinese companies such as “Huawei” of spying, while China is denying. This confirms my earlier notion that Washington plays a “dual role” within NATO, mixing the economic with the military and the political in relation to China.
As for the Chinese response, China has announced several times that it is well aware of what is being planned within NATO, led by Washington, and the Chinese government newspaper, “Global Times”, which is published in English in China, published a report in which it confirmed:
“China believes that European countries have two options, either blindly following the United States of America, or continuing to cooperate with Beijing despite the American warning. You can bear the losses and consequences if you decide to close the door to Chinese 5G technology”
At the end of 2015, China issued (a new anti-terror law that for the first time legalizes sending Chinese troops on combat missions abroad without a UN mandate). While, the Chinese President “Xi Jinping” pledged:
“By 2049, China will turn into a world leading country, in terms of complex national forces and broad international influence, and China will work to build a stable international order, through which the Chinese recovery can be renewed at all levels and areas of importance”
With the increase in (the intensity of military and naval tensions between Taiwan and China), due to the US support for Taiwan in the face of China, which reached its climax after (the United States imposed several sanctions on the Chinese army under the pretext of interfering in Taiwan affairs), as well as with the expansion of the scope of Chinese military operations. In the Taiwan Strait, in rejection of US secession and intervention demands, in addition to the trade war between Washington and Beijing, additionally “Taiwan and China’s strengthening of their military positions in the South China Sea”, with Washington’s assistance to the Taiwan side in confronting China.
China is trying to counter the American influence in the Taiwan Strait, Beijing intensified military and diplomatic pressure, and (carried out air and naval exercises around the island, and persuaded some regions that support Taiwan to stop doing so). But, with the increase of US support for Taiwan, Beijing considers it a province in rebellion against the authority of the People’s Republic of China warned Taiwan, as it “should not enjoy any kind of independence”. This prompted Chinese President “Xi Jinping” to emphasize in most of his political speeches since the advent of US President “Biden”, stressing:
“The two parties – in reference to China and Taiwan – represent part of the Chinese family, and that the demands for Taiwan’s independence were an opposite current to history with no future ahead”
Through the previous analysis of the Egyptian researcher, it is noted the extent to which China has shown a new, more assertive foreign policy towards the United States of America and its security allies, mainly in the “NATO”, which coincided with the call of the Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping”, to adopt a policy of “seeking to achieve improvements in its Foreign Affairs”, especially in light of the American provocation and its interference in Chinese affairs and its areas of influence, especially after (Washington sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait) at the beginning of October 2021, which is the second operation of its kind in one year, which prompted China to warn Washington of its policies. Hostility in the Taiwan Strait and prepare for it. It is a wave of Chinese hostile policy to the United States of America, after the US-Taiwanese rapprochement increased since the Taiwanese President (Tai Ing-wen) assumed the presidency of Taiwan in 2016, and it belongs to the (Democratic Progressive Party) which tends to independence.
Hence, we find that in the midst of a series of complications and global confrontations against China by the United States of America and its allies, Beijing has adopted a new military and defense strategy, based on (defending its interests and adopting a developmental approach to help others through its Belt and Road Initiative “BRI”).
U.S Vs China view on the Iranian nuclear proliferation risks
The Chinese view and philosophy on Iranian nuclear proliferation can be understood through (the Chinese emphasis on the current global security situation and its passing through complex and profound changes, and the challenges of curbing and exacerbating proliferation and nuclear security are exacerbating, while the threat of nuclear terrorism cannot be ignored), which it overlooked and ignored the Western powers and American policies themselves, contrary to the Chinese vision.
The Chinese understanding regarding confronting the US pressure on Iran over its nuclear program is characterized by the mechanism of Iran’s regional positioning in the Middle East and making it a major regional power, especially after the “strategic partnership agreement with Iran for 25 years in March 2021”, with China intensifying its partnership efforts with other powers to mobilize them and recruit them to the Chinese side to exert collective pressures on the United States of America regarding forcing it to accept the Iranian conditions on negotiating the nuclear proliferation file, and the importance of Washington making concessions in favor of Tehran, especially related to lifting and easing US sanctions imposed on Iran.
And what can be emphasized here, that it seems important here, in light of the growing competition between the United States and China, that (the countries of the region pay attention to bridging the gaps, liquidating regional conflicts, rebuilding strategic alliances and security initiatives), which makes the region a difficult figure in the face of (all Attempts to employ it in the context of the conflict between the major powers). The countries of the region should also deepen their relations with the countries and partners of the middle and influential powers in the international system, especially those countries that have permanent membership in the UN Security Council, as well as the European Union, so that there are (alternatives and front lines of defense on the part of these powers to defend their interests in the region And to impose a balanced equation that prevents exposure to the effects of any new cold war that may affect the region, due to the policies of US-Chinese competition).
In my personal opinion, that (the Iranians may have another opportunity to negotiate about it by turning back the movement of history), and what I mean here is (Iran’s presentation during the rule of former President “Mohammed Khatami” and after the United States invaded Iraq after 2003, a generous offer to the West from During what is known, as (Swiss diplomacy), where that show was known at the time, as the “Grand Bargain Deal”).
By that (Swiss diplomacy) means the (Iranian pledge to be fully transparent about its nuclear file, and to prove stopping its support for Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon, in return for full security guarantees from the United States of America, and full normalization of relations with it), and I believe that Iran according to that Swiss diplomacy will win the ranks of the international community, including (Israel and the Arab Gulf states as Iran’s staunch enemies in the Middle East).
China also wants, with the Iranian side, to stick to the 2015 negotiations, known as the “5+1” Group”, which includes: (USA, France, Britain, Russia, China, in addition to Germany with Iran). But, the US withdrawal came unilaterally during Trump’s term in 2018, which formed a series of tensions about the reasons for this American withdrawal in the media and diplomacy, and China’s constant question about (the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in confronting Washington and its unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear agreement that the USA has signed with Iran in 2015).
I can also stop here on a serious issue that is rarely touched upon, regarding (the role of the Western, American and even the Israeli media itself towards Iran and mobilizing the whole world against it, by accusing Iran that it is months away from manufacturing the first nuclear weapon, which represents real pressure on the work of the Agency). In my personal opinion, Iran still needs long-term years to complete its nuclear project, especially in light of the severe economic crisis that the Islamic Republic of Iran is suffering from, which lacks sufficient financial, technical and psychological resources and the final decision to possess this nuclear weapon in its final form.
China is seeking to reach an agreement on a tight and comprehensive framework on the Iranian nuclear program, which guarantees (complete and free international control without US, Israeli or international pressures on uranium enrichment and plutonium residues), which may block any endeavor to manufacture a nuclear weapon, according to the assurances of the American experts themselves in the nuclear technicians file.
Here, China insists on a number of terms and conditions in advance, regarding the new mechanism relating to (the renegotiation of the Iranian nuclear file against the United States of America), which are:
Calling on China to (lift the economic sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States on Iran), as a prerequisite for goodwill towards Iran.
China understands the International Atomic Energy Agency’s long-term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, but China supports the (continuation of uranium enrichment in small, identifiable proportions, for the purpose of Iran’s peaceful nuclear uses in legitimate work such as electricity generation), and so on.
China’s support for the efforts of (reducing the number of Iranian centrifuges by two-thirds, while keeping the rest and monitoring the nature of its peaceful uses).
China’s monitoring and supervision of the activities (disposal of enriched Iranian uranium under the supervision of the supervisors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, without American pressures), which may be exercised on them to random level of accusations against Iran.
China agrees with the Iranians not to export nuclear fuel in the coming years, and support (the strategy of not building Iranian reactors that may operate with heavy water generating dangerous nuclear uses, and China’s support for the IAEA’s scarcity of not transferring Iranian equipment from one nuclear facility to another in Tehran for a period of approximately 15 years, in order to ensure integrity and transparency).
The Iranian allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to enter all suspected sites, including: the Iranian military sites, but this is done after “consulting with Tehran itself out of respect for its internal affairs and sovereignty”.
The necessity of maintaining (the ban on the import of Iranian weapons for an additional five years, and eight years for ballistic missiles).
China’s requesting from the US and the international community to (release of Iran’s frozen assets, which are estimated at billions of dollars), in order to restore the wheel of development and economic growth for the benefit of the Iranian people themselves.
China is demanding to (lift the ban on Iranian aviation, as well as on the Central Bank and Iranian companies).
China’s call to the International Atomic Energy Agency to cooperate with Iran internationally in (the areas of its superiority in energy and technology to benefit from it on the one hand and to integrate and qualify Iran to win the affection of the international community on the other hand).
Here, we find China’s keenness to (the success of the negotiations of the Iranian nuclear agreement, as a Chinese diplomatic success and victory in the face of Washington), and this was demonstrated through the previous Chinese proposals, which (included a negotiating framework based on mutual concession step by step to make it a success, meaning Iran’s concession in exchange for the concession of the United States of America and IAEA negotiators).
The Chinese long-term vision is represented in proposing and negotiating all endeavors, proposals, and solutions regarding the Iranian nuclear file, in order to (gain a double international political weight for Beijing as a superpower in the face of American and Western policies, and in support of the Chinese position calling for international pluralism and the existence of a multilateral system that is active in it). If this is achieved, Beijing will be the (first and most international beneficiary of the completion of the Iranian nuclear agreement on conditions satisfactory to all), whether on the political or economic level, and without leaving any clear negative repercussions on the Chinese side itself in the future.
During the various stages of the negotiations, China also made unremitting efforts to resolve the differences between Washington and Tehran, especially (encouraging Beijing to adhere to the international joint plan of action, which China proposed as a solution to the problem of the Iranian nuclear file), known as: “JPOA”
The most prominent (proposals for the formulation of the Chinese negotiating framework towards Iran and the international community) to reach a comprehensive solution are the development of Chinese proposals, based on five points, as follows:
- Ensuring commitment to dialogue between the (5+1) group and Iran.
- Seeking a comprehensive, fair, appropriate and long-term solution.
- Follow the principle of solution step by step and alternately.
- Creating a suitable atmosphere for dialogue and negotiation.
- Ensuring a comprehensive approach to address the symptoms and root causes of the crisis.
The “Chinese comprehensive solution strategy towards the Iranian nuclear crisis”, is also based on China’s proposal for a comprehensive solution based on four points, the most prominent of which, represented in:
It is necessary to activate political decisions with Iran, and not just rely solely on technical solutions, given that the (Iranian nuclear file has a political-security character).
All international parties must meet and move with each other in the middle of the road to achieve the necessary flexibility, and this requires (accepting settlements from all international parties, including Iran).
Follow the principle of “step-by-step and reciprocal solution”, which is the common item in all the internationally proposed Chinese proposals.
Thinking outside the box to find a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, meaning: reaching solutions that may be (new, innovative, technical and technical), as steps in achieving negotiations with Iran.
The most prominent of these innovative, new and unconventional Chinese solutions for the step of resolving the nuclear crisis with Tehran, is (China’s proposal for a solution that includes redesigning the core of the “Arak Heavy Water Facility” reactor, which will distance it from the nuclear problem by reducing its consumption and reducing the efficiency and degree of its work to the maximum extent), and here, we can note that the Iranian Arak nuclear facility is capable of producing plutonium, a dangerous substance that is usually used to make a nuclear bomb, that is, for military uses. The (Iranian Arak reactor) was a serious obstacle to the progress of negotiations with Iran, until China proposed an innovative solution outside the box, it is (the idea of redesigning the Iranian reactor core so that it is unable to produce plutonium for military purposes).
China adheres here, in accordance with the text of the previous nuclear agreement with Tehran in 2015, to establish (a mechanism that guarantees common responsibilities among all, especially the group of negotiating countries (5+1), which are the countries that participated in the negotiations with Iran for the purpose of reaching the nuclear agreement), especially at the invitation of China towards a step of the (international integration of Iran in the fields of peaceful nuclear cooperation, as well as providing technical and technical assistance to Iran for peaceful purposes). Hence, China will have a leading role in achieving the future negotiation plan with Iran.
According to the official Chinese vision, (setting a condition for lifting the sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, in exchange for Iran imposing long-term restrictions on its nuclear program), that the West suspects is aimed at making an Iranian nuclear bomb in the long run, with China constantly launching a major diplomatic offensive to counter all the unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and Europe.
An official Chinese assertion came, through (a major report issued by the “Chinese People’s Daily”, which is the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of China, which confirmed that “China’s leadership of talks with Iran has sent a message of hope to the world about the success of Chinese diplomatic efforts towards the solution step”. The Chinese newspaper emphasized the result, by emphasizing of “The facts are now showing that dialogue and negotiations were the only correct and effective path to an appropriate solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, and that a particular country’s threat to use force against Iran and impose unilateral sanctions is unacceptable”. The Chinese People’s Daily concluded its directed primarily speech to the international community, by emphasizing that: “China is one of the main advocates of the principle of searching for political solutions regarding Iran, and that Iranian talks, according to Beijing’s vision and philosophy have always demonstrated the importance of this philosophy”.
The confirmation made by the current Chinese Foreign Minister, (Wang Yi) who has assured that: “China and the United States of America bear great responsibilities in protecting the international regime for nuclear non-proliferation, so they should remain in good contact during the negotiations, and trying to instill positive energy towards the negotiation file with Iran”.
China is trying (to prove its ability before the International Atomic Energy Agency and the international community to convince the Iranians of appropriate solutions, through China’s supervision of the formulation of a neutral agreement that satisfies all parties, through China’s continued close coordination with all relevant parties, including the United States of America itself), and the Chinese attempt to supervise on all arrangements and play a constructive role during this process. This is despite the differences between China and the United States of America on everything, starting with (the United States of America signing the AUKUS Defense agreements and the Quad agreement to confront China, electronic security differences between the two parties, the dispute over the value of the Chinese currency, trade differences, and the United States’ ban on dealing with the Chinese company of “Huawei” to introduce the fifth generation of the networks)….etc.
War Between Russia and Ukraine: A Basic Scenario?
Concern is growing in the Western media over Russian military activity in the southwestern theatre. There are opinions that Russia is preparing a military campaign against Ukraine. The supposed goal is to break the deadlock of the Minsk Agreements, to impose further coexistence conditions on Kiev and its Western partners, to prevent the US and NATO from “developing” the territory of Ukraine for military purposes, and also to reformat the country’s political system and its state structure. Such rumours are spreading quickly, causing alarm among the political leaders of foreign countries as well as latent, albeit tangible fears in the business community. However, it is still premature to consider such a development as a baseline scenario.
Several circumstances speak in favour of the military scenario outlined by foreign commentators. The first is the recent experience of the Russian armed forces and the political consequences of their use. Moscow intervened in Georgia’s conflict with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, quickly changing the situation and recognising the two autonomies as independent states. In 2014, Russia carried out a lightning-fast operation in Crimea, creating conditions for the subsequent referendum on reunification. Later, the Ukrainian army was defeated in Donbass, and the political consequence was the formation of the LPR and DPR. In 2015, Moscow radically changed the military situation in Syria by deploying a compact but highly effective air group. The political result has been the preservation of power in the hands of the Assad government and the defeat of a number of terrorist groups. All these events indicate that Russia is ready to use force suddenly, in a concentrated manner and at the same time to seek concrete political changes.
The second circumstance is that the international political consequences for Russia which resulted from the military campaigns were relatively insufficient. No foreign state has intervened openly in these conflicts. Foreign military aid does not radically alter the balance of power. Economic sanctions in their current form harm the Russian economy, but they are still not the main factor contributing to existing problems. The economy itself is stable. In short, there are no major checks and balances on a new military campaign.
The third circumstance is that Russia is not ready to bear with the existing status quo in relations with Ukraine. Kiev is almost openly talking about sabotaging the Minsk agreements, and is not ready to implement them. The US and the EU cannot or do not want to change this; while at the same time they are verbally calling on Russia to abide by the agreements. Ukraine itself, after 2014, for obvious reasons, has been pursuing an anti-Russian line. The events of 2014 significantly strengthened the position of the nationalists. Any attempt to pursue a political dialogue with Russia is deemed unacceptable. A “mopping-up” of politicians who are in any way loyal to Russia is under way. Militarily weak and fearful of further complications with Moscow, Ukraine is seeking to deepen its defence ties with the United States and its allies, as well as trying to expand military aid and supplies. In Moscow, this is perceived as the “utilisation” of the territory of Ukraine by Western countries and is accompanied with subsequent threats to the strategic interests of Russia. Moscow considers the emergence of Western military infrastructure in Ukraine only a matter of time.
Taking into account these circumstances, a scenario where Russia takes action can be hypothetically considered in the West and in Ukraine in the following vein. With a sudden and decisive blow in several directions at once, Russian troops dismember the armed forces of Ukraine in the East of the country, surround separate groups, or press them against the Dnieper river. The actions of tank and motorised units are accompanied by powerful air, missile and artillery strikes. The Russian Aerospace Forces seize air supremacy. The apotheosis of the operation should be the encirclement and the subsequent capture of Kiev, and the stabilisation of the front line along the Dnieper. The creation of a new Ukrainian state with the capital in Kiev would be announced and recognised by Russia. It would include the previously-independent DPR and LPR. Russia thereby resolves several historical problems at once. The immediate threat to the southwestern borders is removed. Full control over the Sea of Azov and a land corridor to the Republic of Crimea are ensured. Two Ukrainian states appear on the map, one of which should be “friendly and fraternal”.
Even if one fails to write off this scenario as a reflection of existing phobias and nationalist complexes, it still seems unlikely for a number of reasons.
First, such a military conflict is unlikely to culminate in any intelligible agreement. A victory over the armed forces of Ukraine will not by itself lead to a fast peace. The war could develop into a long and sluggish confrontation, especially if part of the territory (for example, Western Ukraine) remains under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces. Capturing the whole of Ukraine is technically possible. However, it will be more costly, and subsequent control would be much more difficult. The option of “two Ukrainian states” would allow Russia to squeeze nationalists out by sending them West. Under a “one Ukraine” scenario, this would be impossible, given all the ensuing consequences.
Second, the conflict would inevitably lead to a sharp change in the Western approach toward providing Ukraine with modern weapons and military equipment. In the United States and in the West as a whole, the new situation would be considered as an emergency and they would not limit funds to support the armed forces of Ukraine. Moreover, in this case, all possible types of conventional weapons will be supplied. Large-scale military aid from the West would prolong the conflict. Russia would not be able to block such supplies. The United States and its allies will not enter open military confrontation with Moscow. However, the level of support for the Ukrainian army will grow significantly.
Third, regarding the Ukrainian issue, Russia would find itself in diplomatic isolation. It is unlikely that any country would voice support for Moscow’s actions. Unlike Crimea and Donbass, we’re talking about a large-scale and open clash between the armed forces, that is, about a full-fledged war. Russia would certainly be on the offensive. This would allow its actions to be classified as aggression without any problems. While the situation in Crimea and Donbass arose against the backdrop of revolutionary events in Ukraine and could be construed as part of a civil conflict, then in this scenario, such conditions are not visible. At the moment, there is no obvious conflict between the East and West of Ukraine. The legitimacy of Moscow’s actions in this case would be extremely weak, if not entirely impossible. In addition, Russia would have to bear responsibility for the civilian casualties, which would be inevitable in a large-scale conflict.
Fourth, all key Western players would introduce qualitatively new sanctions and restrictions against Russia. These would harm a number of Western countries and cause temporary shocks in world markets. But in an emergency situation, the West would take such measures, despite their economic cost. Possible measures include blocking sanctions against all Russian banks, including the Bank of Russia. This would largely cut Russia off from the global financial system. Another possible measure is a ban on the purchase of Russian oil, and then gas. Such bans can be increased gradually in order to avoid crisis situations with fuel supplies in the West itself. But in the event of a war in Ukraine, the West would take these measures. Other, more focused restrictions would be applied to imports and exports of oil and gas. The cumulative damage to the Russian economy would be colossal in scale.
Fifth, controlling Ukraine, even its eastern part, could be problematic. Taking into account the Western sanctions blockade, any transactions with the territories of Ukraine under Russian control would be impossible. Russia would have to take on a huge territory. The big question is whether the Russian market, in the grip of new sanctions, would be able to compensate for the damage to the Ukrainian territories under Russian control. The seizure of territories wouldn’t solve any of the problems facing the Russian economy today.
Sixth, the loyalty of the population of Eastern Ukraine to Russia is not obvious. Despite all the internal disagreements, over the past 30 years Ukraine has developed its own civic identity. The population of the eastern regions may have a negative attitude towards excessive nationalism. However, this does not guarantee their loyalty to Russia. Moreover, the war could finally undermine sympathy for Russia, which has already dwindled over the past six years.
Finally, seventh, the war is fraught with destabilisation of the situation inside Russia itself. There is no demand in society for a war with a neighbour, even despite the odiousness of the anti-Russia discourse in Ukraine. It is quite possible that Russian troops would be able to inflict resounding defeats on the armed forces of Ukraine and push them to the West. The losses, however, would still amount to hundreds, and possibly thousands of fighters. In the event of a possible prolongation of the conflict, human losses would become a permanent factor. Combined with a possible economic crisis, these are not the best conditions for generating public support. While reunification with Crimea was accepted with enthusiasm in Russian society for many reasons, a big war is unlikely to find such support.
In other words, the costs of a possible war far outweigh the benefits. The war is fraught with significant risks to the economy, political stability and Russian foreign policy. It fails to solve key security problems, while it creates many new ones.
The question arises—to whom and under what conditions is this scenario beneficial? First of all, it is attractive precisely as a hypothetical rather than a real situation. In this form, it makes it possible to consolidate Ukraine on an anti-Russian basis, to seek the expansion of Western military aid, and to justify such aid to the West. The threat of war and an exercise of power can also be used by the Russian side. Moscow shows that it is technically ready for a radical scenario and will not allow its “red lines” to be crossed. These “red lines” include a military solution to the Donbass problem. In other words, the scenario has a practical meaning as a tool for information warfare and political signals.
From the point of view of the balance of benefits and losses, neither side is interested in a real war. Therefore, it is hardly worth considering the war scenario as a likely one. However, history knows many examples when rational calculations have failed to put an end to escalation. There is only the hope that this isn’t the case here.
From our partner RIAC
Contemporary World and the Era of Hybrid Warfare
From the start of time, mankind is involved in many wars and conflicts for different reasons. Not so far, in the 20th century World has witnessed two major Wars of Human History also known as the World Wars, where every country was fighting either directly or indirectly with its opponent to serve their self-interests. It is a matter of fact that only World War-I caused around 40 Million Civil and Military casualties around the globe out of which 20 Million deaths were reported and 21 Million wounded cases were reported.
Similarly, World War II caused the death of around 75 million people out of which 20 Million Military and 40 Million Civilian deaths were reported. Not only was that but there were also some 10-15 Million deaths that were caused by war-related disease and famine. But with the start of the 21st century, the new concept of hybrid warfare is introduced in the strategic community that not only covers the traditional means of warfare but also involves the non-traditional means such as proxies, exploitation of population, trade, and economy.
The point to understand is, traditional wars were based on only state-centric approaches, but the hybrid war is not only limited to the state-centric approach as it can also target the individuals of any country easily to serve its interests.
Considering the tools of Hybrid Warfare and Pakistan’s internal security, the importance of drugs and Narcoterrorism cannot be ignored. Pakistan is sharing a border with Afghanistan that is well known for its opium production. Unfortunately, Afghanistan soil was used against Pakistan during recent years under the influence of India and it was reported that several drug trafficking and narcoterrorism activities were conducted by Indian sponsored groups. However, The Taliban Government has announced that they will no longer support the opium production on their land.
But this confirmation from the Taliban Government is not enough to maintain the internal security of Pakistan. Pakistan needs to protect its young generation from this narcoterrorism as the young generation of Pakistan is also one of the most important assets of the country and to whom the future of Pakistan belongs. No doubt, Pakistani Law enforcement agencies are playing their vital role to control drug trafficking but there are numerous weak points in the system that are affecting the whole infrastructure.
According to recent reports, almost every educational institution in Islamabad is a haven for drug dealers and drug suppliers where they are easily targeting the young minds of Pakistan. It’s a matter of fact that authorities are not successfully getting hold of these drug dealers as easily as a young college-going student can easily find them. And in the end, these drugs and narcotics not only affect the mental and physical health of young students but also cost them financially, emotionally, and socially by lacking their confidence and competitiveness.
Authorities need to handle this security threat to the young minds of the nation by controlling the spread of drugs and narcotics in educational institutions. A drug test should be mandatory in educational institutes with strict compliance to be followed. Authorities should also need to engage youth in more extracurricular sports activities by encouraging them with rewards on the national level so that they may find the true reason to stay away from the company of drugs and narcotics. And on the least level, authorities with the contribution of Parents and Teachers, need to share the consequences of drugs on life and a healthy body as an awareness campaign on every platform so that we can make sure that we are protecting our young generation from the silent yet destructive tool of hybrid warfare in the contemporary world.
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