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The Ukraine Crisis and the Revival of the Transatlantic Solidarity

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Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

The West has witnessed the extraordinary NATO Summit held in Brussels on March 24th 2022. The heads of state and government of the 30 NATO Allies gathered to discuss the consequences of Russia’s invasion and Allied support to Ukraine. The Summit encompassed discussions regarding NATO’s future deterrence and defense posture and presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. It seems the Ukraine war has provided the USA and NATO strategic ground to once again work as a cornerstone for holding the transatlantic solidarity which has been faded during the Trump presidency. The Transatlantic Alliance has been the foundation of the post-World War II world order. It is a real-world expression of West – an essence that both sides of Atlantic are in it together. It is the cornerstone of the collective security and shared prosperity of the USA and Europe are built. The transatlantic solidarity contributed to the areas of trade, culture and security fields between the west and Europe in the aftermath of the cold war.

However, The Donald Trump (former) administration flaunted its foreign policy through an “America First” lens which created strategic fault-lines within the Western powers. However, in a meeting with the EU leaders, US President, Joe Biden reiterated commitment towards transatlantic unity in the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. President Biden’s speech reveals the significance of Europe–the EU, NATO, the transatlantic alliance is so important to the US. Therefore, US president Joe Biden considered Ukraine war as an opportunity to demonstrate their European counterparts how much they need US as a savior from Russian aggression. Hence, Ukraine war is the result of long-term strategic calculation of the United States to rejuvenate the transatlantic leadership and amalgamate the validity of US hegemony.  Ukraine war has made the west integrated like never before in recent times. Before understanding the significance of transatlantic solidarity and its connection to Ukraine war, it is important to look at its evolution since its inception.

The Evolution of Transatlantic Solidarity

For some decades after the World War II, the transatlantic relations were shaped on the basis of two shared imperatives- the imperative of containing Soviet power and influence which was the prime focus of the United States and its west European allies. Domestically, this imperative was to reduce trade barriers and liberalize capital flow and macroeconomic coordination across the Atlantic. However, after the end of the cold war, transatlantic relations have been unfolded within a rather different context. The Cold War ensured that this bond, built on the American security guarantee for Western Europe remained solid. Remarkably, when the ideological struggle with the Eastern bloc ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the transatlantic relationship at first continued as if everything was same. The European ally’s bandwagon with the US polices in the Iraq and Afghanistan and realized it did not bring any positive outcomes for them. Now that the postwar feelings of transatlantic solidarity are no more, European powers are looking for new opportunities beyond Atlantic.

As for the Obama administration, which is increasingly distancing itself from Europe and focusing on the “Asia Pivot”, it has yet to decide if the relationship is worth rebuilding. One of the most significant, yet least appreciated developments in world affairs has been the dramatic growth in ties between China and European Union.  China is now the EU’s second largest trading partner and, looking for more stable and legally secure trade alliances. Now, Europe is one of the most prominent destinations for Chinese companies’ foreign direct investment.

While Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization, built a wall on the border with Mexico, and further fueled divisions within society, solidarity grew within US cities, states, and across the continent Building a new one imposed enormous challenge for Biden Administration and European foreign and security policy. Yesterday’s feelings of solidarity and kinship are no longer sustained by a common perception of the outside world. The Ukraine war has provided the opportunity for strengthening the transatlantic relationship while transatlantic relationship has been dominated by the idea of a common security policy. The United States always need the support from west to consolidate its hegemony. However, the new Biden Administration offers the opportunity for a reboot of transatlantic relations.

Ukraine War and Solidarity in Times of Crisis

However, Today, Americans and Europeans have vastly different perceptions of the outside world and of the threats they face. Trust among allies has faded to the extent that the both Americans and Europeans realized that the old transatlantic relationship is in need of fixing. Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24 after that followed a slew of sanctions imposed by the western countries targeting the Russian economy.

The question remains whether the Ukraine crisis brought western power closer together. Antony Blinken, Secretary of the State said in his interview that” Ukraine crisis has absolutely reinforced transatlantic solidarity”.[1] He further added that it is the product of the two things: the evolving threat from Russian aggression and the universal values and interests they shared together. The USA President Joe Biden in his first address to the annual Munich Security Conference declared that the ‘transatlantic alliance is back’ and stressed the need to defend democracy around the world.[2] The USA President intended to improve the strained relationship between the USA and other European allies. The US hegemony is under threat due to some recent events like withdrawal from Afghanistan war, losing ground in Syria and withdrawal from international institutions. One the flip side, the emergence of China in Asia and its dominance over Indian Ocean has questioned the US hegemony. It is high time; United States looked for their long time-tested traditional allies in west.

However, Europe is going to come out from the US power of influence and opted for creating its own domain of influence. BREXIT is the classic example of nationalist aspiration of United Kingdom who came out from the multilateralism. The United States realized that their transatlantic solidarity which was formed under the US leadership during cold war has been questioned by its European allies. Consequently, it paves the way for the emergence of China and increase the dominance of Russia in Europe. When Donald Trump had become the US President, his strategic object was to withdraw US from multilateralism and promote its national interest on top of everything. Therefore, he decreased the funding of NATO, withdrew from NAFTA and deteriorated the relationship with European Union. The former American president not only attacked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – the fundamental structure of transatlantic alliance but also withdrew from virtually all multinational agreements recently championed by the European Union (EU), such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.

As the transatlantic solidarity was formed based on the common security threat perception, The United States invited Russia to wage a war against Ukraine through NATO’s Eastward expansionist policy which identified Russia as a common threat. Once again, Europe was soaked in the fear of Russian aggression. Against such backdrop, transatlantic solidarity once again went back to the pavilion under the US leadership. Besides, there was a leadership crisis among the European counterparts. European leaders are often too divided to agree on which threats to take seriously. That also prevented them to revitalize their transatlantic solidarity. For EU, China was an emerging strategic partner whereas the USA identified Chinese rise as a potential threat number one for US hegemony. Now that the Russian attack comes in front of them, the whole western front is witnessing unprecedented harmony regarding Russian aggression. The United States once again successfully demonstrated the significance of transatlantic solidarity and relevance of NATO as a security umbrella.

In conclusion, however, this historic, long-established friendship between the world’s two largest economies has become strained in recent years, the Ukraine crisis has united them in a way that world has witnessed never before. The United States is successful to consolidate their power through the Ukraine war and prove their role as a global hegemony for Europe. 

[1] 24, France. 2022. “Blinken Speaks To FRANCE 24: The Ukrainian Crisis Has ‘Reinforced Transatlantic Solidarity'”. Msn.Com.

[2] Reporter, staff. 2017. “Joe Biden Declares America, Transatlantic Alliance “Back””. NDTV.Com.

The author, Saume Saptaparna Nath, is currently Working as a research associate at the Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs. She was a project coordinator at the "Revive Project " a joint venture of UNDP and Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Development Center,University of Dhaka. She was also a former intern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh. She had pursued her post -graduation and graduation degree from Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka

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Beyond the Battlefield

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Since the beginning of time, wars and conflicts have been an inextricable part of human history. As such, they have developed in lockstep with the complex interactions between social, political, and technological changes that have shaped our world. Warfare’s methods and goals have undergone a significant metamorphosis, moving from crude and simple engagements to ones that are sophisticated and complex. Armed conflicts have expanded to take on global proportions with the advent of destructive world wars, and are no longer restricted to simple tribal or regional skirmishes. In addition to transcending their religious roots, these conflicts are now driven by nationalistic imperatives, giving rise to wars with geopolitical goals.

However, in the fierce race to reach the pinnacle of technological achievement with the introduction of a revolutionary artificial intelligence-powered search engine, issues of veracity and the widespread dissemination of false information are the most crucial issues of our time. These worries are well-founded because the consequences of a poorly functioning search engine could distort reality, worsen the already virulent spread of false information, and cause irreparable harm to the fabric of truth.

Additionally, warfare has changed from being characterized by linear battles to being characterized by maneuver warfare, placing greater emphasis on flexibility, agility, and strategic maneuvering. Armed engagements have evolved from primitive first-generation manifestations to the complex dynamics of fourth-generation warfare. They now involve a variety of unconventional tactics such as asymmetric tactics, psychological operations, and information warfare. Thus, in order to successfully navigate the complexity of the modern battlefield, this evolution calls for both a thorough understanding of the many facets of modern warfare and the adoption of adaptive strategies.

Simultaneously, the concept of fifth-generation warfare, also known as hybrid warfare, denotes a paradigm shift in contemporary military tactics, where the importance of cultural warfare, information warfare, and unconventional methods surpasses the conventional use of brute force on the battlefield, as seen in third- and fourth-generation warfare. India is said to be using 5th-generation warfare strategies against Pakistan to sow seeds of enmity and spread false information in an effort to block Pakistan’s progress. Moreover, India is using all of its resources to undermine Pakistani society in a number of different domains. Pakistan to modernize its weaponry and armed forces given the strategic landscape of South Asia, which is becoming more complex and volatile, especially given India’s use of fifth-generation warfare against Pakistan.

Relatedly, information warfare has undeniably grown significantly important in the effort to effectively project Pakistan’s narrative both domestically and internationally. A well-calibrated national response reinforced by a clearly defined foreign policy is required in light of the double-edged nature of fifth-generation warfare. Modern times see a rapid spread of irregular wars across the spectrum of conflict, amid intensifying great power competition, as the nature of warfare changes continuously.

Modern warfare has undergone a sea change as a result of the advancement of information technology, which makes it easier for nontraditional actors like violent extremist groups to communicate. We find ourselves ensconced in a world permeated by high tension, accompanied by a flood of tweets, ranging from the tumultuous battlefields in Ukraine to a pernicious terrorist attack on mass transit inside the borders of the United States. Our insatiable appetite for knowledge is driven by a desire to protect our safety, show compassion for those who are suffering, or see wrongdoers brought to justice. Despite our desire for knowledge, we must maintain an appropriate level of skepticism toward the sources that provide it. After all, we are living in a time that is frequently referred to as the “golden age of fake news.

Today’s conflicts are largely not fought between nation-states and their armies; instead, they are increasingly fought with the mighty arsenal of words rather than with traditional weapons. In recent years, policy discussions, popular discourse, and academic analyses have given priority to a particular breed of weaponry: “fake news” and viral disinformation. In reality, disinformation used in warfare in the digital age may not differ much from other forms of warfare; after all, wars are fought to establish power, with some reaping financial rewards while the most vulnerable suffer the most.

The problem of fake news has gotten worse since the Internet and social networks were invented. The conventional news model, which involved a small number of media outlets run by experienced journalists who interviewed reliable sources and meticulously verified the information before it was published, has been overturned by the current media environment. Today, there are numerous channels, a never-ending stream of messages, and an environment where contradictory information is frequently overlooked that all contribute to the relative ease with which conspiracy theories and rumors can spread. The temptation to cling to a simpler fiction rather than taking on the laborious task of dissecting a more complex reality grows as we are frequently presented with contradictory messages.

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United States Donates $9 million in Weapons, Equipment to Support Somalia National Army

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Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Zoe Russell.

Official reports here said the United States through its diplomatic office in Mogadishu has presented $9 million in weapons, vehicles, medical supplies and other equipment to the Somali National Army (SNA). The ceremony was attended by Minister of Defense Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Jama and U.S. Ambassador Larry André.

Aside from heavy weapons, equipment included support and construction vehicles, explosive ordinance disposal kits, medical supplies, and maintenance equipment for vehicles and weapons.  Most of the supplies are already on their way to Hishabelle and Galmudug States to support SNA troops.

“We cheer the success achieved by Somali security forces in their historic fight to liberate Somali communities suffering under al-Shabaab,” said Ambassador André.  “This is a Somali-led and Somali-fought campaign. The United States reaffirms commitment to support country’s efforts.”

Minister of Defense Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Jama thanked the United States, saying, “Allow me to convey the appreciation of the Federal Government of Somalia to the Government of the United States of America for the continued support to Somalia’s peacebuilding process and the support for the fight against terrorism.  This support comes at a critical time for our forces as we boost their capabilities to combat al-Shabaab.”

The Minister was joined by Chief of Defense Forces Brigadier General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh for the ceremony.  

The weapons, including light and heavy machine guns were purchased with U.S. Department of Defense funding. They are marked and registered pursuant to the Federal Government of Somalia’s Weapons and Ammunition Management policy, designed to account for and control weapons within the Somali security forces and weapons captured on the battlefield.  

Notification to the UN Security Council is conducted by the Federal Government of Somalia in close coordination with the Office of Security Cooperation of U.S. Embassy Mogadishu in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

The weapons will support SNA-Danab battalions, including battalions currently participating in operations in Hirshabelle and Galmudug. The weapons will provide a significant increase in the lethality and mobility of the SNA-Danab units participating in these operations. Somalia and its neighbouring States have come under frequent heightened militant attacks in the Horn of Africa.

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From Strategic depth to Strategic Threat



On 30th December, in broad daylight, the hub of Peshawar and administrative center was targeted by the militants with the explosion of a deadly bomb, leaving behind 59 dead. the attack was claimed by the TTP Mohmand faction, whose leadership is allegedly residing in Afghanistan.

The issue of Afghanistan has occupied a consequential part of the strategic culture of Pakistan. Following the partition, with the specter of Pashtun Nationalism looming large on the horizon, policymakers in Pakistan opted for a policy of Islamic Nationalism, which became a cornerstone of strategic thinking during the era of General Zia-ul-Haq in the wake of the Afghan Jihad War in 1979.

Islamic nationalism was seen as only the means through which Pashtun Nationalism could be confronted and subdued.

With the adoption of this policy, swiftly and generously, aid from US, UAE and KSA began to inundate the territory of Pakistan, carrying each their national interests with it.

Within a short period, thousands of new madrassas were established, cultivating youngsters by inculcating the concept of Jihadism.

This formation of an alliance with the US in the Afghan Jihad war was driven by two factors; first, to subdue the dominant Pashtun Nationalism with Islamic Nationalism, and second, to establish an Islamabad-friendly regime in Afghanistan so that any terrorist group could not use Afghan territory while keeping New Delhi at bay, by not letting her establish any foothills in Afghanistan.

Fast forward to 2023, the facts on the group are now telling a different story. Islamabad’s once “strategic depth” is now becoming a distant dream as Pakistan is now confronted by insurmountable problems from all sides

According to the data collected by the Pak Institute of Peace Studies, Islamabad, in the past two years, Pakistan has encountered 100 terrorist attacks, and yet, the recent surge of terrorist activities shows no signs of cooling down in the formidable future. This is clearly evident from the news coming from the casualties on the daily basis of the security forces of Pakistan, mostly on the border areas, and the havoc it caused to the infrastructure. Officially, it is estimated that in the last six months, around 350 military personnel have lost their lives, while the outlawed group has claimed even more than that. These occurrences elucidate the failure of the Pakistani state to effectively persuade the Taliban regime not to let the Afghan territory be used against Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty.

Now, who is to be blamed, if not our flawed policies, and the masters of shortsightedness. Lately, upon leaving his office, the ex-COAS scapegoated  Imran Khan who initiated the dialogue with the outlawed group, TTP. While Imran Khan, on the other hand, said that the army was on board when the negotiation decision with the TTP was taken. These inconspicuous but powerful statements  clearly reveal  the uncertainty of our policymakers while dealing with a sensitive topic. Besides that, it also shows how the wizards of policy making and governance are not on the same page while dealing with the Afghanistan issue.

Recently, a document was released by the National Counter Terrorism Authority and presented to the senate committee where discoveries pertaining to the ceasefire between the government of Pakistan and TTP were made. According to the report, the truce initiated by the PTI-led government last year had utterly emboldened the TTP.

With careful planning and shrewd utilization of resources, they were able to revive themselves both logistically and materially. Once the truce between the two parties was over, yet again, a surge in violent attacks was documented.

Beside the challenge of TTP, the Afghan Taliban shows no signs of a positive stance for the Durand line issue. In an interview, the information minister, Zabiullah  Mujahid, said, “The issue of the Durand line is still an unresolved one, while the construction of fencing itself creates rifts between a nation spread across both sides of the border. It amounts to dividing a nation”.

Another prominent concern is the time to time border shelling. On Dec 11, 2022, the Taliban forces heavily shelled a town on the outstrips of the Pakistani border leaving behind seven civilian casualties. A few days later, on Dec 15, another exchange of fire took place, claiming one more life. Although, not much heed has been given to such reports, it seems the genie is out of the bottle now.

Last but not least, the Taliban had even scapegoated Pakistan through which the US drone was flown that killed the top Al Qaeda leader, Ayman Al Zawahiri.

The cherry on top happens to be the readiness of the new system to exhibit the disposition of candour in their interactions with India.  The Taliban defense minister, Mullah Yahoob, has expressed his desire for the training of Afghan troops by Pakistan’s arch-rival India. If this goes according to the plan, the dependent policy of Afghanistan on Pakistan will diminish and create new challenges for Pakistan. India, by using Afghan soil, can embolden and logistically support the liberation movements in Balochistan and Sindh, thus exacerbating the already precarious situation.

It’s high time to call a spade a spade!

Our Policymakers must accept that the old strategic depth policy inside Afghanistan has begun to fail. Taliban 2.0 are entirely in contrast to its 1.0 version in terms of statecraft. They are more pluralistic in their policies, and economically, they are far more independent compared to the 90s. This time, they want to cut deals directly with the regional states. It may appear unilateral, but rather it’s a mutually desired engagement as other states have expressed interests in establishing relations with Afghanistan while   considering them a new and inevitable reality.

Meanwhile, China is feathering its own nest, and is more concerned about the East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). She does not want Afghanistan to be used as a pawn by an insurgent group in the great game against China.

Considering these dynamic global realities, Pakistan must abrogate its old policy towards Afghanistan and focus on a unanimous policy towards Afghanistan. For the success of a cohesive and effective anti-terrorism strategy it is contingent for policymakers to align their viewpoints against the new resurgent groups.  And last but not the least , a collective action by the military, politicians and society is necessary.

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