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Finishing the Job: Turkey Preparing For Military Operation in Syria

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At its May 26 meeting, Turkey’s National Security Council (NSC) announced it was necessary to go on with current and prospective operations at the country’s “southern borders” to ensure Turkey’s security. Turkey’s NSC stressed that such operations are not directed against the sovereignty of its neighbors (likely a reference to Syria and Iraq).

There is little doubt that a “prospective operation” means preparing for a military campaign against the U.S.-supported “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), whose backbone is formed by the radical left-wing People’s Defense Units (YPG) affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—Turkey put it on the list of terrorists. This is what Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan said on May 23.

Turkey’s leader articulated his threats as Ankara attempts to block Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO, since these states support the PKK. Therefore, Ankara is apparently ready to complete its counter-terrorist campaign that is now moving beyond military efforts and is transitioning, among other things, into a political plane of discussions on Euro-Atlantic platforms. Such a “comprehensive approach,” including putting pressure on the PKK’s sponsors among the bloc’s potential members, could also affect and exacerbate Turkey’s already complicated relations with those of its allies from the North Atlantic alliance that continue to support SDF/YPG units in Syria (these are primarily the U.S., France, and the Netherlands).

Rolling out the “Turkish buffer”

Turkey previously ran several operations against Kurdish left-wing radical units in Syria. While Operation Euphrates Shield (2016–2017) was mainly aimed against ISIS (although it did affect some Kurdish territories, for instance, Jarabulus), Operation Olive Branch (2018) and Operation Source of Peace (2019) were directed exclusively against the SDF.

The latter operation in the fall of 2019 was made possible by the inconsistent approach of the Trump Administration: first, he announced U.S. troops’ withdrawal from Syria, thereby opening a window of opportunity for Turkey’s advance in the areas that the U.S. left, then he “changed his mind,” and U.S. military presence remained in the northeast of Syria, in the eastern areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) that is essentially the SDF’s political umbrella. Russian military police units and Syrian border guards moved into the AANES’ western areas pursuant to a memorandum Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan had signed in Sochi.

U.S. diplomats led by former Vice President Mike Pence demanded that Ankara cease fire, while Trump threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy should Turkey’s military and its allies from the Syrian National Army (SNA), an opposition force, continue their attacks.

President Joe Biden is even more “pro-Kurdish” than his predecessor—despite the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, the issue of withdrawing from Syria’s northeast was never raised under the Biden Administration. The current administration in Washington is also more consistent in looking after the interests of its SDF allies. In the fall of 2021, Washington assumed a very harsh stance, ruining Turkey’s plans to conduct another such operation.

At the same time in the fall of 2021, Moscow, which had also cooperated with the SDF, found itself on the same side as Washington, letting Ankara know that Russia considered such steps to be unacceptable. In particular, back then, Mi-8 AMTSh and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters and Su-35S fighters were redeployed at the airbase in Qamishli in Northeast Syria (the U.S., still being in control of the air space over the northeast, opened an air corridor for them). At the same time, Russia’s attempts to force Kurdish units to engage in talks with Damascus failed. The SDF kept their military ties with the U.S. and did not intend to sever them, while asking Russia for additional security guarantees. After February 24, amid Russia–U.S. relations essentially severed, this line of conduct assumed by the SDF will hardly strike a chord with Moscow.

Currently, Russia is not so unequivocally set against Turkey’s possible operation in Syria, and although rumors of Russia’s troops being possibly withdrawn from the bases in Northeast Syria have not so far been confirmed, their circulation suggests this scenario is within the realm of what is possible. There is evidence of the U.S. deploying its troops in those areas they left in 2019, which creates a certain zebra striping of Russian and American troops. U.S. troops deploying at their old bases may also indicate that the U.S. is weighing up the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the presumed areas of Turkey’s future operation and the U.S. wants to be on the safe side.

Four scenarios

Ankara’s strategic goal is to establish a safe zone stretching from Idlib to the border with Iraq. Alongside the tasks of protecting Turkey from attacks of the PKK and its branches, the “buffer”, if and once created, could serve as a safe haven for Syria’s IDPs, who fled from al-Assad’s government; they should not be allowed to enter Turkey. Additionally, plans involve bringing back into that area some of those Syrian refugees who are already in Turkey. On the eve of the 2023 Turkish elections, moving some refugees into Syria could earn points for Recep Erdogan and his party (AKP).

If Ankara ultimately makes the decision to conduct a military operation, there are four possible scenarios.

The first scenario — Turkey and its SNA allies attack Tell Rifaat. This SDF-controlled enclave emerged back in 2018, when Ankara concluded its Operation Olive Branch. Russia’s pressure prevented Turkey from taking over that region. In that instance, Russia acted in the interests of al-Assad’s government and proceeded from the premise that Tell Rifaat had to be a “buffer” or a “safety net” of sorts for Aleppo, separating it from the Operation Olive Branch area. Otherwise, the threat to Aleppo would have remained since the Syrian opposition forces backed by Turkey could undertake a quick offensive against the city (if the situation escalated) at any time, and it would be difficult to repel it.

Subsequently, however, Ankara believed Tell Rifaat to become the main base of the Afrin Liberation Forces affiliated with the SDF; this group had carried out multiple terror attacks in Afrin and other areas of North Aleppo that are under Turkey’s protection. Consequently, Tell Rifaat was repeatedly named as the target of a possible Turkish military offensive, but never became such even when 2019 Operation Source of Peace was conducted in Syria’s northeast. Its crucial role as Aleppo’s “safety net” and Turkish and Syrian opposition forces entering it may result in a direct conflict between Ankara and Damascus.

Another SDF enclave on the Manbij salient, with the city of Manbij as its center, is also connected with Tell Rifaat and, like Tell Rifaat, it is separated from the rest of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria by the river Euphrates and it is cut off from Tell Rifaat by the Operation Euphrates Shield area and by Syrian government forces.

Manbij neither was a target of attacks during Operation Source of Peace. Another factor is at work here, no less crucial than the one applied to Tell Rifaat. The strategically important M4 route runs through Manbij—it connects Aleppo with East Syria up to Iraq. If Manbij transitions under the control of Turkey and the SNA, communications along M4 may be cut off at any moment. Safe area of Operation Source of Peace was envisaged in such a way as to not cross this route.

In the first scenario—if an operation is conducted in the direction of Tell Rifaat and Manbij—Turkey’s advantage may lie in the fact that the U.S. had never taken these areas under its security umbrella. If Ankara advances against them, it will hardly exacerbate its relations with Washington, which means Ankara may not need to coordinate its operation with the U.S. That, however, will require that Turkey convince Russia to change its mind, which is not a simple task since Manbij and Tell Rifaat transitioning under Turkey’s “protectorate” may be more sensitive for both Damascus and Moscow than larger territories in Syria’s northeast being under the “American umbrella.”

The second scenario — extending the “Source of Peace” safe area eastward (up to the border with Iraq) and westward (up to the Euphrates). Essentially, this scenario may be dubbed Operation Source of Peace 2.0, meaning it continues the underlying scenario of Operation Source of Peace that had never been implemented in full. The main obstacle here is the stance of Washington that may openly support its SDF allies. While U.S. air strikes against Turkish troops can be ruled out, the SNA attacking pro-Turkish units is quite likely. Certainly, Turkey and its Syrian allies may be able to conclude what they have started even given the U.S. direct counteraction, but it could topple U.S.–Turkey relations to their post-war nadir. In the current situation, Ankara is unlikely to strike some kind of arrangements with the U.S. Therefore, if Turkey decides to follow this course, it’s going to play an all-or-nothing game.

We cannot rule out the possibility of this scenario having the most pernicious effect on the Euro-Atlantic solidarity. Moscow still has certain leverage to manage this situation, since Syria’s SDF-controlled northeast is essentially split into two areas of responsibility, the Russian-Syrian one in the west and American in the east. Americans still apparently hold the advantage in both areas as they control the air space over both. Washington most likely takes into account possible Moscow–Ankara arrangements concerning a Turkish operation intended to expand the Source of Peace area. Consequently, the U.S., as stated above, began rebuilding the bases they left in 2019 with a view to prevent an advance of Turkish units and their allied Syrian opposition units should Russian troops withdraw from the area.

The third scenario is the most radical one. It envisions Turkey and its allies advancing toward Tell Rifaat and Manbij as well as eastward and westward from the Operation Source of Peace area. The goal is to finally establish a safe zone stretching from Idlib to Iraq’s border. In this case, Ankara will have to overcome the resistance of both Washington and Moscow, and it will make it harder to use their differences to Turkey’s advantage, but still, the chances of pulling this operation off are now higher than ever.

The fourth scenario is more or less in line with the first two. For instance, Turkish troops attack Ayn-al-Arab (Kobani) to link together the areas of Operation Source of Peace and Operation Euphrates Shield; or else, there is a simultaneous advance at Ayn-al-Arab and Manbij (and/or Tell Rifaat), an option that cannot be ruled out. In the very least, this scenario will not affect the U.S. safe zone in Syria’s northeast and it will be implemented in the areas where Washington’s direct counteraction is hardly to be expected.

A game in the Ankara–Washington–Moscow triangle

Ankara can count on some trump cards in its game with Moscow. Maybe, as in 2018 and in 2019, it will succeed in obtaining Moscow’s favorably neutral stance. It may use such “aces up its sleeve” as re-opening an air corridor through Turkey into Syria that Turkey closed on April 23; or else, it may block NATO warships’ passage into the Black Sea no matter how hard NATO tries to push Turkey into revoking its prohibition under various pretexts. Finally, another trump card may be Turkey’s refusal to accede to anti-Russian sanctions.

In the current situation, a conflict with Turkey may turn out to be too costly for Moscow, while direct opposition to Turkey’s plans (primarily if Damascus insists on it) may result in Ankara changing its approaches to the detriment of Russia. However, given Russia’s engagement in hostilities in Ukraine, Turkey can achieve its goals in Syria despite obstacles from Moscow and Damascus. Turkey’s military potential allows for that, especially if it decides to play an all-or-nothing game with the U.S.

Should Turkey launch a new military operation, the principal task for Russia— now busy with the Ukrainian crisis—appears to be to withdraw from the game, having obtained direct preferences both connected with its military operation in Ukraine and in Syria. It would be expedient for Russia to draw its “red lines” for Turkey. First, it is unblocking M4 route. Any Turkish military action should not cross this “red line” (M4 route), endangering communications via this route, since it is strategically important for Damascus as it essentially integrates Syria along the west-east axis.

Turkey will most likely use its grievances over non-compliance with the 2019 Sochi memorandum (and with the Pence-Erdogan deal) as the cause for a new operation. The same holds true for there being no progress in withdrawing SDF-affiliated People’s Defense Units (YPG) from Tell Rifaat, Manbij, and the 30-kilometer area along the Turkey–Syria border in the country’s northeast. Moscow should parry such Turkish claims with a demand concerning implementation of the provisions of the additional protocol to the Memorandum on Idlib that stipulates unblocking M4 route through the de-escalation area and establishing safe zones northward and southward. Turkey avoided complying with these obligations. When I asked Turkish experts on this matter, they pointed out that there remained problems in Russia complying with the 2019 Sochi Memorandum, apparently tying these two problems together.

In case Ankara launches a military operation without complying with the terms on M4 in Idlib, it may cost Russia major reputational losses in the eyes of its Syrian ally, and these losses are to be avoided. The U.S. may also suffer similar losses as it assumes responsibility for supporting the SDF, calling it America’s close ally. After the U.S. has essentially fled Afghanistan, another such case will result in the U.S. Middle Eastern allies totally losing confidence in America as a security guarantor. Washington should not be stripped of its “crown of alliance” with the SDF as it may ultimately prove a “crown of thorns.”

On the other hand, the U.S. is likely to consent to Turkey conducting such an operation in the end. First, it will not endanger the existence of the SDF, it will only expand the safe strip along the border; second, such a sacrifice on the part of Washington may prompt Turkey to unblock Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO.

From our partner RIAC

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A war where the machine decides who to kill! (LAWs wars)

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Which country wants to be attacked by an AI-controlled system with no one in command? Which country wants their soldiers to be killed by an autonomous machine, and potentially, some civilians by mistake? The answer is evidently no one! No country wants that. But which country intends to possess such weapons, then the answer is more ambiguous. The last report of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) reflects this. After a week (25-29 July) of discussion at the Palais des Nations, UN Geneva, the adopted report is hollowed without meaningful conclusion or commitments.

Lethal autonomous weapons

Lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs) are military system that can autonomously search for and engage targets based on programmed constraints and descriptions. LAWs are also known as killer robots.

Autonomous weapons have existed for many years; for example, land mines trigger and kill or an injury without any human action. With emerging technology, including AI, we understand the interest of certain states to include these technologies in weapons to improve their autonomy. Since the 70s, the US has used the Phalanx CIWS, which can autonomously identify and attack incoming missiles. With AI, its capacities are considerably increased! Continuing with the example of mines, Russia’s anti-personnel mines of the POM-3 type are particularly deadly. They are disseminated in the land of operations but do not explode immediately. When activated, they rise in the air before exploding and causing multiple ravages, which can be fatal within a radius of 16 meters. Equipped with sensors and software, they choose their target, when they explode or not, depending on the identity of the people or equipment that approach. There are, unfortunately, so many other systems that will be too long to cite here. To conclude this part, in Libya in 2020, a Kargu 2 drone hunted down and attacked a human target. According to a report from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya, published in March 2021. This may have been the first time an autonomous killer robot armed with lethal weaponry attacked human beings. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_robot]

We quickly understand all potential ethical and legal issues. Autonomous systems can make mistakes; who is responsible then? Like mine killed millions of civilians, new systems may have bias and kill unstintingly, with no one to stop them. The range of potential problems is extensive.

A slow-downed convention

For nine years, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons or CCW, also known as the Inhumane Weapons Convention, has tried to regulate it with its GGE. For the most ambitious, it would be a question of agreeing on a treaty, or another international instrument, which would guarantee the prohibition that a weapon can operate autonomously, i.e., without the intervention of human supervision. Many Latin Americans, and European states are now advocating for this outright ban. The answer is less clear-cut for other states, including the USA. They consent to the prohibition of specific weapon systems as well as to a certain regulation but refuse a binding legal framework. Finally, Russia is slowing down all negotiations and reducing its content.

Russia and the game of consensus

A majority of States are now convinced of the need to act significantly, even asking for more days to debate in 2023. But the main problem is the rule of consensus, which prohibits any discussion breakthrough”.

Many little disagreements, for instance, delegations, wasted time discussing whether the CCW is an appropriate forum or the only appropriate forum for dealing with the issue of autonomous weapons.

These discussions have even been theatrical when Russia attacked many times the presence of civil societies to limit their intervention and participation in informal meetings. It was a tool to slow down the discussion, focusing the debate on organizational points. At the same time, we can also be afraid that this Russian posture is appearing in others GGEs. Meanwhile, some other states, like Israel and India, are discrete and do not oppose it. They probably use this condition to their advantage. Russia is doing all the work for them.

Therefore with the refusal of a few states, all the details about elements and possible measures for an agreement on autonomous weapons were removed. All conclusions about what kinds of control are necessary, and possible processes to achieve that control, were taken out. The present conclusions section just outlines the types of proposals discussed, recognizes ethical perspectives, and repeats the respect for international humanitarian law. It confirms then that states are responsible for wrongful acts in accordance with international law [link to report], so no new laws. 

Not only are the conclusions disappointing, but the way the discussion was carried out was disappointing, and the mandate for 2023 remains uncertain.

We can not wait on CCW, the urgency of the problem is too critical.

The slow process is to the advantage of countries using these technologies. The Russian POM-3 mines, for instance, have been used in Ukraine, accordingly to Human Right Watch. The development and deployment by Russia and other countries will continue as long as no agreement is reached. LAWs have to be outlaws! And the CCW seems not to be anymore the right platform.

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Escalating Big Power Contestation on Taiwan: Can It Lead to War?

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Xi Jinping is seeking to hide his humiliation over US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. His premature and unjustifiable warning to the US about the visit caused him embarrassment, and Pelosi’s purposeful visit after the warning not only hyped it, but humiliated him. China is using its Three Warfare Concept  which entails public opinion warfare, psychological warfare, and legal warfare along with aggressive military posturing, air violations, firepower power exhibition and some symbolic economic boycott of Taiwan, thus creating  heightened tension around Taiwan as a face saving exercise to amuse its domestic constituency. China is attempting to turn it as an opportunity to stoke national sentiments in favour of Xi Jinping on ‘Anti America’ theme highlighting Chinese mutilated version of his heroics to ensure that he doesn’t lose out on his third term in the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) later this year.

The US side has likewise been under similar pressures. Following the announcement of Pelosi’s visit and the contentious debate between President Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, the US found itself in a difficult situation. The USA was unable to cancel the trip in response to Xi’s warning because doing so would have indicated that Joe Biden was caving in to Chinese pressure. This would have been catastrophic for the Biden Administration, which is already struggling to recover from the disaster in Afghanistan and the difficulties brought on by the Russia-Ukraine War. Although the visit was a risky move, it is still unclear whether the US will follow it up by replacing strategic ambiguity with strategic clarity to support Taiwan in any prospective Chinese attack or not.

Can it Lead to War?

With unprecedented military posturing by China, live missile fire  East of Taiwan close to its coastline, and US aircraft carrier and maritime forces located not too far, the situation is tense and prone to accidental trigger causing escalation. It does not make any strategic sense for China to invade Taiwan, as it has all the negatives except false bravado, with bright chances of loss of face globally and domestically, in case the operations fail; hence, likely to contend with activities short of war.

Chinese strategist Qiao Liang, a retired PLA Air Force Major General, has warned that taking Taiwan by force is ‘Too Costly’. Chinese redline of “Taiwan going nuclear/declaring independence” has not been crossed as yet, giving no justification for China to cross US red line of ‘Changing status Quo by Force’. Xi Jinping may find it too costly to take such a risk before sealing his third term. The military drills near Taiwan have been conducted by Taiwan and US also in past and  the much publicised blockade of Taiwan through military drills, if prolonged may invite similar military drills by US and other democracies in Malacca Strait too, to block Chinese Sea Lines of Communication, beyond the realm of optics of the current Chinese aggressive posture, and it is well aware of this vulnerability.    

Taiwanese President Tsai has bravely given bold statements during visit of Speaker Pelosi and earlier to take on Chinese aggression. Taiwan with its national spirit, modern arsenal from US, determined armed forces and US backing is unlikely to give a walkover, although the first onslaught of potential offensive will have to be borne by it, till global response gets activated. Comparisons are being made with Hong Kong, but the major differences is that leadership, hierarchy in Hong Kong and police was manipulated by CCP, whereas  the leadership in Taiwan is strong and resolute refusing to give in to Chinese coercion. The need for amphibious assault due to terrain friction makes Chinese misadventure in Taiwan more difficult than Hong Kong.

Chinese amphibious capabilities to capture Taiwan are suspect, more so if US warships like the USS Ronald Reagan are around. China has enough missile arsenals to destroy Taiwan, but such a massive destruction of Han Chinese (95 percent of Taiwanese population is Han), who have relations, investments and inseparable linkages with their relatives in mainland and vice versa will not go well with domestic population of mainland. Over two million Taiwanese live in China, mostly in Coastal areas, and over 20 per cent have married there.

This will also destroy Chinese and Taiwanese economy, which does not suit Chinese leadership struggling to revive its economy marred by trade war, failing BRI and COVID effect. China is top destination for Taiwanese export accounting for approximately 40% of total exports, with Taiwan having  overall trade surplus of US$104.7 billion in 2021 with China.

A public opinion poll in Taiwan in 2020 indicated 73 percent people identified themselves as Taiwanese, who were against China, and 77 percent  supported democratic movement in Hongkong and this figure has increased in last two years. Getting Taiwanese under its wings will also bring a fresh democratic wave in China, which CCP may not be used to handle. Taiwanese people do not want to sacrifice their democratic freedom and prosperity, which is the main reason for success of President Tsai. The conflict if imposed by China will be deadly and Chinese, who want to win without fighting are not known for their appetite to accept body bags of Han Chinese, for a cause which doesn’t give them economic benefit but takes it away its dream of national rejuvenation, as indicated by General Qiao. 

Why Taiwan is a US-China Issue?

PRC may keep claiming Taiwan to be its domestic issue, but it has much greater external dimensions. Diplomatically US may claim to follow ‘One China Policy’ but it treats Taiwan no less than an ally. The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019, effective from March 26, 2020 is an indication. The Taiwan Relation Act,1973, Taiwan Travel Act signed 2019, and National Defence Authorisation Act signed earlier this year to facilitate sale of state of the art weaponry and joint exercises justify the statement. US will always like to trade and strategically partner with democratic Taiwan outside Beijing’s influence, and not Taiwan under CCP.

In any potential invasion of Taiwan, the spill over of the battle space to Japan is obvious due to geographic proximity, an ally which US is obligated to protect. Chinese initial offensive can be on Taiwan, but US could join forces with its allies in the region to use their sea and air advantages to cut off Beijing’s maritime lifeline in and outside South China Sea. Chinese supply lines outside Nine dash line are still vulnerable to choking, and it will draw out PLA to get into war outside its comfort Zone. Taking Taiwan by force, therefore involves mobilisation of all its combat resources, expecting an escalation from limited war to an all-out war, as the operation amounts to crossing US redline of “No Change in Status Quo of Taiwan”. Economically Chinese heavy reliance on the US dollar is far from over, and such a war over Taiwan would be a massive economic blow to China, that would see capital flooding out, and companies moving of the country, much sooner than it thought.

Way Ahead

If Chinese aggressive posturing, air incursions and military drills announced for four days end as scheduled without escalation, may be that situation may still remain under control, as US and Taiwan have also done military drills in that region earlier. If it escalates into an attempt to unite Taiwan by force, it will certainly up the ante with US, prove China as irresponsible bully, may lead to loss of life of Han Chinese both ways, lead to economic destruction of its one of the largest investors and jeopardise China’s goal of national rejuvenation. Internationally, China may have miscalculated US resolve and Taiwan’s resistance and all may not go their way. If Chinese ambitions grow beyond global tolerance, it has bright chances to bring rest of the world against China. While the visit of Nancy Pelosi may have given a strong message to China, but the US resolve is still under test, because Taiwan can’t be expected to handle Chinese aggression alone, more so if it has been hyped by super power contestation. US therefore must consider starting similar military exercise in Malacca Strait with other navies to remind China of its vulnerable SLOC before it starts blocking Taiwanese shipping.

The aggressive posturing in Taiwan Strait, South and East China Sea will continue, even if the current crisis slows down. PRC’s aim is to pressurise President Tsai Not to declare independence, keep pressure on, hope DPP loses next election and work out favourable arrangements with opposition likely to be favourable to China. Neither China nor US want war, but none wants to give walkover as well, hence this strategic gaming and posturing is on and will continue.

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Why would a peaceful country join NATO?

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Image source: war.ukraine.ua

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is a security alliance between Europe and North America.  It was established in the 1949 having goals of protecting democratic freedom but its sole purpose was to counter any future aggression from the Soviet Union and hence this organization was anti-Soviet accord that established the balance of power in Europe. Under the Article 5 of NATO it obliges all member states to protect each other in state of war, this allowed the NATO member states to share their military capabilities and pool their resources in time of attack or invasion. Besides having collective security goals and containing USSR, NATO served as an engine to democratization.  NATO clearly was a threat to the sovereignty of USSR and to counter Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact, Moscow had all the reasons to justify formation of this pact. After the Berlin wall fell and Soviet Union disintegrated, Germany was faced by a serious question of whether to join NATO or the Warsaw pact.  The US President made an offer to Russian President, suggesting that if Germany joined NATO, NATO would stop its expansion.  Moscow bought this offer and demolished the Warsaw pact hoping that the west would follow suit that NATO too would dissolve.  NATO continued its expansionist process and included ex-Soviet republics as well. The Russian President Putin on many instances asked NATO that against whom this expansion intended to. An organization initially targeted towards countering a country is now getting so close to them that there intensions can even be sniffed from the border, is causing a security dilemma.  The war in Ukraine is the living example that US did not do as promise, a stab in the back of Russia. This act is clearly a proactive one and number of US’s political analyst opposed this step.

Ukraine being a sovereign country and knowing its history with Russia still wants to join and the question rises, why? Well Ukraine has become a country just like Afghanistan or Vietnam where the two world powers can have their proxy wars. Former Ukrainian presidents either supported to join NATO or opposed it under the influence of these foreign powers. Joining NATO means taking side with the western power and this would seriously be taken as a treat by Russia, as NATO is an organization that talks about collective security with the help of its military alliance. Why Ukraine wants it? Was Ukraine threatened by the Russians of any invasion or were they forced by the western powers to join? What benefits Ukraine would have after joining NATO?

To answer the above questions one must first understand that situation of security dilemma exits between Ukraine and Russia and to assure its security Ukraine needed backup in the form of NATO. Moscow has adopted a policy toward Ukraine and Belarus throughout Putin’s term in power based on the presumption that each former Soviet country’s national identities are artificial and thus brittle. Vladimir Putin frequently exhibits what historians refer to as the “politics of eternity,” in order to restore the lost essence of the Soviet Empire. One of the reasons why Ukraine needed security assurance. This was only possible if a state stronger than Russia supported and formed alliance with Ukraine, hence Ukraine turned towards joining NATO.

Now that Russia has annexed Ukraine, it clearly depicts the Russian insecurity as well in context with the Western imperialist nature. The people of Ukrainian are still in state of shock as to why Ukraine, a peace loving country wants to join an organization that is more in to waging war rather than building cooperation and peace.  The Ukrainian President, Zelensky, recently posed for a Vogue magazine depicting in the background the war torn Ukraine, receiving a major backlash questioning whether all this is just a good background for a cover magazine.

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