As the Russo-Ukrainian War completed a year on the 24th of February 2023, the world and Europe in particular once again witnessed the ravages of war on European soil after decades. The event significantly transformed the European region and brought back many characteristics of the 20th century. As a year has been completed with the war going forward to the situation of stalemate, here are five transformations the world has witnessed that have resulted from the war.
Conventional War is Back
The Russo-Ukrainian War has been largely a conventional battle despite one of the sides being a nuclear power. Ukraine, which once was a part of the Russian landmass during the Cold War became an independent territory with a western inclination in the post-Cold War era. The Ukrainian War of 2022 reflects conventional warfare with territorial invasion and armies playing the major role along with ideology as the basis of war. However, with the advancement in technology, satellites, as well as drones along with infrared guiding systems, have played a significant role in surveillance, intelligence, and information-gathering against the adversary.
The war has changed the norms and ideals that were practised during the Cold war era and the importance of conventional security has revived itself through this war. The idea of Europe which was built on pacifist principles since the end of World War II has been challenged and countries like Germany have felt the need to increase the millitary budget. While European countries have come together for a liberal, democratic regional zone with an outlook to prevent war altogether, the Ukrainian War has made them integrated for providing millitary assistance to Ukraine.
Change in World Order
The Russo-Ukrainian War marked a change in the world order. With ideology playing an important role once again, the world order has revived the Cold War situation once again with the west and Russia as adversaries to each other. The transatlantic west alliance has found a purpose to be united against Russia, but cracks can be seen among the NATO members as the United States has not been involved in the NATO alliance in the wars outside Europe. The war has however shifted the focus of international politics to the east and the United States is no longer considered a unilateral power. Despite the personal visit by President Biden to Kyiv at the completion of one year of the war, the ideas and concepts dominated by the United States through which the world is dominated by the States have been increasingly challenged and it only suggests the start of a new international order.
Russia’s performance has been disappointing.
At the beginning of the conflict, most experts predicted a very short war ending with a Russian victory. However, with the passing of time, the speculation has been proved wrong and the Russian performance has been proven not up to the mark. Despite Russia portraying aggressive strategies against Ukraine with threats of using nuclear weapons, Russia has undermined the strategies of the united alliance of the west. The leadership from the Russian side has failed to provide the necessary push and there have been no effective millitary strategies that would bring change to the face of the war. As a year passed, both Russia and Ukraine suffered terrible losses and there is no sign from any power to deliver a knockout blow. The war has resulted in serious economic and social crises in both these countries. But Russia still continues to be one of the big powers having a large millitary base with offensive measures from Russia crushing the eastern areas of Ukraine.
The idea of Europe is stronger than ever.
If the refugee crisis of 2015 has divided Europe based on their responses towards the refugees, the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 has united the broken parts with an adhesive that made the idea of Europe stronger than ever. The response of the nations has been in stark contrast to the Syrian refugees as more and more European nations have been open to the refugees from the ongoing war. While Euroscepticism has different shades in Europe depending on different social, economic, religious, and political factors and it still has huge support among many sections of European countries, the Ukrainian War has improved the statistics towards a unified Europe.
The Russo-Ukrainian War has witnessed a univocal response from the European continent with countless sanctions and other deterring measures against Russia. Most of these measures and sanctions aimed to cripple the Russian economy against the unjust invasion of Ukraine. The Russian invasion of Ukraine which started as a response against the west- allied NATO enlargement, has helped in uniting Europe as an ally of the west. Putin’s war which is against “Zapad”, the Russian word for West has been targeted against the very “idea of Europe”, says Stella Ghervas, a Russian History Professor at Newcastle University.
It is a Western War
While the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 has altered the world order to a great extent, the War remains out and out a Western war no matter how much it has affected international politics of the globe. The West led by Europe and the United States has tried to portray the war as a risk against the existing global political order. However, non-western countries have been certain about them having no role in this crisis. Many non-western countries have avoided taking a stance regarding the crisis while others have taken a strong neutral standpoint. S. Jaishankar, the Indian external Minister has strongly commented, “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that its problems are the world’s problems” reflecting the Indian standpoint when Europe has been persistently trying to convince India to voice against Russia.
The non-western nationals comprising Asian, African and Latin American countries have been sympathetic towards Ukraine but with conditions. As most of these nations are struggling with several issues ranging from economic to environmental matters, they assert getting similar consideration for these issues to the Ukrainian crisis. The countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America contended that Europe and the United States have been silent on the significance of non-western issues.
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The author is an independent researcher.