– Col. Ramakrishna
IS the Biden administration being hustled into taking an aggressive stand on Russia? Is Ukraine just an excuse, a ploy? Is it a wise course in the long run?
There is no Military alliance between China and Russia on date. This will change if Biden continues to apply unwanted and unacceptable pressure on Russia on the issue of Ukraine.
There is a great deal of interoperability in the weapons and weapon systems of Russia and China. Both are authoritarian states, paying lip service to Communism but very happy to adopt capitalism and free markets for sustenance and growth.
So far both China and Russia have avoided a military alliance on the scale and style of NATO which could drag the other into an armed conflict with a third party.
Both China and Russia are aware of the dangers of military actions, and have avoided it so far. However, a combination of sanctions and pressures might constitute the basis for a rethink.
A Sino-Russian military alliance is NOT in the interests of the free world. It could also suck in the former CIS states into Chinese embrace, which is best avoided.
Russian economy is just managing to keep afloat thanks to the higher prices for crude and natural gas. European markets are its lifeline.
An economic blockade by the European Union at the behest of USA will upset the economic balance that Russia has maintained so far.
RUSSIAN SECURITY FEARS
Russia today has a very long western border, difficult to secure. Russian military spending is just around 75 billion US $ per year, hardly enough to maintain its armed forces, leave alone its expansion or justify additional burden of military exploits in Europe.
Its locating a 100000+ troops on the Ukraine border is a major drain on its sparse resources.
Russia under Boris Yeltsin had protested strongly and objected to the East European satellites of Poland, Czech Republic etc moving into EU and NATO. But did not interfere.
However, Russia has always drawn a RED LINE as far as Ukraine and Georgia are concerned.
The “existing crisis with Russia has origins that go far beyond Putin. Russia has a foreign and security blob, just as does the United States, with a set of semi-permanent beliefs about Russian vital interests rooted in national history and culture, which are shared by large parts of the population. These include the exclusion of hostile military alliances from Russia’s neighborhood and the protection of the political position and cultural rights of Russian minorities.” https://time.com/6141806/russia-ukraine-threats/
“In the case of Ukraine, NATO membership for that country implied the expulsion of Russia from the naval base of Sevastopol in Crimea (a city of immense importance to Russia, both strategic and emotional), and the creation of a hard international frontier between Russia and the Russian and Russian-speaking minorities in Ukraine, making up more than a third of the Ukrainian population.” https://time.com/6141806/russia-ukraine-threats/
Over the past three decades, Russia has invaded three neighboring countries — Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova — interfered in elections, used chemical weapons to attempt assassinations both on foreign soil and domestically (Skripal, Navalny), and violated international arms control agreements. “We and our allies will be raising those and other issues with Russia in the days and weeks ahead.” (“United with Ukraine — United States Department of State”) https://www.state.gov/united-with-ukraine/
Russian Sphere of Influence & Monroe Doctrine
Russian ‘Sphere of Influence’ is as valid as the American ‘Monroe doctrine.’
Russian security concerns are as natural as those of USA, which unlike Russia is still a major power, in fact a superpower.
Russia is bound to feel pressured considering its weak economy, under threat of continued western sanctions, made worse by NATO military swarming the neighbourhood.
Democrats and Biden Attempts to Redeem Reputation?
Democrats bear a massive grudge against Putin and identify their defeat in the presidential elections of 2020, at the hands of Donald Trump due to Russian interference.
America under Biden has cut an extremely sorry figure, in the recent past. USA has been slammed with accusations from desertion to cowardice in its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan post 15 Aug 2021. In fact, there are talks of Biden Government losing its nerve and lack of clarity at the highest levels of Biden administration.
Is the Biden government trying to exhibit bravado to take attention off the Afghanistan fiasco?
Is it that Biden government has no clarity on how to tackle China’s adventure in the South China Sea?
Is it to hide the fact that Biden is unsure of the support that USA can give to Taiwan, which is being threatened in a daily basis by Xi Jinping’s Communist China?
Does Biden find Russia a softer option?
There is no doubt that the public in USA will not stomach another intervention so far from homeland. Putin’s Russia needs peace to get along with life too. Even though it has moved aggressively in its neighbourhood it is definitely not looking for adventures. Putin is NOT a Don Quixote.
The Ukraine matter can and should be resolved, amicably with face savers for USA and Russia.
Ø USA and Russia can come to an agreement that Georgia and Ukraine will not become NATO allies of USA in the near future. Shelve NATOisation of Eastern Europe for three decades.
Ø Immediate de-escalation of forces, Russian and Ukraine.
Ø Ukraine pledges to ensure safety and security of Russian minority.
Ø Putin guaranteeing non-interference in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.