Russia-Ukraine conflict: NATO’s flip-flop now costing Ukraine its sovereignty (Part 3)

IN this last the article, we will look at the current and future state of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine is currently under siege. According to reports, Russian troops have already reached Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Ukraine’s military were battling a full-scale invasion on multiple fronts.

As expected, Russia had also vetoed the United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution on its aggression against Ukraine yesterday.

Both sides have acknowledged casualties and a number of civilians from Ukraine have died as a result of the invasion. War is not a viable option for resolving differences between countries. In many conflicts, the biggest victims are innocent people such as women and children, not the leaders who began the strife.

The true intention of the US-led North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is not to attack Russia as I have explained in previous articles. This is because they are aware of Russia’s technologically advanced military.

During the Cold War, the warfare zones were always far away from the US. Consider the Vietnam War and the Afghan War. The innocent Afghans and Vietnamese people were the unfortunate victims of such wars. Ukraine’s condition is very similar to that of Vietnam and Afghanistan.

According to international media reports, the US and its allies have assured Ukraine that they will stand by its side to safeguard its sovereignty. Unfortunately, they have yet to fulfil the promise until now.

When Russia launched its attacks two days ago, many people, including Ukrainians, assumed that NATO would send troops to help and safeguard the country’s sovereignty.

President Joe Biden has made it apparent that the US is unwilling to fight, and he has even ordered the withdrawal of troops stationed in Ukraine as military advisers and monitors.

His actions ran opposite to those of his predecessors, who had authorised US forces to enter other countries’ conflicts by participating in their hostilities.

Notably, the war that followed Yugoslavia’s disintegration in 1995, the Libyan civil war in 2011, and the international alliance to drive Iraq from Kuwait in 1990.

Last year, the US and its allies hastened their withdrawal from Afghanistan, destabilising the country and causing humanitarian concerns. Afghans are still suffering as a result of the Biden Administration’s miscalculation.

NATO’s non-participation in the current crisis is owing to Ukraine’s dearth of membership in the alliance by invoking Article 4 of NATO treaty. This contradict with the reasons given by US and UK to invade Iraq in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein.

When a member state feels threatened by another country or a terrorist organisation, Article 4 of the NATO treaty applies. At the request of the threatened member, the 30 member states begin formal talks.

The discussions focus on whether a threat exists and how to address it, with decisions made unanimously.

Falling for NATO’s “falsehoods”

In addition, Article 5 of the NATO Charter outlines the alliance’s military aid in the event that one of its members is attacked, and this pact only applies to member states.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated before the Russian invasion that NATO was on his side and that he was not adhering to President Putin’s demands that Ukraine not become a member of NATO.

In essence. Zelenskyy pawned his country and his people on NATO’s “false assertions”, and now he is “paying the price for it”.

Economic sanctions and the prohibition of sports events will not dissuade Russia from stopping the invasion as it is a self-sufficient country that can easily navigate the obstacles with the support of its “new friend”, China.

This, I believe, is the US’ grand strategy. As I previously stated, the imminent threat to the US is China, not Russia.

President Putin’s recent closeness to China has prompted the US to instigate a crisis on Russia’s western border. As Russia is preoccupied with the issue, the US may beef up its force to undermine China in the Indo-Pacific region.

As a result of the situation, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Pakistan have forged a “shadow new axis”. The world has now shifted to a bipolar state. The US foreign policy, which has as its sole purpose the perpetuation of US hegemony, has indirectly built this coalition.

Let us be clear, the writer is not defending Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Ukraine is a sovereign nation. The Ukrainians, not anyone else, must determine the direction of their country. The over-involvement of the US through NATO in the former Soviet Union’s ex-republics, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, has made Russia insecure.

This is because Putin has stated repeatedly that NATO should be kept away from Russia’s border. He understands why NATO was formed, as well as how NATO and the Warsaw Pact were involved in proxy wars throughout the first Cold War, which ended with the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Russia was convinced that NATO, was attempting to undermine its sovereignty by encouraging former Soviet countries and Warsaw Pact members to be part of NATO. The ultimate blow was Ukraine’s tenacious bid to join NATO and the EU, putting Russia in a position to invade Ukraine.

Again, this is not the ideal fit, but it is the strongest one available for Russia to defend itself against old and new Western adversaries.

Then there is the question of why the US never went back to the technique it used to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, US and Soviet officials engaged in a tense 13-day political and military standoff over the deployment of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, just 90 miles from US coastlines.

If these missiles are allowed to become operational, it will drastically vary the nuclear rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union.

US and allies’ “scheme of things”

Despite the high degree of hostility, Soviet and American leaders were able to find a way to end the stand-off.

To resolve the issue, the US and the Soviet Union corresponded, and on Oct 26, Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev sent US President John F. Kennedy a message in which he offered to withdraw Cuban missiles in exchange for a guarantee from US leaders not to invade Cuba.

He also wrote to Kennedy a letter proposing that the USSR remove its missiles in Cuba in exchange for the US removing its missile systems from Turkey. The US administration complied with the request, and the issue is resolved without any bloodshed.

In this case, Putin was willing to come to the negotiation table with only one request: a guarantee from NATO, led by the US, to not accept or enable Ukraine to join the pact, which was flatly denied.

This reinforces up my argument that the war was engineered to divert Russia’s attention away from China, which is now regarded as a close ally.

Because the US and its allies cannot fight on two fronts at the same time, they must undermine their most powerful foe by instigating internal instability and inflaming tensions along its borders.

Therefore, the Indo-Pacific region will be the next battleground. This region includes Malaysia. Are we prepared for this showdown?

Malaysia and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries should avoid being entangled in the tensions between these superpowers.

Malaysia can play a crucial role by reactivating the declaration of the Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) and encouraging Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members to declare this region a war-free zone. – Feb 26, 2022


R Paneir Selvam is the principal consultant of Arunachala Research & Consultancy Sdn Bhd, a think tank specialising on strategic national and geo-political matters.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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