The first world war ended with a faulty conclusion. Arthur Balfour, argued that, as a condition of durable peace, “behind international law, and behind all treaty arrangements for preventing or limiting hostilities, some form of international sanction should be devised which would give pause to the hardiest aggressor“ it took only 20 years until the next catastrophe materialized. In 1939 first September Adolf Hitler launched an unjustified invasion of Poland. The ironic fact – the year before when just after the Munich conference Nevil Chamberlain landed in London holding paper claiming that he brought peace at home. We did not wait long. After 17 years since World War ll ended the world witnessed another doomsday. In response to American missiles in turkey, Krusthcev decided to have its own in Cuba. Hopefully, another great war was averted through diplomacy.
As the cold war ended we were assured that the western way of the life was an unalternative way. Along with the academic hysteria, the so-called unipolar moment has begun. We thought that the main challenges of the international system became nonstate actors, and the great power games were the things of archives and historical books. Even though there were some warnings about China, the western world was convinced with another fallacy that engaging with the latter opens it and she will play the western game. We also dismissed the Russian potential and revisionism because of the simple fact that she was embroiled in the economic chaos and devastating war with Chechnya. The trust is that not everything is constant. Russia came back under Putin’s presidency and on the other side policy of engagement with China failed.
Welcome to the world of the great powers.
Russia opposed NATO’s potential expansion through the Bucharest summit of 2008 which stated that Ukraine and Georgia will definitively become states of the North Atlantic organization. Nearly after four months, she invaded Georgia. Unfortunately, the second state mentioned by the summit was the next in the list. In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and fueled the civil war by backing separatists of the Lugansk and Donetsk region. By that time China as Russia heavily invested in military, started to become more aggressive in the South China sea, intimidating Taiwan, having border clashes with India. It should be noted that two military juggernauts are sharing the one most important strategical vision – changing the U.S. lead world order.
On the other side, we should mention North Korea as she joined the club of atomic countries in 2006. Even though she is now secured and no one goes to invade her, Kim continues several ballistic testing not allowing South Koreans and Japanese to sleep calmly. We are waiting for another Rogue state Iran to soon join up the mentioned club. Thanks to Donald Trump who was mostly canceling and pulling out from the agreements reached by the previous administration sparked another crisis. According to his tweets, even the war was avoided at the last minute. Finally, we got Iran which is enriching uranium and is not far away to test the first bomb, but hopefully upcoming deal will close that option for a while.
Between fear and freedom
Biden has come to restore the tattered reputation of America thanks to Donald Trump. Pushing allies to spend more on the defense maybe serve as the general truth but not in diplomacy. Europe can spend more but she needs a political leader. She was saved thrice. First American involvement in 1917 speeded up German defeat which was uncertain by that time. In 1941 Churchill was finally relieved after Pearl Harbor. Furthermore,the Marshall Plan saved ruined European economy and NATO served as the security umbrella for the rest countries outside of the iron wall. The U.S has become as the last resort for a free and democratic world. Indeed Trump’s isolationist tendencies made the future of that world grim, but the good news is that is over, but revisionist powersare still there.
Days ago Putin made an unexpected turn. He firstly acknowledged Lugansk and Donetsk as independent states and following the latter’s plea started the invasion of Ukraine. It goes without saying that his main goal is to transform Ukraine into a neutral country. Such war precedents did not serve well for future conflicts. Invading another sovereign country based on false security assumptions has already cost thousands of lives. By the way if Ukraine becomes a neutral country, imagine what comes to Georgia when Putin comes with such demands. Another war? With such possible outcomes, speaking in the rhetoric of the cold war sphere of influence becomes reality.
Moreover, the military solution will serve as the viable option for the Chinese who will justify their actions on wosenedsecurity environment. According to that logic as much the U.S. helps Taiwan with military equipment weapons and technologies as much she puts it to the conflict.
Biden announced the league of democratic nations, it followed by fierced criticics regarding the guest list but it does not matter now. . the situation is critical. Once again the U.S. should step in, lead and save the western world. It does not mean that others should be idle. The western world should choose between the struggle for liberty and between fear. We see how autocrats are raping international law, without pretext waging wars against sovereignty. As many argued Putin opened the pandora box, but the western world needs now unity and action. Russia should be isolated. Firstly starting with Swift going to make Russian businessmen and also citizens get European visas conducting businesses abroad. We should push Russian people to acknowledge that their leader has chosen the darkness and they are victims. Some unrests have are already taken place in Russia. But if he would not stop it will be valid question to ask Kyiv is bleeding now but who will be the next?
FPC Research Fellow