Fragmented world order, unrelated nations

The impact of the Ukrainian war on global interconnection is a cause for concern in the post-war order

The impact of the Ukrainian war on global interconnection is a cause for concern in the post-war order

* Nearly three weeks into Russia’s war on Ukraine, the cost to India is yet to be reckoned with. While some focus on how India’s refusal to criticize Russia’s actions, and the spate of abstentions at the UN, would affect its relations with the West and its Quad partners (U.S. , Australia and Japan), others are watching the economic costs that unprecedented US and European Union sanctions will have on Indian trade, energy and defense purchases. However, the outcome that should worry New Delhi and other like-minded countries the most, besides the devastating consequences for the Ukrainian nation, is the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the global world order, which is fragmenting at all interdependence – in terms of international cooperation, security, military use, economic order and even cultural ties.

The UN and the Security Council

To begin with, the world order has collapsed and events in Ukraine have revealed the utter ineffectiveness of the UN and the Security Council. Russia’s actions in Ukraine may, in terms of refusing to seek an international mandate, look no different from the US war in Iraq in 2003, the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon in 2006 and the Saudi coalition attacks on Yemen in 2015.

But Ukraine actually deals a bigger blow to the post-war order than any other. The direct missile strikes and daily bombardments of Ukrainian cities, resulting in military and civilian casualties, and the creation of millions of refugees, go against every line of the preamble to the United Nations Charter, namely “to preserve the future generations from the scourge of war. ..”, “to practice tolerance and to live together in peace in a spirit of good neighbourliness”, as well as articles 1 and 2 of the ‘Purposes and principles’ of the United Nations (chapter 1).

The fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin broadcast his decision to “launch military operations” on Ukraine even as the Russian envoy to the United Nations was chairing a UN Security Council discussion on the Ukraine crisis, in speaks volumes about the respect the P-5 members felt for the proceedings. A vote by the international community, or the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which denounced Moscow’s actions, was swept away in an even easier way than when the United States did when they lost the UNGA vote in 2017 over its decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in their responses, other P-5 members such as the US, UK and France also did not seek to strengthen the global order, imposing sanctions unilaterally rather than to try to bring them to the UN. Obviously, Russia would have vetoed any punitive measures, but that should not have stopped the attempt. Nor is the increase in arms transfers to Ukraine a vote of confidence in the power of the UN to effect a truce.

Where are the nuclear safeguards?

The next point is Russian recklessness on nuclear security in a country that suffered the worst impacts of poor security and planning after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 (when Ukraine was part of the Union Soviet), which is a challenge to the global nuclear order. . The movements of the Russian military to target areas near Chernobyl and shell buildings near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (also the largest in Europe), show an alarming nonchalance towards the safeguards in place for several decades, after the detonation of atomic bombs by the United States over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 led to the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1956. The world must also consider the cost to the credibility of the regime of nuclear non-proliferation: Ukraine and Libya which have voluntarily renounced their nuclear programs have been invaded, while regimes such as Iran and North Korea can challenge the world order because it has retained its nuclear deterrence.

There are also the pacts agreed during the Global War on Terror, which have been downgraded, with the use of non-state actors in the Ukraine crisis. For years, pro-Russian armed militias have operated in the Donbass regions, challenging the decisions of the kyiv government. With the arrival of Russian troops, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited all foreign fighters who volunteer to support his forces in the country. This seeks to mirror the “international brigades” of the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, made up of foreign volunteers from around 50 countries against the forces of Spanish military leader Francisco Franco.

However, the role of foreign fighters took on a more sinister significance after 2001 and al-Qaeda, when Western recruits joined the Islamic State to fight the forces of Syrian President Assad. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s recent statement that she would “absolutely support” British veterans and volunteers joining the Ukrainian war against Russia has since been quashed by the UK Foreign Office, and it is hoped that more other countries in the world, including India, will show firmness. efforts to prevent these “non-state actors” from joining a foreign war.

Economic actions

The economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) also indicate a fragmentation of the global financial order. While analysts have pointed out that the sanctions announced so far do not include some of Russia’s biggest banks such as Sberbank and Gazprombank and energy agencies (in order to avoid disruption of oil supplies and in gas from Russia), the intention to cut off Russia from all monetary and financial systems remains. From evicting Russia from SWIFT payments, to canceling Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Paypal, to sanctioning specific Russian companies and oligarchs, and pressuring Western companies (McDonalds, Coke -Cola, Pepsi, etc.) operating in the closure of Russia, the arbitrary and unilateral nature of Western sanctions clashes with the international financial order set up within the framework of the World Trade Organization (which replaced General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT).

The obvious fallout from this “culture of economic cancellation” will no doubt be a reaction – a push back from Russia and an exploration of alternative trade deals with countries like China, India and much of the hemisphere. Oriental who continue to trade with Moscow. For the S-400 missile defense deal, for example, New Delhi used a ruble-to-ruble mechanism and US CAATSA (or Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions-immune banks for advance payments. Russian banks will now use the Chinese “UnionPay” for online transactions. Gradually, the world could see the emergence of a “non-dollar” system that would manage the banking, fintech and credit systems separately from the “dollar world”.

Isolation by culture

Finally, there is the Western objective, to “isolate” Russia, socially and culturally, which rebels against the liberal world order. While several governments, including the US, UK and Germany, have consistently stated that their quarrel is not with Russian citizens but with their leaders, it is clear that most of their actions will hurt the average Russian citizen. The EU’s banning of all Russian-owned, Russian-controlled or Russian-registered aircraft from EU airspace, and Aeroflot’s cancellation of international routes, will ensure that travel to and from Russia will be severely reduced. Part of this isolation of its citizens will work in favor of an increasingly authoritarian Kremlin. Mr. Putin’s response to the banning of Russian channels in Europe and its allies has been to use the ban on Western media as a pretext to also ban pro-opposition Russian channels. ‘Isolation’ extends to art and music: In the past two weeks, the Munich Philharmonic has fired its conductor and New York’s Metropolitan Opera has let go of a Russian soprano , Anna Netrebko, because they would not criticize the war. Performances by the Bolshoi Ballet in London and Madrid have also been cancelled.

The perils of this comprehensive boycott of Russia are not without historical precedent. Addressing his Parliament this week, Mr Zelensky cited British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s ‘Fight to the End’ speech, delivered in the House of Commons in June 1940, to speak of Ukraine’s commitment to fight Russia. European viewers would do well to also remember Churchill’s other famous speech, ‘The Sinews of Peace’, delivered in the United States in 1946, when he first referred to the ‘fall of the Iron Curtain between Soviet Russia and Western Europe. “The security of the world demands a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently excluded,” Churchill warned, though his words were in vain and the world suffered the consequences of the Cold War for the next four decades. .

New Delhi needs to think

The events of the past two weeks, triggered by Russia’s declaration of war on Ukraine, have undoubtedly overturned many ideas of 1945 and 1990, fragmenting the international order established with the United Nations, opening an era of de-globalization and bringing down another iron curtain. India’s abstentionist responses and its willingness not to criticize any action taken by the major powers could ensure the security of Indians in the short term. But in the long run, it is only those nations that act proactively to maintain, strengthen and reinvent the global order that will make the world a safer place, even as this war that promises few victors rages on.

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