The ongoing tug-of-war between world powers to take the lead over each other is not new and unique. Its history spans centuries, but in the present times, the tug-of-war between the two major powers, the US and Russia, to gain power and superiority over each other after World War II, has changed the political landscape of the world many times and now on February 24, 2022, the Russian invasion on Ukraine has started a new game in the political scenario of the world. As a low-key student of International Relations, I would like to elaborate my opinion on this crucial issue today.
Global politics is a complex game and it needs to be kept on a sharp watch because what is shown, the fact is always contrary to it. General observation suggests that the Russo-Ukrainian war is a normal conflict between the two countries but in fact, this war is part of a dangerous game played between the two major powers of the world for the acquisition of power and superiority over each other. On one hand is an alliance of the US and its allied European countries, while on the other hand is the new emerging alliance of China, Russia, and Pakistan. The unity between the US and its allied European countries has been going on for more than half a century and it is not hidden, but on the contrary, the alliance of China, Russia, and Pakistan is of much importance in the current political history of the world. The most important country in this alliance is China, which is the biggest threat to the US at present. China has emerged as the world’s largest economic power in the last two decades and is a thorn in the eye of the US, as it has rapidly brought up its economy and military power to an equal level to the US. The global political experts have even claimed that China has actually become the superpower of the world and there is a possibility that China can declare itself to be the world’s only superpower at any time in the future. The second major threat to the US is its traditional rival Russia. The US had become the world’s sole superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Since then, Russia is struggling to gain its position back and strengthen its economy. In the last two decades, Russia has strengthened itself economically and militarily, thus emerging as a major power in the world once again. The US knows that the wound of the Soviet Union’s collapse is still fresh on Russia’s chest, hence it will not hesitate from going to any extent to take revenge, as soon as the opportunity arises. Although China and Russia have considered each other rivals in the past, the two countries came closer to each other over time due to the global colonial moves by the US against both countries for half a century. Thus, as common enemies of the US, the two countries decided to form an allied bloc. Global political experts agree that the two countries made this decision soon after the US’ arrival in Afghanistan in 2001, as the US’ purpose of coming to Afghanistan was not only to destabilize Pakistan but also to keep close surveillance on the rapidly growing strength and activities of Russia and China in the region.
When it comes to the inclusion of Pakistan in this alliance, the decision was of China – a longtime friend of Pakistan. Pakistan has been a close friend of China since day one and geographically is the most important country in the region. Although Pakistan has been a part of the US bloc since its inception and has emerged as an all-time ally of the US, Pakistan has found nothing but deception and enmity from the US at every step. The most recent example is that after its arrival in Afghanistan in 2001, the US joined hands with India to carry out the heinous and vicious act of terrorism in Pakistan and inflicted economic and financial losses on it, which made it very clear to the Pakistani establishment and think tanks that the US had actually come to Afghanistan to eliminate Pakistan on the pretext of the war on terror. However, due to the special grace of Allah Almighty and the sacrifices and efforts of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, the so-called superpower US and all its allies fled Afghanistan in 2021, after suffering a humiliating defeat for 20 years and wasting billions of dollars. The US will remember this humiliating and painful defeat forever. China decided to include Pakistan in the alliance, but due to Pakistan’s ongoing old enmity with Russia, it was essential to improve the relations between these two countries first. For this purpose, China established a link between the think tanks of Russia and Pakistan, which started melting the frozen ice between the diplomatic relations between the two countries. The first development in the Russia-Pakistan relations was made in April 2007, when the then Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov along with his delegation made a three-day official visit to Pakistan. His delegation included his deputy ministers, senior government officials, key business personalities, and a team of thirty media representatives. For the first time in history, a Russian Prime Minister visited Pakistan with such a large delegation and this is where Russia-Pakistan relations began.
The US had a close eye on the alliance of China, Russia, and Pakistan and its think tanks feared that if this alliance succeeded, the US would lose its dominance in the world and once again, the world would become a “bipolar world” from “unipolar world,” as it was before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite numberless attempts, the US had not been able to capture China so far. Also, it had failed miserably to destroy Pakistan for twenty years. Russia was the only country left in this alliance which is located close to Europe, so the US planned to cripple the fast-emerging economy of Russia, as economically weak Russia would be unable to stand with China against it. For this purpose, the US plotted a plan for the Russo-Ukrainian war. Many think tanks in the US have revealed this conspiracy of the US in their reports. Let me remind to the readers that I have explained the Russo-Ukrainian war in detail in my previous article named ” Russo-Ukrainian Conflict: Details, Facts and Concerns”. The US wanted to achieve some major objectives through this war. First, the US knew that due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union would stand against Russia, therefore, the US planned that in order to get the sympathy of its allied European countries, first, it would impose strict economic and trade sanctions on Russia, which would cut off Russia’s trade with the whole world, thus shall isolate Russia in the world. Secondly, Russia is the largest supplier of oil and gas to the European countries, i.e., the 27 countries of the European Union imports one-fourth of their total needs of oil and about 40% of gas from Russia. The US itself imports about 8% of the natural gas, coal, and other petroleum products of its total needs from Russia. The US knew that Russia earns 40% of its total revenue from its oil and gas exports to the world, thus it is a backbone of Russia’s economy. Therefore, the US wanted to ban the exports of Russian oil and gas in the world, in order to cripple Russia’s economy. In this regard, the US planned that immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it would first ban oil imports from Russia itself, and shall later provoke the European countries to ban the import of Russian oil and gas. Thirdly, the US has been keen to sell its oil to European countries at high prices for years. The US knew that since European countries would be in dire demand for oil and gas for their needs after the oil and gas outages from Russia, the US would offer them its oil and gas at high prices. In compulsion, the European countries would buy the US oil and gas at high prices, which in result would strengthen the US economy on one hand and would weaken Russia’s economy on the other.
In addition, the US wanted to persuade major oil producers in the middle east, i.e., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to supply oil to the European countries, which would ultimately force both countries to increase their oil production. This increase would have further reduced Russian oil demand in the world, while the US, on the other hand, would have fulfilled its desire to control oil production and prices in the world, but contrary to what the US expected, all these plans failed. According to the plan, in his address on March 8, 2022, US President Joe Biden announced a ban on oil exports from Russia in response to the Russian invasion on Ukraine. The US was expecting its European allies to ban oil and gas exports from Russia as well, but as I stated above, the energy needs of the 27 European countries largely depend upon the Russian oil and gas, so contrary to the US expectations, the European countries refused to ban their oil and gas exports from Russia. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s statement in this regard is of great importance, which he gave a day before the US banned its exports of Russian oil. In his statement on March 7, 2022, the German chancellor ruled out the possibility of banning oil and gas exports from Russia, saying, “Europe has deliberately exempted banning the Russian oil and gas supplies from sanctions, as the energy needed by Europe for production, mobility, power supply, and industry largely depends upon the Russian oil and gas and we have no other alternative”. He further added, “Russian oil and gas are essential for the delivery of public services and the daily lives of our citizens”.
On March 9, 2022, in a joint press conference in Paris with the French President Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rote, said that he is not in favor of stopping the supply of Russian oil and gas, as it would be a loss for the European Union member states. In his statement, he said, “we have to discuss our weaknesses in terms of our dependence on Russian oil and gas. I cannot request Russia to stop supplying oil and gas today, it is not possible because we need the continuous supply of Russian oil and gas and it is a fact”. On the other hand, the US plan for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also failed when the heads of the two countries refused to attend the telephone call of US President Joe Biden. The news circulated in the newspapers and on electronic media around the world on March 9, 2022. The reasons are very clear. First, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are concerned about the US’ dual policy in the Middle East and have been expressing this for some time now. Secondly, after the worst defeat of the US in Afghanistan, the whole world has now come to know that the US is no more a superpower; the real superpower is now China and in the near future, the whole world will be under China’s control. In view of this fact, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are now leaning towards China. According to the global political experts, this tilt could be a threshold of a new change in the global political scenario in near future.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s new and independent foreign policy is playing a vital role in this whole game. The most important progress made in this regard is the improvement and closeness in Russia-Pakistan relations after nearly half a century, which is a positive sign for peace in the region. In my upcoming articles, I will explain Russia-Pakistan relations in detail. Here, let me tell you briefly that since 2007, the relations between the two countries have made very positive progress. In the backdrop of Russia’s rapidly escalating tensions with the US and its European allies, the former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s historic visit to Russia on February 23, 24, 2022 is a recent vivid example of close ties between Russia-Pakistan relations. According to the Government of Pakistan, the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit was aimed at expanding relations between Russia and Pakistan, promoting bilateral cooperation, and implementing the years-long “Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline” project, but according to the political analysts, the visit of the premier especially at a time when the US and Russia were at the verge of confrontation, clearly reflects a shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy and openly indicates that Pakistan no longer wants to be a part of the US bloc. Considering the deep ties between China, Russia, and Pakistan, it can be easily inferred that Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Russia were pre-determined and were undoubtedly intended to send an open message to the US and its European allies that the alliance between China, Russia, and Pakistan have been formed. Pakistan’s bid to leave the US bloc and the alliance between China, Russia, and Pakistan can also be gauged from this act that Pakistan has categorically refused to support the European Union and oppose Russia in the Russo-Ukrainian war.
This was openly expressed by the former Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address at Melsi – a small town in the Southern Punjab, on March 6, 2022. In his address, he strongly criticized the European Union’s dual policy and referred to a letter sent to the Pakistani government on March 1, 2022, by the ambassadors of 17 European countries along with the ambassadors of Japan, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, in which they had called on Pakistan to openly condemn the Russian invasion on Ukraine. In addition, the letter also demanded Pakistan, not to show impartiality and vote in favor of Ukraine in the resolution against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was later presented on March 2, 2022, in the United Nations General Assembly. Be noted that Pakistan including 34 other countries had not participated in the voting by showing neutrality over the resolution. Referring to this letter, former Prime Minister Imran Khan made it clear that Pakistan wants equal relations with all countries of the world. We have already lost a lot in the US war in Afghanistan; therefore, we don’t want to be a part of any bloc or camp any further. Speaking directly to the European Union in his address, he said, “have you written a similar letter to India? Have you considered Pakistan as your slave? Are we your slaves that we will do, whatever you will say? We helped you in Afghanistan, made sacrifices for you, did you thank us? Did you ever worry about the atrocities of Indians in occupied Kashmir, just like you are worrying about Ukraine?”
Undoubtedly, there are no two opinions that the tone of a courageous leader of an independent country should be like this with regard to the foreign policy of his country and the entire Pakistani nation is proud of the courage and bravery of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Like ever, the bold decision of liberating the foreign policy of Pakistan by the former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been denied by the US and its western allies and as the result, his government has been abolished on April 10, 2022, through “No Confidence Motion” by all the opposition parties of Pakistan. The whole Pakistani nation is well aware of the details and background and undoubtedly, this is a bitter hour of regret for the whole Pakistani nation. However, the positive point here is that Pakistan has moved toward a free and independent foreign policy, which has begun with the courageous decision of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Russia. Now it remains to be seen, how long Pakistan continues its independent foreign policy in the absence of Imran Khan. Moreover, 46 days have passed since the Russo-Ukrainian war began. So far, the war has caused nearly 24,000 deaths, injured nearly 2,000 people, nearly 400 people are missing, nearly 11 million people have migrated to other countries, nearly 1,800 buildings have been destroyed and an estimated $565 billion has been lost. How long this war will continue, what will be the further consequences of this war, what will be the outcome of this ongoing tug-of-war between the world powers, whether the alliance between China, Russia, and Pakistan will sustain, what will be the future of global politics and what will be the future political scenario in Pakistan, in order to know the answers of all these questions, we have to wait for the future.
Author: Waqar Ahmad Khan
The Author is a columnist, whose columns are regularly published in English and Urdu on different news websites. The author mostly writes on contemporary affairs, international and national politics, history, social issues, and Islam.