The seventh month of the Russo-Ukrainian war is ended; however, it can be observed vividly that the global “stakeholders” of this war are still quenching their thirst. On 21st September 2022, US President Joe Biden addressed the UN’ General Assembly and once again called for a united global stance to isolate Russia because of its war of aggression against Ukraine. In his speech, he expressed, “the world has experienced ‘great upheaval’ over the past year – a brutal, needless war, a war chosen by one man. This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not – that should make your blood run cold”. He further added, “that’s why 141 nations in the UN General Assembly came together to unequivocally condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The United States has marshaled massive levels of security assistance and humanitarian aid and direct economic support for Ukraine more than $25 billion to date. Our allies and partners around the world have stepped up as well and today, more than 40 countries represented here have contributed billions of their own money and equipment to help Ukraine defend itself. Such global unity has never existed”. But here is one thing which Biden neglected to mention that virtually all of the 40 countries contributing to Ukraine’s defense are NATO members or other US allies and security dependents. Support elsewhere in the world for sanctions against Russia can’t be seen and policymakers in Washington are indignant upon and well aware of this fact.
Hudson Institute – a Washington-based conservative American Think Tank’s scholar Walter Russell Mead noted Washington’s lack of success in broadening the anti-Russia coalition beyond the network of traditional US’ allies. “The West has never been more closely aligned. It has also rarely been more alone. Allies in the NATO along with Australia and Japan are united in revulsion against Vladimir Putin’s war and are cooperating with the most sweeping sanctions since World War II. The rest of the world, not so much”, he said. According to the global political analysts, Biden’s boast about ‘141 nations coming together to unequivocally condemn Russian invasion against Ukraine’ was a bit of an exaggeration. He referred to a resolution; the UN’ General Assembly passed on 2nd March, 2022. Although, it did demand an immediate cessation of the hostilities by Russia against Ukraine but it was purely symbolic measure that did not require member states to do anything. Despite the toothless nature of the resolution, five nations cast negative votes, and 35 nations, mostly in the Middle East and Africa abstained, which was undoubtedly an unsubtle diplomatic snub to Washington.
It was undoubtedly an early sign of trouble for Washington’s policy towards Moscow and matters have not improved since then. The situation can be inferred from the fact that despite extensive diplomatic pressure from the Biden Administration, key diplomats and economic players, the key player in South and Latin America – Brazil along with South Africa and Saudi Arabia have refused to impose sanctions against Russia. Moreover, Asia’s two demographic and economic giants – China and India have stubbornly remained on the sidelines. Furthermore, some early dissension was evident even within NATO. Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, made it clear from the outset that his country would not send weapons to Ukraine. Scorning the European Union’s solidarity with the US regarding anti-Russian sanctions, Orban later stated that “the European Union had ‘shot itself in the lungs’ by joining the US’ crusade to coerce Russia, especially with the sanctions on natural gas and other energy supplies”. He further warned, “it will lead to create a cold, dark winter and a nasty economic recession for European citizens”. His words later on proved to be true and currently, the economic recession is knocking at the door step of Europe, as the economic experts are already warning of a deadly recession in upcoming years.
Turkey’s deviation from the Washington’s policy towards Moscow is even greater than Hungary’s decision. Almost from the beginning, Ankara has given higher priority to ending the war in Ukraine as soon as possible rather than trying to coerce, weaken and humiliate Moscow. The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has repeatedly offered to play the role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine. Turkey’s restlessness with the US-NATO strategy has deepened over the months. In early September, 2022, Erdogan sharply criticized Turkey’s NATO partners for engaging in repeated provocations toward Moscow. Turkey has been attempting to bring both Russia and Ukraine to the bargaining table and somehow has been successful; at least in spurring grain shipments. “We have always maintained a policy of balance between Russia and Ukraine. From now on, we will continue to follow that balanced policy”, Erdogan told the reporters earlier this month.
On the other side, the fissures are widening between Washington’s preferences and those of its European allies. Under intense pressure from the US, the G-7 adopted price caps on imports of Russian gas and oil in early September, 2022. Violators supposedly would be subject to sanctions. The measure was the ultimate exercise in counterproductive posturing. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by threatening to cut off all energy exports to the West, if the price caps violated existing contractual commitments. At least 10 countries in the European Union voiced objections to the new G-7 restrictions and the EU ultimately backed away from adopting that course. It is now vivid that Biden’s speech at the UN’ General Assembly did not enhance Washington’s bid for greater international support. In his speech, on one occasion, he asserted that “if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for”. Biden was emphatic about the especially odious character of Russian assault on Ukraine.
He added, “Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations’ Charter, which clearly prohibits against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force”. The delegates from different countries of the world at the UN’ General Assembly were seen astonished at the Biden’s brazen hypocrisy, as in 1999, NATO bombed Serbia without UN’ Security Council’s approval and forcibly severed its province of Kosovo. NATO member Turkey has recently conducted airstrikes against Kurds over the border in Syria and has threatened a full incursion. It literally took portions of Cyprus in 1974. The closest US’ ally Israel seized and continues to occupy the West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights. While condemning Russian attack on Ukraine, Biden may assume that none of the listeners recalled the attacks by the US and its allies on Iraq, Libya, and Syria to oust governments they opposed, but in fact, leaders of the countries around the world remember those events very well, therefore, contrary to the US’ hypocritic policy, the European countries are now trying to revive their policy of aggression towards Moscow, as the loss of Russian energy supplies likely can lead towards considerable suffering to the European economy in the upcoming years. On the other hand, countries in Asia and Africa may also face the possible loss of both energy supplies and food shipments and hence, are less willing to antagonize Moscow. In this scenario, according to global political analysts; Biden’s recent effort to broaden the anti-Russia coalition is terribly failed.
Here the question arises that what’s next in Washington’s shelf? It is vivid that the international community has refused to sign Washington’s hypocritical crusade and according to Viktor Orban, is not intended to ‘shot itself in the lungs, so in my opinion, the only way is that instead of continuing to exert intense pressure on reluctant countries, Washington should listen to the leaders of these countries with greater respect to the criticisms and objections that they have made on Washington’s policy towards Russia. There is a possibility that the policymakers in Washington did not fully anticipate the extent of Russia’s leverage on energy and food supplies or the extensive disruption to the global economy due to the US-led sanctions, therefore, Washington should try to see what the world’s leaders are trying to show. Washington also needs to abandon the effort to force Russia to capitulate, as such an outcome is improbable and the pursuit of that objective may increase the risk that the Russo-Ukrainian war will become a prolonged and very bloody stalemate. Washington should immediately adopt the strategy to facilitate negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow as soon as possible because being a facilitator for peace is the only way that could reflect the genuine and constructive US global leadership.
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.