Is World War 3 Imminent?: Russia’s defacto expansionist policy in eastern Ukraine !
Perhaps Hans Morgenthau ( 1948) was right when he opined that politics among Nations is entirely anchored on selfish interests and I suppose neither was John Mearsheimer ( 2001) wrong in his analogy that great powers will hardly agree on a common blueprint especially if their interests are at stake. The recent tensions between Moscow and Kyiv is not unprecedented especially from a realist point of view as opposed to a liberal standpoint.
Why Russia invaded Ukraine?
During the cold war paranoia in the 20th century that witnessed a worldwide computation for political influence between the Union of Soviet Socialists Republic ( USSR) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO) alliance, Ukraine was part of the 15 states that made up USSR. Infact, Ukraine was pupported to be the second largest state after Russia. It is worth noting that Ukraine and Russia shared a pedigree of mutual relations to the point that in 1954 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave Ukraine the Crimean peninsula so as to strengthen cordial relations between them. But when the Soviet Union collapsed during the abatement of the cold war, Ukraine got their own Independence in 1991. Subsequently, Ukraine began to strengthen ties with the West and gradually weaken ties with Russia sia. To add insult to injury, Ukraine decided to join NATO which Russia perceived as an existential security threat and in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea. Post – Crimea annexation has witnessed massive tensions between Moscow and Kyiv. This explains why Ukraine has been relentlessly trying to join NATO to balance Russia’s irredentism. Although Ukraine is only a partner and not a member of NATO, she stands the chance to gain from NATO’s guiding principle,” All for one and one for all”. This is to mean any attack on a NATO member is an attack to all members. Most of Moscow’s neighbouring countries like Latvia, Liuthania and others have joined NATO and maybe Russia feels it needs to flex its muscles to counter NATO influence in Eastern Europe.
Is World War 3 Imminent?
Samuel Huntington ( 1996) predicted that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the main source of conflict in the post – cold war world. But we are witnessing a paradigm shift in the nature of conflicts globally with inter – state and intra – state conflicts skyrocketing in almost equal proportion. Are they largely predicated on culture and religion? Partly yes. Forthrightingly, the possibility of conventional war in a unipolar world today is something that we have deemed unthinkable. Can the tensions between Moscow and Kyiv lead us to a world war 3? If we extrapolate our thinking based on how world war 2 began then it’s very difficult for one not to take this interstate conflict seriously. Of course the international milleau has changed over time but we cannot downplay the fact that power configuration in the international system is in a continuous state of flux and states are guided by selfish national interests.
Has International Law failed?
On 23rd February 2022 the United Nations security council convened a meeting to discuss Moscow – Kyiv tensions which is a threat to international peace and security. 11 security council members voted to condemn Russia and called for an end to Russia’s defacto expansionism into eastern Ukraine. Russia who is a member of the security council vetoed while India, China and the United Arab Emirates abstained. Will Russia respect the final decision of the security council?
International law has attracted a lot of criticisms with many contemplating that International law is on its death bed. But the questions that we need to ask ourselves is ; how would the world be if it was completely anarchical? If the law of the jungle was to prevail, what would the world look like? What if there was no jus cogens, opinio juris, jus gentium, jus in bello, jus adbellum, post – adbellum and international humanitarian law? Well I’m not trying to justify that international law has been entirely effective. But with the rising threats to international peace and security, we need international law more than ever before.
Which way for Ukraine – Russia conflict?
Moscow and Ukraine must respect the Minsk declaration that happened back in 2014 and settle their differences amicably. War as an instrument of foreign policy in this case is unthinkable. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that there are no winners in war. For us to end the crisis in Kyiv, both regional and global cooperations must work together to enable a smooth peace process. A rapprochement between Moscow and Kyiv will also bring NATO to the table and negotiate with Russia. If compromise will bring peace in the region so be it. In the final analysis we need to fully embrace preventive diplomacy in the 21st century and I think maybe if principled negotiations were given a first hand priority, maybe things wouldn’t have escalated this far between Moscow and Kyiv.
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