On the Brink of a Nuclear War
Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat (LPR)
Today is the fourteenth day of war in Ukraine. NATO has refused to apply a no-fly zone over Ukraine but again has been talking about Ukraine government in exile, if necessary, that is if Russia takes control over Ukraine. If Russia takes too long, then it needs a face-saving escape route to avert total war. It is not new in history, in the aftermath of Vietnam War, China the staunch supporter of Vietnam went in force into Vietnam and endured a great debacle while trying to come out. Then, the end state could be that it has placed a regime aligned to it or that a big no to Ukraine joining NATO. As now EU is actively considering inclusion of Ukraine in EU much to the annoyance of Russia. Russia’s President, Putin has made it clear that Ukraine joining NATO is unacceptable and to neutralize that idea he had to walk in the war path. Well, Ukraine has been a sovereign country and in this 21st century, nobody can just take over another country just like that. Saddam tried in 1991 and you know how the World reacted. But when in 2003, USA invaded Iraq to neutralize so called WMD, UN Kofi Annan declared that that war is Illegal, as it is not in self-defense and not for protecting Innocent civilians.
Today, Putin has invaded Ukraine on the pretext of its Security Concern as NATO eastward expansion would bring Russia’s military rival next door. Already, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia has gone over to NATO. How much Russia can absorb? Well back in the Cold War days, During the time of Kennedy, Cuban Missile Crisis cropped up due to the deployment of Russian missiles in Cuba. In those days, USA also had to take tough measures and ultimately the Crisis resolved by the withdrawal of the Missiles.
Atomic bomb smoke from Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 (left) and Nagasaki, August 9, 1945 (right).
Sanctions in multiple dimensions had come about to be implemented. Already, oil prices are rising, the value of Rouble is falling and more things are in the offing. If the SWIFT is totally closed for Russian institutions, Banks etc, trade with Russia would become very difficult if not impossible, and supply chain disruption in the world could make everyone suffer. Russia has now threatened to cut off the gas supply to Europe. Europe is dependent on Russia significantly but in many other arenas. Europe would be the greater loser than that of the US. And off course ultimately, we - the less developed countries would become the heaviest sufferer and the debt defaulters.
However, if the restrictions on Russia do not curve out a path for Europe to survive, Russia would be very hard pressed and Putin may feel totally cornered, and add with that a prolonged guerilla type war, thus slowly, the world could take the primrose path to World War III (God forbid).
In World War III, nukes of both the sides can destroy the whole world many times over, it could start inadvertently also or on the slightest miscalculation. Moreover, remember what Putin says and believes, “ If there is no Russia, no need for the world “. He has already put his Nuclear Force on readiness. He walked in Georgia in 2008, in Crimea in 2014 and now Ukraine, so the NATO leadership do not believe that appeasement would help. After all Ukraine had been the food grain and resource warehouse of USSR and now for the world. So nobody is for nobody. We the others who share the same and only planet, including the flora and the fauna i.e. the total ecosystem could be destroyed. Civilization could be wiped out or maybe we can send some survivor in a Spaceship like Noah’s Ark.
Instead, why not someone responsible declares that there is an end to NATO eastward expansion. And that we all do consider Russia’s Security concern. And considering the need of gas oil and food, Peace is a must for Europe and for the rest of the world.
Now the flipside is all big powers, who believes in power politics would feel tempted to walk into smaller and intrepid neighbors land whatever. And a sudden surge of arms race could be precipitated in the planet much to the damage of the already fragile ecosystem due to Global warming. Will that help, a big no. Instead of cooperation and mutual development of quality of life, we would end up in mutual mistrust and competition of an unruly type and end in mutual annihilation. Albeit TOTAL MUTUAL DESTRUCTION. So, who is the winner, The Grim Reaper.
Believe in a shared future of mutual cooperation and inclusive development in a justice-based world order could take us far away from this path. I think, we all have mostly acted immaturely by bringing us to this point. Probably China now has to come forward to bring about peace in the world. It is a Strategic Partner of Russia which is good, as Russia would still be not feeling alone and cornered, but China again is not in Alliance with Russia like NATO.
Where Article 5 dictates to fight if any member of the NATO is attacked. Therefore, countries like us can look up to China to work in both the sides of the conflict and among the West also along with USA to bring about a semblance of sanity among the countries disputing the whole episode.
Why China, it is because China is the second largest economy on the verge of becoming the first. China matters to USA and to Russia. In the mutually dependent world of today, sanctions and counter sanctions would bite the poorer countries more than the countries getting sanctioned. We all need to woo the big powers to act reasonably and without showing any double standard in building a justice-based world under the UN. Let’s all think WIN WIN and believe in a shared future for the inalienable right of the living things to pursue its own happiness.
Air Chief Marshall Masihuzzaman Serniabat (LPR), former Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force (2018-2021).