After the Ukraine War, there will be a Multipolar World

The Ukraine war has raised the fears of World War III. Sooner or later, Ukraine will be declared a buffer state. New world order will emerge with multipolar dimensions. Europe will see degradation and the US image will get a beating. Regional alliances will emerge with China, India, Japan, Russia and Australia having influences. Dependence on other countries will reduce with Modi’s call of Atmanirbhar Bharat gaining momentum.

BY Maj Gen C P Singh (Retd)

Opinion

WAR SCAN: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to the most important clash in decades between Moscow and the West. Russia began its invasion on February 24 thinking of creating shock and awe with its rapid advance through Air, Sea and land using its awesome military power. President Putin thought that the Ukrainian population was pro-Russia and they would welcome the Russian forces with open arms, like the liberation of Bangladesh by the Indian armed forces. It was their considered view that NATO forces and the EU would not come to save Ukraine. They had planned to wrap up the campaign in just two to three weeks. None of their assumptions came true except for the involvement of NATO to save Ukraine. However, it is easy to start a war but difficult to stop it.

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 The war has been going on for two months in Ukraine now.  The Ukrainian forces or government has not surrendered. The war could well drag on, proving the existence of space for conventional war, in the nuclear backdrop. Russia is facing logistics problems on the battlefield and the economic sanctions will begin to hurt soon. However, in this short time, the conflict has not only divided the world but also given rise to fears of World War III.

EMERGING WORLD ORDER

The UN was established after World War II to guide the world in the right direction. But it got bogged down in the battle between two ideologies in what became the Cold War. Ukraine may be a wake-up call for the West. To wake up to the reality of a rapidly emerging new international order, driven by national interests.

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All the developed countries have united under the US banner, against Russia.  They are weaponising trade and finance and carefully scrutinising arms sales. Russia has been declared an economic pariah and all world trade has been stopped with Russia. There is real concern among Western leaders over their failure to build a broader coalition against Russia. India’s neutral stand has hit them particularly hard. Even traditional Western allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among others, have refused to fall in line. As the distinctly disjointed global response to the Ukraine war demonstrates, most developing countries would prefer to forge their own path in a global political economy.

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INDIA’S PRINCIPLED STAND

NATO and Russia are competing to persuade some of the world’s most powerful nations, namely China and India, to take a side in the conflict. Both Russia and the UK sent their foreign ministers to India. One of the top US  advisors, Daleep Singh, also travelled to India in April. The British prime minister was in India recently, calling Narendra Modi his ‘Khas Dost’.

India has taken a path of principled neutrality. The key reasons for this stand are old connections, Russian concessions following oil price spikes, the reliance on Moscow for 60 per cent of military supplies, and the current government’s resolve. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Nation First’ theory applies to strategic international affairs as well. POTUS has taken a mature stand and stated that the US understands India’s specific needs and neutral stand due to its own compulsions.

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PROGNOSIS

As the conflict grinds on amid meandering negotiations in search of a mutually acceptable face-saving diplomatic formula. Sooner or later, the war will come to an end, but Ukraine will be damaged beyond immediate repair. There is likely to be barter at the bargaining table where Ukraine will be declared a buffer state between Russia and NATO. The eastern parts of Ukraine and Crimea could be declared Independent with Russia-friendly governments. Russia will agree to a phased withdrawal from Ukraine along with the lifting of sanctions. There may be regime change in Kyiv, in spite of all the bravery on social media by Zelensky.

New world order will emerge post-Ukraine War, with multipolar dimensions. It will see the degradation of Europe further in the global order and the image of the USA as the only superpower will get a beating. Regional alliances and superpowers will emerge with countries such as China, India, Japan, Russia and Australia having their own influences. On the economic front, the supremacy of the dollar as the world trading currency will decline and many alternatives to direct trade will emerge. Interdependence on other countries will reduce with PM Modi’s call of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ gaining momentum. The relevance of strong-armed forces as the last instrument of foreign policy will be established again. All developing countries like India will have a strong ‘Force of Deterrence’ to safeguard the frontiers and guarantee safety, progress and growth.

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(The writer is an avid reader and prolific writer. Post retirement, he is a Social Activist, Career Consultant and a Motivational Speaker of repute. He can be contacted at www.majgencpsingh.com)