The Russia-Ukraine War is nearing a month with unabated violence, churning an ocean full of narratives and counter narratives. In this ongoing war, everyone seems to be drawing lessons from their myopic lens, narrative feeds and personal yardsticks. Unfortunately, far from being new or revolutionary, it is a case of just learning, unlearning, relearning or a memory relapse.
Most of these lessons being drawn did not necessitate being Ukrained (a newfound verb essentially meaning being let down by those who propped up, only to face the wrath of the aggressor). Has the Russia-Ukraine War 2022 taught us anything new that a nation and its strategic thinkers did not know earlier? Or, is it a case of being blinded in the euphoria of a new grand dream with angels around?
Even enlightened and seasoned geopolitists, geoeconomists, military grand strategists and operational artists cannot claim to have their Eureka moment. It is nothing new, it was just ignored.
The reality always existed: there are no consideration except self-interest, no morality in ‘jus ad Bellum (a set of criteria that are to be consulted before engaging in war)’or playing proxy and no appetite for ‘jus in Bello’ (International humanitarian law that governs the way in which warfare is conducted, seeking to limit the suffering caused)
Yes, some of the possible skeletons being dug out include US-funded bio labs in Ukraine, now being denied or underplayed by the West. The game of deceit and betrayal that nations play is out in the open. Of course, some arms industry magnates also say ‘Cheers’ as their shares zoom in a post-Afghanistan drought.
The only assurance remains: destruction and suffering. Some nations are being ‘Bidened’ and some ‘Putined’. Some ‘Xi-ied’ too. But Ukraine has indeed been Ukrained, facing a calamity whose proportion may never be known except to the people of that country.
Yet we all knew it’s a lonely path that nations will have to tread alone now and in the future too. Again, nothing new!! Just brain drained and Ukrained. The reality always existed: there are no consideration except self-interest, no morality in ‘jus ad Bellum (a set of criteria that are to be consulted before engaging in war)’or playing proxy and no appetite for ‘jus in Bello’ (International humanitarian law that governs the way in which warfare is conducted, seeking to limit the suffering caused).
There are also no holy cows here and no victor or vanquished. Just selfish agendas and betrayals one after the other—Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Crimea, Syria and now Ukraine. What is left behind is chaos, destruction and misery for the people. But who cares for humanity? What next, Taiwan, the great next betrayal? Someone may have the last laugh.
If 1991 was the era of the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, is 2022 the landmark year of diminution of the USA/West on the global stage? The law of gravity–what goes up comes down too! And the law of reality–what goes down bounces back with vengeance. After all Great Britain after WW2 did not remain so great much longer. Germany and Japan bounced back. Post-Soviet Union disintegration, Russia after three decades has bounced back too. China now after a century of humiliation. Ancient India too—the all-powerful sub-continent and mother of all nations, lost power and split into several nations. It is now however bouncing back despite internal and external challenges for being a global player. Being strong internally is a prerequisite to being strong externally and again no eureka!!
Meanwhile, the earth will continue to rotate on its axis and exert the gravitational pull on us. Seasons will change and so will nations. Some will rise to fall and some fall to rise yet again. Yet the constant remains–human quest to destroy both nature and humanity. The hard reality—we cannot rest in peace.
-The author is a PVSM, AVSM, VSM has had an illustrious career spanning nearly four decades. A distinguished Armoured Corps officer, he has served in various prestigious staff and command appointments including Commander Independent Armoured Brigade, ADG PP, GOC Armoured Division and GOC Strike 1. The officer retired as DG Mechanised Forces in December 2017 during which he was the architect to initiate process for reintroduction of Light Tank and Chairman on the study on C5ISR for Indian Army. Subsequently he was Consultant MoD/OFB from 2018 to 2020. The Officer is a reputed defence analyst, a motivational speaker and prolific writer on matters of military, defence technology and national security. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily carry the views of Raksha Anirveda.