War is imposing a nation’s “will” on another by force. From the “will” flows the “aim.” A country that succeeds in achieving its “aim” wins the war.
The Special Operations mounted by Russia had obvious “aims,” which were publicly stated by the Russian President when it was announced. They were the ‘denazification’ and ‘demilitarization’ of Ukraine.
They seem to have achieved both, but some remnants of denazification remain. Denazification refers to removing the ideology of racial supremacy of the Ukrainians over the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine.
Referendums have been held in the Russian-speaking areas of eastern Ukraine, which have voted for autonomy from Ukraine. The methodology of this conduct could be as dubious as the elections held in Ukraine, which catapulted Volodymyr Zelensky, a career comedian, to become the President.
Many top functionaries of the Ukrainian government are dual citizens of Ukraine and the US. It is but natural for them to gravitate towards the US and the western alliance, even though the protection of democracy is the fig leaf under which the western nations are supporting Ukraine.
The Azov Battalion, founded on Nazi ideology, was tormenting people of Russian origin in eastern Ukraine. This Battalion has been decimated. Areas where the Russians lived have been liberated by Russia. Though a few areas remain to be liberated, this part of the aim has almost been achieved.
The Ukrainian military has been cut to size. The number of able-bodied men available to fight has reduced considerably. Wherever it was suspected that the Ukrainian defense forces were using civilian infrastructure, the infrastructure was destroyed.
Even though the military prowess of Ukraine has been degraded considerably, the will of the Ukrainian President has not been subjugated. The second part of the aim has been majorly achieved.
Lack Of Foresight
The Ukrainians could have easily predicted this state before taking the hard line against Russia. The West cannot overtly support Ukraine in deploying its military personnel as it would escalate the operations into a full-scale war.
Only an integrated battle group of the Russian Command, responsible for the Western Military District, is currently involved. Arms deliveries of long-range artillery and surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine have escalated the Russian response to target the energy infrastructure, making it difficult for Ukraine to use them.
The next level may be destroying roads, bridges, and railway lines essential for these weapon systems to move freely in Ukraine. The beautiful country of Ukraine and the food basket of Europe and North Africa has been destroyed. The remnants can only survive with doles from the West or permission from Russia.
The Soviet Union has been transformed into a democracy. The existing democracies guided this. If there are flaws, it is because of adapting the democracies that exist. All democracies are not the same. Even China claims it is a democracy.
Core National Interests
There are core national interests that no nation will part with, whatever the incentives. A warm water port for Russia is one such interest. Russia cannot be expected to give up the Sevastopol port or the Crimean peninsula unless a friendly country permits them to use it.
With the crumbling of the Warsaw pact, NATO lost a reason to exist. A reason to exist has been invented, with Russia being painted as enemy number one.
Russian PSU Transformation
In 1993, two Russian serving military officers met me in a foreign country. In addition to professional military discussions, they wanted to know how India manages private and public sectors simultaneously! I had to start with the basics. For PSUs, the government places the order at a price decided by the govt.
They don’t have a marketing arm to sell their products earn revenue and generate profits. In the private sector, everything is of the company. I asked them how they decided on the cost of a MiG-21 when PSUs make all components.
The wage structure depends on how many children one has to feed and not on the intellectual prowess of the designer or manufacturer. They understood a lesson in valuation.
Next, we hear about Russian oligarchs – cronies who got public sector assets at a throwaway price and accumulated much wealth selling products at comparable world prices! The unsaid condition was that they supported the man who facilitated it.
They did not abide by it, so Russia is not fighting to get their confiscated assets released from western institutions.
America National Interests
Americans are focused on wealth creation. The arms industry is the biggest money spinner. The gun lobby is powerful. They don’t mind their children being shot by deranged youth but will not give up their freedom to own a gun so that the industry thrives.
Isn’t it lopsided morality? They look for wars that will increase the demand for American weapons.
People will get the type of governance that they want. If forced on them by regime change, it will cause misery. Iraq, Libya, and Syria are examples. The Arab Spring changed many regimes from within. They are doing better.
To stop the war, we need to address Russia’s insecurity.
If most people in eastern Ukraine need autonomy, it should be granted. If the current ground position line is not respected and Ukraine, aided by western weapons, attacks Russia, the prognosis is that it will defend itself using nuclear weapons, as stated openly by Vladimir Putin, which would surely lead to a catastrophe!
- Group Captain Johnson Chacko (Retd) was a MiG-25 pilot
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