'Once the Dust Settles': Future of US-Led World Order Hinges on Ukraine Conflict, Says Indian Expert
India and China have refused to join the US-led “international coalition” against Russia, with both countries calling for a cessation of violence and the need for a negotiated settlement. The two Asian nations have been warned of “consequences” from the US if they maintain their ties with Moscow.
The future of the four-nation Quad grouping as well as the overall global order depends on the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine, Saeed Naqvi, noted Indian journalist and distinguished fellow at New Delhi-based think tank the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), told Sputnik.
“We will have to wait for the dust to settle down in Ukraine to get a clearer picture”, remarks Naqvi, who has also authored several books.
He accuses the US and the UK in particular of trying to “weave an international coalition” against Russia in order to maintain the “Anglo-US” hegemony in global affairs.
The analyst argues that even middle powers like France and Germany will have to make their “own choices” once the conflict in Ukraine settles down.
“The US and UK snatched a submarine contract worth billions of dollars from France when they announced the AUKUS pact last September. How would you expect France to react to that”, he asks, referring to the trilateral pact between the US, UK, and Australia, which was called a “stab in the back” by Paris.
“On the other hand, Germany
is being asked to discontinue the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline and compromise its energy security. It is being asked to shelve Nord Stream 2 (a pipeline from St. Petersburg which would effectively double Russian gas exports to Germany). Germany will have to make a call about staying in the international coalition too once the conflict is done with,” says Naqvi.
“This coalition is not about Ukraine at all”, he reckons.
“We are not seeing Western troops fighting for Ukraine. What’s happening is that Ukrainian blood, with the help of Western arms and supplies, is being spilled. On the other hand, the Russians are fighting”, he notes.
“The post-Soviet world order has been severely challenged by the rise of China and the departure of the Americans from Afghanistan. Questions have been raised there”, he explains.
Naqvi notes that the West has been trying to “woo India” to be part of the same “international coalition” against Russia.
“However, I don’t see India leaving the embrace of Russia. Or one must wait pending the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine”, he states.
“India is in a lovely position at the moment”, Naqvi remarks, adding that Moscow wouldn’t want to let go of its friendly ties with India either.
The remarks by the Indian strategic affairs analyst comes against the backdrop of continuing efforts by the US, European Union, and other Western allies to effect a change in India’s neutral stance on the conflict in Ukraine.
In fact, all of India’s Quad partners, namely Australia, Japan, and the US, have had leadership-level contacts with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the onset of the Russian military operation in February in a bid to get India in the Western camp against Russia. New Delhi has not only spurned these efforts, but it has also sought to stress that the focus of the Quad should be in line with its original geography, which is the Indo-Pacific region.
However, several divergences have started to emerge among the Quad nations, as Australia, the US, and Japan have remained adamant to make Ukraine part of the broader Quad agenda.
On Tuesday, Japan formally nixed a plan to route its humanitarian supplies
to Ukraine's neighbouring countries via the Indian city of Mumbai after New Delhi last week rejected landing permission for a Japanese Self-Defence Forces (SDF) aircraft to pick up supplies from a UNHCR depot.
The spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said last week that India had “conveyed our approval” to Japan to pick Ukraine-bound supplies through commercial aircraft and not military ones.
A former Japanese defence minister and lawmaker from the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has cast a doubt over the future of “cooperation” among Quad members.
In another development, the US has reportedly not invited India to a "Ukraine Defence Consultative Group" meeting at Germany's Ramstein base on Tuesday. India is the only Quad country to be left out of the meeting, a point not lost on observers
US Trying to Separate China and Russia
Naqvi also notes that US efforts at ostracising Russia are being directed at China in a sharper way than any other nation. He underlines that “separation” of China and Russia is essential to maintain American supremacy in global affairs.
He recalls that the 1971 visit by then United States National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger to China gave Washington an edge over Moscow at the time. The visit has been described by experts as a seminal event that paved the way for the development of ties between Washington and Beijing during the peak of the Cold War.
“Similarly, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is trying to separate Russia and China. The US wants Russia to be destroyed. It wants China to pull out of its relationship with Russia consequent to all the stench on account of its political and economic boycott of Russia”, he reckons.
“But, the Chinese, from what I have been told, have a long history. They don’t give up on their friends”, Naqvi states.
The assessment by Naqvi comes days after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the “Global Security Initiative” at the Boao Forum for the Asian Annual Conference last week. As part of Xi’s security initiative, Beijing has said that it would oppose “undermining the world order in the name of rules”.
The Beijing-backed initiative, which it says is already being “implemented”, has “opposed dividing” the Asia-Pacific region with the Indo-Pacific Strategy, a US-led initiative that has enshrined the role of groupings such as the Quad and AUKUS.
Beijing perceives both of these groups to be directed against it and has accused the US of fomenting trouble in the region.
Russian Forces in Control in Ukraine, But West Winning the ‘Propaganda War’
“The Donbass region is what the Russians seem to want in the conflict in Ukraine. On the ground, the port of Mariupol is completely surrounded by Russian forces. We possibly have Western advisers on the ground advising the Ukrainian forces. The situation is in favour of Russia”, Naqvi underlines, in line with the assessment of the Russian Defence Ministry.
He says that, in spite of Russia’s favourable position, “the advantage of the propaganda and media is with Western powers”.
Naqvi also states that the Russian special military operation was announced after repeated warnings from Russia about the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in five separate waves since 1990 were ignored.