Amid Ukraine crisis, PM visit to Russia is meaningful
AFTER a successful Beijing visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan is embarking on a visit to Russia (23-24 February 2022).
Pakistan and Russia are expected to strike major deals during the trip, including a movement forward on Russian investment to build a USD two billion worth gas pipeline.
But, a visit amid the Ukrainian crisis raises eyebrows where there are speculations from the US perspective that Russia may invade Ukraine.
But, how true are these speculations?To answer this, it is important to understand the Ukrainian crisis.
Ukraine got independence after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.It is the second-largest country by area in Europe after Russia, which borders to the east and northeast.
Ukraine shares borders with Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the south; and has a coastline along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
It spans an area of 603,628 square kilometres, with a population of 44 million, and is the eighth-most populous country in Europe with Kyiv as its capital and largest city.
In Ukraine, the Russian language is widely spoken and both countries share similar socio-cultural norms.
The major issue lies with Ukraine’s trend toward Europe and its desire to join the NATO.
According to Russia, by joining NATO, Ukraine will deploy American troops and weaponry systems, which imposes a direct threat to Russian security.
However, Russian ethnic people living in Crimea are also a cause of differences.It is a direct confrontation between Russia and the US, but on Ukrainian soil.
But why is the US pushing Russia into conflict?Where Russia is constantly denying the American accusations that Russia will invade Ukraine.
NATO expansion is not an issue to Russia unless Ukraine stays out of it.However, Ukraine becoming a member of NATO poses a direct security threat to Russia.
With expansion the US troops will sit on the Russian border.How can a state allow its arch rival to station its troops on its borders?
It is for sure a direct threat to the Russian national security.While not going for NATO expansion, does it pose a direct security threat to the US?
Simple answer is no as it is placed far away from the region.Then what’s this fuss about?America has made the non-inclusion of Ukraine into NATO a matter of its ego and war agenda.
But, the US needs to realize the fact that this conflict will have a disastrous impact on Ukraine, the whole of Europe and at global level too.
Indeed, Europe has been living in peace for several decades and kept itself away from any direct conflict on its soil despite NATO troops engagement in various American led-wars either during the cold war era or the war on terror, or any other form of American interests in the world, all wars and conflicts happened outside Europe.
The major reason for developments and a stable economy was its distancing from wars and conflicts on its soil.
In the developing scenario, is Europe ready for war in Ukraine where its heat will be too harsh for the European countries who have not tasted instability post cold war?
I think Europe cannot afford war as it will end up with a disaster for the entire Europe.It will lead to an influx of refugees across Europe.Germany has its interest in maintaining peace in the region where it depends on Russia for its energy needs.
France is also not very keen in this war except for supporting the US like best buddies.
But, why is America involved in this uncalled for conflict and what is its interest in this conflict?
US internal issues shape its recent adventure in Europe.Such as: Firstly, the US after its withdrawal from Afghanistan is going through a tremendous downfall.
It has to justify its strength and position in world politics.But unfortunately, this crisis is another mistake that America is making.
Secondly, with its fall in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s ratings have declined.Under the perception of doing something amazing to attract the voters, he is pushing Russia to invade Ukraine and placing American troops on the Russian border.
To achieve the US war agenda, the entire western media is helping the US in creating an environment in which Russia should invade Ukraine.
Ultimately, only then the US will impose sanctions on Russia which will embolden his image in the US and his voters.
This war is an attempt to improve Biden’s image among the US voters and has nothing to do with the Ukrainian crisis.
The political pundits say that the Democrats will not win the next election in the US.
Such an adventure seems to be not a viable solution to improve President Biden’s profile.
He needs to work hard to get voters attention.Thirdly, President Biden is a warrior – throughout his career as Senator and Vice-President he remained engaged in various wars.
He has a war mongering psyche, has lived in conflicts and now when he is under immense pressure to deliver something to please the voters he is coming up with the same war mantra.
That probably is a worst idea because the US needs to learn from its past mistakes and improve its lenses towards the world mechanism.
The Russian leadership kept on emphasizing that they want to go for diplomatic discussion/solution with the US to resolve the conflict.
But, America is determined that Russia should invade Ukraine, come what may.Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, tweeted ‘I would like to request US and British media outlets to publish a schedule for our upcoming invasions for the year.
I would like to plan my vacations.’ Looks like Russia is absolutely not going to invade if America stops pushing them.
If we assume that America is correct in its assessment then why would Russia invite Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Moscow at such a crucial stage?
Instead of hosting foreign delegates, Russia should be busy setting its missiles, dusting its nuclear weapons and feeding its army to attack.
The American dream of putting more restrictions on Russia seems to be unfulfilled.Luckily, for the US remaining dissatisfied this time is in the best interest of Europe.
By not invading Ukraine, Russia will help Europe to keep its geographical map intact otherwise America is determined to remap the European geography.
—The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Sciences and Technology.