Ukraine would not be to Russia what Vietnam was to America
IN March 1965, Lyndon B Johnson, made the decision to send US combat forces into battle in Vietnam. The cause of this intervention was to restrict the expanding communist ideology.
It was a war beyond border in which approximately 2,700,000 American men and women served.
The human costs of the long conflict were harsh for all involved. As many as 2 million civilians were died along with 200,000 to 250,000 Vietnam’s soldiers.
Similarly, around 60,000 American soldiers also breathed their last in this war of ideology. The US faced humiliation in Vietnam because of economic and security support of the communist states especially the USSR and unfavourable geo-strategic conditions.
Resultantly, Uncle Sam had to leave. Currently, many security analysts and historians are claiming and estimating that Ukraine would prove to Russia what Vietnam to the United States.
However, the geo-strategic, and political conditions indicate otherwise. They manifest that Russia is gaining more and losing less in Ukraine, and Ukraine would not be to Russia what Vietnam was to America.
The first argument in this regard is that Russia has 2295.04 kilometres long border with Ukraine.
It is favouring Russia. Kremlin is sending its forces and arms with ease without any land or water restrictions.
Currently, two million army personnel are on reserve in Russia with a large number of armoured vehicles and tanks.
In case, if Russian forces face resistance in Ukraine, then it would be easy for Putin to move more army personnel into Ukraine.
Ultimately, Russian would have upper hand. Furthermore, an important edge which Putin has in Ukraine is pro-Russian population.
There is a large number of Russian and Russian speaking people in Ukraine who are currently acting as rebel separatists.
They are living in south and south eastern region of Ukraine. Therefore, Russian forces have advantage in these regions, and Kremlin faced less difficulty in conducting referendum for separation from Ukraine in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Moreover, Putin has support of many regional countries which include Iran, Belarus and some other Eastern European states.
Currently, Iran is providing Shahed-136 drones to Russia, and Belarus is also providing technical and security support to Russia.
Likewise, Erdogan is also not opposing Putin. Therefore, there are less chance that Russia would loose in Ukraine.
In addition, Russia also has also the second largest economy of the world and emerging super power China in its camp.
At Shanghai Cooperation Organization (2022) summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “The world is changing rapidly, but only one thing remains unchanged: The friendship between China and Russia.
” China is providing assistance to Russia in this difficult time. Therefore, the chances of Russia’s collapse in Ukraine are less.
Lastly, Ukraine cannot be to Russia what Vietnam to America because Russia is in the strong position to deal with the western sanctions.
The western states are dependent on Russia with regard to energy, therefore, bringing Russia to its knees is a difficult task for the westerns.
Similarly, due to rising inflation, worsening food insecurity and various economic woes, multiple states are moving towards Russia for oil and gas on discounted prices.
It would strengthen Russian economy. As strong economy guarantees a formidable defence, therefore, eyeing Russia’s collapse in Ukraine is a western miscalculation.
Although Russia is in the stronger position, continuous use of force may push the world into the nuclear conflict which may wipe out humanity.
Thus, the war required a joint and sincere effort of the whole world. Negotiations must be preferred to war.
If every war has to conclude with a peace deal, why not begin to resolve the conflict with peace dialogue.
So, the major stakeholders should sit on the negotiation table to resolve this conflict. The first step in this regard should be an active role of the United Nations.
The western states especially America must be convinced to give guarantee that they would not expand NATO eastward and will not add Ukraine into it.
Secondly, Russia must be convinced to end its offensive activities in Ukraine and should move to pre-invasion position.
The actual border of Ukraine which was before 24 February 2022, must be restored. The Russian government must wave its claim over Ukraine’s areas, and they must be given into the control of the Ukrainian government.
Furthermore, the Ukrainian government should be asked to remain neutral. Ukraine should act as a buffer zone between the western states and Russia instead of taking sides in this international power politics.
It would lead to a peaceful and progressive Ukraine in particular and world in general. Thus, this century is only 22 years old and we have had far more wars and conflicts within this short span of time than any other period in history. It demands a collective effort to ensure peace for a bright and secure future of humanity.
—The writer is practising lawyer, analyst and human rights activist, based in Lahore.