FIVE INDISPUTABLE FACTS I LEARNED IN THIS CURRENT RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN CONFLICT
A NON-ALIGNED PERSPECTIVE
Today is Day 23 of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainians are still under attack by Russian Forces from all corners. On the other hand, the people in the rest of the world are just doing their daily routine watching the news in their phones or in their television sets. For us here in the Island of Panay, Philippines, we had just celebrated the liberation of Panay commemorating the Allied Forces victory in the Philippine Archipelago during World War II.
Writing this simple retrospective and composing my own perspective in this people-infested malls in our area even in this still pandemic period but restrictions are lifted almost all parts of the country, I make this simple five indisputable facts that we neglected or ignored in this Russian-Ukrainian Conflict. This is the best way I can contribute to help Ukrainian People to at least remind or recall the minds of the readers about the current trends and still incontrovertible facts in contemporary International Relations that we may either ignored, neglected or refused to accept.
First, Russia Violated International Law by invading a fellow member of the family nations with equal sovereignty and rights.
Currently, Ukraine lost countless numbers of lives with figures still disputed by both sides. Russia also lost lives in the process of this invasion. That is reason why the rest of the states especially the world`s financial powers` heavily sanctioned Russia with at least 5000+ sanctions.
As of this moment, the International Courts of Justice has ruled that Russia should stop this war. In its request for the provisional measures, Ukraine in this ICJ Case of Ukraine vs Russia,
“...seeking in particular that the Russian Federation immediately suspend the military operations commenced on 24 February 2022 that have as their stated purpose and objective the prevention and punishment of a claimed genocide in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine, and immediately ensure that any military or irregular armed units which may be directed or supported by it, as well as any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control, direction or influence, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations which have as their stated purpose and objective preventing or punishing Ukraine for committing genocide…”
Naturally, this ICJ Order has been opposed by the ICJ Russian and Chinese Judges. This invasion even with the Russian allegation that this invasion is just a humanitarian response against a genocide caused by the Ukrainian Government against the pro-Russian separatists regions near Russia.
Second, this is a result of failure or the neglect of diplomacy then and now.
Diplomats often said that “when diplomacy fails, war begins”. That is so true. This Russian Invasion is just one of those examples.
During the last few months of 2021, Russian Forces are amassing in its Ukrainian Border and President Putin has demanded some security guarantees from the West through which the West viewed it as a dead end.
Putin gave two draft documents to the West which can restrict Ukraine from joining NATO and limit the security forces given by NATO to make it simple.
The Guardian Online News reported this news article on December 28, 2021 about the Russian- West Negotiations over Ukraine.
“..The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov reacted negatively to reports that the White House was expecting to also discuss arms control and Russia’s military buildup at the upcoming talks, saying there was “no need to invent an oversized agenda and to stuff it with issues, which have long been addressed through other channels, to serve one’s own interests”.
He said Russia would want to “concentrate exclusively” on two draft documents it has submitted, focusing on its draft treaty with Nato, in which Moscow called for the military alliance to pledge not to admit Ukraine and to remove its troops and infrastructure from countries that had joined after 1997.
That document is particularly controversial in Nato’s eastern flank, with those countries that joined after the fall of the Soviet Union seeing it as a de facto declaration of a Russian sphere of influence in eastern Europe.
Matters on the agenda besides a ban on Nato enlargement and the rollback of its infrastructure were “secondary”, Ryabkov said. If other topics were put on the agenda, Russia would “conclude that the US is not prepared for a serious talk”.
He said Russia was “calling for negotiations, which, by the way, need to be intensive and fast” since the problem is “not just ripe, it is overripe”. Moscow has “said repeatedly we are no longer able to put up with the situation unfolding in the direct vicinity of our border, we cannot put up with the Nato enlargement,” he said…”
In this very moment way back December 28, 2021, both parties are negotiating without the representation of Ukraine. But the trend now is NATO and even the European Union is now uninterested in joing Ukraine. NATO Membership needs the unanimous consent of enter this security alliance.
Now, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is no longer interested in joining NATO. So, if you try to retrospect in the above-highlighted news article, what if during that time the West did sign the agreements with Russia. This conflict will not happened. Bilateral security arrangements may still be agreed with Ukraine just like what America did with Taiwan.
Whether the West argue that the NATO expansion guarantees that they did is incorrect as one of beloved fellow Medium Writers argued, still they cannot counter the fact that if they agree with Russia on this NATO`s non-membership moves against Ukraine and bilateral ones with Ukraine was still allowed, this invasion will not occur.
Logically speaking, any country with all their political and military histories together and against each other even without this NATO expansion guarantees may make your former rival now civil co-member of the family of nations worry about its former rival already entering your noses and still very confident that any direct, indirect or even implied effect of those NATO members will not affect the Russian Territory? America did it before during the Cuban Missile Crisis that any attack given by these Soviet Missiles in the American Continent will be an attack against America.
Plus, NATO members are still doubting Ukraine`s status even before this invasion exist in the first place. A New York Times Article analyzed well that NATO members are still indecisive as to Ukraine`s NATO membership application because of Ukraine`s human rights records and ability to restore democracy through which Ukraine stated that they already did it.
As Russia and Ukraine are still negotiating in this war, the West should join the negotiations especially now Ukraine is no longer interested in NATO and its membership in the European Union will be lengthen by passing its final bow to the European Commission`s decision. Security guarantees may now be realized that Ukraine will not join NATO but in return Russia must do something for the West like pulling out its troops from Ukraine and make a Russian guarantee that it will not invade Ukraine anymore. They should have done that last year.
THIRD, ASIA IS A HUGE NON-ALIGED CONTINENT.
Being the largest continent, Asia is home of the world`s financial and nuclear powers like China, Japan, India. It has also a superpower problem of its own- China.
But in this European Problem is NOT an Asian Problem although some of the world`s economic powers like Japan and Singapore also joined the West from brutally sanctioned Russia. Once again, the idea of isolationism is now existing once again in international relations. The Monroe Doctrine of the Americans has now its Asian Equivalent. The danger will be imminent if this conflict will expand east then the Asian Tigers will awaken.
Yes. Asia is a non-aligned continent as a whole with some exceptions like the Quad Members who have their own alliances and foes. But Asians are observant enough that even some of our leaders are preparing for the worst if this conflict extends to Asia.
Philippine President Duterte aside from taking care of his OFWs from going back home, according to the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, thereby honoring the Mutual Defense Treaty of both states to allow USA to use former US military bases in Clark and Subic Bay for any eventualities. But of course, we are praying it will not happened.
FOURTH, SMALL STATES CAN SAY THAT IT IS EVERY STATE DEFENDING ITSELF WHILE THE REST OF THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!
Just after the end of World War II, small states are aligning their foreign and domestic policies with their main military partners. The world is divided into the Communism and Capitalism. But today, United States of America is the sole core state of any small state could align their national policies with.
We understand that NATO is only legally obliged to protect its own members. Hence, it excludes Ukraine. Ukraine has no military alliances since the dissolution of the Soviet Union`s Warsaw Pact. But as I stated in my previous statements above, military assurances and guarantees can still be reached even though Ukraine will be dissallowed to join NATO by having to executed them bilaterally. As we could see in this current events, NATO seems now adamant in letting Ukraine join NATO and make it even harder to become a full member in the European Union.
United Nations is still in a standstill because of the Cold War Legacies of Permanent Members Veto Powers. The International Courts of Justice has just made a ruling to stop this Russian Invasion. Of course, we know that this ICJ decision is still subject to the UN Security Council Votes with either Russia or China could use their veto powers just to dienfranchise the rest of the Security Council`s votes even unanimously consented in favor of the ICJ Decision.
Small states should have done their parts to improve their national defenses to repel any undue invasion or skirmishes from any country attacking them from any corners possible. The doctrine of Collective Security of the United Nations is gradually waning as time goes by.
If diplomacy fails, the small state will face its invader. There is no guarantee for these mutual defense agreements be enforced in full swing because enforcement of these defense treaties are still subject to politics. The rest of the world is watching you while you defend your motherland. Your military and diplomatic allies will just support you logistically but will never commit their armed forces for you.
LASTY, DIPLOMACY IS STILL THE BEST TOOL FOR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE.
As I frequently repeating it, this Russian Invasion can be prevented through diplomacy. It was just a non-concession of certain conditions from either side of the world powers and they exclude Ukraine as part of the negotiating table.
The aim should be a win-win solution to these man-made problems. Creating another enemy will make your first enemy allying itself with your newly created enemy. Russia is more aligning with the West than with China. Trump has done that during his term and so as with Bill Clinton and the rest of the European Leaders. With this isolating moves done by the West against Russia, Putin will have no choice but to align with China especially economically.
The goal here should be peaceful coexistence and not world peace. World peace is a humanly-impossible dream in this man-made mechanism we called international relations. It is difficuly to harmonize thes conflicting state interests. The best way is just let the other state exist and progress as well as you do. They should guarantee that one state should not encroach the right of the other state. No more no less.
Once that state abuse its right up to the detriment of the other, these states negotiate in a win-win goal. But first, they should make the negotiating table neutral as to leverages. A small state cannot negotiate with a superpower bilaterally. It could be done fairly by either make it with another superpower or with a group of small states with a superpower.
Based on the news updates preceeding this Russian Invasion of Ukraine, we could see that it is only the Western Powers talking with Russia. Ukraine the ground zero of the conflict is not represented by Ukraine itself. Plus, no concessions are met by either of the sides.
With all of these considerations we have stated, we still hope that this conflict will end in a truce and status quo ante be reached by all concerned parties with United Nations peacekeeping key flashpoints in Ukraine. All liable parties shall be investigated and prosecuted by International Criminal Law. But let us not forget to correct the points that led these issues to sparked up- politically, economically and diplomatically to reach not the level of this utopian World Peace gospel but a humanely-possible peaceful coexistence.