Russia-Ukraine war: Towards a new world order?

| Updated: July 21, 2022 21:37:21

Russia-Ukraine war: Towards a new world order?

As the Russia-Ukraine war rages unabated, with Ukraine abruptly turning real aggressive with its mortar shells fiercely hitting the enemy targets, the European flashpoint turns grimmer by the day. Regional watchers of the protracted conflict have at long last come up with their prediction of an armed global pandemonium. As they observe, the over 2-month-long war is feared to suck in the nations rich and poor into a maze of socio-economic jolts. With a plethora of economic sanctions and embargos slapped on the military behemoth of Russia, and the sufferings and miseries becoming conspicuous in the economically weaker countries, the whole world may have to brace for a topsy-turvy situation, experts warn. An uncanny aspect of the world turmoil is the fast emergence of China as an economic power stronger than before. Had it not for the repeated pandemic waves buffeting the country, the Asian superpower may have found itself playing a more assertive role in the Ukraine-Russia theatre. Of late, it has been seen busy reviving the dormant economic blocs, which it has spearheaded and helped expand in the southern Asia.

The domino effect of the Ukraine crisis has left clear jolts on the economies of India, the Southeast Asian countries, Bangladesh --- not to speak of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Although Iran continues to defy the sanctions on Russian oil like China, it has to keep open its channel of nuclear weapons test talks with the USA. As of now, many economically solvent countries have still been able to keep at bay the NATO diktat of keeping Russia isolated economically. On the part of Bangladesh, indebted to Russia, formerly the USSR, for its great role during the process of the latter's emergence as a sovereign independent country in 1971, it has indirectly blamed the anti-Russian bloc for the sanction's 'enforcement', causing miseries to the LDCs, developing and middle-income countries. Earlier, at a UN General Assembly vote, it expressed its indirect support by being absent from the voting on a Resolution against Russia.

The smaller countries with weak economies, as well as a number of rising nations, have fallen victim to the anti-Russia sanctions. Although a few developed economies have felt the heat, many others remain unscathed. China is one of them. Non-interference in other countries' and in inter-country conflicts being its state policy, the Asian economic, as well as military, power giant China has maintained a carefully crafted distance from the Ukraine deadlock. Its occasional threats targeting Taiwan have been an oft-used technique to keep the latter's hobnobbing with the confines of economy in perspective. China still considers Taiwan as part of the mainland. This stance has been in place since the nationalist China's leaders fled to the island of Taiwan after sweeping victory of the communist Chinese forces under the leadership of Mao Zedong. To speak in a nutshell, China doesn't have any territorial ambitions at the moment. The occasional military exercises it turns to is to remind the US of its military might. In the context of the latest developments in this specific region, China could arguably be termed a figurative suzerain, or, rather, a de facto 'supervisor'. That it doesn't want to be drawn into any regional conflicts has long become clear. At the moment, the UN Security Council's Permanent Member is busy stopping any intrusion of economic threats designed by the West and led by the US. This strategy has become clear from the hurdles created by the developed 'democratic countries' or the market economy vanguard to convolute almost all initiatives of China to form Asia-based economic blocs. Many smell a rat in these blocs being mulled by China. But China seems undaunted in its goal of giving the dream of Asia's economic integrity a tangible shape. In these critical hours, the country has little time to digress from its long nurtured mission. There are reasons to believe that China feels reassured as it places its trust in Russia. Reports of Beijing receiving clandestine supplies of oil and gas from Moscow are now open-secret.

Few poorer and developing countries have the least interest in the festering Russia-Ukraine war games. What galls them is the extent to which they have been made to bear the brunt of the senseless war. Despite being a formidably strong and nuclear-armed power, Russia's is a knee-jerk response to Ukraine's naked tilt towards the NATO countries. On the other hand, Ukraine is scared of Russia's expansionist policy applied to its territory, and also in the Baltic region. In a way, the Ukraine war could be defined as one prompted by mutual fear and distrust. For the apparently invincible Russia, Ukraine is fast emerging as a nightmare. The fear has been created by its letting the NATO and EU heavyweights hover on Russia. There is 'reliable' information about NATO military installations being mulled for the Ukrainian territory. These tips, if proven true, carry enough seeds of worries and distress for Russia. On the other hand, the vast territory of Russia remains a frightening presence for Ukraine. In the use of arms including highly sophisticated precision missiles, bombers, rocket launchers etc Ukraine is nowhere near Russia. Like that of the other four recognised superpowers', the nuclear arsenal of Russia remains veiled under secrecy. All this boils down to the fact that the regional war between the nuclear arms-backed NATO ally and the formidable power of Russia might drag on for an indefinite period. Doomsayers do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. Some of them have even warned of a nuclear arms flare-up first in the small region, and then throughout the world. The economic fallout might assume cataclysmic proportions, warfare strategists say. According to a section of doomsters, there could also be seeds of a raft of other hitherto unknown horrors in the invisible Pandora's Box.

According to globally reputed economists, the sufferings of the pacifist and neutral countries caused by EU-led economic sanctions against Russia have added considerably to the fear of the worse to come. In a tormenting gap thus created, China's increasing influence in South Asia is now clearly noticeable. In the meantime, the economy of many least developed countries has hit the rock bottom. The overall state of the Bangladesh economy has also undergone mild to severe jolts. The inflationary pressure coupled with the heated US dollar market has dealt a great blow to the price stability of the local market of essentials, as well as overseas trade. All this constitutes the collateral impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war. The reality, however, is the sanction-hit countries in general have been made to bear the brunt of the ongoing global economic unpredictability.

If the spheres of the Ukraine war fallout keep spreading, with war itself taking a graver turn, seasoned current affairs specialists do not rule out the possibility of a new bipolar world. However, it might take time as the new entrants are expected to join the fray. According to some global watchers, apart from the US and Russia, a few NATO members, the country which is expected to play an assertive role in the global arena could be China. The world may watch a strengthened role of India, Turkey and Iran in the new bipolar or multi-polar world. The setting up of an overhauled international organisation, i.e. the UN, may not prove a pipedream. Amid these developments, the world economy may also have to accommodate dozens of new-generation regional alliances. These fresh politico-economic developments might muster the capability to seal tight the dreaded Pandora's Box.

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