Russia-Ukraine conflict: Can OSCE replace NATO?

It's time for ageing NATO to retire—the septuagenarian Atlantic Treaty is exhausted, fatigued, and overworked. Instead, the Organisation of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is flexing its muscles to deal with the European security, through indigenous means, writes Dr. Ejaz Hussain, a London-based security analyst, in an eye-opening piece!


As predicted, Russia being one of UN’s original P-5 members, used its right of Veto against any probable UNSC Resolution aimed at punishing Kremlin for launching a military operation against Ukraine.

China, another Veto power in UN, customarily stayed away from the US-led club in the Security Council.

Britain, as all-time loyal American martinet in Europe, despite a divorce from EU, was all out to obey the orders from Washington—but such orders were never issued.

France, having learnt enough history lessons already—from the Napoleonic misadventure against Russia (1812), the Crimean War (1854-56), WW-1 (1914-18), WW-2 (1939-45) and the Cold War—pursued ‘strategic’ quietness at the 25 February UNSC meeting.

Read more: Russia-Ukraine Conflict and its impact on Pakistan

NATO spineless against Russia

During his most recent meeting with Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, President Macron ensured that France may pursue benevolent neutrality in case the Ukraine crisis turned into an armed conflict.

As a result of that, the 15-member UNSC is once again clearly divided between the US-UK on one side of the aisle and Russia-China on the other. Hence the whole US plan for taking a UN-authorised/NATO-led military action against Russia, ended in an imminent diplomatic opprobrium. The net outcome is—President Biden will NEVER authorise Pentagon to attack Russia, moreover he will keep Jens Stoltenberg at a shorter leash—no unilateral NATO action, either!

What we will see rather sooner, the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will surrender unconditionally and Russian offensive to protect and defend democracy in Donetsk, Donbas and Luhansk—will conclude in a few days. This time it will go down in history a Russian moral ‘victory with honour’, and a severe blow to the US, UK, and NATO hegemony over Europe and other adjoining sub-regions. I would call it the end of the Monroe Doctrine (1823) and gigantic frustration for the authors of CAATSA (2017) and 517 US Congressmen who voted for it.

Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions!

Once again, as predicted, Biden and his trigger-crazy broncos couldn’t go beyond imposing sanctions on Putin—the business as usual. But this time, instead of impacting on Putin’s Russia these sanctions will hurt the entire EU region—economically and politically. We shall see in next 6-12 months a number of European factories shut, workers going jobless, homes and workplaces facing blackouts, vehicles going off-road, and eruption of social & political upheavals from Poland to Spain and Finland to Italy. All major European political parties—Centre, Centre-right, Centre-left, Right-wing, Far-right, the CDU, SD & the Greens are not prepared to see again the Europe of Metternich, Napoleon-III, Bismarck or Kaiser Wilhelm-II.

Already, the US imposed sanctions haven’t brought desired results vis-a-vis Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea, and China—and they would prove disastrous for Europe at large—if they continued against Russia over a long period of time.

Beginning of the end of Pax-Americana

Vladimir Putin has robustly conveyed to Biden, Johnson, and EU-NATO leaders that it’s time they changed their coercive approach towards the countries that disagree with the American way of life.

It has taken the Russian leader two decades to rebuild his country that lost its glory after crumbling of Soviet Union in 1990. He had to undo a host of political, diplomatic, industrial and military actions taken by Gorbachev and Yeltsin during 1990s. He was convinced that without addressing the above four areas Russia couldn’t achieve economic progress and prosperity. Today—the top strategists and global security pundits on both sides of the Atlantic are aware of the Russian military prowess—conventional as well as nuclear.

Read more: How are Western countries supporting Ukraine militarily?

They have started reading again Allison’s ESSENCE OF DECISION, Cuban Missile Crisis and how McGeorge Bundy, McNamara, and Dean Rusk pursued ‘excessive’ restraint to avert a nuclear Armageddon at their doorstep. They were all aghast by the destructive scale of Igor Kurchatov’s most formidable nuclear force—’Tsar Bomba’, the thermonuclear monster of its time.

Russia’s military capabilities

For the sake of records, Russia still has more than 6,400 nuclear warheads—which is more than 45% of the world’s entire 14,000 nuclear bombs. President Putin, exactly four years ago—while giving his ‘State of the Nation’ speech on 01 March 2018—unveiled Russia’s NEW STRATEGIC DOCTRINE.

He recalibrated Russia’s nuclear outreach by declaring that, “Moscow WILL use its nuclear weapons if threatened or bullied by its hostile adversaries”. This was a loud and clear counter-narrative to the US Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

As per the latest statistics of MILITARY BALANCE, Russia has four key components of its upgraded/modernised nuclear arsenal:

i) PC-28 CopMaT MIRV, super-mighty thermonuclear ICBM, to hit with precision any target within the range of 10,000 miles—covering every inch of North America and Australasia (QUAD/AUKUS/APEC inclusive).

ii) Nuclear Super-Torpedo platform (Belgorod & Khabarovsk)—that with its 100 megaton tip, can cause 500 metre high tsunami tide around any coastal city in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian as well as Arctic and Atlantic.
All 18 US/NATO/allied aircraft carriers are within its forecourt reach.

iii) AVANGARD—hypersonic nuclear glide vehicles with average speed of 7Km per second (20 times the speed of sound).
It can penetrate through any missile defence system on the planet.

iv) BUREVESTNIK, nuclear-powered Cruise Missile (9M730)—it can completely annihilate, within the range of 10,000 miles, any target the size of New York City or London.
With such unimaginably frightful realities—the US will NEVER attack Russia.

No more proxy wars

After the Ukrainian egregious blunder—US may NOT launch a proxy war against Russia, either.

What I’m envisaging is—Biden has put himself between ‘Scylla and Charybdis’—A biting Russia on one side (Europe) and a hard-hitting China on the other (Asia-Pacific).
The United States has failed to muster enough support of its erstwhile allies that can fight in Europe, alongside Pentagon—Germany, France and Italy will not be on the US charabanc against Russia. Instead, President Biden, in a few days, is likely to offer substantive concessions to Iran—removing a number of economic sanctions. Also, he may also announce alleviation of ongoing economic troubles in Afghanistan.

Britain with its scanty resources—ill equipped Army of 86,000 part-time troops, 33,000 innocuous sailors of Royal Navy and another 33,000 wing-clipped under-fed birds of Royal AF. With shelved Trident, corroded ships/submarines, archeo-jets, and below-average political leadership, on top, Britain wouldn’t even fire an airgun pallet against the Russian troops, to please its masters on the other side of the Atlantic.

Read more: Russian military convoy nears Ukraine’s capital

Hence, it amply suggests that for the US and its over-ambitious allies the possibility of pursuing the second phase of the Cold War—against China and Russia—is fast diminishing. In other words—no more Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, India and Down-under are in a position to stand by Americans against China through the rubric of QUAD or AUKUS. Similarly, the minnows like Ukraine, the Baltics, the Czech Republic, and even Johnson’s Britain will not militarily withstand Russia.

Golden decade of Russia, China and their allies

My argument stands tall and firm—this decade (2021-2030) belongs to Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia. The Pakistani leadership MUST reconcile with emerging regional security landscape.

The rusty/obsolete argument—if we offended the US and its GCC allies, Pakistan will be deprived of $30 billion remittances, annually—must be revisited.

It’s true that out of 10 million NRPs (Non-Resident Pakistanis), nearly 3 million are working for the arrogant Arab employers. Hypothetically, if US gets angry with Pakistan , Arabs’ Uber-masters in Washington/London will pressure these employers to tighten screws on Pakistan.

But the Holy Quran says—“There is not a single living thing on earth whose sustenance is not guaranteed by Allah (SWT)”. Why worry about economic survival when we have the Greatest Provider with us?

All we have to do is—demonstrate 100% trust in Him. We should either get rid of the grand economic fear or give up our divine faith.

We Pakistanis shouldn’t be perturbed if oil-rich Arabs are in the process of investing $70 billion in Narendra Modi’s India—the Golgotha for 300 million Muslims? We shouldn’t care more if Saudi top military commander General Fahd bin Abdullah al-Mutair spends his 2022 Valentine Day with blood-sucking supremacist Indian premier Modi, or the UAE regime builds Hindu temples in Abu Dhabi?

Read more: Is the Ukraine crisis induced to make the NATO relevant?

We must learn to live with the fact that all nations—Muslim and non-Muslim have the right to pursue their national interests, as per their vision. Let the Saudi-led Arab League conduct their diplomacy as per their needs, desires and aspirations. They will eventually come back to Pakistan—perhaps not by choice but for their desperate needs. There’s a famous ancient Chinese proverb—“when water rises, the fish eats the ant; but when water recedes, the ant eats the fish”.

Time for OSCE to assert itself

It’s time for ageing NATO to retire—the septuagenarian Atlantic Treaty is exhausted, fatigued and overworked. Instead, the Organisation of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is flexing its muscles to deal with the European security, through indigenous means. Unlike NATO, the OSCE is made in Europe—by the Europeans and for the Europeans.

It is ready to come out of the Viennese concrete walls and act as a powerful NEW Concert of Europe. Ambassador Helga Schmidt—current Secretary General of the OSCE has strategic maturity, operational clarity and human capacity to offer a better security alternative to the Europeans than what Stoltenberg can provide. She is assertive, knowledgeable and persuasive.

I first met young 35-36 year old Helga in the summer of 1997 when she accompanied her boss, then German FM Klause Kinkel, who came to deliver a talk at IISS, London. Later, I met Helga in 2013-14 in Vienna and Geneva when she attended a number of JCPOA sessions assisting Angela Merkel and Federica Mogherini. Ms. Schmidt played a commendable role to make JCPOA happen in July 2015—she was dismayed when Donald Trump withdrew from it in May 2018.

Headquartered in Vienna, OSCE is fully capable of dealing with security-related issues of all 57 members in Europe. The Europeans need a robust Concert of Europe to get rid of obsolete yet coercive NATO, for which they, since 1949, have been making regular and equal contributions—financial, human and collateral—but no equal sharing of its blessings.

Ejaz Hussain is a London-based analyst on South-Asian and Middle-Eastern security. He is an alumnus of Oxford, Durham, LSE, and King’s College, London. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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