Hypocrites have the unique ability to create an illusion of being a friend, ally, or partner without revealing their true selves i.e., wolves in sheep’s clothing. President Biden, even before Russia invaded Ukraine, started calling President Putin the aggressor, which he might be and might not be, as it depends on how we see the conflict. Biden’s framing of the Ukraine crisis in the media, which owes its origin to the reckless expansion of NATO eastwards despite clear warnings of Russia against this expansion, is ‘otherizing’ Russia. Moreover, the US, with the support of its so-called allies in Europe, is slapping what Putin has referred to as ‘illegal and irresponsible sanctions’ on the Russian economy.
Not only this, instead of advocating for dialogue and de-escalation, the US and its allies are fuelling the fire of conflict by providing defensive weapons to the Ukrainian army. Nida Kirmani, an associate professor at LUMS, pointed towards the ‘naked racism’ in Western media which is showing concerns about ‘blue-eyed, blond-haired, civilized’ Ukrainians.
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This raises some very important questions
This begs some questions: What about civilians that were killed by NATO’s bombing in Afghanistan, US bombing in Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan? What about the children being brutally murdered by the Indian army in Kashmir? The Western media is giving ample amount of coverage to Ukrainian civilians who are resisting Russian aggression and calling them ‘the defenders of motherland and heroes’. Will it ever call innocent Palestinians, who defend their country with merely the stones? Will it ever give coverage to the newly married couples in Palestine going to war against Israel just like it covers in the case of Ukraine? It doesn’t even call Israel’s aggression against Palestinians ‘terrorism’. Is the word ‘civilised’ a prefix only to be used with whom Western media deems civilized? Ironic, isn’t it?
The sanctions being imposed by the US and its allies on Russia are doing more harm than good. Didn’t President Putin anticipate these sanctions? Of course, yes. Then, he might have done a cost-benefit analysis before ordering his military to ‘demilitarize’ Ukraine. What if Putin anticipates that the costs of these sanctions are outnumbering the benefits? Will the West be able to bring Putin to the negotiating table? Well, it depends on Putin’s anticipation of the results of those negotiations. If the results seem to be in favor of Russia, he would choose to negotiate. If his anticipation of the results were against Russian interests, which course of action would be chosen? Putin has already ordered his nuclear deterrent forces to stand ready.
Seems like Putin has already started thinking two to three moves ahead of the game so that he can make wise moves on the negotiating table, which will be set up very soon. US and its allies have always advocated for de-escalating the tensions and solving the conflicts through dialogue, at least in the media, but despite clear indications of Putin’s readiness to go to any extent to protect Russian interests, they are arming the Ukrainian military which might be taken as an act of provocation by the Putin.
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The allies need to tread very carefully and shun the double standards
Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist, in his book ‘The Art of War said, “if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” As a former KGB officer, Putin knows both himself and the enemy. Two decades of being in power has shaped his thinking and approach towards seeing the moves West makes. He seems to be mindful of the mercurial policies of Western media and governments and deems them a threat to the Russian sphere of influence.
The world, especially the developing countries, hasn’t fully recovered from the devastating waves of the Coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, it is facing the looming threat of climate change and the energy crisis. So, it cannot afford to fight on yet another front. The leaders should do something to remove masks from our faces but they are planning to shroud us in coffins. Give peace a chance.
The writer is working as a researcher in an Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan-China Institute. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.