Published:  12:48 AM, 04 June 2022

'NATO-fication' of the West

'NATO-fication' of the West
Krishna Kumar Saha & Harun Ar Rashid Mamun

It has been more than two months since the Russian invasion took place in Ukraine and there is no stopping in the foreseeable future. Enough damage has been done already and it will continue so if Russia doesn't stop. Soldiers are dying from both sides, civilians are not excluded, homes are being destroyed, and there's no hope of peace between these countries yet.Everyday more and more people are become homeless and are being displaced from their homes. Anyone might think that not much has changed. But, if compared it to the initial days of the war there has been a significant change. Russia has turned its forces back from northern Ukraine and again going forth. Internationally, even though many countries have condemned Russia's actions, American President Joe Biden came up and called Putin a "Brutal War Criminal" and imposed sanctions on Russia. But is Russia winning the war? After all, it is facing a lot of international criticism and increasing sanctions.  

On the other hand, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has created previously unthinkable changes in geopolitics, seemingly overnight. The roots of the current crisis in Ukraine are very deep and, of course, not limited to Ukraine. From the perspective of the United States and most of Western and Central European countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen Ukraine for his strategic position in Central Europe as the main strategy in the effort to rebuild the Soviet Union. And special influence over the Baltic States, energy, and political spheres is part of Russia's strategy and planning in Ukraine. Putin is seeking a major role in Russia's security in Europe. Because over the past two decades, the United States and most NATO allies have sought to subdue Russia's influence in Europe. Russia's growing influence in Ukraine is crucial to reviving Russia's status as a superpower, implementing Russia's ambitions in a non-threatening way, and undermining Western efforts to avoid a new Cold War. We have since seen the global impact of war, including new realizations of NATO and EU objectives, the spiral of growth, the politics of power, and significant, potentially lasting shifts in the world system.

In April 1949, NATO - which stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed by several western powers. It would be a collective military alliance that would stop Soviet aggression and prevents a repeat of nationalist militarism in Europe. By joining together, if one nation was attacked the others would defend militarily under one command. Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay, NATO's first Secretary-General said NATO was created to 'keep the Soviet Union out, the American in, and the Germans down.' NATO was formed for several reasons. So far, the United States had initiated the Marshal Plan which would help fund the rebuilding of Western Europe and encourage greater cooperation between Europe and the United States. The Soviet Union had expanded its influence across Eastern Europe installing communist governments in their countries forming Eastern Block. Therefore, NATO's objective in this regard was to protect the democracies of Europe and the United States from the spread of aggressive communism. Initially, a total of 12 countries, including Luxembourg, the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, and France, signed the NATO Agreement.

This issue is much deeper and personal for Russia. It is about securing Russia's national interest. If we answer the question "why Ukrainian was attacked by Russia" it is easy to say it's all about securing and protecting Russia's territory and motherland vs. US and NATO's military expansion near Eastern Europe. The reason Russia attacked Ukraine is that it does not want the United States and NATO's installations and Weapons including nuclear weapons anywhere near the Russian border. In mid-December 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued some demands, including a ban on NATO entry into northern Ukraine and a reduction in NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, Ukraine will never join NATO Will be removed and the 2015 ceasefire in Ukraine will be enforced. The United States and other NATO allies have denied the demands and warned Russia.

In early February, US President Biden ordered the deployment of about 3,000 US troops along the NATO border between Poland and Romania. Instead, the United States has sent tank-destroyer and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine increased the US military presence in NATO countries bordering Russia and placed 8,500 troops on high alert for deployment in Eastern Europe. So today if the United States and NATO forces have eyes on Ukraine, do you think Russia will not do about it! If tomorrow American weaponry arrives in Ukraine, Moscow is 35 minutes away if you want to use tomahawk rockets, and suppose if you want to use hypersonic missiles Moscow is just 5 minutes away from Ukraine. Russia from day one has been saying to the United States and NATO to stay away and not interfere in Ukraine. Whether you agree with Russia or not Putin has a reason.

The whole world economy is once again under pressure as Russia's invasion of Ukraine comes at a time when public life is returning to normal after the Corona coup for the past two years. Thanks to the global village and free-market economy, the problems of any country are not limited to one or two. Not only the neighboring country is in trouble but also the world is drowning in this problem. As a result, Russian and Ukrainian exports to international markets have been hampered. In the same way, the countries that used to export goods to those two countries are also facing problems. As a result of this war, the price of fuel oil has reached 100 per barrel. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says global food prices could rise by up to 20 percent this year due to the war. As food prices rise, so will the number of hungry people around the world. People are struggling to meet their daily needs. Not only will the crisis end now, but the war will also continue in the days to come. The FAO fears that food production in Ukraine will decline in 2022-23 due to the ongoing war. The planting of winter grains, maize, and sunflower will be reduced. It is estimated that 20-30 percent of the country's land will remain uncultivated due to the war. As a result, high food prices may have to be counted in the 2022-23 financial year. In this context, the FAO estimates that the number of malnourished people in the world will reach 8 million to 10 million by 2022-23, affecting sub-Saharan Africa and several parts of East and North Africa, including Asia. In short, the food misery of the poor will increase.

Afterward, Sweden and Finland's security calculations have changed dramatically since Russia launched its military attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Two European countries have expressed interest in joining the Western military alliances, NATO. They were thinking of changing their security policy. In the midst of all this trouble finally, Sweden and Finland confirmed that they would apply for NATO membership on Sunday, abandoning their neutral position since the end of World War II. They took this historic step in the wake of Russia's aggression in Ukraine. The move comes despite warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who told his Finnish counterpart that joining NATO would be a 'mistake.' President Sullivan Ninisto called it a 'historic day.' He said policy changes were in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine. NATO foreign ministers say they want Finland to join the process quickly.

Many analysts believe that after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the problems of staying out of the NATO alliance have come to the fore. Alistair Shepherd, a senior lecturer in European security at Aberystwyth University,in the United Kingdom, said: 'Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been a major factor in bringing Finland and Sweden closer to applying for full NATO membership.'He also said that Russia's aggression in Ukraine had 'dramatically changed the political discourse and public opinion of Finland and Sweden.'

Consequently, Russian operators have suspended power supplies to Finland as tensions rise over the country's announcement of NATO membership. Fuel supplier RAO Nordic says it has been forced to cut off power supplies due to ongoing payment problems. Russia's electricity supply accounts for 10 percent of Finland's total costs. The Finnish grid operator says it is not directly involved in the payments because the Russian firm is paid through a pan-European company called Nord Pool. Finland says its power supply will not be affected. Russia supplies 10 percent of Finland's electricity and says it can get it from other suppliers. Just two days ago, Moscow threatened retaliation against Finland and Sweden for wanting to join NATO.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he will not approve of Sweden and Finland obtaining NATO membership. The Turkish president has accused Scandinavian countries of harboring members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara designates as a terrorist organization. He said the former Turkish rulers had 'made a mistake' in signing the 1952 signing of Greece to NATO. 'We do not want to make the same mistake a second time,' he said.

Though Finland and Sweden are just trying to defend themselves from the old enemy, the two countries' desire to join NATO has provoked Russia. The war in Ukraine has an unlikely consequence for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The war has pushed Finland and Sweden, once neutral countries, towards joining NATO. A Russian lawmaker has warned that joining NATO would mean 'the destruction of their country.' Recently Kremlin warned that Russia would 'rebalance the situation' with its actions if Finland and Sweden join NATO. Opinion polls in Finland reportedly show that the public in the Nordic country now favors joining the alliance. If they join the NATO alliance, NATO troops may appear on the Finnish-Russian border which is 1,340 kilometers long. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia has no problem with Finland and Sweden joining NATO. However, Russia will respond if NATO builds military infrastructure in the country.

In conclusion, there is no reason to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but there is no denying that the military presence of the US-led coalition on the shores of the Black Sea under NATO's Shade is an excuse for Russia to invade.Even just a few years ago, some political powers viewed NATO as a remnant of the Cold War. In the post-Cold War world, there is no apparent need for an agreement to help the Atlantic countries prepare to defend themselves against potential enemy attacks. Because now there is no 'opposition' alliance. So why this expansion of NATO?

Krishna Kumar Saha Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration, Comilla University, Bangladesh & Harun Ar- Rashid Mamun is Fellow, Teach For Bangladesh

Latest News

More From OP-ED

Go to Home Page »

Site Index The Asian Age