The Ukraine War: Rise Of The West Or Sunset? – OpEd
By Patial RC
In August 2021, the US withdrew from Afghanistan ending its two decades of military presence in the region. The US exit from Afghanistan resulted in the Taliban regaining control and this hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan was seen as the decline of the US power. Approximately 2,500 US troops died in what became the country’s longest war in history. Gallup poll conducted a year after the withdrawal concludes the “Entire War was a Mistake”.
Questions were raised that why successive administrations made so many of the same mistakes repeatedly. Why the Afghan Government and military collapsed so precipitously. This rapid collapse laid bare a fundamental fact, that why successive administrations lied to the Congress over the years about the durability of the Afghan military and governing institutions. America lost its credibility and reputation across the world and at home lost the domestic support for adventurism overseas.
Ukraine Conflict: West Consolidates Power
Hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan has widely been seen as a loss of face for the US and now the Biden administration is using the Ukraine conflict as a means for power consolidation.Powerful forces are redrawing the global geopolitical map. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine provided the last straw to the US, NATO and the West for far-reaching developments on the future of Europe.
Prior to the Ukraine Conflict Germany and France had started following near independent foreign and economic policy at some what tangent to US-NATO strategy towards Russia and China. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine got the West led by US-NATO to convince the West that Russia poses a serious threat to Europe and the combine West need to weaken Russia. Through the Ukraine Conflict US once again attempts to retain its uni-polarity in terms of global power and influence. The Ukraine Conflict is a proxy war being fought by Ukraine on behalf of the US-NATO to weaken Russia militarily and economically. The aim is to create within Europe a strong security architecture to contain Russia militarily.
The question of is whether the US wants to continue with the ‘Global Policeman’ role anymore? The question is irrelevant to be asked by those who do not matter. It is the Pentagon who decides. Having tasted power and glory why would the US or any US President shed this role to be seen around trotting the Globe as as the most powerful man. The latest proof to hold on to this Global policeman role is seen from the just concluded ‘Summit for Democracy’. President Biden, as the host, declared that a coalition will be formed to combat governments “Who misuse surveillance technologies for repression.” A prominent example of the US leadership in strengthening “Democracy,” portraying the US as the “Defender or Global Policeman of Global Cyberspace”.
The US policies and activities are to strengthen itself, remain as an indispensable unchallenged global power and prevent the emergence of any other power which can challenge its dominance. US perception, as outlined in the Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy is that the global balance is being upset by China’s rise and the coming together of Russia and China and through their attempts at creating an alternative sphere of influence, most predominantly in continental Eurasia and Asia.However, this power play has commenced.
US Strategy to Contain China
As part of a broad containment strategy, China will be countered economically, technologically and militarily with the aim to weaken it so as to not pose a long-term threat to the US. The Ukraine War provided the opportunity to consolidate NATO its EU members and the reorientation of energy supply chains post sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines as part of the energy war.
US allies and partners have formed the following groupings to counter China in Asia and Indo-Pacific and most importantly with the aim not to let its superpower status be eroded by China:
- The Quads have emerged as a force to resist Chinese maritime and economic aggression. Quad members Japan, Australia, and India, democratic nations with capable militaries that are clearly interested in arresting Chinese hegemony.
- ‘Middle Eastern Quad’ (US, Israel, UAE, and India) or Quad 2 has also been established.Economic and strategic competition between the US and China is forcing Gulf nations to choose between the two. UAE’s top trading partners are China, India, Japan, the US and Saudi Arabia.
- AUKUS .The US also announced a new trilateral defence partnership with Australia and the UK (AUKUS).It is a new three-way strategic defence alliance between Australia, the UK and US. This will also work together in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the increasing threat of China.
- India-France-Japan trilateral as a security framework in the Indo-Pacific is in a serious stage of being formed up. This will also strengthen the recently floated AUKUS, which claims to provide security platform in the South China Sea.
The New Power Play
To counter this US led West power consolidation post Russian Invasion of Ukraine China has taken the lead as Biden Administration considers that the global balance is being upset by China’s rise and the coming together of Russia and China are creating an alternative sphere of influence.Increased tensions and sanctions between the West and Russia have brought Moscow and Beijing strategically closer to each other as reaffirmed by Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping on several occasions and the recent visit of Presidents Xi Jinping to Moscow has cemented that further.
As new East-West rivalries appear, ranging from the US-China conflict to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the power of developing countries who do not fully join either camp is growing. This could possibly be due to the West miscalculating response to its belligerent attitude toward China and Russia. The groupings which have both China and Russia as members like the SCO,BRICS are becoming stronger and are also being enlarged by admitting additional members.
The growing US-China rivalry is the most important strategic development of this century and the world is likely to witness new multi-polar groupings. China is heading to become the most powerful economic and military power in the world for global supremacy to replace the US. The New Power Play against the West have for some time now noted its obvious decline in influence, or to say the Sun is setting on the US led West Global control and influence as we may recall the sun set on the British Empire meaning now the decline of the US led Western power and influence to the new emerging economic powers like China, India and other developing nations.