Russia-Ukraine Conflict: The World Needs Its Uncle Sam Back – OpEd
By Arab News
By Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor*
With the Russian-Ukrainian war now in its second year, more than 8,000 people have been killed across the two parties and no less than 13,000 people are reported to have been injured, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The US Joint Chiefs of Staff stated late last year that Russian military casualties had exceeded 100,000 soldiers, a toll similar to the number of casualties incurred by the Ukrainian military. These are harrowing figures. The human losses are grave, and nothing can compensate for the sacrifices of the roughly one-third of Ukrainian civilians who have left their homes to flee the war and find a haven for their families. Not to mention the unspeakable economic losses.
No doubt that Ukraine is by far the biggest economic casualty of the war. According to the latest estimates, Ukraine’s economic output has fallen by as much as 35 percent. The country’s infrastructure has suffered severe and long-term damage. Even with international economic assistance in the postwar period, production in Ukraine will not return to its prewar level for several decades.
As for the economic losses outside Ukrainian borders, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has estimated that the war might cost the global economy about $2.8 trillion in production losses. Furthermore, it is still too early to assess the long-term effects of the war on the global economy. Since the start of the war, most NATO and EU members have provided direct financial, military and humanitarian assistance amounting to more than $150 billion, of which the US alone has contributed more than $75 billion.
Signs of resentment have begun to emerge in the US due to the increasing cost of the war to American taxpayers. Even the US media, which was spearheading the confrontation against Russia, has started questioning the war’s course.
Michael McKenna wrote in The Washington Times this week: “The line between providing ‘assistance’ and being an actual combatant nation is becoming very, very diaphanous.” He added: “It would be one thing if we were one of many countries providing such military aid. The reality is that the Europeans have produced mostly conversation. The United States has given more to Ukraine — about 50 percent more — than every nation in Europe combined.”
There is no apparent winner in this war. The picture so far has been dominated by ongoing destruction and bloodshed in a war that could have been nipped in the bud had the parties concerned shown responsibility in dealing with it early on. What is required of US President Joe Biden’s administration is to seek dialogue and find a peaceful solution.
Throughout history, Uncle Sam has played the role of a big brother in resolving conflicts worldwide. The US administration is required to restore this role to save Ukrainian and Russian lives, and to reduce homelessness and starvation. The US administration must reconsider its actions and reexamine the possible consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. McKenna pondered why the White House has never “articulated how they imagine this story ends beyond the Disney-like version in which Ukraine ‘wins’ and everyone lives happily ever after.”
As uncertainty prevails, the media will go further in its campaigns against the US administration’s policies in the Russia-Ukraine war. Both warring parties will continue to suffer human losses, while the economic losses under which the European and American peoples groan will increase.
China has put forward an initiative to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict, calling for an immediate ceasefire. However, the Biden administration was dismissive. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called for direct talks between the US and Russian presidents about the war in Ukraine. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also warned that we are no longer in the 24th hour, but the 25th, “and this war must end immediately … or there could be great trouble.”
It all adds up to show that we might be on the verge of a great world war that could turn into a nuclear confrontation if peace does not immediately prevail on the Russian-Ukrainian front. Therefore, I call upon President Biden to take a historical position and work to find a solution for the conflict and end the war; otherwise, thousands of intercontinental nuclear missiles will cross the skies and no country, not even the US, will be spared.
- Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is renowned for his views on international political affairs, his philanthropic activity, and his efforts to promote peace. He has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad.