Peace in peril: Taiwan, Ukraine face escalating threats amid US inertia

Angered by the fresh supply of hi-tech military equipment to Ukraine by the West, Russian President Putin has warned the West to either work for peace or face the prospects of the Ukrainian conflict enveloping the entire Europe by Gopal Misra

With China continuing with its aggressive postures against Taiwan and no early solution in sight to the ongoing conflicts in Europe and West Asia, peace continues to be elusive on the earth.

The sharp divisions within the American political establishment appear to have become much more pronounced with the conviction of the erstwhile US President Donald Trump in a case of hush money payment to silence a porn actress. It not only exposes the cesspool of the American establishment, its stink is ready to overwhelm democratic societies across the continents. And India is no exception.

The policy paralysis in Washington appears to have also encouraged Beijing to throw out the American influence or its proxies in its neighborhood by annexing Taiwan without any further delay.

In this backdrop, it is not surprising that the Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the West to either work for peace or face the prospects of the Ukrainian conflict enveloping the entire Europe. Despite being enrolled in NATO, the European powers are aware of the fact that an angrier Kremlin might cause them more sufferings than they had endured during the World War-II.

The prospects of even an early truce either in Europe or West Asia appear to be bleak till 2025, when the new administration will be finally installed in Washington. It may be emphasised that the prospects of Trump returning to power cannot be ruled out despite his conviction.

In a recent hard-hitting frank discussion with the representatives of western media in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West, especially the US, that if Ukraine is further empowered with new missiles, which could hit his motherland, Moscow would not hesitate to punish the supporters of Ukraine, especially Germany and the UK.

The confidence of the Russian President despite the prolonged European conflict could also be attributed to the growing cooperation between Russia and China in geopolitics. Both Putin and Xi Jinping have successfully blended the world’s second largest economy i.e China with his country’s formidable military, thus challenging the four-decades of American supremacy in the world affairs

It is now a foregone conclusion that  Russia would not hesitate to support China, if it annexes Taiwan. Meanwhile, there are reports that the Russians are training the Chinese in Cambodia in the latest air warfare with their sixth generation aircrafts. It is being stated that the leadership of the People’s Liberation Army or PLA is trying to update its air force. It could be a part of the strategy before making a final assault on Taiwan. It would not be violating the international laws, also the West has already conceded the one China policy by refusing to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign power.

It is also believed that with the conflicts continuing in Europe and West Asia, it could be an opportune time to invade Taiwan. It is being stated that most of the Chinese scholars on strategic affairs affiliated with the Shanghai institute are convinced that the contemporary leadership in the US and its allies cannot retaliate against China. During the past three decades, the Chinese have penetrated key American institutions through their various proxies. Their assessment is that if the Dragon decides to annex Taiwan, the US-led Western powers might not be able to put up any resistance. They would just be issuing statements. It may be recalled that the US and the West did not put up any sanctions against Beijing, when the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, violated the Chinese commitments ensuring two systems in one country in Hong Kong. The West did not react. It just succumbed to the Chinese might.

The reports regarding the presence of the Russian warships in the Caribbean could have caused worldwide concerns, but the White House has so far neither confirmed nor denied the reports in this regard. Its reluctance might also be interpreted as a ploy to malign its southern neighbours. It is also alleged that the US establishment is keen to punish Cuba and Venezuela by alleging that they are hosting the Russian Navy.

Venezuela is already facing US sanctions. It is being forced to sell its oil and gas at discounted rates. Like Iran’s oil, Venezuelan oil is also being purchased by China, the main business partner of the US and its allies in Europe. Since China has become the coveted destination of the US companies for manufacturing, the cheap oil, perhaps, is benefitting them financially. Thus, the US sanctions actually subsidize the energy needs of the manufacturing units in China producing American and European goods for the world markets.

It is yet to be explained by the American establishment that despite the American sanctions how it’s largest trading partner, China, could import oil from Iran and Venezuela. The successive US administrations have never asked China to stop buying oil from Iran and Venezuela.

Caribbean conundrum

There is yet another dimension to the news stories being circulated by the Associated Press and Reuters regarding the presence of the Russian Navy in the Caribbean. Quoting unknown sources, the news claims that the Russian naval ships have recently been seen in the Caribbean, especially near Cuba and Venezuela. It has, as expected, caused concern. Whether it could be a pretext for the White House to reassert its military might in the region or was it being deployed to deter Americans from throwing their weight behind Taiwan, if Dragon finally annexed is anybody’s guess.

Another dimension could be to enable the US President Joe Biden to invoke the two- centuries old Monroe Doctrine for boosting the prospects of his re-election in polls to be held later this year. It may be recalled that in 1823, the then US President, James Munroe, in his message to the Congress had warned the European powers to keep off from the Western hemisphere.

The Monroe doctrine was also invoked by the then US President, John Kennedy, in 1962, when he asserted that the US would not tolerate installation of missiles –equipped with nuclear bombs — by the USSR in Cuba. The nuclear confrontation between the USSR and the USA was fortunately averted.

Interestingly, it is yet to be explained why the US didn’t admit Russia in NATO, when in the nineties, its then president Yeltsinv had dissolved the Warsaw Pact. He was also keen that Russia should just be a European power. Instead, the US-led West not only enrolled countries like Poland in NATO, but also precipitated discord between Moscow and the republics of the erstwhile USSR. It naturally enraged Russia. It annexed Cremea, which was gifted to Ukraine during the USSR years for its brave fight against the Nazis of Germany.

Both the USA and Russia avoid direct confrontation against each other. However, the new hi-tech military equipment supplied recently to Ukraine might force Russia to target NATO members in Europe and also offer new weapons to countries like Venezuela.

Fragile Peace

The Chinese have not only learnt gunboat diplomacy from its financial partner, America, it is now pursuing it with an unprecedented vigor. India, having nearly 3000 kilometer border abutting Tibet, now under the Chinese occupation, has firsthand experience of the aggressive policy of the Dragon.

For the powers-that-be in Washington, it is a hard choice to assert against China. They have so far failed to weave a strong narrative against China in the current world politics. The much-trumpeted Ivy League academia, the think tanks being liberally funded by the country’s military-industrial corporate having full support of its much-dreaded deep state, Central Investigative Agency i.e. CIA. The Chinese penetration in the American establishment through its proxies has caused stalemate leading to an unprecedented confusion.

The American media too has lost its luster, especially following the Chinese fundings.

The news regarding the presence of the Russian Navy could also be a deliberate plant. During the Gulf War, the American media had claimed the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it was proved wrong. It is now well-known that it was a pretext for the US to use its military to destroy the country. Similarly, the news of the presence of the Russian Navy in the Caribbean could also be used as a pretext to invade Venezuela.

 President Putin has warned that the Russian forces would hit hard, if the West decides to supply new generation weapons to Ukraine. He considers that Germany has violated the unwritten understanding arrived at after World War-II that it would maintain cordial relations with Russia but the supply of the new generation German tanks and artillery to Ukraine has undermined this truce. Thus, a full-scale conflict haunts Europe again.