Russia Ukraine Crisis: Yet Another ‘Expert’ Opinion, Bitten Tongue Firmly In Cheek
So, Russia invaded Ukraine.
As expected, apart from the Ukrainians whose lives and homes are under threat, the rest of the world looked at this crisis from the coloured perspectives of their own interests.
Joe Biden had been predicting it for days, and seemed glad that (for once) events proved him right. But he made the required noises about threatening Russia with sanctions.
The Europeans, who depend on Russia for oil and gas, also sang in chorus, as did most others, less dependent.
Markets the world over reacted, and fell a few points, but that was enough for the headlines to scream, “Investors lose thousands of crores!”
The loss, unless you sell immediately, is notional, but they won’t mention that. And the markets, by the way, are already on the way up.
All kinds of experts, from military to financial, besides the omniscient news anchors, articulated their opinions about the reasons and outcomes of this war.
A friend, much married and long retired, being acutely aware of the extreme hopelessness of expressing any opinions, is normally quite quiet, but even he ventured to voice his assessment of the situation. (And inspired me to write mine!)
China gleefully and unequivocally supported Russia and became their most trusted friend.
India, as expected, dithered. We neither supported Russia, nor Ukraine. And that made everyone unhappy.
The Western nations wanted India to tell Russia to back off!
And that seems akin to asking the Indian lion in Gir Forest to growl at the Russian whale in the Black Sea, some 2000 kilometres away.?
The whale will neither hear nor care.?
But finally, under pressure from the West, our PM called Putin, and the government spokespersons told the news agencies that he asked him to desist.?
Who asked whom to desist? And from what, exactly??
That’s not clear… yet!
Given our long-standing and special relationship with Russia, PM’s job sure wasn’t easy. But at least he was talking with Putin on the phone from the safety of his office in Delhi.
The Pakistani PM, Imran Khan, his chair under threat from the very Army brass that installed him, was in Moscow for a meeting with Putin, no doubt with his favourite begging bowl.
Imagine Imran, a friend of the West, who happens to be present on the spot, telling Putin to withdraw from Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, while sitting in Putin’s office!
What will Putin put in—into Imran’s bowl?
What are the reasons behind this war?
There are many theories by ‘experts’ (who else?) about why Russia started the war. They vary—depending on your point of view—from far-fetched to ridiculous.
One alleges: ‘Biden wants Ukraine to disappear, because it has evidence against his son.’
Imagine, Biden getting Putin to attack Ukraine to hide his son’s alleged crimes!?
Another theory claims that the crisis in Ukraine is not about Ukraine, but about Germany.
That sounds like the romantic whisperings of a Bollywood hero to his lady, “The heart pounding in your bosom is not yours, it’s mine!”
Yet another theory lists all the production capabilities of Ukraine that tempted Russia to attack: ‘From being the World No. 1 in Sunflower oil production to No 5 in Bee production.’
That sure would have made Shakespeare wonder, “Where would the world be, without the Ukrainian Bee?”
The actual reasons are historic and hegemonistic, and none too simplistic to be understood by the casually interested.?
As expected, the media are flooded with anti-Putin memes, some even calling him a Nazi!?
That made me wonder why, till I discovered that the Ukrainian President is Jewish. So, the media abroad too are adept at playing the religious card, albeit a bit more subtly.
As expected, we saw pictures of protests from all over the world, including one of children in Chennai.
Makes me wonder if the innocent children even know what they’re protesting about; exactly like many adults, taking sides with great gusto, their beliefs based on social media posts.
A young friend, full of fervour not backed by knowledge, insisted, “India must support Ukraine.”
“Why?” I asked, not because I agree or disagree, but just to test the strength of his conviction, adding, “Ukraine has never supported India like Russia has.”
“But there are Indians in Ukraine,” he said.
“And there are Indians in Russia, as indeed they are in every country of the world.”
And that was the end of his argument, as eloquently indicated by his open mouth and wide eyes!
So, what’s the future of this war?
No matter why the war started, what matters is how it will end.?
‘Expert’ opinions vary from Putin installing a friendly government, to a world-wide nuclear devastation.
In international relations, they say, there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.
The Americans, having just got their forces back from Afghanistan, are not too keen on sending troops anywhere. Same is the case with the Europeans. So, in a way, Ukraine is like a kid sent on a dare by friends with a promise of help in case things went wrong, being stood up at the first sign of trouble.
So, an armed intervention by any other country seems unlikely. Therefore, chances are high that back-channel parleys will force Ukraine to the negotiating table and end the war soon.
What about us in India?
While some in the world worry about the nuclear fallout and some fear a World War III, most of us, the middle-class, middle-aged and middle-path Indians are afraid only of the inflation, caused by the rising petrol and commodity prices.?
Maybe, without realising it, even we individuals are looking at this war from the point of view of our own interests.
Ultimately, it’s a war of greed, of perceptions, and of opinions!
No wonder the social media are rife with rumours.
But I, as an ex-soldier, know well that all wars are costly; personally, nationally as well as universally, and my heart goes out to the Ukrainian soldiers and people.
Here’s a poem for the forgotten soldiers, the world over.??
Wars will start and rage and end,
One side will rise and one will bend.
Politicians will rule the roost,
Businesses will get a boost.
Bureaucrats will hold sway,
And victors will have their say.
But some soldiers will never return,
To live a long life under the sun.
Some hearts will cry forever,
Having lost a son or a daughter.
The writer is a former fighter pilot of the IAF and now a commercial airline pilot. He is the author of two books and many blog posts, available at?www.avinashchikte.com
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