World over Ukraine-Russia war -Abu Tahir Mustakim
You may have heard of war history in ancient manuscripts or punthi in Bangla literature. In their hyperbolic rhetoric, the stories will detail how soldiers in their millions died in the war — what is not always true. On paper, the death toll may be million but, on the ground, the statistics of casualties may reach a few thousand mark. During a battle, data war is more powerful than those of ammunition. This truth befalls Russia’s war against Ukraine. And the vehicle of data war is the western media. Various Ukrainian officials quoting the media claimed that 10 thousand Russian soldiers and 5 thousand Ukrainians were killed. But the United Nations says a total of 922 people have died in the first month of the Ukraine-Russia war. The western media looks like the war in Ukraine is the only event and the whole world seems to be in the throes of this war. Is that so in reality?
“Ukraine and its allies have been threatening Russia for over a thousand years, trying to change Russian culture. They have been persecuting the Russians for many years. To fulfill their wishes, NATO has been brought to the Russian border.” The allegation was made by Yevgeny Popov, a member of the Russian parliament Duma and an influential TV presenter. “NATO’s plan for Ukraine is certainly a direct threat to Russian citizens,” he said.
The Kremlin’s narrative is quite different from the way it is viewed in the West. It is almost unthinkable to utter these words to the ears of Europeans and Westerners, who have shamelessly disregarded even the most cautious evidence. But the evidence is credible not only to Russia’s larger population but also to people in other parts of the world.
The United Nations has called for an emergency vote after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. A week later, 141 of the 193 member states of the UN voted to condemn it. However, a number of key countries, including China, India, and South Africa have opted to abstain. It would therefore be confusing for Western leaders to believe that the whole world agrees with NATO’s view that Russia is solely responsible for this catastrophic war.
So why are so many countries indifferent to Russia’s aggression? Simply put, there are many reasons, ranging from economic or military interests to Europe’s colonial past or allegations of Western hypocrisy. However, a particular reason may not apply to everyone. Each country may have its own specific reasons for not publicly condemning Russia or seeking to isolate President Putin.
Let’s start with China. The most populous state in the world with more than 1.4 billion people. Most of them, like most Russians, get news about Ukraine from the state-controlled media. Before the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, China received a high-profile audience at its much-anticipated Winter Olympics — he is President Putin. A Chinese statement issued later said, “There is no limit to the cooperation between the two countries.” So did Putin signal to Chinese President Xi Jinping that he was going to launch a full-scale campaign in Ukraine? China says no, no advance indication at all. But there was not a hint of what was going to happen to such an important neighbour; it’s hard to imagine.
China and Russia may one day become strategic rivals. But now they have the same kind of opposition to NATO, the West, and its values. China has already clashed with the United States over its military expansion in the South China Sea. Beijing has been embroiled in controversy with Western governments over its treatment of the Uyghur population, its crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, and its declaration of ‘bringing Taiwan back to its homeland’ by force if necessary.
That is why China and Russia have common enemies in NATO and their peoples are fed with the worldview of their governments. As a result, in most cases, they do not support Western allegations of Russian aggression and alleged war crimes.
India and Pakistan have their own reasons for not opposing Russia. India gets most of its weapons from Moscow and after its recent confrontation with China in the Himalayas; India has assumed that Russia will one day be needed as its ally and protector.
Pakistan’s recently ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan has been a vocal critic of the West, especially the United States. For almost eight decades, the US puppet Pakistan has been looking for alternative friends. In this case, Islamabad has adhered to the foreign policy of its eternal friend China. Pakistan also gets arms assistance from Russia. And Pakistan needs Moscow’s blessing to secure trade in northwestern Central Asia. On February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Prime Minister Imran Khan set out on a pre-planned visit to meet with President Putin. So both India and Pakistan abstained from voting in the UN to condemn the attack.
Many, especially in Muslim-majority countries, agree that the West, led by the most powerful nation, the United States, is guilty of hypocrisy and double standards. In 2003, the United States and the United Kingdom invaded Iraq on the basis of lies, ignoring the United Nations and ignoring world public opinion. Washington and London have been accused of helping to prolong the civil war in Yemen. These countries arm the Saudi air force, which often carries out airstrikes in Yemen to show support for its allied government.
There are many more and other historical reasons for many African states. During the Soviet era, Moscow laid down arms on the continent to counter US and Western influence, from the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope. In some parts of the continent, the legacy of Western European colonies in the 19th and 20th centuries is a permanent annoyance to the West that continues to this day. France, which sent troops to Mali in 2013 to prevent al Qaeda from taking over the country, is not popular in its former colony. So now most of the French troops have left. They have been replaced by Russian mercenaries from the Kremlin-backed Wagner group.
And what is the position of the Middle East in the context of the Ukraine-Russia war? It is not surprising that Syria, including North Korea, Belarus, and Eritrea, has supported Russia’s invasion. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad relied heavily on Russia in 2015 to avoid the risk of losing the power in his country. But longtime Western allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have backed the UN vote, but have kept their criticism of Russia relatively quiet. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, has good relations with President Vladimir Putin.
It should be noted that US President Joe Biden has an ineffective relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Their mutual dislike is such that these two people have been refusing to hold each other’s phone calls. In late 2018, Westerners accused the Saudi prince of ordering the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A few weeks later, world leaders gathered in Buenos Aires for the G-20 summit. There, most Western leaders treated the Saudi prince coldly. On the contrary, Putin shakes hands with him and laughs. There is no reason to believe that the Saudi leader will forget this incident in a hurry.