Russia-Ukraine: Another Cold War?

As Russian-Ukraine war prolong and enters into 12th day, still there is no indication that conflict will end in near future. Ukraine forces are unable to face the wrath of Russian invasion. It is pertinent to analyze the present situation and affects of this war.

Overall review of the situation reflect the division of world in support of Russia and against it. US has not been able to influence countries to unanimously vote against Russia for invading Ukraine. In the final tally, 141 countries supported the resolution in UNGA, with just five voting against it and another 35 abstaining. Asia Pacific seems to be largely under influence of US. Within this region  just two countries voted against the resolution: Russia itself and North Korea. 14 Asia-Pacific countries not only voted in favor but co-sponsored the resolution: Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Samoa, Singapore, and Timor-Leste.

Central Asian countries evidently are under Russian influence which is a big indication for resistance to US desires in the region. None of the five Central Asian republics voted in favor of the motion; all either abstained or did not participate in the vote at all. In South Asia, countries were evenly divided, with four supporting the resolution Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Nepal and four abstaining Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

An Islamabad base think tank IPRI has carried out  discourse analysis of the conflict. They carried out 3rd and 4th March twitter analysis of 50 thousand tweets comparing two opposing hashtag #IStandWithPutin and #IStandWithUkraine. The findings reveals a bifurcation among social media users. English was the dominant language used across both hashtags. Tweets in Urdu and Hindi were in support of  #IStandWithPutin and tweets originating in German and French were supporting #IStandwithUkraine. The findings clearly reflect a divided world on Russia-Ukraine war. These distinctions were most marked when comparing user locations data which shows a clearer difference between what is widely understood as the ‘West’ on one side and the ‘Global South’ or the Shenghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) counteies on the other. every state’s stance and position on Russia-Ukraine conflict has been carefully calibrated based on a broad range of interests and issues, the digital land scape shows a divided word or we may call a re-emergence of 2nd  Cold War. The UNGA voting pattern and discourse analysis clearly reflect that world is divided on the issue.

Russian invasion of Ukraine has manifold ramifications. It has brought the global and regional confrontations to the edge and pushed world once again towards cold war. US has already partially sanctioned Russia but China has refused to abide by US sanctions.  Germany and rest of the EU is dependent on Russian gas. OPEC countries are exploiting the conflict and has raised the oil prices over $100 per barrel but it looks a temporary raise as most of the Asian countries export oil from OPEC and consistent rise in prices may jeopardise the market thus indirectly affecting the national politics of buyer countries. Moreover, if oil consumption is reduced or managed by oil purchasing countries, it will reverse back the effect towards OPEC. US provocation of Russia in Ukraine has given them some advantages. It has put pressure on Germany and Russia for Nord stream-2, it has brought Russia under pressure for its gas supply to EU. It might have distracted Russia from China may be for a while.

The conflict will leave millions refugees at the mercy of other nations. So far1.5 million Ukraine citizens  has already fled the country while more are lined up. Mariupol city is besieged and efforts are being made to evacuate the trapped civilians. Situation in Mariupol is extremely dangerous. Meanwhile mastercard and visa cards operations have been suspended in Ukraine. The Foreign Minister of Ukraine has asked for fighter jets and air defence systems from US. NATO’s refusal to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine is another blow to Ukraine. The IMF has also expressed their concerns for war affects on global economy.

According to John Meirshiemer, it is the US who is to be blamed for post cold war disorder. In pursuit of liberal hegemony frequency of US military deployments has been six times greater in the period between 1990 and 2017 than in the 200 years spanning 1789 and 1989.The seven wars initiated by the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have failed to achieve any meaningful success and it has cost roughly $5.6 trillion, in addition to an estimated 370,000 civilians and combatants killed.

War has revived the theoretical concept of Realism. It might be a big blow to liberalism. The nation states in an anarchic world are responsible for self defence and no body else will come to their rescue. The nation state surviving in a vulnerable geo-strategic environment will increase their military spending.  Countries will rush for military hardware which will strengthen the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). India and Japan are already biggest buyers of military hardware. More EU nations will now come forward for purchase of arms and ammunition. Germany has already announced increase in their defense spending. Supremacy in airpower will  remain the priority of nation states to solidify their respective defense. It will definitely hamper the efforts being done for nuclear no proliferation.

Pakistan seems to getting a strategic autonomy at least in this conflict. On Sunday Prime Minister of Pakistan has categorically snubbed the EU demand to oppose Russian move. He said Pakistan is not here to serve EU interests. We are a sovereign country and will take decision which are best for our country. Pakistan has been a reluctant partner with US due to former’s keen interest in the south Asian region. But it is strategic partner with China, now. CPEC is the flagship program of China’s BRI. Pakistan is crafting relations with Russia. Though American forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan but it still maintain its influence in Afghanistan. Pakistan has never lowered its guards and nation is proud to have ever vigilant and most professional Armed Forces in the world.

Writer is PhD in International Relations from QAU, Islamabad and is an independent political and defense analyst. He can be reached at

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