The only remaining hope for Zelenskyy is that NATO will enter the war in a fullscope manner rather than indirectly through assisting Ukraine even at great cost to the interests of its own members, writes Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat
It is all somewhat confusing. Duda, Biden, Sunak, Scholz and other unwavering backers of the Zelenskyy Doctrine (of no ceasefire unless Putin surrenders) agree that the missile fragments that killed a couple of Polish farmers were Ukrainian. However, they add, it was all Russia’s fault. Presumably it was Vladimir Putin whose agents in Ukraine arranged for an anti-aircraft missile to land in Polish territory. We must assume that the votaries of Russian surrender that are in control of governments across both sides of the Atlantic are not prone to talking untruths.
As for Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the leader of Ukraine, whatever he says gets accepted as fact by the governments to his west. It is only with the approach of winter and the signs of incipient economic depression across Europe that there has been a change in this mistaking of the word of Zelenskyy as divine writ. Technically, the President of Ukraine is correct when he says the crashed missile was Russian, for it was made in that country. But to extrapolate from that the assumption that any Russian-built missile that gets launched by Ukrainian forces should be assumed to be launched by Russia may not be a prudent surmise to make. While technically Biden et al agree that the missile was launched by Ukraine, they reiterate that it was Russia’s fault.
At present, the only remaining hope for Zelenskyy is that NATO will enter the war in a fullscope manner rather than indirectly through assisting Ukraine even at great cost to the interests of its own members. It may be said that never before have so many sacrificed their interests (most of them unwillingly) for so few. More than three billion people across the world are in much worse shape than they would have been if the 31 million Ukraine-speaking population of the country had accepted reality and given up on recovering 20% of its territory. Instead, Ukraine began a process of losing even more land in the expectation of NATO-assisted recovery of all land that it had prior to the intervention by Russia in 2014.
The intervention began after the paradigm shift that the government of the country underwent in 2014, when the new President, Petro Poroshenko, reduced the 19 million Russian-speaking Ukrainians to second-class status. Given the prospect of a winter sans power and running water, there is logic behind President Zelenskyy’s transparent efforts to ensnare NATO troops into directly intervening in the phase of the conflict that began on 24 February. Despite the politically fatal attraction that making sacrifices for Zelenskyy and his colleagues increasingly have for Biden, Scholz and other Atlanticist leaders, public opinion within NATO has begun turning hostile to the involvement of NATO as a co-belligerent in the war against Russia that is being fought on the territory of Ukraine.
Who was responsible for punching holes in the two Nordstrom pipelines? If Biden, Sunak, Macron and Scholz are aware of the actual culprit, sooner or later, the identity of the perpetrators will get outed despite their silence, smudging the reputation of these leaders for transparency and straightforwardness. What the world deserves are not just repetitive denials of culpability but the facts that have been uncovered in the investigation into the sabotage of a crucial infrastructure project. Just as it expects the Ukrainian government to list the identities of the many whom they claim were killed by Russian forces in Bucha, a revelation that has yet to be made.
Why Biden, Sunak and Scholz are not seeking the release of the names of the Bucha killings has given rise to suspicions that the dead were Russian-speaking. If so, the question needs to be asked as to what was Russia’s motive in apparently killing people that were sympathetic to it? If the Russians did kill them, what explains them leaving a Bucha that was shown as strewn with dead bodies? If the boastful claims of the Ukrainian leadership that its forces are steadily squeezing Russian forces out of territory that had been earlier captured by them are true, the risk of Vladimir Putin using some of the more deadly weapons in his arsenal multiplies rather than chances of his accepting surrender. He is unlikely to follow the carefree path that President Biden took when he surrendered to the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2021.
That self-inflicted defeat was the start of Biden’s fall from grace where US voters were concerned. The Democrats are fortunate that the Republican Supreme Court as well as Donald Trump prevented the unpopularity of the White House from dragging Democratic tallies down. Their Senate win means that India may soon get a US ambassador after two years of waiting. An incoming envoy may try and end a situation where citizens of India wait 900 days for a US visa, in contrast to citizens of the PRC, who get such visas in a jiffy.
As for the EU, the wait for a visa for Indians is reported to be 500 days, but less than 50 hours for a Chinese national. The constant chants of the US and the EU of “Viva Democracy” are clearly different from making available visas for citizens of democracies. The whole world is the loser as a consequence of both sides not heeding Narendra Modi’s warning that “this is not the era of war”. The effects of winter sans Russian energy to Europe may at last bring to fruition Modi’s wish.