Home News and Politics The Elusiveness of Vladimir Putin and the Future of the Ukraine Conflict: Unraveling the Truth

The Elusiveness of Vladimir Putin and the Future of the Ukraine Conflict: Unraveling the Truth

The Elusiveness of Vladimir Putin and the Future of the Ukraine Conflict: Unraveling the Truth

Headline: Assessing the Current Status and Future of the War in Ukraine

Political developments in America and Europe have once again brought attention to the global politics surrounding the war in Ukraine. In the US, the Republican Party is growing skeptical of funding for Ukraine, while pro-Russia forces are gaining strength in Europe. Meanwhile, the rest of the world seems to be losing interest in the conflict. So where do we currently stand in the war, and what can we expect moving forward?

The war in Ukraine had significant implications for international politics, particularly in India where support for Russia has shaped the discourse. If Vladimir Putin’s aggression had succeeded, it would have challenged three key principles of international relations. It would have marked only the second time since World War II that one country had sought to annex and incorporate another entirely. India, along with many others, rightly argued that war is not the way of the 21st century. Allowing Putin’s aggression to succeed would have incentivized war as a principle of global politics, setting a dangerous precedent. Therefore, containing Putin’s aggression was crucial, and the only question was how to achieve this without causing excessive destruction.

Aside from the broader implications, there was also the potential risk of nuclear weapon use in this conflict. While this danger always exists as long as such weapons are present, Putin’s allies, particularly China, drew a red line against their use.

To the surprise of many, Russia failed to subdue Ukraine. In fact, Russia lost on every strategic objective it had set out to achieve. Whether it was preventing NATO expansion or recreating a Russian empire, Ukraine emerged as a nation, successfully withstanding Russian aggression. However, Ukraine now faces political challenges within the global system as a result of its success.

Three key issues are at stake moving forward. Firstly, how will the objectives of the war be defined now? While Ukraine has the right to defend its territory, the rest of the world seemed to sympathize more with Ukraine’s need to assert its sovereignty rather than reclaiming its entire territory. The Russian invasion of Crimea was somewhat overlooked, and the moral stakes differ significantly between a war where an entire country is absorbed and its sovereignty erased versus a war centered around Ukraine regaining 15-20% of its territory. The question arises whether a protracted war, causing additional casualties, refugee crises, and delayed rebuilding, is worth it. This is a question not only for Ukraine but for the entire world.

Secondly, one of the most surprising aspects of this war has been the secondary effects on economies and societies. Putin may have gambled that Europe’s energy dependence on Russia would make it vulnerable and unable to resist Russia effectively. However, predictions of Russia’s economy collapsing under sanctions did not materialize. Russia’s long-term growth prospects may have suffered, but it is far from an unsustainable economy on the brink of collapse. Initially concerned about the war’s costs, the rest of the world has largely dismissed them. However, the cost of the war is slowly becoming a domestic political issue in the West. Ultimately, the outcome of the war may depend on the capabilities and limitations of both Russia and the Western democracies supporting Ukraine. This could potentially lead to a negotiated settlement.

The third question revolves around the situation on the ground in Ukraine. Currently, the status quo is often described as a stalemate, which might seem unfair to Ukraine given its achievements and the nature of the war. It remains uncertain how Ukraine’s war of attrition, with incremental gains, will play out. Putin now has the advantage of time, at least until the next US presidential election. His hope is that Western support for Ukraine will dwindle due to domestic political pressures in the US and Europe. The future of the war may no longer solely rely on military realities on the ground but also on election results in the West and their calculations of opportunity costs.

As the long-term political effects of the war continue to unfold, hypocrisy from both the West and the Global South will likely arise. This is already evident in NATO’s silence regarding the ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh. Amidst these processes, one challenging factor remains: the opacity of Putin’s intentions. While a negotiated settlement securing Ukraine’s sovereignty and prosperity would benefit all parties involved, it is difficult to gauge Putin’s political calculations.

Does Putin intend to persist in a grinding war of attrition, hoping for a change in his political fortunes? Will Russia engage in a last act of destruction, despite its diminishing capabilities? It is unsettling to consider that any pathway to Ukrainian success might be seen as an affront by Putin. In this case, it is unclear what options Ukraine has. Whether in defeat or victory, managing Putin will remain a problem that needs to be addressed.

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