TECTONIC SHIFT ALONG DNIEPER RIVER
By Adeela Naureen The recent crises in Ukraine and the overthrow of an elected President (Mr. Yanukovych), by mobs supported by European Union and the US has created an environment of imbalance in entire Eurasia. Geographically, Dnieper River bisecting Ukraine into two halves also divides it culturally and politically. As of now, with the referendum in Crimea and it’s becoming a Russian province, the chips are down for a new cold war in the Eurasian landmass, the players may appear to be the old ones but geostrategic environment is totally different than fifty years ago. Without taking sides and labeling who is on the right side of history at present, we would like to state the possible effects of the new split (along Dnieper River) on the future of Eurasia and rest of the world. Strategically Russia may need more space to defend and manage the acquired peninsula of Crimea, that means further expansion towards north and North West of Crimea; politically, Dnieper River with bulk of Russian speaking population living along its eastern side becomes a natural barrier on which the new Russian border could rest. While judging by the body language of Mr Putin and Mr Obama and trying to glean the ideas about future from their speeches made so far, one thing is clear, the Cold War in Eurasia has been reborn after a lapse of thirty odd years. Why has the Ukrainian question become a global question? That is a million dollar question and I would like to throw some light on the issue to draw some conclusions. By actively stepping into Ukraine, the West had treaded on Putin’s toes and still wanted him to keep smiling; Putin could imagine the specter of an orchestrated Russian spring knocking at his door and the docking of US Navy into the harbors of Sebastopol, that may have been too much to smile about!!! The West miscalculated Russian response by thinking that Russia was a push over like Libya, and her economic interests in Europe and rest of the world would keep her quite by keeping her eyes closed on the issue of Ukraine. West also miscalculated the resolve of President Putin, thus created chaos in a relatively stable country through Non Kinetic War and inviting Putin to play his cards openly. Strategic intelligence gurus of CIA, MI6 and BND should get a zero on their Putin profile charts prepared for Obama, David Cameroon and Angela Merkel, because of their inability to properly judge Mr. Putin. Ukrainean leadership brought to fore by courtesy of US Ambassador in Ukraine Mr. Pyatt and likes of Victoria Nuland had miserably failed to provide leadership and a unified stance, they could not match the timings of Putin. The recent display of paralysis of command by Ukrainian leadership on issue of defence of Crimea is a case in point where poor decision making and lack of comprehension has left Ukraine to lose Crimea and may accentuate the existing chaos by further losses as Putin unfolds his new strategy.Even darling of the west Yulia Timoshenkohas not fared well in handling the crises in Ukraine.With elections looming on the horizon and Ukraine split along ethnic lines, we don’t see things settling down quickly in this part of the world unless sense prevails in the new Ukrainian leadership and they accommodate sensitivities of the ethnic Russian population into the new arrangement. The response of international community outside the Western bloc has been quite mixed, we have not seen any major policy statement by groupings like BRICS, although Mr Putin in his speech to Russian Duma appreciated stance of China. What about India, Brazil and South Africa, after all they are economic partners of Russia within the BRICS community. Similarly, Russian Federation periphery like Kazakhstan and Belarus may have significant role in shaping the future of Eurasia if they openly side with the Russian Federation. The likely hood of bandwagoning of states like Iran, Venezuela, Syria and North Korea in the new Anti-West bloc lead by Mr Putin could be a possibility in near future. Countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America sitting on the fence could also join in to complete this new anti-west bloc by gradually siding with Russian Federation on important international issues. After all world is sick and tired of unilateral and bullying approach of the west in pushing small and medium sized states into an orchestrated chaos(Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Mali, Egypt, Afghanistan). To conclude, three futuristic strategic scenarios emerge out of the tectonic shift along the Dnieper River: Scenario 1: The post-election scene in Ukraine politically divides the country along ethnic lines and deep fissures in the state institutions create further lawlessness, Russia moves in to stabilize the situation and protect the Russian minority, with Ukraine splitting along the Dnieper river. Moldova also formally joins the Russian federation.The west further miscalculates the situation and NATO moves into Ukraine, other states in the periphery of Black Sea and Ukraine like Belarus,Turkey and Baltic States get involved in the conflict and World War 3 begins along the banks of Dnieper River. Nuclear weapons are exchanged for the first time on European lands and entire world suffers from loss of millions of lives and devastation of environment. China emerges as the lone super power after the war. Scenario 2: Putin emerges strong as a new leader in Europe, the Ukrainian leadership accommodates Russian sensitivities by realigning it with the Customs Union and gets integrated into the new Eurasian System in line with Russian federation and Chinese policy. European Union starts fragmenting due to loss of confidence in the western leadership. Rise of Nazism in the western Europe results into political control by Right wing or fascist regimes, the tensions between the Neo Nazis and immigrants spill over and civil war erupts in western Europe,US is isolated and economic woes of Washington cause a collapse of dollar and rise of Russia and China to lead the world into a more stable World order. Scenario 3: Chaos in Ukraine goes out of total control and results into civil war within Eastern Europe,the rise of Neo Nazis in Western Europe overthrows the sitting governments and Europe fragments into pre Westphalia fiefdoms governed by warlords and thugs. Russia consolidates along the old Soviet Union boundaries less Central Asia and along with China forms the new World Order. Seeing an opportunity North Korea opens a new front against the South to tie down US- Japan axis in a new war: the United states bogged down in Afghanistan and the Middle East fails to meet the challenges and gets Isolated and splits into four states like Texas Republic, the California Confederation, Alaskan highlands and the Eastern United States. With these three possible scenarios looming on the horizon we hope and pray that sense prevails in the international community to listen to each other’s point of view and resolve the existing conflicts like Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, Libya, Egypt and Ukraine peacefully; live and let others live with honor.