National Interest article: Is Ukraine sparking a third world war?
Two US military experts have expressed their fear that the Ukraine crisis could lead to an armed conflict that heralds the outbreak of World War III between Russia and the West.
It came in article A joint published by the “National Interest” magazine (The National Interest) to retired Gen. Dale Dailey, who previously commanded several special operations units and oversaw counterterrorism efforts at the State Department, and James P. Farwell, associate fellow in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, who has been advising Special Operations Forces and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
The two began their article by emphasizing the need for both Russia and the West for a “grand strategy” that would reconsider their relations, give each party something that would meet its pride and security interests, and prevent the outbreak of a conflict that might turn into a third world war.
According to the two experts, one of the main aspects of the US position is to refrain from responding to the threats of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and to turn it into a proactive position to resolve the crisis by proposing viable ideas for the benefit of both parties.
The authors wonder about what reasonable plans might suit all parties to the crisis, and answer by offering areas that those parties can study to find common ground to avoid war.
And if the grand strategy pursued by former US President Dwight Eisenhower was described as a “containment” policy, then the proposed strategy appears to fall under the name “balance”. Russia is not, under this concept, seen as a “friend or ally”.
The policy of containment realized that the Soviet Union had expansionist ambitions, and Eisenhower refused at that time to coexist with it and worked to defeat communism, and he was right in that, according to Daley and Farwell.
A Soviet Union without ideology
The authors believe that Russia wants to revive the sphere of influence that the Soviet Union enjoyed before its collapse, but it does not present an ideology. With its quest for global influence as a superpower, what it lacks are the imperialist ambitions of communism.
The two military experts claim – in their joint article – that it is nationalism and arrogance that push Putin to restore Russia’s influence and control over its former sphere.
Putin views the “Maidan revolution” that toppled a pro-Russian government in Ukraine as a “color revolution” sponsored by the United States, and is part of a scheme aimed at removing him from power.
For eight years, Ukraine and its surroundings have been witnessing continuous tension with the Russian neighbor, during which the drums of war have repeatedly been beating, between the two countries at one time, and between Russia and the Western camp that supports Kiev at other times.
Ukraine’s crisis with Russia was manifested in Moscow’s seizure and annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and Kiev’s assertion that it would recover the peninsula by all available means.
The two American experts suggested a “stable” framework for action between Russia and the West that includes 5 scenarios, the first of which is that there should be guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia will not become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In this case, Ukraine can accept a situation similar to that of Austria, a democratic country that is neutral in its dealings with all parties.
The second perception is the belief that Putin fears that the establishment of a successful democratic system in Ukraine will lead to repercussions that extend to Russia and undermine his authority.
The third of these perceptions is that Putin wants the United States to distance itself from interfering in Russia’s domestic politics.
Fourth, Putin wants to turn back the clock, but he must be realistic about his desire. It was corruption and the failure of communism that caused the defeat of the Soviet Union, not the West.
And the latest perceptions are that Putin seeks to treat him with respect as a superpower and an ally of the West.
What must the parties abide by?
And the West – in the view of Daley and Farwell – should ask Russia for a similar deal, and the two sides must first commit themselves to refraining from interfering in the other’s politics or in its internal affairs.
Secondly, Russia should pledge to avoid using the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to transport gas directly from Russia to Germany via pipelines across the Baltic Sea.
And third, Russia must realize that the West acts as a united front through the United States, NATO, the European Union, and other parties.
Fourth, Russia must also control “criminal” hacking by the Russian state, its so-called “national hackers,” and transnational “criminal” groups operating from within Russia.
Finally – and this is a diplomatic issue that may take time to play its role – that Russia and the West should work to find common ground recognizing that there is an existential danger represented in China’s ambition to impose its military and economic supremacy on the world by 2049. If China is able to achieve that goal, this would To pose an existential threat to both Russia and the West, Daley and Farwell claim.
The National Interest article concludes that all parties to the Ukraine crisis owe it to themselves, their citizens, and the world to avoid becoming embroiled in an armed conflict that could “mistakenly” turn into a third world war, and the time has come to act “there is no time.”