By Charles Onunaiju
Because Nigeria did not give sufficient strategic thinking to the geopolitical considerations of its internal security, it turned blind eye to the western military alliance, NATO when it swooped over Libya ,causing the collapse of the Ghaddafi regime and plunging the once stable and prosperous North African country into complete chaos. Nigeria, under the former President Goodluck Jonathan even broke ranks with the Africa union’s position of a negotiated settlement to the conflict and backed the NATO supported rebel faction of the so called Transitional National council. But with Libya in ruins and its heavily military Armory thrown open, America and its allies have cut and run, it take long before Nigeria’s strategic deficiency in understanding the term consequences of the Libya’s melt down came home to hunt her. The Boko Haram insurgents which was previously improvising crude weapons in its attacks stumbled upon heavy weapon flows from the Libyan amour and freelance military instructors to boot thereby triggering a brutal insurgency which has currently mutated into assorted other crimes including kidnapping, banditry and armed robberies. Objectively, Nigeria has genuine security concerns in its neighborhood and should be concerned about whom they associate with, despite their obvious sovereign prerogatives to decide on the subject.
Despite the sovereign prerogatives of Ukraine on the conduct of its internal and external affairs, the Russian federation has genuine and valid concerns about Kiev’s aspirations to NATO membership, a military alliance historically and ideologically constructed to contain and weaken Russia. While it is generally believed even within NATO that Ukraine membership will bring very little or no military value to the alliance, the real meaning of Ukraine’s posturing could be nothing but sheer provocations, urged on by Washington.
By now, according to Washington, Kiev the Ukraine’s capital would have been smoldering from tremors of fire unleashed by Moscow but up till now , nothing of sort has happened. But, the persistence of the ‘Russian imminent invasion’ that a fake invasion may be staged to justify the investment in the propaganda. Surprise is the foremost traditional weapon of war and how Russian purported invasion could have been known by every one else, except the Russians themselves is the invention of the world only remaining military alliance and its Washington mentor.
Despite concerted and forthright denials by Moscow that it has no such plans, but only deployed its forces like every other normal country to its border to thwart provocations and deter adventurists, the U.S and its NATO orchestra and other ‘Wannabes’ continue to repeat the lie that Ukraine is about to be choked by the jugular by its giant, with which, it once shared a country, the defunct USSR.
On the basis of the desperate invocations of Moscow’s attack, batteries of military hardware, whose real value of any real Russia’s attack on Ukraine is doubtful is being shoved down the throat of the Ukraine’s leadership and this is not free. A U.S force of 8,500 troops is on standby according to the U.S pentagon , ready but not to see action in Ukraine, in case of any event but to give Europe some measure of confidence. Meanwhile, the political show, is that Moscow would be buffeted with stringent and biting sanctions and according to the U.S president, Mr. Joe Biden, the Russian president, Mr. Vladimir Putin himself, would sweat under the heat of damaging sanctions personally targeted at him. Except, the U S leadership and its NATO allies are naïve or living in outright denial of reality, the highly dynamic and resourceful cooperation between Moscow and Beijing would ensure that western sanctions against Moscow would have little impact.
Moscow has however maintained a fairly decent line of argument, that it has no intention to attack or invade its neighbor but it has security concerns which the Western benevolent of the current Ukraine’s leadership must take into account and it simply means that Kiev cannot join the Western alliance, NATO and thus, providing the alliance a veritable frontline to intimidate, harass or even take down Russia, a key pole and major stakepholder in the multi-polar world order. The United States itself through the Monroe doctrine of the 1880s was the architect of safe neighborhood and when it discovered the Soviet missiles in Cuba is 1962, almost precipitated a war until the Soviets and Cuban agreed to remove them.
At the triumph of the Cuban revolution and its declaration of the Socialist course, the U.S unleashed the deadly Bay of pigs invasion and for several years, attempted several assassination plots of the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. Funding wars, coup d’états were historically Washington’s preferred means of keeping the Americas and even other far flung regions, including Africa away from having governments not explicitly in the good books of Washington. From the murder of Allende Salvador in Chile, and toppling of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, murder of Maurice Bishop in tiny Grenada to throwing drug-fueled insurgency against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Washington has demonstrated zero tolerance to any unfriendly regime, not to talk of a hostile one, in its neighborhood.
Moscow’s security concern has long antecedents in its history and is not new and therefore did not originate with president Putin. And fact is, these concerns are reasonably shared among almost Russians themselves. Even the pro-Western Boris Yelstin government, did not take lightly to the expansion of NATO membership in the 1990s to former soviet States and Central Europe. Even many Russian western sympathizers and admirers viewed any prospect of Ukraine or Georgian membership of NATO with alarm and clear disapproval.
Even the danger of Western/Russian collusion in the event of NATO vehemence to admit Ukraine was loudly echoed by America’s best Known Russian hand, the late professor George Kenan, who is the architect of U.S containment strategy of the former Soviet Union. Even the inscrutable Henry Kissinger doubled down that ignoring Moscow’s sensibility with attempt to seat Kiev on the Western military alliance will spell dangerous face off with Moscow and should be avoided.
The question, is why with president Joe Biden, and establishment figure, with acute understanding of the dire consequences of poking the Russian bear in the eyes, is leading the pack in the grand conflict-shopping of “imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine:, when he knows the real under-current of Russian-Western face-off.
Moscow has already warned that slandering her, in a sleaze of massive disinformation and even the political shadow boxing will not pull its trigger but ignoring her security concerns and taking any step to practically undermine it, will and that is why the world cannot sit akimbo, while Washington and its allies play the dangerous poker games.
Thankfully, the Ukraine president Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the U S and its allies should not put the world on edge on the purported “imminent Russian invasion accusing them of inciting Panic” I can’t be like other politicians who are grateful to the United States just for being the United States”. And he further added “these signals have come even from respected world leaders, who speak openly and with undiplomatic language. They simply say, tomorrow there will be war! This is panic”.
President Biden has actually claimed that Russians could invade in early February but president Zelensky who thanked the U.S “for its constant support of our sovereignty and territorial integrity” however, emphatically said “I am the Ukrainian president. I am located here. I know deeper details than any president”.
But, here even as the Washington and NATO’s Ukraine gamble takes a deep freeze, with the Ukraine president ostensibly talking down on the myth of Russian invasion, would the West stand down and engage the substantive issue of Russian security concerns. Or is the Ukraine’s president, a comedian by profession issuing the diversionary theatrics before triggering the spark that would provoke Moscow to a mortal combat? Or he just realizing that in the dangerous poker game of allowing Washington and Moscow to lock horns, it will be mostly Kiev that would be bruised and his presidency would be among the first collateral damage?
Whatever the ultimate game plan, war in Europe would be that last that the world hardly emerging from the trauma of the covid-19 pandemic want to see.
President Biden last year at the G7 member in the U.K indicated the Build back a better world development strategy, ostensibly a global project to rival the China Initiated Belt and Road global framework of International cooperation but packing up war machines and scaling up abrasive rhetoric is not the best way to contribute American Wisdom to contemporary global challenges.
Russia has demonstrated comportment and restraint even in the face of extreme political provocation, clearly appreciating the sensibilities of the rest of the world at a time of intense reflection and introspection on how to tame the rampaging monster of the covid-19 pandemic which is still on the global prowl.
Mr. Onunaiju, is a research director of Abuja-based Think Tank.