Bursting the Bubble

A long-term solution is to accept the Russian veto over the Ukrainian membership of NATO since extending membership to Ukraine would only lead to European destabilization.

By Syed Zain Abbas Rizvi | February 2022

As the Russian troop buildup on the eastern Ukrainian border is being seen as a pretext of invasion or a full-scale warning to the United States, the recent development feels like a déjà vu! There is no surprise that Russia, under the stronghold leadership of Vladimir V Putin, could actually follow through with this threat. The panic is justified, and the preparatory drill in Ukraine is understandably not enough to eliminate the possibility. Artful diplomacy has all but failed to appease the risk of an attack, and threats never seem to deter Russia in its foothold.

An implication by Putin seems the only direction to put an end to this impending fiasco: a guarantee that Ukraine would be denied membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Yet, the US administration has made its position clear: it would not allow Moscow to dictate Ukrainian ambitions and military alliances. This impasse, however, seems superficial at best. To gauge a clear perspective, one should analyze the approach of each party involved and then answer one question: does this conflict even has any inherent meaning to risk a full-fledged war?

The US officials fixate on denying Putin any leverage in the geopolitical games in Europe. Despite a slew of threats of an invasion, the priority is to protect NATO policy, which is to allow any European nation the right to apply for NATO membership. Antony J. Blinken, the US Secretary of State, stated: “One country does not have the right to dictate the policies of another or tell that country with whom it may associate; one country does not have the right to exert a sphere of influence.” At face value, this notion appears to be a noble principle, but does the US itself abide by this principle in practice? I hardly think so!
Sidelining the gruesome warfare waged in Afghanistan and Iraq (bordering genocidal tendencies), let us talk about the US neighborhood: starting with Cuba. The economic turmoil is barely an alien concept to millions of Cubans. The reason is a decades-long US embargo imposed on Cuba. While the US officials maintain their stance of ‘conserving democracy,’ they fool no one. Every democracy around the globe knows that the Cubans are getting punished for deviating from the US viewpoint. In 2020, the United Nations General Assembly denounced the embargo by a vote: 184 to 2. And human rights activists have long been tagging this economic brutality as ‘indiscrimination.’

Probing further into Latin America, we come across another victim of the US political bullying: Venezuela. “The US officials are prepared to starve Venezuelans until their leadership surrenders, or they oust them out,” words of one European Union official. Their crumbling economy and debilitating social crisis is a manifestation of the extent to which the US can push its weak neighbours to fend off enemies - even economic foes - from its own hemisphere. One wonders how Mr. Blinken so blatantly vows US commitment to conserving European freedom when his own regime has been strangulating autonomy in its own backyard.

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