Hypocrites have a unique ability to create an illusion of being a friend, an ally or a partner without revealing their true selves – that is wolves in sheep’s clothing.
US President Joe Biden started calling Russian President Vladimir Putin an aggressor even before Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this month. Biden’s framing of the Ukraine crisis in the media, which owes its origin to the reckless expansion of NATO eastwards despite clear warnings of Russia against it, tantamount to ‘otherising’ Russia. The US, with support of its so-called allies in Europe, is imposing, what Putin refers to as, “illegal and irresponsible sanctions” on the Russian economy. Further, instead of advocating for dialogue and de-escalation, the US and its allies are fuelling fire to the conflict by providing defensive weapons to the Ukrainian army.
Instead of advocating for dialogue and de-escalation, the US and its allies are fuelling fire to the conflict by providing defensive weapons to the Ukrainian army.
Nida Kirmani, an associate professor at LUMS, points to ‘naked racism’ in the Western media, which is showing concerns about “blue-eyed, blond-haired, civilised” Ukrainians. This begs some questions. What about civilians that were killed by NATO’s bombing in Afghanistan, US bombing in Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan? What about the children being brutally murdered by Indian army in Kashmir? The Western media is giving ample amount of coverage to Ukrainian civilians who are resisting Russian aggression and calling them “the defenders of motherland and heroes”. But will it ever call Palestinians innocent? Will it ever give coverage to the newly-married couples in Palestine going to war against Israel? Will it call Israel’s aggression against Palestinians terrorism? Is the word ‘civilised’ a prefix to be used with countries the Western media deems civilised? It is quite ironic.
The sanctions imposed by the US and its allies on Russia are doing more harm than good. Didn’t Putin anticipate these sanctions? He might have done cost-benefit analysis before ordering his military to demilitarize Ukraine. What if Putin anticipates that costs of these sanctions are outnumbering the benefits? Will the West be able to bring Putin on the negotiating table?
Putin seems to be mindful of mercurial policies of the Western media and governments, and deems them a threat to Russian sphere of influence.
The answers to these questions depend on Putin’s anticipation of results of those negotiations. Putin has already ordered his nuclear deterrent forces to stand ready. Seems like Putin has already started thinking two to three moves ahead of the game. The US and its allies have always advocated for de-escalating tensions and solving the conflicts through dialogue, but despite clear indications of Putin’s readiness to go to any extent to protect Russian interests, they are arming Ukrainian military that might be taken as an act of provocation by Putin. The allies need to tread carefully and shun the double standards.
Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist, in his book The Art of War writes, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” As a former KGB officer, Putin knows both himself and his enemy. Two decades of being in power has shaped his thinking and approach towards the West. He seems to be mindful of mercurial policies of the Western media and governments, and deems them a threat to Russian sphere of influence.
The world hasn’t fully recovered from the Coronavirus pandemic. It is facing the threat of climate change and energy crises. It cannot afford to open up another front. The leaders must give peace a chance.
The author is a researcher at an Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan-China Institute. He can be reached at email@example.com