Almost three months into the war between Russia and Ukraine, one of the few changes to the Russian military strategy has been the scope of its encirclement of Ukraine. The Russian war effort began in late February with a tight encirclement of Ukraine’s major cities. But then, the Russian military strategy shifted towards a widening of the parameters of its encirclement of Ukraine, with a focus on Ukraine’s access to the sea, perhaps with the aim of giving negotiations a chance while having the upper hand from a military standpoint. Thus, contrary to conventional thinking, Russia very much has the freedom to maneuver and to toy around with its military strategy, as long as the political aim of its war is concrete and clear.
And quite frankly, the political objective of Russia’s war in Ukraine has been quite clear since the very beginning, namely, the moving of NATO’s military infrastructure away from Russia’s borders for security reasons. As a result, ending the war in Ukraine will require some sort of negotiated settlement between the West and Russia which takes into consideration NATO’s military infrastructure near Russia’s borders.
In turn, the war in Ukraine has had economic ripple effects around the globe. The current situation, in some ways, is reminiscent of the situation before World War II, whereby political and social strife in Europe coincided with a major economic downturn in the form of the “Great Depression” in the Western world. It is important to note that the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s had more of a political and social impetus rather than an economic impetus. Protectionism, sanctions, and tariffs are political and social in nature, and these moves are then the causes for economic downturns such as recessions and depressions. Thus, the causes for economic phenomena such as recessions or depressions are actually political and social in nature rather than economic. But what is different between the current situation and the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s is that the latter was merely Western in scope, whereas an economic depression in this day and age will be global in scope.
Arguably, much of the current problem facing the international community was avoidable. However, much of the problem is a direct consequence of a unilateral attempt at global hegemony which came out of Washington at the start of the 21st century. None of the problems we face today as an international community can be isolated from this unilateral attempt at global hegemony out of Washington at the start of the 21st century. Also, NATO is now beholden to Turkey to a certain extent when it comes to bolstering NATO at the present moment. Taking the bolstering of NATO in conjunction with the fate of the Bosporus Strait in 2023, the West may have fared better in the present moment had it dealt with Russia and Turkey differently in years past.
But not all is lost for the Western world. For one, a balanced approach towards the Middle East, in addition to cooperation with China may be able to offset some of the impact Russia is having on the Western world at the moment. Bringing Turkey closer to the European fold will also relieve some of the economic and political pressures that may emerge in the coming years. The key, however, is to act sooner rather than later.