[Editorial] Inflection point for the West-led global order

the West-led global order

Context

The Ukraine crisis has come to a head with Russia biting the bullet and launching “a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

What the editorial is about?

Russian invasion, the response of the West and its implications.

Most probable and repeated topics of upsc prelims

Russian Invasion

  • Russia has long resisted Ukraine’s move towards European institutions and it is now demanding it never joins NATO, a demand rejected by the Western alliance.
  • Russia seized part of southern Ukraine in 2014 and backed separatists who started a conflict in large areas of the east.
  • Russia was warning of military measures for long if the West does not meet its demands.
  • The non-acceptance of Russia’s demand by the west has now created a pretext to invade Ukraine.

Response of the West

  • The western countries had imposed a new round of sanctions against Moscow hours before the invasion.
  • German Chancellor suspended certification of Nord Stream 2, a major gas pipeline between Russia and his nation.
  • The European Union has announced a “massive” package of sanctions.
  • But clearly, it had no real impact on Moscow’s calculus.

Why the response of the West has no real impact?

Incoherence in response

  • The West has been incoherent in its response — not being able to present a united front, and worse, not even speaking the same language at times.
  • For the West, this has been a moment when it has been found wanting — a lack of imagination, lack of will and lack of leadership, all rolled into producing a lackadaisical response to one of most serious security crises in decades.
  • France has used this moment of crisis in trying to showcase its own leadership credentials.

Energy dependence

  • With the EU importing 39% of its total gas imports and 30% of oil from Russia, and with the Central and Eastern European countries being almost 100% dependent on Russian gas, the reasons for internal EU dissonance are not that difficult to fathom.

Lack of trans-Atlantic engagement

  • It turns out that even the US has not been able to build the trans-Atlantic engagement around common objectives to be pursued collectively.

How does the ineffectual western response impact the Indo – Pacific?

Emboldening China

  • This ineffectual western response has emboldened not only Russia but also China as the focus of the West is in danger of moving away from the Indo-Pacific.

The Russia-China ‘axis’

As the two nations seem ready to take on the West that seems willing to concede without even putting up a fight, The Russia-China ‘axis’ is only getting stronger.

Way Forward

  • Today, the balance of power is once again in flux, and as China develops a strategic partnership with Russia, the future of the West-led global order will be defined by how effectively it responds to the crisis in Ukraine.
  • The tragedy of great power politics is unfolding in Europe but its embers will scorch the world far and wide, much beyond Europe.

Conclusion

  • The future of the West-led global order will be defined by how it responds to the crisis in Ukraine, and in the shadow of growing Russia-China ties.
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