Charles Elias Chartouni: Ukrainian Cold War Redux/شارل الياس شرتوني: عودة الحرب الباردة الأوكرانية


شارل الياس شرتوني: عودة الحرب الباردة الأوكرانية
Ukrainian Cold War Redux
Charles Elias Chartouni/January 26/2022

The Ukrainian crisis that started in 2014 (Crimea and the Donbas) has never stopped and seems to usher a new critical stage which questions the post Cold War geopolitics, staggering borders, and alternative political cultures. Far from being restricted to the Belorussian, Georgian, Crimean, Donestian former Soviet oblasts…, the rising Russian imperialism seems to put at stake the new geopolitical order, threaten European and Western security, question their political culture and strategic consensuses, and elicit legitimate concerns all across the NATO political spectrum. The Russian massive movement of troops towards Ukraine, its overt insinuations and strategic subtexts have been carefully orchestrated on different frontiers: Belorussian-Polish, Baltic States entries matched with revisionist rhetorics jeopardizing the post Cold War equilibriums, through insidious triangulations, blatant destabilization strategies and instrumentalization of energy politics highlighted in the cases of Syria, Iran, Armenia,Lybia, and the European Union…,.

The Ukrainian crisis reflects the historical dilemmas of Russian geopolitical anchoring, civilizational quandaries and democratic travails. Putin is not only apprehensive of the extension of NATO’s strategic canopy which he deliberately recanted as a direct rebuttal to Gorbatchev’s philosophy of the “common European Home” (Strasbourg, Rome, Brussels 1989). This “Soviet” revisionism however reminiscent of older debates in Russia which pitted its European and Asian strategic and civilizational coordinates against each other, is quite hazardous since it runs against the grain of liberalization and westernization of Russian political and cultural values, the Russians aspiration to normalize and integrate the European and international community rules. The resuscitation of the imperial hubris and playbook, the cultivation of fear and distrust towards the West, and the tightening of autocratic controls highlighted by the presidential lifetime mandate (constitutional amendment,January 2020), and the mafia-drift exercise of power, the control of the domineering “Soviet” military nomenklatura, and the instrumentalization of sham democratic institutions, are the variables which account for the energized imperial drive. NATO, OSCE and the US have no choice but to counter the military movements throughout the European limes with Russia, raise the conventional and nuclear thresholds, solidify the demarcation lines, upgrade incrementally the financial and economic sanctions, and endorse the domestic political opposition.

The current Russian power politics revolve mainly around destabilization, perpetuation of frozen conflicts scenarios, catalyzing and creating synergies between rogue States and political wastelands (Iran, Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua…),arbitration of regional disputes and conflicts and active sabotaging (Israel, Syria, Turkey, Lybia….), promoting social, economic and civil unrest, hamstringing national security, disrupting self confidence and sowing discord in Western societies, and interfacing with Chinese imperial projections. The imperial juggling of a nasty autocrat is too dangerous to be left to its own devices and to the unrestricted usage of his discretionary power, especially that his imperial ambitions do not match his midget and underperforming economy, highly controversial foreign policy forays and oppressive domestic authoritarianism. The Ukrainian conflicts are highly symptomatic of the challenges of the New Cold War and its hazardous fallouts.