BIRMINGHAM, UK, Aug 04 (IPS) – Russia’s particular army or colonization operation in Ukraine continues to shock. These surprises come from a determined absence of strategic pondering by Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.
“Russia is now intentionally focusing on Ukraine’s grain storage and export infrastructure… There’s a type of insanity right here as Putin has determined to weaponise meals and maybe his plan is to create a worldwide meals disaster.”
Basically, a paradox sits behind Putin’s battle with Ukraine. This paradox displays the strain between Putin’s want to show that Russia remains to be a serious energy on the world stage and actions that proceed to undermine Russia’s financial system and worldwide standing.
Central to this pressure are variations between Russia and Ukraine concerning the worth of human life. A recent battlefield incident highlights this distinction.
Serhiy had been wounded and separated from his Ukrainian unit. He was noticed by a Ukrainian drone operator who reacted quickly to avoid wasting him. The drone operator from the fifteenth Nationwide Guard said that they didn’t wish to go away Serhiy as “each life is necessary to us”.
Putin and the Kremlin place no worth on life. While Serhiy was been rescued a Russian priest from the orthodox church proclaimed on Russian state tv that Russian forces “got here to battle to not kill however to die” as a type of sacrifice.
The sort of assertion displays the worth positioned by the Russian institution on the lifetime of Russian residents. This then displays Putin’s paradox as his battle with Ukraine has made issues a lot worse for practically all Russian residents.
Putin’s choice to go away the UN-brokered grain export association is one other indicator of the worth that the Kremlin locations on human life. That is one other paradoxical choice.
On the one hand, Russia is now intentionally focusing on Ukraine’s grain storage and export infrastructure. That is civilian infrastructure, and furthermore it’s infrastructure that performs a important position in world meals markets and in feeding a number of the most susceptible individuals dwelling on this planet.
There’s a type of insanity right here as Putin has determined to weaponise meals and maybe his plan is to create a worldwide meals disaster. On Wednesday 2 August, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “Moscow is waging a battle for a worldwide disaster. Of their insanity, they want world meals markets to break down, they want a value disaster, they want disruptions in provides”.
Alternatively, it is very important discover which international locations benefited probably the most from the Black Sea grain deal. The reply is maybe stunning – China. Ukraine exported 7.9 million tonnes of grain or simply beneath 1 / 4 of the grain concerned within the Black Sea initiative to China.
Putin’s choice to stop grain from being exported from Ukraine to China raises some attention-grabbing questions concerning the particular relationship that’s speculated to exist between these international locations.
Putin’s battle with Ukraine has led to Russia’s on-going isolation from worldwide affairs. Putin is making an attempt to deal with this isolation by making an attempt to make mates. This course of contains his intention that Russia “shall be prepared to offer Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic and Eritrea with 25-50,000 tonnes of free grain every within the subsequent three to 4 months”.
There’s a drawback right here in that Putin’s supply of between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of grain doesn’t compensate for the 750,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain that was bought by the World Meals Programme (WFP) and shipped instantly to international locations like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan.
The WFP is the biggest humanitarian group on the earth and importantly this isn’t managed by a single nation however was established by the United Nations.
There are somewhat too many Putin paradoxes. This contains his proclamation concerning the tip of “neo-colonialism” and the emergence of a multi-polar international order.
There’s the apparent pressure right here in that Putin states that he’s in opposition to the appliance of energy and affect to subjugate different international locations, however then affords ‘free meals’ to some international locations and but free meals at all times comes with strings connected.
Evidently, Putin favours colonialism but additionally practices neo-colonialism.
Putin’s rhetoric concerning his imaginative and prescient of a brand new multipolar world have to be handled with warning. Putin’s imaginary new world has a lot in widespread with George Orwell’s novel ‘Animal Farm’ in that each one nations can be equal, however Russia can be extra equal than others.
A really multi-polar world can be one wherein initiatives led by organisations just like the UN take precedence over any initiatives led by anyone nation. It’s time to shift away from one nation making an attempt to dominate international affairs to a world wherein efficient supranational organisations strive to make sure that all dwelling on planet earth are handled equably.
After all, it is a utopian imaginative and prescient. The realty shall be a continued battle between competing politicians/nations, and this can lead to detrimental outcomes for all.
John R. Bryson is Professor of Enterprise and Financial Geography – College of Birmingham
The College of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s high 100 establishments, and its work brings individuals from the world over to Birmingham, together with researchers and academics and greater than 8,000 worldwide college students from over 150 international locations.
IPS UN Bureau
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