Home Contact Us  
   

Peace & Conflict Database - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4387, 14 April 2014
 

Eagle Eye

US, Ukraine and the End of Unipolarity
Chintamani Mahapatra
Professor, School of International Studies, JNU
 

When Ukraine became a sovereign independent republic following the Soviet disintegration, a unipolar world order was born. Now with Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and the annexation to Russia, the death of the unipolar world seems certain.
US unilateralism during the era of a unipolar world order remained unchallenged.

There was no one to question then US President Bill Clinton’s decision to rain missiles on Afghanistan as a response to the bombing of two US embassies in Africa; no one could challenge then US President George Bush’s decision to unilaterally abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, withdraw from Kyoto Protocol, invade Iraq, and overthrow Saddam Hussein from power. 

Incumbent US President Barack Obama promised to promote a liberal world order; employ more diplomacy and less force; end occupation of Iraq; talk Iran out of a suspected nuclear weapon programme; bring North Korea back to the Non-Proliferation Treaty; positively engage the Islamic world; strive for establishment of a nuclear weapon free world; reach out to the largest democracy of the world; make China a responsible stakeholder; make Russia a partner for peace; and many more.   

However, project Obama, although partially successful, it has largely failed. President Obama can be given credit for Iran’s decision to accept the détente with the US, Syria’s willingness to destroy its chemical weapons, US Navy Seal’s spectacular assassination of Osama bin Laden, and his successful approach to stemming the country’s downward economic spiral.

Nevertheless, his foreign policy flops appear more stunning. The Arab world is clearly on fire with dangerous political upheavals and unrelenting violence. The White House will have to accept a fair share of the blame for the Libyan chaos, Egyptian instability, the interminable civil war in Syria, and the North Korean nuclear tenacity.

Additionally, the US is not in a position to inspire confidence among its Asian allies at the time of growing Chinese assertiveness. All goodwill between India and the US appears to have become a thing of the past following the fierce diplomatic discord sparked by the arrest and perceived mistreatment of an Indian consular officer by the New York Police Department. The Marshall Plan aid to Europe in the post World War II period remains in the history books, and the present day US is simply incapable of instituting a similar assistance programme to rescue Europe from its current economic calamity.

In other words, the unipolar world order was already facing the risk of extinction, when Russia’s response to the political turbulence in Ukraine threatened to alter that order. During the period of Soviet disintegration, pundits could not predict the final outcome of events in Moscow. Similarly, in the case of the Ukrainian political turmoil, no one could imagine the speed with which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be able to dismantle Ukrainian political geography and annex Crimea.  

The Obama administration’s response was slow and meek. Along with the EU, it imposed sanctions against some Russian individuals. Although Russia’s membership from the G8 and its voting rights in the Council of Europe was suspended, no sanctions could be imposed on critical sectors of the Russian economy, and nor could any military measure be contemplated. High rhetoric and docile measures highlight Washington’s response. 

All these are the result of the resilience of a resurgent Russia and the relative decline of the US. The US military presence in Europe is far less today compared to that during the height of the Cold War. There are no US aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean; US navy personnel numbers in Europe have reduced to 7000 from 40,000;  and army personnel numbers have been reduced to 66,000 from over several hundred thousand in the recent past. 

Reduction in the US military presence has coincided with the increased Russian leverage in Europe, especially in the energy sector. Germany purchases one-third of Moscow’s gas; Russia accounts for over half of Austria’s gas imports; and Finland imports all of its gas from Russia. Germany’s exports to Russia stand at $40 billion a year; France’s banks have over $50 billion claims from Russia; and UK reaps billions of dollars of profit from the indulgences of Russian Oligarch in London.

How can the US and the EU unite to resist expansion of Russian sway over Ukraine?

While the European allies have developed mistrust in the US since the Snowden episode, Asian allies lack credibility in the US in the wake of Chinese muscle flexing. Brazil is upset with the US’s eavesdropping activities and India is more than offended by the State Department’s handling of the Devyani Khobragade incident. 

President Obama managed his relations with US allies, strategic partners and emerging powers shoddily, and finds it difficult to deal with Russian advances in Ukraine. South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Crimea have fallen into Russian hands, and three provinces in Eastern Ukraine seem to be in the queue. As the dominoes fall, the unipolar global order also appears to be breaking down.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Chintamani Mahapatra,
"US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?," 10 February 2014
Chintamani Mahapatra,
"Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow," 13 January 2014

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India-US: Convergences and Divergences

100 Days in Office: The Trump Administration

Forecast 2017: India-US Strategic Partnership

Paradigm Shift or Business As Usual: Trump’s China Policy

American Turbulence: Global Ramifications

Trump's Nuclear Policy: Global Implications

Critical Challenges to the Indo-US Strategic Partnership

India and the US: Inching Towards an Informal Alliance

Need the World Worry over Trump's Foreign Policy?

US: “Losing Respect” Abroad

Implications of Modi’s US Visit

Forecast 2016: Difficult Days Ahead for Washington

India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet

Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?

Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama’s Response

Obama Administration: Re-engaging India

US in South Asia: Declining Influence

US Foreign Policy: Rehashing Old Stances

US’ Frantic Effort to Make the Rebalancing Strategy Work

US-China Cold Confrontation: New Paradigm of Asian Security

US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?

Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow

Pakistan’s Role in War against Terrorism: Costs and Benefits

Pakistan’s Response to America’s War against Terrorism

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.