Right and wrong – surprisingly, the simplest and yet most widely misunderstood concept, even in the twenty-first century where the world thrives on data and instant information. What’s right and what’s wrong, is a matter of opinion. It is subjective as based on an individual’s perception. Something might be right according to one, and wrong according to the other, and thus, one event can be both right and wrong, at the very same moment. Besides, a person’s opinion is based on their knowledge of the topic and the information available to them. Consider this – a salary package of 25 lakhs for living, sounds like a dream to some people, at par for some others, and too low according to others. However, when considering the 25 lakh salary package against the current package of 15 lakhs, the new offer suddenly seems superior, right? Now, what if you are informed that the cost of living is going to be 20 lakhs in the new package and 8 lakhs in the old package? The opinion changes altogether. Do you realise our opinion changed thrice in the last few lines?
The world is full of information today, however, misinformation, lack of information, and partial disclosure of the information are thwarting informed opinions. All that we are left with is opinions, but that’s still workable, as long as people accept that different opinions can co-exist on the same table, irrespective of how they feel about those opinions. Every individual has the right to think and act according to their version of right or wrong, as long as it doesn’t affect other people’s lives. However, when people start imposing their opinions on others, it leads to conflicts. And when people start using their might to impose their opinion on others, matters turn much worse. Today, one powerful nation is using all its might to impose what it thinks is right – Russia, and the results, we already know!
“India should attack and destroy Pakistan”, “Why doesn’t the United States nuke Afghanistan?”, “Israel should wipe off the Gaza strip from the world map.” Unless you live under a rock, you would have surely heard of several such opinions on social media, informal debates and even on primetime shows of a few news channels. It’s easy for extremists to call a war from the comfort of home, as against the military personnel who risk their lives. Yes, the brave militants won’t even blink twice if ordered to go on war, and would happily die for the nation if it comes to it. However, their sacrifices would be more honoured if they come for the right cause and not just mass destruction of humanity for issues which can be resolved by discussions and co-operation. As Mahatma Gandhi advocated ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’, wars never have an end, there’s always another around the corner to retaliate or to gain dominance. Russia’s latest attack on Ukraine owes its origin to the Second World War when most of us were not even born including Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky!
Most people believe that the war is between Russia and Ukraine, and as long as their Government stays out of it, it doesn’t affect them. However, the reality is otherwise. Modern wars are fought not merely on the battlegrounds but also on the political, economical and informational front. Thus, the repercussions of the war are to be faced by everyone, as our world is deeply interconnected through money. Wars affect not just the citizens of the nations waging them, but also the citizens of those nations who are not part of it. Even abstinence from war is participation in the war. Let’s understand the economics of the Russia-Ukraine war in this article.
Why did Russia attack Ukraine?
The situation between Russia, the largest country in the world by land, and Ukraine, the largest country in Europe by land, had already intensified in January 2021 when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the United States President Joe Biden to let Ukraine join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). This didn’t go well with Russia and it began militarising near Ukraine border under the hood of ‘training exercises’. By December 2021, there was such heavy deployment of the military that it no longer seemed like a military exercise. The United States alarmed the world about Russia’s intentions, and also warned Russia that it will face sanctions and others repercussions if it attacked Ukraine, however, Russia didn’t budge.
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised Luhansk and Donetsk, the two separatist regions in Ukraine, as independent states and ordered Russian troops to act as ‘peacekeepers’ there, after signing cooperation agreements with the two breakaway regions. On February 22, the Russian Government received consent from its Parliament to deploy Military forces beyond Russia’s borders. Thereafter, on February 24, early morning, Vladimir Putin addressed his nation that he is announcing a ‘Special Military Operation’ against Ukraine and within a few hours of his speech, the Russian military launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine through army, navy and airforce.
The moves were well-orchestrated to stay on the right side of the United Nations’ Article 7 which although does not allow a nation to attack another, does permit a member nation to launch ‘Special Military Operations’ against breach of peace and acts of aggression. Allegedly, it was the Russian Government who sowed and nurtured the idea of separation of the Donbas region of Ukraine and after recognising the Republic of Luhansk and Republic of Donetsk as two independent nations, it signed a cooperation agreement with them. This allowed Russia to launch a war against Ukraine, under the hood of ‘Special Military Operations’ alleging that Ukraine was threatening the peace of these two new neighbouring countries.
Russia has demanded that the western countries should give Russia a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not hold any military activity in eastern Europe and Ukraine. According to the Russian Government, their security is threatened by the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in eastern Europe, as its military infrastructure was closing in with Russian borders. Meanwhile, the western countries are calling it a smokescreen by Russia to occupy the sovereign territory.