Modi government: Right insurance to keep if ‘North’ degenerates into ‘mass war’

Very stark news has been very recently reported about new mounting war tensions in the Global North. They are so serious that eventually they may impact Indians and much of the Global South: “French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (February 26) that France could not rule out sending troops on the ground to Ukraine […]

PM Modi extends wishes on Chaitra Navratri
PM Modi extends wishes on Chaitra Navratri

Very stark news has been very recently reported about new mounting war tensions in the Global North. They are so serious that eventually they may impact Indians and much of the Global South: “French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (February 26) that France could not rule out sending troops on the ground to Ukraine prevent Russia from winning” (Wion news) Even before Macron’s threat, which he tried to cushion as “strategic ambiguity”, is the concerning headline in US News and World Report, “Biden: Help Ukraine Now or Send Americans to Fight Russia With NATO Later .” What does this all mean to Indians? There is even more need to keep the present government in place that has shown its resourcefulness to many challenges including on security and maintaining prosperity while much of the so-called advanced nations struggle and agitate more for war.

Think this. As Russia shows important gains on the battlefield and arms shipments to Kyiv get held up in the US Congress by infighting over domestic issues, this question takes on more importance: Will US-led NATO really enter Ukraine if that fragmented country already, gets anywhere near the precipice of defeat? And will that cause a chain reaction down the geopolitical line that may cause India’s prosperity and at worst, even its healthy survival to be more significantly challenged? So, indeed what about the future for much of the Global South? Does the North, whatever specific views parts of it have on the Ukraine war even give that much of a thought how the worst of their (worst) war mongering may impact so many poor already in the South and various conflicts there? As India’s brilliant, pro-peace foreign minister, S. Jaishankar stated and one might make as an extension to almost the entire West, “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that its problems are the world’s problems but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems,” (Wire). This is happening, especially from the richer prosperous countries many of which well-benefited from major colonial and neo-colonial exploitation of the South. All of which have never been compensated for to help to stabilize many developing countries. Now, some leaders of the North want to make statements and actions to add a world war to so much misery to those already in misery? Where do these people and their greedy, myopic lobbies come off from? What is wrong with them, including spiritually?

The worst cynics and pessimists might think that the US oligarchical hegemonic interests could not really care what happens to the poor and even more of their own young soldiers that much if a crippling war breaks out? Because a war might add to their profits and add opportunity in their warped minds to defeat Russia and access its wealth? Freedom yes, they say they are for within NATO. But only if it rhymes with their economic and power interests. Somehow, these special interests think Indians are dupes on all of this? They are not nor is New Delhi.

Then, what are the more specific implications Indians must consider? After Macron’s comments, they reinforce that NATO could go fully “mad” to stop Moscow from gaining much more territory. Interestingly, MAD was a nuclear doctrine of the old Cold War that stood for Mutual (nuclear) Assured Destruction. And if Russia is pushed back out of its territorial gains by NATO troops, will it consider using at least tactical nuclear weapons? The question is, can Putin politically afford NATO troops to enter Ukraine and beat Russia? The answer is likely no. Add the answer that if NATO significantly pushes Russia back, the Russian people may demand massive retaliation. Remember, Putin stated, as the Hindustan Times headlines shows, “Russia will Use Nuclear Weapons if… Putin’s Response after NATO Chief Slams Rhetoric”. Dimitry Medvedev, ex Russian president stated. “Nuclear weapons on the table if Ukraine counteroffensive succeeds:” according to Politico. From this, can you imagine what might be Putin’s, the former Russian president’s and many of the high ranked in the Kremlin’s views if NATO enters Ukraine and seriously beats back the Russian military?

However, if the result were to be of massive deaths of NATO soldiers, that at the very least there will be also negative consequences including economically for all Indians. That is even without a nuclear escalation. Firstly, Washington, especially under a Biden administration would seem more intent to confront Moscow than a Trump, new presidency. After all, that administration seems to have (had) blown up a major Russian pipeline. So, under a wider war situation might vessels, Russian owned or operated, or any vessels carrying Russian energy might be directly compromised. Let us not forget the billions of dollars of energy by shipping going to India that has a Russian origin. More pipelines demolished and more vessels carrying Russian energy compromised might really start to choke off main revenues to Moscow, but also undermine the global economy by impacting higher energy costs around the world and for Indians at all social levels.

Finally, under the worse scenario, nuclear weapons are exchanged, and escalation gets out of control leading to a nuclear winter or at a minimum with large clouds of radiation and debris referred to as black rain by those in Japan who experienced nuclear bombing by the Americans during World War II. The air currents and beyond might carry so much of this to the Indian subcontinent. With global climate change already a threat, who knows how the climate might respond to even a limited nuclear exchange, if such is possible. Indian farmers might feel even more aggravated, from such a fallout, not what is certainly needed.

People like Macron who once said NATO is brain dead and Russia should not be humiliated may be changing their tunes. Why? Because the ground reality if not the political realities are changing. Russia is winning militarily -at least, for now and has stood up well against numerous sanctions. The West by rhetoric has also painted itself unnecessarily into a corner saying western democracy will be defeated if Putin does very well militarily in Ukraine. This is the same rubbish that said if Vietnam won the war back then in the 1970s (as it did) Australia through the domino effect would be communist by now.

In all of these possible scenarios, the Narendra Modi government may be the best assurance to prepare to protect India against this war madness. And even possibly to get the belligerent parties to find peace and save India and the Global south, as well as overall humanity.

Peter Dash, an educator writes on geopolitics.