Ukraine Conflict Reflects a ‘Weak’ Europe and North America
The ongoing Ukraine conflict, which is now in its 19th month, is very connected with Europe’s future and power dynamics. As entire towns and cities were wiped out at the cost of displacement of millions of Ukrainians and loss of lives, the conflict’s severity was initially underestimated.
Russia had not expected the current level of NATO’s military-technical support of Ukraine and severance of ties with the West. Fyodor Lukyanov, the chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club, believes Moscow misjudged the military-political and public mood in Ukraine and the willingness of the US and its allies in supporting Kiev.
He said the West also made the mistake of assuming that the Russian economic system would collapse due to blockade. “Both parties’ perception of their own ability to force their adversaries to change course and make concessions did not match reality. The mistakes made in the early stages were the result of stereotypes formed earlier.”
Lukyanov believes the opponents exaggerated each other’s vulnerability and mistook their rivals. Now the Ukraine conflict has turned into a protracted process in which each side tries to mobilize its advantages and accumulate decisive superiority in order to escape the stalemate. The expert says there is a growing opinion among the world’s majority that the influence of those who have long dictated the rules in the international arena is waning. “It turns out that both the West and Russia are much more reliant on each other than they would like to be. The degree of dependence is of course different and relative, but the ability to impose anything on third countries is weakening.”
Russia has emerged as a power that openly and unreservedly challenges the West. And the West is not able to do anything about it. With the Ukraine conflict showing no signs of summing up any time soon, the non-Western world is acting more independently than ever. This is giving shape to a new international framework.