THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Even before the war started, the USA has been actively involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It has always supported Ukraine, be it through providing the necessary arms and ammunition or openly criticizing Russia on international platforms.
Joe Biden and his administration had since long warned the world of a possible forthcoming invasion and has played a salient role in promulgating how this war will inevitably lead to the rumbling of the international order.
But even after showing such open support to Ukraine, the USA was clear since the start that it had no interest in fighting this war and was also not eager to send forces into Ukraine to rescue US Citizens. In fact, Biden even pulled out his troops from Ukraine that were serving as military advisers and monitors.
His reasons for not actively getting involved in the war are listed below:
- National Security Interests: Since Ukraine is neither USA’s neighbor nor does Ukraine host a US military base, the US should not feel obliged to defend the nation. Though the USA stayed back from military interference, they did show their support to Ukraine by preaching economic warfare against Russia by putting a lot of sanctions.
“Defending freedom will have costs for us as well, here at home,” Biden says. “We need to be honest about that.”
- Biden’s Personal Morals: Joe Biden, unlike his predecessors, does not advocate exerting dominance through showcasing USA’s military prowess. He even opposed Obama’s intervention in Libya and America’s troops in Afghanistan. His foreign policy and national security are more inclined towards fighting climate change and global diseases rather than fighting wars. It is more about economic battles with countries like China and Russia and not military interventionism. That may be the reason why Biden supported the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in 2020, despite the humanitarian crisis that was caused in the aftermath.
- The General Populous Is Against It: Not just the President, but the general population of the USA is also of the opinion that the USA does not have to participate in wars. According to a recent AP-NORC poll, it was found out that 72% of Americans believe that the USA should play a minor role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict or none at all. Most citizens desire that the Government rather focus on issues like inflation, employment, etc.
- When Superpowers Fight: The world could face serious repercussions if two superpowers were against each other and resorted to war. With Russia having a stockpile of nuclear warheads and the USA with its latest weaponry, the destruction could be far worse than imaginable. Biden did want to risk the possibility of another ‘world war’ by keeping his troops in Ukraine and increasing the possibility of a direct clash between the US and Russia.
- It’s All About the Treaties: As stated earlier, the US does not feel obligated to actively be a part of this war as it has no treaties with Ukraine that force them to do so. Biden has numerous times emphasized that Ukraine is not a part of NATO. Thus, the US is not bound by Article 5 (an attack against any NATO country is an attack against all) and has no burden to defend Ukraine.
Though Biden has made clear that he has no intention to get involved in the war, Biden has also assured Ukraine that the US will always support Ukraine and has been strengthening its US troops in NATO countries, especially the ones that border Ukraine and Russia. If Putin tries to attack these areas, the US is bound to get involved.
Biden and his officials, the ambassadors of the US or Secretary Blinken, have actively involved themselves in negotiations and diplomatic talks between Russia and Ukraine and have constantly been addressing the world through the press in order to garner some support for Ukraine.
On 8th March 2022, the USA has also declared a ban on the export-import of fuels, liquified natural gas, coal, etc., between the USA and Russia in an attempt to stifle the Russian economy.
“Russian oil will no longer be accepted at US ports—and the American people will deal another powerful blow against Putin’s war machine,” Biden wrote.
The USA is also trying to extend humanitarian aid and effort towards Ukraine and has till now provided more than $1 billion as security assistance to Ukraine. It is also aiding many humanitarian organizations to provide Ukraine with sufficient food, water, and medical supplies. Biden had also planned to call on Congress to pass a $12 billion assistance package to Ukraine.
This shows that even though the USA is not supporting being a part of this war, it is actively providing assistance to Ukraine and is opposed to the expansionist intentions of Russia.
India, on one hand, is an advocate of peace but, on the other hand, considers Russia to be its biggest ally, and this war has left India in a tough spot. Also, Russia’s invasion has led to an increase in differences between Russia and the West, and India, which has since long maintained good relations with both the US and Russia, is finding it hard to maintain the balance.
India does not openly oppose Russia and has just remained neutral in this situation. Even after Russia and Ukraine have issued public appeals for India to take a clear stand, it has so far avoided criticizing Russia for its actions.
India abstained on a UNSC resolution against the Russian invasion and has even abstained from a procedural vote to call for a rare special emergency session of the UN General Assembly. Though India has abstained from voting, where there was an overwhelming demand to end the invasion of Ukraine, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, on multiple occasions, tried to convince Putin to end the war and respect international law.
In its statement given to the UN, India does talk about the significance of “the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty & territorial integrity of states,” adding that “all member states need to honor these principles in finding a constructive way forward.”
The strong ties between Russia and India date back to the early years of the Cold war, when India had recently gained Independence and though preached Non-Alignment, had stayed close to the USSR.
India and Russia have had strong military and trade relations and have even signed an agreement to increase their cooperation in military technology and energy for the next decade. Russia has also supported India and has vetoed UN resolutions several times that condemned India over the Kashmir issue.
There are two major reasons why India has decided to stay neutral in this situation:
- No Good Options: For India, it was not just about choosing to be with or against the invasion; it was more complicated than that and would have turned out to be bad no matter what side it chose. Being a flagbearer of NAM, it is obvious that India will always stand against violence, but in this case, it cannot go against Russia and lose its oldest ally and risk the safety of the nation. Considering the problems India is going through with its neighbors, especially China, India cannot afford to lose a strong partner in the region.
As the former Indian diplomat, JN Misra puts it,
“India has bad and worse options to pick from… One can’t tilt both ways at the same time. India has not named any country, which shows it won’t go against Moscow. India had to be subtle in picking a side, and it has done that.”
- Defense Supplies Matter: “It simply can’t afford to do so at the moment because of its defense and geopolitical needs,” says Michael Kugelman, deputy director at the Wilson Center. There is a decades-old trade deal between the two nations. Since the 1970s, India has been importing several weapon systems from Ukraine, making Russia the largest importer. Russia has very successfully lessened India’s dependence on the West and has provided the nation with many sophisticated weapons systems like the Russian T-90 tank, Russian MiG nuclear submarines, fighter jets, etc.
“India has diversified its sources of defense equipment in recent years, with the USA, France, & Israel emerging as major new partners. However, sixty percent of our defense equipment is still of Russian origin, and Russia is a strategic partner mainly in the energy and defense sectors,” says Meera Shankar, a former Indian envoy to the US.
India has faced criticism for its recent decisions and opinions related to this international crisis, especially from Ukraine, but the toughest task that lies ahead of the nation is evacuating 20,000 citizens that are stuck in the war-torn nation. Some of them are even facing harassment and discrimination at the hands of the officials there. Thus, India’s priorities lie in evacuating Indians from Ukraine and restoring dialogue between the two sides.
Written by: Aashna