Inflection point for the West-led global order

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nord Stream 2

Mains level : Paper 2- Ukraine crisis and its implications for West-led global order

Context

The Ukraine crisis has come to a head with Russia biting the bullet and launching “a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russian invasion and response of the West

  • Hours before the invasion, the western countries had imposed a new round of sanctions against Moscow (targeting Russian individuals and banks linked to Mr. Putin’s regime).
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suspended certification of Nord Stream 2, a major gas pipeline between Russia and his nation.
  • The European Union has announced a “massive” package of sanctions.
  • Incoherence in response: the West has been incoherent in its response — not being able to present a united front, and worse, not even speaking the same language at times.
  •  For the West, this has been a moment when it has been found wanting — a lack of imagination, lack of will and lack of leadership, all rolled into producing a lackadaisical response to the one of most serious security crises in decades.
  • France has used this moment of crisis in trying to showcase its own leadership credentials.
  • Lack of trans-Atlantic engagement: It turns out that even Mr. Biden has not been able to build the trans-Atlantic engagement around common objectives to be pursued collectively.
  • Energy dependence: With the EU importing 39% of its total gas imports and 30% of oil from Russia, and with the Central and Eastern European countries being almost 100% dependent on Russian gas, the reasons for internal EU dissonance are not that difficult to fathom.

Implications for Indo-Pacific

  • Emboldening China: This ineffectual western response has emboldened not only Russia but also China as the focus of the West is in danger of moving away from the Indo-Pacific.
  •  The Russia-China ‘axis’ is only getting stronger as the two nations seem ready to take on the West that seems willing to concede without even putting up a fight.

Conclusion

Today, the balance of power is once again in flux, and as China develops a strategic partnership with Russia, the future of the West-led global order will be defined by how effectively it responds to the crisis in Ukraine.

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