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
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.
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.