Thursday 24 March 2022

Putin A Dangerous Precedent

And just like that, one month has passed. It's commonly heard that life is unpredictable and you only live once. With the "special military operation" still ongoing in Ukraine, this line must have taken an even greater meaning to the people caught in the situation.

As things stand, the fallout has only just begun which I fear will only get worse. In this modern day, conflict between two countries is no longer just a matter for them but also those around them. It's in extreme times like this that you can see the thinking and intentions across many people. Tough times call for tough decisions, country leaders can tarnish or burnish their reputations by a single call. The Ukrainian President certainly enhanced his stature as he stayed behind to lead the resistance, made pleas to the other nations, encourage his people on social media and expose untruths. 

I contrast this to China's response so far. As a collective, its leaders have demonstrated their unwillingness to call for an outright block to the conflict, abstained from UN vote, making weak appeals to encourage dialogue and suppress internet chatter when things go off track (Peng Shuai's case in point). While I believe China genuinely wishes for peace, there's just that feeling within me saying any push for action is conditional on benefits that could be gained from this conflict.

India is another notably silent one. Its already fragile development means it cannot be too outspoken against a big trading brother in Russia. Ironically, India's military needs are sourced mainly from Russia. I await to see where the line will be broken as the conflict intensifies. A cornered Putin is a danger and there's certainly more crazy things he's willing to do.

Even after this is over, the resulting new world balance would have fundamentally shifted or I should say, polarized. Every country will have to manage its people as well as international opinion. Well, for the sake of survival or benefits, as aptly shown by some leaders so far, being shrewd and calculative at that time is after all, a subjective matter. The nature of big fish eat small fish is just beginning to play out. I hope the South China Sea issue does not become the next contentious one.

Tip: Joel Gott Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, deep red cherry with a good finish

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