The “Doomsday” clock has been advanced further due to the ongoing Ukraine war, which in reality, is a war between Russia and the US-led West and their collaborators elsewhere. Ukraine has now been promised advanced warplanes by some of the NATO countries. If it escalates further the Russian threat of using strategic nuclear weapons might not be ruled out altogether. After Putin´s announcement of stationing Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, the doomsday clock might be advanced further. This new development emerged against the backdrop of the Ukraine war. Vladimir Putin defended his move by saying that hitherto Russia had not deployed nukes in her allied countries though the US had been stationing nuclear weapons in the territory of its European allies for decades. Analysts have warned time and again that a limited nuke attack will result in an apocalyptical disaster. The world is praying that sanity will return to the warmongers.
Alarmingly, many political observers apprehend, the US-led coalition is using the Ukraine war as a stage rehearsal for their upcoming much bigger armed confrontation with China. If it happens, nobody knows how it ends. A sheer miscalculation from either side can trigger the third world war! And that will be the end of the present civilization.
The US has been nervously and erratically acting to contain China for a quite long time. They want to contain China´s economic growth and technological advancement. Because they see China as a potential competitor in various fields and a serious threat to its hegemonistic role in the world. They are afraid the US-led one-pole-based world order might come to an end. Donald Trump rang the alarm bell. Biden continues his predecessor’s role in toto. The question is if they will succeed. Henceforth, the result is not very encouraging for Washington.
The US could not cash in the dividend it hoped for by imposing trade restrictions against China. The astronomical increase in import duties did hurt its own consumers hard. Restrictions on technology transfer could not prevent the Chinese advancement in this field. To the utter surprise of the USA, a Chinese spacecraft could land on the far or dark side of the moon. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) recently tracked that “China is beating the United States in 37 of 44 technologies which are likely to propel innovation, growth, and military power in coming decades, including artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and quantum technology.” The think tank says they are particularly dominant in research for the defence, security, and space sectors.
China´s seemingly unstoppable rise near and far is making the US increasingly nervous. With the sole intention of offsetting this development, no wonder, the US has created several axes within a very short period. QUAD, AKUS, and IPS – all are actually US-led anti-Chinese alignments. The US is afraid of China´s Road and Belt Initiative which is more like a worldwide commercial and economic project. In contrast, the US-led alignments are offensive blocks created mainly to contain and encircle China. Washington tried to limit the expansion of the Road and Belt Initiative. But most countries around the globe have already joined the Chinese Initiative.
The US made a hue and cry when China introduced the 5-G technology on the mobile telephone and Washington started a panic campaign all over the world against it. Their main argument is that the Chinese mobile sets can be used as spying instruments by the Chinese government. Because Beijing has access to all Chinese products and companies. It can collect secret and sensitive data from the users of the mobiles, be they private or public. Washington claims Apple and other US mobile companies are not bound to leave any information about their clients to the government. No doubt, American companies are more independent than Chinese companies. But we have seen how the US intelligence agencies have tracked the mobiles of the accused “terrorists” and have carried out operations against them. The US has a very accurate tracking system to infiltrate designated mobile telephones. The US and Israel have the most sophisticated spying devices to monitor mobile phone activities. Observers believe the US and its associates are more concerned with Chinese mobile companies’ worldwide revenue earnings. Chinese Huawei has become a serious challenger to American and South Korean mobile giants like Apple, Motorola, and Samsung. It is a trillion-dollar business. The US wants to curb Chinese share in this business too. In the name of checking Chinese espionage, they want to curb China´s income from this sector. They want to cripple Huawei by restricting the supply of vital components required for its more modern versions. During former President Donald Trump, Huawei was put on a US blacklist called the Entity List. Washington took initiative to cut Huawei´s access to advanced chips. The US and its allies have already started a Chip -war against China. Now, they have become very vocal even against Tik Tok´s potential “espionage” threat and have started the process of banning its use in the US. Independent observers believe it has also been targeted mainly to curb the earnings of this worldwide popular Chinese app.
Last month the world witnessed the balloon espionage drama. The US shot down two Chinese balloons which illegally entered its sky. Washington termed it a violation and interference with its sovereignty. However, they could not produce any substantial proof of intelligence gathering data from the wreckages of the destroyed balloons. But they became successful in creating adverse propaganda against PR China. Reconnaissance flights are more common and effective tools for such types of information gatherings. And in this field, the US is far ahead of China and Russia. One may remember the incident of a US U2 spy plane that was shot down in 1960 on Soviet territory by the then-Soviet Union. Pakistan had to face a precarious situation in this incident because the plane was flown from a base in Peshawar, Pakistan. Since then, reconnaissance flights have become more advanced. Nowadays, the safest and most sophisticated aerial espionages are carried out through satellites. The US, China, and Russia have their own spy satellites in space.
The US-led coalition´s main accusation against Moscow is that Russia has launched an all-out war against Ukraine without any provocation. Is it so? The people of the disputed Donbas region are overwhelmingly ethnic Russian. Russian is their language. Kyiv government abruptly introduced widespread restrictions on the use of the Russian language over there. The region was enjoying autonomous status which was also guaranteed by the Minsk Treaty. But Kyiv unilaterally withdrew from the treaty. Most of all, the West knew very well that Ukraine’s NATO membership was a redline for Russia. The US promised Gorbachev that NATO would not be extended to Russia´s doorstep. When they took the initiative to incorporate Ukraine into it, the US and its allies crossed that redline. Russia considered it an existential threat to her. Before invading Ukraine Moscow informed and explained it to them. The West did not heed. How else could Ukraine and the US-led West provoke Russia? Washington should have remembered the Cuban Crisis of 1962. Many observers believe that the West calculatedly provoked Russia into this war. They thought Russia would not be a match for the combined allied forces led by the United States of America. Everybody understands they are engaged in a proxy war in Ukraine. Russia can rightly ask the question if it can happen to her when Ukraine is not a member of NATO, what will happen if/when it becomes a formal member of this aggressive organization.
West´s main target is China. They do not want significant cooperation between Beijing and Moscow. If China helps or sides with Russia in the Ukraine war the whole equation will be different. First, they want to defeat Russia, and then it will be easier for the US-led alliance to face China. With this latent intention, the US is engaged in isolating and encircling China. QUAD, APS, AKUS, etc. are being created, designed, and expanded with this ulterior motive. Taiwan has become a pawn in this regard. Interestingly, their main naval concentration is in the South China sea. But they prefer to mention the Asia-Pacific region to conceal their real target i.e., PR China. What Asia-Pacific region has to do with NATO which is an offensive military organization of some Atlantic-connected countries? The US is now trying to set up a tie between NATO and New Zealand besides Japan and South Korea. Are they looking for a Worldwide Pro-American Treaty Organization? Washington has become so much afraid of Beijing that the USA has established dozens of bases around China. And they are not done yet!
The US-led coalition has an apparently plausible argument. They claim to be the torchbearers of democracy while the Sino-Russian axis manifests and retains its power through autocracy. Unfortunately, the world has seen that many democratic and popular governments have been toppled by the so-called leader of the free world – the United States of America. They have been replaced by army dictators supported by Washington. The US has provoked and caused scores of unjust wars in different corners of the globe. Millions of people have lost their lives. No wonder, conscious people do not have faith in their sermons or moral preaching.
However, the rise of China as a parallel superpower will not necessarily usher in a new dawn for the peace-loving people of this planet. There is no guarantee that they will not exploit the weaker countries. There are accusations that they have made huge investments in extravagant projects in different countries knowing fully well that these mega projects are not economically viable or beneficial for the borrowing countries. They invested to sell their products and know-how required for those projects and to earn interest from their lent money. In the past, they remained neutral to the internal political affairs of other countries. Now a shift in this stand is being observed increasingly. A multi-polar world order is expected to be better for mankind. It is possible only if the poles fairly compete with one another. No evil pole is desired.
Fair competition and cooperation in the fields of trade, commerce, technology, and scientific research are desirable and beneficial. But evil military designs and counter-adventurism will only lead to catastrophic consequences. NATO´s expansion, the Ukraine war, and the deployment of nuclear weapons in different countries have placed the world in very dangerous uncertainty.
Anisur Rahman is a senior Bangladeshi Journalist now residing in Sweden.