The new Cold War pits a Russia-China-Iran-North Korea axis against the West. The goal of this anti-Western axis is the defeat of the US-led unipolar world that has been in place since the end of World War II. Hamas’ recent brutal terrorist attack against Israel, and Iran’s subsequent threats of regional escalation, have brought home the strategic necessity of Western democracies standing together with the clear goal of the military defeat of the anti-Western axis. This wider threat makes it more important than ever to deliver a decisive defeat against Russia, one of the leading members of this new anti-Western axis.
This paper argues that the Western doves approach of drip-feeding military assistance to Ukraine, including by the US, has been wrong and has led to higher civilian and military casualties, more destruction, and the slow pace of Ukraine’s on-going counter-offensive. It further argues that the West should stand united in its support for Ukraine’s military victory and Russia’s military defeat. Such a defeat is practical and would deliver a humiliating defeat to the forces currently promoting global disorder. It would also allow the West to turn its focus to the larger strategic threat of China, as well as the renewed threat posed by Iran.
It is evident that Ukraine and Israel, two states under threat of extinction by Russia and Iran respectively, are now battlegrounds in the war launched by the anti-Western axis against the Western order. Russia’s military defeat is understood as Ukraine’s liberation, with Western assistance, of all its territories occupied by Russia since 2014. It is to be acknowledged that Crimea’s liberation and re-integration will be the most challenging aspect for Ukraine. This paper argues that, irrespective of nuclear threats in the Russian media and issued by some Russian politicians, the threat of nuclear escalation is low and has been de-escalated under pressure from China.
In backing Russia’s military defeat, the West should support:
1. restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity;
2. resisting ‘land for peace’ negotiations;
3. deterring future Russian invasions and wars by providing Ukraine with NATO membership;
4. transferring frozen Russian assets to Ukraine for the rebuilding of the country;
5. pursuing war crimes trials of Russian political leaders, experts and journalists who supported the invasion and war and promoted genocidal discourse; and
6. supporting the transformation of Russia into a post-imperial democracy that is no longer a threat to its neighbours and at war with the West.
Although the West cannot state this as one of its goals, Ukraine’s liberation of its territory through Russia’s military defeat will lead to regime change in Russia as it is inconceivable President Vladimir Putin could remain in power after leading his country to a disastrous defeat. A post-Putin Russia would not automatically lead to a more nationalistic regime; in fact, Russian military defeats in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries following the Crimean war, Russian-Japanese war, and World War I have historically led to reforms and liberalisation. Military defeat could also lead to the fracturing of the Russian Federation with a return to the failed, dysfunctional state of the 1990s with national minorities clamouring for greater autonomy and sovereignty and in some cases independence. A growing number of commentators have welcomed a potential disintegration of the Russian Federation for two reasons. The first because it would represent the end of Russian military expansionism and the second because a smaller Russian nation-state would facilitate democratisation.