Three months now since the Russian military invaded Ukraine with the death toll now estimated on both sides to exceed 40,000 soldiers and civilian Ukrainians, I still maintain my position of predicting a stalemate after the death and destruction of more lives and property in this insane war. Whereas Russia’s initial blitzkrieg to overrun the whole of Ukraine has significantly been staved off, thanks to Nato’s military and financial support to the Zelenskyy government coupled with stiff sanctions against the Russian economy, the European leaders are nevertheless beginning to acknowledge the effectiveness of all their efforts to immediately halt or defeat Putin’s war machines. Contrary to the expectation that the sanctions would hemorrhage the Russian economy into rapid collapse with the NATO military prop up defeating the invaders sooner, the evidence we are seeing illustrates a complete different scenario. As of yesterday, May, 29, 2022, the Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, made it clear to his fellow European partners that his country will block the latest sanctions against Russia because of its unsustainable ramifications to his country’s economy. Paradoxically, while there has been a ban on Russian oil arriving in Europe in tankers, NATO has yielded to the demand of Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic to import supplies from Soviet-era pipelines-the Druzhba pipelines-that run from Russian refineries through Ukraine. It is in essence the watering down of the ban on Russian oil in the wake of Hungarian opposition to the hurtful EU sanctions.
Talking about the hurtful sanctions against Russia and the defiant posture of Putin to reciprocate all ill-intentions against his government, the German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck today confessed to Christiane Amanpour of CNN that the duration of the war was indeed miscalculated and is alarmingly threatening the economies of the developed, developing and underdeveloped nations in a magnitude not foreseen by experts before. He literally admitted the imminent global disaster awaited in a protracted war.
In the developed countries such as those in Europe and America the war is generating a kind of inflation or increase in basic commodities with a decrease in the purchasing value of money that may soon translate into another inconceivable global recession. Whether the ordinary citizenry will be able to endure its consequential misery on the justification to protect the sovereignty and independence of the Ukrainian nation and people is seriously debatable. However, what will not make sense to the average Americans and Europeans is the continuous pumping of billions of dollars and Euros to weapon industries for the maintenance of an un-winnable war when the people cannot afford to pay rents, have jobs or purchase adequate food for their families.
That said, the German vice chancellor also projected a more eerie effect of the war on developing and underdeveloped nations where the shortage of wheat and other gains will in a year or lesser period cause a huge shortage of staple foods to the possibility of absolute scarcity. Mr. Habeck indeed predicts a shortage of food in countries like even The Gambia and Senegal that only the immediate cessation of the war could prevent it from happening.
Yes, Gambians, Senegalese, Ghanaians and many third world nationals are already witnessing the economic difficulties caused by the war and manifested in the expeditious rise in food and gas prices coupled with the devaluation of most currencies that is thrusting most nations into tougher time ahead.
Of course political opponents of ruling establishments will try to exploit the tribulation and weaponize it for their selfish objectives by blaming everything to their governments. But hopefully the sophisticated people will reject such prophesies of doom and gloom and understand that this is indeed a global quandary precipitated by a senseless war which is slowly but surly ruining the entire economic fabric of the world.
It is good that most African states continue to remain neutral in this European war; although it should have been the perfect moment for African leaders to at last come together and play the role of the adults in this war waged by child-like minds. Europeans and Americans have waged wars of their own choices and places throughout history while the rest of the world watched and waited helplessly for the barbarity to end on their own terms and conditions. That should no longer be the convention especially in a world that we all have a stake to preserve and enjoy in peace and harmony.
Africa should call them out on this one to spare mankind the atrocities of this war that is hurting more people as it rages on.
Banjul, The Gambia