It’s sometimes called the Boston Earthquake and sometimes the Cape Ann Earthquake. Its epicenter is thought to have been in the Atlantic Ocean about 25 miles east of Gloucester. Estimates say that it would have registered between 6.0 and 6.3 on the modern Richter scale. It was an occasion to remember as chronicled by John E. Ebel, director of the Weston observatory of Boston College:
“At about 4:30 in the morning on 18 November, 1755, a strong earthquake rocked the New England area. Observers reported damage to chimneys, brick buildings and stone walls in coastal communities from Portland, Maine to south of Boston … Chimneys were also damaged as far away as Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut. The earthquake was felt at Halifax, Nova Scotia to the northeast, Lake Champlain to the northwest, and Winyah, South Carolina to the southwest. The crew of a ship in deep water about 70 leagues east of Boston thought it had run aground and only realized it had felt an earthquake after it arrived at Boston later that same day.
“The 1755 earthquake rocked Boston, with the shaking lasting more than a minute. According to contemporary reports, as many as 1,500 chimneys were shattered or thrown down in part, the gable ends of about 15 brick buildings were broken out, and some church steeples ended up tilted due to the shaking. Falling chimney bricks created holes in the roofs of some houses. Some streets, particularly those on manmade ground along the water, were so covered with bricks and debris that passage by horse-drawn carriage was impossible. Many homes lost china and glassware that was thrown from shelves and shattered. A distiller’s cistern filled with liquor broke apart and lost its contents.”
We don’t have many details of the earthquake’s impact here, there being no newspaper in Worcester County at that time. We do know that one man, Christian Angel, working in a “silver” mine in Sterling, was buried alive when the ground shook. He is the only known fatality in these parts. We can assume that, if the quake shook down chimneys in Springfield and New Haven, it did even more damage hereabouts. We can imagine the cries of alarm and the feeling of panic as trees swayed violently, fields and meadows trembled underfoot and pottery fell off shelves and crashed below.
The Boston Earthquake was an aftershock from the gigantic Lisbon Earthquake that had leveled Lisbon, Portugal, a few days before. That cataclysm, estimated as an 8 or 9 on the modern Richter scale, was the most devastating natural catastrophe to hit western Europe since Roman times. The first shock struck on Nov. 1, at about 9 in the morning.
According to one account: ”Suddenly the city began to shudder violently, its tall medieval spires waving like a cornfield in the breeze … In the ancient cathedral, the Basilica de Santa Maria, the nave rocked and the massive chandeliers began swinging crazily. . . . Then came a second, even more powerful shock. And with it, the ornate façade of every great building in the square … broke away and cascaded forward.”
Until that moment, Lisbon had been one of the leading cities in western Europe, right up there with London and Paris. With 250,000 people, it was a center of culture, financial activity and exploration. Within minutes it was reduced to smoky, dusty rubble punctuated by human groans and screams. An estimated 60,000 to 100,000 lost their lives.
Since then, New England has been mildly shaken by quakes from time to time. One series of tremors on March 1, 1925, was felt throughout Worcester County, from Fitchburg to Worcester, and caused a lot of speculation.
What if another quake like that in 1755 hit New England today? What would happen? That question was studied 15 years ago by the Massachusetts Civil Defense Agency. Its report is sobering:
“The occurrence of a Richter magnitude 6.25 earthquake off Cape Ann, Massachusetts … would cause damage in the range of 2 to 10 billion dollars … in the Boston metropolitan area (within Route 128) due to ground shaking, with significant additional losses due to secondary effects such as soil liquefaction failures, fires and economic interruptions. Hundreds of deaths and thousands of major and minor injuries would be expected … Thousands of people could be displaced from their homes … Additional damage may also be experienced outside the 128 area, especially closer to the earthquake epicenter.”
So even if we don’t worry much about volcanoes, we know that hurricanes and tornadoes are always possible. As for earthquakes, they may not happen in this century or even in this millennium, but it is sobering to think that if the tectonic plates under Boston and Gloucester shift again, we could see a repeat of 1755.
The crowd of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters at the Islamabad rally on March 27 was already charged — their party leader seemed to be on his way out, and various other politicians and stakeholders had clearly banded together to ensure his ouster.
The crowd wanted to know what their leader had in store for them. Imran Khan had promised them a revelation, and he surely delivered.
The then prime minister pulled out a paper that would further electrify this crowd. He brandished before them a ‘letter’, evidence of an ‘American-sponsored conspiracy’ to oust his government. What came next was all too familiar to anyone who has lived in, or observed, Pakistan over the decades. Chants of ‘down with America’, and a doubling down of the foreign conspiracy mantra.Given deep-rooted anti-American sentiments in Pakistani society, the public response to the conspiracy narrative has not been surprising. The narrative of a ‘foreign conspiracy’ may have failed to prevent the unravelling of the former ruling coalition, but a populist, ultra-nationalist rhetoric has galvanised Khan’s supporters.
Weeks after former Prime Minister Imran Khan first claimed an American conspiracy to oust his government, he and his party continue to stick doggedly to the narrative — even in the absence of evidence. What do politicians hope to gain from inflaming anti-American sentiments? And why does this narrative continue to resonate in Pakistan?
Interestingly, as is now clear, the allegation has been built around a cable from the outgoing Pakistan ambassador to Washington, based on his conversations with senior-level US State Department officials. It is simply a diplomat’s analysis of the existing views in Washington regarding the Khan-led government.
Imran Khan’s move to weaponise this and whip up nationalist sentiments has dangerously polarised the country. It has not been uncommon in Pakistan’s power game to use the ‘anti-state’ label against political rivals. Almost every political leader in the country has, at one time or the other, been branded a traitor.
But Khan has taken this to a new level. He has declared himself the sole defender of national interests, while painting all his opponents as ‘American agents’.
It is not only the opposition. Journalists and members of the civil society have also been constantly targeted in this ongoing campaign orchestrated by the party’s top leadership. Even social interactions with foreign diplomats have been labelled as anti-state. (Khan’s own recent meeting with a US Congresswoman has been an exception, of course).
Khan is back on the proverbial container, marking the beginning of what he describes as a “freedom struggle” against a “foreign conspiracy of regime change.” He vows to bring down the so-called “imported government”.
The long history of external involvement in Pakistani politics — particularly the decades-long Pak-US relations rollercoaster ride, which has certainly had its ups and downs — has made it easier to whip up anti-American sentiments.
This is what makes the ‘imported government’ narrative such a powerful tool.
The National Security Committee has recently reiterated that there was no foreign conspiracy to topple the Khan-led government. But it hardly matters. PTI supporters and the party leadership have stuck to the narrative.
The distrust towards America strengthens this narrative. Indeed, this distrust has built up over decades. Here we journey back to see why.
The history of US-Pakistan relations is full of paradoxes. After gaining independence, Pakistan decided to join the US-led Western alliance against the Communist bloc. And in 1954, Pakistan and the US signed a Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement. In the same year, Pakistan also joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (Seato), a US-sponsored security alliance.
Because of its geostrategic location, Pakistan became an important cog in America’s regional security strategy to contain communism.
Although there was no assurance for Pakistan of the alliance coming to its help against any aggression from its arch-enemy India, the military aid it received from the US helped strengthen its defence. The US financial aid also provided economic stability to the country. In 1955, Pakistan also joined the Baghdad Pact, later known as the Central Treaty Organisation (Cento).
A new cooperation signed between the two states in 1959 was perhaps the most significant up until that time. Under the treaty, the US was required to assist Pakistan if the country was attacked by any regional power. Pakistan’s decision to join the US-led defence pacts was justified on the grounds that the country faced threats from India on its eastern borders and Afghanistan on the west. But it was mainly meant to improve the country’s defence capabilities against India.
The US supplied a wide range of military hardware, including Patton tanks, artillery, helicopters, bombers, high-level long-distance radars, frigates and submarines. Pakistan also received substantial US aid for infrastructure development. On the other hand, the defence pacts allowed the US to set up a secret intelligence base under the cover of a communication centre at Badaber, near Peshawar.
This centre also served as the base for high-level U-2 ‘spy in the sky’ surveillance aircraft for illegal flights over the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Pakistan, however, paid a heavy price for this alliance. It antagonised the Soviet Union. And it also fuelled anti-American sentiments at home.
Then the Sino-Indian War in 1962 drastically changed regional geopolitics. As the US sided with India, it heralded a new period in Pakistan’s relations with China. As Pak-China relations strengthened, there was a steep increase in US military and economic aid to India.
Finally, the 1965 war between India and Pakistan lent a serious blow to Islamabad’s relations with Washington. Instead of helping Pakistan, the US stopped all military assistance to the country. The US action was regarded as a stab in the back.
The 1971 war brought further Pakistani resentment and US restrictions on Pakistan. A popular feeling of the time was that while the nearby American Sixth Fleet could have intervened in the East Pakistan fighting against India, it did not. This compelled Pakistan to review its foreign and security policy, which was heavily tilted towards the US. There was a realisation among Pakistani policymakers that they could not rely on the US for their nation’s security.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who took over power in the truncated Pakistan after the 1971 war, pulled Pakistan out of the defence pacts. He diversified Pakistan’s foreign policy by improving ties with China and the USSR.
In February 1975, following the Washington visit of then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the US administration lifted its embargo on the supply of arms to Pakistan.
But the Pakistan-US relationship started to deteriorate once again in 1976, when the Ford administration exerted unprecedented pressure on Pakistan to abandon the negotiations concerning the purchase of a nuclear reprocessing plant from France. In 1979, President Carter cancelled American aid to Pakistan, having successfully pressed France to break this nuclear deal.
Pakistan’s nuclear programme, started by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1975, remained a major point of conflict between Islamabad and Washington. But two key regional developments in 1979 — the Islamic revolution in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — compelled the US to review its policy towards Pakistan. The two erstwhile allies got back together to stop the Soviet advance.
The international response to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was sharp and swift. US President Jimmy Carter, reassessing the strategic situation in the region in his State of the Union Address in January 1980, identified Pakistan as a “frontline State in the global struggle against communism.” Setting aside the sanctions imposed on Islamabad for its nuclear programme, the US offered massive military and economic aid to Pakistan.
The Soviet invasion ended the decade-long estrangement between the two erstwhile allies and brought them together to help the Afghan ‘Mujahideen’ fight the occupation forces. Pakistan once again became the linchpin in the West’s battle against communism. The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) collaborated in conducting the biggest covert war ever in global history.
The Afghan War placed enormous resources at the ISI’s disposal. Weapons provided by the CIA were channelled to Afghan fighters through the ISI.
By the mid-1980s, every dollar given by the CIA was matched by another from Saudi Arabia. The funds, running into several million dollars a year, were transferred by the CIA to the ISI’s special accounts in Pakistan. The backing of the CIA and the funnelling of the massive amounts of US military aid helped Pakistan expand its defence capabilities. The ISI-CIA covert operations eventually forced the Soviet forces to leave Afghanistan in 1989.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in 1990 also gave birth to a new world order. The US walked out of the region after the Soviet forces pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989. And Pakistan was no more as important for the US, which had emerged as the world’s sole superpower.
Relations between the two countries went into deep freeze after the US clamped multiple sanctions against Pakistan once again for developing nuclear weapons. More sanctions came after Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, in response to India’s tests. Pakistan was further punished after the 1999 military takeover of Gen Musharraf.
From being a close ally in the 1980s, Pakistan had become a pariah nation. The sanctions had hurt military to military relations the most, which had been the pivot of the relationship between the two countries.
This marked yet another period of separation between the two Cold War era partners, causing a deep sense of betrayal in Pakistan. During the 1990s, Pakistan suffered banishment from American favours.
From Pakistan’s perspective, the legacy of the country’s relations with the US during the Cold War has been generally negative. The left in Pakistan had always viewed the state’s tilt towards imperial America with hostility, since they saw US support as bolstering dictatorships such as that of Gen Ayub and Gen Zia. But now a similar hostility also began to be expressed within the establishment and by its allied conservatives. A sense of bitterness and distrust towards the US began to pervade Pakistani society. And clearly, this bitterness continues to persist.
AFTER SEPTEMBER 11
The 9/11 attacks again changed the world. Within hours of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, the Bush administration declared a war against Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and Afghanistan. Rarely had the world witnessed such unanimous international support. Nations stood behind President Bush in what he had described as the ‘War on Terror’. A UN Security Council resolution bound all nations to support the US action.
The events of 9/11 also, once again, ended Pakistan’s international isolation.
Gen Musharraf had realised, within hours of the September 11 attacks, that the US would accept nothing short of complete compliance from his government on the US war plans. Denying support did not seem like a viable option. Musharraf was apprehensive that the Pakistani military could be completely destroyed in a confrontation with the world’s greatest superpower. His other fear was that the country’s weak economy would not be able to withstand international sanctions. His greatest concern, however, was about US forces using Indian bases in case of Pakistan’s refusal to cooperate.
And just like that, Pakistan and the US were back together after a decade of estrangement.
Pakistan’s policy volte-face after 9/11 was more of an expediency. Ironies abounded in the new relationship. After having spent the past seven years helping the Taliban, Pakistan was required to help the US dislodge the hardline Islamist government that was seen by Pakistan’s military establishment as critical to the country’s security.
Pakistan’s vast cache of intelligence information on Afghanistan was seen as crucial by the US for taking military action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But the turnaround was not easy.
It was the most difficult moment for Gen Musharraf when, in an address to the nation on September 19, 2001, he tried to explain why he had decided to side with the US in the so-called ‘War on Terror’. He justified his decision to support the US saying it was necessary to save the country’s strategic assets, safeguard the cause of Kashmir and prevent Pakistan from being declared a terrorist state.
Gen Musharraf was, perhaps, more concerned about the reaction within the military than the general public. He had a tough time in convincing his generals of, once again, getting into a partnership with the US. At least four commanders, including the Vice Chief of Army Staff General Muzaffar Usmani, were opposed to abandoning the Taliban. Musharraf had to walk a very difficult tightrope.
A strong argument in support of the change of policy direction was that the US could obliterate Pakistan if it did not cooperate. India had already offered logistic support and use of all their military facilities to the US. And India had even cleared its air base at Farkhor, near Dushanbe in Tajikistan close to the Afghan border, for American forces to operate from. The fear of an American-Indian alliance, that could lead to Pakistan being declared a terrorist state, finally swung the decision.
Nevertheless, antipathy towards the US ran deep in Pakistan. It was the beginning of an extremely uneasy relationship. There was deep distrust of the US.
This distrust was at the very foundation of this relationship. This new phase of the US-Pakistan partnership was seen as a good opportunity to join the international community, but there was also a vote of caution.
It was another war in Afghanistan that became the pivot around which the new US-Pakistan partnership was built. The circumstances of the two unisons were, however, very different. While there was a strong convergence of interest that had bound the two nations in a strategic relationship in the 1980s, the alliance that emerged after 9/11 was more out of expediency and compulsion. Although it was projected as a strategic partnership, in reality it was a transactional relationship from the outset.
While Pakistan’s support was critical to the US’s war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the new partnership brought an end to Pakistan’s international isolation. The removal of multiple sanctions revived the flow of US financial and military aid to Pakistan. It almost felt like the country had returned to 1979, when the Soviet invasion had ended the estrangement between the two erstwhile allies.
AN INCONVENIENT PARTNERSHIP
The post 9/11 US-Pakistan partnership remained full of ironies. While the cooperation between Washington and Islamabad against Al Qaeda remained extremely effective, that understanding was missing when it came to taking action against the Taliban leadership residing in Pakistan’s border regions.
Meanwhile, the sanctuaries in Pakistan and support from their allies among Pakistani Islamist groups helped the Taliban reorganise. Within a few years, the Taliban had turned into a formidable resistance force challenging the occupation forces.
Increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan was one of the reasons for the Pakistani security agencies not acting against the Taliban safe havens on its soil. The Pakistani military establishment viewed the expanding Indian presence in its ‘backyard’ as a serious threat to the country’s own security. The expanding Indian presence in Afghanistan had compounded Islamabad’s fears of being encircled.
Some of Pakistan’s security concerns were legitimate, but the fears of encirclement verged on paranoia. It also resulted in Pakistan’s continuing patronage of some Afghan Taliban factions, such as the Haqqani Network, which it considered a vital tool for countering Indian influence, even at the risk of Islamabad’s relationship with Washington.
Worsening US-Pak relations had also seriously affected America’s war efforts in Afghanistan. A series of incidents in 2011 had brought an already uneasy alliance to a breaking point.
The Raymond Davis episode in January 2011 exposed the CIA’s secret network operating in Pakistan. The scandal revealed the widening trust gap between the two allies. The crisis was deescalated by both sides taking a step back, but the damage had already been done.
The unilateral raid by the US Special Forces on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, further strained the relations between Washington and Islamabad. The US action on Pakistani soil was seen as a national humiliation. But the fact that the world’s most wanted terrorist was living in a garrison town close to the Pakistan Military Academy had put Pakistan in a very embarrassing position.
Pakistan faced many questions. Was this just an intelligence failure? Or was there anything more to the presence of the Al Qaeda leader in a high security zone?
But the most serious blow to the alliance came on November 29, 2011, when US Air Force jets bombed a Pakistani border post at Salala in the Bajaur tribal region, killing several soldiers. It was an inflection point in the rocky relationship. The Obama administration’s reluctance to even offer an apology to the killing of soldiers of an allied country made things worse.
For seven months, Pakistan closed down the vital ground supply line to Nato forces in Afghanistan. The stalemate was finally broken after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the magic word: sorry.
But by now the cracks in the alliance had become irreparable. The Salala incident led to a resetting of the relationship. Now there was not even a pretence of a strategic alignment.
There was nothing much left in the partnership, wrecked by allegations of double games and deceit. Almost all US military aid to Pakistan had been stopped and only a trickle of civilian assistance continued.
Yet, a complete rupture was not a choice for either side. Pakistan was still critical for the US to extricate itself from its longest war. While the illusion of any strategic convergence has been absent for long, the mutual interest in ending the war in Afghanistan kept relations alive.
END OF THE WAR
With the end of America’s war in Afghanistan, the post post-9/11 US-Pakistan relations have come full circle.
There is no indication yet of any major shift in Washington’s policy towards Pakistan. The cold response from the Biden administration and some unnecessary rhetoric from Pakistani leaders has made it difficult to move forward.
Indeed, Khan’s attempts to get Biden on the phone last year yielded no results. And surely, the former prime minister’s insistence on igniting anti-US sentiments has not gone unnoticed internationally.
Nonetheless, for the past several years, Washington has seen Pakistan purely from the Afghan prism. There is no indication that the Biden administration will be deviating from that policy approach.
Meanwhile, changing regional geopolitics have created a new alignment of forces. The growing strategic alliance between the US and India on one side, and the China-Pakistan axis on the other, reflect these emerging geopolitics. Pakistan’s growing strategic relations with China and the escalating tension between Washington and Beijing too cast a shadow over future US-Pak relations.
The changing regional geopolitics and consequent realignment of forces have brought China and Pakistan closer. The cooling of Pakistan’s relations with the US, and the rising tensions with arch-rival India, have given further impetus to Pakistan to lean towards China.
BREAKING A PATTERN
Historically, the engagements between Washington and Islamabad have been narrowly framed, dictated either by short-term security interests or the imperative to deal with a common challenge. Resetting the relationship would need this pattern to be broken.
Pakistan says it seeks to have a broad-based relationship with the US. Now that the US military mission is over, there is a need to build a relationship beyond counterterrorism and Afghanistan.
For Pakistan, the US remains an important trading partner. The US is Pakistan’s largest export market and a major source of foreign remittances. Pakistan certainly needs US support to achieve economic stability. The country also has a growing technology sector that could be developed with US support.
But resetting the relationship will not be easy.
Public opinion in Pakistan about the US is not favourable. This is backed by a decades-long history — a history not only of the volatile relations between the two countries, but how these sour relations have been leveraged within Pakistan for political mileage.
Khan may be the latest politician to decry a foreign conspiracy, but he is far from the first. And in all likelihood, he will not be the last to invoke this tried-and-tested narrative.
While the international spotlight was shining squarely on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, an accidental but significant missile launch in South Asia provided another potent reminder of how we could stumble into nuclear warfare by mistake.
According to Indian defense sources, a series of software and mechanical locks would need to be bypassed to initiate the missile launch countdown. Korda explained that while it was unknown whether the launch was the result of human or technical error, it was “clear that the missile was never supposed to have actually been fired.” However, once it was fired, there was no possible way to abort the launch since the BrahMos missile has no self-destruct system in place — unlike India’s nuclear-capable missiles.
As damage was limited to civilian property, Korda expressed his concern that the situation could have turned out much worse than it did, especially as it appeared that Pakistan inaccurately tracked the BrahMos missile. In a March 10 press conference, Pakistani officials misidentified the launch point and a few aspects of the missile’s trajectory. Indian officials later stated that the flight map released by Pakistan was inaccurate. Korda’s concern is not unfounded; Pakistani officials confirmed that they took tactical actions in response to the missile launch even after it was likely certain that the launch was accidental and there would be no further action.
Korda said that these errors and actions have significant implications for crisis stability since “in a different context, Pakistan could miscalculate or misunderstand the missile’s target and be pushed towards rapid retaliation.” Korda specifically cited Pakistan’s 2019 activation of the country’s National Command Authority, the organization which directs Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Korda called this a “clear piece of nuclear signaling” intended for India and compared the move to Putin’s recent placing of Russian nuclear forces on a heightened state of alert.
Additionally, crisis stability between India and Pakistan was further hampered by miscommunication. Pakistan officials stated that India did not make use of the high-level military hotlines to alert or communicate that there was an accidental launch. Furthermore, India waited two days after the accidental launch to issue a public statement.
This situation between India and Pakistan, Korda argued, “illuminate[s] some pretty dangerous dynamics that can come into play when we think about crisis escalation between nuclear-armed states.” He points specifically to India and Pakistan’s history of conflict, noting that this situation could have had a different and deadlier outcome if the two countries had been experiencing high tensions. Korda also gives a reminder of India’s tendency in recent years to place their rockets on a heightened level of readiness, prompting Pakistan to increase the readiness of its missiles in turn—a dangerous game of escalation for two nuclear-armed states to play. Thus, Korda believes that luck “absolutely does play a role in preventing crises from escalating further,” though it’s not something we should rely on, especially in the context of nuclear weapons.
“The big takeaway here,” Korda concluded, “is that we can’t expect that nuclear deterrence will always function exactly as how we predict and doing so risks overconfidence in our own ability to control escalation.”
You can find the full interview with Matt Korda at Press the Button. His report on the incident, Flying Under the Radar: A Missile Accidental in South Asia, is available here.
Jacqueline Hsing is the Communications and Marketing Specialist at Ploughshares Fund.
Russia-Ukraine war will no longer be a bilateral conflict. An armed conflict will ensue, which will most certainly consume Europe and North America. From Asia, you would have South Korea and Japan supporting it. (Photo: AP/PTI)
Russia-Ukraine war: When that happens, it will be a matter of time as to who will press the nuclear button and there will be Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), and end of the economy and world at large
My father-in-law, born in 1926 and studied to be a barrister, used to refer to World War as the ‘Great War’. That is how many in the world referred to both World War I and II. The term World War itself precedes both the world wars to some Nordic poems published in the 17th century. A more accepted definition is derived from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines it as ‘War engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world’ Coming to the word WAR. It is defined as “A state of actual armed hostilities regardless of a formal declaration of war”. by both these definitions, the question, “Has World War three already begun?” is the legitimate one.
HOW MANY NATIONS ARE IN THE FRAY?
Apart from the founding NATO countries, namely Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We have Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Rep, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Germany, Poland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey willy-nilly involved.
Outside of Europe, Ukraine has excellent support from Japan, South Korea and Australia. This support could have been USA brokered.
Russian camp includes China, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and Cuba will stand by Russia. Though a significant beneficiary of NATO and the USA, Turkey has a more ideological leaning toward Russia, not to mention the hatred that the USA enjoys amongst its masses.
Military-industrial complex got to work in a weapon testing ground called ‘Ukraine.’
Russian tanks roll along a street in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Photo: AP/PTI)
United States of America
The US allocated $350 million through the Foreign Assistance Act. Over the past year, it has committed more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. A large shipment of Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger air defence missiles reportedly has been supplied to Ukraine. Other armaments included anti-armour, small arms, body armour and various munitions and not to mention US security agencies in which veterans are the fighting force have been engaged in direct conflict with Russia. Whatever be the guise that has been put on this mercenary force, the US is in direct conflict with Russia. There were rumours that the Russian warship Moskva (the Russian name for Moscow) was sunk by US marines and not Ukrainian forces.
France, which has already sent help to Ukraine, is dispatching more military equipment and fuel. Paris said it has acted on earlier Ukrainian requests for defensive anti-aircraft and digital weapons.
Netherland’s supply of 200 Stinger air defence missiles and “Panzerfaust 3” anti-tank weapons have made a significant dent in the Russian offensive. Dutch and the US will soon be deploying Patriot air defence system. Deployment may not be on the Ukrainian soil but can engage targets flying over it.
Germany had a long-standing policy of banning weapon exports to a conflict zone. All such policies went out of the window, and they supplied 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger SAMs. This U-turn in policy reminded me of Chamberlin’s return from Germany. He came with a paper to declare to his population that he had averted the war; little did he realise that the agreement was revoked while he was flying towards England.
Whatever their older brother and the knight in shining armour, the US, does, Ottawa will follow. Canada sends arms worth half a billion Canadian dollars ($394m) to Ukraine.
Finland was supposed to be neutral; they, too, threw that paper that said ‘Neutral’ out of the window. One thousand five hundred rocket launchers, 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 rounds of ammunition, and 70,000 packets of field rations were hurriedly sent to Ukraine.
Belgium didn’t have any use for its 3,000 more automatic rifles and 200 anti-tank weapons, and 3,800 tonnes of fuel. They packed it all and sent it to Ukraine.
Portugal’s night-vision goggles, bulletproof vests, helmets, grenades, ammunition and automatic G3 rifles came as a boon to Ukrainian non-existent infantry. To use them, many countries sent mercenaries.
Greece, economically, is at the edge. It can’t solve its crisis, let alone help anyone. Greece has a large diaspora community in Ukraine, so people passed the hat around and sent some military aid to Ukraine.
Romania is sending fuel, bulletproof vests, helmets and other “weapons worth $3.3 million, not to mention treating the wounded at their hospitals.
Prague sent 4,000 mortars, 30,000 pistols, 7,000 assault rifles, 3,000 machine guns, many sniper rifles and a million bullets and $1.6 million.
Sixteen million euros’ worth of small arms and body armour is the contribution of this small nation.
Poland’s gift of 200 T-72 Russian Tanks (Irony) will be a shot in the arm to Ukraine.
The latest package will bring Australia’s total military assistance to $191.5 million. This includes armoured vehicles, GPS systems, communication systems, and Bushmaster (Something like a Humvee) vehicles.
South Korea’s package includes bulletproof vests, helmets, medicines and dry rations worth 2 billion won (USD 1.6m).
Tokyo plans to send Self-Defense Forces drones and chemical weapons protection gear.
IS THE WORLD AT WAR?
Definitions aside, if Russia is attacked by other European nations, the US will jump into the party. Like it happened after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Russia-Ukraine war will no longer be a bilateral conflict. An armed conflict will ensue, which will most certainly consume the entire Europe and the North American region. From Asia, you would have South Korea and Japan supporting it with weapons and probably soldiers. Australia, most certainly, will jump into this war with all its might.
China has a longstanding relationship with Russia; both ideologically and economically, they are intertwined. If China comes in direct support of Russia, the world economy will collapse. The world will genuinely see a World War III. At what point who will press the nuclear button is anybody’s guess. When that happens, it will be Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and the end of the world as we know it.
In all this, the contribution of the United Nations, which was mandated to prevent such an occurrence, remains to be seen. If the UN was structured/restructured to cater to post-World War II scenarios, we wouldn’t have had such a conflict. After this conflict, we are likely to see a restructuring of the United Nations. How long will it take? What will the new structure be? Is anybody’s guess.
Until then fingers crossed.
The author is Group Captain (retd), Fighter Pilot, MiG-21, Mirage-2000. He is DGCA-nominated Qualified Flying Instructor and Aircraft Accident Investigator. Vineet Maliakal is COO, AutoMicroUAS. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the stand of this publication.
It seems that the Arab-Iran conflict, the Russia-Ukraine war and the push and pull between the United States and China are all leading us to the Thucydides’ Trap, which is a term popularised by American political scientist Graham Allison in his book Destined for War: America, China and Thucydides’ Trap and relates to a situation where a rising power (for instance, China) challenges the incumbent (say, the United States).
In this nuclear age, statesmen, iconic representatives and organisations should come forward to avert the militarised crises in the world. There is no denying that a nuclear war would be devastating for humans across the board.
Therefore, intercultural communications should be promoted by enhancing mutual tourism, opening borders and by stirring up ‘Art for Peace’ initiatives. Broadcasting serials and films would help to build interfaith harmony.
Pakistan has done quite well to open the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims and has won millions of hearts across the globe, especially across the border. Similarly, mitigating Islamophobia and eradicating ethnocentrism should be among the top priorities of the global watchdogs.
“Training has already occurred outside Ukraine, particularly on the howitzers,” Kirby said.
A Russian missile strike killed at least one person inside Kyiv on Thursday. Kirby says it’s another sign that Russian aggression is unjustified.
“None of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine. It’s hard to square that rhetoric by what he’s actually doing in Ukraine to innocent people,” Kirby said.
The White House is also concerned Russian President Vladimir Putin still plans to attend the G-20 summit in November.
“The president has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G-20. We have welcomed the Ukrainians attending or invitation to attend the G20,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
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But Mr Wallace has said that he does “not think” Russia will use nuclear weapons, despite Putin putting his forces on “high alert”.
Mr Wallace does “not think” Russia will use its nukes (Image: PA)
Starmer was puzzled by Britain’s nuclear expansion (Image: Getty )
Putin has also said that “if someone intends to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside and create strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast”.