Some Essay / Interview fodder points from Frontline May 2, 2014 column “A new Cold War?”
- A state of political hostility
- from 1945 until 1990
- between countries led by the Soviet Union and countries led by the United States.
|1949||North Atlantic Treaty Organization setup as counterweight to Soviet armies in central and eastern Europe after Second World War.|
|1954||President Khrushchev himself asks NATO to include Russia in its membership, hoping this would stop the useless Expenditure on arms race. But USA refused.|
|1955||West Germany joins NATO. Angry USSR sets up Warsaw Treaty Organization.|
|1990||President Gorbachev proposed both NATO and Warsaw be dissolved. Joint maintenance of peace. USSR will not intervene in the affairs of other socialist countries. And thus let’s end Cold war. But USA refused.|
|October 1990||To facilitate re-unification of Germany, USSR withdraws troops from Eastern Germany. At that time, USA promised, NATO will not move eastward anymore. (Therefore, Russia calls it “American-betrayal” because NATO is constantly setting bases in Eastern Europe.)|
|December 1991||USSR and Warsaw pact collapse.|
|1995||NATO intervenes in Yugoslavian war|
|1997-2009||Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Albania joined NATO|
|2001-onwards||Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikstan and Uzbekistan provide base and refueling facilities to NATO troops for Afghanistan war.|
Thus, every member state of ex-USSR, is now falling under NATO influence. Putin gets worried because of this “encirclement”, and hits back by taking over Crimea from Ukraine. Obama tries to “teach” him a lesson, by
- suspending Russia from G8
- Moving NATO military assets in Black sea.
- Asking EU to cut financial ties with Russia. Although Sweden, France reluctant because they want to sell defense equipment to Russia for billions of dollars.
But why is USA doing this?
Cold war= competition between Capitalism and Communism. Today, even Russia and China adopted capitalist methods. So not really any ideological opposition. But the “triad” of USA, EU and Japan are unhappy because:
- Russia = largest oil and gas reserves
- China= largest forex reserve. Biggest Buyer of Russian crude oil.
- If they came together via BRICS, then Triad’s monopoly, influence on WTO and IMF will be gone.
Russia’s next move?
- Russia can sell Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets to China
- Russia can refuse to side with US on Iran and Syria.
- Russia-China start trading via their domestic currencies rather than using Dollars. This will weaken the dollar.
(GS2) Recently, India decided to pay Russia for the arms and ammunition sold to Afghanistan. Discuss the rationale behind this move. (200 words)
- 2011: India signed Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with Afghanistan, promised to look after their security demands including arms, ammunition and training.
- Since USA and NATO are withdrawing, India needed to step in and fulfill its pledge under SPA.
- India does not have surplus weapons that can be supplied to Afghanistan.
- Even if we have surplus weapons- it’ll be unwise to give them to Afghanistan. Because they may get smuggled to Pakistan’s Tribal areas OR Kashmir- then Pak can claim “Indian hand” in the terror attacks.
- Lack of easy surface transport connectivity.
- India asked Russia to supply arms to Afghanistan, India will pay for it.
- India will only finance choppers, artillery guns, armored truck and tanks. Russia will supply AK rifles on its own.
- This is a temporary solution because India cannot substitute USA or NATO forces in Afghanistan. Unlike USA, we don’t have deep pockets, Unlike NATO-nations, we don’t want to send our troops on Afghan soil. (like Rajiv Gandhi did in SriLanka).
- Collaborate with Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan- ask them to look after the security detail in Afghanistan. Taliban are threat to each of them.
- Joint mining & human resource development projects with China. A prosperous Afghanistan means less new recruits for Taliban.