The war in Ukraine has entered into sixth month. How much longer will it continue? When is it going to end? Well, let’s don’t be so impatient! In our recent history, we have the Korean war, Vietnam war, Afghan war, Iran-Iraq war, etc. and their durations are measured in years not months.
But why Russia, being a superpower, is rather floundering in Ukraine for more than five months to achieve its objective and finish the war? There may be many reasons that the military strategists, economists, and politicians would come up with. However, one reason is too conspicuous; it’s not Ukraine alone that Russia is fighting. It’s Ukraine directly and 30 NATO member countries indirectly. Thus, both sides are formidable and when the belligerent sides have equitable strength, the war can go on indefinitely. How is it going to end then?
War is costly and there are many stakeholders in it – politicians, the military, the arms industry, and so on. As we have mentioned before, in this war, Ukraine is backed by NATO and other allied countries who are supplying it with arms, ammunition, and cash. So, besides Russia and Ukraine, these countries are also stakeholders in this war.
The amount of military aid from NATO and other allied countries that are pouring into Ukraine is staggering. According to the US state department fact sheet published on July 22, 2022, the United States alone has invested $8.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
However, the heavily publicized western military aid for Ukraine is not for free. "The money allocated by Europe and other nations is spent only on humanitarian aid or weapons. Sometimes we receive weapons directly, but you have to understand that everything has its price," said Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in an interview with foreign media on March 12, 2022, as reported by TASS. He also added, "Whenever the money that we get is mentioned - well, it all came at a cost, it’s not for free."
So, who is the ultimate recipient of these billions of dollars? Of course, it’s the arms industry. Even if Ukraine is exempted from paying a part of the total price, the arms manufacturers will not get any less payment; some other governments will cover that. Logically, the arms manufacturers will then pull the strings to lengthen the war.
So, the war will continue until most of the parties concerned realize their individual goals –wealth, power, glory, supremacy, etc. And then the war will end at a conference table. Meantime, people will suffer, die or flee from home and become a refugee.
The war has turned the lives of many people in Ukraine into a nightmare overnight. Suddenly they have no roof on their head, no food on the table, no job or business, their whole life’s possessions are gone, and gone forever are many loved faces.
People’s miseries are not confined to Ukraine. In this age of globalization countries’ economies are interconnected and interdependent through international trade and FDI. As a result, the effects of war are not limited to the conflicting countries. Countries far away from the war zone also suffer from the fallout of the war. Accordingly, we are seeing how the Ukrainian war and associated economic sanctions are affecting different countries of the world. Countries are suffering from shortages of materials and parts, many factories are shutting down, people are losing jobs, food and energy supply are getting disordered, prices are going up, the influx of refugees are disrupting society and economy, and so on.
While the world leaders are busy making complex calculations and strategic decisions toward the achievement of their respective goals in the war in Ukraine, the people of the world are counting the days for the war to end.
The writer is a retired government officer and an academic