Who Suffers In Wars? Professor Piotr

Russian War : Who Suffers In Wars ? Professor PiotrI thought I should share the following notes on the Russian war against Ukraine so that you have a clearer picture and better-informed understanding of it. I have received a message from a friend of mine from South Asia who has some doubts. So I have decided to repond to these doubts directly. I know that these are the same doubts und uncertainties you may also have. That is why I am sharing my responses with you:

By:  Professor Piotr

Professor PIOTR of Poland is an international visiting lecturer and a writer. He claims he has received messages from some South Asians on the Ukraine Russian war, who say that

“people in our part of the  world say that it is a lesson that Europe and the US will now learn which they had failed to learn formerly when non-European people were badly treated by powerful countries  and no one imposed sanctions on them at that time.”

In his response, Professor PIOTR says this argument is completely inaccurate: powerful countries (USA, Russia, Germany, UK) have mistreated waeaker countries regularly in Europe and outside. The leassons that are being learnt now are again learnt by the weaker countries, not by the powerful countries. Again, this time it is Russia that is attacking, USA, Germany or UK do not suffer or accept refugees from Ukraine.

For example, the US supported Israelis against Palestinians, bombed Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. Yemen, etc. Also the US and Europe supported oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE in their mindless aggression against Yemen. The US and every country in the neighbourhood of Syria bombed Syrians. (Even the Russians bombed Syrians).

Russians themselves bombed Syria A LOT and allowed the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons against civil population. Russians saved the bucher, Bashir al Assad. They are responsible for much of the atrocities commited there. True, USA initially supported the organisations that evolved into Islamic State and are also responsible. Have the “weaker states” in Europe, including Ukraine, ever participated in the conflict there? No.
So, this example illustrates that ONLY weaker countries suffer now as they have done before. The war does not affect USA, Russia, Germany, UK.

Even Poland that is supporting the hapless Ukrainian refugees is under criticism. People here say that when refugees from the Middle East tried to cross into Poland from Belarus, they threatened to construct a concrete wall along their boundary with Belarus.

This argument is only partially right: there was a large opposition among Polish people to accept migrants and refugees from the Middles East, Africa or Afghanistan – not only in recent months but first of all during the first large migrant crises in Europe in 2015. At that time EU accepted approx. 1,5 million migrants and refugees. Notably, Poland and Hungary did not want to accept the migrants from the Middle East. However, Poland did accept 1 million (yes!) migrants from Ukraine after that – well before the current war. Many were refugees from Ukraine after Russia invaded and occupided Ukrainian territories of the Crimea and Donbas (and is still occupying). Now, there are perhaps 2,5 million Ukrainian refugees and migrants in Poland. That is a lot!

Also people here say that Europe used to whine and whimper against non-European refugees. Now they will have European refugees.

That is not right at all. Most Europeans accepted refugees and welcomed them. EU has accepted 1,5 million refugees during the Syrian war in 2015 alone. There were some people opposing the migrants, but the majority was very welcoming. People in large masses helped refugees, devoted their own private time and money.

This will teach them lessons that all human beings deserve the same care, etc.

Completely wrong. Most Europeans have known this principle very well. And they – as individual people, societies and states – have shown care for human rights much better than most non-European countries. Please remember that EU has been paying for all migrants and refugees from Afghanistan, Syria etc. that ended up in Turkey and Lebanon. Billions of Euros have been transfered to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan etc. from EU to pay for the accommodation, food, shelter for the refugees. Has Pakistan or India paid any Rupee in this case?

People here also say that Ukraine brought destruction upon itself by fiddling with the idea of joining NATO; and that NATO led Ukraine up the garden path and then abandoned it. So NATO is unreliable.

This is completely false, a fake of Russian propaganda. NATO has never said it would ever accept Ukraine as NATO member. On the contrary, NATO has always reiterated that there are no such plans at all to extend to the East and accept Ukraine. They did say that it is only up to NATO to decide whom they will accept as NATO members and Russia has no right to interfere in this regard. But that is not the same as saying that NATO has had plans to accept Ukraine.

It is true that Ukraine has wanted to join EU and perhaps NATO in order to have safety guarantees. Why? This only happened after the 2014 Russian occupation of parts of Ukraine (the Crimea and Donbas), when it became clear that Russia already had plans to occupy the whole of Ukraine. At that time Russia was incapable of a full-scale war, but it has been preparing for it for the last eight years. So, Ukraine’s plans were meant to protect Ukraine from further Russian invasions and a complete occupation by Russia.

Ukraine demanded (and still demands) guarantees from the world after 1994 (Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum_on_Security_Assurances)

when Ukraine abandonded their nuclear weapons. At that time, Russia guaranteed Ukraine that it would never attact Ukraine and so Ukraine did not need the nuclear weapons at all – Russia would be the guarantor. And also USA promissed Ukraine that they would protect Ukraine.

In 2014, it became clear that Russia is not the guarantor but is an existential threat to Ukrainians.

Also people here question NATO’s existence. They say that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO should also have been dissolved, etc.

As above, it is a fake information distributted by Russian propaganda. First, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved beacuse all its members had been the states occupied by the Soviet Union / Russia. Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia etc. did not join the Warsaw Pact willingly: all these countries were under Soviet occupation after 1945. Once the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Eastern block states were no longer occupied by the Soviet Union and decided to join EU and NATO. So it was a natural and obvious process: once free, all members of the Warsaw Pact simply disappeared. The dissolution of the Pact was therefore symbolic.

Read Also: Russia-Ukraine Conflict From Asian Lens

The history shows that NATO has been needed to protect some European countries from Russia’s attacks. For instance, Russia has been frequently floating the idea to “protect Russian minorities” in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which practically in “Russian diplomacy” means to invade and occupy Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (it is precisely with these words that Russia justified its 2014 war against Ukraine). Despite such Russia’s plans, has there been any war against Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia so far? No. Why? Because Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are members of NATO. The same arguments holds valid also in the case of Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czechia. They have not been attacked by Russia. Why? Because they are NATO members. Had they not been NATO members, the Soviet Union would have already re-emerged. That explains the need and necessity of NATO in Europe.

I feel it necessary to sympathise with the Government of Ukraine.

Why? This is a democratically elected government by Ukrainians, it has not been imposed by anybody on the Ukrainians, Ukraine is a democractic country, it has never attacked anybody. So what’s the problem with accepting the Governement of Ukraine? Has it done any harm to anybody? The Governement of Ukraine is doing miracles to save Ukraine from the bloodthirsty Russian troops, and the Ukrainian President is truly remarkable: have you ever seen any president with ordinary people protecting the capital in the street? A really brave person. USA and NATO has told him and the government many times they will evacuate them from Kiev, the besieged capital, but the governement of Ukraine and the president has reiterated: the will fight for free Ukraine till death. Do you know any other such government of president? This is truly heroic! And they deserve all respect for this.
Ukraine has various ethnic minorities and these have been well protected in Ukraine. Russian – a language of some Russian minority – has been widely taught at schools, universities etc. There has not been any discrimination against Russian language or Russian minority.