Will the New Year Be the Year of Warfare Likewise the Previous One? – Modern Diplomacy

On the curve of this night and the next day, the world passes from the year of the Ukraine war to the year of broader stimulus in 2023 and beyond. Destinies are suspended, the fields of supposed clashes are widening, and cold wars are drawing maps that are candidates for hot explosions.
At the point of the Ukrainian eruption, the end does not seem close, nor are the peace negotiations on the table. The global nature of the clash with fire has developed in the Ukrainian arena, and the duel has become more borderline between Moscow and Washington, and has reached formulas threatening a “decapitation” blow from circles in the Pentagon, which Russia understood. As American plans to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, Moscow responded that the two countries’ relations are close to the brink of zero, and announced changes in its military doctrine, expanding in cases of the first resort to the use of nuclear weapons, with an emphasis on entering the “Avangard”, “Bulava” and “Sarmat” missiles. To service in large numbers, which are described in the West as “Satan” and “Doomsday” missiles, all of which exceed the speed of sound dozens of times, and any launch of them destroys “unfriendly countries” in Russian expression in half an hour, and Russia has, as is known, the largest nuclear arsenal In the world. Over the past ten months since the start of the war, Putin has always resorted to the tactic of waving the nuclear brink, and on the basis of the theory of his ally, the Russian nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin, and his saying that there is no meaning to the world without a great Russia, even if Putin is politically responsible, he does not say explicitly because he will launch a nuclear war, knowing that all parties in it are losers along with the others, because the world has a stockpile of nuclear weapons, enough to destroy the world 14 times
Under the ceiling of an unlikely nuclear war, the conventional arms race doubled, and Washington increased its military budget to 850 billion dollars annually, while Moscow decided to double its war spending for 2023, and its weapons factories ran at maximum capacity, and Putin said that he was preparing for a prolonged war in Ukraine, which might develop. It contains his declared goals, and goes beyond his decision to annex the four provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, moving from the stage of depleting stocks of old Soviet weapons, introducing the newest and most advanced weapons, and pledging to destroy the “Patriot” missile systems, which Washington recently decided to give to the the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who coincides with “Difficult and bitter” days and battles, as he described it. The Russians do not fight in the manner of “shock and awe”, advancing meter by meter, and do not appear to be in a hurry and move slowly, in raids to destroy Ukraine’s military and civilian infrastructure, after which they may resort to a stormy attack within Winter or at its end. They rely in parallel on the tactics of draining the economy of the West and exhausted Europe in particular, after the announced financial costs of supporting Ukraine from the Americans and Europeans amounted to what it exceeded $120 billion to date, then doubled Western burdens and costs, after decisions to cap Russian gas and oil prices, in addition to the growth of alternative markets for Russian energy resources.
Mr. Putin shocked Western circles by announcing his ministers to reduce oil production, which ignites prices in the market, with his ban on exporting Russian oil to the G7 countries, the European Union and Australia, while giving the Russian president an opportunity to maneuver, and rights to exclude those who want in time of need, and prepare the Russian economy to bear the consequences of 12 thousand types of Western sanctions, and strengthen the alliance with China, and the development of manifestations and essences of the work of the Chinese-Russian pole is growing the influence, from the heart of Europe to the Pacific Ocean and the North and South poles, and the pursuit of Western American hegemony in the worlds of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the Europeans’ cries intensified from America’s exploitation of their conditions, the astronomical exaggeration in alternative energy prices for Russian resources, and the diminishing confidence of America’s Atlantic allies and others in Washington’s ability to ensure their protection and strategic security. And in the course of the drama of changing the world, and the steady shift from the stage of the sole ruling American pole, to the world of multipolarity, the “cunning of history” appears clearly present, as it often happens in the lives of individuals, groups, states, and even the international system, that one party imagines that it is going to build a palace, so if with it, it suddenly discovers that it went to dig the grave of the end, not the palace of eternity, and the example is suitable to illuminate the situation of the US today, as it behaves ferociously with the “sweetness of the spirit” of bulls at the time of slaughter, and strikes randomly, perhaps in response to an instinctive fear of losing its control over the throne of the world, in terms of economy, weapons and technology. It is true that it qualifies to remain as a superpower among the many in the creeping world with its new balances, but it will certainly not remain a “superpower” by a thousand and one definitions, and it will not be the first among the many powerful old and new, and its allies and followers since the end of the second “world” war are no longer in a state of reassurance.
For a lasting peace imposed by the US power, and the examples are apparent, starting with Europe, the closest ally. France continues its protest, and perhaps its rebellion, against the guarantees of the US defensive umbrella, and seeks a European defensive umbrella, and Germany, which has the heaviest weight in the economy, is looking forward to getting rid of the measures that an American policy imposed on it after the defeat of Nazism, which was preventing it from amplifying its army and military strength. It’s leadership decided to allocate 120 billion euros annually to modernize its army, with a remarkable growth of Nazism and the restoration of the glory of the “Fourth Reich” among the German public, and Japan on the other side of the world, continues the process of loosening restrictions on its military armament, which was imposed by the constitution of US General MacArthur, after the crushing of Tokyo and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with American atomic bombs. Moreover the liberation of Japan and Germany from contracts of “military castration”, is welcomed today by Washington, despite its blatant significance in breaching and overthrowing the arrangements of the international system that America formulated, and Washington’s acceptance of retreating from what was, seems an eloquent expression of its inability to protect allies and followers on its own. It is believed that the increase in their strength is in its favor temporarily, but the essence of what is happening in what we think is that the return of the German and Japanese military dress, and what it is accompanied by the return of the national spirit in the two countries after a long hiatus, redrawing the boundaries of the differentiation of interests, as the German leadership went to in disobeying American orders, with the need to blockade the largest Chinese competitor, and Berlin’s preference for expansion in it’s economic relations with Beijing, in exchange for Washington’s keenness to impose additional customs on imports of Chinese products.
In addition to its ban on the activity of major Chinese technology companies, and pressure on allies and large and small followers to cut off communication with China, which has become the first factory in the world, and has the largest trade surpluses with most regions of the world, including America itself, which feeds tendencies of anxiety and division of obedience to America in the four corners of the world. What pushes Washington to ignite fires and hotbeds of war tension, as happened and is happening in the Kosovo clash with Serbia, and in East Asia around the issue of Taiwan, which China insists to restore it at the appropriate moment, and continue to show its strength on its shores and in its airspace, and double the pace of its joint military maneuvers with Russia, and relax the rope for North Korea in nuclear and missile tests, and protect “Pyongyang’s” activity with the guarantees of the Chinese and Russian “veto” in the UN Security Council. To the extent that North Korea launched a military drone recently in the sky of the southern capital, Seoul, without the US-backed South Korean defenses being able to shoot down the invading drones which prompted the Ministry of Defense in South Korea to present an apology to its people for the incident, which suggests to America’s allies in the Pacific Ocean and around the East and South China Seas that there is no longer an American capital against danger, and that the wars that Washington hastened are not guaranteed results in its favor, and that going to hasty military wars with China may dig the graves of the ends for economies that are mainly interested in commercial interests. One may discover that building bridges with China is safer and less expensive, and something of that is happening in our closest regional scope, and it may not be right to ignore the harbingers of an incoming war that threatens Washington and Tel Aviv against Iran, after the setback in the negotiations to renew the Iranian nuclear deal. This is especially after the return of Benjamin Netanyahu with a government that is the most extreme and aggressive, and his plan to drag Arab parties into a war with Tehran, and the likely possibilities of bloodier explosions on the Palestinian front, in a new year burdened with reasons for motivation on a global scale as a whole.
Post-Cold war threats
Amer Ababakr holds Ph.D. degree, Cyprus International University. His major is in Politics in the Middle East. His fields of interests include international relations, international security, foreign policy, and ethnic conflict.
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It can be argued that while classical inter-state wars tend to decrease in the post-Cold War era, there are many other serious threats to international peace which seem to be beyond the control of the nation-states. These include ethnic conflicts, religious militancy, terrorism, North-South conflict, and unfair economic competition. Therefore, the Future of the world is stressed to depend on whether major powers are able to overcome and cope up with these threats in a cooperative manner.
Up to the end of the Cold War, it was widely believed that ethnicity and nationalism were antiquated ideas that primarily provided solutions to issues. The Balkans as well as Central Asia, Africa, and many other regions of the globe have lately seen the resurgence of a new cycle of ethno-political movements. Conflicts for political supremacy, succession, or self-determination are often fueled by ethnicity. Over 90% of the major armed conflicts that have been documented in recent years across the globe are intra-national in nature. Intra-state disputes may first seem to be local, but because of globalization and numerous international support, they may swiftly take on an international dimension. Such disputes must be settled, or else world peace will be jeopardized.
Since the end of the Cold War, UN peacekeeping missions have changed to include a variety of peace-building initiatives. One might consider the governments of nations like Iran and Sudan as well as the Islamic groups that are active across the Middle East and beyond that often use language that is inflammatory on the basis of culture. A sense of religious militancy, often referred to as “religious fundamentalism,” is prevalent in many of these areas.
Religious extremism serves as the intellectual foundation for some of the most deadly terrorist groups in existence today. Most members of these groups firmly think that using violence openly in the name of religion is required. This idea eliminates any sense of guilt or dread, which makes killing and passing away much easier as a result. Following the conclusion of the Cold War, terrorism in particular became a significant issue.
The word “terrorism” has been used to refer to a method, a response to oppression, and a criminal offence. A terrorist’s disregard for human life is evident in the eyes of the victim of a terrorist attack. Though it is not unique to this time period, terrorism has grown to be a significant issue in the post-Cold War era.
Terrorists employ violent means to draw attention to their cause by upsetting the community, the authorities, and the wider world. The success of a terrorist attack depends less on the act itself than on how the public or the government responds to it. It is very difficult to combat terrorism since terrorists do not fight on defined front lines and do not adhere to the conventions of war.
North-South economic antagonism returned throughout the post-Cold War era. At the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the 1970s, developing nations pushed for a New International Economic Order (NIEO). This goal originated in the 1960s neo-Marxist political economics theory. The NIEO agenda at the UN had failed by the 1980s as a result of differences in developing nation interests.
Developing Countries refused to reduce their agricultural and industry tariffs, while the G-21 rejected agricultural subsidies in developed nations. Many officials commented in Cancun thirty years later that the harsh rhetoric used by major developing nations was strikingly reminiscent of the UNCTAD experience in the 1970s. Neo-colonialism is the term used nowadays to describe the situation of developing countries’ economic dependency on multinational corporations from industrialized nations. Only a small number of nations have been able to escape the global system’s stagnant development patterns. We might anticipate a weak international order to the degree that continued conflict between the North and South is facilitated by poverty and underdevelopment. Particularly the Eurasia’s newly independent states lie at the center of power struggles.
For major countries in general, and the United States in particular, controlling the South Caucasus constitutes a key regional interest for a number of reasons. These include limiting Russian development, containing Iran, managing the region’s natural riches, ensuring the safe delivery of those resources to the world market, and acquiring bases for the “war against terrorism.”
Understanding the underlying causes of intra-state disputes and putting the right measures for putting an end to violence and promoting peace into practice are both necessary for effective management of these conflicts. By far, the international community has had some success sending peacekeeping troops into perilous domestic conflicts. Conflicts are not immediately resolved by peacekeeping troops. They are not there for that, all that they can do is controlling the situation until parties reach a settlement.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creating global upheaval, and war, conflict, and unrest blighting all parts of the world in 2022. The UN stressed the importance of international dialogue, and announced plans for a new peace agenda.February saw a furious round of diplomacy at the UN, as it became increasingly clear that Russia was intent on invading Ukraine, a crisis which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was testing the “entire international system”.
“We need restraint and reason. We need de-escalation now,” spelled out the UN chief, urging all sides to “refrain from actions and statements that would take this dangerous situation over the brink”. These calls were in vain, however, and the war, which Russia described as a “special military operation,” began.
The conflict took on a significance far beyond its effect on Ukraine and Russia. Global fuel and food prices soared, and the UN trade body UNCTAD identified the war as the main contributing factor to projections of a global economic downturn, in a world still reeling from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dark memories of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in 1986 were revived, when the Zaporizhzhia plant in southeastern Ukraine, the largest in Europe, came under Russian military control.
The UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) warned of potentially catastrophic consequences, expressing concern at the alarming conditions of the plant, and the shelling that took place not far from the reactors. Fighting in the vicinity of a nuclear plant was, said IAEA chief Rafael Grossi in November, “playing with fire”.
An highlight of UN diplomacy this year was undoubtedly the successful implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which saw exports resume from Ukrainian ports in July, and paved the way for Russian food and fertilizer to reach global markets, helping to slow the vertiginous rise in the price of grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer across the world.
The delicately balanced deal involved the establishment of a Joint Coordination Centre in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with representatives from Ukraine, Russia and Türkiye, to monitor the onloading of grain at the three ports.
Ukrainian pilot vessels guide the ships through the Black Sea, which is mined, after which they head out through the Bosphorus Strait along an agreed corridor.
Perhaps more impressive, given the lack of trust between Ukraine and Russia, and no prospect of a ceasefire in sight, is that the deal was renewed for a further 120 days in November. By then more than 11 million tonnes of essential foodstuffs had been shipped from Ukraine, and food prices began to stabilize.
UN peacekeepers in several African countries found themselves in harm’s way this year, whilst carrying out their role protecting civilians from violence.
Over the course of the year, Mali’s reputation as the world’s most dangerous posting seemed to be borne out: nearly every month saw an attack that killed or wounded peacekeepers, amid reports of civilian massacres, and a deteriorating security situation.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was riven by attacks from militant groups and intercommunal violence which displaced thousands of people. Hundreds of civilians were killed throughout the year, and peacekeepers again made the ultimate sacrifice. In one attack, in July, the UN Mission’s base in the restive North Kivu region was hit during violent demonstrations, killing three peacekeepers.
There was better news from Sudan, which began the year embroiled in political unrest, following a military coup in 2021. Protestors against the regime continued to be targeted, and the UN condemned an excessive use of force, which saw several of them killed.
By December, however, Mr. Guterres was able to hail a peace agreement between civilian and military leaders, and the UN team in Sudan announced that they would ensure a package of support during the transitional period.
In Ethiopia, which has seen fierce fighting centred on the Tigray region, efforts to defuse the conflict led to a ceasefire in March. This did not end the violence, however, or the humanitarian crisis resulting from the unrest, but a peace deal, which was finally signed in November, was described by Mr. Guterres as a “critical first step” towards ending the brutal two-year civil war.
In March, Mr. Guterres called for the international community not to fail the Syrian people, as the country entered the eleventh year of a brutal civil war, in which 307,000 civilians have died.
The year ended with signs of military escalation, and no prospect of a peace deal, but the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, continued to meet with a host of key Syrian and international stakeholders, in pursuit of an eventual political solution to break the deadlock.
Yemen is now in the seventh year of its catastrophic conflict, which again exacted a vicious toll on its people. Hopes were raised in April, when the UN brokered a nationwide truce, the first in six years. However, the truce came to an end in October, leading to fresh uncertainty.
Hans Grundberg, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, told the Security Council in October that he believed a peace agreement could still be achieved: “With the stakes this high, it is critical that we do not lose this opportunity. The parties need to demonstrate the leadership, compromise and flexibility required to urgently reach an agreement”.
Little progress was made in relations between Israel and Palestine, during a year in which more than 150 Palestinians and over 20 Israelis were killed in the West Bank and Israel.
UN Middle East Envoy Tor Wennesland expressed deep concern at the sharp increase in violence against civilians on both sides which, he said, undermined a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Mr. Wennesland called on Israel to cease advancement of all settlement activities as well as the demolition of Palestinian-owned property, and to prevent possible displacement and evictions. “The deepening occupation, the increase in violence, including terrorism, and the absence of a political horizon have empowered extremists and are eroding hope among Palestinians and Israelis, alike, that a resolution of the conflict is achievable,” he warned.
It’s hard to overstate the extent to which the security situation in Haiti collapsed in 2022. Practically nowhere in the capital, Port-au-Prince, could be deemed safe, as rival gangs fought over territory, terrorizing increasingly desperate citizens, already struggling to survive a humanitarian catastrophe.
In October, the UN Special Representative in the country, Helen La Lime, welcomed the sanctions regime adopted by the Security Council, which targets gang leaders and their backers. She told the Security Council that even if a political solution could be found, it would not be sufficient to address the crisis.
Ms. La Lime indicated her support for the mobilization of a specialized military force, whilst the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the Security Council in October that the US and Mexico are working on a resolution which will authorize a “non-UN international security assistance mission”, which would help in the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid.
There were positive signs that Colombia, which suffered decades of civil war, may be on the verge of achieving a lasting peace.
Six years on from the historic peace accord signed between the Colombian government and FARC rebels, the country was still beset by outbreaks of fighting in 2022 and, in July, the UN human rights office called on the incoming administration to tackle rising violence, particularly in rural areas.
By October, the head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, felt confident enough to brief the Security Council that expectations were running high for progress towards the full and final implementation of a lasting peace deal: “I am certainly confident that Colombia can demonstrate to the world, once again, that there is no better alternative to ending conflicts than through dialogue”.
Much of the focus on Afghanistan has centred on the steady erosion of women’s rights under the Taliban, the de facto rulers of the country, but security has been increasingly challenging.
The Afghan people were rocked by waves of deadly terror attacks, from blasts at schools in April, to the bombing of a mosque in August, claimed by the so-called Islamic State group, also known as Da’esh. The group also carried out attacks against the Russian and Pakistani embassies, and a hotel hosting many Chinese nationals.
The top UN official in Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, announced in December that the UN is keeping dialogue open with the leaders of the Taliban, despite their differing positions. Whilst the Taliban face little to no political opposition, they are unable to satisfactorily address terrorist groups operating in the country, she reported.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), more commonly known as North Korea, continued to test missiles in 2022, provoking condemnation from the UN, and fears that the country was attempting to develop its nuclear weapons capability.
António Guterres declared that a long-range test in March was in violation of Security Council resolutions, and called an October launch over Japan a “reckless act”.
In a Security Council briefing in November, Rosemary Di Carlo, the head of UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), said that DPRK had reportedly launched its “largest and most powerful missile, capable of reaching all of North America”.
Overall, said, Ms. Di Carlo, DPRK had launched some 60 ballistic missiles. She reiterated calls on the country to “desist from taking further provocative actions and to fully comply with its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions”. 
The wider issue of peace is likely to figure more highly on the UN agenda in 2023, when the UN chief, António Guterres, delivers A New Agenda for Peace, to Member States.
Addressing the Security Council in December, Mr. Guterres explained that the document will articulate the Organization’s work in peace and security; set out a comprehensive approach to prevention; link peace, sustainable development, climate action, and food security; and consider how the UN adapts to cyberthreats, information warfare, and other forms of conflict.
“The challenge ahead is clear,” said Mr. Guterres “To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, with a revitalized multilateralism that is effective, representative and inclusive”.
Nuclear non-proliferation is the practice of limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. Their possession is seen as increasing these risks, and hence, the focus on non-proliferation. However, the international politics of nuclear non-proliferation is, oftentimes, controversial. One major issue is that Nuclear-Weapon States (NWS) are often accused of being discriminatory in their approach to non-proliferation. For instance, the United States (US) has used its influence in the international community to penalise certain countries pursuing nuclear weapons, while at the same time, allowing its allies to possess them and even increase their capabilities. Such dual standards make non-proliferation a complex issue that involves a number of factors, including international relations, trade policies, strategic interests, and security concerns. The article discusses the first aspect in some detail below.
‘Dual standards of nuclear non-proliferation’ refers to different standards which are used to treat ‘new proliferators.’ This includes the use of legal standards and political and diplomatic coercion in order to disarm them or limit their nuclear capabilities. This can create a situation where some countries are effectively discouraged or prevented from pursuing their nuclear capabilities, while others can pursue them with relative impunity. Such practices undermine the principles of fairness, equality, and universal application of laws in the international system. For example, this debate is relevant to the nuclear programmes of both India and Pakistan. There is a history of how the US has treated the two countries differently. While Pakistan has been treated with penalties in the form of sanctions, the US policy towards India can be characterised as that of ‘exceptionalism’.
On 7 December 2022, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted 24 companies due to national security and foreign policy considerations. The US maintains a list of companies and organisations that are subject to certain trade restrictions, known as the ‘Entity List.’ This list is managed by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) within the US Department of Commerce. 10 of the 24 companies, added to the entity list, are based in Pakistan and United Arab Emirates (UAE), which are allegedly linked with Pakistan’s nuclear programme or ‘missile proliferation-related activities.’ This is not the first time that Pakistani companies have been blacklisted by the US on such concerns. In November 2021, the US added 16 Pakistani and Chinese firms to this list. Being placed on the Entity List can have significant consequences for a company. The companies, once added to the Entity list by the US Department of Commerce are required to undergo ‘special licensing before exporting or importing products to or from the US’. This also restricts their ability to do business with companies from other countries.  
On the other hand, the US has developed a strategic partnership with India in recent years. This has led to some changes in the way the two countries cooperate on nuclear issues. For instance, in 2008, both agreed on civil nuclear cooperation, that allowed India access to US nuclear technology and fuel for its civilian nuclear programme. This cooperation paved way for the removal of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) from the same Entity List in 2011.
In the follow-up to the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, India claims that it has separated its civilian and military nuclear programmes. However, the reality of this claim was dissected in a detailed study ‘The Three Overlapping Streams of India’s Nuclear Programs’ carried out by the Belfer Centre at the Harvard Kennedy School. The study revealed that though there has been a separation, it was meaningless and ‘incomplete’. Practically, there are now three overlapping streams within the Indian nuclear programme: the ‘civilian safeguarded’, ‘civilian un-safeguarded, and the ‘military’ nuclear programme. According to the Belfer study, ‘Some civilian facilities, even when operating under certain provisions of India’s safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), may contribute to India’s stockpile of unsafeguarded weapons-usable nuclear material.’ The study raised serious concerns that despite the IAEA safeguards and additional protocols, the relationship between these three streams was not transparent. The inadequate separation would likely result in the provision of weapon-usable nuclear material for India.
Despite these shortcomings and overlaps between India’s civilian and military nuclear infrastructure, the country’s trade with the US and over a dozen nuclear suppliers is being facilitated. Pakistan’s entire civilian nuclear programme is under IAEA safeguards and poses no risks of diversion toward the military programme. Yet, Pakistan’s access to technology is being restricted through measures like the Entity List.
The recent blacklisting of Pakistani companies by the US has more to do with politics, diplomatic pressure, and coercion, and less with nuclear proliferation. Export controls are becoming a powerful tool used by major powers to pressurise and influence the policies of weaker states. While Pakistan fully supports non-proliferation ideals through robust measures of its own, the instruments of non-proliferation should not be politicised through the maintenance of dual standards.
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