This is not the time to brand Vladimir Putin an ‘evil madman’ | Russia-Ukraine war

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its fourth week, we often hear words like “evil”, “unstable” and “unstable” used to describe Vladimir Putin. Such labeling is not uncommon in realpolitik. It’s a tactic in today’s competitive international politics – to demonize, caricature and demoralize political opponents, while reassuring those on your ideological side. . After all, who wants to be on the side of a lunatic?

Whether it’s depicting Saddam Hussein as a “madman,” Gaddafi as a “lunatic,” or Putin as a “fanatic,” such caricatures serve broader political goals by simply convert any conflict into a clear binary between “good” and “bad”.

The State of Israel often imposes such frameworks to authorize Palestinians – even questioning their intelligence, by repeating the advice that they “never lose a chance to lose opportunity”. festival”. Likewise, advocates of the occupation, militarization and colonization of Kashmir in India consider Kashmiris demanding implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions as “terrorist”, “separate” declare” or “treason”.

Such framing is now cleverly used to explain Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – a manipulative discourse construct that facilitates blind war.

Of course, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a monstrosity. As morally disgusting as the war crimes committed in Syria, the brutal expropriation of the Palestinians, or the military occupation of Kashmir. However, the simple stereotypes that Putin is “crazy” do not aim to prevent our ability to see the bigger picture and do something to prevent the violence from continuing.

In other words, now that war has arrived, we should forgo any attempt to frame it merely as a contest between “good” and “evil”, focusing instead on figuring out what matters. Steps can be taken not only to end it but also to prevent it from causing outbreaks in other global hotspots – and possibly another world war.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – whatever the reason or purpose – is sure to have an impact on three contentious issues: the war in Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, and the US-China rivalry.

First of all, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have consequences for Syria. The impact of sanctions on the country’s economy could prompt Russia to withdraw money and military forces from Syria. An embroiled and isolated Putin may well decide to redouble his efforts to turn Syria into a satellite state like Belarus. In either scenario, the US could respond by starting to provide resources to the Syrian resistance.

For a long time, Syrian opposition figures have been working to revive their decades-long campaign against al-Assad. For example, in early February, they attended a large meeting together in Doha, Qatar, and vowed to “reunite”. And after Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine began, they were quick to strongly condemn Putin’s move. Meanwhile, al-Assad is said to have sent many warplanes to Ukraine to support Russia’s military intervention. All in all, there are reasons to suspect events in Ukraine could spark the relatively quiet conflict in Syria.

Therefore, as the world watches developments in Ukraine, it should also keep an eye on Syria – to ensure the war in Europe does not cause further suffering for the Syrian people and insecurity across the Middle East.

Second, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overstates negotiations on a new nuclear deal between the West and Iran. US President Biden is now more desperate than ever to secure a new deal with Iran, limit the country’s nuclear program, and most importantly, get Iranian oil back on the market amid the ongoing crisis. The energy crisis was aggravated by the invasion of Ukraine.

Just a few days ago, the future of the deal was in serious jeopardy after Russia was tipped to block any deal that did not include guarantees that Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine will not stand in the way of future deals with Iran.

However, on March 15, Moscow announced that it had received written assurances from Washington, signaling that the deal could, in fact, be finalized soon. For its part, Iran has said it is acting as a “strong, independent party” in the negotiations and has the full backing of Russia. While these are somewhat promising developments for the future of the region, it is far from certain that an isolated Russia crippled by sanctions will allow the deal to proceed and Iranian oil re-enters the global market. The world should pay attention to the Iran front, for if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine leads to the collapse of the nuclear deal, it will signal further insecurity and conflict for the Gulf and the wider region.

Third, Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to have a major impact on the adversarial relationship between the US and China. For now, China seems well-positioned to benefit from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine on multiple fronts, which could prompt the United States to adopt a more combative posture against its arch-rival. me.

In fact, Beijing can now not only provide an economic lifeline for Russia, and thus make Moscow more dependent on itself, but also take advantage of new incentives for the United States to continue to push back against foreign powers. its interests in other fields. For example, some analysts raised concerns that China might act unilaterally against Taiwan, after witnessing a “weak Western response in Ukraine”. While a Ukraine-style invasion of Taiwan is unlikely for a variety of reasons, China could take a more aggressive stance on other fronts if the US continues to hold China accountable. in Russian actions.

Getting involved with China and the US response to the issue could also lead to further escalation in the Indo-Pacific region. The US has used its ally India as a strategic bulwark against China for too long, and any new global power play involving China, Russia and the US could lead to conflict. new in regional hotspots, such as Kashmir. India’s efforts to counter Russia after its invasion of Ukraine have frustrated its Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) allies. Now the US and the dialogue parties (Australia and Japan) can ask India to take a tougher stance if not against Russia, then at least against China. All of this could further increase tensions in the region and lead to violence.

Overall, there are indications that Russia’s war in Ukraine could increase tensions in various conflict zones, trigger new confrontations and put the entire planet on a trajectory towards violence. more force.

Therefore, now is not the time to complain about how “mad” Putin is or how “irrational” his actions in Ukraine are. This is not the time to invest in certain narratives that one side is “good” and the other “bad”. The time has come to emphasize de-escalation, strengthen confidence-building mechanisms, invest in peace-building, and work toward a global armistice with the help and guidance of multilateral organizations. direction. Substitution can be deadly for all of us.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of Al Jazeera.

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