The war in Ukraine has resulted in profound geopolitical shifts, and the risk of escalating tensions to the point of nuclear war has once again been elevated. This paper seeks to examine Russia’s strategies during international crises and to propose multilateral solutions to deal with Russia’s authoritarianism and China’s economic expansionism, which benefits from the current global tensions.
Russia’s extensive military attacks against Ukraine and use of extensive intelligence services to conduct sabotage and cyber operations (Philip G. Wasielewski, Russia’s Gamble in Ukrain, 2022) simultaneously choosing an aggressive and active strategy to influence the internal policies of Western democracies through covert activities. It warns of the need to find effective solutions to counter Russia’s power-seeking, which includes the support of business elites, political parties, politicians, and militias, and, on a smaller scale, to end the conflict in Ukraine (Stacie L. PettyJohn, 2019).
According to experts, Russia effectively employed the new art of war in Crimea operation which creating a serious threat to developed democracies(Vadym Torichnyi, 2021).
Putin’s appetite for risk-taking has grown in recent years, as his grip on power has consolidated and his circle of advisors has shrunk, according to William Burns, who cautions that Putin’s advisors have become fewer in number(Dibb, 2022).
With these interpretations, undertaking scientific research on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine can help in the resolution of contemporary wars and armed conflicts.
The West, led by the United States, will play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the present crisis. The possibility of heightened tensions between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could lead to global retaliation, including the use of nuclear weapons thus It appears inevitable that the West will assume the leadership role in peace negotiations.
On the other hand, the necessity of Western strategy to shape the new world order following the conclusion of the Ukraine war can be derived from two hypotheses: the defeat of Russia and the subsequent redefinition of liberalism and its global expansion, along with some military authoritarianism, or the defeat of Ukraine that results in the emergence of a new global authoritarianism. Consequently, increasing military authority and sustaining and stabilizing the current borders are given precedence (Bergman, 2023).
It is true that many of the long-standing assumptions of international diplomacy that are on the brink of a nuclear war will be reduced, but public opinion should increase its pressure on governments to use their full diplomatic authority to reduce tensions and halt the war. This is a very complex and novel situation on the international stage; what distinguishes it from all previous crises in the annals of international relations is the ubiquitous availability of nuclear weapons to superpowers. Even if hostilities cease right now, the next stage will be the struggle to define new global realities, which will necessitate a more intense arms race and confrontation with Russia and another superpower, namely China. Therefore, the cessation of hostilities cannot be viewed as a conclusion (Lichterman, 2022).
It is accurate that international law was founded on goodness, but its frailty was exposed during the current crisis when the issue of self-defence and territorial sovereignty arose. It is not just a border or a piece of land that is at stake, but also the authority of international justice and the rule of law. If the West fails to take decisive action in response to Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, the repercussions for the international order could be devastating. (Bufacchi, 2023)
Ukraine War and Upcoming Tensions
Putin’s effective challenge to the European security order has prompted a geopolitical awakening in Europe. No longer is war in Europe inconceivable, and Western governments must plan for multiple scenarios and be as well-prepared as possible for a Russian invasion (Leonard, 2022).
Robert Hunter asserts that after the passage of the law establishing NATO, the United States and its allies concluded in 1997 that Russia would vehemently oppose any plan to enable Ukraine to join NATO. While the rationality element is central to nuclear deterrence, which denies the use of nuclear weapons as suicidal and considers it suicide, nuclear weapons cannot be considered an absolute deterrent in the current (Barel, 2022). As long as Russian forces remain on Ukrainian territory, there is a risk that the conflict will spread to a NATO member state, and this risk can be exacerbated intentionally or unintentionally by a simple target error or a misfired missile. Under the conditions of NATO’s military confrontation with Russia, nuclear weapons cannot serve as a deterrent. Preventing Russia’s use of nuclear weapons should therefore be the administration’s top priority (Priebe, 2023). Europe and the global security order could be destabilized if Russia is able to use nuclear deterrence to defend against an aggressive conflict (Wachs, 2022).
The United States benefits in three ways from Ukraine’s triumph in its conflict with Russia. This is a war between Russia and the West, not just Ukraine. The international order’s future depends on Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, and the United States has a moral obligation to support Ukraine’s fight for independence and democracy (Anders Aslund, 2021). By employing containment and coercion strategies, the United States and the West can provide a suitable response to Russia’s authoritarianism.
Large-scale violence has developed, and although predicting Russia’s movements is difficult, preparing for conflict and forecasting future solutions can aid the west in future negotiations (Andrew Radin, 2020) ).
Five Principal NATO Methods for Countering Russia’s Military Aggression:
According to Jens Stoltenberg, the current security situation in Europe is the most perilous in a generation. NATO must prevent Russian influence in Ukraine and the Baltic, and in order to comprehend how it can prevent Russian aggression in the future, NATO must establish diplomatic relations with Russia (James, 2022).
If negotiations replace war, it appears that Ukraine’s neutrality will be the primary factor in resolving the security crisis and the war, which at the very least necessitates that Ukraine forego joining NATO and any other military alliance (Allison, 2022).
In 1990, during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev agreed to the re-joining of Germany to NATO in exchange for halting NATO’s eastward expansion. However, only three years later, NATO decided to expand towards former Soviet Union republics such as Poland and Hungary, and Ukraine was added to the list of expansionist options.
As proved the case with Germany after World War II, it is evident that negotiations with Putin for a cease-fire agreement will be nearly impossible if they result in the implementation of severe sanctions. Putin possesses nuclear weapons and has demonstrated a willingness to use military force without restraint; therefore, it is preferable to negotiate with him through compromise. In fact, this demonstrates the discourse of Russian authoritarianism, and the military assault on Ukraine is a prime example.
Russia is aware that Ukraine cannot continue to fight Russia without a steady supply of ammunition and military equipment from the West. Now, Russian authorities are prepared to negotiate, but they deny Ukraine’s conditions and make no concessions or explicit proposals while simultaneously firing missiles at Ukraine. In contrast, after signing the decree prohibiting negotiations with Putin, Zelensky proclaimed Ukraine’s willingness to negotiate its conditions (Group, 2022).
Moscow appears to perceive the United States as the most influential negotiator on behalf of Ukraine. The United States must decide how to respond to Russian aggression and convey the possibility of escalation to Moscow. If the Kremlin backs down, renegotiations on Ukraine should include agreements to limit military deployments near significant European landmarks (Group, Responding to Russia’s New Military Buildup Near Ukraine, 2021).
If Russia’s sanctions are maintained, the collateral damage to the West will be recession and hyperinflation (Alan Cafruny, 2023). Therefore, more severe financial conditions will result in a decrease in demand and prevent the stabilization of inflationary expectations, so it will become the norm to anticipate future price increases (Canuto, 2022).
The rate of inflation will increase, particularly in the energy category. Europe’s dependence on Russian gas required initial investments and an immediate commitment to supplying natural gas demand in the next decade (Ersoy, 2022).
As an ongoing consequence of the negative effects of the conflict, slower growth and rising inflation will be experienced. In addition to the previously mentioned circumstances, rising prices will reduce the value of incomes and disrupt trade, supply chains, and remittances in neighbouring economies. A decline in confidence among investors will have an impact on asset prices and may lead to capital outflows from emerging markets (Alfred Kammer, 2022).
It is logical that the West’s ongoing efforts to reduce Russia’s energy dependence by freeing the economies of the free world from Russia and China would extend to a variety of disciplines, such as sophisticated technologies, rare earths, emergency medical apparatus, artificial intelligence, etc. Creating overlapping technological alliances can help the West obtain the necessary funds and resources in the aforementioned areas while decreasing its reliance on autocratic regimes (Brands, 2022).
After facing severe sanctions, Russia has demonstrated that it has been able to maintain its economic strength and withstand them. Certain is that, according to the theory of classical sanctions, political crises will follow an economic recession, and sanctions require time to take effect; this is why Russia will be forced to prolong the conflict with Ukraine.
If negotiations fail, the United States would be more effective focusing on additional financial sanctions, particularly in cooperation with France and Germany.
Weakening Putin and Attempting a Regime Change
The solution to altering the regime in Russia is to use pressure levers and powerful lobbying to influence the central core and those close to power, including the security services and government elites. Although the option of overthrowing Putin on NATO’s behalf appears destructive and counterproductive, it is less expensive than other options. The likelihood of a new leadership coming to power in Russia and ending the conflicts is extremely low. As the Russian government is strong, the opposition is feeble, and pressure on the Kremlin is limited, it is illogical to be optimistic about Putin’s overthrow.
Nonetheless, the possibility of regime instability in Moscow has alarmed a number of Western politicians. While it is difficult to see how Putin will fade away, it is also difficult to see how he will successfully emerge from this situation. However, it is obvious that the West has no clear vision for Russia after Putin and, in reality, no strategic plan to change the regime in Russia.
Reducing tensions and enhancing NATO’s defensive capabilities
implementing a variety of tools and policies that simultaneously reduce tensions and enhance NATO’s ability to deal with Russia, including: sustaining military readiness by increasing forces in the east; New establishments that have been established on NATO territories to provide military support to Ukraine should be dispersed and kept as covert as possible. In order to reduce Russian misinterpretations and miscalculations, NATO is avoiding provocative statements that would indicate a direct military intervention (Bryan Fredrick, 2022).
Restrictions on the use of special weapons like medium-range missiles should be negotiated, and at the same time, NATO ought to minimize its threats against Russia. In this circumstance, it is unlikely that the negotiating parties will achieve their maximum objectives, but the risk of escalating tensions and the likelihood of their escalation into a nuclear conflict will be minimal.
Creating a liberal order that includes Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and North America under the strong and effective leadership of the United States through the creation of international treaties and new multilateral institutions that bring together the democracies of the world and the government’s vulnerability to the economic influence of China and Russia
As long as Europe depends on the United States for its security and cooperates militarily with the United States, Washington will have a great deal of influence in Europe. According to this perspective, if NATO expansion is ruled out, it can be compared to the new security design for Eastern Europe (Rajan Menon, 2020).
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the increasing enthusiasm of European Arctic nations for NATO intervention in this region indicates the need for a greater NATO presence in the Arctic from 2014 onwards to balance Russia’s interests, thereby increasing pressure on Russia from all sides (Brekke, 2022).
Following the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, there will be a far greater possibility that the alliance will prioritize the Arctic, as their membership will facilitate the protection of the Baltic states. With the membership of these two nations in NATO, seven of the eight Arctic nations will be members of this military alliance. In essence, the accession of these nations to NATO will concentrate on the emerging challenges of the Arctic and enhance the ability to prevent China and Russia from engaging in negative behaviour in the Arctic zone (Luke Coffey, 2022).
Wars are strong drivers of change. According to current conditions, the policies of the European Union in its eastern neighbourhood can be expanded by enabling the transfer of funds for the provision of heavy weapons to Ukraine and, most importantly, by maintaining and stabilizing this orientation. In spite of serving Europe’s security interests, the European Union’s positive policies will make it a more coherent and credible actor in foreign policy (Secrieru, 2022).
Security measures to deal with the China’s economic expansionism
Regarding the Ukraine conflict, it has become apparent that Russia, China, the United States, and the European Union must review their respective strategies.
China is the only country that intends to alter the international order and has the military, economic, diplomatic, and technological capacity to do so, according to US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken (Cherkaoui, 2022).
China intends to strengthen economic and strategic ties with Pacific Island nations. China has three main objectives in this partnership: aiding the economic growth of the country by entering the resources and investment destinations of these regions; obtaining the political and diplomatic support of the countries mentioned in global politics; and counterattacking the United States to ensure China’s growth in the global system. These policies will allow China to acquire more economic partners through soft power and eventually develop more quickly in the global system (Yu Lei, 2021).
According to China hawks, China seeks to overthrow U.S. hegemony and establish its own dominance in the world, whereas opposing theories hold that China is interested in changing certain aspects of the liberal world order to suit its own interests. But he has no intention of breaking the law (Larson, 2020).
The book by Yan Xuetong proposes a comparative theory applicable to both Chinese and Western international systems and offers historical examples of the Chinese Empire’s foreign relations. Using the concept of moral realism, he emphasizes an aspect of international authority that necessitates great power to adhere to international norms as opposed to acting in short-term self-interest. He emphasizes the character of leadership and the significance of human choice in this regard. According to him, the competition between the United States and China is primarily about prestige and not about military strength or material resources. Two states can control their positional competition by recognizing each other’s superiority in various disciplines and pursuing a potential cooperation strategy. China can take the lead in providing economic aid to commerce in East Asia as part of a division of labour, while the United States can provide security guarantees. The aforementioned measures can reduce the likelihood of unwarranted conflict or a proxy war (Yuan, 2018).
Today, the United States and its allies are required to be prepared to confront China in addition to managing the Ukraine crisis. Consideration of countermeasures against China’s soft power should be taken more seriously than in the past. Even the solutions that have cut off Russia’s access to global financial systems and critical technologies can serve as a model for similar sanctions against China should Taiwan be attacked.
Putin and the War Crisis
Putin has destroyed Russia’s global credibility by invading Ukraine and breaching international border agreements. According to Henry Kissinger, Russia’s expansionist ambitions and need to subjugate the world around it are fundamental to its security. Putin intends to restore Russia to great power status and embrace Moscow’s dominance in its sphere of influence over the former Soviet Union territories, which view the expansion of NATO in proximity to Russia’s borders as a threat to the security of their sphere of influence.
Russia has two primary objectives: maintaining its realm of influence and power in the region, which has made Ukraine a key area for it, and ensuring Russia’s economic prosperity. Both objectives have been simultaneously targeted by the West; while the expansion of NATO threatens Russia’s border security, the imposition of severe economic sanctions has targeted Russia’s second objective.
Allison believes Russia has devised an aggressive strategy to oppose Western norms on a political, cultural, and military level (Roy, 2014).
Putin has no concerns about political isolation. He seeks to establish a distinct boundary between the Western world and Russia. Since 1989, the United States has consistently used force to maintain its global influence with the goal of eliminating threats and establishing a liberal order based on humanitarian intervention policy, and Russia has struggled to alter the status quo as a result. Putin must acquire global prestige in both the military and diplomatic spheres so that he can once again assume the position of a decision-maker in the management of international affairs (Pisciotta, 2020).
The international order is under threat so long as Russia remains on Ukrainian territory. Before entering a full-scale conflict with Ukraine, Russia attacked Georgia in 2008 and then Ukraine in 2014, which, in addition to violating the territorial integrity of the aforementioned nations, also violated international obligations that have served as the basis for European security since World War II. Obviously Respect for the international order has no place in Russia’s foreign policy if the desired results are not attained, and force will become the principal instrument for advancing Russia’s interests. Putin does not appear to benefit from prolonging the conflict in Ukraine. Sanctions imposed on Russia and the resulting feeble economy will increase the likelihood of widespread protests and discontent within the country (Stoner, 2023).
Kremlin’s policies Against NATO’s Expansionism
Putin declared on February 24, 2022, that any threat or barrier to the Russian nation and people would result in unprecedented outcomes, and then he raised the alert level for Russia’s nuclear arsenal and missiles. Armed with the capability to transport nuclear warheads, it launched an attack on Ukraine (Alexander K. Bollfrass, 2022). Russia has revealed almost invisible structures to the public, disclosing the framework of Europe’s nuclear deterrence and urban targeting-based security environment. Russia’s triumph in this conflict highlights the coercive power of nuclear weapons and the vulnerability of non-nuclear states.
Because Putin’s actions in times of crisis have typically been coercive, Moscow’s threat to use nuclear weapons against NATO in a situation where it is on the losing side will be viewed as more than a threat.
According to Leon Aron of the American Institute, Russia has access to dozens of nuclear weapons and strategic missiles, as well as a malignant ideology and dissatisfaction with the United States; therefore, Russia’s access to the aforementioned weapons is a serious concern, and if Putin decides to destroy NATO and the European Union, it will have a direct impact on them; therefore, we have to handle this situation seriously in order to protect our national interests (Gershhman, 2015).
What Russia attempts to avert is an unequal conflict with the United States. Putin is confident that it will continue to play an important role on the international stage so long as the deterrence mechanism prevents global conflict in a realistic manner. It appears that the West and the United States can withstand Russian aggression through a combination of containment and withdrawal strategies. Given Russia’s threats, it is evident that it will be extremely difficult to negotiate for disarmament, but efforts to control arms can allow Russia to partially regain its international reputation.
Russia’s national security strategy provides clear signals regarding how it will use soft power to accomplish strategic objectives and how it will conduct itself in the future. – According to comprehensive CSIS research, the latest satellite images of Russian ground, air, and naval forces have been utilized to evaluate Russian invasion options, and it was also determined that advanced cyberattacks are being launched against Ukraine’s infrastructure.
Putin is able to obtain valuable information about Ukraine’s goals and use it in future negotiations thanks to a potent intelligence weapon capable of obtaining sensitive cyber information. This is made possible by the execution of assassinations and the precise targeting of the main pillars of power in Ukraine, with the aim of gaining access to sensitive war information via Russian hackers.
Formation of New International and Regional Alliances
Russia has begun a new geopolitical direction following the conflict with Ukraine and has been able to overcome sanctions and isolation from Europe by developing traditional and cultural relations with East Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Latin American, and Chinese nations (Max Bergmann, 2022).
The conflict in Ukraine breaks all ties between Russia and Europe. However, despite the fact that Russia and China have collaborated closely in a number of sectors since long before the current crisis, it is not feasible to determine to what extent Moscow can secure Beijing’s support. Putin has sought to establish agreements with countries that have close economic ties with the United States, such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, and Mexico, as well as in response to NATO’s eastward expansion. Therefore, the new military agreements between the countries mentioned above and Russia will provide Russia with access to locations that will facilitate spying and military operations against the United States (Shuya, 2019).
Putin and his elites are more concerned with geography and military power than with public opinion or international relations. Only the opinions of his elite are significant to Putin. According to his calculations, Russia and China are the only powers capable of acting as an alternative to the West; therefore, Russia’s sphere of influence encompasses not only the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe but also Southeast Asia (Johnson, 2022).
Beijing has implicitly supported Russia and viewed the expansion of NATO as the cause of the crisis, while calling for diplomacy to end the conflict (Jude Blanchette, 2022).
Currently, Russia is aligning itself with Beijing more than anything else, enabling China to come out successful from the European crisis. China will have improved access to Russia’s extensive reserves of raw materials and can anticipate the emergence of new investment opportunities. In the aftermath of the international crisis, if China and Russia increase their strategic and military cooperation, the war between the West and the East will lead to a conflict between American democracy and Chinese authoritarianism. (Pradetto, 2022). Chinese authorities are aware that any support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict will strain ties with the European Union and the United States. According to them, Russia, Europe, and the United States are the major powers that determine the global balance of power. Over the course of more than three decades, relations between Russia and China have steadily improved in numerous areas, including ideology, cyberspace, and global governance. There are still tensions between China and Russia, particularly over the power gap between the two countries, but both countries have managed their differences well. Furthermore, due to their shared hostility toward the formation of American liberalism in the global order (although not identical), there is a clear prospect for a strengthening of relations between these two countries for at least the next two decades.
Russia and China have begun to challenge liberal norms. The concept of a multipolar world order has long been discussed in China and Russia’s relations, and it was highlighted in their 1997 joint statement. Russia has been able to establish the potential for a balance of power with the West by bolstering relations with potential Western adversaries. Despite the fact that Moscow and Beijing share international order concerns, it appears that political concerns over power and divergent national interests have precluded the formation of anything resembling a cohesive alliance (Grajewski, 2022).
The war has resulted in profound geopolitical changes, and the countries in the region are now insecure. The West, under the leadership of the United States, should investigate measures to reduce global tensions and the risks of conflict expansion. Policies requiring the application of diverse and effective methods and instruments In dealing with Russia, a combination of compromise, containment, and coercion strategies needs to be considered.
This necessitates coordination between the various types of research that determine what strategies the Russians are contemplating for any other potential adversary. NATO requires a strategic communication-based training program as the primary means of accomplishing non-lethal effects at its lowest structural levels.
The undermining of physical power and military solutions in dealing with governments, particularly in Ukraine, is unmistakably indicative of escalating tensions with potentially catastrophic global consequences. Russia’s triumph in this conflict will not only reinforce Putin’s dictatorship, but it will also serve as a watershed moment for anti-democratic populists around the world, empowering and emboldening them.
It is evident that the elites of the United States and Europe in the 20th century did not place much emphasis on the logic of realism in international politics, relying instead on liberal principles such as the rule of law and integrated international democracy. However, this strategy of integrating Ukraine into NATO in Russia’s neighbourhood was not an appropriate policy (Mearsheimer, 2014).
Russia chose the option of war in response to Ukraine’s accession to NATO, and as a result, the United States boosted its military strength after the war’s onset. It shows the United States is not particularly interested in finding a diplomatic solution to the current crisis. Given that the prolongation of the war and the imposition of severe economic sanctions against Russia will ultimately be to Russia’s detriment, it appears that the war will last for months or even years (Mearsheimer, The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis, 2022).It is a sad reality that abstract rights to self-determination are frequently rendered essentially irrelevant when the interests of great powers are at issue and powerful states are at odds with weaker states. Even if some continue to believe that it is Ukraine’s inalienable right to seek membership in NATO, the United States and its allies retain the right to deny the application.
Continuing with the current policy complicates relations between the West and Russia on other issues. To reach a nuclear agreement with Iran and stabilize the situation in Syria, the United States requires Russia’s assistance. In the past, Moscow has assisted Washington in these matters. On the other hand, in order to hold back a rising China, the United States will eventually require Russia’s assistance. Regarding the Ukraine crisis, there are two options: continue with the current policy that escalates tensions with Russia and destroys Ukraine, an outcome in which everyone loses, or adopt a different approach to create a neutral Ukraine. Even though it did not satisfy all of the parties’ demands, it will be the least risky and least expensive option for all parties involved in the conflict.