When the Russian army marched into Ukraine in spring, it hardly created a ripple anywhere other than in Europe, and even then a very small one. So much so that the EU, faithful to its image, did not immediately qualify this as an act of war. While the heads of states made the right noises in their respective capitals, the main objective was to do as little as possible. And so Putin just sailed through, and without the tragic incident of the Malaysian Airline’s flight MH 17, would have gained serious mileage as a determined leader in a lot of countries in the world. 

The crisis in Ukraine escalated over a period of several months, without much intervention from anyone, and has now resulted in the ‘Big Chill’ between Russia and the West. As the economic sanctions against Russia started piling up last week, the big chill is now slowly transforming itself into a cold war. Only this time around, the analysts warn us, it would not do to call it a second cold war. Because that may lead to all sorts of kneejerk reactions. No, we certainly don’t want that anymore. Except that the relationship between Russia and the West will not be back to normal in a hurry. The blame game is on full swing, with each side trying to pin the responsibility of the present crisis on the other. 

This new cold war is bound to have an impact on a wide range of issues all over the globe, now become multipolar with China and India as major players, both in the military and economic domains. Regional security issues, mostly in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific will become predominant, pushing several other objectives, especially the fight against international terrorism, to the background. The economic sanctions imposed by the Western nations on Russia will further impoverish the Russian economy and lead to widespread suffering of the population. And not only the Russian economy. For instance, France has suspended the sale of Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia, mainly under NATO pressure and the estimated loss for the French economy is almost 1 billion Euros. Not taking into account the loss of jobs that will result from stopping the construction work in the French shipyard. 

This is a crisis on a global scale, and none of the major geostrategic players will escape the consequences. And as we all know, while national wealth does not always filter downwards, economic crisis does. So finally it will be the hapless citizens who will have to pay the price for the clash of the titans, unless there is a concerted protest on a global scale. 


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