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Ukraine left alone, has parallel to Pakistan of 1971

By Jan Achakzai
February 28, 2022

Like Pakistan abandoned in 1971, Ukraine has learned the hard way how the Western world watched as bystanders while the Russian tanks rolled into its streets, and precision missiles rammed from the sky. The belated response of Nato sanctioning Russia would unlikely save Ukraine from a fait accompli, i.e, regime change and division of Ukraine in the eastern and western parts, on the whims of President Putin.

In 1971, Pakistan whose case on Kashmir was diplomatically damaged due to becoming part of CENTO was abandoned and its breakup was neither resisted nor any valuable facilitation given by those who had ensured defence under CENTO. Islamabad was left to fend for itself as the then Soviet Union joined hands with its NAM ally, India, to dismember the then Pakistan into two halves, while the West looked the other way.

For instance, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in excerpts from his memoirs published in the Time magazine, himself admitted: "He and Nixon were convinced Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was using the civil war in East Pakistan as a cover for destroying West Pakistan to establish Indian dominance over the Asian Subcontinent. East Pakistan, separated by 1,000 miles of India from dominant West Pakistan, had long been pushing for independence". It was at a time when Pakistan was being used as a grant interlocutor between China and the US.

In the case of Ukraine, both in 2014 and now in 2022, it has paid for its relations with the West with no real support extended as was promised.

Crimea, for example, was annexed and it became a new normal in a couple of years. The two newborn states (Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics) will likely become a reality as well. And the Russian bombardment of "Justice" in Kiye will be no different than the US bombardment of "Democracy" in Afghanistan of 2001.

The condition of Nato is that an attack on one country will be considered an attack on all the member states. Technically, the "collective defence" means that an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all the allies. The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

Nato invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. Also, measures in response to a weak country like Syria may not be a match for the even weaker response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nevertheless, Nato has standing forces on active duty that contribute to the alliance’s collective defence efforts permanently across Europe. But the reality of Nato is that they will not go to war for any other country less than their own. That the announcements of some material help, in money and military hardware for Kiye, and sanctions on Russia by the European and American politicians are not equivalent to standing by Ukraine against the Russian invasion. The helpless Ukrainian citizens will be laughing at the "Vodka Rebellion" at the bars and liquor stores across the US and Canada as Russian export. Never mind that they are doing this, i.e. pouring out vodka on the street, which was made in Latvia (a Nato member country), that they already spent their money on.

Yes, the level of grief shown is discernible and maybe a bit more in case this invasion was actually against a Nato member state.

Above in view, the conclusion is that this episode will fade away the trust of entire Eastern Europe in the US and Nato, and no politician in Eastern Europe will ever put himself at stake for western diplomatic adventures. Not to mention the current Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who sold Nato membership dream to ordinary citizens taking the rhetorical pledge of Nato as substantive assurance.

Soon the world will be negotiating Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, which they will happily do after regime change, while the world will be gleefully claiming diplomatic success. The great Iqbal succinctly put for us this bitter reality: Hai Juram-e-Zaifi Ki Saza Marg-e-Mafajat.

Jan Achakzai is a geopolitical analyst and Chairman of the Institute of New Horizons (INH) & Balochistan. He tweets @Jan_Achakzai