A State of Despair

Juan Abbas

The “special military operation” in Ukraine–as it is referred to–has and will have shockwaves for generations to come. But the war spilling over to other sides of the world will also send ripples; alienating and alternating opinions and global political standards for a few years to come. Cold Wars generally do have consequences. But is this a cold war in its entirety? The concept of cold wars was derived from a conflict between the US, and the-then-Soviet Union in the Second World War It contested each nation’s ability to align itself behind a specific entity and show its respective support through a series of policies and statements that would define their hazy position in the matter. In the Cold War, specifically, countries that were absent of a common border or common interest were concerned to have been effective partisans. A country halfway across the world was to throw its support behind its desired state-and consequently face frowns-domestically and internationally. Over 70 years later, the oven has warmed up. The cold war has essentially tossed its purpose. After Russia announced a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, about a month ago; nobody was surprised to see this ticking time bomb eventually explode. Intelligence officials signalled these developments towards the end of 2021. Yet, everybody saw the series of events playing out a bit differently. Perhaps, some thought history would repeat itself after the Budapest memorandum. But unfortunately, it didn’t-nor did it turn out to be the convenient cold war that many nations hoped it to be. Let’s look at countries in the Ural Mountains. Kazakhstan-a very close neighbour of about every country in the region sees itself stuck to any new developments in the region. Kazakhstan was one of the first to be an energy replacement for Russia. It stepped in to invite investors and companies alike. It used its political dividend to establish itself as a powerful sector for development. Recently, Kazakhstan’s deputy foreign minister, Roman Vassilenko, has repelled any idea of the country acting as a standstill remedial for any cold war or operation alike. He invited companies moving out of the region to head to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan-a country already burdened with its oil production-sees its largest pipeline blocked by Russians. There are multiple reasons for this; including the potential decrease in demand for oil, as Russia struggles to fulfil its own supply of energy amidst these sanctioned policies imposed on it. Poland is also a major game player in those affected by the crisis. Poland, one of the financial capitals of the world, with high per capita growth, now sees itself with a high influx of refugees from Ukraine. Sharing a border with both- Ukraine, and Belarus, Poland is deeply affected by the implications of the war. With this staggering increase in census numbers, Poland’s economic fluctuations seem inevitable. Poland’s economic structure relies heavily upon foreign investments and consumer expenditure. By building space in their economy for about 2 and half million refugees, Poland will have to count on reserves and assets to control their economic policy to reduce inflationary measures. Poland is a huge winner in this war though. The far-right ruling party in Warsaw is deemed as a western ally and a supporter of democratic practices. Long story short-this is Poland’s chance to shine and prove itself as a successful confederate in the European Union. Now, let’s hover above energy crises. Now, Libya, thousands of miles away from the world powers in question, has been facing oil production problems for months. This indirectly caused increases in oil prices globally. The OPEC and OPEC+ nations all have fulfilled their responsibilities of price stabilisation. However, countries like Libya are finding it difficult to fill the global demand for oil. With all the tanks and weaponry used in Ukraine, oil consumption soared, creating shortages that other nations had to provide for. Economically, there have been other implications for the global economy as well. The stock markets are seeing a dizzy spell, as the S&P 500, the American proxy market, on Tuesday, saw itself boom to 4300 points, 10% lower from its January highs earlier this year. It crashed to an even lower point over the weekend, as the percentage plunged to another percentage below, starkly affecting US and European stock markets. Stock futures for upcoming holidays could be unsubstantial for curbing these losses. If there’s a market failure and the stock futures trend downwards due to whatever news coming from Russia, the S&P 500, along with the DOW, could see itself uncontrollably falling. With no market correction policy framework in place, other stock markets could also see similar fates. And while these two may seem most impacted by the war, it’s Ukrainians, who see themselves at crossroads between a destroyed nation, and newer avenues to take refuge.

(Courtesy Daily Times, Pakistan)