Expansionism And The Case With Russo-Ukranian War

Adeyemi Oyerinde

Adeyemi Oyerinde

A territorial usurpation aimed at forestalling Ukraine’s fraternization with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russia’s incursive move into Kiev is, as expected, ruffling some feathers.Though a condemnable violation of the modern concept of sovereignty and international morality, Vladimir Putin’s expansionist drive prompting his invasion and anticipatory occupation and annexation of swaths of Ukrainian territories has, from antiquity, been the natural disposition of empires, kingdoms, territories and nations.

Humanity’s history is an expanse strewn with bloods wrung out of the bulwarks of men mounted against invaders.The birth and survival of empires spanning Babylonian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Oyo, British, and Soviet Empires was conditioned on their respective capacities to encroach on and appropriate nearby and far-flung territories while leaving trails of mangled and charred fatalities in the process.

As lands are naturally existing entities which in objective terms, are nobody’s entitlements, it is often conceived by expansionists that the extention of their frontiers through the arrogation of other territories is a necessity considering that land is a requisite factor for economic survival. Adolf Hitler’s Lebensraum principle as was advanced by Nazi regime is an instance of expansionism being one of the chief inciters of World War II goading the Allied Forces against the Axis Powers.

Whereas modern conceptualisation of sovereignty has outdated and outlawed expansionism as constructed in the antiquity, human’s enduring venture for economic survival, prosperity and in extreme cases, domination, has compelled a modification or recharacterization of expansionism. This modification has been necessitated by the realization that the barbarity of the self-destruction usually visited on humanity in the course of expansionistic drives is at variance with rationality.

The forms assumed by the variation include financial aids, military aids, medical aids, educational grants, loans, foreign direct investments, etc. In the subtleness of this varied expansionist arrangement, strong, rich and developed countries, feigning sympathy, would commit to offer handouts to weak, poor and underdeveloped countries. Oftentimes, this commitment is on a quid pro quo basis whereby the receiving country would have its policies, productivity, budgetary allocations and ideologies influenced by the giving country. Of the mechanisms employed by strong and rich countries in extending their territorial enclosures is the wresting of the domains of weak and poor countries through the aid of global and regional alliances like the United Nations, the European Union, Organisation of American States, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

When more than a decade ago, anti-Qadaffi plot had climaxed in Western circles, the ultimate invasion of Libya facilitating the assassination of the “Mad Dog of The Middle East” by NATO was accorded justification by a global political doctrine designated as R2P (or Responsibility to Protect). R2P was adopted at the 2005 World Summit of the United Nations as a doctrine obligating and granting carte blanche to the international community to intervene with military force in situations where civilian populations of a nations are being faced with genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. With the cloak of R2P, the invasion of Libya in 2011 was validated by the handlers of the invading NATO forces on ground of the accusations of crimes committed by Mu’ammar Al-Qadhdhāfī against Libya’s civilian population.This and similar instances serve to reinforce the assertion that sovereignty as conceived by the corpus of international law is at worst an illusion and at best vulnerable to violation under any thinkable pretexts dictated by global hegemons.

While from a purely humanistic standpoint, one might tilt towards maligning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, humanism is naturally discarded when geopolitical interests are in consideration.The stale and simplistic contention of “violation of sovereignty” of one country by another becomes a gross reductio ad absurdum at the point where threat to the self-preservation of the latter is being threatened or imminently threatened by the former.

As America and its NATO partners have demonstrated an impending geopolitical threat to Russia by their prospective affiliation with Ukraine, Kremlin would come off as a wimp should it have failed in responding with military action against Ukraine towards protecting the dignity of and its exclusivity over its territory.Taking into account the proximity of the warring countries, their shared history in relation to the Soviet Union, their dispute over spaces located within Ukrainian border, Russia’s backing of Donetsk and Luhansk separatists in Ukraine and Russia’s significant power and status in Eurasia, Eastern Europe and the Slavic region, Kremlin’s wellbeing and security would become susceptible to detriment should it sit by while Ukraine contracts an alliance that would consolidate its military might with the US-controlled NATO.

With its constant opposition to the interests of and aggression towards the United States, Russia is on a calculated move to resume a bipolar world order whereby it would equally compete in the exercise of global power and influence with the US as was the case during the Cold War and prior to the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. Now that Putin’s military muscle is being flexed on Ukrainian territory, the unipolarity sought to be sustained (or assumed as some observers would rather conceive) by Washington through NATO is being effectively checkmated.

In the main, this geopolitical contest is being prosecuted as a proxy war in which case Ukraine is a pawn being employed by the Oval Office and its NATO cronies against Russia. When all is said and done, human and material casualties occasioned by this hostility will in their largest quantity be at the expense of Ukraine. In that phase, Volodymyr Zelensky will have been compelled to give in to Kremlin’s demands after losing face in his no-win situation. If President Volodymyr Zelensky would be acclaimed for anything, it should be his grit in resisting an aggressor that veritably boasts of being the second strongest military power in the world.


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