The world after Covid needs food, not weapons

The shocking image came from Tallinn. Dozens of women had gathered outside the Russian embassy in the capital of Estonia to protest against sexual violence and rape inflicted on Ukrainian women. Covering their faces with black masks, the women were dressed only in shirts. It is a poignant reflection of the brutal times in which we live. The dark shadow of war extends further. This is why speculation is once again rife in Finland. Citizens are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the techniques of modern warfare. Apart from this, the government has issued orders to build up rations, petroleum products and essential medicines for a period of three to 10 months.

Not only that, Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland, at a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart Magdalena Anderson, expressed a desire for NATO membership. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned both countries to be prepared to face extremely serious consequences. Will Russia now launch an attack on Finland? Most analysts believe that looking at how Russia has been caught up in the Ukraine conflict, it is capable of taking any desperate measure.

It is true that Putin did not expect such fierce resistance from Ukraine. Although it became an independent nation in 1991, the people of Ukraine have continued to have an emotional connection with Russia. This is why Putin believed that the Ukrainian people would warmly welcome the Russian army. Perhaps he would have learned a lesson from the bitter failure of Ayub Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1965 – when they sent their troops to Kashmir, they too had thought that the Kashmiri people would welcome them and that the flag Pakistani would easily be hoisted into Srinagar. Not only did Ukrainian citizens display their unique patriotism, but Volodymyr Zelensky also became a hero for the masses. Zelensky has developed a unique art through dialogue. Far from fleeing the country, he did not even leave kyiv and addressed parliamentarians around the world from the Ukrainian capital in his own inimitable style that touches people’s hearts. Contrary to this, Putin does not allow anyone else to gain prominence in public forums. As a result, Russia has been unable to make its views known to the world community.

Western media reports claim that three Russian major generals were killed in this war and its largest warship was destroyed. Anxiety-ridden Putin reportedly imprisoned more than 125 army and intelligence officers, including Vladislav Surkov. At one time, Surkov was deputy prime minister of Russia and played an important role in helping Putin become president. He is the person credited with coining the term “Putinism”. Not only that, Nashi, the radical political youth movement in Russia created on the model of the Nazis, is also the brainchild of Surkov. Russia’s resolute silence has only served to fuel speculation and rumour. You may remember seeing a picture of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Zelensky walking through the streets of Kyiv. On that joyous April 9 afternoon in war-torn Ukraine, Johnson may have been trying to rectify the historic mistakes made by his ancestor Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain and a former French Prime Minister had reached an agreement with Adolf Hitler on September 30, 1938, in which part of the German-majority areas of Czechoslovakia were handed over to Hitler. Since then, history has not forgiven the two leaders for their madness.

Another consequence of this attack, NATO, which was perceived as lifeless under the reign of Donald Trump, has established itself as the great unifier of Western nations. Today, with the West, even countries like Australia and Japan are associating themselves with Ukraine. The conflict has also fueled a blinding arms race around the world. This led to a double whammy of repercussions. If Moscow feels the heat, even the American arsenal runs out. Note: The Pentagon has sent up to 33% of its Javelin missiles and 25% of its Stinger missiles to Ukraine. The United States has already spent $2 billion during the crisis. A CNN survey found that President Joe Biden’s approval ratings had fallen to just 39%. The ripple effect of the conflict does not end there. Last Friday, during a joint military exercise on the Taiwan border, China announced that the shadow of war does not just hang over Europe. A six-member delegation of US lawmakers was visiting Taiwan at the time this exercise was conducted. At this point, the world, reeling from trauma, needs the necessities of life, not war.

Let’s not forget: developing and poor nations need food, not weapons. The situation is fueling inflation and the repercussions are felt most in developing countries. Sri Lanka is on the verge of bankruptcy and inflation is spreading like wildfire in Nepal, Bangladesh and India. If these fires spread further or start World War III, global anarchy will prevail. Nothing could be worse than that.

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