What may be the cost of “vanquishing” Putin as Deputy PM Freeland demands?
This week PeaceQuest Cape Breton essayist Sean Howard looks at the disastrous humanitarian impacts of the war in Ukraine: be it nuclear war or famine.
The NATO-Ukraine-Russia war is being waged far from the Global South. But in its direst global humanitarian consequences it is a European earthquake poised to trigger cascades of hunger and deprivation, certain to kill many more people in the South than the North. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned the Security Council on April 5:
Far beyond Ukraine’s borders, the war has led to massive increases in the prices of food, energy and fertilizers, because Russia and Ukraine are lynchpins of these markets. It has disrupted supply chains and increased the cost of transportation, putting even more pressure on the developing world. Many developing countries were already on the verge of debt collapse, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of adequate liquidity and debt relief, stemming ultimately from the unfair nature of our global economic and financial system. For all these reasons, it is more urgent by the day to silence the guns.
Six weeks later, Guterres warned the war “threatens to tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years.” Yet while many in the North acknowledge the peril they are content to pin sole blame on Evil Russia’s Mad Tsar, whom they insist must be weakened and even toppled, however long and loud the guns may roar, and however many (others) pay the price. In the frankly maniacal words of Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland:
…we all now understand that the world’s democracies—including our own—can be safe only once the Russian tyrant and his armies are entirely vanquished.
Freeland is entirely wrong, for while almost all Global South states, including many democracies, have unequivocally condemned the Russian invasion, most sanely stress— as do some less delusional European capitals—the need for a diplomatic solution (a messy peace, which is on offer), rather than a decisive military one (a glorious victory, which is not).
- Read more in “War’s Far-Reaching Effects” by Sean Howard, published by the Cape Breton Spectator on June 1, 2022
(Cover: KYIV, UKRAINE – Feb. 25, 2022: War of Russia against Ukraine. A residential building damaged by an enemy aircraft in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Via Shutterstock)