Staunton, Oct. 30 – It remains unclear how Putin’s war in Ukraine or the conflict triggered by Hamas’ attack on Israel will end, but one conclusion, both “disappointing and dangerous,” is that the strategy of containment on which the international system has rested since 1945 “no longer works,” Vladimir Pastukhov says.
That strategy is based on the proposition that an enemy won’t attack if he knows that he will be destroyed if he does so, the London-based Russian analyst says; and it worked well for most of the past 70 years. But now it is breaking down and with it the world order it supported (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=653F4E3E11EA4).
In the months before Putin launched his expanded attack on Ukraine, Pastukhov says, “the US and the West used exactly this argument in every possible way: do not attack Ukraine becaue our response will be too expensive for you. But that didn’t work,” perhaps because Moscow did not think in long enough terms.
“Israel’s strategy in Gaza was the same,” the analyst says, “but much more fundamental: don’t attack us or we guarantee that we will destroy you. Nonetheless, Hamas attacked anyway,” in one sense a miscalculation but also a reflection of the sense among its leaders that the old verities are no longer true.
That has happened before and with disastrous consequences that led to World War I. In the lead up to 1914, Pastukhov points out, the general staffs in European countries “suddenly reached the crazy conclusion that with new weapons, the attackers had the advantages” and thus could safely ignore “the established deterrence mechanism.”
At present, this shift has led to a series of local or regional wars. But because it calls into question the strength of the current international order, there is a great risk that it could ultimately lead to a third world conflagration.