The noted scientist Albert Einstein was quite puzzled when he was asked about the horrifying and dreadful impact of the World War 3 (WW3). He is on record to have said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Following the WW3, if humans exist, there will be nothing left for them for WW4 to fight with simply because of the magnitude and brutality of nuclear weapons, he added.
By Prof Hari Bansh Jha
However, it seems that mankind in different ages have learnt little from the history about the horrible consequences of the wars. So, they go on for the wars and history repeats. Had it not been so, there would not have been WW1, WW2or any other war.
Exactly one hundred years after the WW1 (1914-18) the Coronavirus that most people believe started from Wuhan lab of China in October 2019 engulfed the entire length and breadth of the world. Despite the COVID vaccine inoculations to sizeable sections of the world population, the problem is not yet over. As of October 7, 2022, 1,062,130 people died of COVID 19 in the USA alone and at the global level the death toll reached 6,554,356. The coronavirus was a biological war, which impacted the health, economy, and behaviour of the people in every nook and corner of the world almost in the same way as the world war.
By the end of 2021, the horrific impact of COVID19 to a certain extent had started subsiding. But soon afterwards, the Russo-Ukraine war started on February 24, 2022 in which 9.6 million people from Ukraine fled their country and started living as refugees in Europe and different other countries of the world. A third of the total population of Ukraine has been displaced. Thousands of civilians and military have been killed and injured in both the countries.
Russia justifies its invasion over Ukraine on account of NATO’s expansion and the security threat that it poses to this country. On the other hand, Ukraine believes that it was attacked by Russia under its plan of restoring the Soviet Union. Whatever may be the truth, the impacts of the war are not just confined to Russia and Ukraine alone. Most parts of the world have already been jolted by this war – no matter they are in Europe, America, Asia or even Africa.
Increase in the prices of gas/petroleum products at the global level on account of the Russo-Ukraine war has had multiplier effects on various sectors in different countries of the world. Consumers all over the world now feel a great pinch of it. Following the WW2, none of the wars fought between any two countries like the US-Vietnam war, the Indo-China war or the Indo-Pak war impacted the global economy as much as the Russo-Ukraine war.
Unfortunately, in last couple of days the Russo-Ukraine war has intensified beyond any measure. The war between these two countries that was fought on the ground entered the Baltic Sea where explosions on September 27 caused major leaks of the gas pipeline that was meant for supplying oil from Russia to Germany. This war under the water was nothing but energy battle between Russia and Europe. Furthermore, between September 23 and September 27, Russia conducted referendum in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, including in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, in which a great majority of the population of these regions voted to break away from Ukraine to become part of Russian Federation. Nevertheless, the West perceives this referendum as a farce.
Latest in series of the ongoing war is the deadly missile attacks by Russia on the Ukrainian cities. A number of civilian and infrastructure installations in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and other parts of the country have been destroyed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in his televised address announced that his military launched missile attacks against Ukraine targeting energy, military command and communications facilities. He also said that such action had to be taken in retaliation for the blast that destroyed its strategically important Crimea bridge. Missile attack by Russia on Ukraine that started on October 10 is continuing and the chances are high that it may lead to full blown war.
Sadly, Ukraine has been serving merely as a battleground in which the main player is Russia on the one side and NATO/USA on the other. Each side wants to end the supremacy of the other in military might. Countries far and wide are getting polarized between the two sides, which poses a major threat to world peace.
The individual peace builders and agencies working for peace globally, on top of the world governing institution like the UNO that has taken the responsibility to maintain peace and security in the world, could have played an enormous role in ending the Russo-Ukraine war. Unfortunately, those so-called peace builders seem to have either taken partition approach or are behaving like silent spectators. Similarly, countries which are yet to take side between Russia and Ukraine/NATO could also have built pressure on the warring nations to stop the war. But no sincere effort has been made by them thinking that the war has not reached their doors.
In this war between Russia and Ukraine/NATO, those who are suffering most are the Ukrainian people. They are suffering in the same way as the grass suffers when the two elephants fight or fall in love with each other. It is no more a point of debate now if the WW3 has started or not. It already began as far back as in 2019 with the biological war in the form of coronavirus and later February 24 when Ukraine was attacked by Russia.
If the Russo-Ukraine war does not stop now, it might result into a full-blown WW3 any moment in which use of nuclear weapons cannot be ruled out. In such a situation, no individual, what to speak of the nations, will remain safe. But even amidst this chaotic situation, the ray of hope is that the WW3 is in its first phase, and it may stop provided the intellectuals, thinkers, peacebuilders, and nations world over realize the seriousness of the situation and start acting for bringing the warring countries on negotiation table to help them to resolve theirdifferences through talks at the diplomatic and political levels. If not, the situation is going to be horrific even beyond what Albert Einstein imagined.
This article first appeared in www.vifindia.org and it belongs to them.