Ukraine could be USA's Suez

Scottish historian Dr. Niall Ferguson, who is now a citizen of the USA, in his recent articles and podcasts compared possible invasion of Taiwan by China, to the famous Suez crisis of 1956. I’d very humbly disagree with him and put forth another argument that it"s not Taiwan but the Ukraine crisis would be the USA"s Suez crisis.

NewsBharati    18-Jan-2022 17:38:33 PM   
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“Ukraine is not a nation, it has never been so.” These were the words in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s famous article on Ukraine. That article was titled ‘historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians’. Putin has explained his perspective on Ukraine in that letter, while many analysts see it as a rationale behind Putin’s/ Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine Article
Scottish historian Dr. Niall Ferguson, who is now a citizen of the USA, in his recent articles and podcasts compared possible invasion of Taiwan by China, to the famous Suez crisis of 1956. I’d very humbly disagree with him and put forth another argument that it's not Taiwan but the Ukraine crisis would be the USA's Suez crisis.
Firstly, I think it is important to give a bit of a background about the original Suez crisis of 1956. On 26th of July 1956, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal Company, which prior to that was owned primarily by British and French shareholders. On the 29th of October, Israel invaded the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to cease fire, which was ignored. On 5 November, Britain and France landed paratroopers along the Suez Canal. Before the Egyptian forces were defeated, they had blocked the canal to all shipping by sinking 40 ships in the canal. It later became clear that Israel, France and Britain had conspired to plan out the invasion. The three allies had attained a number of their military objectives, but the canal was useless. Heavy political pressure from the United States and the USSR led to their withdrawal. Then U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower had strongly warned Britain not to invade; he threatened serious damage to the British financial system by selling the US government's pound sterling bonds. While the Soviet Union threatened to help Egypt militarily.
According to most historians, this was the moment which signified the end of Great Britain's role as one of the world's major powers. Today, another Gamal Abdel Nasser,i.eVladimir Putin is all set to invade Ukraine. This comparison is not to insult Russia or Putin but to accept the reality that Russia, especially its economy, is now much much smaller than leading world economies. Although it is still undoubtedly the world's number 2 military power by far. That is the only reason why Russia and its current regime is a gangster in the region. But while he is preparing to invade, the only force that stopped USSR, essentially Russia, from invading Europe since the end of WW2, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has warned Russia of devastating financial sanctions upto an extent of cutting off Russia from SWIFT financial system. This certainly would cripple Russia’s financial system. While the only Military power in NATO which Russia fears, the USA, has made it categorically clear that they will not put boots on the ground until Russia invades.
Now, many military experts in the US and around the world are saying that if the US does not put boots on ground and waits till Russia invades, it would be almost impossible to push back the Russian military. But US president Joe Biden seems to have chosen to not heed that advice. Apart from this practical blunder, he is also making a communication blunder by telling Putin that he will not invade. This will only increase the chances of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lastly, the reason NATO’s credible threat of cutting off Russia from the SWIFT system is not potent. To quote a colleague of Dr. Niall Ferguson, from the Hoover institution, Dr. Stephen Kotkin, “A dictatorial regime does not require a booming economy, it needs cash flow.” That is an extremely keen and important observation by Dr. Kotkin. Russia and Putin’s regime does not depend on the global financial market or even the bond market. That is not to say that the Russian economy does not need it. But the Russian regime’s needs are different from the Russian economy. Current regime in Russia can survive on its Natural resources exports and weapons exports. Russia also has direct and indirect connections with hackers who can hack into any bank account and transfer the necessary amount of money. Sanctions on Russia do not apply on its almost client states of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, etc. Which allows Russia to easily operate from any of these states.
The US is much more powerful in almost every sense. It has a much more advanced and powerful Military, vastly superior economy, allies around the world as well as cultural influence around the globe. But it lacks two very important things, one is leadership and two, cohesiveness.
Today’s US doesn't have cohesion to gather its national resources and will to fight something so far from their home. It is not the US of FDR, when US declared war on Nazi Germany. It is not Eisenhover’s US either which declared war on North Korea. It is not even LBJ’s US which half heartedly declared war on Vietnam.
It is the USA of Obama, Trump and Biden who all supported and tried for US withdrawal from Afghanistan. We are all witnessing it live, what the consequences of that withdrawal are. With the coastal elite being pacifist and the hinterland population being fed up with being used as cannon fodder for what they perceive as the elite's wars. The US lacks willingness to fight.
Today, the US is threatening to take ‘devastating measures’ against Russia if it invades Ukraine. But anyone can tell that the US lacks capacity to put its words in action. The Russian regime is capable and ready to sacrifice thousands of its troops for Ukraine, Russian people are willing to fight to ‘take back’ Ukraine. At the same time the US military is talking about diversity to appeal to youth to join them.
Flip side of this argument is that if the US and its allies defeat Russia substantially, that would mean the end of Putin. Which could result in fragmentation of Russia into multiple countries from Siberia to the west. Which would definitely result in China’s unofficial borders extending to Hungary. That would be a global disaster.
This is why I dare say, Ukraine could be the USA’s Suez. But perhaps there is hope for America after all. In 1941, the US was suffering from isolationism instead of wokeism now. It took one crazy idea of attacking the US to bring its industrial might into the WW2 which was a primary reason behind Nazi and impereal japan’s defeat. That attack on pearl harbor united the American people. Perhaps another Asian rival of this era would dare make a similar blunder, perhaps.

Apoorva Sahasrabudhay

Apoorva Sahasrabudhay is a media graduate who writes about politics, international affairs, geopolitics, economics and history. He has a keen interest on tracking sociological data of various countries and societies. He is also interested in psephology. He is meanwhile also exploring his hand in culture and religion.