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If anyone is still wondering when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, it was not on the early morning hours of 24th February 2022. Instead, it had begun taking shape 22 years ago when on 5th December 1994 Ukraine had signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. Under this agreement Ukraine, then world’s 3rd largest holder of Nuclear stockpiles, had willingly given up all its Nukes. In return, it was assured of protection against any threats to its territorial integrity and political independence by USA, Russia and United Kingdom. Today as Ukrainians fight for survival against a Russian invasion and USA and European Union offer hollow ‘moral support’, the irony of the situation is not lost on anyone.

 

If both the sides in a conflict possess Nuclear weapons then the possibility of either of them actually using them is absolutely zero. MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction is the underlying principle under which Nuclear Deterrence works. Such is the cruel dichotomy of a Nuclear Arsenal that its possession is the only the guarantee one can have against its use. It is a ‘Necessary Evil’ in true sense of the word.

 

Henceforth, it is plain as day that Russia would not have dared to cross Ukrainian borders in this fashion had it still had access to its nukes. What was celebrated as a ‘progressive step’ towards a peaceful world in 1994 is now being repented as strategic blunder by all Ukrainians. Hence today, no country is watching this Ukrainian invasion closer than Iran, North Korea and Taiwan. These are the countries which either have Nuclear Weapons and are being convinced to give them up (North Korea). Or are dangerously close to making one (Iran). Or had no plans to become a Nuclear Power until now but have now been forced to do serious re-thinking (Taiwan). Let us examine how.

 

The biggest lessons these countries must have learnt from Ukraine are-

  1. Never trust the Big Brotherly; Nuke possessing Powers.
  2. Never give up Nukes once you have them.
  3. Offence is the best defence.

North Korea

North Korea was highly unlikely to give up its Nukes anyway. And this invasion would further accelerate its defence program. South Korea is sworn to protection from USA but the inaction of US in Ukraine, in-spite of the 1994 treaty, must be making South Korea doubt US’s intentions. Afterall, North Korea does possess ICBMs capable of hitting mainland USA. And also, it won’t be the first time if USA turns its back on a friend. 

 

In words of Henry Kissinger

“To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal ”

Hence it won’t be an overstatement to say that South Korea (and also Japan) must now be living in fear of experiencing this first-hand. 

 

Countries neighbouring North Korea perpetually live in fear of its unpredictable nature. Their anxiety over a hostile mad man having his thumb over Nuclear Bomb in vicinity is an open secret. The Russian Invasion of Ukraine and callous response of USA might just be the push missing to commit them to an indigenous Nuclear program and start a Nuclear Arms Race in Yellow Sea.

 

Iran

World Powers- (P5+1) are currently under intense negotiations to stall Iran’s nuclear program. They had temporarily succeeded with ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ until Donald Trump came along and spoiled the party. Although the negotiations had re started post Trump and were converging towards a common end, this invasion has suddenly disrupted all calculations. If the negotiations fail and Iran goes on to make a Nuke of its own, it will undoubtedly start a Nuclear Arms Race in the most volatile region of the world: The Middle East. Because soon after Iran, Saudi Arabia would follow suit. 

 

Following the two big Islamic powers going Nuclear, it is only logical to assume that Israel won’t stay behind. Although there is enough strategic evidence to suggest that Israel already possesses Nukes.

 

Finally, we must acknowledge the proximity of all these mid-eastern states to the latest Black Hole of Global-Politics: a Taliban ruled Afghanistan. What is to transpire if Taliban ever gets its hands on these weapons of mass destruction, is a scary scenario to even imagine.

 

The world already possesses enough number of Nuclear Weapons to destroy it many times over. That number is now bound to grow many times over in the coming decades. It is still uncertain what will become of Ukraine in the coming days. But what is for certain is that the longest era of peace that the world, especially Europe, had grown so used to post World War II is now ending. 

 

If world peace is a powder keg, the match stick of Nuclear weapons has now been lit.

 

These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.


Also read: SubscriberWrites: The Russia-Ukraine crisis is the result of clash of egos of two presidents