Algorithms, self-steering bullets, Laser Weapon Systems, hypersonic missile technology, Artificial Intelligence, cyberwarfare, and proxy-wars; the international system is flirting with dangerous ideas.
This is no longer science fiction; it is the new strategic reality that any foreign policy practitioner ought to factor in foreign policy formulation and posture. In the art and science of foreign policy, it is not always easy to suss out good ideas from bad because some bad ideas masquerade as neutral fact, only to be exposed later on.
Others worm their way into strategic doctrines, guiding a wide range of policies that long outlast the original thought. Good ideas, meanwhile, can have bad effects and bad ideas can be used for good.
Given this tangle, picking best foreign-policy moves and ideas is often like knitting socks with fish line. But President Masisi-Zelensky tele-meeting was an outright bad idea, if not reckless.
Although we lament the sad fact that Zelensky has deliberately chosen to kill and displace his people by hosting Russia-US proxy war in Ukraine, President Masisi must acknowledge that, there is little to nothing he can do. Ukraine is a ‘sovereign’ country.
The decision to fight or not to fight Russia, solely rests on Zelensky and his ‘partners-in-crime.’ There is a Turkish proverb which says, "When a clown moves into a palace, he doesn't become a king. The palace becomes a circus."
Zelensky deserves an Academy Award, since the beginning of the conflict, Zelensky has been giving a performance of his lifetime. This was his grand world stage; and he took everyone’s money doing it.
He has been a sensation of every social media platform playing a ‘war hero.’ Lately, while Ukraine is losing towns, and the people are suffering, Zelensky and his wife have been busy posing for glamorous US magazine; Vogue. How can we seriously entertain such a ‘leader?’
Zelensky is an entertainer. Fame is what he lives for. Being good in front of the camera is his skill. This is what he does. If he were a leader capable of making good decisions, there would not be a war in Ukraine. He cannot make tough, unpopular decisions or swallow his pride for the good of his people.
A good leader would have balanced NATO and Russia, and would have exploited both sides for the benefit of the people of Ukraine. But no, he had to play Rambo - because playing Rambo made him a household name in the entire world.
A good Ukrainian President would have been largely unknown to most of the world. But that is not what Zelensky wanted. He wanted more fame. He wanted people to write about him. He wanted to give emotional speeches on camera. He wanted glory. Who cares if other Ukrainians die in the process and the whole world suffers? Zelensky must get his red carpets and applauses.
Recently Zelensky fired Ukraine's prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova and head of Ukraine's secret service (SBU) Ivan Bakanov for his stupid decisions. Bakanov was appointed to head the SBU in 2019 after Zelensky won the election earlier that year.
Bakanov and Zelensky are childhood friends and the two worked in the entertainment industry together, Zelensky as a comedian and Bakanov as the lead-director of the Kvartal 95 Studio TV production company.
The unravelling geostrategic environment is radically changing the balance of power and overturning every established norm in the geopolitical system.
It has successfully challenged and broken down the post-cold war unipolar order that propelled the United States of America into a sole superpower. It has fragmented that old order into multipolar system occupied by both state and non-state actors.
In particular, the new strategic environment has decentralised monopoly of force from state to non-state actors and other state-proxies operating in the international system.
In fact, the very concept of statehood is now being contested, as trade, markets and currencies all go virtual. Forces for geopolitical order and stability such as the United Nations (UN) European Union (EU) are now on life-support.
The fluid and often confrontational power dynamics among major powers, is catalyst to this unpredictable geostrategic environment. The emphasis by major powers on coercive instruments, overt and covert, at the risk of international opprobrium is reflective of wartime mindset.
The employment of state proxies, extremist ideologies, ransomware and malware attacks as ‘legitimate’ low-cost tools of foreign policy, is proving to be powder keg for the future major conflict. In light of this new strategic environment, talking to Zelensky is a total waste of time.