With governments throughout the world still struggling to rescue their inhabitants from economic stagflation caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, one would expect all nations to join forces in creating togetherness through economic cooperation and diplomatic transactions to better global peace. Unfortunately, the world now has to deal with the socioeconomic impact of a confrontation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, which is backed by the United States and some other NATO member states, in the aftermath of a terrible global pandemic.
This conflict, which has disrupted the world’s delicate peace, has put the lives of thousands of African students in jeopardy and directly endangered millions of European youths and students. Africa’s youth and students are acutely aware of the long-term consequences of these conflicts, as many African nations, including Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Congo, South Africa, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and others, have yet to recover from the shackles of imperial aggression and geopolitical intrigues.
The All-Africa Student Union (AASU) owes a duty to African youth and students to pursue a better world, endeavor to foster unity, regardless of their backgrounds, and upheld in the preamble of the UN Charter, which calls for peace building as one of its pillars.
There has never been a dispute or crisis resolved through war or violence. Humanity has always worked together to find peaceful solutions through diplomacy based on mutual respect and the understanding that all countries and peoples are entitled to dignity and respect.
The current situation in Eastern Europe, between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the one hand, and the Russian Federation and NATO on the other, endangers global peace and exposes the entire human race to the global danger of nuclear weapons use. Another example of the danger if left unchecked is the threat to all human civilizations and the worst crimes committed during war.
This unfolding event in Eastern Europe demonstrates how quickly a seemingly simple situation can degenerate and escalate if proper care is not taken to resolve historical grievances between and among nation states.
From Afghanistan to Iraq, Cuba to Venezuela, Somalia to Libya, Syria to Yemen, and Yugoslavia to Serbia, we have seen firsthand how imperial geopolitical aggression leads to devastating tragedies, not just for those directly affected by the destruction, massacres, and mayhem, but for the entire humanity that must deal with the consequences of these crises, which include mass human migration and other tragic social phenomena.
Following the current chaos in Ukraine, which could have been avoided, it is critical to consider what caused this onslaught so that it does not happen again.
Since the end of the Cold War, many pundits, social scientists, and experienced diplomats have warned of the United States and its NATO allies’ consistent encroachment on Eastern Europe and threat to global peace. Ignoring this warning, the United States and its NATO allies officially declared, after their Budapest Summit in 2008 that NATO would welcome the membership of Ukraine and Georgia, eliciting strong condemnation from Russia, as this act violated all agreements between NATO and Russia on the question of Russia’s national security interests following the dismantling of the USSR.
This warning was based on the foreseeable possibility of open military hostility between Russia and NATO on Ukrainian soil because of NATO’s dangerous military maneuvering in Eastern Europe. It was in this spirit of European, regional, and global peace that many celebrated the Minsk agreements, negotiated in 2014 and 2015. The deliberate violation of this agreement by the current Ukrainian leader and certain member states of NATO meant no consideration of the security guarantee of Russia against NATO aggression, thus providing the justification for an imminent invasion of Ukraine.
We can argue without bias that if NATO had not insisted on expanding eastward, we would not be facing the possibility of another war in Europe or, in the worst-case scenario, another global war engulfing the entire human race. From this point, we urge the Permanent Security Council members, including Russia, to prioritize peace and stability. This is especially important given the ongoing pandemic, which the world is desperate to end.
We urge the United Nations, Russia’s President, Ukraine’s President, and NATO member states to take the initiative and seek a peaceful resolution as a victory in and of itself.
Wars demonstrate the failure of leadership, not its presence. The global pandemic has put people all over the world to the test, especially the youth who stand to inherit it. Millions of students have dropped out of school as a result of the pandemic, with academic, professional, social, and even cognitive ramifications that will be felt for a generation or two. And those are the fortunate students who have not been orphaned by the pandemic, which has left thousands orphaned around the world.
In keeping with AASU’s core mandate, we urged all African governments to prioritize the safety of all African students studying in Ukraine or at risk in other parts of Europe due to the security situation in Eastern Europe.
All-Africa Students Union, it supports UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which calls for the establishment of peaceful and strong institutions.
Issued on the 28th Day of February A.D. 2022 from Monrovia, Liberia.