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Insights from Fazle Chowdhury’s ‘Ukraine At Any Price’

Insights from Fazle Chowdhury’s Ukraine At Any Price
Photo Courtesy: Fabrezan & Phillipe Books / Fazle Chowdhury

By: Fabrezan & Phillipe

This book looks at the roots of the 2022 conflict in Ukraine and its connections to the leadership dynamics within Russia. Fazle Chowdhury’s book is very detailed, insightful, and informative about several aspects of the European Union, NATO, and Russia. Several explanations surrounding the forecasts of the 2024 June European parliamentary elections and the 2024 American Presidential elections are part of the web that connects the survival of Ukraine. While not a Ukrainian, Chowdhury has spent considerable time studying the subject, evidenced by his previous publications showing his deep love for Ukraine. His previous book, Why Ukraine Matters, provides his fluency on the subject. His first interest in Ukraine began as an undergrad, then visiting the country in 2004, and subsequent engagements from then on cultivated his understanding of how Ukraine is so crucially embedded in every Soviet and then Russian leadership.

The writing is straight to the point, sometimes with a heavy set of explanations, then further factually demonstrated with examples.  It is a very different analysis than those of Anne Applebaum, Serhii Plokhy, and Timothy Snyder. There are as many current affairs in Chowdhury’s analysis as are historical narratives that go as far back as the 9th century Kyivan Rus when the very idea of Ukraine was born. The text examines how Chowdhury intertwines the sequence of events in Ukraine with the 2023 Israel-Gaza tensions and the looming concerns over Taiwan.

There are some details in the book that are notably alarming. What is significantly more poignant is how Chowdhury intelligently carves out the possibilities of other countries becoming further affected by the consequences of taking either side in the conflict. On that note, Chowdhury describes accurately how the war fatigue has affected Europe and put the United States in a precarious position. The six-month deadlock did produce a $61 billion aid package to Ukraine, but during this time, Russian forces have advanced. They have taken smaller areas with the potential of taking major cities. The worrying aspect, Chowdhury notes, is whether it is too late for Ukraine. Chowdhury illustrates complexities in Ukraine that may lead to a scenario reminiscent of historical European conflicts. While his examples are compelling, they often leave the reader feeling disheartened. According to Chowdhury, Ukraine’s real challenge may involve its connections to Europe.

Furthermore, Chowdhury acknowledges those who gain from the conflict, highlighting the intricate geopolitical impacts on the global economy. His analysis of China and India is insightful, and he skillfully outlines Iran’s growing influence, demonstrating his deep understanding of these complex international relations.

Chowdhury perhaps intentionally focused on the doomsday scenario rather than a setting of a triumph over good and evil. He leaves readers with this uneasy feeling that Ukraine could lose the war, yet he explains, “There is a value in defeat.” In that context, Chowdhury’s retinue of analysis leaves supporters of Ukraine with a feeling that, despite the possible defeat, Ukraine can still prevail in other forms.

The book is a complete picture of Cold War dynamics connected to what one sees in Ukraine today. The book delves into the profound conflict with the West, dedicating significant analysis to the pivotal dynamics and critical incidents that could alter the course for supporters on both sides. Chowdhury points out that Ukraine’s shift towards Western alignment had extensive implications. Although the conflict emerged as a consequence, it also opened up substantial strategic opportunities for Kyiv to exploit.

The twelve chapters are a delicate blend of Chowdhury’s insightful analysis, which provides a historical commentary on an awful conflict.

This book is for readers who want to understand the deeper roots of this conflict beyond the 2004 Orange Revolution and Crimea in 2014.

Published by: Martin De Juan


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