Eyes on Ukraine; Four Pillars at Shangri La Dialogue: Four Pillars Roundup

Jun 2, 2024News

The drama in the Four Pillars topic last week revolved around the questions over allowing Ukraine to strike Russia with NATO supplied weapons. While most European members, such as Denmark, Poland, France, Germany, have publically approved usage, the US, a Pillar, remains wavering or ambiguous. It is said that the Biden administration allowed some, but not all, weapons to be used on Russia, and the White House has denied allowing Ukraine to use specific weaponries, as reported in the media. Hopefully this is some strategic ambiguity rather than a flip-flop or wavering commitment from the US, a Pillar, when the defense of Europe, another Pillar, against the Russia-China danger hinges on the situation in Ukraine. In fact, NATO members have been debating whether or not to shoot down Russian drones and missiles over Ukrainian airspace – perhaps a quasi-no-fly-zone.

In the meantime, it seems that Russia’s offensive on Kharkiv has stalled for now, but one should wait and see when the fog of war is lifted in this theatre. However, as the war continues to wear on both soldiers and civilians alike, time is not in Ukraine’s favor unfortunately. The ammunition famine has been well reported, but the high quantity of the dead is starting to take a toll on performance and economy.

At the Shangri La Dialogue, there continues to be the bridging between the Four Pillars, or the three in the Indo-Pacific of the US, Japan, and India. The US and India have signed agreements on co-producing Strykers – one of the most advanced armored vehicles available right now, perhaps a gesture of good faith from the US. This means that both countries are looking to continue upgrading and strengthening their relationship, especially against China.

Japan has also continued to develop and mend relations with its non-PRC neighbors, as ties between Japan and South Korea have been warming in recent years due to the rising threat of China. However, both countries would do well to maintain this new but somewhat uneasy relationship even after the current leaders of both countries are no longer in power – for this is not just the Pillars’ interest to demonstrate a front of unity against Russia and China, but for the whole Indo-Pacific region too.

Articles of the week – Inside the NATO debate over protecting Ukraine’s skies [Semafor]; Ukraine Is Running Short of People [Bloomberg]

REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo