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As Russia's invasion of Ukraine marks one year, the scars of the conflict are appearing on the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific. From divided alliances to pacifist countries setting up the biggest military build-up and shifting towards nuclearisation, the period of one year has seen a dramatic paradigm shift in countries’ security policies.
It was a sunny October morning of 2021, when US President Joe Biden along with the CIA Director, Willian Burns, and top brass of the country's national security team rushed to the Oval Office for a high-level meeting. The western spy agencies had gathered disturbing intelligence about Vladimir Putin’s plan of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. US military Chief General, Mark Milley, was ready to brief about an attack which was planned to be much more brutal and radical than the earlier annexation of Crimea (2014).
Milley’s briefing notes, which were shared with Washington Post, had four cautions for maintaining rule-based international order and not letting the war turn into World War 3, especially when a country that possessed maximum nuclear warheads was preparing for an invasion. First, don’t have a kinetic conflict between the US military or NATO with Russia. Second, contain war inside the geographical boundaries of Ukraine. Third, strengthen and maintain NATO unity. Fourth, empower Ukraine and give them the means to fight.