Most reactions to the Russia-Ukraine War, especially in the West, have been critical of Moscow’s aggression and sympathetic to Ukraine. But there is also a view, especially in the East, that the situation is not as black and white as it is made out to be, that there is a gray-area in global affairs related to the conflict. This research article highlights contrarian views from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and the reasons for the same. It also examines contrarian women’s perspectives on how underplaying the plight of war-affected women in the Middle East, compared to highlighting the plight of Ukrainian women, is tantamount to hypocrisy. It argues that these contrarian views are partly rooted in ideological moorings and also economic, political, and security concerns. Using empirical data from secondary sources, this article also contends that such reactions do not condone Russia’s belligerence but reflect a growing multipolar global order where strategic ambivalence on global affairs is a new tool to promote strategic autonomy as well as often-ignored human security.

Author Biography

Dr. Narayanappa Janardhan is the Director of Research and Analysis at Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, Abu Dhabi. He also offers PGD, MA, and Executive Training courses on Gulf and Asian foreign policies to diplomats. Apart from being a regular contributor to wide-ranging academic and media publications, he is the author of several books, including The Arab Gulf’s Pivot to Asia: From Transactional to Strategic Partnerships (Editor, Gerlach, 2020); A New Gulf Security Architecture: Prospects and Challenges for an Asian Role (Editors, Gerlach, 2014); and Boom amid Gloom: Spirit of Possibility in 21st Century Gulf (Ithaca, 2011). With a Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Janardhan is also Non-Resident Fellow at Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, and Managing Assistant Editor of the Journal of Arabian Studies (Routledge).