What is the spiral model in international relations? Explain in context of the Russia-Ukraine War.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has raised concerns around the world and it is being cited as the most dangerous times after the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis. This has brought into debate the spiral model of international relations.

Spiral model in International relations:

  • It refers to the situation when two confronting parties treat each other with matching hostility, sharply escalating an existing conflict.
  • There are rising fears about escalation of ongoing conflict into a direct Russia-NATO war.
  • Due to the involvement of nuclear powered NATO into the equation of the Ukraine conflict, it is being termed as a spiral model.
  • Even if there is no desire for a nuclear war on both sides, escalatory spirals could be dangerous and may take their own course if left unchecked.

Why Russia-Ukraine war is being cited as a spiral model:

  • The United Nations seems paralysed in the ongoing conflict and there are no conscious efforts to solve the matter on diplomatic level.
  • According to the US, Russia is the aggressor and has violated international laws by invading Ukraine.
  • However, the stand of the US on this matter is not consistent with its past and present foreign policy, as it has time and again interfered in the sovereign matters of other nations, like the recent matter of Afghanistan.
  • The US also sees this war as an opportunity to weaken Russia.
  • On the other hand, Russia believes that the main power behind the escalation of this war is the interference of NATO and the US.
  • Also, Russia believes that the expansion of NATO up to its borders will raise security issues.
  • Hence, the escalation of war becomes a matter of choice for the US and becomes a matter of its security for Russia.
  • Therefore, the possibilities of diplomatic talks among the two sides seems very faint and this is taking the war on a dangerous slope.

Way forward:

The present situation is undoubtedly the most dangerous time after the Cuban missile crisis. The leaders on the global level must take initiatives to start diplomatic talks by taking the example of the Cuban missile crisis.


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