Dear Friends and Partners,
Some quick and unstructured thoughts, while the ugly reality is unfolding on the ground in Ukraine, and many consequences are still vague
Up to the end, most of us hoped, that US and UK intelligence warnings of the imminent Russian invasion, would prove exaggerated. Now we are witnessing in shock how the Ukrainian people are left to themselves to face the brutality of Russian rape and murder. Left on their own to defend the fault line between freedom and slavery, democracy and dictatorship, free speech, and imprisoned or killed journalists. This surrender to Russian hegemonism and revanchism, which was looming since 2008, and the inconceivable human suffering that comes along with it, will be a bloody stain on the collective conscience of the free world. Hopefully, the heroes of Snake Island, the brave soldiers, and all who will be killed in the coming days and weeks will not have died in vain. The World has changed profoundly in the last 24 hours and is waking up to a new reality, that will stay with us for the next decades. A new and severe cold war has started and will abruptly halt the free movement of goods, services, people, capital between Russian and NATO dominated countries for a generation to come:
- Ukraine: While fighting bravely, it has to be feared that the Russians will take control, will try to exchange the Government, and put Ukraine tightly back into their sphere and under their control. However protracted the conflict will be, the West needs to be prepared to take in incoming Ukrainian and Belorussian refugees generously and with an open heart and to support the lengthy fightback of the Ukrainian army and eventually partisans.
- Russia: The price for the assumed re-incarnation of the Russian empire and Soviet area influence and intimidation, will be enormous for Russia and the Russians. The sweet times of sending kids to UK schools and partying in Italy and France for the Russian elites and their families will be over. Many corporations will struggle to sustain their operations amid the cut-off from Western product supplies and financial flows. Even the filled treasure chests of the Russian Government and rising energy prices will not be able to replace urgently needed high-tech products and advanced services. Quality of life, freedom of movement, and international reputation will decrease sharply for Russians, in addition to even stronger suppression of any opposition, civil liberties, and diversity. Welcome to Soviet Union 2.0. Russian parents will see their kids grow up in a society, that they wanted to escape from at the end of Soviet Union 1.0
- Europe: Time to take sides. Time to shut down UK laundromats for Russian money, time to stop Russian bribery to political parties and sports organizations, time to shoulder the costs and prepare the populations to pay for defense, to develop energy independence, and time to stop being naive. Europe is brutally thrown back into the past. It will cost dearly and bring disruptions to many businesses and institutions, hopefully, it will also be taken as an opportunity to rethink and engage in European security. Sadly, the current discussion on Russia’s exclusion from SWIFT does not raise our hopes for a continued unity in Europe to face the enemy.
- United States: Time to stop partisan fights and come together as the leader of the free world. Isolationism would be a disastrous choice. America First and Only will be the most expensive choice of the American people in the long term. Outpace, outsmart, outpower the bad guys. Relearn the honorable and bipartisan leadership of defending freedom in this world as a defining aspect of America.
- China: is taking sides for now with Russia, not least because of the Taiwan issue. But this might change when China will see the cost Russia will need to shoulder. If not, China might come under grave economic pressure from Europe and US.
- Global Economy and Society: Be prepared for another significant push in inflation due to increases in food and energy prices, rapid re-nationalization of value chains and significant increases in interest rates as the decreasing effects on inflation and interest by peace and globalization will come to an end. Europe will have a lasting negative effect on growth, and stability will be at question.
Our prayers and thoughts are with the brave Ukrainians and Belorussians who are fighting for their freedom and lives right now. February 24 will be remembered as a day of shame for Russia for their aggression and as a brutal bill for the US and Europe for looking away over the last 14 years, shying away from defending freedom, and schmoozing to dictators and autocrats.
Turbulent times ahead. Unfortunately, the world has become significantly less stable, safe, and free.
More to follow.
PS: please donate generously to the expected Ukrainian diaspora and refugees.