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It is becoming clear that the Ukraine war’s economic and humanitarian repercussions – especially rising food prices – will be felt far beyond Europe. The international community must act now to prevent some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people from becoming collateral damage.
After a confusing month, it is now clear what strategies are playing out in Ukraine: We’re watching Vladimir Putin’s plan B versus Joe Biden’s and Volodymyr Zelensky’s plans A. Let us hope that Biden and Zelensky triumph, because Putin’s potential plan C is really scary — and I don’t even want to write what I fear would be his plan D.
What’s needed is a security architecture for a world the United States doesn’t pretend to police — limiting, not intensifying, great power conflict. That would include a revival of arms control, new agreements on limits of force, emphasis on areas such as climate change and pandemics where global cooperation — and particularly cooperation with China — is essential.
Shelling is destroying buildings and art, while archivists scan documents around the clock for fear of Russian ‘archivocide’
The calamity that has taken place has been, then, an intellectual calamity first of all. It is a monstrous failure of the Russian imagination. And the monstrous failure has brought about the very collapse into barbarism and the danger to the ever-fragile Russian state that Putin thought he was trying to avoid.
After receiving a green light from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his war in Ukraine in an effort to reclaim the old Russian empire. But both leaders appear to have misjudged the situation, raising the prospect of a global catastrophe – unless they are removed from power.
Overall, the Russian shock to the world economy will be nasty, but probably not all that nasty. If Putin imagines that he can hold the world to ransom, well, that’s probably yet another fatal miscalculation.
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