Pearl River There’s a certain degree of irony that should put an asterisk on any expression that includes the phrase “world order” or “new world order.” The arrogant pretense that there is some order in the world, old or new, seems preposterous, especially these days. Nonetheless, the horror of watching Russia turn back the clock and ruthlessly invade the neighboring country of Ukraine with more than 100,000 troops, forty-mile convoys, bombing of civilian targets and power plants, and threatening nuclear war should definitely force some conversation about how countries will operate and align in whatever disorder as this invasion plays out.
One caveat before we go there though. This is way past my pay grade obviously, but here’s my excuse. This stuff is not only world-shaking, but also world-changing, so we all need to think about what it might mean, regardless of our limitations.
So warned, here are some of my random speculations:
- After years of debates and arguments with the US over the percentage of European nations’ budgets dedicated to defense, compared to the US, that’s over.Germany has already broken the mold.
- The debate over whether there should be a European Army also seems settled.The inability and unwillingness of the USA to engage in another shooting war in Ukraine, despite the provocations, sends a clear message that the EU has to be ready to be at the frontlines to protect member nations as well as NATO.
- Neutrality is no longer a protection against aggression.Switzerland, long neutral historically, has joined banking sanctions. Finland and other countries are now debating joining the European Union and NATO.
- Energy self-sufficiency and the retreat from oil and gas, will now accelerate even more dramatically, not only in Europe but everywhere, in the wake of Russian problems.
- There will be a huge and confusing effort by the US and others to get in between China and Russia.We will all have front row seats to capitalism’s contradictions and confusion.
- Africa and South America could benefit from more sourcing of goods due to global trade, supply and political issues away from China, if China stays too close to Russia.Manufacturing could even get a boost in the USA and Canada.
- All prices will rise and in some cases the increases will be permanent.
- Globalism won’t die, but it there will be disruption for several years as business realigns to find safe havens and supply routes.
- Trump and the rightwing apologists for Putin in the USA and other countries will either have to walk back, walk away, or recognize the end of their political careers.
- There will eventually have to be a reckoning about the response of the West in this crisis compared to others because this is a “white peoples’ war.”
How much any of this will be permanent is anyone’s guess, but a “new world order” that strengthens the ties of Europe, the UK, and the USA and forces a realignment of relationships in the rest of Asia, Africa, and South America, might not be a terrible thing for a minute, even if bought in blood and a long way from the real-world order of peace and prosperity that all of us seek.