20 Apr 2022 06:15 am
A Chinese researcher warns of the dangerous consequences of the Ukraine war. Western leverage against Russia would only exacerbate the situation and provoke further reactions from Moscow.
by Wang Weng
The armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been protracted, making the world a more dangerous place. On the surface, it is a military battle between Kyiv and Moscow’s forces in the west and south of the country. In essence, however, it is the all-out eruption of a Cold War-like confrontation in Eastern Europe and a full-scale Russian counterattack to the endless strategic expansion of the US and its NATO military bloc.
Although they have not officially deployed troops, the US and NATO are using almost every means of hybrid warfare – financial sanctions, information blockade, intelligence support, satellite navigation and aerospace technology – to strangle Russia from all sides.
In the nearly two months since the conflict began, the West has imposed more than 5,000 sanctions on Russia. That’s 50 percent more than the US has imposed on Iran in the past 40 years. Further military aid and financial sanctions from the NATO countries are still to be expected. This undoubtedly adds fuel to the fire and spurs Russia to fight back harder. In particular, comments by US President Joe Biden about the departure of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin from office led Moscow to view it as a threat to its very survival.
A growing number of scientists believe that the probability of a third world war breaking out is increasing and have even concluded that it could lead to nuclear war. The situation is moving towards a global catastrophe. Putin cannot take failure and Biden is unwilling to give up what could force Russia to use nuclear weapons.
In addition to the war, other catastrophes occur. The war is driving millions of Ukrainian farmers from their homes and causing them to miss spring planting, leading to a drop in Ukrainian agricultural exports. Previously, Ukraine was one of the top agricultural exporters in the world. Their wheat and corn accounted for 10 and 15 percent, respectively, of global exports of these staples. Fourteen countries are more than 25 percent dependent on Ukrainian wheat imports, including Libya with 43 percent and Bangladesh with 28 percent. Without an affordable substitute for the products imported from Ukraine, cities in some developing countries are at risk of severe starvation.
Food shortages and the rise in energy prices caused by the fighting are restricting the production of more and more countries. Prices have risen sharply in the US, EU, Argentina and Turkey, and inflation in Europe and the US has reached its highest level in 40 years. If we carry on like this, will Elon Musk’s prediction of an economic crisis that will hit “perhaps in the spring or summer of 2022, but no later than 2023” become a fulfilled prophecy?
More than six million people have died from Covid 19 in the last two years. Many western countries have opened up and announced that they will no longer isolate patients with the coronavirus. But as an expert from the World Health Organization warned, this behavior is overly optimistic. The Covid 19 pandemic is not over yet and deaths are still occurring. Since last month, the number of infections has skyrocketed, and about 1,000 people die from the infection every day. People believe in the vaccine and in the idea of coexisting with the virus. But can vaccination prevent further deaths? Can medicine and vaccines keep up with the speed of viral mutations? All of this is still unknown.
No one expected that the hottest global consensus of 2021, climate change, would be all but forgotten in 2022. Russia’s military intervention suspended cooperation and divided the world, perhaps losing the last chance to come together to prevent climate catastrophe. Icebergs are melting, sea levels are rising, small islands are disappearing, natural disasters are piling up, the world struggles on, and humanity seems ever closer to doom.
There’s a sinister mathematical phenomenon that’s popular on the internet: In American notation, it’s the sum of any two digits of the start dates of World War I (07/28/1914), World War II (09/01/1939), and Russia-Ukraine conflict (02/24/2022) identical, always 68. While this is only a big coincidence, it reminds us of the dangerous development of the Russia-Ukraine conflict with the two worst wars in human history to compare.
Looking back, tragedies often have five causes: war, famine, economic crisis, pandemic and climate catastrophe. In the spring of 2022, people did not expect these five aspects to experience an unprecedented resonance. The world is perhaps on the eve of its most dangerous moment.
What should we do? Perhaps it is time to revisit the words of President Franklin Roosevelt:
“We want more than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars.”
RT DE strives for a broad range of opinions. Guest posts and opinion pieces do not have to reflect the editor’s point of view.
Wang Weng is the executive director of the Changyang Institute of Financial Studies and deputy director of the Silk Road Institute of Renmin University in China. This post was first published on the Valdai Club website.