Chimpcasting Feb 14th 2022
Nobody wins in Ukraine. Nobody Ever wins.
Standing on the brink of a “probable” invasion of Ukraine by Russia this week, I think it’s interesting to ponder some of the factors in play beside the idea of a bloody conflict that would undoubtedly harm those least able to defend themselves (The citizens of Ukraine) but also have the potential to affect the rest of the world economically and by extension actually physically harm in terms of economic damage to populations as a whole.
The combined eventual total cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the US is estimated at between 4 and 6 trillion dollars according to a recent paper by the Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government. That includes things like disability benefits for those who fought and were injured,rescue and resettlement of refugees, imprisonment of foreign combatants, logistics to wage war, interest on borrowing to finance all of that and the list goes on and on. These things have never deterred countries from going to war however. The hard truth being that the powerful, the policy makers and the plutocrats don’t give a fuck about the poor, the hungry and the homeless.
None of these problems have ever been addressed in any meaningful way in the US which has one of the more robust economies on the planet.
So consider Russia. A country that has never been able to release itself from the specter of the former Soviet Union, of being “the other superpower”. Russians by and large live hand to mouth by comparison to the US. Human rights abuses are rife and the idea of democracy is spoofed, but only vaguely and an authoritarian “strongman” in the shape of Vladimir Putin continues a regime that shows little regard for the average Russian and no sign of changing that any time soon. Couple that with an economy that could best be described as “not brilliant”, you have a recipe for disaster. A semi cash strapped country about to invade a smaller nation that will likely not give up their young democracy without a protracted fight which will demand a continued, unwelcome military presence, logistical support, medical costs, the cost of borrowing and the disapprobation both politically and economically of the rest of the world.
Meanwhile the cost to the rest of the world includes whatever military response and effect on trade with Russia that their states are participants in. Nobody benefits here except people who are so rich that nothing but physical death has any effect on them.
The upshot of this is that Russia and the rest of the planet cannot afford a long term or even a short term battle in Ukraine which should be a disincentive to invade on every level and a reason for diplomacy as a prime mover, but as we know, logic and reason are neither disincentives for war nor incentives for peace. Ego and potential strategic or financial gain ALWAYS, always triumph. We, them, us, will as usual, lose.