The February 24th invasion of Ukraine has ushered in a new world order. Remarkably, it's like that predicted by George Orwell in his book, 1984: three perpetually warring superstates. (In 1984, these states were "Oceania," the english-speaking world and South America, "Eurasia," Europe and Russia, and "Eastasia," China and southern Asia.) Putin's act of war has created a wall between Russia and most of the western world, with Ukraine, Moldava, and Georgia as disputed territory.
There are several consequences of this new world order; most of them grim.
Ukraine: I hope I'm wrong, but I do not expect a rapid end to the Ukraine conflict. Putin is determined to seize all of Ukraine and erase it as an independent nation. Given what we've seen so far, I expect the situation to develop into a protracted war spreading across Ukraine, a nation 89 percent the size of Texas. Russia will occupy most major Ukraine cities and the Ukrainians will wage a modern guerrilla war.
There will be many dangerous aspects of this lengthy conflict. The West will continue to arm the Ukrainians and this will further incense Putin, who is already enraged at the economic blockade -- which he described as "an act of war." (No NATO forces will fight within Ukraine; but there will be "volunteers" from the West.) There will be naval conflicts in the Black Sea and the Strait of Istanbul (the Bosphorus). There will be cyber warfare.
Trade: Russia exports fossil fuel, minerals (such as Palladium), fertilizer, and grain to the West. These exports will stop as well as Ukrainian agricultural exports.
A total blockade of Russia will create a fuel crisis in Europe. Some EU members are extremely dependent upon Russian gas; for example, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Poland. There is no quick solution for these countries. (For example, Germany has no port suitable for the processing of liquid natural gas.) The US and Saudi Arabia will increase oil exports.
The cessation of Ukrainian agricultural exports will create a food crisis in the Mediterranean region. The US and EU will increase food exports.
The cessation of Russian and Ukrainian exports will impact the United States. Despite environmental concerns, we will adopt a "drill, baby, drill" attitude. Due to the increased demand for agricultural and petroleum exports, our economy will strengthen. A war economy will bring full employment.
Rules of Engagement: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has established three new rules of engagement between the competing powers. The first new rule appears to be that nuclear weapons will not be used unless NATO forces enter the Russian sector.
The second new rule is there will be no war in space. All nations will leave the International Space Station as is, and not interfere with other nations' satellites.
The third new rule is that within the contested area (Ukraine for now , but Moldova and Georgia later), Russian troops expect to operate without outside opposition. There seems to be a tacit agreement that NATO can send arms to Ukrainian troops so long as no NATO forces enter Ukraine (apparently, this agreement also includes NATO providing planes to Ukraine).
Cyberwar: Many observers have predicted that if things go poorly for Russia -- as seems to be the case -- Putin will lash out with cyber warfare. (So far there's been less than expected: Russians have launched cyberattacks on Ukrainian web sites and Anonymous has attacked Russian web sites.) As the economic blockade hardens, we should expect Russia to launch cyberattacks on the United States. They'll attack the obvious: financial institutions, energy companies, governmental agencies, shipping firms, etc. It will be a big deal; eg, expect the grid to go down for days.
There are US social network and news media outlets in Russia. (Outlets such as Facebook and the New York Times.) These are being severely restricted and will, most likely, cease operations in Russia. Expect Russia to attack these same outlets , within the United States.
Russia will attempt to increase disinformation in the West.
Foreign Policy: On March 2nd, the United Nations voted to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 141 nations voted in favor of the resolution, 34 abstained (including China) and five voted no: Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, Russia, and Syria. As the West blockades Russia, no doubt Russia will turn to China and India for trade. China will become Russia's largest oil customer. (India will also buy more.)
The new world order will parallel that envisaged by Orwell in 1984. Russia will strengthen its alliances with the "stan" countries including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It will form new alliances with Afghanistan and Iran.
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