- Date published:
8:59 am, March 15th, 2022 - 117 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, Deep stuff, food, Free Trade, International, Russia, trade, uk politics, us politics - Tags:
The war in Ukraine continues along similar lines to the Syrian war for Russia: towns and cities are turned into rubble and its remaining 38 million people are made much poorer, angrier, and damaged as families, with 5 million fled. It is on track to becoming a greater humanitarian crisis than the Syrian events from 2011.
The Russian economy is in shreds with higher costs at home with banks closing, people losing their savings other than in inflated untradable roubles, and China taking a higher and higher percentage of its fossil fuels for generation and steel. Some oligarchs seek to offload percentages of their utility holdings but there are few buyers. Microsoft, Apple, SAP, Oracle, Facebook, and Twitter suspend all services to Russian accounts. Russia is essentially black to the outside world. Russian access to finance, trade and investment is stopped for years and damaged for decades. Putin’s Russia starts to become as dependent on China as North Korea, but he remains in power.
President Biden uses a speech to the United Nations to illustrate from the shattered economic waste of Russia what would happen to China if it invaded Taiwan. China gets the message. China continues to fail to support the Rouble, presses on with further oil pipelines, but makes no further military manoeuvres in the Taiwan Strait. The Republican Party divides in rancour as Donald Trump is charged with insurrection, and under the 14th Amendment is barred from standing for the Presidency again. Parts of Trump’s empire are sold off the stave bankruptcy. But Democrats still lose both House and Senate majorities after low policy delivery.
With Macron easily re-elected in France, the European Union starts to talk seriously about a common standing military force and the rules by which it would operate. Far right parties across Europe start to lose out big time, other than in Hungary and Poland. Albania, North Macedonia , and increasingly Turkey and Moldova accelerate plans to join the European Union and they are welcomed more warmly in late 2022 than previously.
New Zealand and Australia see their economies boom as major world food producers and highly efficient managers of the COVID crisis as safe and efficient managers of global investment through pension funds. Their international standing continues to rise as competent and efficient democracies. Inward immigration queues get massive and continue to prop up property prices even with interest rises and tax changes.
Pacific islands economies flourish as tourism from Australia and New Zealand comes back strongly in 2023 with consumer confidence returning. This time, however, air flight prices increase sharply so there are less of them but they pay for premium products and services.
The global freeze of most oligarchical assets hits London particularly hard and the pressure comes on Prime Minister Johnson to revoke the law allowing anonymous property purchases from foreigners. This sends shockwaves through both the Conservative Party and through the City of London. It ignites debate about billionaires and how much power they have and should not have. Of the 3 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland, the UK takes less than 5,000 in 2022.
The scale of trade sanctions by the developed West against Russia finally turn China and India away from neutral positions about the war, and they retain strong US and European trade as a result. Global trade rebalances without Russia. OPEC+ members keep oil prices over US$100 per barrel, but the United States secures long term refined oil supply with Venezuela.
There is no happy ending to the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian armed forces or its citizens. International volunteer brigades continue to come into Ukraine, but it heads towards defeat. There’s no sign of a negotiated settlement in 2022 nor one that would ever leave the mass of Ukrainian territory under Kyiv’s independent authority. The most likely outcome of the war by the end of 2022 is a pyrrhic Russian victory.
Europe understands and acts upon the energy threat that Russia presents to them, and accelerates the decline of gasoline and gas use across Europe in favour of renewables. The EU plan to cut reliance on Russian gas imports stays on track to be cut by 66% by the end of 2022, through a mix of buying gas from other countries and ramping up energy efficiency. Putin becomes the single villain that the climate change movement needed, in time for COP27 in November.
In Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Iran wheat prices skyrocket so much that famine grows fast. In the world’s poorest regions many millions of lives come under threat from starvation, and food shortages in eastern Africa are the strongest since the late 1980s. War and sanctions continue to depress Russian and Ukrainian agricultural production for years to come. Southeast Asian rice producers do exceptional business.