Words On War — The Battle In Ukraine

Ukraine

IN any conflict, it’s always good to look to the future and figure out who’s going to benefit from it. The war machine is in the hands of an elite few whose ulterior motives will drag the world along in its wake.

Consider who are the major casualties in a war. Mainly frontline soldiers and civilians, the economy…. Alongside conventional warfare machinery, disinformation serves as a useful tool, along with cyberattacks as part of the strategy to destabilise and disrupt existing operations, and to soften the target.

A pandemic is fairer in that the virus is indiscriminate about who it targets. Everyone is fair game, which makes it dangerous at a global level, as it’s already shown.

It’s still early days as far as the war in Ukraine is concerned. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have an impact on the global economy, depending on how long it goes on for, and how Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts to international sanctions that have been put in place against his country. Coupled with the strain of dealing with a mutating coronavirus, these are testing times for the world.

STORM-ASIA.COM gathers the views from readers to offer a wider perspective of opinions.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the respective commentators.

Heavy Is The Price Of War

“The first lesson of the the war in Ukraine shows that the idea of an ever-lasting peace does not correspond to reality. For more than 70 years, Europe was spared from large wars, even if there were regional wars in Greece, Northern Ireland and ex-Yugoslavia.

Having a war of this scale in Ukraine, involving one of the major military powers, is new for Europe.

I expect that European countries will revise their military doctrines and will beef their military budgets and prepare for future wars even if they want to avoid them.

The second lesson is that Russia does not hesitate to engage its forces against a nation of 44 million people. Russia wants to say that all other countries should respect the red lines it considers essential for its security. If other countries cross these lines, the price will be heavy to pay.” — Cedomir Nestorovic, Prof of Geopolitics at ESSEC APAC

Somebody Else Wins

“There is a Chinese saying that when two people are fighting over something, the third party will benefit. 

This is very apt in the case of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The United States will be the main beneficiary. The conflict will cause many wealthy people globally to move their assets to the US, which is long considered a safe haven during times of uncertainty.

The increased flows of money to the US could help them mitigate the impact of the financial crisis and risk of inflation.

Meanwhile, European funds flowing out of the EU to the US will help to alleviate the  pressure on the EUR-USD trajectory. 

The conflict has also disrupted Russian oil supply to Europe. European countries may therefore look to the US for shale oil and gas supply.

As Ukraine is also a farming powerhouse, the conflict will result in price hikes through the grain and food oil markets. The shortage of supplies and rising prices will benefit the US as they are one of the world’s largest food exporters.” — Dr Stephen Riady, Executive Chairman & Group CEO, OUE Ltd, Singapore

Prepare In Anticipation

“I guess if you are not one of the big guys (USA, China, Russia), then by default you become one of their instruments to be used as they pursue their respective geo-political agendas.

As long as the big guys are around, this geo-political game is continuous — there is no rest or time-out. 

To many people’s surprise, probably including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s, Ukraine hasn’t been the walkover everyone expected. This, despite being invaded by a major force on 3 sides.

Ukraine has demonstrated that if its citizens hold their ground to defend the homeland, so to speak, the country can put up a good resistance against a major force.

One inference is that the natives defend their homeland best, not the allies stationed in your land, despite their more advanced technology.  Afghanistan, by both the Russians and the Americans, showed there are thresholds to such alliances. The allies will continue their support as long as you remain relevant and such continuing support meet the needs of the political constituents at home.  

In this context, the little guys need to put our own agenda in the forefront. Just that we need to continuously navigate through this turbulence. We’ll just have to do the maths beforehand, make a decision and accept the turbulence. 

In the end, it’s always best NOT to use force or go to war. It may be necessary to showcase your capabilities e.g. military displays during national holidays. Perhaps this is intended to help any potential aggressor compute what it would take and the potential costs to them, if they carry out any aggressive action. Meantime it’s best the country’s diplomats work to make friends, find ways to build common threads and help the country navigate through turbulence. – Koh Phee-Wah, consultant, Singapore

Supply Chain Kinks

“I am concerned about the additional inflationary pressures created by supply chain issues and increased energy costs. As risks, volatility and uncertainty increases, interest rates will rise to offset the risks, further adding to business costs and inflation.” — Ku Swee Yong, real estate professional, Singapore

Delayed Recovery

“The Ukrainian war will be contained, meaning it will not escalate beyond military targets, though there may be some spillover. Best also that NATO gives some form of assurance that Ukraine will not be part of NATO. There will be economic impact and disruption in Northern Europe, in particular the Easter bloc but not to a global extent.

The pandemic has had a more profound impact on global economics given the economic shutdown over the past two years. We are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. It will take the world another year (at the minimum) to recover.” — T Thiruchelvam, communicator, Malaysia

Time To Take Stock

“For starters the war should be transient given the imbalance of fighting forces of both sides. The economies of European countries may be affected by the lack and higher cost of logistics if they are dependant on imports from Ukraine. Most of Asia should not be affected as we are quite self sufficient especially with Chinese supplies. As for the pandemic, until such time when more poorer countries are able to get their population fully vaccinated, this virus is going to continue to mutate but hopefully with lesser strength on fatalities and spread. This may last another 12-18 months unless the richer economies are prepared to unselfishly help the poorer nations. 

Both these situations of our world could be a blessing to stop and take stock of our actual life purpose as social beings.” — Patrick Lee, a reluctant pessimist, Singapore

Feeling The Impact

“The impact is already being felt here with rapidly escalating fuel prices. All our small businesses will feel the pinch in their supply chains as prices go up to cover fuel.

It’s just one more thing to worry about.

Otherwise,  I doubt there will be any further impact for the way Australia responds to the pandemic or anything else, including the war in Ukraine. We may send military support such as advisers to support a UN effort, but no troops.

On a personal philosophical level, I wonder what this says about democracy.

The strength of it, the commitment to it. If we don’t like the ideology of another country, we just invade?

There are national elections next week in South Korea and in a couple of months in Australia…will you vote for conservative democratic values or liberal social values?” 

Dr Barbara Maidment,  small business advisor, Australia

Hesitant Attitudes

“I think the war in Europe will affect the financial well-being in Asia. If Bitcoin is to be used as a gauge, it ‘crashed’ on the morning of the invasion but it bounced back by 18%. Uncertainty will creep in and people will hold back on spending with a “wait and see” mentality so spending will be curtailed for the immediate short term but I don’t expect it to last more than a month or two. Unless the war in Ukraine escalates to a bigger stage, I think the market will stabilise.” — Alvin Lye, entrepreneur, Singapore

Look Inwards

“You can expect continued instability, volatility, affecting mobility, travel, polarisation and the focus will swing back on regionalisation.” — Thomas Choong, tech and lifestyle entrepreneur, Singapore

Gloom Ahead

“The impact of the war in Ukraine: The stock markets worldwide will plunge; oil prices will rise; countries reliant on oil because of their high manufacturing usage like China will stock up on their oil supplies while preserving their oil supplies in Xinjiang. This war will impact countries dependent on oil to fuel their industries, and they, in turn, will pass the increased costs of production on to the consumer.

This, combined with the global pandemic will spell the beginning of not just inflation but probably hyperinflation as supply chains are affected as well.” — Patricia Chew, ex-lawyer, Singapore

Small Victories

“It’s horrifying to watch live updates from Ukraine. What’s more worrying is that the world is divided and discussing “right or wrong” with nobody stepping in.

But Ukraine, the smaller nation, stands stronger and mightier with its citizens, led by the comedian turned President Volodymyr Zelensky.” — Aruna Srinivasan, writer, India

Growing Growth Issues

“The knock on effects on inflation (which is already a concern) stemming from supply chain disruptions could possibly lead to growth issues. Major central banks will be in a predicament as they will be juggling inflation and potential economic fallout. Emerging markets (who are usually net oil importers) will be hit by these challenges even more. It’s also setting a dangerous precedent for jingoistic tendencies/nationalistic ambitions of countries.” — Nicholas Tey, banker, Singapore

Nothing Unexpected

“There will be an increase in prices but nothing unexpected. A lot of the bad news has already been priced in with Covid, and the Russian invasion won’t move the needle much because NATO is unlikely to intervene.” — Daniel Yap, Singaporean media and communications professional living in Finland

Chipping Away At Recovery

“While it’s worrying to know that food and oil prices are likely to rise because of the war in Ukraine, what’s more worrying is that the already strained global supply chain is likely to worsen and further disrupt the availability of microchips. Since  microchips are used to build anything from smart devices to cars, this problem is probably going to affect the rest of the world, including Russia.” — Daniel Chan, communicator, Singapore

War Moves

“Ukraine is not the end game.

First, it’s to test the reorganisation of the Russian military tested in Syria to see if they can take Ukraine with minimal civilian collateral damage and the incisiveness of the artificial intelligence integration with battle command systems.

Second, Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed a huge pile of cash and to date he has called the sanction bluff by the West who has yet to sanction Russia’s energy export probably due to resistance by Germany.

Third, Putin’s aim is to change the unipolar security order led by US neo-Imperialism into a multi-polar one.

Fourth, we in Singapore should rethink our own strategic military interests and decrease our purchase of US arms especially. Singapore purchased 12 F-35B fighter jets to Singapore at a cost of USD2.75 billion.” — Jen Shek Voon, retired professional, Singapore

Staging Relevance

“Putin will do what Putin does. He is losing a level of relevance, I think, even to Russians. He is trying to show his relevance. Sanctions don’t make a difference. He’s testing Western power to see how the US and China will react.

My Russian friends are totally appalled. They do not support Putin. They wish this war would stop. They are angry and upset with what’s happening and they feel powerless to do anything. Some of them are so ashamed by this.” — Tina Lim Long, entrepreneur, Bali & Singapore

Uncertain Times

“The war between Russia and Ukraine has introduced a lot of unknowns that will certainly affect the global trade, financial markets, multinational corporations and national economies.

Both Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest grain exporters. So I foresee that there is going to be major disruptions of the world’s food supply and also oil and gas.

Depending on how long this crisis continues there could be a significant loss of confidence among businesses and consumers.

Russia is flush with oil money, and Europe is weakened by COVID-19 and global economic forces. It is difficult to predict what will happen next, with so many variables in play.” — Shanthi Jeuland, Managing Director, COCO PR Agency, Singapore

Saboteurs

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has a seemingly new urgency and desperation here. He thought that he could just walk in and take over but the will of the Ukrainian people is showing him that his assumption is flawed. 

His placing of nuclear weapons on high alert is obscene in a conflict where he is already seen to be a bully. 

I have many Russian friends and associates and some are disgusted. Some have left Russia. 

This war, if allowed to exacerbate, will place a huge strain on the global economy and Singapore will not be spared. As though the pandemic is not enough, here are human beings continuing to sabotage the human race.” – Jeremy Monteiro, musician, Singapore

Find Peace At War

“Any war has devastating consequences for both the local and global economies, as trade gets disrupted and good relationships between people turn sour.

Suddenly you cannot sell your products to the countries you used to, or buy from your suppliers residing in the “wrong” country. Your choices become limited, you pay more for your electricity bill and at the gas station. Thus the layman gets poorer.

So who gets richer? It’s the politicians, lobbyist and military contractors. Basically the top 10% is getting richer at the expense of the bottom 90%.

What is the solution? Don’t add gasoline to the fire. Don’t get involved in endless debates about who’s right and who’s wrong. On the contrary focus on your own life. There are so many great things to live for.

And wherever you can – promote peace!” — Andrej Uličný, Slovak Digital Nomad residing in Cambodia

Where Are Your Friends?

“I think it signals to the world and Singapore what we have always believed in – there are few true friends when it comes to war or Covid-19.” — Ronald Wong, retiree, Singapore

See also  The Certainty Of Uncertainty Ahead
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