The end of the beginning
Russia's invasion of Ukraine accelerates structural changes in the global economic & political system, requiring hard choices to be made.
I’m writing on one of the darkest days in Europe for decades, hours after Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine. It would be tempting to refer to Ms Merkel’s characterisation of Mr Putin as a man using 19th Century methods in the 21st Century. Except that the forces being unleashed have an unfortunately 21st Century flavour to them: big powers coercing smaller states, a fragmenting global system, and the weaponisation of international commerce.
Geopolitical tensions have been building for some time, as Russia, China, and others challenge the global economic and political system. Many Western countries – comfortable in the post-Cold war environment – have been slow to recognise the magnitude of this challenge.
Attitudes have been shifting on China over the past few years. But it is Russian behaviours this week that have crystallised what is at stake. After a period of tentative Western recalibration over the past several years (some sanctions, decoupling), we are now likely to …