UKRAINE – TEN LONG TERM IMPLICATIONS
1. There is no short-term fix. Even if Russia wins militarily or coerces the Ukrainian government to come to an agreement, the use of force has changed the European security landscape for as long as Russia remains stuck in an aggressive anti-Western mindset.
2. There is no return to any pre-war status. Any post war settlement will not be a return to the post 2014 frozen conflict compromise that followed the annexation of Crimea.
3. Sanctions will need to be tougher. Putin has factored in sanctions to his long-term planning. Innovative and novel approaches will be required to have an impact. Banning Russia from Swift would not be a silver bullet and would encourage rival alternatives. Businesses will need to lessen or remove Russian dependencies.
4. Europe needs unity. The Central and Eastern Europeans have been inherently more sceptical than most Western European nations about Russia. This scepticism has now been justified and Western Europe will need a political mind-shift to face the new reality.
5. Energy Security. The cost of facing up to Russia comes at a price of higher energy costs and reducing reliance on Russian natural resources. This too requires innovative and novel solutions from new nuclear to Balkan’s hydro and biomass. The Green Deal needs both accelerating and compromising to meet demand. US shale and North Sea Oil will be needed.
6. Cold War II. To avoid World War III (escalation drawing in NATO), we need to win Cold War II. This means recognizing that Russia is a rogue state and should become as isolated as Iran or North Korea. But winning the Cold War will require a concerted effort at counter subversion, cyber resilience, and active soft power.
7. Strategic Communications. If Russia is to be isolated, then there is a greater needed to counter its propaganda machinery. Built up over years, and well resourced, the lies need repeated rebuttal. Messaging needs to get through to the Russian people using influencers such as sport stars.
8. Russian people v The Kremlin. One glint of hope is that some ordinary Russian people are showing distaste for Putin’s war against their Ukrainian cousins. If Putin has miscalculated then, over time, the people may prove to be a bigger threat than NATO.
9. China and India. China currently rates antipathy to the US higher than concern over sovereign incursions by Russia. China needs to recognise, as it becomes increasingly dependent on the world economy, that Putin’s Russia is a costly liability. China and India will want to exploit trade opportunities; the former wants Russian gas.
10. NATO has renewed purpose. Contrary to Putin’s assertion NATO was not a threat but rather rudderless. NATO will now reinforce garrisons, seek greater inter- operability, and increase defence spending