When people will look back at the history of the 21st century, they will see all the usual ingredients: financial crises, high unemployment, territorial military conflicts, political assassinations, fear, military provocations, terrorist attacks, the rise of extremist parties, the build-up of military power by wanna-be superpowers, the decline of democracy, and the rise of paranoid dictators.
Denial of the interconnectedness between these ingredients is perfectly human. Each individual ingredient can be reasoned away. The collective is too fearful for considering its potential meaning.
Europe’s economical recovery is not shaping. Therefore, the European Central Bank has recently decided to pump billions of Euros into economies that have no political desire adjusting to economic reality. By doing so it is creating another asset (price) bubble as the economies will have much more money compared to the same amount of goods. And thus another financial crises is in the making.
Unfortunately, human history has taught us that there is another successful economic recovery tool. In a 100 years time, people will have witnessed whether that tool will have been applied once again.
The previous global economic recoveries were built on serious “collateral damage”: some 17 million and 50-80 million respectively. Latter was some 3-4% of world population. We can easily double these percentages when comparing to a – more relevant – European population. Given advances in military and nuclear technology a new estimate could easily be another quadruplication (250 million).
The use of multilateral economic restrictions for taming aggressors may be new in history. Its effectiveness is being tested right now. It may prove to be sufficient. A twin-track economic and military response would however be more convincing.
The NATO Response Force in Europe still looks rather shallow with its current 13,000 troops and its announced increase to possibly 30,000 troops. Especially compared to the rapid build-up of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border of 150,000 troops since early 2014. The difference in size (10x) may appear to be most important but actually the time required for military deployment may be much more decisive. Sources: various.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty will be essential. Will the USA engage itself or not? No doubt some Republicans will blame liberal Europe and thus propose not engaging the USA in another war. Once you betray your friends then your enemies will become more daring. Alaska might be next. And then parts of Canada if a US response would still be lacking.
Recently, The Economist did a linguistic analysis in a map that showed how the world would look like if Mr. Putin’s linguistic arguments would indeed prevail in defining territories.
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. (Sun Tzu – The Art of War).