What the War in Ukraine Means for the World Order | Ian Bremmer | TED


Bruno Giussani: It’s difficultto think clearly of the Russian raid of Ukraine, because campaigns, while they undo, they’re kind of shrouded in a sort of fog. Information is abundant: the millions of refugees, the shocking sufferingand the extinction, the politics. But appreciation is lacking. And that’s going to be the focusof this Membership conversation as we enter the third week of the war. We wont talk about the events of the day but try to project a longer arc, a broader sense. Our guest is geopoliticalanalyst Ian Bremmer. He’s the founderand president of Eurasia Group, and we asked him to lay the panorama by speaking firstabout the geopolitical switchings that have already been broughtby the war in Ukraine.And after, we’re going to havea conversation, including questions from TED Memberswho are participating in this call. Ian, welcome. Ian Bremmer: Thank you very much. I’ll begin by saying that in my lifetime, the most important geopolitical artifactis the fall of the Berlin Wall. I entail, you see it if you go into the newNATO headquarters in Brussels, time constructed a few years ago.And anyone that has a piece, something they’re very proud of, they know it changed their entire beings. I considered that in 30 times’ season, and I fear that in 30 years’ experience, if we look back, a second most importantgeopolitical artifact will be a piece of the rubbleof the Maidan in Kyiv. I believe that the warthat we are seeing right now is no more and no less than the end of the treaty gain that we all thought we had when the wall came down in 1989. The suggestion that the world countries could focusmore on globalization and goods and servicesand beings and impressions leading faster and faster across territories, leading to unprecedented growthin human increase and a global middle class.I think that this is a tipping point. Won’t end globalization, but it does cease the treaty bonu. It does means that the Europeans overnight will and must prioritizespending on defense policy, on national insurance, coordination, on NATO. And the discussion that was givenby Olaf Scholz, the brand-new chancellor, two weeks ago, in my view, the most significant speechgiven by a European chairman in the post-Cold War environment, precise because it’s nowthe post-post-Cold War environment, sending artilleries to the Ukrainians, committing to over two percentof GDP spend on defense, investing in a brand-new fundfor protection infrastructure. But also acknowledging that the method that the Germansand the Europeans as a whole looked at the worldand looked at themselves was, regrettably for all of us, outdated. A few other points I’d like to raise, just to kick off this conversation. One: One of the reasonsI’m somewhat negative about this, and I’m not frequently very negative, I’m typically an existential optimist, Im someone thats just happytheres ocean in the glass.But when I look at this conflict, Im much more concerned. And that is because I do notsee a scenario, a conceivable situation, in the foreseeable future where Putin emerges from this war in anything less than a radicallyweakened plight compared to where he wasbefore he announced the attack. And I argued that both in termsof his domestic political orientation, how stable he is in his “countries “, also, of course, Russia’s fiscal place, and finally, Russia’s positionin terms of world security and European security: ostensibly, the very reason that Putinbegan the combat to begin with.Second big site is that the decouplingthat we are seeing from Europe and the United Regime with Russiais, in my view, permanent. And that would be true even if there werea negotiated settlement and all the Russian troopswere to pull out of Ukraine and we had peace. I still think that a lotof those companies would not come back with Putin in influence. I’m convinced that the decisionsby the Europeans to ramp up their national securitycapabilities will be permanent. Permanent deployments comingin the Baltic territory, for example, forward deployments in Polandand Bulgaria and Romania. And likewise an undo of Europesmassive energy dependence: coal, lubricant and most importantly, gas on Russia.That does not form Russia a global pariah because you can’t be a world-wide pariah if the soon-to-be most importanteconomy in the world, China, is actually your bestieon the global stage, and that undoubtedly continues to be true despite China’s effortsto portray themselves, towards Europe at least, as more neutral. We are going to see the Russiansas a supplicant economically, in terms of energy flows, financially, in areas of events, and technologically, perhaps most crucial, aligned with China. That has large-hearted geopoliticalimplications long-term. Also, a lot of other developingeconomies, like the Indian, like the Gulf states, like Brazil, are also not going to workwith Russia as a pariah. They’ll continue to engage.Are there any silver linings? And I think there are a few. Of route, there is a much greaterrenewed purpose and mission of NATO. I necessitate, this is an organizationthat just a few years ago, France President Emmanuel Macronreferred to as brain-dead. It was increasingly driftingin terms of its importance. The Americans were focusingmuch more on Asia, the rotate. Not today. Today, NATO is purposeful, it’s aligned, it’s consolidated. it’s going to get moreresources , not less. That’s also true of the EuropeanUnion as a whole, even when we talk about countrieslike Hungary and Poland that have been much less alignedin terms of rule of law, in terms of an independent judiciary, much more aligned in termsof the importance of common values of Europe compared to that of whatwe’re look in Moscow.I mentioned the German securityand policy shift. The UK-EU relationship is muchsmoother and most functional than at any point since Brexitprocess actually started. And even the United District. I represent, if you watchedthe State of the Union for a brief moment in time, five or 10 instants, when all of the Democrats and Republicanswere standing and applauding together, you could be forgiven for believingthat the United Government had a functional representative democracy. Now I’m not sure how longthis is going to last-place, but at least as of now, the heads of state of the Democraticand Republican Party meet Putin as much moreof a threat, an opponent, than they do their opponentsacross the aisle in domestic politics. And two weeks ago, that was not true.That’s significant. Final silver lining, and I please it was more of one, but the Chinese, as much as they are strategicallyaligned with Russia and with the person of President vladimir putin, they do not want a second Cold War. And they would rathera negotiated settlement. They’re not willing to pushvery hard for it. But they certainly is not seea progressive decoupling of the Russian, and potentially the Chinese economy, from countries around the world, from Europe, from the US, from the advancedindustrial republics, as in any way in their interest. And ultimately, that does createat least some buffer, some guardrail on how much this is likelyto escalate as a conflict going forward. BG: I want to make a step backand unpack some of that, maybe starting with a questionthat relates to your last-place station and is probably on the mind of countless. And it is: Is they are also some realspace for discussion? Is they are also a potential relationshipbetween Russia and Ukraine? IB: The foreign ministers of Russiaand Ukraine precisely converged recently in Turkey. It was as much of a non-event as the three predating negotiationsof more junior representatives of their squads on the Belarus border.The one thing that has beenaccomplished to a small degree has been humanitarian alleys, spreading out of a numberof Ukrainian metropolitans the hell is being poundedby Russian military. That’s because the Ukrainians areinterested in protecting their civilians, and the Russians are interestedin taking a lot of area without certainly having to killso many Ukrainians, that could cause problemsfor them internationally as well as domestically inside Russia. But that is nowhere closeto a negotiated solution. Now, I necessitate, everyone I know that’s involvedin the negotiations right now responds that the President vladimir putin himselfis hell-bent on taking Kyiv and on removing Zelenskyy from supremacy. Now I recollect, and by the way, they’re getting fairly close to being able to accomplish thatmilitarily on the soil. I conceive within the next couple of weeks, certainly, it looks very likely. A couple of points here. One, there is no reason to putany stock in anything that the Russians are saying publiclyin terms of their diplomacy.They lied to the faceof every global leader about the invasion that they saidthey were not going to do into Ukraine. And then just today, Foreign MinisterSergey Lavrov publicly said, well, the Russians didn’t attempt Ukraine. I intend, this is Orwellian stuff, right? So first of all, do not reporton Russian public words as if they digest any semblanceto reality on the dirt. Secondarily, this looks like a hugeloss for Putin right now. He understands it, and I thinkhe would have a hard time, even with his command of information, spinning that is something that his public without removing Zelenskyy, without the de-Nazification, as he announces it — which is an obscenity in an environment where the Ukrainian presidentis actually Jewish — the disarmament of Ukraine, and of course, the ability of the Russians to change how they feel about Ukraineas a threat to the Russian homeland.BG: What height of supportcan we open Ukraine militarily, intel, economic, before Putin considerstaking a strike on a NATO country? IB: Well, its interesting the wayyou formulated that, Bruno. Because I symbolize, I think that Putin is already consideringstrikes on NATO countries. I convey, there is indeed massive onrushes, cyberattacks and disinformation affects, by Russia against NATO countrieswith reckless abandon over the course of the past years. And in fact, when President Bidenmet with Putin in Geneva back in June, it seems like yearsand years ago at this item, Biden defined the agenda. Ukraine was largely not discussed, but what was discussed was cyberattackson critical infrastructure. Because you may remember Bruno, that session came right afterthe cyber onrushes against the Colonial Pipeline. And the Russians after thatindeed drew back on supporting those attacksby their criminal cyber trusts. I expect those attacks to restartin very short order against NATO countries. I likewise believe that the fact that the Westis sending weapons to Ukraine and is providing real-timeintelligence reports on the disposition of Russian troopson the grind in Ukraine to better earmark the Ukrainiansto defend themselves and blow the Russians up, that is considered by the Russiansto be an act of battle, and they will retaliate.And how they retaliate is the question. I don’t think they’re going to sendtroops into Poland. But you are familiar with, when the Americans under Reaganwere providing that kind of support to the mujahideen to help them defeatthe Soviets in Afghanistan, the Soviets received that as an routine of fight, and they engaged in acts of terrorismagainst the mujahideen in Pakistan. And I absolutely thinkthat that is on the table in terms of front lineNATO countries especially, like Poland, like the Baltic states, like Bulgaria, Romania. Would that be consideredan Article V attack? Would that force NATO countriesto strike the Russians back? I’m not sure it would. Not immediately , not militarily. So I mean, I do think that the factthat the NATO countries interpret there is some sort of a big red linebetween sending troops in, for example, and doing a no-fly zonebecause that could cause World War III, but everything short of thatis just a agent war.The Russians don’t see it that way. And that gives the Russianssome advantage tactically in terms of their willingness to escalate. BG: You’re describing a spiralof escalation now that will touch the globeand not only Ukraine , is not simply the east flank of Europe, which means that not only this warhas ripple effects everywhere, but this is also startinga sort of realignment of the global geopoliticalsituation and framework. To me, it has been very strikinghow Europe and the US have kind of moved very fastin a cohesive way.And it has chosen, after yearsof prioritizing the economics in their internationaland world manages, it’s chosen to employed politics over markets. It has adopted sanctionsthat will hurt Russia, but will likewise hurt Western industries. Its its consideration of the question about decouplingthat you taken forward before, an active kind of fencing outof the Russian economy. Talk to us about how do you seethis decoupling playing out. IB: Yeah, I represent, I do thinkthat for the Europeans, this is a permanent move. I signify, I’ve spoken to top leadersin the German government who “ve been told” that Nord Streamwas a strategic mistake, and they understand it. Who say that, you know, Scholz making this speechfrom the Social Democratic Party on the center left is the equivalent of Nixon going to China.No one else could have did that move. But having shaped it, everyone is on board. The notoriety in Germany, even given the massiveeconomic significances, is extraordinary and is across the board. And what they need to do now is ensure that the diversificationof fossil fuels in the near term away from Russia, towards Qatar and Azerbaijanand even, you are familiar with, kind of the United States for LNG, can be done as fast as humanly possible. And that further, even thoughits going to cost a lot, some of it will be uneconomic, the move forward towards renewablesactually picks up and is faster. The Italians, Mario Draghi, I suppose his switch in strategicorientation that they will do, this is his “whatever it takes” moment. He had that in responseto the 2008 financial crisis as the head of the European Central Bank, and that realize him Super Mario. This is attaining him Super Marioas the Italian prime minister. This is the “whatever it takes”moment for the Italians who never make public statementsthat undercut their fiscal, their commercial interestslike this in such a tactical way.The French, of course, have less worried about in the sense that most of their energycomes from nuclear power and is domestic. So “theyre not” as feigned directlyby a cut-off from Russia. And too because Macron thoughts himself, especially as the leaderof the European Commission this year, the rotating leader, occupying the conference of presidents, but also with his polls come through here, and really rendered his personal beliefthat he can drive diplomacy, I believe that even after Kyiv descends and after Zelenskyyis either killed or pushed out that the Americans will not wantto engage in direct diplomacy, the Germans probably won’t. The French will. And by the way, the Chinese will too. And I do believethat there is a potential, and this is a dangerfor the cohesiveness of the West, that the Chinese and Macron end up beingthe post-Kyiv Normandy format of diplomacy. That’s something that the Americansand the Germans right now are starting to worry about quite a bit. Now that’s the European shift.And I imagine, as I said, I think it’s permanent. I speculate the UK is in that camp as well. I’m not so sure the United Statesis going to be as committed for as long a word. It doesn’t affect the Americansas much economically, it doesn’t alter the Americans as muchin terms of a direct protection concern. None of those refugees are comingto the United Mood. But too American inequality, American political polarizationand dysfunction is so much greater than what you experienceon the continent in Europe. So the potential that in six months’ timeor in two years’ epoch, as we’re thinking about the 2024 referendum, that the Americans have largely forgottenabout this Russia issue instead, are focusing once againon domestic political opponents as principal antagonists, which profoundly undercuts NATO, much more than anythingthat would come from the Europeans, I think that is a realopen question going forward that is perhaps as significantas the question of where the Chinese go.BG: Let me pick up on the pointyou made about energy, because somehow Putin’s calculuscan really change if Russian oil and gasstops flowing to Europe, if it becomes partof the sanctions, right? And this war certainly can kind of be read as a combat about power. Selling energy monies it for Russia, being dependent on Russian energy makesthe European response more constrained. Rising energy insecurity, rising energy cost may or probably will destabilizeEuropean politics and economy in the coming months. How would you look at thisfrom the perspective of energy, and is there any likelihood that Russian oil and gasis going to stop flowing, either because Putin sections itor the Europeans sanction it? IB: Yeah, or because it’s blown upin some of the transit in Ukraine? I necessitate, bearing in mind, so much better of the gas transitis going through large-scale pipe structures, which have some redundancyacross all of Ukraine.But there’s a big warthat’s going on right there, and lots of people that could haveincentive to create problems. The Americans, of course, the Canadians, have said that they’re cutting offoil import from Russia, but those are nominal crowds, so they don’t matter verymuch to the markets. The Europeans, as I said, want to decouple themselvesas quickly as possible, but they believe that doing that this yearwould be fiscal suicide.So there isn’t, despite everythingwe see from Russia, they’re using thermobaric artilleries nowagainst the Ukrainian beings, the Americans are warning that they could use chemical, biological weapons against Ukraine. I represent, you know, you even have some people saying, what if they usea tactical nuclear weapon? I signify … God willing , none of thesethings come to pass. But it is very hard to seea military scenario in Ukraine that contributes the Europeans to completely cut off their inbound gasfrom Russia this year. It’s very hard to see. And also, I would say, it’s very hardto see any level of fiscal sanction that would change the mind of the Russians in terms of their armed decision making on the soil in Ukraine. Now, I think there are a lot of thingsthat the West is doing in terms of providing weaponsfor the Ukrainians that are having an impact on the ground.A lot more Russians are getting killed. It wont prevent themfrom taking to Kyiv, again in my thought I feel quite confident about that. But it’s quite possible, perhaps even likely, that the west of Ukrainewill remain in Ukrainian handwritings, which meant that, you know, after this fighting is “over, ” that a buttock Ukrainian state in exileexists in the West, run by Zelenskyy or someone that’s aligned with him, and that are still getenormous fiscal and military carry from all of the NATO countries. So even if they are I don’t think that the vigor situationwill become so parlous that it would affectPutin’s decision making, I do think that the West’s responsedoes matter on the dirt. BG: The combat is various kinds of having radiatingeconomic shock waves around the world now, ripple effects on food markets, for example and food security. We talk a great deal about vigour defence, what about meat certificate? IB: Well, you have the largestgrain producer in the world invading the fifth largestgrain producer in the world on the back of a two-year pandemicthat’s still ongoing.We don’t talk about it much anymore, but it’s still there. And of course, this hit the poorestcountries in the world the hardest. The position of indebtedness and the unsustainabilityof paying that obligation off was already becoming a big question for so many of the developingcountries in the world. And the IMF stipulated a lot of reliefin special make rights and direct aid over the course of the past 12 months, but that coin is now loping to an dissolve. And what happenswhen commodity costs spike up and we have severe supply bond challengeswith intensity and food, and those thingsare obviously terribly related. What happens is that a lot of parties die. What happens is we seea lot more starvation. The World Food Organization says about 10 million people a year die of hunger. That number in the next 12 monthsis going to be a lot higher than it otherwise would have been.The number of peoplewho are food stressed in the world is going to go way upin sub-Saharan Africa, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, in Bangladesh. It’s going to go way up. And you are familiar with, it’s horrible to think about, but the big impactof this Russia crisis is going to be much moreglobal inequality. And this is, of course, a direct consequence of the endof the serenity bonu more structurally. That over the last 30 yearsof globalization, what did “youve had”? A bunch of beings were left behind, but the biggest thing you had was the explosion of a singleglobal middle class. On the back of the pandemic and now this Russia-Ukraine combat and the decoupling of the Russianeconomy from the West, which doesn’t matter so much better in termsof the size of the Russian economy, but it matters extremely in termsof commodities globally and supply order, those two things are goingto seriously unwind the growth of this world middle class, and they’re going to stress developingcountries to a much greater degree.They will lead to financial crisesin countries like Turkey, for example, that will no longer be ableto service their debt. You’ll witnes more Lebanons out there. You’ll investigate some in The countries of latin america, you’ll understand some in sub-Saharan Africa. Those are the knock-on effects and so, so many parties that have been sayingover the last few weeks, “Why are we so muchattention to Ukraine? It’s because they’re white people, because they’re European. We wouldn’t pay that much attentionif they were Afghans or only if they are, you are familiar with, Afghanisor if they were Yemenis. We wouldn’t.” I mean, first of all, you’ve got millionsand millions of Ukrainian refugees, and we’re not payingas much attention to them as we did to the Syrian refugeesprecisely because of race, precisely because the Europeansare more willing to integrate millions and millionsof “fellow Europeans” into Europe.But we are paying much more attentionto the Ukraine crisis and we should, because the impact on the poorestpeople around the world is vastly greater from this conflictthan anything that we’ve seen in any of those smaller economieswith less impact, despite all of the human rights depredationthats happened during the past 30 years. BG: Ian, I want to talkfor a second about climate because another crisis that has, various kinds of, disappeared from the headlines is the climate crisis, right? Ten days earlier, the IPCC liberated a report that the secretary generalof the UN described as an “atlas of human suffering, ” if I remember correctly.And it has been mostly ignored. Over the last several years, much of the world had started to embark, with more or less enthusiasm, on a process of transitioningaway from oil and gas and into various kinds of a clean vitality future. And now the combat comes in and we look at what you just described, the unraveling of world-wide afford bonds, the dependency on energy and so on. And there are kind of twoschools of thought here. One says this war is going to acceleratethe adoption of cleanse vigour because we need to diminish dependencefrom Russia and these fossil fuels. And the other says, the other school of thought says it’s going to derailthe transition to clean energy because unexpectedly the priorityis no longer decarbonization, suddenly the priorityis energy security, security of energy supplies. IB: The Europeansare largely in the first camp, and they will move towards fasterdecoupling and speculation accordingly. The Americans are largelyin the second camp, and they will move towards “Let’s focus more on fossil fuelsand partisan divide on this issue, ” accordingly.The Chinese, who are the largest carbon emitterin the world by a long margin, though not per capitaand not historically, but still in terms of every year totals, they will continue on the samepath they’ve been on, which is a net-zero target but without more a very strong planon how to get there and not feeling a great deal of pressureto provide that plan, since they are foresee the Americansare completely incoherent and incapable of effectuatinga strategic long-term plan on climate themselves. So I imply, what we have is a lotof progress on climate and, of course, technology around renewable energiesand around electric artilleries and supply bond continue to get cheaper and cheaper as more coin is being invested in it.And that does procreate me long-termmore optimistic that by 2045, a majority of the world’s energywill probably be coming from renewables. And five years ago, I wouldn’t have said that. But still, I signify, when the word today is that the Americans are sendinga high-level delegation to Caracas to figure out if we can reopenrelations with Venezuela to get them to produce more lubricant again. With the Iranians, let’s do any cope possible to get backinto the JCPOA, the nuclear bargain, so that we can get that petroleum on the market.Calling the Saudis, announcing the Emiratis, and theyre not willing to takeBidens phone call on this issue while they’re talking to Putin. Those are warning signalsthat in the near term, we’ve got some big challenges and a lot of those challenges are goingto be filled with fossil fuels and fossil fuel development. And so I do think that the fact that both of the answers to your questionare true in different places on net-net is more negativefor how quickly we can transition. BG: Let’s talk a bit about China. Brigid, I picture, whos listening in queries, “What do you believeXi Jinping is learning from the world’s responseto the crisis, to the Ukrainian war? ” IB: Well, certainly learning that thiswas a red order for the West. And I think that thiswould have surprised, it apparently surprised Putin, I think it would have surprisedXi Jinping as well. Xi Jinping investigated Afghanistan.He saw that Merkel was out. He ensure that Macron is focusedon strategic autonomy. He participates Biden as much more focusedon China and Asia. I think that thisis a surprise to Xi Jinping. But Xi Jinping too sees that a lot of the worldis not with NATO on this question. 141 countries, if I remember correctly, elected to censor the Russiansfor their takeover of Ukraine at the United People General assembly documents. But very large numbers of that 141 are not on board with allof these sanctions against Russia. They’re happy with the diplomatic reprimand, but they need to continueto work with the Russians. The Chinese see that too.The Chinese visualize just how much morefragmented the world order is. I reputed the most significant thingthat we’ve seen from the Chinese so far two issues. The first is, of course, when Putin went to Beijing and Xi Jinping madethe public proclamation that this is our best friendon the global stage, and we will work much more strategicallywith them economically, diplomatically and militarilygoing forward.” And Xi Jinping knew very wellwhere Ukraine was heading at that point and also knew that the likelihoodof an takeover was coming. Didn’t stop him from makingthat advertisement in the slightest. And then after the attack, and it’s going cruelly, I intend, if you watch Chinese social media, the fact is that the censorshipis all about Ukraine. I signify, the Chinese media cavity is follow a relentlesslypro-Putin policy. They have media embeddedwith Russian units on the anchor in Ukraine. Now, publicly, the Chinesegovernment wants to be seen as: Were neutral, we like the Russians, we like the Ukrainians, we still want to work with everybody.” But the fact is that Chinafeels no problem being publicly completelyaligned with Putin, despite the fact that they are invadinga democratic authority with 44 million peoplein the middle of Europe.That’s a reasonably astonishingstatement from the Chinese. And there’s no questionthat they have learned that they’re in a vastly bettereconomic arrangement than they used to be, and that gives them influence. They are a governmentwho projects its supremacy primarily through economicand technological implies, as opposed to Russia that projects itprimarily through military means. And the Chinese believe that there is a level of decouplingthat is already going on as the Americans focuson more industrial plan, as they focus on America firstfor American workers. A US foreign policy for the Americanmiddle class, as Biden employed it, is one that really propagandizes a good deal of capitalto leave a country like China, which had servedas the factory for the world countries, but at the expense of a lot of labor coming out of advancedindustrial economies. And now, yes, there aredefinitely some threats that come from the Chinese being perceivedas too close to Russia, and they won’t wanted to go, and they’ll want to make surethat they’re engaging diplomatically with the Europeansto try to minimize that damage.But I thought it was very interesting, and I’m not sure this is public yet, that the Chinese ambassador to Russiarecently, in the last few days, unionized a meet of a lotof the top investors Chinese investors in Russia, saying, “This is a unique opportunity, the West is leaving, we should be going in and doing more. Because they’re going to be completelyreliant on us going forward.” That is not a messagethat the Chinese ambassador delivers unless he is tolddirectly to from Beijing.BG: Ian, I’m going to jumpfrom topic to topic since this is severalquestions in the chat. Nancy is asking about whether Putincan be removed from power. There’s been a lot of discussion latelyabout regiman change in Russia, either endogenous, like a palace coup, or provoked by sanctionsand other policies. And so she questions, “How likely is that Putin will facea challenge from inside Russia, whether a popular uprising, a takeover or other? ” IB: It’s very, very unlikelyuntil it happens.( Chuckles) I necessitate, in the sensethat there is absolutely no role in trying to say, oh, I symbolize, you know, there are currently rumors that Defense MinisterShoigu is miserable and, you are familiar with, he might be making a move. And Ive seen thesefrom relatively credible psychoanalysts, I’m like , no , no, “when theres” such rumors, then we know it’s not happening because that’s the endof Shoigu and his family. But it’s very clear that there is morepressure on Putin now than at any pointsince he’s been president.Domestic pressure on Putin. About 10,000 Russianshave been arrested so far, imprisoned, most of them have been liberated, for nonviolent anti-war dissents. The Russians have shut downall the Western media. They’ve shut down all the Russianopposition and independent media. So Putin has control of the opening, though if you look at Russianconversations on Telegram, you’ll still discover a assortment of peoplethat are seriously, dangerously anti-war. But, you are familiar with, formerly the economystarts indeed imploding and you can’t find goods on shelvesin Russia in major cities, and this is coming, you know, very soon, it is a question of daytimes, in many of these cities, those demonstrationswill likely become greater, some of them can become violent.You know, that’ll increase the pressure. Then you have the issue of howthe Russians are fighting on the ground. I represent, what happensif you get a lot of desertions? We haven’t seen that so far. What happens if you getorders to bomb Kyiv and a whole bunch of Russianfighter pilots, bomber captains, decide not to and they defectto Poland, to Germany. That would have a big impact on morale. That has not happened so far. I mean, do be aware of the fact that the Ukrainians are winningthe war on information, and that means that the informationthat you are getting in the West about the conflict is much more pro-Ukrainian — morale, warmth, how well the military is doing — than what’s actuallyhappening on the sand. And likewise be aware of the fact that the Russians perfectly controlthe war on information inside Russia. BG: Exactly. IB: They’re not getting a balanced view. They’re getting a completelypro-Putin view. And most of them actually believe it in the same way that most peoplethat voted for Trump in the US believe that the election was stolenand Trump is still president.I mean, it’s much worsein Russia in that regard than “- its” the United Country, and I think that that’sunderappreciated in the West. So even though I think there’s influence, I actually don’t thinkthat it’s super likely that Putin is out anytime imminently. BG: Ed is asking whether you seeany off-ramp for Putin. IB: I think that the most likely off-rampfor Putin is after Kyiv is made and Zelenskyy is removedone way or the other, at that point, the possibilities offered by the Russiansaccepting a frozen conflict or a cease fire that could leadto ongoing negotiations is a lot higher because Putin can sell that as a winback home much more easily. But also because furtherRussian attacks at that point perform much less purpose for the Russians, are much harder to bring about, and potentially have much morenegative consequences. So for me, that would bethe near-term potential break where we could at least freeze issueslargely where they are.Now whether that could then eventuallylead to a climbdown or not, I entail, the Russians have been very happywith frozen conflicts on their borders for years and years and years. I’m thinking about Nagorno-Karabakhbetween Armenia and Azerbaijan, which basically stayed in placeuntil the Azeris, over the course of a decadegot enough military capacity that they could forcefully changethe situation on the foot. Which, by the way, the Ukrainians mightalso is finally thinking about because the West will be supplying themwith advanced weapons the whole way through. I’m thinking South Ossetia in Georgia. I’m too, of course, thinkingabout the two parts of Ukraine they made back in 2014. So be aware of the fact that a negotiationthat creates a cease fire does not mean you’re anywhereclose to a resolution or an aspiration of the fightingthat we’re beholding. BG: Someone else in the chat, who didn’t signed by his or her name, is asking about the nuclear fearthat hangs over the conflict. How should we think of that? IB: Yeah, we don’t like itwhen Putin uses the N-word, and there’s no question, I entail, he and his direct reportshave sounded nuclear sabers on at least five timesthat I’ve seen in the past few weeks.I think that … In 1962, I wasn’t alive, we had the Cuban Missile Crisis. There was a real possibilityof nuclear confrontation between the world’s two superpowers. At least for the last 30 years, theres been no chance of that. Functionally , no chance of that. I think we’re now back in a macrocosm where a Cuban Missile Crisisis again a reality. Now, that doesn’t mean that I thinknuclear war is likely or imminent. I don’t. And in fact, there is active deconflictiongoing on even today: the Americans and Russianswith a brand-new hotline, the secretary general of the UN, with the Russian defense minister engaging in deconflictionmeasures with UN agencies being invited to Moscow. So as bad as it is right now, beings that have beendoing this for a long time are trying to avoid nuclear war. But that’s the point. Is we’re now in a situation where the conflictthat we’re going to experience needs to be actively finagled because of the dangerof nuclear confrontation. So it now becomes a risk on the horizonthat we must be continually aware of, even though they are simply at a low level, as we take and consider further wars, as we consider diplomacy, as we consider escalation.It is now on the table in a waythat frankly is so debilitating. I necessitate, as human being all on this see, one of the most painfulthings to think about is the fact that we still havethese 5,000 thermonuclear weapon in Russia and 5,000 the United Statesthat are still parted at one another, and they still have the potentialto destroy countries around the world. And we haven’t had any reallessons that we’ve been able to learn institutionally from 1962. BG: 5,000 being a generic flesh, not the exact figure, but we are kind ofin that order of magnitude. Then of course, there is the questionof civilian nuclear, so the two power plants, nuclear power station, that ought to have grabbed by the Russians. One has been slightly damaged by a projectile, the other has been turned off.But those are also potentially giganticnuclear questions just waiting to happen. IB: Chemical artilleries, biological weapons. I mean, seem, we have had two millionrefugees from Ukraine in 2 weeks. As this continues, you’re lookingat five to 10 million refugees. I imply, it is hard — Just take a step for a momentjust as a human being. Imagine what it would take for a quarterof your country’s population to say: I am not living here anymore. I am leaving everythingbecause of the condition of the country, because of this unjust war that has been imposed against youby your neighbor.” That’s what we’re looking at.And again, it’s importantfor us to, you know , not lose the humanity of this crisis and the extraordinary destitution that is being visitedupon 44 million Ukrainians that have done nothing wrong, they have committed no blasphemy other than their desire to havean independent country. BG: One non-eu countries that has not yet takena very clear position is India. IB: Well, they’re a are part of the Quad, and the relations between the two countries with Chinais pretty bad, and thats mutual. But in terms of Russia, there’s been a longstanding relation, trade relationship, security relationship between India and Russia that the Russiansare not going to jettison, and they realise no reason to jettison it.And as long as you’ve got a whole bunchof other countries out there that are substantial, that are willing to say, we’re going to keep playing ballwith the Russians then the Indian will too. And that’s why you’ve got the abstentionin the United Commonwealth vote. And that’s why you’ve hadvery careful observations as opposed to overtand strong proscription coming from the Indian leadership. BG: Phil in the schmooze is asking, “Will this cause a fragmentationof the financial system with kind of a Western systemand an Eastern system? So two different SWIFT-like organisations, two different credit card plans, crypto, what’s the roleof crypto in all this? IB: I hope not. I make, I will tell youthat before the attack started, if you talk to most Western CEOs, and I’m talking acrossthe entire move of sectors, so it’s finance and it’s manufacturingand its services and it’s tech, most of them would have told youthat they did not in any way plan on reducing their footprint in China, and a good deal of them said that China was their most importantgrowth market in the world.Not a surprise. China is going to be the largesteconomy in the world in 2030. So, you are familiar with, a worldthat you’re decoupling is not a good world-wide when China is going to benumber one economically. I make, that obviouslyis going to hurt the West in a big way. So there are strongincentives against that, and there remain very strongand potent entrenched interests in the United State and Europethat will resist direct decoupling.Despite the fact that there arethese more incremental moves towards friendsourcing and insourcing because, you are familiar with, Chinese proletariat is more expensive, you dont need so much better laborto come fund moving, contributed robotics and big data, deep learningall of those things. But I do considered that the Russia conflict risks a statu of second-order decoupling. Because if the Russians end upfinancially integrated with China in their own , not-as-effective SWIFT arrangement, and all of their energyends up going to China and the Chinese build that infrastructureand they get a discount on it, and Russia’s technology and their militaryindustrial composite gets serviced by Chinese semiconductorsand Chinese componentry, well, I do think that there will beknock-on decoupling that will be longer termand more strategic from the United Mood, from the Europeans and even from Japan and South Korea. So that is a worry, and I picture the Chineseare highly aware of that.And over the coming months, they will do everything they can, both with the Europeans in particular, but likewise, I expect at leastwith some of the Asian economies, to try to limit the impact of that. Now, bearing in mind, we haven’t talked at allabout Asia yet outside of China. The new Japanese Prime Minister Kishidais at least as hawkish in his orientation towardsChina and Russia as Abe was. He is providing supportfor the Ukrainians, including some military capacity — unheard of for the Japanese. He’s allowing Ukrainian refugees — unheard of for the Japanese. And yesterday, the South Koreanshad a very, very tight election, and Yoon is now in charge. He is on the right, and he is the guythat is strongly anti-China, is about South Koreahaving nuclear capabilities, requirements a new THAAD missiledefense system for the South Koreans and wants to rebuildthe relationship with Tokyo. That substances. And that’s a big tactical changein the geopolitical map that will look more problematicon the decoupling front from Beijing’s perspective.BG: Three final speedy questionsthat all come from the chitchat, Ian. One is, because you mentionedthe rest of Asia outside of China, “What about countries around the world? What about Africa and The countries of latin america? How do they factor into thisconversation or don’t they? ” IB: They factor in. I intend, those that havesignificant stocks do well because the pricesare going to be so high-pitched. Those that don’t are going to beunder big pressure for intellects we already talked about, but they are not going to be forcedto pick a side on this one.I simply don’t see it. In the same way that if you were Colombiain the last couple of years, you are familiar with, you felt, even though you’re working very closelywith an American ally, you’re still dealing with Huawei and 5G. This is knock-on effects of all of this. These are countriesthat are not going to take on substantial economic responsibility, dedicated how much they’re sufferingright now geopolitically. BG: Another one is about sanctions. How do we even know when and how, at what point we startrolling back sanctions? IB: I think that as longas Ukraine is occupied by the Russian government for the foreseeable futureand Putin is there, I can’t see these sanctionsgetting unwound. Now, if a rump Ukrainian governmentthat is democratically elected were prepared to sue for peaceand retakes most of Ukraine, but they give away Crimeaand they bring out the Donbass, could you see in that environmentsome of these sanctions unwound? Sure. But I want, I am suggesting that I think that many of these sanctionsare functionally permanent. They indicate a brand-new method of doing business. And when people ask mewhats going to happen when this is over, my response is, what do you necessitate over? What’s over is the peace dividend.We are now in a new environment. BG: And one of the figuresof this new environment and I want to close with that, is President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, “whos not” taken very seriouslywhen he was elected, he has come out as a significantfigure in this war. What do you reach of President Zelenskyy? How do you read this character? IB: He’s very courageous. I’m certainly inspired by his abilityto communicate and rally his parties and take personal jeopardy in Kyivwhile this invasion is going on. But I’m exceedingly conflicted because I envision many of the stepsthat Zelenskyy made in the run-up to this conflict actually stimulated the likelihoodof conflict worse. He would prefer to make the adviceof the Americans and Europeans gravely in the months leading up to the conflict.He was unwilling to mobilize his beings to ready them forthe potential of conflict. He was certainly unwilling to give an inch in terms of Ukraine’s desireto be a member of NATO, although he has knew perfectly that no one in NATO was preparedto offer a membership the plans of action, let alone actuallybring them in as members. And part of that is a lack of experience and need of any businessbeing in that position in the run-up to this crisis. So Im very deeply conflictedin my personal views on Zelenskyy, given the way he behavedbefore the takeover, in comparison with the extraordinary leadershipthat he has exposed to all of us over the last two weeks.BG: Ian, thank you for taking the time, for sharing your acquaintance, and your analysis with us. We profoundly appreciate it.Thank you very much. IB: Good to see all of you.[ Get be made available to thought-provoking eventsyou won’t want to miss .][ Become a TED Memberat ted.com/ body ].

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