Can Dollars Beat Bullets?

Last year I wrote a piece “World War III is here today” (The Daily Item June 19, 2022) which pointed out that China began a new kind of stealth war some years ago, an economic war. China is trying to replace the US as the world's economic leader.

While the U.S. wasted trillions on military wars in failed attempts to stop communism and terrorism, the Chinese spent approximately an equal amount on foreign aid in Africa, South America, and other places around the world.

The Biden administration has changed this aspect of its foreign policy in favor of the Chinese version of new war. While Vladimir Putin has returned to World War II methods with his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration is relying on the World War III method. He is attempting to prove that dollars beat bullets in an international economic system.

Biden has rallied all European nations to support the strongest economic sanctions ever imposed against any one nation. Even Switzerland broke its centuries-long neutrality to join the battle.

Without modern instantaneous communications systems past economies were limited to individual countries. Now, with the internet, national economies are so intertwined and interdependent that no individual economy can survive without health economies in other nations.

So, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is an empirical test of which method of war is stronger: the WWII or WWIII method?

The difference between the two methods is stark, indeed. The WWII method involves the death of thousands if not millions of human beings: Men, women, children, and the destructions of homes, businesses, even cities. The WWIII method costs no loss of human life and does no physical damage.

So, which method will dominate?

The WWII method which Putin is using to demolish Ukraine has cost hundreds if not thousands of lives in its first week. It has sent a million Ukrainians in exile to neighboring states. History has taught us that a majority of them will never return to their demolished homes and cities.

The WWIII method will take a bit longer to prove itself, but we can see the early effects of it already: the value of the already weak ruble has plummeted, the Russian stock market has been closed indefinitely, there is a run on Russian banks, and many Russians are fleeing their country.

The 40-mile-long convoy of Russian vehicles heading for Kiev is stalled for lack of food, fuel, and money. It is also hobbled by the number of defecting drivers opposed to killing friends, neighbors, even relatives to satisfy the ego of one man, the illegitimate president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

The Russian economy is not only suffering economic losses in support of its invasion of Ukraine, what little esteem it has among autocratic countries is rapidly evaporating. It has become such a pariah among nations that even Russia’s closest ally, the most powerful autocratic nation on earth, China, is too embarrassed to support it in the UN and elsewhere.

So things are looking good for the WWIII approach to aggression. Since Russia produces approximately 1/3 of the oil consumed by the world, the NATO allies and other countries that have joined the fray will suffer higher fuel prices until this semi-military encounter is over.

But none of us will die or be physically injured like the brave Ukrainians who remain in their country. May God protect them all.

(Sunbury Daily Item, March 6, 2022)

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