The longer the war in Ukraine lasts, the greater the problems that it will cause in the politics, economies and societies of not only those directly involved but across the world.
High prices, energy and food insecurity, obstacles in production and distribution chains are already worsening. In 2023, shortages will increase and prices will rise further. Along with geopolitical turbulence, they will probably decide elections and determine international relations for many years.
For the United States, the longer the war lasts, the weaker Russia becomes, the more liquid natural gas the European Union buys from America, while NATO and the Western defense architecture grow stronger.
The longer Putin is in a quagmire, the more vicious his tactics will become; because only victory will be able to justify the fatal error of the invasion.
The longer their resistance holds, the more the Ukrainians will want to pursue their own victory.
The catastrophe will grow ever bigger, with all that this means for people’s lives, agriculture, production, trade and future reconciliation.
The behavior of countries far from the action will determine their image and relations between them.
For the EU – until now – China was seen as both friend and rival. Now Beijing will have to choose what it is, despite the temptation to buy cheap energy from Russia, thus producing even cheaper goods and strengthening China’s position in more countries and markets. This choice would stoke further tension between China and the West.
Turkey’s dextrous neutrality cannot last much longer, as it seeks to be both a NATO member (albeit without applying sanctions on Russia) and friendly with both Russia and Ukraine. The anti-NATO “Eurasianist” visionaries who stoked expansionism in the past few years may be out of the limelight, but the nationalist element will remain strong in Turkish politics. The big question here, as elsewhere, is how to keep the worsening economy from sparking a social explosion.
For Greece, the imported dangers multiply chronic problems and fan the flames of political division. Greece, though, has taken a clear stand on the conflict, without equivocation or opportunism.
However long the war lasts, the defense of justice is the most valuable position to hold – for the duration and beyond.