Let’s treat Ukraine as a NATO member. An attack on a free country is an attack on all of us. We have a moral obligation to use the economy as a weapon to its fullest extent, no matter what it costs us.
We call on all economists in the world to participate. We have just seen Russia invade another country right before our eyes. And not with dubious background media or political manipulations to which Putin has resorted to this day, but with full military force. By any standard, this is an insane, senseless attack. They are shelling a country that does not want to be shelled.
And why? Because Ukraine has ceased to be Putin’s puppet since 2014. He bit them once then, laughing and mocking the advanced word, and now he has whetted his appetite and is biting a second time – with full force.
We have a moral duty to wage full-scale economic warfare. This is a full-scale attack; we must retaliate in full. The current sanctions will not make Putin give in. We are no longer negotiating, Russia has turned out to be a state terrorist. We have been attacked, NATO or not.
We should use the weapon of educated and progressive people, a weapon that history will one day look back on with amazement. That weapon is our economy. Sanctions will not be enough, we must completely isolate Russia. Let’s immediately go into full swing and break all economic ties with Russia.
Let’s fight this battle on an economic basis, in which the West will be superior to Russia. We hope that China will join us, this is an invitation to take our side. On the side of progressive, educated and peace-loving nations. Russia has opted out of this community. Russia has no respect for you. But if China does not join us, then so be it.
This will cost us dearly, our budgets, our governments, our energy prices, our prosperity. Some of our businesses will die. Gas may run out and we will be forced to divert heat to key locations. But that is better than lives lost.
Let us be thankful to God that we can do maximum damage by using economics and not have to fight the real bloody war. Let’s fight the battle on an economic basis – as long as we can and as fast as we can and as united as we can. We are at war. We cannot feed our enemy who is attacking us. We have a moral obligation to use every possible maximum economic force, and this will cost us great economic losses.
Let’s cut all our ties with Russia. Stop all trade, all exchanges, shut Russia out of SWIFT, declare it a terrorist organization. Cut all economic ties. Our debts will not be paid now anyway. Let’s not take a single ruble from this aggressor state nor pay one. This could cost us more than the Covid pandemic. But we must end this unfortunate, unprovoked, and already bloody war in Ukraine before it becomes World War III. But it will cost us even more than severe economic pain: we have lost our hope that we can live peacefully and respectfully side by side despite our differences.
They have destroyed our hope that these things will not happen again, not in Europe. Putin, with his lies, his deceit, his violence and his madness, has become the Hitler of our time. And when it comes to that, we have to fight him on the ground, and we will fight him at sea, and we will fight them in the air, and when it comes to that, we will fight them under the sea.
But first, we have to fight them in the economy and be so decisive, unified, and fierce and deal them such a heavy blow that we can at least hope that it will be enough to stop Putin and withdraw from all Ukrainian territories.
The current level of sanctions is not enough. There is no room for escalation. The situation has already escalated. If our economic weapons do not work, we will have to resort to conventional, primitive weapons from the last century. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Therefore, we have a moral responsibility to use all available economic means to prevent war; the economic blow must carry full weight. Cut all economic ties with Russia – until it returns to the path of peace. Let’s use the economy for good – to fight evil.
Let’s use our wealth and use our economy as a weapon. The whole free world, unite and cut all economic – and all other possible – ties with Russia. If one of us is attacked, it is an attack on all of us, NATO or not. Ukraine, we welcome you into our midst and will treat you like a member country you should have become long ago. Let’s leave the bureaucracy behind.
We were attacked with full force, let’s hit back with full force. We will not let Ukraine fall. We are Ukraine. Viva Ukraine!
Full economic arsenal:
- Declare Russia a terrorist-state
- Cut from SWIFT, despite the debt (they are not going to pay it anyway), close accounts at so-called fintech Revolut (as it is purely Russian project)
- Sever all economic links, all export, and all import, all movement of capital
- Exclude Russia from all international organizations and competitions (UN, Olympics IOC, UEFA, FIFA, FIS, FINA, IIHF, IAAF, ATP, UCI, …)
- Cease all imports of gas and oil. Let’s spend the rest of the winter in scarves if need be (we have enough reserves)
- Confiscate all Russian-linked property in the West till Russia retreats to Russia. Remove all Russian collaborators, who were paid by Russian authorities and linked companies.
- media closures including fake news websites,
- visa policy, diplomacy closures,
- expos, international associations
- Russian oil and gas companies no longer covered by reinsurance and Lloyd’s market
- Let’s go back to Nuclear energy and redirect all energy resources outside of Russia. Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko list of sanctions wants enacted against Russia as soon as possible.
- Ban energy trade with Russia – stop buying Russian oil and gas
- Ban foreign investment in Russia and prohibit Western government pension funds from investing in Russian assets
- Sanction all secondary trading in Russian debt and equities – public and private sector including existing holdings
- Sanction the Russian Central Bank, Russian state-owned and private banks
- Sanction all ruble transactions with Western banks
- Withdraw Russia out of bond and equity investment indices
- Block Russia from SWIFT system for payments
- Disconnect Russia from VISA and MasterCard payment system
- Freeze Russian foreign assets, sanction Russian Direct Investment Fund
- Expand personal sanctions to all those in the Western list of sanctions and their families – asset freeze, visa cancellations, passport revocation and repatriation back to Russia.
Forget about writing an article, it’s the apocalypse, a friend said to me yesterday. It’s Thursday afternoon and I can already feel that the city has quieted down; I can already feel that the rush, which Komenský claimed was only for beasts (meaning cattle), has come to a stop.
It’s actually quite unimaginable – with the flick of a magic wand, the entire society switches to a slightly post-apocalyptic mode and everyone turns on some sort of austerity mode. Immeasurable economic impacts are being summarized in almost every article, and no wonder – something like this has not happened during our lifetimes, if such a global halt has in fact ever occurred at all.
And so we shall take advantage of a situation we can’t do much about anyway. Personally, I am planning on visiting a empty Old Town Square; on being a tourist in my own, tourist-free city and perhaps even walking the Royal Route. Maybe I’ll even go as far as Wenceslas Square.
I want to see a closed-down, evening Prague without the omnipresent buzzing pubs and the rumbling of theaters, the lure of popcorn from cinemas. The world will shrink into a sort of necessary minimum. Oh, and I’ll take a stroll on Charles’ Bridge with relish.
Let’s look at it from the positive side. The world will have a Sabbath. Cities will calm down. People will pause and return a little bit into their own bag of skin, into their own human dimensions. Soon we will likely start missing the tourists, once we discover how empty the city is without them.
The issue with threats and cancellations of airline routes from China will resolve itself. After a few weeks of self-ostracizing, we might even start appreciating globalization; its advantages have become so automatic to us that we’ve almost forgotten about them.
And most importantly: we will have time for our children. We will have time for our loved ones, just like it used to be. I expect that time will slow down and it will drag and flow as slow as honey. Once again, we will invite people over for a visit and cook dinners for one another. Do you realize how quickly we’ve gotten used to going to restaurants and letting others cook for us?
The economy will take a break and, in some areas, polluted air will have a chance to become clean again. People will retreat from being spread out far and wide across the whole world, going back into their natural space. Bohemia’s functional semi-alcoholics will see what it’s like to be without pubs, without their habitual evening freshly poured beers. Perhaps the birth rate will increase. There will be time to read all those books. To finish all those projects we’ve been putting off. There will be more time for reflection, for that hour evening darkness, when all electric turned off. Suspended.
The government and businesses will finally take big strides towards home offices and telework. The older among us will remind what our towns looked like before the borders opened, during communism. We will gain awareness of how fragile our developed society is. New varieties of limited- or no-contact greetings will be established. Scientific collaboration will improve. you will be able to take up new hobbies; don’t let the quarantine slip through your fingers. There won’t be any issues with noise disturbances at night. We will likely find out that life without evening cultural events has its own charms as well.
There will be time, plenty of time. And we will be at home. A lot. In short, we are undoubtedly in for an experience of a lifetime. Many people will save money. Critics of consumerism will live their spring of grace, those who hate large crowds will celebrate. For those who complain of the too-fast tempo of modern life – these are the months of your life. Large cities will become neighboring villages. The global village will become a village (with an internet connection). Massive derailment into peace.
People should always be glad when something derails us from our automatic routine, and this is truly a massive derailment, a derailment into peace. Suddenly, we will have to fill this emptiness with our own selves – this emptiness which happens when the muse and the noise of people quiet down, when life loses that “upgrade” of sports, arts, society, travel, etc. to which we’ve become so accustomed.
Maybe we will learn to be with ourselves more, to be ourselves. Maybe we will learn to reflect better, and if not, at least we will have time to sort through all the pictures we’ve accumulated over all these years. And then the joy when everything starts moving again.
Once again, we will know the meaning of our life thanks to the mostly unnecessary work we do, and we will go back to drowning out that inner voice which speaks the most in the quiet evening hours when the end of the day draws near.
Written for the Czech Economic Daily (Hospodářské noviny)
Original source here