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Friday, January 27, 2023

Worldview 2023 looks bleak & smoggy

The global glitterati rendezvoused in the Swiss town of Davos for the annual economic tete a tete with Zelensky holding centrestage and urging the west for more tanks and weapons.

The Russian oligarchs and their lavish parties were conscpicous by their abscence as was the Russian President who  rattled out numbers of how the Russian economy had withstood the west’s economic embargo in a virtual address from the Kremlin.

Citing data from the ministry of economic development Putin said that the GDP of Russia had declined between January and November 2022 by only 2.1% as opposed to the 20% prognosis of the west and the 33% plummet in the Ukraine economy. 

So Russia has not sunk as the west would have liked and Russians are not starving. Alexander  Titov a lecturer at queen’s University Belfast wrote while traveling in his country “If this is a crisis for Russia, which it is it’s nothing like the turmoil of the early 1990s when the state, society and economy were all collapsing at the same time.” There’s no shortages of  western goods such as whisky – the supermarket shelves are fully stocked,” he said.

If Putin is to be believed then the current account balance is in the green thanks to its oil and gas supplies to China, Bharat and the African nations. However Russia has not won the war & Ukraine has not lost it thanks to the US and its allies arms and artillery support. 

In fact Ukraine is preparing for a major counter offense but the US wants the former to stall it till spring. 

But the Ukraine Russian war has had a spiralling and a detrimental effect on the global supply chains and food distribution particularly from the grain bowl Ukraine and Russia  to some extent. 

Even as the European countries are bearing the brunt of the harsh winter months due to the energy crisis its the African nations like Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya which are hard done by the war as they face drought, famine and starvation. 

Nearly 40 million hungry mouths are waiting for a morsel as the world’s rich and mighty are engaged in a game of one upmanship and sabre rattling.  

China’s  covid surge has upset the global supply  chain and Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit has threatened  another full blown  confrontation in the Taiwan strait as if the ongoing  war between Russia and Ukraine was not enough.  

The world  Bank and IMF’S gloomy global projection for 2023 with an absyml 1.5% growth does not augur well  for the world particularly  the poorer nations who rely on the aid from rich economies. 

But the US preoccupation  and obsession  with  Ukraine has resulted  in the diversion of funds from humanitarian needs to arming Ukraine to the hilt with the Biden administration pledging an astounding 27.4 billion dollars for Ukraine, a chunk of which will go towards the supply of tanks, rocket launchers, howitzer and missiles and keep the embers burning in this long drawn conflict. 

This is in addition  to the ammo promised and being supplied  by the European  union with countries  like France, UK and Germany joining the race. 

The US seems to have its hands in the crisis pie of the world be it Ukraine, Afghanistan, Taiwan or the Middle East. A hasty and unplanned exit from Afghanistan has plunged the country into an unprecedented  humanitarian and economic crisis with a bunch of maniacs at the helm.

The war in Ukraine has been stoked and flamed by the US and its allies. It shows no signs of abating and has severely impacted the economies of all countries including  the US and Europe.

With Zelensky’s flavour on everyone’s lips in Davos and a pledge by the powers that be for more ammunition for Ukraine, countries like Somalia and Ethiopia will have to wait for their turn and as things stand it could be a long wait.

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Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine

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