Preparing For A New, More Volatile Zeitgeist
Okay, so what do we do now, I hear you asking? It’s time to prepare for a new, more volatile zeitgeist (spirit of the times) than we have operated in during the extraordinary period of hyper-globalisation and financial/trade integration that has prevailed since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
It's too late for what I call magical thinking—also known as optimism bias (e.g. maybe the war will end and things will go back to normal). That ship has sailed—if and when there is an end to the war in Ukraine, it will be followed by disputes over reparations, human rights violations and war crimes tribunals, with sanctions not reversed for the foreseeable future. There is also a high likelihood that Russia risk increases, whether via expanding its military alliance with Iran, launching an unconventional weapons attack, or deteriorating into a failed state. We just don’t know how this ends, but it is unlikely to be tranquil.
Leaders need to learn the lessons of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and disregard for international norms and critically apply these to engagement with other regimes, such as China. One of our top ten themes for 2023 is that we need to get ready for a period where security and defense considerations take priority over the commercial imperative that had been the priority during the Pax Americana that prevailed during hyper-globalisation. (David Rothkopf), (Tina Fordham/Jan Techau)