The war between Russia and Ukraine can solve many pressing issues for the U.S. There are few options for countries to compete in the global economic and political arenas and stay relevant. One way is to be the best at everything, that is to keep innovating, evolving technologically, growing the internal market, keep exporting goods and services to the rest of the world, while simultaneously delivering a political message of economic and military strength.
The other way is to make sure all other countries fail in all the above, leaving one by default as a winner. The rampant inflation, failure in Afghanistan, astronomical rise of the national debt, declining size of the economy, diminishing political and military influence and a potential threat to the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency can all be solved for the U.S. in a single shot, the shot between Ukraine’s and Russia’s militaries.
The U.S. rose to the status of superpower right after World War II when the rest of the developed world was in ruins, and the U.S. by default became the only bright spot. There is a chance that the war between Russia and Ukraine can help the U.S. to make this happen again.
A limited and frozen military conflict in Eastern Europe that will not involve NATO and U.S. troops will solve many of those things on the United States’ list. To start with, if there is a war in Eastern part of Europe, there will be an immediate capital flight from the rest of Europe and other parts of the world to the safe-haven economy, and it just happens to be the U.S. again.
The capital inflow can certainly benefit the U.S. economy in many ways. The increase of a global demand for the U.S. treasuries as a safe investment can help to keep interest rates lower. The flow of money to the U.S. will also increase an overall investment, create an opportunity for technological improvements, lower prices for consumers and boost the stock market. All of this is needed for the U.S. in the short and long run to continue to stay ahead of the competition.
Then there are many other solutions to current U.S. geo-economic and geopolitical issues. Let’s start with Europe. The war conflict in the fringes of Europe will make the region depend on U.S. natural gas and oil supplies, as Europe will be cut off from Russian shipments. This is a good thing for the U.S. liquified natural gas and oil producers, who cannot compete with the Russians until that moment. The war and the sanctions will correct this in an instant. The European economies that were hit hard by the pandemic would have no choice but to turn to the U.S. for economic and military help, as the conflict will make depressed nations even weaker. This is good news for the U.S. military industrial complex as NATO will ask more military hardware to protect Europe from the Russians. The flood of millions of refugees from Ukraine will put a tremendous stress on the already weakened EU economy, prompting the EU to ask for the U.S. assistance.
Now, let’s not forget about the Russians. In the past 20 years, Russia has gone from a failed state with the dilapidated economy and military left from the Soviet times to a country where not a single global issue can be solved without involving Russia. Putin and Russia are on everybody’s radar. Russia has rebuilt its economy, modernized its military and become a smaller but potent superpower again. Russia tampered with the U.S. elections and neither the republicans nor democrats five years later can forget or stop talking about it. Russia is a constant perceived threat to Europe, especially to the former Eastern Bloc countries.
The Russian gas, oil, wheat and many other agricultural products being exported to Europe, China and many other countries, directly competing with U.S. producers. Russia, the country with the largest land mass, roughly two times the size of the U.S. with unlimited natural resources, has become a player in the global market. The increased economic, monetary, political and military cooperation between Russia and China is one of the major threats to the U.S. global domination. The war between Ukraine and Russia will roll back most of those achievements in an instant. Biden’s threat to use any punitive measures toward Russia if it attacks Ukraine will decimate the Russian economy. Besides Biden, Europe will do its part to make sure Russia gets punished to the maximum level by stopping any imports of Russian-made products. What Russians gained in the past 20 years will evaporate in a matter of months. The Russian economy will fold. What was another attempt of Russia to become a superpower will end up in ruins with the Russians being brought back to poverty. The war in Ukraine will take care of the rising Russia, allowing the U.S. to remain relevant and free to spend more time concentrating on China.
The war conflict in Europe will become China’s problem, as well. The never-ending opening and closing of Chinese megacities once few cases of COVID-19 are detected, plus punitive draconian restrictions, are not sitting well with the Chinese people. In fact, while the rest of the world has gone through four and five waves of different coronavirus strains, China was able to create an artificial bubble over 1.5 billion of its citizens and isolate them from so-called herd immunity. How much longer can the country afford to shut down its industries and cities when a single case of COVID is detected? The Chinese economy is slowing down, and the collapsing real estate sector might be a trigger for a wider economic recession.
With the war in Europe, there will be a dramatic decrease in demand for Chinese-made goods. Europeans would need to choose between heating their houses, putting food on a table or buying Chinese consumer goods. The war in Europe will threaten the largest and most ambitious Chinese project, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese government is spending close to $1 trillion while attempting to link China by building connecting railroads and roads through Central Asia, parts of Middle East and Russia, to deliver Chinese goods to Europe in days and weeks rather than months. With the war in Europe and sanctions over Russia, the Europeans will make sure that not a single train from China crosses the Russian territory and enters the EU, only adding to the pain of Chinese manufacturers.
All in all, the war in Europe is the answer to many pressing issues of Biden’s administration, as well as administrations before and after Biden. The war in Europe will leave the U.S. to be the only superpower by default again.