Within next decade there are currently two places in the world that can drag us into nuclear conflict between superpowers - one is possible invasion of Taiwan by China (with full control of South China Sea as first step) and second is possible invasion of Baltic states by Russia (with invasion of Ukraine being first step and testing Western response).
I was wondering what investment implication might have such potential conflicts? Should I start buying food cans and ammo or maybe physical gold? I doubt Bitcoin or stocks will be of any use in such scenario…
I don‘t see it. They are members of NATO and while the living together of the ethnic Balts and the sizable Russian minorities isn‘t without friction, differences of opinion and conflict, it‘s not really a serious conflict. I also think there’s less a lack of (and increasi waning) support of ethnic Russians in these countries to return to Russia, for economic reasons and civil liberties due to EU membership.
Eastern Ukraine, yes, I could see such support, such as on Crimea, but the Baltics, no. And I don‘t think Putin would be foolish enough to risk such conflict on NATO territory.
Well, no at the moment, but after USA and allies get engaged in the Pacific, then who will stop him from taking over Baltics? Russia and China can make tactical anti-NATO pact and open two fronts. In fact, Sweden, Poland, Romania and Turkey are all building up arms now to prepare for such situation. Not to mention Ukraine which already is at war with Russia. Whether we like it or not, we are now in cold war that is getting hotter and hotter every day.
It‘s relatively easy to seize and annex a country with support of the majority of its population. It‘s not in the absence of such support.
The red line that can‘t be crossed is NATO (and maybe vice versa). Putin knows this and just made corresponding demands that NATO doesn‘t expand eastwards. And so does the west, with its relatively indifferent stance and non-opposition (militarily) to the annexation of Crimea.
Yes, but all Baltic countries have significant Russian-speaking minorities. There are 1M Russians there, and in the Soviet times there were 2M. In Lithuania 12% of the population are Russians, Latvia - 25% (including half of the population of the Riga), and Estonia - 25% (including 40% population of Tallinn). They don’t need to take over the whole Baltic states, but annex just the +50% Russian-speaking cities.
Similarly as they did in Georgia in 2008, and as they do now in Ukraine (and they do de facto in Belarus but with political means). They already tested this strategy and it works.
Not sure if that was the case. There was lots of covert operations ongoing, starting with untagged soldiers, high representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (possibly also working for the FSB), lots of propaganda basically 7x24 in the radios and TV, etc. In ballot boxes half of the boxes were already full with pre-printed ballots. In front of the polling stations were untagged armed soldiers, meaning, you won’t go in there and vote no, when you don’t know if you will ever get out again after doing so Everything was done silently in a very creepy way to steer it into the “correct” direction. E.g. everyone living in Crimea at that time was forcefully given Russian citizenship even if you didn’t want to.
Well, they might like the Western prosperity (similarly in Kalinigrad Oblast people are much more pro-West than in “mainland”), but does it mean they would oppose (military or otherwise) the Russian occupation? Especially when Putin will promise them an “independent” republic (tied geopolitically and economically with Russia like Lugansk, Donetsk, Abkhazia and South Ossetia)?
Yeah but there is no point in opposing the annexation through military force. Russia would just have taken over the whole country in a matter of days and would call it an act of self-defence. There was also no point for other countries to help because nobody wants a nuclear war with Russia. The only chance would have been if there was a possibility for Ukraine to become a NATO member in a fast way but that didn’t happen.
I think the anti-Russian forces in Crimea (Ukrainians and Tatars) are too small and too disorganized to really fight back. Rest of the population is either pro-Russian or nationally ambiguous (or they are “pro-Soviet” as once an old man told me in Yalta when I was there on vacation). So there was no enough political will to stop Russia there. In Donbas and Lugansk it’s completely different story because pro-Russian forces are minority. That’s why up to this day 15k people died in the war in Eastern Ukraine.
Occupation of the whole Ukraine would be 1000 times more bloody than the current war in the East. I think it’s unlikely to happen on full scale. I think it’s much more likely that new pro-Russian minorities “republics” will pop up in the future - Odessa People’s Republic, and rest of the “Novorossiya”.
It’s unlikely that Ukraine will join now NATO because nobody in the West wants to go for nuclear war with Russia over ethnically mixed territories in Eastern Ukraine. Interestingly, the aggressive moves of Russia (war in Georgia in 2008) started just few months after Bush pushed hard Germans and French to let Ukraine and Georgia join NATO. He though that Russia will be too scared of US to react - he was wrong.
Crimea has been 90% Russian-speaking way before referendum and annexation.
Some maybe, many not, probably. I don‘t think that Russian occupation would be very welcome - or that Russia would be able to improve economic conditions and infrastructure as in Crimea or Eastern Ukraine.
I think Putin, Russia and ethnic Russians have - though maybe somewhat begrudgingly and not ostensibly - accepted the status of the Baltic states as members of NATO and the EU. And vice versa, EU and „the West“ has accepted the status of Kaliningrad as Russian, the annexation of Crimea. And I eventually it may not much different for Eastern Ukraine.
Even though Crimea could be a blueprint of sorts for Eastern Ukraine, it isn’t a blueprint for the Baltics.
Yep. And the crazy move to phase out nuclear power while electrifying more sectors like transportation and heating. Hopefully this year’s energy bills will shake some people’s beliefs on nuclear energy.
Georgia was blueprint for Crimea, then Crimea was blueprint for eastern Ukraine, in the future eastern Ukraine will become a blueprint for southern Ukraine, and if we will see China-US/NATO war over Taiwan, I think all these exercises will become a blueprint to whatever Russians will want to take (including parts of Baltic states).
PS. Interestingly, Putin took this idea for creating “independent” republics from US - after they created Kosovo. That had triggered Putin a lot at the time due to traditional Serbian-Russian connections and he was promising the US similar “independent” secessions.
I know, but that doesn’t mean everyone wanted Crimea to become Russian.
Basically members of the Ukrainian military forces that lived in Crimea fled to Ukrainian mainland. There is not much anti-Russian resistance left.
However, some people now realise that there has been promised a lot to them, but little to nothing has been kept. Actually the situation is significantly worse now, US & EU sanctions have severe economical impact and life got complicated, e.g. the only way to fly in and out is through Moscow whereas before you had several airlines that flew to Simferopol. Most stuff from outside Russia doesn’t work anymore, e.g. you can’t use any US services and even mobile phone roaming doesn’t work. And all the great jobs and better pensions etc. that was promised also doesn’t exist.