From Russia with Love:
Peace and Sustainability on their way?!
30 July 2014
A dire situation in Ukraine: Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army fight over and around the remains of flight MH 17, which crashed on July 17, 2017, causing 289 innocent deaths (see In memorandum of flight MH17 and Gaza victims). This situation can have profound consequences for Europe and the world in general in relation to peace, economy, (renewable) energy, the financial sector, and more. I have been contemplating a lot over a solution, because I always try to find one, even in the most negative situations. So here are my concerns and thoughts around this topic.
The relationship between Russia and the US and Russia and Europe has been 'quiet' since the Cold War, but underneath, historical events and the frustrations about each other remain. This now comes to the surface. In March 2014, Russia invaded the Krim in Ukraine, arguing its theirs to take because the majority of the inhabitants are Russian. However, the rest of the world was watching and did not agree about these actions. The new Ukrainian president is off course against Russian invasion, and the rest of the world has taken measures against Russia. Putin assures Ukraine and the rest he wants to negotiate, not fight. However, Russian separatists kept on fighting in the area, and are probably supported by Russia in the end. Ukraine fights back in order to regain the power over their eastern region. However, East Ukraine remained dangerous, also to fly over. And this was the problem flight MH17 was the victim of. The remains of those who went to the 'other side' have been brought back 'home', yet some remain, next to all the evidence of the possible terrorist attack which took the flight down. Russian separatists stayed in the area, as well as the Ukrainian army, and they keep on fighting. Therefore, the MH17 rescue and research teams (of e.g. the Netherlands) are not able to go to the crash site at all.
So now what? What can be done in order to stabilize the situation? In order for the teams to go to the site? Well, the US and Europe have come up with sanctions for Russia. Some have already undergone phase 1 and 2 since March 2014, and are now pushed into phase 3. And some are new, in order to increase the pressure. Here are some of them: (1) The black list: around 95 Russians are on the black lists of the EU and the US, meaning, no access to money and banks, no access to EU countries, and more. (2) Sanctions on military equipment: the US and Europe will no longer sell and provide military equipment to Russia, except for the two ships sold by France to Russia. (3) Russia is no longer one of the G8. (4) Banks and investments: European Banks are asked to withhold from investing in Russia. In addition, institutions and banks which over 50% under Russian eyes are disconnected to the EU and US market. This seems to be the heaviest sanction as it will profoundly decrease investments in Russia. (5) Technological expertise, innovations, and know-how in relation to energy (oil and gas) are no longer allowed to be shared with Russia and Russian companies (for instance Shell cannot provide technical support for drilling in the Arctic).
Consequently, Russia takes measures against big advisory and consultancy groups like KPMG and Deloitte. In addition, the country started a lawsuit against McDonalds because of food safety and health issues. Russia may prohibit vegetables from Europe as it may not uphold to Russian standards. Finally, Putin can shut down the oil and gas pipelines to Europe, which will have profound negative effects on the energy supply of Europe.
This all has intense negative effects on the Russian economy, accounting up to billions of dollars. For Europe and the US, the economic loss is less. Yet, there are also positive effects to be seen from this economic war too: MacDonald is one restaurant I always avoid because of their heavy negative impact on the Brazilian Amazon by cutting down the forest for agricultural purposes to feed their cattle. So sanctions of Russian side on this regard may push the food chain to reconsider their role in food safety and the environment. With regards to military forces: may this be a signal to many to decrease military force and the weapon industry? Furthermore, the energy sanctions from both parties may lead to additional, fast, and innovative investments in renewable, reliable and independent energy in Europe, such as solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, and biogas. In that sense, this economic war could lead to faster and more sustainability. Hopefully it will bring long term peace with it!
So I always try to see the positive in the negative, so, after all, something good may come from this, but why haven't we acted upon for instance renewable energy, earlier, faster, and before the Russian – Ukrainian crisis?! Was is necessary to have shot down an airplane with hundreds of innocent people to speed up the process?! That's where the frustration from my side, and probably many of you readers, comes in. Why not act on arguments based on precautionary principles in relation to humanity, equity, peace, climate change, and the energy crisis (runnig out of oil and gas)!? Why act only when disasters like MH17 happen and when we then finally no longer care about our economy, but more about our fellow humans and the environment?! Can we please learn from this and act more boldly and swiftly in similar situations?!
Let's act for the sake humanity and planet Earth! A positive shift, faster and faster!
Let's keep on hoping for a better world, because it's the only way! For peace and sustainability!
Thus, can it be in the end: From Russia with Love?!