As this is being written, a huge Russian Army is standing ready and poised, at the whim of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, to invade the nation of Ukraine, potentially bringing death and devastation to Europe on a scale not seen since 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland with a bliztkrieg.
As was the case in 1939, when authoritarian leaders in Germany, Italy, and Japan combined to form an Axis, Putin and his fellow dictator, Xi Jinping of China, are conspiring to set the world ablaze. Putin has Ukraine in his crosshairs and Xi likewise has his sights set on an invasion of Taiwan.
The big difference between now and then is that these dictators possess nuclear weapons, which makes an all-out war unthinkable.
That means that they can get away with pretty much anything. They know that the U.S., which is their only countervailing force, will be hesitant to engage them directly because of the threat of escalation into a nuclear conflict.
Another difference between now and then is that both Russia and China have the ability to wreak havoc throughout the world by means of cyber warfare. The world economy, including that of the U.S., is incredibly vulnerable to Russian and Chinese hacks.
Make no mistake about it — if the U.S. imposes the severe economic sanctions on Russia that are being promised by the Biden administration, the Russians will retaliate with a scale of cyber warfare that will make the hacks of last year look like childâ€™s play.
Another key difference between 1939 and today is that Russia plays a huge role in the worldâ€™s energy markets. Although the Russian economy is only a fraction the size of Californiaâ€™s, Russia serves as the major energy provider for Western Europe. A shutdown of the delivery of Russian natural gas and oil to Europe will drive energy prices skyrocketing beyond their already-high levels.
Our so-called allies in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, could help out, but theyâ€™re in bed with the Russians. Their decision to keep oil output artificially low is creating an energy crisis not seen since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1970s and early 1980s.
In addition, U.S. oil producers have joined the Saudi-Russian oil-opoly by limiting energy production in this country, thereby keeping prices artificially high. If energy prices continue their upward trend, the Biden administration may have to order a nationalization of the oil industry to increase domestic output.
World history has shown that dictators do what dictators do. Putin, Xi, and MBS essentially are dictators for life and face no consequences for their policies and actions in their own countries. Al three have cracked down brutally on political opponents and various ethnic groups that may pose even a remote threat to their regimes.
As they seek to expand their authoritarian regimes beyond their borders, world peace will be in peril.
Dark days lie ahead.