The musician and actress Selena Gomez has twice as many followers on Instagram — over 298 million — as Russia has residents. Sure, Vladimir, I can hear you laughing from right here and echoing Stalin’s quip concerning the pope: “What number of divisions does Selena Gomez have?”
She has none. However she is an influencer with followers, and there are hundreds and hundreds of Selenas on the market on the World Extensive Internet, together with Russian celebrities who’re posting on Instagram about their opposition to the struggle. And whereas they can’t roll again your tanks, they’ll make each chief within the West roll up the purple carpet to you, so that you, and your cronies, can by no means journey to their international locations. You at the moment are formally a world pariah. I hope you want Chinese language and North Korean meals.
For all these causes, at this early stage, I’ll enterprise just one prediction about Putin: Vladimir, the primary day of this struggle was the very best day of the remainder of your life. I’ve little doubt that within the close to time period, your army will prevail, however in the long term leaders who attempt to bury the longer term with the previous don’t do effectively. In the long term, your identify will reside in infamy.
I do know, I do know, Vladimir, you don’t care — not more than you care that you simply began this struggle in the course of a raging pandemic. And I’ve to confess that that’s what is most scary about this World Warfare Wired. The long term could be a good distance away and the remainder of us usually are not insulated out of your insanity. That’s, I want that I might blithely predict that Ukraine will likely be Putin’s Waterloo — and his alone. However I can’t, as a result of in our wired world, what occurs in Waterloo doesn’t keep in Waterloo.
Certainly, for those who ask me what’s the most harmful facet of in the present day’s world, I’d say it’s the truth that Putin has extra unchecked energy than some other Russian chief since Stalin. And Xi has extra unchecked energy than some other Chinese language chief since Mao. However in Stalin’s day, his excesses have been largely confined to Russia and the borderlands he managed. And in Mao’s day, China was so remoted, his excesses touched solely the Chinese language individuals.
Not anymore — in the present day’s world is resting on two simultaneous extremes: By no means have the leaders of two of the three strongest nuclear nations — Putin and Xi — had extra unchecked energy and by no means have extra individuals from one finish of the world to the opposite been wired along with fewer and fewer buffers. So, what these two leaders determine to do with their unchecked energy will contact nearly all of us straight or not directly.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is our first actual style of how loopy and unstable this type of wired world can get. It is not going to be our final.