What those preparing for a major global conflict ought to appreciate

Smoke rises from a Russian tank in UKraine

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on a roadside in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022. PHOTO | AFP

Photo credit: Anatolii Stepanov | AFP

Europe is preparing for war: not as an incursion, and not as some rumbling stand-off, but as World War 3.

In fact, humanity has enough to contend with, as climate change accelerates and artificial intelligence threatens to outstrip humankind. But as the Russians have moved into war mode and aggression, European attitudes towards defence and sight of the risks have evolved.

The mood for a long time after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 was one of shock — disbelief, even confusion.

For the most part, too, Europeans were wide-eyed as Russia held national stadium events with rallying songs celebrating marching into Berlin. Even the months on end of Russian media commentators on Kremlin scripts threatening nuclear attacks on London, Paris, and New York, interspersed with repetitive warnings from Russia’s former president Medvedev that Armageddon was on its way, seemed fantastical.

But, sooner or later, in all that noise, a new reality was going to emerge.

Germany jumped early, with its biggest rearmament programme since WWII. But as the US has wavered and set out on a path towards re-electing the pro-Russian former President Trump, much of the rest of Europe, too, is now preparing to defend itself.

The European media is now full of calls to prepare for war.

This last week NATO leaders have been jostling to predict the actual year in which Russia will invade the rest of Europe, even as leaked Russian plans say the target date is April 2025.

And men and women are being mobilised.

On Friday, Sweden relaunched compulsory civic duty, abandoned in 2008, but now pulling thousands of youngsters into the emergency services and power system maintenance.

Only days earlier it announced it was sending troops to Latvia, alongside movements from multiple European nations and open invites from the Baltic States, to protect their borders.

Who knows whether all this mounting hostility and preparation for a far greater conflict can be arrested. But if all the warnings are true, and WW3 is now only months away, there is no part of the world that won’t be destabilised by it.

China won’t be feeding its billions with European trade income once Europe’s nations have moved into turmoil. Kenya won’t be selling tourism, green beans and roses to people at war.

The UN, IMF and World Bank are going to look a lot less budgeted once two-thirds of the northern hemisphere is in all-out conflict. And it doesn’t augur well for the stability of the global financial system either.

Still, there it is: no one can control the Russian plan. We can only prepare for it and say thank you, I suppose, for the newly revealed timeline.

The writer is a development communication specialist.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.