If there is one thing nobody “imagined” was two systemic crisis back to back. This is what a “black swan” most probably looks like.
Let there be no mistake destabilization is here. I am personally convinced Vladimir Putin took the decision to invade after speaking with Xi Jinping at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. This aligns the interests of Russia and China against weak Western democracies. Sanctions will hurt us as much as it will hurt Russia. I am not sure who at this stage can afford the pain. As prices will rise so will public unrest and protests further fueled by the extraordinary machine of Russian and Chinese online propaganda and domestic forces that look at Moscow with sympathy.
We are facing a new systemic crisis at a time when our “leaders” are worn out by the COVID pandemic. And any crisis management expert will warn you about the risks of psychological burn out in prolonged crisis. Now these very same leaders are called to face an even more menacing threat than the pandemic.
The shock is particularly strong in Eastern Europe where the scars of the iron curtain still burn and anti Russian sentiment is high. I know all too well as my father barely escaped native Romania after WW II when the Red Army took over the country and we lost everything. This pain and fear must be recognized by countries in Western Europe. Failing this may very well lead to the collapse of our European house.
If we think that what is happening in the Ukraine is distant and will not affect us it would be wise to think again. Europe has just crashed into a new phase of its history and once again we do not seem to have the leadership we need to meet the challenge of these times.