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Person of the Year 2022: Russo-Ukrainian War: We are all victims

By Martins Oloja
29 December 2022   |   4:30 am
Even the International Red Cross Society leader writers agree with the notion that wars may create winners and heroes, but they also generate suffering and sacrifice.

Even the International Red Cross Society leader writers agree with the notion that wars may create winners and heroes, but they also generate suffering and sacrifice. A victim, in the etymological sense, is in fact a living creature sacrificed in religious rites. Contrary to the well-defined battles of the Middle Ages, modern wars – where the distinction between combatants and civilians is blurred and even deliberately disregarded – often demand the sacrifice and suffering of the whole population. War victims are therefore ubiquitous, increasingly recognised and often represented by organisations that compete even amongst themselves to draw attention to their specific plight and to make known the injustices done to them. Besides, a sense of self-perceived collective victimhood emerges as a major theme in societies involved in intractable conflicts, and forms a fundamental part of the collective memory of the conflict.

Preventing wars, violence and natural disasters remains therefore one big problem the modern society seems to be unable to deal with. Every day, we continue to listen to and read reports about numerous cases of violence, crimes, natural disasters and wars, which in some parts of the world have lasted over the years. At this, the reasons of the wars are in fact insignificant and seem to be not serious enough for starting something as terrible as a war. No matter how strange and unfair it may seem, innocent people are giving their lives for a miserable strip of land, which two governments of the belligerent countries are unable to share or because of the desire of one country to prove that it is more powerful than any other. And here is the question: When will people all over the world stop wars and finally understand that wars and international conflicts are just a mere waste of money and more important, of human lives? Is that strip of land worth those losses and sufferings of innocent people involved in wars because of misunderstandings and inability to settle the diplomatic or governance matters peacefully?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the largest attack in Europe since World War II, has touched off waves of speculation about whether the international order that has regulated the planet for three-quarters of a century is beginning to collapse. An ascendent, China is challenging America for global primacy. The West’s commitment to democratic norms seems more fragile than at any time in memory. And Russia, long recognised as one of the world’s superpowers, is suddenly being perceived as a paper tiger. What do all of these complications mean for the future of the world order? There is a need to deepen understanding on the future of this complicated, diplomatic thing from the United States and China to Russia, NATO, and nuclear nonproliferation before joining the fray.

In the main, all these diplomatic pecccadilloes and shenanigans have consequences on the world’s economic order as all of us, weak and strong have become victims of some sort because it is now a small but digital world Google calls ‘link-economy’.  And here is the thing, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is already a major blow to the global economy that has been hurting growth and raising prices. As we contextualise the geopolitical aspect of the conflict, the economic dimension cannot be discounted. We need to shed some light on the nexus between economics and geopolitics at this time.

And so the first concern is rising inflation. The war has set off a spike in energy prices, even in Europe, among other economies. There has been an unlikely succession of shocks: the Covid-19 crisis, followed by an unbalanced recovery that created price tensions with supply bottlenecks, and last of all, the war in Ukraine. We witnessed global value chain disruptions and rising energy prices because the supply side did not recover as quickly as the demand side in the manufactured goods and energy sectors. On top of the aftermath of invasion, Putin is alleged to be manipulating energy and food prices. The succession of these unlikely shocks has been challenging for central banks.

This tightening, paired with the withdrawal of liquidity in the world economy, causes interest rate spreads to widen and puts pressure on highly indebted countries, especially in vulnerable places (low-income economies, emerging markets, but also some developed economies). Central banks are in a key but difficult position because they have to decide just how much tightening they should be doing. Meanwhile, the alleged price manipulation in the food sector, is inevitably having the most negative impact on the Global South. It is therefore the democracies’ responsibility to ensure everyone understands that the food and energy prices resulting from this war have major negative effects on the world population and economy. Those prices account for a large part of the difficult situations of emerging markets. Debt distress, inflation and hunger in the world are therefore linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The inescapable consequences of this senseless war are like the heavens falling, which no one can escape at the moment.

And so for being able to stand the heat in the kitchen of the gladiators in Russo- Ukrainian war at this moment, for the capacity to withstand the biting economic consequences of the war at issue, for the resilience to withstand modern world full of violence and brutality, for uncanny power to survive a new world order ruled by those who being in constant pursuit of power, use innocent people to prove that their country is the strongest, The Victim of The War in Russia and Ukraine’ is The Guardian’s ‘Person of The Year’ 2022.

The remarkable story, which deconstructs a curious new world order is told by two young intellectuals in The Guardian’s newsroom, Wole Oyebade, PhD and Femi Adekoya, PhD, who are also members of our Editorial Board.

Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief