The first global war and the only solution
"We are witnessing a terrible battle in the Donbass and the way is paved towards a spiral leading to the apocalypse [...]. According to Sachs, the food crisis is already under way: between three and four billion people will suffer from severe food shortages. Half of the Earth's population will have no food. Taking one third of the grain supplies off the market, such is the contribution of Russia and Ukraine, is a condition that cannot be sustained". Francesco Monico, director of Accademia Unidee, offers our Journal a series of reflections on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and on the consequences that the conflict may trigger at political and social levels on a global scale. Here is his editorial.

The victims of wars are always the weak and the poor.
In wars, the poor become even poorer. Poor states become even poorer.
Children become even more children.
Jeffery Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University in New York, former director of the Earth Institute and current president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, takes a position in line with that of Pope Francis and calls this war sacrilegious, as well as repugnant and cruel.
He has declared that the search for peace is the only option. This is because dozens of countries are dependent on Russian and Ukrainian supplies of grain, oats, fertilisers and hydrocarbons, and cannot do without them.
Peace is said to require two parties. This is true, but it is also true that the path of diplomacy is currently blocked. The UN cannot play any role because of obvious conflicts of interest. So the Blue Helmets are paralysed while a race to re-arm is taking place, possibly leading to the first global war. We are witnessing a terrible battle in the Donbass and the way is paved towards a spiral leading to the apocalypse.

Apocalypse because, according to Sachs, the food crisis is already under way, and once again the poor countries are paying the price of the West’s mercantilist and financial globalism, since the damage caused by climate change in terms of floods, heat waves and droughts is occurring against a backdrop of exponential population growth. In 1980, Africa had 476 million inhabitants, and by 2020 this number had grown to 1.340 billion. Then there were the Covid-induced disruptions in the trade chain, with a flurry of unprecedented price rises, plus of course the damage of Covid itself, and finally war. The crisis factors also included sanctions, which exacerbated the problems: food, finance, energy, value chains. All of this has been raging against the weakest links on the planet.
According to Sachs, the only solution is to end the conflict as soon as possible, at the cost of allowing some autonomy in the Donbass and renouncing once and for all Ukraine’s entry into NATO, perhaps placing it in a neutral position like Cyprus, Malta, Austria, Sweden and Finland, and by stopping the process of joining the alliance of the latter two. Poor countries feel that sanctions, and the re-arm even more, perpetuate the war and they will pay the consequences.

This position is obligatory in the face of an estimate that some three to four billion people will have very serious food difficulties. Half of the Earth’s population will be without food. Taking one third of the grain supplies off the market, such is the contribution of Russia and Ukraine, is a condition that cannot be sustained.
We could be facing the apocalypse.
In the meantime, the internet is on a frenzy of factional chatter, with people wanting to ‘de-Nazify’ the Donbass, others defending the invaded. The debate develops into an arty controversy about whether or not one can call it resistance, what many voices say is militia nostalgic for totalitarian movements and/or private to this or that oligarch. America is involved, the weapons are Turkish, Italian, French, German, the British have sent war trainers.
This is in fact the first global war, and it implies a stadium fanaticism characterised by a warlike dimension that we thought had been forgotten forever, forgetting the tragedy of those who are under the Russian bombs and of those who, far from limiting the war, want to prolong it, fuelling tensions, the race for a global re-arm, fanaticism and new alliances. Putin is now oriented towards the Middle East, there is an alliance with the Arab Emirates, with China, where gas and oil supplies will be directed to.

So all those who think that war is the solution are really playing with a fire that could destroy the planet and that could mean the death of millions of people.
There is in fact a risk of famine. Because that grain will not be available next year, and according to Sachs, who is an expert, there is no grain in other parts of the world that can be produced in a few months and replace it.
The path of diplomacy is the only one, namely pacifism.
And thinking that it is only Vladimir Putin who does not want a truce is a short-sighted and wrong reading, because right now many are pushing for a race to arm. Volodymyr Zelensky certainly wants war. A tunnel we will never see the end of.
What Sachs is saying is that we need an agreement in which no one will win and all will be losers, because peace is the only way to avoid a catastrophe. It is axiomatic, there is no hope of victory on the part of Ukraine just as there is no possibility of a Russian victory. But the Russians have an advantage, they can ‘scale down’ their victory, that is, settling for Crimea, Donbass over the whole of Ukraine. Ukraine can only lose.
While the world needs food, water and energy.
And the only way is diplomacy and abandoning this death logic of war. Peace is the only solution.