The Russian invasion of Ukraine emerging uncertainties: context
First, COVID-19 upended most models of the future. Even those with pandemic contingencies missed significant ramifications brought on by the virus. Then the death of several black Americans precipitated global outrage and awareness of social injustice. That led to major demonstrations and riots that caused many urban areas to address the role of policing in society and seek more equitable distribution of budget to empowerment and encouragement rather than enforcement.
And the 2020 election highlighted the deep divisions in America between progressives and conservatives, with the progressives winning the presidency and, by slim margins, control of both houses of Congress. The peaceful transfer of power was challenged for the first time in over a century. Donald Trump continues to complain he was wronged, sowing doubts on the American electoral system that performed admirably during the election by all legal accounts.
And in Europe, COVID coexisted with BREXIT, the departure of Great Britain from the European Union. Uncertainties abounded.
And now, on the heels of a controversial Olympics designed to bring the world together, Russia invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked assault on that country and its democratic institutions. And as troops pour into Ukraine from Russia and its vassal Belarus, Europe finds itself threatened for the first time since World War II with risks to sovereign nations, access to fossil fuels, and the potential for NATO and its members to enter directly into war.
The tumultuous global events that pre-date the Russian invasion of Ukraine continue to sow uncertainty into long-range plans. More so than ever, scenario planning should be a required component of any strategic toolkit. The following list outlines many of the emergent uncertainties precipitated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine that scenario planners need to account for.
See the BBC War in Ukraine page for updates on the war.
The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Emerging Uncertainties
- What will the world do about renewed suppression of dissident voices inside of Russia?
- How will Europe manage the Ukrainian refuge crisis?
- What role will Russian disinformation play in perceptions of the invasion? Post-invasion?
- Will the Russian people rise up to defend their future from deep social and economic isolation?
- Will the global banking system be able to extricate itself from Russia, and what will the impact be on global markets?
- How quickly can the alternative energy sector accelerate to meet the demands on a world of constrained fossil fuels.
- What will be the impact of fuel shortages on the EU? Global oil prices?
- How will Russia endure the global sanctions? If so, what shape will a post-War government take?
- Willl Russia launch cyberattacks on Western governments and other organizations in retaliation for sactions.
- How will China orchestrate its role in the global economy if Russian aggression continues?
- What will be the impact of inflation? Will central banks be forced to extend stimulus efforts rather than raising rates to rein in inflation?
- Will Russia turn to cryptocurrencies to skirt sanctions?
- How will the Russian invasion affect global supply chains?
- What will be the consequences of large Western corporations acting as state actors to break from Russia as a market?
- What will be the impact of Western firms dumping their Russian assets and exiting partnerships?
- Will protests against Western firms continuing to do business (and paying taxes) in Russia result in local boycots or other actrivities against those firms?
- Will Russia use tactical nuclear weapons as part of its strategy?
- What will Russia do with the capture Chernobyl nuclear disaster site? Other nuclear sites it may capture?
- Will the Russian-Ukrainian war be the tipping point against fossil fuels?
- What will the new new world order look like after Russia either leaves Ukraine or annexes it?
- Will the strong unification of the EU against Russia change the long-term character of the EU? If so, how?
- Will Russia attempt to recapture additional territory once claimed by the Soviet Union?
- What will happen upon the death of Vladimir Putin?
- What would be the impact of a China brokered ceasefire and withdrawal in Ukraine?
- Will the United Nations lose credibility as the security council proves dysfunctional in light of the Russian-initiated invasion of Ukraine? Will China see fallout from support for Russia?
- Will any country come to the direct military aid of Ukraine with troop and weapons deployments? What will be the consequences of such a move?
- Will a successful Ukraine campaign by Russia embolden China to annex Taiwan and continue its build-up in the South China Sea? Will China begin to directly challenge India?
The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Emerging Uncertainties: This list will continue to update as new uncertainties related to Russia and Europe emerge.
What would you add?
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