EXACTLY one week ago, at the time of this writing, I was heading towards the Ukrainian border. And for the first time in my life I was truly proud of my country. There was only one topic all day long – how to help those fleeing Ukraine. There is a great deal of goodwill across the whole society. Everybody is willing to help. Starting with our government, continuing with municipalities, towns, villages, schools and universities with their boarding facilities, private hotels, all the way down to individual volunteers like myself.
Mr Putin achieved what was just a week ago unthinkable. He managed to unite coalition and opposition parties who jointly passed resolution condemning Russian invasion. The only guys who did not vote for it were from a party that has been on Russian payroll for a while. They did not vote against. They are cowards, they rather did not show up in the parliament for the vote.
Our railways and bus services immediately declared they will not charge Ukrainians anything.
The question is, how come? How come that country like Slovakia who was also criticised by the West for rather casual approach to refugees from places like Africa and Afghanistan is now so eager to help? Are we racists? No, we are not. Slovaks are actually on Dennis Prager’s list of the top five most friendly nations on this planet. If we see an individual, black, yellow, red – pick your colour – in need of help, we help. But we just not buy the idea that we open up our borders and let half of Africa in. We just don’t. Call it racism, if you will. We call it common sense.
Now how are Ukrainians different from people from Africa? Well the first obvious difference is that they are our neighbours. Neighbours, at least in good old times, used to help each other. We may be old fashioned.
The second difference is that we are compatible. Culturally speaking. Even the languages have some similarities.
The third difference is that we see a clear link to Russia. We are fed up with Russia. We still remember 1968. As well as Czechs do. Poland? Sure, count them in. Hungary has its own year 1968, in 1956, as well. Although there is a slight difference there. Hungarian language is completely different from Slavic languages, which makes it much more difficult for the Ukrainians to learn.
Now count the populations of just these four countries. Slovakia 5.5million, Czechia 10.7million, Hungary 9.6million, Poland 37.8million, and you arrive at quite a number of people willing to help.
Add to that all other countries plus Ukrainians all over Europe and you start to understand it will take much more bombings to create a true refugee crisis. Just tiny Slovakia on its own with its labour shortages can house and employ 100,000 virtually effective immediately.
Let me offer some final thoughts on what is ahead of us. Full scale cold war with Russia is back. It is just a matter of time when Mr Putin turns off his gas. It is just a technical question whether it will be us or Russia who makes the first move. If it is Russia, then it can forget for next 100 years about their energy deliveries to Europe. Yes, it will hurt at the beginning. But we will overcome it.
What happens to Ukraine is yet to be seen. Ukraine may be able to keep at least the western part of its country. If Mr Putin survives this, that will be the place through which new Iron Curtain will go. But this time it will be built by the West, not the East.
There is a fair chance that Mr Putin will not survive this, since he is not an asset to his people any more. He has become a liability. The question is when this happens. The later, the worse for Russia and the Russians.
Dollar? Do not write it off. It is still the dominant reserve currency and it is not likely to lose its status any time soon even considering the reckless US budget deficits. Because there is just not an alternative available. What currency will it be replaced by? Euro? Well, euro will collapse sooner or later thanks to reckless southern Europe living way above its means. Rouble? Yeah, nice try. And China is certainly a world player but without western know-how it can not do that much, in my opinion.
That is about it from my side. I want to thank TCW for its interest in my stuff. I feel truly honoured and humbled that it published all my five articles in a row.
I want to thank also all those readers who took time to read them and commented on them. I am more than happy to see some healthy scepticism among TCW readers. I am sceptic myself even when I read an TCW article. Apart from those five articles I have written myself, of course.
God bless you all, God bless Ukraine.
God save the Queen.