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Published on 2022-02-27 10:45:00 | words: 1746
I will not repeat here what I shared yesterday within the "sabre rattling" section of the "Whatever it takes- #navigating the treacherous waters of #politics in #PNRR and #NextGenerationEU times" article.
And I will let others discuss why this war now, and "cui prodest".
I prefer to focus on another side, that some could call "humanitarian", but I rather consider the blend of societies, economies (not just businesses), and politics.
Yesterday a Russian friend shared a "#nowar" hashtag in Russian on Instagram: I concur, but neither he nor I can have individually any influence- it will take some time to build up enough consensus to have an impact- and, meanwhile, words will be replaced with weapons.
Hence, while I support the humanitarian aid, unfortunately for the time being I have to concur with the provisioning of weapons from Germany and Belgium to Ukraine.
What we all, individually, can have an impact on, is something else that many forget.
This will be a short article, so no sections, just sharing some ideas and information.
As I wrote yesterday in the above mentioned article, Bulgaria (and, I saw this morning, Moldova), are doing what the EU should do.
Yesterday evening, as a reminder to my Italian connections, readers, observers, I shared a short commentary about a detail, as many comments on the expected wave of refugees from Ukraine went again along the usual "accounting approach", i.e. assuming that you can take, say 270k refugees, and send 10k in each one of the EU Member States, maybe just balancing for country size, economy, etc.
It could work if we were talking about cars, but we are talking about people.
So, my comment (in Italian) on Facebook was, referencing Byzantium:
When talking about migration flows, the pre-existence of a community often acts as an attractors for new arrivals (e.g. many of those arriving in Italy from Libya were not interested in settling in Italy, and instead looked forward to moving e.g. to France or UK).
If, as a side-effect of the war in Ukraine, there were to be a (temporary?) migration of few million people, considering the size of the pre-existing community of Ukrainians in Italy, it would be not really worth our 'bleeding heart' fame to assume that just 1/27th of them would resettle in Italy
Therefore, better to get ready for what this could imply (i.e. a new resident community), and accordingly start to prepare for a potential future (e.g. social support and schooling organized by the Italian State in cooperation with the pre-existing community)...
...and negotiate accordingly with our EU partners
It is just common sense, but maybe it is worth a bit of personal digression about why I am interested in migration and migrants, and what did I learn across Europe, by living reality, not issuing reports or articles or organizing workshops.
Since the 1970s, part of my growing up included occasionally meeting also people who had moved from e.g. India to UK, or from Eritrea to Italy.
Then, in high-school, my interest in Constitutions and cultural anthropology implied using every chance to talk with those I met who had relocated from other countries due to wars.
And this long before I had to work on the "bureaucratic" side of migration as part-time project manager and business analyst in Rome over 15 years ago.
Actually, I did accept that project, and the cut of my rate from 1600/8h to 600+100 (expenses)/8h working part-time and eventually also with many days "pro bono" just because that matched my interests: walk the talk.
But some projects, notably when billions are involved and could be potentially better allocated, are not made to be delivered, as I saw also in other project audit activities in Italy this century: the status quo ensures plenty going around, why upturn the gravy train?
Anyway, while on that project, without disclosing what I was doing where, I kept meeting foreign immigrants that had settled in Italy, both for economy and political reasons, and listening to their stories.
Then, moved to Brussels instead of returning to Italy permanently and, after a "scorched earth" campaign (not my definition, but from other foreigners), I did something unusual but similar to what many migrants and refugee (I worked with many in Brussels) do: not "expanding" your CV, but "contracting" it, so that it becomes acceptable for a role in those jobs that in Europe are the new proletariat- working in a call center, to avoid returning to Italy.
So, without disclosing my past or my experience (but it took just days to have it recognized, and routinely I was bumped up to other activities, over the few months I stayed there), I worked side-by-side with refugees and immigrants from e.g. Rwanda, Northern Africa, Senegal, other African countries, and shared with them lunch, listening (albeit did not attend the Friday morning prayers- we had a room to that end, as a large part of the staff wanted to have their five prayers a day), even adopting the same haircut and... having our morning tea with mint.
There were also many from police etc disguised (up to a point), to monitor.
As for the refugees, some told me explicitly that they assumed that their job was a kind of "rite of passage", and while there they also studied in the evening (some of my colleagues eventually passed exams and went to do other jobs).
So, I have both a personal and relatively recent and multi-party collection of experiences from others coming to Europe for various reasons, and I am a bit skeptical about all the "open arms" statements that I heard over the last few days from EU politicians (Italy included).
In many cases, I wonder if those promises will turn into reality for longer than the lights of buildings will still, within the EU, lighted up with the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Because now that we have a war in Europe, we start worrying, forgetting that anyway if UNRWA since 1948 and UNHCR since 1950 are still around, it implies that post-WWII the displacement of millions has been something more than a temporary event.
Personally, from the data and reports I read, I think that not just wars, but also the climate crisis is our own "creation".
And, actually, also the epidemics has been expanding due to our own inability to consider everything on a global scale: most of the new variants of COVID19 arrived from countries where neither containment nor vaccination had the resources available in "rich" countries.
So, all the elements in the title belong to the anthroposphere.
Or: we are all in the same boat, but we still keep assuming that it is enough to row on our own side.
However the current war in Ukraine will be solved, along with the two other crises paves the way for a restructuring of relationships on a global scale.
E.g. Russia had started to integrate financial flows with China, and China might expand its own currency international role by moving forward with both digitalisation and convertibility (to see what this could imply, e.g. read this article- just sharing, not endorsing).
Yesterday I shared that the SWIFT proposed changes could have impacts wider than those that resulted in the creation of the European "GPS" system Galileo:
And the hint of a "SWIFT pulling of the plug" could have more impacts than just the withholding of access to GPS had during the Balkan Wars, in reshuffling financial markets and financial flows.
Personally, I never considered having the European SWIFT turn into something outside our control a wise choice- we are just a short walk from another Jackson-Vanik.
Hence, pushing Russia out of SWIFT might imply re-inforcing the integration of Russia economy with China (while I lived in Brussels over a decade ago, I remember reading that in Siberia already there were said to live 50k Siberians and... 5mln Chinese), while also undermining the attempts to globalize the Euro and creating a duopoly USD-RMB (which, incidentally, could help USA, considering the amount of USA debt still in China's hands (see on statista).
This decade could be a "perfect storm": the pandemic side-effects might include (from what I followed on JAMA since the beginning of pandemic in 2020) chronical diseases.
Just to stay within the EU, with its approach to welfare based on de facto ensuring at least a minimal level of universal health services, moreover with an ageing population, might have massive economic impacts and require a radical restructuring of the "how" the health system works (i.e. more at home visits and telemedicine, hospitalization and even visits to the doctor as "management by exception")
But, frankly, I would say that in Europe we need to invest more on telemedicine and digital transformation, spreading less human work hours about more people across a longer worklife (personally, I do not plan to retire- just to keep altering how I work), and if anything expand universal basic coverage and contributory payments based on income (i.e. equalizing the level of services, but making its payment based on means).
I promised a short article- and I hope to have shared few ideas.
Then... have a nice Sunday!