War drums resonate beyond Russia and Ukraine. The two great wars of the last century were not to last long or involve practically all of Europe and the world. The omens were wrong. Every time armies cross borders, they enter unfamiliar scenarios.
Vladimir Putin has unleashed an earthquake that is shaking the fragile board of global equilibria. Finland will apply for NATO membership, and Sweden could do so soon. The historical neutrality of these two Scandinavian countries is disappearing and Russia will be increasingly flanked by Atlantic troops under US command. It is a continuation of the Cold War but with armies ready to go into battle if Putin enters Allied territory.
We are at war. The Ukrainians are the first victims and their country is bleeding in a melee against Russian soldiers with whom they have historical ties of blood, political coexistence and shared civilization.
We are at a point where it is unlikely that Putin will back down and the West will stop militarily protecting Ukraine. The sudden war fever seems unstoppable and the consequences in everyone's life are beginning to be felt. When Josep Borrell talked about lowering the thermostat, he received all sorts of criticism. On Wednesday, it was Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of Repsol, who warned that the war in Ukraine will leave Europe without gas next winter. Inflation is rampant, energy costs have skyrocketed and food is much more expensive. Austerity and hard work will prevail.
I remember an old hiking friend who had typed a short manual entitled Introduction to Hard Life. Among his recommendations was the bread menu with river, that is, dry bread, soaked in water. The text was, of course, metaphorical. We will not get that far. But if the war spreads over time and with increasing intensity, its effects will be devastating and we will miss the society of the abundance that we have given ourselves as an acquired right and which we are not willing to do without.
We are about to reach a point where we will not worry about the causes and responsibilities of war, but about how we will survive the effects.