Ruminations on War – Economy and Growth

My last weekend started with watching a gut-wrenching German epic, All Quiet on the Western Front, at Vancouver International Film Festival theatre. It was a world war movie showing the perspective of German soldiers struggling to cope up with the physical and mental stress in the muddy trenches bordering France. Fate plays with those unfortunate soldiers by pushing them into unthinkable consequences.

I have a mysterious interest in movies of war and periodical dramas. I was unable to proceed further after reading the first few pages of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. After understanding the prejudicial mindset Hitler had, and how effective his tactics were in turning the whole German populace align with his rhetoric, I developed an interest into understanding the philosophical and economic reasons of the modern warfare in the recent years.

No country had a past with out involving themselves in a war. The current war between Ukraine and Russia is a testament for the world order to be on a constant vigil, safeguarding their own interests first. After this war gets a conclusion, which I hope would be very soon, its going to be a breath-taking exercise for Ukraine to rebuild its economy and regain the lost strength of its human resources, whereas Russia’s reputation is already lost in the West and its head will come closer than before to the hanging sword wielded by NATO. Russian president Vladimir Putin might have calculated the consequences prior to sending their troops. Although Russian economy is not weakened to the extent which the West(US) had anticipated, but the sanctions had crippled it significantly to slow its growth.

In the evolving multi polar world, war has become a central piece of contest. However, it doesn’t appear that way to the common people because of the increased focus on the economy, sovereignty and politics. Even though we focus on the basics of the economy and growth of a country, we can’t ignore the perils of war because of its inherent link to the stability of a nation. This doctrine will be a defining factor in steering the economy in the trajectory of sustainable growth.

The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. 

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Bilateral relations, even though highly confusing, are closely related to safeguarding self interests. The West started condemning Russia all the time, whereas China and India remained calm and increased their trade with Russia. They didn’t give a damn about what US might think about their actions. Russia’s war had opened an opportunity for India and China to exert their influence in the global politics. And there are several lessons to be learnt by other smaller developing economies on whom to trust and how to be self reliant.

Involvement in wars turned out to be highly critical in building a nation. In few cases, brutal sufferings led the nations to lay a strong foundation to rebuild their economies, whereas in other cases the collateral damage led nations fall into chaos and misery.

Japan and West Germany are good case studies to learn how to utilize our potential effectively to a greater extent so that no other nation dares to antagonize us. Their industrial growth is inspiring after being brutally destroyed in the second world war. On the other hand, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are still in rubble.

There are countries like Singapore and Israel which are very small, yet they wield much power in their respective regions due to their economical and defense prowess.

Wars are fought between hostile neighbours. Countries in Europe and Asia have been at several wars because of the century old hostilities between them. Religion also played a significant role in triggering the battles. But US doesn’t have any hostilities with its neighbours nor has any violent border disputes with Canada and Mexico.  But it is still intriguing why it has the largest defense force in the world.

Our future depends on how powerful we are and how hard we strive to avoid war. With power comes responsibility to control the decisions. Unfortunately, no country is powerful enough to take their own decisions.

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