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Sight Magazine – Essay: An Eight-Point Plan to Save a Nation

London, UK

Our hearts break for the Ukrainian people. It is a country I have visited many times over 20 years, working alongside some of the most committed and far-sighted community leaders one could hope to meet.

Personal or collective empathy, of course, does not make decisions about how to respond to Mr. Putin’s aggression easier for our political leaders.

A protester holds up a sign during a rally against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in central Syntagma Square, Athens, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. PHOTO: AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis.

The issue of NATO membership is not the only issue they have to consider when it comes to when and how to defend – or at least stand firmly alongside – countries bordering Russia.

Russia is, of course, a nuclear power. Any battle with it involves significant risk for a far greater number of people around the world. Economic and travel sanctions, especially weak ones, won’t stop Putin, who sees Ukraine’s return to vassal state status as something of a calling. It’s something he feels he needs to act on before he’s too old to do it.

“We must not let what is happening in Ukraine become yesterday’s news. It must remain part of our cultural conversation. here is the pursuit of freedom with vigilance.”

Sanctions can, of course, slow him down, especially since he almost inevitably seeks to subjugate other former members of the USSR machine. They could also increase dissent among his acolytes and even eventually force some of them to cross paths with their president.

All this does not mean that the West cannot do anything for Ukraine. Far from there. At a minimum, we should focus on the following measures:

1. Intensify efforts to arm and train military forces in countries neighboring Russia;

2. Increase and maintain sanctions, despite their potential cost to us or our ways of life. In our dealings with Mr. Putin, avoiding economic pain now will only mean that we face much greater pain later.

3. Resource and encourage public and political opposition, including acts of civil disobedience, in Russia. Despite Putin’s claims to have significant public support for the invasion, thousands of russians voiced their displeasure in peaceful protests in their cities. They risked arrest and detention to do so, acting as they are, illegally.

We must ensure that our media, press and social networks continue to highlight these unrest. If only to demonstrate to Russians who have access to international websites that Westerners care about their actions and respect them in defiance of their government.

We must also maintain and strengthen the demands for the release of Russian opposition leaders, including Alexei Navalny. The recent launch of a new trial, who could see his prison sentence extended on allegedly baseless grounds now appears to have been part of Putin’s war strategy. We can only imagine how much bigger the protests against the government would be if he returned as an iconic and catalytic figure.

4. Celebrate and endorse the innovative commitment of multinational banks and companies that provide essential services to the Ukrainian people.

I have written elsewhere about the dangers presented by the unbridled growth of big tech. Over the past few days, we’ve seen a great example of ‘technoking’, a big, major tech leader doing the right thing for the right reasons. Elon Musk says his Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine and that his company, SpaceX, send more terminals to the country, where internet coverage has been disrupted by the invasion.

5. Strengthen our own cybersecurity measures, in governmental, corporate and personal spheres. This is a key area of ​​engagement for Putin’s forces. This is a fact that we have seen demonstrated time and time again by interfering with elections and the like. National governments must ensure the strongest possible defense of our digitally controlled infrastructures, such as gas supply and internet services.

At the same time, we must recognize that we cannot live our entire lives online. This type of dependency only increases our vulnerability to cyberattacks!

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6. Realize that our pursuit of ultra-liberalism emphasizes personal freedom at the expense of social responsibility. The awakened movement is partly a reaction to this, at least among young people, who demand that we take greater responsibility for each other – even if the awakening itself creates more divisions than it does. heals.

Naïve ultra-liberalism, linked to narcissistic individualism, induces in us a Pollyanna worldview and a reluctance to face the reality of darkness within it.

7. Continue to strengthen, not weaken, our own military capability, without losing sight. For all of our supposedly advanced 21st century thinking, there are still tyrants who dream of war, some of whom could arise quickly, at the most unexpected times.

8. Pay particular attention to ongoing research, in certain circles, on AI Driven Autonomous Weapons of War, such as completely unmanned drones and robotic tanks and warriors.

We must not let what is happening in Ukraine become yesterday’s news. It must remain part of our cultural conversation. It should also constantly act as a call to action. His story shouldn’t induce paranoia or conspiracy theories in us. The thrust here is the vigilant pursuit of freedom.

Let us pray and act for the peace of Ukraine.

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Mal Fletcher is a social futurist, social commentator and lecturer and chairman of 2030Plus, a London-based think tank. He has studied global social trends for over 25 years and speaks to civic leaders around the world on issues related to socio-cultural ethics and values, PESTLE analysis, civic leadership, emerging and future technologies. , social media, generational change and innovation. First published at 2030Plus.com. Copyright Mal Fletcher, 2022.

Mal Fletcher is a member of the Eyesight Advisory Council.

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