Financial mogul and philanthropist George Soros has said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may mark the beginning of World War III. Soros made the statement, in which he said such a war may bring an end to human civilization, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In the speech, Soros led the blame for the rise in tension on authoritarian regimes, primarily Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China.
“The invasion may have been the beginning of the third world war and our civilisation may not survive it. The invasion of Ukraine didn’t come out of the blue. The world has been increasingly engaged in a struggle between two systems of governance that are diametrically opposed to each other: open society and closed society.”
Adding with some optimism that Europe was however moving in the direction of freer societies, saying:
“It will take a long time to work out the details, but Europe seems to be moving in the right direction. It has responded to the invasion of Ukraine with greater speed, unity and vigour than ever before in its history. But Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels remains excessive, due largely to the mercantilist policies pursued by former chancellor Angela Merkel. She had made special deals with Russia for the supply of gas and made China Germany’s largest export market. That made Germany the best performing economy in Europe but now there is a heavy price to pay. Germany’s economy needs to be reoriented. And that will take a long time.”
Soros also said that despite China’s rise, the Xi regime was facing difficulties, including ongoing Covid-19 and a property real-estate crisis that could cause a global economic meltdown. He said:
“Xi harbours a guilty secret. He never told the Chinese people that they had been inoculated with a vaccine that was designed for the original Wuhan variant and offers very little protection against new variants. His second term in office expires in the fall of 2022 and he wants to be appointed to an unprecedented third term, eventually making him ruler for life. Coming on top of the real estate crisis the damage will be so great that it will affect the global economy. With the disruption of supply chains, global inflation is liable to turn into global depression.”
Soros has long championed free societies and democracy and has been a hate figure for many of the far-right and the neo-fascist movement. In his native Hungary, the ruling party has used antisemitism to attack Soros in propaganda likened to that of the Nazi party in the 1930s and 1940s
[Based on reporting by: The Guardian]