Rebuilding Ukraine: The U.S. Is Already Way Ahead Of Europe
The war is far from over, but on the other side of the Atlantic, preparations are already underway to ensure American businesses access to this promising market. In Europe, no one is making such necessary preparations, worries Jacques Attali.
PARIS — Sources say the American administration called a recent meeting with the country’s largest business leaders, explaining that when the war in Ukraine is over, it will be time to rebuild the country’s entire infrastructure.
If those American companies want to secure some of these contracts, they must prepare for the major projects ahead. Backed by American capital, the project will be to rebuild a large European country with a highly educated and resilient population destined to join the EU and one day NATO — not to mention a land mass rich in natural resources.
The U.S. administration explained to business leaders that the only risk of such a strategy would be to anger EU countries, who might be offended by the loss of Ukrainian markets to American companies.
To avoid this risk, industry leaders were instructed to purchase smaller companies in Europe, especially Eastern and Central European countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine, which could serve as a front for their reconstruction activities. This clever and completely legal strategy explains the recent influx of American capital in these regions, in search of public works, engineering, water, energy, digital, telecommunications, heating, electrical and architectural companies to buy up as quickly as possible.
Europeans are procrastinating, believing that when the time comes, these markets cannot escape them since they will be rebuilding Ukraine and funding will be available. No one in Europe, however, is preparing for it; nobody in Paris, Berlin or Brussels is preparing the big plans that are needed, or urging European companies to produce a coherent joint response.
Western European powers seem unconcerned with forging partnerships with small and medium-sized businesses in Eastern and Central Europe or Ukraine, let alone protecting them from non-European interests.
If nothing is done to counter non-European interests, Ukraine’s inevitable inclusion into the EU will only accelerate the economic, financial and technological dependence of the continent on the U.S., and will have lost any hope of ever becoming a truly independent political entity.
To strike the first blow
This is just one very illustrative example of a much broader issue that not only that not only concerns the international strategies of nations but also their domestic policies, corporate strategies and the behavior of each one of us.
In any competitive situation, winning requires the ability to predict in advance what should happen, what others will do, and the willingness to take the risk of acting first. In many circumstances, it's even a matter of survival when dealing with partners, competitors, or adversaries who have managed to anticipate and act in time.
Many people decide it's better to do nothing, to avoid being accused of having made a bad decision. They forget that by doing nothing, they can only make mistakes.
Strength lies in the ability to anticipate future events and the reaction of others; and the courage to take the risk of acting proactively. Of course, you don't learn all this at school or anywhere else, only in the real world. Often, these lessons are learned too late.
In other news …
🗞 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER
“Uncle Sam calls the shots” writes São Paulo-based weekly news magazine Istoé on its cover, alongside a caricature of U.S. President Joe Biden smoking a cigar, sitting on a throne made of rockets, as he deals cards over a military map of the Mideast. Biden, the Portuguese-language magazine argues, seeks a difficult balance: “protecting Israel, maintaining stability in the Middle East, while stopping Putin's threats and containing China.” Leaving the Brazilian weekly to wonder: “Will the U.S. have the power to avoid a widespread conflict?”
✍🏻 IN BRIEF
Writing for German newspaper Die Welt, U.S.-based correspondent Sandra Ward describes the culture shock she experienced after moving from progressive Boston to Savannah, Georgia — where, she says, many of her neighbors keep a gun next to the Bible in their nightstands.
“It is not uncommon for nurses to pray with patients before a biopsy or hang Bible verses on the wall,” Ward writes. The prevailing attitude toward COVID-19 came as another surprise: “We have asthma in the family,” she recalls lying to a gas station cashier in a “F*ck Biden” t-shirt, staring intently at her mask.
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