Hindsight is never an adequate response. "If only" said in retrospect is no more a political policy than having an ad hoc reaction to the catastrophic events that have, and continue to have, a calamitous effect on humanity, the economy and the environment. Although the Covid-19 pandemic took the world by surprise it did not take scientists by surprise. In much the same way, the current wars we witness today are tinged with the inevitability that results when we choose to ignore history and fail to understand each other.
We are now facing a shortage of energy and primary resources such as grain because we have failed to prepare for worst case scenarios and are facing up to the consequences of inadequate planning and a self-perpetuating dependency on imported goods. Since the early 90s Europe should have been preparing for a situation that was predicted by many who warned us never to underestimate those who could one day return as our enemy.
It should not take a war for us to realise that our natural resources are limited. It should not take a war to make us see that energy comes in many forms. Europe may not be blessed with endless sources of oil and gas, but it is blessed with sun, wind, sea and arable land. Weaknesses can become strengths in the form of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency.
No war has ever been fought without leaving in its wake a trail of destruction, shattered lives and most importantly, bitterness and hatred in the victims. Therefore, we must invest in the tools of peace – the land, people, technology and social services not in warfare and armaments. We need dynamic political systems, capable of responding to the needs of our times otherwise the only possible economic alternative is war and conquest.
Yet one thing is certain: no matter how evil human actions are, the sun will always rise and with it bring a new day full of hope.