Billionaire George Soros has said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could mean the start of World War III. The best way to preserve free civilization was therefore for the West to defeat the forces of President Vladimir Putin.
Soros, 91, a legendary hedge fund manager who made his name betting against the pound in 1992, framed the war in Ukraine as part of a larger struggle between open and closed societies, like China and Russia, which were booming.
“The invasion may have been the start of World War III and our civilization may not survive it.Soros said in Davos, according to a text of his speech released by his office that he delivered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
“The best and perhaps the only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible. That’s the main thing,” Soros said, according to international news agencies.
Soros argued that Putin, who says the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine is proceeding as planned and will achieve all Kremlin goals, now thinks the invasion was a mistake and is preparing to negotiate a ceasefire .
“But the ceasefire is unreachable because it cannot be trusted,” Soros said. “The weaker Putin gets, the more unpredictable he becomes,” he warned.
In this regard, Soros said the European Union must understand that Putin can shut down Russian natural gas, which currently accounts for around 40% of Europe’s needs, “as long as it hurts.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has killed thousands, displaced millions and raised fears of the most serious confrontation between Russia and the United States since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
“I can’t predict the outcome, but Ukraine definitely has a fighting chance,” Soros said.
Besides, Soros described Russia, the world’s largest country by region, and China, the world’s second-largest economy, as key members of a group of bottom-up “closed societies” in which the individual is subject to control. ‘State.
Echoing the President of the United States, Joe Bidenwho said the West was engaged in a battle against autocratic governments, Soros also added a bit of pessimism.
“Repressive regimes are on the rise and open societies are under siege,” said Soros. “Today, China and Russia pose the greatest threat to the open society.”
Repressive regimes are on the rise and open societies are under siege. Today, China and Russia pose the greatest threat to the open society (George Soros)
In this regard, Soros said digital technology, especially artificial intelligence, has helped China collect personal data for surveillance and control of its citizens more aggressively than ever.
On the other hand, Soros criticized President Xi Jinping’s “zero-COVID” strategy, saying it failed and brought Shanghai to the “edge of open rebellion.”
Alongside the COVID policy, Soros said Xi has made a series of mistakes that could cost him significant influence as the Communist Party prepares to decide whether to grant him an unprecedented third term.
“Contrary to popular expectations, Xi Jinping may not get his coveted third term because of the mistakes he made,” Soros said. “But even if he succeeds, the Politburo may not give him carte blanche to select members of the next Politburo,” Soros concluded.