Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have marked the start of “World War III” and Russian President Vladimir Putin must be defeated “as soon as possible” if the world is to preserve civilization.
That’s the stark message Hungarian-born billionaire and philanthropist George Soros delivered to attendees of the 2022 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.
“Even when the fighting stops, as it should, the situation will never return” to what it was before, warned the 91-year-old man. Soros.
“Other issues that concern all of humanity – fighting pandemics and climate change, avoiding nuclear war, maintaining global institutions – have had to take a back seat in this struggle. That is why I say that civilization may not survive.”
The former hedge fund manager, who is chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC and founder of the Open Society Foundations, is famous for using his wealth to help foster open societies and create inclusive democracies with governments held accountable.
But after the events of 9/11, he noted, the tide began to turn against public companies. As a result, “repressive regimes are now on the rise and open societies are under siege,” he said on Tuesday. “Today, China and Russia pose the greatest threat to an open society.”
Open societies have governments that are diametrically opposed to the governments of closed societies, Soros noted. “[In an] open society, the rule of the state is to protect the freedom of the individual. [In a] closed society, the role of the individual is to serve the rulers of the state.”
Speaking of Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Soros said, “They rule through intimidation and as a result they make mind-boggling mistakes.”
He singled out China and Russia as the biggest threats to open societies aided by the development of digital technologies and in particular artificial intelligence. “In theory, AI should be politically neutral – it can be used for good or ill. But in practice, the effect has been asymmetric. It is particularly effective in creating instruments of control that help repressive regimes and endanger the open society,” Soros said. mentioned.
The billionaire also criticized China’s ‘zero Covid’ lockdown policy, saying it had ‘disastrous consequences, pushing China’s economy into a tailspin since March’, with ‘negative results’ for the economy world.
On a more uplifting but still somber note, he praised Ukraine for its struggle for Western world values.
“I think Ukraine today is doing a huge service to Europe and the Western world and to the opening up of society and our survival because they are fighting our fight.you,” said Soros. “They have a very good chance of winning…[W]We have to give them all the support they ask for.”
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