A day after the Russian missile attack, Ukraine’s president said he was “left alone” to fight Russia and his calls for 27 European nations seeking to join NATO go unanswered. His frustrations were expressed at a time when a Russian convoy of tanks was less than 10 km from the capital Kiev, thousands of Ukrainians were displaced and took refuge in metro stations to protect themselves from the bombs which have destroyed buildings and killed people.

There have been weeks of talks, warnings that have only heightened tensions. Finally, war broke out. The Russian attack on Ukraine was of particular significance as Europe experienced the first war since World War II. But for Asia and Africa too, the war is not so far away.

The fields are still there. All it takes is a pretext to rage a war. Whether it’s the 1982 British air strike on Argentina, the French air force strike in Mali in 2013, the American air strike or drones in Libya and Syria, or of the full-scale war in Iraq and Afghanistan – pretexts were made for every attack, as in the case of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But, once hooked to a war, you will find yourself fighting all alone. Invaders are powerful whether alone or in groups. The situation is worse for the victim, Ukraine in this case. “We have been left alone to defend our nation. Who is ready to fight with us? I don’t see anyone,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.

In theory, no one wants war. But in practice, it happens. The UN, high-level diplomacy involving the major powers, talks – all efforts fail and war becomes inevitable.

And with every war comes a huge cost that must be paid primarily by the warring parties, then neighbors and the rest of the world – directly or indirectly.

War is blood, destruction, massacres, displacements, refugees, famines. These are human costs. There are also economic costs. In most wars, government debt, inflation, and tax rates rise, consumption and investment decline, and military spending replaces more productive government investment in high-tech industries, education, or infrastructure – all of which seriously affect long-term economic growth rates.

5 cigarettes for an egg

The last century has seen the two worst wars in human history, the second being the most destructive and costly, ruining much of Europe and Asia, as well as parts of the Africa.

In addition to wreaking havoc on military and civilian lives, the fighting and bombing of World War II leveled towns and villages, destroyed bridges and railroads, and scorched the countryside.

Shortages of food, fuel and all manner of consumer goods persisted and in many cases worsened after the declaration of peace. War-ravaged Europe and Japan could not produce enough goods for their own people, let alone for export.

Countries spent more money on World War II than in all previous wars combined. By 1945, exhausted countries faced serious economic problems such as inflation, debt, trade deficits and balance of payment deficits, frustrating reconstruction efforts.

The supply of gold and dollars is running out. Many countries have withdrawn from the market. Communist Eastern Europe has completely abandoned it. The world’s multilateral financial and trading system faced a grave threat.

The UK has gone from being the world’s biggest creditor to being the world’s biggest debtor. Countries sold off most of their gold and dollar reserves, as well as their foreign investments to pay for the war. High inflation plagued weakened economies. In 1948, wholesale prices were 200% higher in Austria, 1,820% higher in France and 10,100% higher in Japan than they were before the war, according to the International Monetary Fund.

In 1948, the French government devalued the franc by 80%, rendering a 5,000 franc note virtually worthless. In some countries like Germany, the monetary system has collapsed. People resorted to barter, often using cigarettes as currency.

The First and Second World Wars were very costly for the United Kingdom, increasing its national debt sharply due to reconstruction and the creation of the welfare state.

The UK’s national debt reached 150% at the end of World War II, forcing it to depend on US loans that took decades to repay.

Who won ?

Not everyone was at a loss.

Only the United States had emerged from World War II with the strength and resources to help. Global debts were mainly owed to the United States. According to the IMF, by 1947 the United States had accumulated 70% of the world’s gold reserves. Most of the world’s debts were owed to the United States.

World War II appeared to be an economic success story for the United States, which enjoyed economic stimulus through increased spending because so little war was fought on American soil. It had the fastest economic growth in history, not after the Great Depression, but after the Great War, when the country was almost at full employment. Private and female employment increased and industrial productivity increased.

Europe, too, became more prosperous than ever and returned to pre-war production levels within five years.

Wars make famine more likely. The Soviet Union, one of the warring powers of World War II, suffered the most from mass starvation, losing an estimated 7 million citizens to starvation. Ukraine lost more than 3 million people, or almost 8% of its population, to famine caused by World War II, according to a Vox debate on the economy of World War II.

War means death and destruction, and the gains from war, if any, would never be worth the cost of human lives and suffering.

Now, with Russia and Ukraine at war, the world is weighing the possible impact of the war. The United States and its allies announce a series of sanctions aimed at removing Russia from global transactions.

The war has impacted the already volatile crude oil market and there are fears that the global commodity market will also suffer. The whole world has been in its toughest battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and is struggling to recover from the economic shocks. The war will certainly add to global woes, despite the British Defense Secretary’s plea that they would not start a European war while helping Ukraine “fight in all the streets”.

As casualties are reported, World Bank and IMF leaders have warned that Russia’s invasion will impact global economic recovery and add significant economic risk to the region and the world.

Bloomberg Economics predicts three scenarios from the crisis. First, a quick end to the fighting will prevent another upward spiral in the commodity market.

In the second scenario, a protracted conflict with a harsher Western response and disruptions to Russian oil and gas exports would result in a larger energy shock and a blow to global markets.

In the worst-case scenario, Europe could see gas supplies cut off, triggering a recession, while the United States would see significantly tighter financial conditions, a bigger hit to growth.

Wars are unpredictable and their actual results could be even messier.

Bangladesh also has trade and investment ties with Russia and Ukraine, which would suffer if the crisis drags on or spills over into a wider war. The world today is much more integrated than in the era of world wars, and no country can stay away from the fallout of a war at a time when the global war against the coronavirus is not not finished yet.