“Most of us accept the idea that we must die in the end, but we take it for granted that our civilization wants to survive”:

George Soros, super speculator, philanthropist and a far-sighted Cassandra at the World Economic Forum in Davos for years, is now 91 years old himself, but he doesn’t miss the annual trip to the Swiss Alps. Neither does the traditional dinner that Soros uses to warn of the threats he sees looming over “open society.”

This year he even sees civilization as a whole in acute danger.

The war in Ukraine must end as quickly as possible with a defeat for Vladimir Putin because it takes attention away from the existential climate crisis and inevitably throws back urgent measures to combat climate change. This damage is on the verge of becoming irreversible. That in turn, according to Soros, “could be the end of our civilization”.

“We must give the Ukrainians any support they ask for,” Soros said, “and of course the US does too.”

An oil embargo, such as that being prepared by the European Union, would have little effect in this regard, Soros believes. Because oil can be used as desired: if Europe fails as a buyer, China would be a willing customer.

On the other hand, Russia is vulnerable to gas sanctions because the country can only sell its reserves through the existing pipelines. “Europe is Putin’s only market. If he can no longer supply Europe, he will have to close 12,000 extraction sites in Siberia,” said Soros. Europe is therefore in a much better negotiating position on gas than it thinks – while Putin is well aware of his weak position.

Specifically, Soros has “a hefty tax on gas imports” in mind. This has the advantage that consumer prices do not fall and at the same time the public sector in Europe receives “large sums of money”, which in turn can be used to help those in need and to invest in green energies. Russia, on the other hand, will never be able to make up for the losses incurred.

Without import-restricting measures, on the other hand, Europe’s dependency would remain “excessive” and “largely the responsibility for this lies with the mercantilist policies pursued by former Chancellor Angela Merkel.” Gas contracts with Russia and the development of China as an export market have made Germany the most successful economy in Europe. “But now,” Soros continued, “the price to pay is high.” Germany’s economy must “reorient itself, and that will take a long time”.

Only Olaf Scholz was elected precisely because he promised to continue Merkel’s policy. But Scholz was forced to break with these promises and with the “sacred traditions of the Social Democrats”. He gave up Nord Stream 2, provided 100 billion euros for defense and delivered weapons to Ukraine.

“When it comes to European unity, Scholz always seems to do the right thing,” said Soros, only to add after a small artificial pause: “in the end”.