Russia’s war with Ukraine could permanently reshape the global supply chain
Francis Fukuyama, the American political scientist who once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the “end of history,” suggested that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might be called “the end of the end of history.” He meant that Vladimir Putin’s aggression signals a rollback of the ideals of a free Europe that emerged after 1991. Some observers suggest it may kick off a new Cold War, with an Iron Curtain separating the West from Russia. As an expert in global supply chains, I think the war portends the end of something else: global supply chains that Western companies built after the Berlin Wall fell more than three decades ago. Supply chains—often vast networks of resources, money, information, and people that companies rely on to get goods or services to consumers—were already in disarray because of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in massive shortages, disruptions, and price inflation. The war and resulting sanctions against Russia have immediately put further strains on them, prompting skyrocketing energy prices and even fears of famine.