Tuesday, April 19, 2022 | 2 a.m.
Russia’s military continues to inflict horrendous damage on Ukrainian cities and towns. The scarred images of shattered buildings, cars and dead bodies invoke nightmarish memories of the devastation of London, Warsaw, Cologne, Dresden, Rotterdam and Berlin post-World War II. To say nothing of the trauma, fear and death suffered by innocent Ukrainian civilians.
Hopefully, this barbaric situation will eventually come to a halt. What then? How does Ukraine recover? Setting aside the human tragedy, let’s focus on Ukraine’s damaged infrastructure.
The war reparations process will certainly be led by Ukraine, NATO members and the United States. Where will the funding come from?
First, draw from the $660 billion in Russian foreign reserves. Second, private assets of Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs can be sold. Third, the sanctions on Russian oil, natural gas, etc., can be lifted. However, all future Russian exports must be transacted through an international trade brokerage overseen by the United Nations. A percentage of every sale can be allocated to rebuilding Ukraine.
This modified “Marshall Plan” would not create undue financial stress on any individual nation. More importantly, it would not bankrupt the Russian economy since the major pain and financial loss would be borne by Putin and his cronies. The world cannot create a destitute Russia, desperate for revenge. Let our leaders not allow history to repeat itself when Germany, bankrupted by the Versailles Treaty from World War I, allowed Adolf Hitler to rise to power.