Forget about McDonald’s trying to outperform KFC or Coca-Cola aiming to increase sales over Pepsi. Those were the days, my friend! Lately, businesses are primarily competing against governments’ geopolitical agendas – and then against each other.
Let’s refer to the best case in point: Russia. Following the Crimean crisis, the 2014 sanctions against Russia and Donetsk have been ratcheted up, but Russia has decided that the party is not nearly merry enough yet. After banning several G20 nations from exporting certain foodstuffs to Russia, it seems that Russia is firing another warning signal.
For three consecutive days last week, Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic experienced power blackouts as their Russian gas supply was (dare we say, deliberately?) cut off. This happened on the very weekend that Germany’s SAP spin-off company, MGT, launched its new offices and software suite in Eastern Europe.
Needless to say, Herr Koch, SAP chairman was less than impressed. In a TV interview, he was recorded saying: “This is insane! How are we supposed to run a business if Merkel and Putin keep testing their game theory skills!” Word on the street is that president Putin wants European and US debt markets fully reopened to Russian financial institutions, but so far his plea has fallen on deaf ears.
Western capitalists are tired of taking the punches and honestly, Cold War tactics are so last century. When will pragmatism prevail over politics?