Gillian Tett: Ukraine knows how to get what it wants from the West

Gillian Tett: Ukraine knows how to get what it wants from the West
The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is not known for big outbursts of human emotion. But this year, the Ukrainian delegation got a standing ovation from the usual crowd of global business leaders. Gillian Tett, US editor-at-large and chair of the Financial Times board, met with the Ukrainians and shares her perspective with Ian Bremmer in a Global Stage interview. Beyond all the emotion, Tett also believes that when the fighting is over, there will eventually be business opportunities for many people present. She also commented on chatter about using sanctions against Russia to confiscate assets and use them to compensate Ukraine, which she sees as a slippery slope because there are many doubts about due process.

Ian Bremmer: Gillian Tett, last night, you were with the entire Ukrainian delegation, an emotional time for you. Tell me what you took away from that meeting.

Gillian Tett: Well, the first thing I took away was the fact that the Ukrainians are being exceptionally clever in terms of trying to rally support in the West by coming here. And it's quite remarkable that we had the mayors of a number of Ukrainian cities, a lot of the government figures. Many people in civil society coming all the way to Davos, to basically try and persuade the west that they need to rally support around them. And not just support them in terms of ending the war through sanctions and other measures and trying to get military support, but also very actively now, thinking about rebuilding and about the Marshall Plan.

Ian Bremmer: And I mean, Davos is not a place typically that you would expect to see a Ukrainian delegation rallying for support. They've gotten away with it because of the sheer brutality of the Russians, but also because of the trauma that is so evidently and abundantly being experienced by everyone in the delegation.

Gillian Tett: What I think was very clear is listening to the stories about the horrific events happening on the ground in Ukraine. Even as we speak, is injecting a level of emotion and shock into what's frankly normally often very dry and boring and wordy debates. And there's a huge amount of goodwill here. There's a huge recognition that what they're fighting for are values that Davos itself has often tried to reclaim or say that it espouses. There's also recognition that eventually there will be some kind of business opportunity in Ukraine for many people here, and they're looking about that as well. But in the short to medium term, the other issue of course, are questions of food security, the questions around sanctions, and how they're going to impact the global economy. And people are saying, "Yes, we absolutely support you, but there are also concerns we have."

Ian Bremmer: Now, on the sanctions piece, something the Financial Times is surely very interested in. I mean, we have an awful lot of assets that are being confiscated, and there's a lot of talk about taking those assets and helping to pay off the Ukrainians who have just been invaded by Russia. I've heard a lot of people criticizing that on the sidelines of this global group. What's your take?

Gillian Tett: I've heard lots of concern about that as well, not just from American financiers and lawyers who say, what about the due process element of all this? We want to have some kind of framework and due process. But also from the non-Western investors who have been investing in America or Europe in recent years are saying, "Well, hang on a sec, if due process is being overturned, what will it mean for us looking at America as an investment destination?" Now, the Ukrainians are aware of this and they've come up with a number of documents, which are trying to create some kind of framework and due process around this, which they've been passing around to people in recent days.

Gillian Tett: And it's going to be very interesting because there are a number of techniques and tools you can use that already exist under US law and in jurisdictions like France and Netherlands, which actually would allow you to do quite a lot of action right now. The question though is whether they're solid enough and whether the people in Davos will rally around any of the Ukrainian proposals around a due process.

Ian Bremmer: So, maybe, but what you're saying is we're not there yet?

Gillian Tett: Not there yet, and it's going to be very tough.

More from Global Stage

Online violence means real-world danger for women in politics like EU's Lucia Nicholsonová

Online violence means real-world danger for women in politics like EU's Lucia Nicholsonová

Lucia Nicholsonová, former Slovak National Assembly vice president and current member of European Parliament for Slovakia, recounts her harrowing personal experiences with disinformation campaigns and gendered hate speech online during a GZERO Global Stage discussion on gender equality in the age of AI.

The online abuse crisis threatens the mental health of young women worldwide

The online abuse crisis threatens the mental health of young women worldwide

On the internet, more than half of young women encounter abuse and harassment, some as young as eight. Michelle Milford Morse of the UN Foundation emphasizes that this takes a huge toll on their mental health.

AI at the tipping point: danger to information, promise for creativity

AI at the tipping point: danger to information, promise for creativity

Artificial intelligence is on everyone's mind these days. The potential for AI to mess up democracy is scary, but the truth is that it can also make the world a better place. So, are bots good or bad for us? We asked a few experts to weigh in during the Global Stage livestream conversation "Risks and Rewards of AI," hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft at this year's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

How to protect elections in the age of AI

How to protect elections in the age of AI

GZERO Media, on the ground at the 2024 Munich Security Conference, held a Global Stage discussion on Feb. 17 entitled “Protecting Elections in the Age of AI.” We spoke with Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft; Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; Fiona Hill, senior fellow for the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings; Eva Maydell, an EU parliamentarian and a lead negotiator of the EU Chips Act and Artificial Intelligence Act; Kersti Kaljulaid, the former president of Estonia; with European correspondent Maria Tadeo moderating. These thought leaders and experts discussed the implications of the rapid rise of AI amid this historic election year.

What impact will AI have on gender equality?

What impact will AI have on gender equality?

At the current rate of progress toward gender equality, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take 131 years for women to attain parity in income, status, and leadership. While technology is a powerful tool to help close the gender gap, it can also be weaponized.

Protect free media in democracies, urges Estonia's former president Kersti Kaljulaid

Protect free media in democracies, urges Estonia's former president Kersti Kaljulaid

In recent years, numerous reports and studies have emerged warning that democracies around the world are backsliding and autocracy is on the rise. A free media could be the key to reversing this trend, according to former Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.

Digital Equity