I predicted Ukraine in 2016. Here’s what we all need to do now.

Tobias Stone
7 min readFeb 24, 2022
Tanks in Central Tallinn for their Independence Day parade, Estonia, 23rd February 2022

In 2016 I wrote an essay about how humans never learn from history. In it I predicted that Brexit and Trump would lead to Putin invading Latvia and triggering a world war. In effect, I was predicting today’s invasion of Ukraine. I said this because both Brexit and Trump stood for breaking down the alliances that have prevented conflict since the last world war. Brexit has weakened the EU, and Trump weakened NATO. It is no coincidence that Putin is invading Ukraine now, and that he so actively supported both Brexit and Trump.

The point of my essay was that someone voting for Brexit, or for Trump, was unlikely to have understood how this could lead to Putin invading Ukraine. Small events ripple out into huge outcomes, and humans have a habit of making small decisions that eventually lead to huge consequences.

Thinking back, Ukraine makes more sense for Putin than the imagined scenario I played out in Latvia simply because there are no NATO troops there, so he is less likely to trigger the world war that can spin out from attacking a country with strong military alliances.