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It’s easy to be glib about war until it starts. In 1983 Stanislav Petrov was the one man standing between the world and a nuclear conflagration. When the Soviet early-warning system picked up a (non-existent) pre-emptive nuclear strike, Stanislav, colonel in the Soviet Air Defence Forces, was on duty. His order was to immediately retaliate in the event of any attack, which the Soviets believed to be a real threat given the tensions of the time. His decision to ignore his orders and wait to hear confirmation prevented, most likely, a series of tit for tat nuclear strikes which could have killed millions. The stakes are not so high in Ukraine – probably. But the mutual distrust and the mind games are the same. Assuming war is imminent – as it would be foolish to assume otherwise – we ask whether investors should be repositioning for the fall-out.
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