“Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary,” Soros told Project Syndicate on Monday. “And then came Covid-19.”
Acknowledging the “unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination…really endangers the survival of our civilization,” the philanthropist warned “we will not go back to where we were when the pandemic started.”
“Everything else is up for grabs. I do not think anybody knows how capitalism will evolve.”
While he didn’t specify what exactly defined the pre-coronavirus “revolutionary moment” he was referring to, Soros has in recent months poured $1 billion of his prodigious fortune into setting up a university network to fight “nationalism” and climate change, calling the initiative “the most important project of my life.”
And he returned to that subject in Monday’s interview, hinting that the political lives of both Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump – whom he slimed as “dictator” and wannabe-dictator, respectively – were coming to an end.
The crisis would bring nations closer “in the long run,” he predicted, even if in the short term they “hurt themselves” out of fear.
China’s battle with the coronavirus had left Xi “perhaps vulnerable,” Soros speculated, declaring himself to be “on the side of those who believe in an open society.
And there are many people in China who are very much in favor of an open society too.” Soros’ Open Society Foundations have played a prominent role in fomenting “color revolutions” in societies lacking in Soros-determined “openness,” adding a potential layer of threat to what on the surface sounded benign.
But despite essentially agreeing with Trump that “we must protect our democratic open society” by not working too closely with China, Soros maintained his revulsion for the American leader.
“I will also say that I have put my faith in Trump to destroy himself, and he has exceeded my wildest expectations,” he said.
Soros-funded groups have been working to remove Trump from power practically since he took office, more recently focusing their efforts on a mail-in voting campaign Republicans have claimed would open the door to unprecedented levels of voter fraud.
Soros himself, meanwhile, had accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of colluding with the Trump campaign to help Trump secure reelection, going so far as to demand his removal from control of the social media platform if he did not halt all political advertising.
In fact, Soros sees dictators everywhere, especially menacing the EU. In his native Hungary, he said, “Viktor Orban has already used the Covid-19 emergency and a captured parliament to appoint himself dictator.”
He also seemed pained by the notion of Germany’s legal challenge to Brussels on quantitative easing, expressing concern that other countries might “follow its example” and start placing their own laws above the EU’s if the alliance didn’t immediately slap down upstarts like Hungary and Poland when they “violate EU law.”
“If the German court’s verdict prevents the EU from resisting these developments, it will be the end of the EU as we know it,” he warned. Italy leaving the EU would also kill the alliance, he added.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed cracks in the continental alliance as European nations turned on one another in the scramble for supplies and closed their borders in a bid to keep out the virus. Italy in particular was hit hard, only to have its cries for aid largely ignored by its neighbors and Brussels.
When help did come, it came from unexpected quarters – Russia, China, Cuba – or in the form of token gestures bordering on the insulting, as with Germany’s offer to take in a few dozen of Italy’s 80,000-plus coronavirus patients to relieve the strain on its healthcare system.
Along with Spain and France, Italy faces a ruined economy as its citizens emerge from lockdown – some 700,000 children under 15 lack adequate food, according to an Italian farming organization – while the EU has remained reluctant to provide financial assistance.