In 1999, Thomas Friedman came up with his “Golden Arches Theory,” which holds that “no two countries that both had McDonald’s had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald’s.”
Friedman’s explanation was that having a MacDonald’s presupposed a market economy with people goods and services moving about freely in a globalised, integrated world – all of which would make it unthinkable for two such countries to go to war with eachother.
Nine years before Friedman proposed his theory, in a potent symbol of Russia’s opening up to the world, MacDonald’s had opened a branch in Pushkin Square, Moscow (pictured below).
The Russkies loved it. An estimated 38,000 of them queued to go in.
Now there are 850 MacDonald’s in Russia – all closed because of the war – a symbol of how that hope of an integrated world has been shattered along with much else.