Is it really a default if your creditor refuses payment or makes it impossible for you to repay, but you are ready, willing, and able to do so? From Katabella Roberts at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:
Russia on Sunday defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since 1918 after the grace period on its $100 million payment expired, according to reports.
The $100 million interest payment deadline due to be met by the Kremlin had initially been set to May 27 but a 30-day grace period was triggered after investors failed to receive coupon payments due on both dollar and euro-denominated bonds.
Russia said that it had sent the money to Euroclear Bank SA, a bank that would then distribute the payment to investors.
But that payments allegedly got stuck there amid increased sanctions from the West on Moscow, according to Bloomberg, meaning creditors did not receive it.
Euroclear told the BBC that it adheres to all sanctions.
The last time Russia defaulted on its foreign debt was in 1918 when the new communist leader Vladimir Lenin refused to pay the outstanding debts of the Russian Empire during the Bolshevik Revolution.
You’ve got something when you’ve got over half the world’s population and well over half the world’s natural resources either tacitly or explicitly on your team. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
The recent BRICS summit managed to run its course this past week with very little fanfare, despite the fact that Russia is in the midst of a conflict with Ukraine that has led to a worldwide economic war. China is edging towards a potential invasion of Taiwan, and much of the planet is in the middle of a stagflationary crisis in the meantime.
The one major takeaway from the summit was the reaffirmed stance of the BRICS that they would continue to work closely with Russia in economic terms.
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, there has been a running narrative in the western media that sanctions and the removal of Russian access to the SWIFT network would crush the country within a few months, leaving them penniless and unable to project military power. This has not happened.
A picture was painted by journalists and politicians of a completely isolated Russia, destroyed by a global cancel culture campaign that would de-nation them. In reality, Russian trade, specifically their oil trade, has actually expanded. Both China and India have increased their purchases of Russian oil while enjoying discounted prices. Simultaneously, Europe and the US are suffering from oil and gas inflation and the EU is cutting vital oil and gas supplies from Russia.
Are we seeing the death knell of the West and the emergence of a multi-polar order? From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
It was Jim O’Neill, Goldman’s chief economist at the time, who coined the term BRICS in 2001 for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Little did he know. He was talking about emerging economies. 13 years later, they no longer are. They are good for about 40% of the world population, and some 25% of global GDP. The world has not stood still since 2009, and it’s moving faster now.
Ironically, the BRICS countries never looked to be as prominent economically as they are today, they were happy to build up one step at a time. But then NATO decided to move east at a pace that Russia found intolerable, and now the BRICS have taken on a whole new meaning. 25% of global GDP may not seem that much, but the 5 countries hold a much bigger share of -essential- global resources and/or raw materials than that, and China moreover delivers an outsize part of finished products.
And we now know that they won’t be BRICS for much longer. Many countries choose to be affiliated, in one form or another, with the BRICS rather than the “west”. They see that Russia is winning in Ukraine, and they see the damage the sanctions do. It’s just practical considerations. Saudi Arabia and Argentina are interested in joining BRICS. So are Uruguay, Iran, Egypt, Thailand, and a number of post-Soviet States. They see where the real economic power resides.
This is an excellent in-depth analysis of the Ukraine situation. From John J. Mearsheimer at nationalinterest.org:
The war in Ukraine is a multi-dimensional disaster, which is likely to get much worse in the foreseeable future.
Let me now turn to the matter of escalation. It is widely accepted among international relations scholars that there is a powerful tendency for protracted wars to escalate. Over time, other countries can get dragged into the fight and the level of violence is likely to increase. The potential for this happening in the Ukraine war is real. There is a danger that the United States and its NATO allies will get dragged into the fighting, which they have been able to avoid up to this point, even though they are already waging a proxy war against Russia. There is also the possibility that nuclear weapons might be used in Ukraine and that might even lead to a nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States. The underlying reason these outcomes might be realized is that the stakes are so high for both sides, and thus neither can afford to lose.
As I have emphasized, Putin and his lieutenants believe that Ukraine joining the West is an existential threat to Russia that must be eliminated. In practical terms, that means Russia must win its war in Ukraine. Defeat is unacceptable. The Biden administration, on the other hand, has stressed that its goal is not only to decisively defeat Russia in Ukraine, but also to use sanctions to inflict massive damage on the Russian economy. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has emphasized that the West’s goal is to weaken Russia to the point where it could not invade Ukraine again. In effect, the Biden administration is committed to knocking Russia out of the ranks of the great powers. At the same time, President Biden himself has called Russia’s war in Ukraine a “genocide” and charged Putin with being a “war criminal” who should face a “war crimes trial” after the war. Such rhetoric hardly lends itself to negotiating an end to the war. After all, how do you negotiate with a genocidal state?
Even if you can’t stand Biden, it hurts to see a U.S. president kowtow to the Saudi regime to help alleviate the consequences of his own idiocy. From Benjamin Zycher at realclearenergy.org:
President Biden will attend the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Saudi Arabia next month, with the explicit goal of convincing the GCC — that is, the Saudis — to increase production of crude oil as a tool with which reduce gasoline prices in the U.S. From a recent press conference:
Q: And my question on Saudi Arabia: Why not have the President go there and just not meet with the Crown Prince?
MR. KIRBY: The President is going to Saudi for the GCC — the GCC+3, to be honest. It’s nine states in the region. There’s a big agenda there, Kaitlan, on the Gulf Cooperation Council. It’s counterterrorism. It’s climate change. Certainly, it’s — oil production, obviously, is going to be on the agenda.
Why would Russia regard Ukraine as anything but a U.S. proxy war with all the U.S. intelligence agents who are in Ukraine doing who knows what? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
A fresh New York Times report has confirmed what many already suspected – that the CIA is still very active inside Ukraine – especially with training as well coordinating weapons among its Ukrainian allies. The Times report details“a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training,” based on US and European intelligence officials with knowledge of the operations. The report says Ukrainian forces are reliant on this Western clandestine network “more than ever” while outgunned by the Russians.
This comes months after investigative journalist Zach Dorfman’s bombshell expose in Yahoo News which detailed how a prior8-year long CIA covert program to train Ukrainian fighters helped provoke the Russian invasion. The only question that remained after that March report was the extent to which the CIA was still active in the ongoing fight against the invading Russians.
The new Times reporting confirms that the US program is not only active and ongoing, but appears larger in scale than previously thought given the CIA’s close cooperation with the Ukrainians is happening both inside and outside the country, across multiple locations.
You have to ask, how could the blockade of Kaliningrad not have unintended consequences? One side thinks one thing is going to happen, and the other side thinks something else entirely is going to happen. From Robert Bridge at strategic-consequences.org:
For the EU to impose even a partial blockade of Russian territory presents a tremendous risk to regional stability and world peace. Some are beginning to talk about the risk of World War III.
Lithuania has blocked a number of rail-transport goods from reaching the Russia exclave of Kaliningrad. Vilnius says it is merely adhering to the EU-mandated sanctions regime, but Moscow warns it has broken international law. Is this a casus belli?
Efforts to punish Russia for defending its territory from encroaching NATO forces, as well as a very real neo-Nazi threat in neighboring Ukraine ratcheted up this week as Vilnius halted the flow of goods into Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that is bordered by NATO members Poland to the south, Lithuania to the north and east, and the Baltic Sea to the west.
Kaliningrad Governor Anton Alikhanov says the ban affects some 50 percent of all imported goods, including energy resources, metals, construction materials and advanced technology. Official pleas against panic buying went unheeded as frantic shoppers were seen hoarding products.
At a moment US media and much of the West is consumed with the historic Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Russian President Vladimir Putin just issued what’s possibly the most alarming and escalatory statement thus far in the four-month long Ukraine war.
On Saturday Putin for the first time informed his close ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that he has approved supplying Belarus with nuclear capable long-range missiles. Minsk has long offered to host Russian nukes as a ‘deterrent’ against the West – a prospect which Lukashenko had very provocatively offered even in the months leading up to the Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine. This move will likely be viewed from Washington as a first step in moving toward a heightened nuclear posture in Eastern Europe.
Reuters writes of the announcement, “Russia will supply Belarus with Iskander-M missile systems, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a televised meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday. Delivery will take place within a few months, he added.”
Putin referenced nuclear-capability, according to a transcript of the televised remarks: “In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions.”
The report underscores further that “The Iskander-M is a mobile guided missile system with a range of up to 500 km (300 miles). The missiles can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.”
Currently, Putin and Lukashenka are meeting face-to-face in St. Petersburg on the 30th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic relations, which eventually led to the so-called ‘Union State’ pact of 1999, and has persisted till now, which also enabled Russia to muster much of its forces on Belarusian territory just ahead of the Ukraine invasion.
Will Russia swallow Ukraine entirely, or will part of present day Ukraine remain? From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
Ukraine as a country might not have a future. Ukraine is a new country only three decades old. Historically, Ukraine has been a part of Poland or of Russia. It might be on the verge of being divided between them.
Most of the Donbass and much of the Black Sea coast has been liberated by Russian forces and the forces of the two Donbass republics. Clearly the Ukrainian forces have lost the war in Donbass. Clearly Zelensky, a Jew who somehow heads a neo-Nazi state, lies when he claims Ukraine had no intention of reconquering the breakaway Donbass republics. What other purpose did the 150,000 Ukrainian army and Nazi militias arrayed on the shrunken Donbass borders have? How can the Russian forces be destroying the Ukrainian army in Donbass if the army wasn’t there? A question like this is too straightforward for the Western presstitutes.
What happens after Russia’s victory in Donbass?
Will Washington permit its puppet government to agree to Russia’s demand that Ukraine demilitarize and take a neutral status like Austria, or will Washington and NATO raise and equip a million-man army in Western Ukraine and attempt to take back the Donbass and Crimea?
Such an attempt would likely result in the destruction of Kiev and Lvov. The Ukrainian government would exist only in exile. As a number of NATO countries have made themselves combatants in the conflict, they are legitimate Russian targets. Clearly, a widening of the conflict is easily possible.
There is just no way that the CIA is going to allow a perfectly good fiasco go by without further mucking it up. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The New York Times reports that Ukraine is crawling with special forces and spies from the US and its allies, which would seem to contradict earlier reports that the US intelligence cartel is having trouble getting intel about what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine.
This would also, obviously, put the final nail in the coffin of the claim that this is not a US proxy war.
As Russian troops press ahead with a grinding campaign to seize eastern Ukraine, the nation’s ability to resist the onslaught depends more than ever on help from the United States and its allies — including a stealthy network of commandos and spies rushing to provide weapons, intelligence and training, according to U.S. and European officials.
Much of this work happens outside Ukraine, at bases in Germany, France and Britain, for example. But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly, mostly in the capital, Kyiv, directing much of the massive amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces, according to current and former officials.
At the same time, a few dozen commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine.
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