Tag Archives: Sanctions on Russia

Germany’s Energy Suicide: An Autopsy, by Pepe Escobar

The autopsy clears up any lingering doubts that the death was not a suicide. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

The EU has weaponized the supply of European energy on behalf of a financial racket, against the interests of European industry and consumers.

When Green fanatic Robert Habeck, posing as Germany’s Economy Minister, said earlier this week “we should expect the worst” in terms of energy security, he conveniently forgot to spell out how the whole farce is a Made in Germany cum Made in Brussels crisis.

Flickers of intelligence at least still glow in rare Western latitudes, as indispensable strategic analyst William Engdahl, author of A Century of Oil, released a sharp, concise summary  revealing the skeletons in the glamour closet.

Everyone with a brain following the ghastly Eurocrat machinations in Brussels was aware of the main plot – yet hardly anyone among average EU citizens. Habeck, Chancellor “Liver Sausage” Scholz, the European Commission (EC) Green Energy VP Timmermans, EC dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, they are all involved.

In a nutshell: as Engdahl describes it, this is about “the EU plan to de-industrialize one of the most energy-efficient industrial concentrations on the planet.”

That’s a practical translation of the UN Green Agenda 2030 – which happens to be metastasized into crypto Bond villain Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset – now renamed “Great Narrative”.

The whole scam started way back in the early 2000s: I remember it vividly, as Brussels used to be my European base in the early “war on terror” years.

At the time, the talk of the town was the “European energy policy”. The dirty secret of such policy is that the EC, “ advised” by JP MorganChase as well as the usual mega speculative hedge funds, went all out into what Engdahl describes as “a complete deregulation of the European market for natural gas.”

That was sold to the Lugenpresse (“lying media”) as “liberalization”. In practice, that’s savage, unregulated casino capitalism, with the “free” market fixing prices while dumping long-term contracts – such as the ones struck with Gazprom.

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Europe On High Alert: July Shutdown Of Nord Stream Pipeline Has The EU Worried, by Tyler Durden

It’s going to be a cold winter in Europe absent any changes in Europe’s stance towards Russia. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

It’s a dynamic which some in the alternative media have been warning about for months – While the establishment claimed that Russia would be crushed under the weight of NATO sanctions, others have suggested that Russia could hurt the west more (specifically Europe) by implementing sanctions of their own.  While mainstream governments and journalists argued about how fast NATO should implement restrictions on Russian oil and gas, none of them seemed to consider the possibility that Putin would cut off energy exports himself.

This is the problem with instituting foreign policy and engaging in geopolitics using a “cancel culture” mentality; it leads to childish thinking and a lack of foresight.  You can’t “cancel” a nation if you are dependent on them for 40% of your energy needs.

Anyone with moderate industry knowledge in oil and gas could have seen this coming.  Europe is now on “high alert” as the Nordtream 1 pipeline to Germany has lost 60% of its natural gas transfers as Russia pressures Canada for the return of a massive turbine being held in Canada for repairs.  Canada has lifted sanctions in response and allowed the shipment of the turbine back to Russia, showing that the Kremlin does indeed have economic leverage over NATO countries.

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The Unending Farce of US Sanctions against Russia, by Joseph Solis-Mullen

Sanctions designed to hurt Russia for the most part have helped them. The answer is obvious: more sanctions! From Joseph Solis-Mullen at mises.org:

Rather than working diplomatically to resolve the civil war in Ukraine that it played a principal role in precipitating (by backing the unconstitutional transfer of power in that country in 2014), the Biden administration spent the months leading up to the Russian invasion in February assiduously working to make sure “extreme” economic sanctions could be put in place.

The threat of such additional sanctions, for Washington already had imposed a series of sanctions in 2014, was purportedly meant to deter the invasion. That having failed, it was then claimed the sanctions would force Russia to the negotiating table.

That, too, has clearly failed.

Given the centrality of economic warfare to Washington’s foreign policy, it is worth exploring how the Kremlin has managed to keep the Russian economy afloat since invading Ukraine and the likely wider implications and possible future application vis-à-vis China.

First, the immediate collapse of the ruble was reversed by the actions of the Russian central bank and the treasury. While the former nearly doubled interest rates overnight, the latter began spending its accumulated reserves to offset the price inflation that began eating into Russian consumers’ purchasing power. Though locked out of nearly half of its foreign reserves by Washington and its vassal allies, the government in Moscow has used its record balance of payments surplus to make up for the temporary loss.

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Meet the New Boss; Putin Reroutes Critical Hydrocarbons Eastward Leaving Europe High-and-Dry, by Mike Whitney

Putin is indeed giving Europe the energy middle finger. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:

“Rejection of Russian energy resources means that Europe will become the region with the highest energy costs in the world. This will seriously undermine the competitiveness of European industry which is already losing the competition to companies in other parts of the world…. Our Western colleagues seem to have forgotten the elementary laws of economics, or simply prefer to ignore them.” Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation

On Tuesday, Russia announced a 40% reduction in the flow of natural gas to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline. The announcement, that was made by Gazprom officials, sent tremors through the European gas market where prices quickly soared to new highs. In Germany—where prices have tripled in the last three months—the news was met with gasps of horror. With inflation already running at a 40-year high, this latest reduction in supply is certain to tip the German economy into recession or worse. All of Europe is now feeling the impact of Washington’s misguided sanctions on Russia. Here’s more from Oil Price website:

“Russia’s Gazprom said on Tuesday that it would limit natural gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany by 40 percent compared to planned flows because of a delay in equipment repairs… The lower supply of gas via Nord Stream to the biggest European economy, Germany, sent Europe’s gas prices surging by double digits...

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The Harsh Reality Of Energy ‘TINA’ Strikes The US And Europe, by Mike “Mish” Shedlock

SLL has posted articles from Russians who rightly have pointed out that the West is shooting itself in the foot with sanctions against Russia. This is one of the rare articles from an American who realizes the same thing. From Mike “Mish” Shedlock at mishtalk.com:

Hello EU and President Biden “There Is No Alternative” to Russian energy.

Natural gas chart courtesy of Trading Economics, annotations by Mish.

Natural gas chart courtesy of Trading Economics, annotations by Mish.

Some European Factories, Long Dependent on Cheap Russian Energy, Are Shutting Down

The Wall Street Journal reports Some European Factories, Long Dependent on Cheap Russian Energy, Are Shutting Down

For decades, European industry relied on Russia to supply low-cost oil and natural gas that kept the continent’s factories humming.

Now Europe’s industrial energy costs are soaring in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine, hobbling manufacturers’ ability to compete in the global marketplace. Factories are scrambling to find alternatives to Russian energy under threat that Moscow could abruptly turn off the gas spigot, bringing production to a halt.

Europe’s producers of chemicals, fertilizer, steel and other energy-intensive goods have come under pressure over the last eight months as tensions with Russia climbed ahead of the February invasion. Some producers are shutting down in the face of competition from factories in the U.S., the Middle East and other regions where energy costs are much lower than in Europe. Natural-gas prices are now nearly three times higher in Europe than in the U.S.

The Swiss Connection: How Russia Is Weathering Tough Sanctions, by Alex Kimani

How is Russia weathering those tough sanctions? Just fine, thank you. From Alex Kimani at oilprice.com (hardly a Russia propaganda outfit):

  • Continued oil and gas exports as well as a propped-up ruble, have allowed Moscow to weather Western sanctions.
  • JPM has backtracked on its earlier forecasts of a 35% contraction in Russian GDP in the second quarter.
  • The lion’s share of Russian raw materials is traded via Switzerland and its nearly 1,000 commodity firms.

A couple of weeks ago, Putin went on record calling the war in Ukraine a “tragedy” and claiming that economic sanctions imposed on his country had “failed.”  Turns out he wasn’t exactly bluffing.

Three months into the most severe and coordinated sanctions by Western governments, Russia’s economy is proving to be a hard nut to crack. Continued oil and gas exports as well as a propped-up ruble, have allowed Moscow to weather the West’s sanctions much better than expected.

In a note to clients dated last week and made public on Monday, JPMorgan Chase says business sentiment surveys from the country “are signaling a not very deep recession in Russia, and therefore imply upside risks to our growth forecasts. The data at hand therefore do not point to an abrupt plunge in activity, at least for now”.

JPM has also backtracked on its earlier forecasts of a 35% contraction in Russian GDP in the second quarter and 7% for all of 2022, now predicting that the recession will be far less severe.

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‘Through Ukraine’: Can the West Use the War to Stem Its Decline and the Shift to a New Global Monetary Order? By Alastair Crooke

The U.S. is the empire of debt and made-up money, and the empire is crumbling. If it wants to rebuild the empire, the U.S. government and central bank will have to do it with something more substantial than another fiat currency. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

A failure in Ukraine could well mean the disintegration of EU and NATO, Alastair Crooke writes.

Sometimes revolutionary change creeps up upon us by stealth; we only come to appreciate the major bifurcation when we come to notice it, in the rear-view mirror. This is especially so when the those who first pulled the trigger do not fully appreciate – themselves – what they have done.

What has been done? In a moment of visceral prejudice, a few ‘Team Biden’ staffers decided to leverage their plan to collapse the value of the rouble. So they hit upon the ruse of seizing the dollar, euro and Treasury bond reserves of the Central Bank of Russia.

So sure were they of their plan that this would completely stymie Russia’s efforts to save a sinking rouble, they did not even bother to consult the Federal Reserve or the ECB. The latter said so publicly and disagreed with the action taken.

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Weaponized Dollar May Explode in America’s Face, by Brian McGlinchey

At the end of all this the dollar may very well not be the global reserve currency for a good portion of the globe. From Brian McGlinchey at starkrealities.substack.com:

By incentivizing foreign governments to seek currency alternatives, U.S.-led sanctions could end the dollar’s global dominance and cause havoc at home

A raging inferno

There’s much to despise about economic sanctions. Aside from the fundamental immorality of making innocent individuals suffer for the sins of governments, sanctions almost universally fail to achieve the goals of those who inflict them.

Nonetheless, sanctions have become the knee-jerk U.S. government response to any real or claimed foreign misdeed. According to the U.S. Treasury department, the number of U.S.-imposed sanctions soared 933% between 2000 and 2021.

Where today’s Ukraine invasion-prompted sanctions are concerned, civilians in Russia and all around the world are already feeling the effects, via increasingly expensive and scarce food, fuel and other goods.

In the end, however, the greatest damage may be inflicted on the United States government and its citizens: By incentivizing Russia and other countries to stop using U.S. dollars for trade, the sanctions regime threatens to topple the dollar from its position of global preeminence. That could spell disaster for the American economy and hasten the end of the U.S. empire.

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Sit back and watch Europe commit suicide, by Pepe Escobar

The sanctions are destructive, but they’re destroying Europe far more than Russia. From Pepe Escobar at thecradle.com:

If the US goal is to crush Russia’s economy with sanctions and isolation, why is Europe in an economic free fall instead?

https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Unknown-3.jpeg

Washington’s competition with rising power Russia is so fierce, it is willing to sacrifice Europe.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The stunning spectacle of the European Union (EU) committing slow motion hara-kiri is something for the ages. Like a cheap Kurosawa remake, the movie is actually about the US-detonated demolition of the EU, complete with the rerouting of some key Russian commodities exports to the US at the expense of Europeans.

It helps to have a 5th columnist actress strategically placed – in this case astonishingly incompetent European Commission head Ursula von der Lugen – with her vociferous announcement of a crushing new sanctions package: Russian ships banned from EU ports; road transportation companies from Russia and Belarus prohibited from entering the EU; no more coal imports (over 4.4 billion euros a year).

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Gazprom Halts Gas Shipments To Europe Via Critical Pipeline, by Tyler Durden

We’ll see how long Europe can endure being cut off from natural gas by its number one supplier. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

After European nations imported the most gas from Russian sources yesterday in months, scrambling to stock up on supplies as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadline to either pay for gas in rubles (or be cut off) came and went, Russian gas giant Gazprom has officially halted all deliveries to Europe via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, a critical artery for European energy supplies.

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