Tag Archives: Sanctions

The Dynamics of Escalation: ‘Standing With Ukraine’, by Alastair Crooke

The people of Russia and China have a much higher pain threshold than the people of the West.  From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Russia-China axis possess food, energy, technology and most of the world’s key resources. History teaches that these elements make the winners in wars

As it dawns on the West that whereas sanctions are deemed capable of bringing countries to their knees, the reality is that such capitulation never has occurred (i.e. Cuba; North Korea; Iran). And, in the case of Russia, it is possible to say that just ain’t going to happen.

Team Biden still has not fully grasped the reasons why. One point is that they picked precisely the wrong economy to try to collapse via sanctions (Russia has minimal foreign supply lines and oodles of valuable commodities). Biden’s staffers too, have never comprehended the full ramifications of Putin’s monetary jujitsu linking the rouble to gold, and the rouble to energy.

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Interesting Map Shows Countries Who Support Western Govt Sanctions Against Russia vs Those Who Do Not, by Sundance

Just look at the map and see how “isolated” Russia is. From Sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com:

An enterprising journalist from Bolivia [Twitter Link] mapped the countries that support the sanctions against Russia (yellow) versus the countries that are not participating in the western sanctions against Russia (grey).  The image provides a visual reference to consider our previous discussions about the cleaving of the global economy between two overarching ideologies.

[Source Credit]

In my estimation this intentional global cleaving, using the opportunity created by the Ukraine crisis, is going to be the major story of this year.  This global splitting can be looked at in multiple ways, but the overarching story is the ramifications of two global trade relationships.

The western alliance (in the yellow above), has forced the world to reevaluate the dollar as the global trade currency, by denying Russia and their trade partners the ability to use the financial mechanisms under western control. To work around the sanctions, Russia is working on new financial systems to sell oil and farm products in non-dollar currencies.  There is also a possibility the petro-dollar, for the global trade of oil, might be dropped.

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Why this economic war on Russia breaks all rules of the game, by David C. Hendrickson

The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, by expropriating Russia’s reserves, just destroyed their own trustworthiness. From David C. Hendrickson at responsiblestatecraft.com:

The setting is a time near the end of the world. An earnest officer of the Royal Air Force, detailed to an American airbase in the Southwest, is trying to make a call to the president of the United States. It’s urgent. The commander of the base went mad and launched a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The officer must riddle a Coke machine with gunfire in order to get the coins to pay for the call. Do it for me, says the Brit, Captain Mandrake. No can do, says the U.S. soldier. “That’s private property.”

I don’t want to spoil the plot, but Mandrake did ultimately get those coins and got the president on the phone. It was all going to work out swell until it didn’t. Then the world ended.

Private property! What a joke. One tiny moral of the story from Dr. Strangelove is that there are times when it is permissible to break the rule forbidding theft, as Mandrake observed to the dolt he was talking to. However, the American army officer, played in wonderful deadpan by Keenan Wynn, had a point. In the American creed, you weren’t supposed to do this sort of thing, ever. You should no more take another person’s property than you should take another person’s life. Respect for private property was an essential part of the compact that makes citizens respect their government. Ensure that our rights are respected, it was once said in unison; then we shall happily obey you. The same rule held for the law of nations, which gave protection to both private and public property, as inhering separately in individuals and nations.

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Sanctions: the Blowback, by Michael Hudson

Make no mistake, the blowback will be epic. From Michael Hudson at unz.com:

Ross [00:00:29] Welcome to Renegade Inc. Whatever the outcome in Ukraine, one thing is for sure the economic reverberations will be felt by everyone for years to come as the world divides between the West and a rapidly reshaping Eurasia.

Ross [00:00:49] Michael Hudson, always a pleasure to have you on the programme, welcome to Renegade Inc.

Michael Hudson [00:00:53] Thank you for inviting me.

Ross [00:00:55] Michael, sanctions, sanctions, sanctions is all we hear now. We’re sanctioning people. The West sanction people back to the Stone Age. What are the unintended consequences of sanctions?

Michael Hudson [00:01:05] Well, one is to serve very much like a protective tariff on the sanctioned country. For instance, when America made sanctions on European trade with Russia, Lithuania dutifully stopped exporting cheese to Russia. Well, the result is that Russia set up its own cheese’s sector, and now it’s self-sufficient in cheese. If you sanction a country, you force it to become more self-reliant and across the board, from agriculture to dairy products to technology, Russia is forced to become more self-reliant and at the same time to depend much more on trade with China for the things that it is still not self-reliant in. So America is bringing about exactly the opposite of what it intended. It’s hopeless to somehow isolate Russia and then be able to go after China without Russia. And instead, what it’s doing is integrating the Eurasian core, Russia and China, exactly the policy that Henry Kissinger warned against going all the way back to Mackinder a century ago that said, Eurasia is the world island, Russia and China could be the whole world centre. That’s what the fight is all about. Well, American sanctions are driving Russia and China together, and America has gone to China and said, Please don’t support Russia. It most recently, on Monday, March 14, Jake Sullivan came out and told China, we will sanction countries that break our sanctions against Russia. And basically, China said, fine. You know, we’ll just break off all the trade between East and West now and the East, Eurasia is pretty much self-sufficient. The West is not self-sufficient since it began to industrialise, and it’s heavily dependent on Russia for not only oil and gas, but palladium and many raw materials. So the sanctions are ending up driving a wedge between the European countries.

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Bonfire of the Governments, Part Two, by Robert Gore

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wsj.com

Welcome to the bonfire of the governments, history’s greatest conflagration.

Part One

Think of an activity that’s essential for a government bent on subjugation: censorship and the suppression of expression. Governments on both sides of the present conflict have further jacked up their efforts to control expression from the plateau reached with Covid. Russia just passed a law imposing a 15-year prison sentence for anyone spreading “fake news” about its invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. and European governments and lapdog legacy and social media have blanketed populaces with official propaganda. Just as with Covid, questions and deviations from the approved narrative are stifled, censored, and punished.

It was all so much easier back in the post World War II, pre-internet good old days. In the U.S. and Europe, there were several “papers of record” that had been infiltrated by intelligence agencies, and state-licensed radio and television stations. In the Soviet Union there wasn’t even that, just a few official propaganda organs.

Yet even with that degree of control, government repression wasn’t wholly effective. In the U.S. the truth got out about the Vietnam War. The Soviets could stop everything but people talking with each other, albeit in hushed tones. The cynical humor became legendary. (“They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.”) Humor always contains an element of truth, which is why statists can’t do humor. The number of citizens red-pilled to Soviet corruption and incompetence and the comparative freedom and wealth of the West reached critical mass and the government fell. It took way too long, but it happened.

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Today, there are billions of potential journalists and video producers—anyone with a cell phone and access to the internet—and trillions of text and email communications. People still occasionally engage in face-to-face conversations. The infrastructure needed to monitor all this is complex, gargantuan, and costly. Only algorithms and artificial intelligence can sort through it to identify threats to the state. Once identified, a separate infrastructure is necessary to apprehend, arrest, process, incarcerate and perhaps execute those engaged in wrongthought, wrongspeak, wrongwrite, and wrongact.

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US Recklessly Eyes China as Target in Economic War, by Joe Lauria

If the U.S. sanctions China in the same way it has sanctioned Russia, it will be doubling down on stupidity. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

Western officials say Russia is asking China for military help — denied by Beijing — in what is clearly an effort to build a case to include China in its economic war against Moscow, writes Joe Lauria.

Biden-Xi video summit on Friday. (White House)

The United States is setting up China as a second target of its intense economic war against Russia in what could have cataclysmic effects on the world economy, including the West.

The U.S. could not impose the most stringent sanctions on Moscow without the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now the U.S. is trying to link China to the war.

Washington’s move to frame Beijing emerged Monday when unnamed U.S. officials told its allies that Russia had asked China for military aid in Ukraine. Reuters reported: “The message, sent in a diplomatic cable and delivered in person by intelligence officials, also said China was expected to deny those plans, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”  China indeed denied it.

Importantly, Reuters added: “The U.S. government offered no public evidence to back its assertions of China’s willingness to provide such aid to Russia.”

On that same day Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, led a delegation to Rome to meet with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Chinese politburo. After the meeting, an unnamed senior U.S. official in Rome told reporters: “We have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time, and the national security adviser was direct about those concerns and the potential implications and consequences of certain actions.”

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The West’s Russia Sanctions Could Lead to Many Unpredictable and Unpleasant Outcomes, by Brendan Brown

“Unpredictable and unpleasant outcomes” is a nice way of saying the West has shot itself in the foot. From Brendan Brown at mises.org:

Global supply shocks are historically rare events. All the more extraordinary to have two such shocks in quick succession—the second arriving even before the first has entirely faded away. That is what the world now experiences in the form of the Great Pandemic followed by the Great West-Russia economic war. The most visible symptom of the supply disruption is the sky-high price of energy and a range of other commodities.

What Is the Effect of Sanctions?

The waging of a long and all-out military war usually, if not always, exerts a toll in terms of surging prices. But what about economic war waged through Western sanctions by states not simultaneously engaged in direct military conflict? The laboratory of history for such warfare is small. Indeed, there is no experience with which usefully to compare the West’s economic war against Russia in the present. There are grounds to think that there will be serious long-term price-inflation-fueled damage on the perpetrators. (The consequences of price increases for the country on the receiving end of sanctions is a subject for another day).

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Russia Isn’t Nearly as Isolated as Washington Wants You to Believe, by Ryan McMaken

A good chunk of the world either supports Russia or wants to straddle the fence between Russia and the U.S. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Some US policymakers and pundits are declaring that Russia—and its population—are cut off from the rest of the world. For example, political scientist Nina Khrushcheva has declared “Russia is hated by the rest of the world” and that “Russia is the global enemy.” The New York Times concludes Russia is now “an economic pariah” and that a “new iron curtain” is falling.

There is no doubt that the sanctions imposed by wealthy Western nations will negatively impact the Russian regime, the Russian economy, and the Russian people. Ordinary Russians, who currently enjoy a GDP (gross domestic product) per capita that is only a fraction of the size of that of many Western countries, will suffer greatly.

But when it comes to the degree of Russia’s isolation, those gloating about Russia being “cut off” are overstating the case. In fact, many of the world’s largest countries have shown a reluctance to participate in the US’s sanction schemes and have instead embraced a far more measured approach. So long as China, India, and other large states continue to be at least partially sympathetic toward Moscow, they will provide a large market for Russia’s natural resources and its other exports. And these nations have signaled they’re not cutting off Russia just yet.

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Washington’s Hawks Are About To Wreck Global Commerce, by David Stockman

If global commerce is wrecked, does that help or hurt the U.S.? There is a right answer. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

We did get that right. At an intense seven-hour session in Rome, Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, told the Chinese in no uncertain terms they are next in line for the sanctions hit parade:

Jake Sullivan told CNN the US had been “communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to back-fill them” amid the Ukraine war.

For want of doubt, the rest of the US government has not been loath to reinforce Sullivan’s edict:

Officials of the United States and other countries have sought to emphasize in recent weeks that siding with Russia could carry consequences for trade flows, development of new technologies and expose China to secondary sanctions.

Chinese companies defying U.S. restrictions on exports to Russia may be cut off from American equipment and software they need to make their products, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last week.

Just brilliant, that. The US desperately needs a resurgence of economic growth and especially export sales in order to cope with the $86 trillion of debt that the Fed’s easy money policies have foisted upon the combined public and private sectors in recent decades, but in its self-appointed role as global gendarme Washington insists on throwing spanners in the gears of private capitalism whenever and wherever possible.

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Bonfire of the Governments, Part One, by Robert Gore

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Expect chaos to continue making new highs.

When Machiavelli wrote The Prince he had Vladimir Putin in mind. The president of Russia has adroitly sought, maintained, and used power, the theme of Machiavelli’s masterpiece (see “The Black Belt Strategist,” Robert Gore. SLL, July 19, 2018). That he is an amoral snake is both true and laughable as a criticism coming from the amoral snakes who populate Western power structures. Nobody who slithers to the top of those pits is anything other than an amoral snake. Western snakes hate Putin because he’s repeatedly outsnaked them.

Call Putin a rattlesnake for he clearly rattled before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That he was ignored is a worrisome indication of the epistemological breakdown that grips the West. Its leaders are unable to grasp that Putin meant what he said because they rarely mean what they say. Facts are not facts and the truth is whatever narrative they’re promoting at the moment. It’s become axiomatic that power flows from control of the narrative.

Until it doesn’t. Power flows from understanding reality and making use of what it can offer. If narratives were power, Ukraine’s army would be in Moscow by now. We haven’t seen this kind of excessive excrement from governments and their media minions since . . . Covid. Narratives are for simple-minded sheep and the wolves who devour them.The propaganda is devoid of any mention of: the 2014 U.S.-sponsored coup against a democratically elected government; rampant corruption within the Ukrainian oligarchy; Ukranian payola to American political figures (e.g., the Bidens and Clintons); widespread neo-Nazi infestation of Ukraine’s military and government; their eight-year war on its Russian-heritage citizens in eastern Ukraine; the government’s willful failure to adhere to the Minsk accords that were meant to resolve that conflict, or the latest—U.S. supported bioresearch labs in Ukraine.

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