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Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
10 months ago

Russia has lost its mojo. Certainly many high-profile Russians have. And Russia’s armoured vehicles are all over the place, like lumbering metallic keystone cops – that dishevelled bunch given the run around by the likes of Buster Keaton in the Silent Era. All this greed and vanity and incompetence and the human suffering that has ensued too! Suffering that has deeply affected both sides. Because Russian families are in mourning too, through no fault of their own. The loss of an only child, or an only son, would be by now the dreadful experience of many families within Russia. For what?

It’s a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad world. And that’s all the sads to it. Quite a lot! The invasion of Ukraine is a criminal enterprise. As bad as say Finland got invaded. There’s no getting around that.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
10 months ago

I’ll just add that a nation’s sovereignty is still taken seriously by including the EU. Russia miscalculated badly vis-à-vis the international reaction. Ukraine had been minding its own business, just like Poland in 1939. The Putin regime’s actions are abhorrent. It seems to be on a different planet of feeling to the rest of the civilised world.

Last edited 10 months ago by Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
10 months ago

Just one more thing (starting to talk to myself now), with this sanctions stuff, Russia, …. Russia has behaved like the mugger who dropped his own wallet – in the middle of mugging Ukraine. Russia is scrabbling at the ground to grasp and pick it up, all the while Ukraine is giving it a good digging back as it strives to take back what belongs to it, which is still in the mugger’s hand. Will the mugger let go?

Iris C
Iris C
10 months ago

What about the sovereignty of Iraq, Libya and Syria? The invasion of these countries set a precedent.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
10 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Russian what-about bots gearing up.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
10 months ago

Seems a premature assessment. Iran is after all still very much able to export oil and its people aren’t reduced to cannibalism – that we know of.

“On its own, the move — grabbing control of around $300 billion worth of Russian foreign exchange reserves stashed in Western financial institutions — constituted the biggest bank heist in world history.” One imagines that’s how many other countries will view it also. It hardly seems coincidental that the Saudis are looking at conducting their oil trades in RMB now. Hope it was worth it.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

If it removes Putin’s Russia as a significant power, it was worth it.
The most likely scenario now is a 30% drop in the Russian economy. IOW a Depression.
Then, I very much doubt they will be playing games with gas.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

But this one action has triggered the major commodity suppliers and buyers to diversify their trading currencies.

The West is now a debtor. We are no longer major manufacturers. Others are now bigger commodity buyers. International transactions using the dollar are our last vestige of international financial power. And we’ve just expedited a shift away from dollar trade settlement.

Naval gazing on “beating” Russia only reduces our future ability to act against far more potent threats.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nell Clover
Michael K
Michael K
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

That’s what the West have always tried to do. Reduce Russia’s power. Sanctions whenever they did something that the US did much worse weeks earlier. Why all that? Simply because the US is scared of an alliance between the EU and Russia. Why isn’t Russia part of NATO? Because the US wouldn’t have them.
Trying to put Russia down won’t work. The era of US hegemony is over. We’ll have to start being nice and think about our own future. Otherwise we’re doomed.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

Russia already IS down, courtesy of Vladimir Putin.
It is a declining power, whose only asset is a commodity that will be less and less in demand in future.
Any sane leader (and it had them, Nemstov being most prominent) would have diversified the economy, integrating it into the world economy. Then, both Russia and Ukraine would have been prime candidates for the EU, and NATO as well.
Instead, Putin chose to create an infantile version of Peter the Great–a model some three centuries out of date. It cannot succeed in the 21st Century, and, with this hare-brained invasion, may well destroy the country.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

It’s not just the US not wanting Russia in NATO. What sort of fool locks the fox in the henhouse?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

Why isn’t Russia part of NATO? Because not a single NATO member wants them in there

Bruce Haycock
Bruce Haycock
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

Putin is protected by a state within a state and then the inner circle. Any going by him will not be because external forces, of any kind, got to him.
Also, their history is that leaders tend die in office. Any leaving will be largely on his own terms, even if the timing is not quite his own

Cantab Man
Cantab Man
10 months ago

Putin destroyed the wealth of Ukraine by bombing its industries (with accompanying jobs), homes and cultural centers into smithereens.

I’s say it’s time to put the $300 billion of Russia’s FX reserves to good use by giving the money to the nearby countries that are trying to shelter and provide for the Ukrainians who have had their livelihoods and country taken from them by Russia.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cantab Man
Martin Logan
Martin Logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

Either individual countries, or the court in the Hague can provide legal justification for that.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
10 months ago

What’s interesting about the FX heist is that it will surely be causing many highly placed figures to look differently at crypto. Not in a “let’s all buy bitcoin/eth” way but rather in the way they were already looking at it, as a way to use the underlying tech to create a kind of decentralized SWIFT that doesn’t fall under anyone’s jurisdiction. This is eminently possible and hasn’t been done mostly due to lack of incentive and difficulty within the government/central banking world of pulling off complex IT projects. Perhaps now we’ll see that inertia start to be overcome. The fact that western countries are willing to freeze deposits that beyond any doubt belong to another country, when they aren’t even at war, suggests strongly that entire economies can in future be crashed by nothing more than virtue signalling or media hysteria. After all:

Some have been sparked by Russian meddling in American elections

No, some were sparked by the claim of such meddling but when investigated those claims always fell apart. Yet wall-to-wall propaganda for years has utterly convinced the NYT reading set that this WMD-in-Iraq level claim is true.
The reality is that governments aren’t stable or rational enough to trust with large sums of money. A solution for that is needed somehow. It doesn’t have to be blockchain based but it probably does need to be decentralized.

Michael K
Michael K
10 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Canada has frozen bank accounts of its own citizens. It’s better that even we in the West don’t trust these banks, SWIFTs and whatnots.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

The solution until recently was something called “gold.”
But I hope you will agree that Russia is doing something more than meddling in Ukraine.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago

I would suggest that the sanctions will prove to be an unmitigated disaster. Not only will they harm the West, but equally importantly they do not exactly produce a conducive environment for pursuing a peaceful resolution of the situation in Ukraine. In other words, the sanctions are so severe that they will be counterproductive, and ultimately lead to the demise of the dollar as the international currency, and the partitioning of the world between East/South on the one hand, and the West on the other.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

It was not exactly a conducive environment when Russia attacked and invaded its sovereign neighbour. Would you not view the prior build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders with Russia and Belarus as likewise not exactly a build-up of a conducive environment for establishing good and neighbourly relations between Ukraine and Russia?

Graham Strugnell
Graham Strugnell
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

What nonsense. The Russians are only prepared, finally, to listen because sanctions hurt. Did you read the article? It’s time to stop spouting this ‘leave poor Russia alone’ line when Putin has made it clear he is a barbaric war criminal and merciless murderer who only understands strength, dismissing anything else as weakness and decadence. The sanctions should be much harder, not softer, as the article says. Fortunately no one with any sense believes your ‘apologist for Putin’ line of argument.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
10 months ago

The problem is most governments are by our standards barbaric and merciless. To defeat Putin we’ve strengthened many other tyrannies who are a far greater threat to our long term strategic needs.

Iran, a sponsor of terrorism around the globe, is benefiting more from our sanctions than Russia is hurting. Indeed, fresh after getting £400m to release one woman and pump more oil, its advising Russia on sanctions busting.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

A wife, mother, daughter, too. The headlines such as “The Taste Of Freedom” is just the kind of freedom the Ukrainians are fighting for. That particular headline might just wake up some on the Left who reside in the West, yet are in the habit of maligning the West at every opportunity, even if they support the “resistance” of the Ukrainians. How poignant that particular headline is with the Ukraine crisis ongoing!

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

That £400m was a debt that should have been settled over 40 years ago.
I strongly disagree that the West’s reaction is “strengthening other tyrannies”. I also dispute that Iran is a serious threat to our “long term strategic needs”.In what way is it threatening us ?
I’ve actually been to both Russia and Iran. I’ll tell you one thing for free – the people I saw in Moscow in 1991 were all miserable (true over all Warsaw Pact countries) and didn’t want to talk to you. Those in Iran in 2000 were far happier and desperate to talk to westerners again.
It is at least arguable that the US vendetta against Iran (and the US does seem to engage in decades long vendettas like this – also Cuba) turned Iran into more of an enemy than it needed to be.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago

I see you are somewhat of warmonger and have bought in to the current wave of hysteria and jingoism (recall the period before WWI anyone?). First, it is not evident that the Russians are listening to anything or anybody. That’s purely delusional. Second, one has to be really careful when trying to figure out what’s going on because the entire Western media, or certainly the entire media (left and right) in the US is just parroting Ukrainian propaganda. Now much of it may be correct but who knows. It’s not in the interests of the Ukrainians to portray a situation, for example, in which they find themselves in dire straights because their entire army is surrounded and cutoff from food, supplies, etc…. I recall Baghdad Bob in the 2003 Iraq invasion broadcasting how the US was suffering massive losses and were being repelled just as the US was taking over Baghdad airport and overrunning Baghdad itself. In other words, always a good idea to have a confirmatory source rather than just accept on good faith that the information provided by the Ukrainians is accurate. Third, in applying sanctions one has to make sure one doesn’t cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face. If the dollar loses its status as the world’s trading currency against which all other currencies are pegged, the global power and reach of the US will be significantly reduced. Who benefits? The Chinese who will establish and indeed already have established a Chinese alternative both in terms of currency and in terms of money transfer (i.e. a SWIFT equivalent). Further, a significant portion of Western Europe (aka Germany) relies heavily on Russian gas and oil. Let’s see how they do next winter.
And perhaps nobody believes what I’m saying and they are entitled to their own opinion. But recall, on the eve of WWI, where there were no good guys and bad guys, the British public was all gung-ho for war, young men were joining up to fight the Germans and lose their lives for nothing, and at the end of the day, the allies may have forced the surrender of the Germans, dictated terms that were so severe that led to the rise of Hitler a decade or so later, and led to the fall of the British Empire.

andrea.angeletti
andrea.angeletti
10 months ago

They used the strongest sanctions ever on Russia and still it stands there fighting the war.
Russia has virtually unlimited supply of materials and goods for surviving well and the powerful army and bombs wont cease to exist anyway.
The drawbacks are worst for Europe than Russia!!!
If you want to draw Putin into the bottom think first what a dictator with nuclear power could do at extreme conditions.
Diplomacy and negotiation is necessary and key to end the war as soon as possible.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

That is only likely if Putin survives–a real question just now.
If he goes, every party in the Russian Duma immediately lacks legitimacy. They have been his lickspittles for decades. Then the most likely scenario is disintegration, as happened in 1918.
Russia now closely resembles another collapsing empire: Austria-Hungary. In 1914, they too demanded impossible conditions from a small country: Serbia. The latter resisted, and four years later Austria-Hungary was but a memory.
The only difference was that the Kaiser’s govt was still not deluded enough to take on a nation of 40 million–a third the size of their own empire.
It simply shows how deluded post-modern authoritarians have become.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

With hindsight, the uncontrolled collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire was a disaster and the events it unleashed bringing destruction and misery across Europe and beyond.

Whilst the defeat of Russia is in principle a good thing, I see absolutely no consideration of or planning for what might follow. We’ve got a poor track record of nation building and a great record of leaving utter destruction.

We cannot afford for a defeated but nuclear armed Russia to be put through the mincer a 2nd time in 30 years. We would be creating the exact same conditions that led to the rise of Hitler in Germany.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nell Clover
Malvin Marombedza
Malvin Marombedza
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I think so too. People seem to think that the whole solution to the Russian menace is the departure of Putin. If Putin goes, I doubt there will be much change. The Russian paranoia against the West wont stop. This Ukraine loss will probably become another vendetta they will hold for some time to come. Alexei Navalny himself, much lauded by the West, seems to me rather too nationalistic and xenophobic. He did once say that if he became President, he wouldn’t return Crimea to Ukraine, advising Ukrainians not to delude themselves. And that’s the man we think embodies democracy in Russia.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I hope you see that was my point. It is becoming very likely, and we must prepare.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

There is no planning we can do in Russia. It’s a heavily censored authoritarian state which is big on secret police and locking up innocent people. I’m really not sure what you expect us to do here.
Russia’s problems are of its own making and Russians themselves need to fix them. We are not responsible for the last 100 years of madness they’ve inflicted on themselves.

David Lye
David Lye
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

I would not call Ukraine a small country, neither according to geography nor population.

John Self
John Self
10 months ago
Reply to  David Lye

From Chatham House:

…between them, Russia and Ukraine export around one-quarter of all traded wheat, more than three-quarters of traded sunflower oil, and one-sixth of traded maize.

This is to Africa. Added to the interrupted vaccine supply for preventable diseases and closure of small businesses from global lockdowns, famine is a growing risk.

Brace, brace, brace.

Michael K
Michael K
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Peace was never the idea. On literal day 2 of the invasion Macron sent weapons to Ukraine and said “this conflict will drag on for a while”. Yeah, he took good care of that.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

If Ukrainians want to fight to preserve their sovereignty, isn’t that their choice to make? And if they do make that choice then other nations should do all they can to assist that

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

But then those other nations need to be prepared and prepare their citizens for the possible consequences and risks of their actions. Russia is not Syria. Russia is a not just a nuclear armed state but probably has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons capable of incinerating the whole world several; times over. So this is a very very high stakes game, and at the very least one should be fully aware of this.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I for one seriously doubt Putin will nuke western nations that haven’t attacked him. He may be a tyrant but he’s not insane

Michael K
Michael K
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What choice are you talking about? The choice of able-bodied men to be kept from leaving the country because they are expected to die to defend a corrupt regime against another probably corrupt regime?

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
10 months ago

https://www.facebook.com/1298571785/posts/10221822539094850/?d=

Wheels within wheels – and money rules. This is beyond anything I ever imagined possible.

“As of last year, Iran owed Russia $500 million for past work on the country’s nuclear program. Russia could not access this money due to Trump administration sanctions that blocked Tehran from accessing funds held in Japanese and South Korean banks. These sanctions are set to be lifted as part of the upcoming nuclear deal.”

The worldwide sanctions on Russia are meaningless now.

This is what worries me. Sanctions mean nothing when the Biden administration give Russia all this money.

Last edited 10 months ago by Mary Thomas
Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Mary Thomas

Utter nonsense. Russia’s only remaining friends are a handful of rogue regimes scattered around the world. And China probably can’t believe their luck at Putin’s stupidity – he’s playing right into their hands.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Their is a real strain of anti-Western types in the West who endlessly cast about for *reasons* to do nothing about anything.
If sanctions are proposed they are deemed ineffective, when they start to look quite, if not very effective, they are deemed to a blunt instrument that will only push Putin to greater excesses and increasingly desperate measures.
The fact is nobody wants to provoke nuclear war, but if that threat paralyses our attempts to resist military actions with military actions we may as well get ready for the escalation these anybody-but-the-West people profess to deplore.
Nothing in history was inevitable and decisions and events impact upon each other constantly. China has it’s own problems right now, short and longer term and the simplistic idea that they’ll back Putin in anything just because he is the enemy of the West is..well…simplistic