The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

And the Ukraine Sanctions heat up

Russia supplies the engines used to boost to the International Space Station: and will now stop doing so unless the US agrees to not use them on military rockets.  NASA hopes to restore service to the ISS by 2017.  The Russians note, sardonically, that they will still be able to use the ISS, but the US won’t.

Russia wants GPS sites in the US, and if the US doesn’t agree, they will shut down GPS sites in Russia.

And, most interestingly, the Russians are moving ahead on replacements to Visa and Mastercard, whom they do not trust not to cut them off at DCs behest (I think the Wikileaks cut-off was the warning that the credit card companies were instruments of US policy.)  This is the first step to creating their own domestic payments system.  China has a national payments system, and were they to link up with the Russian one and export that to other countries, there could finally be a real alternative to the SWIFT system controlled by the West.

Russia will be hurt worst in any sanctions tiff, of course, but this isn’t cost free for the US and West, even in the short term, and in the long term it teaches the rest of the world that they can’t use Western systems and must have their own alternatives.  That reduces Western profits and power faster than it would have been reduced otherwise.

And, over the Ukraine?  This is worth it?

That said, every since Visa, Mastercard and Paypal misused their power in the Wikileaks case, I have been itching to see them taken down, so I consider this a good thing.  The US and the West have terribly abused their power over the payments system (ask the Iranians about that) and it’s time for that power to be taken away.

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  1. stirling

    this problem will come run amok

  2. Jason Bonham

    Long term this is good for us serfs. Downward pricing pressure from competing platforms, unless of course our Governments know better and make foreign platforms illegal. “Terrorism” will be cited.

  3. ks


    Did you see at RT yesterday that they are also considering moving away from the ratings agencies and creating their own?

  4. Ian Welsh

    I didn’t.

    Of course, most of it doesn’t matter /that much/ unless they also get China on-board, in which case it matters a lot.

  5. ks

    True. But at least it shows they are aware of the various many ways in which they could be affected and are considering steps to combat it.

  6. profan

    “Russia wants GPS sites in the US…”
    I think you mean Glonass sites in the US for Russia.

    Also: “Russia: Historic 30-yr gas deal with China set to be signed next week”

  7. JustPlainDave

    What’s your source for the Russian reciprocal shut down of GPS sites? There aren’t any control/monitoring stations in Russia (nor given their role could I see them putting them on Russian territory). This sounds to me like something technical has gotten missed in the reporting.

  8. JustPlainDave

    Finally had a few moments to run this down. As suspected, the GPS stuff is not what it’s being reported as. These are geodetic monitoring stations, not anything that has any impact on the constellation or any other aspect of the system. Back half of this article has more explanation:

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