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

Tag: Ukraine Crisis

The Ukraine Crisis Is Speeding Up Arrival of Cold War

So, Biden has warned that other countries should not help Russia evade Ukraine-based sanctions.

Meanwhile, China’s Xi has backed Russia on its “no NATO expansion” demand and received support in return:

In the joint statement released by the Kremlin, Putin and Xi called on NATO to rule out expansion in eastern Europe, denounced the formation of security blocs in the Asia-Pacific region, and criticised the Aukus trilateral security pact between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

I don’t expect Russia to invade, but what it can and will probably do is recognize the breakaway regions in the Ukraine, Donbass and Luhansk, and help them enforce their borders.

This will trigger sanctions, including personal sanctions against Putin. China will, indeed, help Russia “evade” the sanctions, and China, Russia, and other states will move forward with their own payments area.

Trade will become more difficult, so will travel, and another huge step towards the on-rushing Cold War will occur.

This isn’t rocket surgery, the US is moving hard towards “containment” of Russia & China, and those countries recognize that they have interests in common. Because neither of them can make a separate peace — the US won’t allow that. The US effectively won’t negotiate with Russia at all (saying no to everything the Russians have asked for isn’t negotiation), so they may as well continue preparing for what they know is coming.

As I discussed at length elsewhere, I don’t see this Cold War ending as favorably for the US as the last one did, for the simple reason that the US has already shipped the majority of its industrial core to China.

This is certainly the stupidest world. American elites, backed by European subject states (they all are), don’t seem to get that it isn’t 1947 or 1991. They no longer control the world’s most important economies, and their states are dysfunctional, incapable of even handling a pandemic, let alone rallying the necessary social support to win a two-generation economic war while in the midst of ecological collapse, climate change, and with a huge proportion of their populations suffering from health problems due to Long Covid, as well as a pandemic that goes on and on.

China and Russia combined are stronger than the USSR was, and the US and Europe are weaker than they were during the Cold War.

This won’t end well.



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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Clown College as the Ukrainian military effort “sputters”

The Ukrainian military clearly doesn’t care enough to actually fight:

The day began inauspiciously for Ukrainian forces as they sought to establish an operating base in the city of Kramatorsk, moving in units from a nearby military air base. According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and a witness who spoke by phone, a column of six armored vehicles was stopped by a mob of civilians and then commandeered by heavily armed men wearing military-style uniforms.

Not willing to kill civilians: that actually speaks well of the Ukrainian military.

The East is Putin’s if he wants it.  Also, take note of the sheer competence of Russian actions, both direct and through proxy forces, in both Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.  The Russians have a plan, and are executing it more than competently right down the line.  I would say that NATO and everyone else should take note.

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Humor in the Ukraine

As you may be aware, it seems that protestors have seized government buildings in Eastern Ukraine and demanded a referendum on joining Russia.  Ukraine claims that these protests have Russian backing.  Now the protestors in Donetsk have declared independence and declared they will hold a referendum on joining Russia.

Quelle Horreur!

It is wonderful that the current, Ukrainian government, which was certainly, absolutely, not installed by protestors seizing legislative buildings, and was definitely not backed by the US, no sirree, is in a position to be outraged by government buildings being seized and outside interference in the Ukraine’s business.*

And how dare Eastern Ukrainians demand a vote on whether or not they should be able to join Russia.  There was certainly no vote on their current government.  No vote on whether to cut pensions in half, as the Ukrainian government plans, or to increase natural gas prices by 50%.  Why should they have a vote?

This material, it writes itself.

Oh, and the US is threatening further sanctions, because it is determined to expand NATO right up to Russia’s border and force Russia into long-term, hard alliance with China, so that the between them they have both enough manufacturing and enough natural resources to form an bloc independent of the West, and peel off most of Latin America and Africa.


* I doubt they have the ability to hold such a referendum, since they don’t actually control the local government.

** For those who might have been in a news blackout, of course the current Ukrainian government was formed, by, oh, protestors forcing their way into a legislature, seizing arms from government arms depots, votes by legislators while protestors who had seized weapons and forced their way into the legislature stood over them; and, of course, with the energetic backing of the US, and probably of some European countries. Given the precedent, the complaints by Washington and Kiev are highly amusing.)

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