Ilargi: Europe Teeters On The Edge

Yves here. Ilargi is more amped up that usual on the topic of Europe’s self-inflicted wounds resulting from joining the US in imposing so-called Tier Three sanctions against Russia. This own goal results from Europe offering itself as as economic shield, since by virtue of having its nations far more engaged in commerce with Russia than the US, it stood first in line in the event Russia decided to respond in kind. And that’s before you throw in that Europe’e economy and its banking system are in far more fragile shape than America’s.

It appears the Eurocrats really believed Russia would not dare retaliate (or maybe more accurately, they had prepared only for Russia hitting back via reducing energy shipments, and they had prepared for that outcome, or at least well enough that they were confident Russia would suffer from lost income well before they depleted their stockpiles).

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

What did I call yesterday’s article again? Oh, that’s right, I called it Europe’s Tumbling, Who’s To Blame?. Well, I’m not a seer, or clairvoyant, but I might as well have used that exact same title again today. Because the same theme plays out again. In a piece initially called Europe’s Recovery Menaced by Putin as Ukraine Crisis Bites, later renamed Draghi Outlook Menaced by Putin as Ukraine Crisis Bites (what’s not to love), Bloomberg spills it all:

The crisis in eastern Europe is showing signs of disrupting Mario Draghi’s economic outlook. Evidence is building that the conflict in Ukraine and European Union sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia are undermining a euro-area recovery that the European Central Bank president already describes as weak. With the ECB expected to keep interest rates on hold near zero today and refrain from any new policy measures, Draghi is likely to face questions on how he plans to keep the economy on track.

The ECB may have few tools left to mitigate the impact of political turmoil that European companies from Anheuser-Busch InBev to Siemens say is hurting their business. A volley of measures introduced in June will take time to work, and policy makers have so far shied away from wheeling out a full-scale asset-purchase program. “The euro-zone recovery is very fragile and the macro situation fluid,” said Andrew Bosomworth, managing director at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Munich. “Expect Draghi to elaborate on spillover risks from the Russia-Ukraine crisis.”

Note that this was first published before Russia announced its sanctions on the west, and before Draghi held a speech in which he said … nothing much at all. Here’s Russia’s sanctions:

Russia Bans Food Imports From EU, US, Canada, Australia (Guardian)

Russia has banned fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the US, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Russia’s prime minister told a government meeting on Thursday. Dmitry Medvedev said the ban was effective immediately and would last for one year. Russian officials were on Wednesday asked to come up with a list of western agricultural products and raw materials to be banned. The agriculture minister, Nikolai Fyodorov, said on Thursday that greater quantities of Brazilian meat and New Zealand cheese would be imported to offset the newly prohibited items.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve of course always suspected that all Kiwi’s are nothing but a bunch of closet Hobbit commies. And now we have what looks a lot like proof: New Zealand stands to profit handsomely from the sweeping Russian ban of US and EU food products, along with China, Brazil, Turkey.

Well played, Wellington! Better than Helsinki and Amsterdam, the probably hardest hit Europeans, who have registered only surprise, indignation and, yes, anger, I kid you not, at the ban. Guess they really didn’t see this one coming. The Brits apparently don’t get it either (hey, ask New Zealand, you still got the same queen, get her involved!).

Britain Says ‘No Grounds’ for Russian Retaliation Against West

There are no grounds for Russia to impose retaliatory sanctions against Western countries, a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office official told RIA Novosti. “There are no grounds for Russia to impose these sanctions. We have been pushing for a strong and determined international response to Russia’s unacceptable behavior in Ukraine. We have been clear that we are prepared to play our part and that there will be some costs, but this does not diminish our commitment. Instead of retaliating, Russia should be using its influence with the violent Russian-backed separatists to stop destabilizing Ukraine,” the official said.

At this point, I’m thinking it’s entirely possible that – some of – the leaders of European countries simply don’t know to what extent Brussels has been involved in Ukraine. That the communication lines between on the one hand 28 separate capitals, parliaments and governments – most of which speak their own separate languages -, and on the other hand Brussels, with its myriad commissions, leaders, parliament etc., its many hundreds of parliamentarians and thousands of translators, simply don’t allow for adequate and speedy decision making. Or is Brussels perhaps also genuinely surprised?

EU Ready To Appeal To WTO Over Russian Import Bans

The EU is ready to appeal to the World Trade Organization to have the Russian agriculture import bans lifted, a European diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS. “Politically motivated large-scale trade restrictions are a direct violation of WTO rules, which Russia pledged to comply with,” the diplomat said. “These measures will be thoroughly analyzed, and then relevant claims will be submitted with the WTO.” The source added that the European Commission would start analyzing Russia’s ban on imports from EU states as soon as the official list of banned goods would be published.

The EU Council may convene an urgent meeting in connection with Russia’s response to European sanctions. It is early to say whether the EU will take measures in response to the Russian ban on imports of food products from Europe, source told. “First, it is necessary to see and analyze the official list of product that Moscow intends to ban. After that, decisions will be made both at the European and the national level,” the source stressed. The Russian ban on agricultural imports from the European Union is an “irresponsible measure” that can lead to losses of billions of euro for European as well as Russian consumers, the source told ITAR-TASS.

Question: Are you sure the WTO is the right organization to mediate allegedly “politically motivated” restrictions?

I think the EU has different problems here: some of the 28 member nations will be hit much harder by these sanctions than others. Is there a fund in place to assure that the pain gets spread fairly? Also within nations, one sector gets hit, while another doesn’t. Do all nations have such funds ready to go?

It may not look so bad right now, but wait 6 or 12 months. And don’t let’s forget that economically, Europe is already teetering on the edge of the gutter, despite all assurances to the contrary. It’s therefore of course only human to blame the next step in the downtrend on the universal bogeyman Putin. But let’s get real, Europe never needed any help to to bring down its economy, it’s perfectly capable of doing that all by itself.

The US meanwhile? No pain from any of the sanctions.

Since this is a game of, as Paul Simon said: “All along along, There were incidents and accidents, There were hints and allegations, let’s see what, again, do we know for sure so far, what we can prove? Here’s what:

The EU and US instigated, financed and supporetd the Maidan movement, installed their very own handpicked government in Kiev, established an army aimed at eradicating all signs of discontent among Russian speaking Ukrainians in east Ukraine, with crucial parts played by CIA, Blackwater and various other mercenaries, blamed Putin for the downing of a plane without providing any evidence whatsoever of his involvement, announced a second series of economic sanctions on Russia, and then claim Russia has no reasons at all to announce its own set of counter sanctions.

It would be funny if it weren’t so out there.

Did you, in the midst of the 24/7 wall of words, manage to keep track of the fact that no part of any BUK rocket was ever found at the crash site? Are you also wondering where the Ukraine secret service took the Air Traffic Control recordings 3 weeks ago, and what we’ll be told about them, if anything, ever? It took, what, 24 hours, for the ATC logs from the still unlocated MH370 to be made public…

How about the black boxes, that had not been tampered with as Kiev had alleged? All we’ve heard so far out of the ‘lab’ in Britain where they were taken is that there was nothing out of the ordinary on them. So where’s the info? Why not go public with it?

Donetsk “rebel leader” Borodai stepped down today, to give way to some other schmuck, I know, but schmucks are the only thing they have over there. The May presidential election was between one billionaire and the other. That’s just the turf. Earlier this morning, the Ukraine government called an end to the truce on the crash site. One day after Holland announced its experts will leave the site because there’s too much fighting going on.

What truce, what are you talking about? The one you broke mere minutes after you yourself announced it?

Anyway, leave it be. What Europe would like to do is move the blame for its own gigantic economical failure onto Russia. Or make that Putin. It always works better if “it” has a face.

But Putin has nothing to do with anything. Italy was a lost economy way back (Beppe Grillo said years ago when Nicole and I went to see him, that what happens now, would), Portugal was never more than a nice facade, Greece bank rates will soon soar, it’s all just been a thin veil based on Mario Draghi’s “I’ll do what ever it takes”.

Thing is, Mario doesn’t have what it takes, and it’s not even his fault.

Europe shoots itself in the foot, puts it in its mouth, and chokes on it. How does that sound?

Europe’s in much worse shape than anyone’s let on, and they now have a bogeyman to deflect their own guilt and stupidity and failed conspiracies off of.

Only, Russia has nothing to do with Europe’s problems. Europe has fabricated it own problems. The Brussels leaders, though, would be more than happy to go to war against Russia just to hide their own failures and incompetence.

That’s the kind of thing that’s really dangerous, the bloated sociopaths who lead our nations. That and the propaganda machine they control.

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  1. Mike

    llargi – “That’s the kind of thing that’s really dangerous, the bloated sociopaths who lead our nations. That and the propaganda machine they control”

    Being a “financial blog” (albeit one more enlightened than it has any logical right to be), I know some readers are going to pooh pooh this. Some might even react in a fulminatingly defensive way – but I ran across this definition of Fascism other day and its like a light came on :

    “Fascism is an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of the financial capital… Fascism is neither the government beyond classes nor the government of the petty bourgeois or the lumpen-proletariat over the financial capital. No. Fascism is the government of the financial capital itself. It is an organized massacre of the working class and the radical slice of peasantry and intelligentsia. Fascism in its foreign policy is the most brutal kind of chauvinism, which cultivates zoological hatred against other peoples.”
    -Georgi Dimitrov-

    The “political conversation” in the US tends to treat fascism as if it is some mysterious, unknowable, almost supernatural dark power – most importantly an HISTORICAL phenomenon and if something is historical, then thinking about it long and hard enough to define it is optional, right ??? Well here is a definition, simple but devasting in its completeness. It makes sense of soooooo much else that just didn’t seem to make any sense. Fascism is the regime of finance capital. It is the political/social condition arrived at when, that most reactionary and chauvinistic sector gains the kind a primacy and power which it has achieved today…

    1. Brindle

      If you strip away the veils of Western media propaganda you find one leader who has been fairly measured and calm in his statements—Putin, and one who often blusters and deals in ad hominems–Obama.
      The west has “Saddamed” Putin, and it seems to have worked—-except Putin is far mote intelligent than Saddam and Russia is not Iraq.

      “Fascism is the regime of finance capital”. —and Obama is more than willing to be the frontman.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The West isn’t the West anymore. We’ve lost Latin America for a generation. India isn’t a large former colony anymore. Japan isn’t a rising power. Despite the fear mongering, Americans still oppose defense spending, and they have even tried to scare us with cutting the army. Turkey, Greece, and our newest puppet Georgia (the old president can’t go back) are rapidly leaving the U.S. sphere. The Shangai Cooperative will shortly be much of the USSR, India, and Pakistan.

        A country like Iran has achieved a relative level of stability and prosperity despite sanctions and our various machinations against Iran. With a bit of pressure, Pakistan might need to raise NATO transit costs, or Afghanistan could turn into a very expensive West Berlin.

        The world offered us forgiveness for our overreaction to 9/11, and Obama decided to toss that out and praise lunatics and crooks. The world won’t rally to the old colonial masters hiding behind suits and Jay-Z.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Excellent as always from NotTim. Seems to me America arrived at this state not necessarily through genuine evil and realpolitik, but mostly through incompetence. As Gore Vidal said: The United States of Amnesia. We can’t remember anything, so we can’t learn anything. We don’t remember that we have not won a major conflict since Normandy in 1944 so we keep hitting ourselves on the head with that same hammer. And like the big bully kid at the back of the class, it doesn’t feel good when the class moves ahead due to smarts and bullying wanes in effectiveness…so we lash out. The Scorned Woman effect/Susan Rice/Hilary/Samantha Powers is particularly ugly, would that they took Lysistrata as their inspiration instead…

    2. barutanseijin

      Fascism is also a politics of bodies. Fascist regimes needed the masses as soldiers and labourers. This is why they took some interest in things like health care. Today’s John Galts think they’ve built it all themselves. They believe they have no need for labourers, soldiers (think mercenaries, drones) or masses of votes. What we have today is a somewhat different kind of awful, more like a Latin American dictatorship of yesteryear.

      1. Antifa

        Fascists need the plebes to believe and respond when told that their nation and way of life is being attacked, and to accept that the enemy doing it has earned all the hatred and harm that must now be delivered to his door before he does the same to us. To dispute this plain fact is to be a traitor deserving death. With us or against us.

        Fascists are always saviors, heroes. They can do no wrong deed if it’s in defense of the people.

        Fascists make war to protect the common folk from horrors they cannot quite grasp. The promise is that it will all make perfect sense when it’s over. (But it’s never, ever over.)

        The enemies of fascism are not human, and not deserving of humane treatment.

        1. Borath

          “The enemies of fascism are not human, and not deserving of humane treatment.”

          Just like the oponents to the Roman Empire, the Catholic Empire and the Third Empire – all ran by the profiteers of war, looting, tyranny and enslavery.

          The plutocratic perspective needs to be that of a reptile, since it’s beyond any known mamalian specie on the planet to threat other individuals of their own specie like that.

          Not even reptilians are known to kill and eat other individuals of their own specie. Though – since some of them may view even larger mamalians as a piece of meat we may have to conclude that the persons that needs to kill, subdue or enslave human beings have turned reptilian.

          Mammals acting as reptilians have a very limited window in the history of evolution – which may be the reason why our present reptilians are about to loose it completley. They won’t let go easy – so they have to arrange for another mayhem, to smokescreen a departure from their sinister economics, deceptive propaganda, scrupless campaigns, horrendous wars, devastated populations, failed states and lost generations.

          1. Borath

            Mammals acting as reptilians have a very limited window in the history of evolution – which may be the reason why our present reptilians are about to loose it completley. They won’t let go easy – so they have to arrange for another mayhem, to smokescreen a departure from their sinister economics, deceptive propaganda, scrupless campaigns, horrendous wars, devastated populations, failed states and lost generations.

    3. Whine Country

      Justice Stewart famously said that pornography is hard to define but I know it when I see it. Fascism is also hard to define but unfortunately almost no one knows it when they see it.

    4. Jacob

      “Fascism,” the word, was coined by Benito Mussolini. This “classic” fascism proposed a systematic way to show prospective investors a balanced budget while dealing with Italy’s large war debts from WWI. Basically, fascism was the imposition of severe austerity and high, regressive taxes on the workers, while protecting big business and the rich from taxation. Austerity included reduction or elimination of all government programs and/or enabling laws that had been intended to help the workers; as a result, mass poverty and starvation arose in Mussolini’s Italy. At that time there was no apparent racial or ethnic dimension inherent in fascism although “the bolshevist threat” became the “other” that was used to justify terror and repression of all organized labor to keep wages down. A racial and/or ethnic dimension appears to have been added to the definition of “fascism” in later decades, probably to use identity politics as a means of obscuring the underlying basis of classic fascism, which is covert class warfare.

    5. Veri

      Fascism and extremism in government arise during harsh economic times.

      What would happen if a small group engineered a financial calamity, coupled with threats of war with Russia; watched the economic system collapse – and then secretly back a fascist government takeover and martial law?

      It makes absolutely no sense that neo-cons in Washington and other European capitols would make such bumbling, idiotic moves as they can’t possibly be this inept. Fine, the neo-cons in Washington, D.C., did fire the entire Iraqi Army in one minute thus setting up “Coalition Forces” for years of insurgency.

      What was it? Create a crisis and the capitalize from it. Yves writes about it in her book, Shock Doctrine.

      When are there times of most change and rise of fascism, martial law, etc? Economic crisis.

      What if all the moves out of Washington, D.C. are exactly to manufacture crisis so that those who have the wealth can secretly back a takeover in a country or countries by extremist politicians? Or for use to declare martial law?

      1. Veri

        And don’t forget that fascism is typically the intersection of government and corporate power. Everyone is talking about the rise of fascism without realizing who is holding the moneybag. That’s a big problem.

        1. Lambert Strether

          And yet when Yves posts on precisely “who is holding the moneybag,” she can hardly buy a comment to save her life. It’s very strange and I don’t understand it.

          1. jonboinAR

            For me, I don’t usually quite understand what she’s talking about, as she’s usually being fairly specific. I don’t understand finance, having no background, at all. Although I try to read some of it, it’s a bit tough sledding for me, too technical. You have to understand, though, that I’m probably not going to have a comment to make. I understand it’s very important and I hope she keeps it up and isn’t feeling discouraged. I, and I imagine many others, consider Yves to be a genuine American hero.

  2. mundanomaniac

    From stargazers window:
    The square between Sun and Saturn this week. As Sun points to the center (Imperium) so according to the square Sun has to subjugate to the resonance of Saturn which as allways constrains to it’s strict measures. The counter-sanctions of Russia are the eye-opener for this constellation this week.

    1. Brindle

      There is also a Mars-Jupiter square happening, also in Scorpio/Leo—this aspect certainly relates to all the military conflicts occurring.

      1. mundanomaniac

        You nail it, two powerfull squares this week and:

        “the greater part of the week though belongs to Mercury together with Sun ruler of Leo in Leo
        and in her brightness and her sparkling gloss the borders and differences which to distinguish
        Mercury is godly gifted become invisible and so is a minister whose stand is too close
        to his ruler … called a “burned Mercury”
        once again the subject “sick Mercury” – humankind – subject”
        (No link because of avoiding “link-woring”)

        1. Brindle

          I’ve always thought that Jupiter’s expansive and at times hubristic nature make it a good marker for potential fascistic eruptions.

    2. Chris

      Astrology? Hmmmm. One thing I do enjoy about NC is the wide range of analytical systems in use here. :-)

      1. Brindle

        I see astrology as a way of using a different language system to describe events in the personal as well as global realm. I don’t take it very seriously—fun to use :).

  3. Christopher Dale Rogers

    EU/Russian relations as they presently stand would be a tragedy if it were not for the fact of hilarity of it all – I mean even a student in secondary school with a single functioning brain cell could have worked out what was going to happen once the EU sold out its soul to Washington DC and began its belligerence towards Russia and Putin.

    I asked last week what could possibly possess the EU to go along with DC’s sabre rattling at Russia with regards the Ukraine crisis and downing of the MAL flight, particularly given the fact that Russia to all extent and purposes was the innocent party in all the EU/NATO/USA shenanigans . With a clapped out economy, what does the EU do, follow the lead of the nut cases inhabiting Washington and the Beltway.

    Given the lies and propaganda exhibited for the past 8 months at least, it seems a remarkable feat for the EU to blow its own brains out, never mind shooting itself in the foot. Given the anti-EU sentiment apparent in growing portions of the EU member states populations, instead of changing its ways and concentrating on the economic issues pulling the EU apart, it has decided to put its foot to the metal and continue on its Federalist ways, regardless of the economic pain this causes across the EU. To add insult to injury, the EU not only follows the USA in its geopolitic endeavours, but prostrates itself in front of its US-master for a rimming from another “free trade” agreement that has little to do with free trade and everything to do with solidifying US hegemony and the power of transnational corporations.

    Indeed, it seems all that stands in the way of Washington’s new world order is Russia, hence the desire for regime change aimed directly at Putin. Perhaps our masters in the EU member states have forgotten that a growing proportion of each their electorates are not only opposed to further deepening of the EU, but remain opposed to neoliberalism and neoconservativism served up to us on a plate of gruel on a daily basis.

    Are they that ignorant that Putin and Russia happen to hold all the aces, or, perhaps they are soothsayers able to see the future, for despite what preparations many may have undertaken to horde gas supplies, the fact remains that said supplies will run out fast if we have a severe winter, and even with a mild winter would unlikely last much past Christmas.

    We really do have a bunch of “fuck-wits” running most of the World’s major economies and supranational organisations. So I raise a glass to Mr. Putin and the Russian’s and ask them politely to bring it on, for the only way to get rid of the idiots running the show is for another economic and financial disaster, which Russia is more than able to contribute too. Obviously, the last thing I desire is WWWIII, its just a shame that the US/EU/NATO leadership seem intent on that course of action, one they’ll achieve sooner or later unless we bring the complete rotten edifice down.

    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      I don’t know how you answered the question last week of what makes European leaders lockstep with Washington, or if you answered it, but the sufficient answer (for my money at least) is that they all understand now that Washington has all the embarrassing details about their personal dirty laundry, their shady political deals, their crooked business deals, and Washington can break any one of them -or all of them together- over its knee like dry twigs. If any of one these leaders is actually clean and could think to themselves “Well I have nothing to worry about…”, which I don’t believe for a second could be true, they will certainly have close political allies, friends and family members who have more than enough liability outstanding to make up for their own lack. When Washington ramps up the tension and demands Are you with us or agin us? Europe’s viziers, satraps and nabobs simply have no choice but to abandon their pretense of independence, and must fall into line.

      1. Fiver

        That’s an important point in terms of potential for extortion, but also an incredibly powerful tool for high stakes spying. Notably the US has had that sort of full-spectrum capability since 1998, though NSA claims it did not use the program it had sitting on a shelf in the basement until ordered to come up with something post-9/11. And they wouldn’t lie.

    2. Whine Country

      “I asked last week what could possibly possess the EU to go along with DC’s sabre rattling at Russia with regards the Ukraine crisis and downing of the MAL flight, particularly given the fact that Russia to all extent and purposes was the innocent party in all the EU/NATO/USA shenanigans”
      Answer: The Bond Market.

    3. optimader

      As has been pointed out about the US and China, the EU and Russia are inextricably intertwined economically in a deadly embrace.

    4. bh2

      “Perhaps our masters in the EU member states have forgotten that a growing proportion of each their electorates are not only opposed to further deepening of the EU, but remain opposed to neoliberalism and neoconservativism served up to us on a plate of gruel on a daily basis.”

      It is dangerous to assume power-seeking bureaucrats are ignorant of history. More often they are relying on the lessons it has periodically administered on the human race.

      Nuremburg Diary:

      Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

      Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

      Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

      The problem for the EU, of course, is that it is not a “country” secured by unitary sovereign power under its own flag, anthem, and army. EU leadership only pines to achieve that end in order to become a competitor of the US. Not it’s good buddy.

      Misunderstanding the intentions of politicians is to misunderstand their mission. And that intention is always to accumulate greater power, by hook or by crook.

  4. abynormal

    “The EU is ready to appeal to the World Trade Organization to have the Russian agriculture import bans lifted,”…im gone tell mommie
    {Social} conflict clarifies values and makes latent values manifest.
    ~Lewis Closer

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers

      Yep, just goes to show how stupid and crass the leadership of the EU are, and people then wonder why the masses are turning against this thoroughly rotten edifice, and then make claims that all the EU-antisentiment is from extreme rightwing forces. What the pinheads in the EU Commission have failed to understand is Chairman Mao’s famous dictum, namely, that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, or in this instance, the Russian’s capability to wipeout most of Europe and the USA.

      Luckily for us, Putin does not have a “first strike” mentality, which is unlike the cretins running the show in Washington. He does however have an economic “nuclear” option, which as we know is the EU’s reliance on gas and oil supplies from Russia. Which, regardless of all the idle chatter, cannot simply be made up for from alternative sources, particularly LPG from the USA or Qatar – quite the reverse in fact, for not enough LPG bulk carriers exist to meet the needs of the UK, never mind those of 28 nations and those nations now accorded NATO protection.

      Suffice to say, I hope it all goes pear shape economically speaking for the EU and their US imperial masters, for if the USA tries to make up for the Russian shortfall, not only will gas prices soar in the USA, but the environmental destruction associated with fracking may be the last straw as far as the US citizens are concerned.

    2. toldjaso

      Such bad sports. Didn’t VICTORIA “Nuland” say “Fuck the EU.” Huh? NOW do they gittit?

    3. cwaltz

      Sharpen those pencils, we need to send a sternly worded letter to Putin! *shakes head* It never ceases to amaze me at how stupid and oblivious the people who run our systems seem to be to human behavior.

  5. Skeptic

    Europia on the Ropes once again. (But don’t they, like in all these crises, always find a way out?)

  6. The Dork of Cork

    First of all its good to understand that Europes trade system is not in any way natural.
    Its a product of scarce money.
    Much like 1914 infact.
    Scarce money deflations has forced regions and nations to engage in absurd activities in the physical economy.
    Its now a high end entrepot with tourism theme park activities in the side.
    The real Europe has been totally destroyed by the American century of gross Materialism
    A sort of Lunar Station Alpha Beta.
    People need to ask basic questions
    Such as why these lights keep flashing back and forth.

    1. toldjaso

      Because the Euro Linchpin, Germany divided then consolidated, STILL is under military occupation — (U.S. unto NATO, with ZioParamilitary Occupation on the side, just like Paris, just like Amerika.

  7. Fíréan

    A Dutch news website, english langauge, in a brief article posted today reports on sanctions and the trade drop this year :
    There is a wider effect to the sanction as effects transportation too.
    quote ” The Financieele Dagblad (a Netherlands daily newpaper )reports that 300 trucks carrying vegetables and fruit have already been refused entry at the Russian border.”
    And, as noted, reduced demand at wholesale markets due sanctions on Russia sales creates reduced prices to all other markets. A bonus for the buyers though.
    Note the last paragraph, were Dutch politician and foreign minister Frans Timmermans clearly lays the blame for all on Russia.
    On Friday, foreign minister Frans Timmermans wrote on his Facebook page that the way in which Russia ‘invaded’ Crimea and is ‘stirring’ the situation in eastern Ukraine forms a serious threat to European and international security.”

  8. Fíréan

    A Dutch news website, english langauge, in a brief article posted today reports on sanctions and the trade drop this year :
    There is a wider effect to the sanction as effects transportation too.
    quote ” The Financieele Dagblad (a Netherlands daily newpaper )reports that 300 trucks carrying vegetables and fruit have already been refused entry at the Russian border.”
    And, as noted, reduced demand at wholesale markets due sanctions on Russia sales creates reduced prices to all other markets. A bonus for the buyers though.
    Note the last paragraph, were Dutch politician and foreign minister Frans Timmermans clearly lays the blame for all on Russia.
    On Friday, foreign minister Frans Timmermans wrote on his Facebook page that the way in which Russia ‘invaded’ Crimea and is ‘stirring’ the situation in eastern Ukraine forms a serious threat to European and international security.”
    (second attempt to post this reply in comments section.fri.aug.08.2014. please delete if appears duplicated)

  9. diptherio

    Ramping up for WWIII, folks. The European elites are seeing the predictably awful results of their assinine policies and need someone to blame things on. If they don’t start a war with someone soon, the wrath of the populace might get directed at them…the horror. So instead they’ll gin up a war with Russia, which will do wonders for the economy and virtually solve the unemployment problem. Our last “Great” Depression ended in war–it doesn’t seem too far out there to expect that this “Great” Recession might lead to the same thing.

  10. Whine Country

    History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme. Smoot-Hawley rhymes with…..Russian v. West retaliatory sanctions??

  11. John

    ilargi hit it on the head: crises management is not one of our strong suits. Planning for a euro-zone disaster is just something that is unfathomable. If we were to plan that would mean collaborating and that is just not going to ever happen!

    We sell ourselves as 500 million strong — a formidable economic bloc, the largest in the world — but countries outside Fortress Europe realize it is just a facade. Easily picked apart, which Putin understands. Putin also knows we’ve built a mercantilist enterprise where it can be easily dismantled because our loyalties lie in the national interest — not in an EU project.

    The underfunding of NATO, the handling of the financial crises and the surprise, surprise reaction to Ukraine are harbingers of how more bad things are to come. We cannot avoid it. What is underlying all this?

    Folks need to be reminded we are very tribal in our beliefs. We have several horrible wars under our belt to prove it. We hold strong views for the ‘hood — politics, nationalism, etc — but we have a dim view of our neighbors and the outside world.

  12. JEHR

    The biggest joke of all is —-Canada! Harper is looking for the Ukrainian-Canadian vote in 2015 so he is dissing Putin and “saving” the Ukraine. Does he even know that the Ukraine is even more corrupt than Russia? Does he know anything except how to work it up for votes next year! What a joker.

    1. cnchal

      Agreed. I couldn’t stomach his editorial in the Glop and Mop, Canada’s own propaganda horror show.

    2. El Guapo

      Harper is a total scumbag. Trudueau is an empty suit but he’ll still be much better for the country – he couldn’t be worse.

  13. Abe, NYC

    EU/USA introduce sanctions against Russia by restricting sales of equipment – to Russia.

    Russia introduces sanctions against EU/USA by restricting sales of food – to Russia. Funny. Russia should also ban imports of toilet paper, then they’ll get a taste of the Soviet Union.

    In any case, these Russian sanctions most likely will amount to little since Russia is in a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, which of course have no sanctions in place. The food will be brought to these countries, relabeled, and reexported to Russia. Belarus and Kazakhstan will be beneficiaries, Russian consumers will have to pay higher prices.

    This fits in well with Russian tradition of inflicting pain on its own population in retaliation to the West. Other examples include banning adoption by foreigners as a retaliation for travel restrictions on officials involved in the murder of Sergei Magnitsky and its subsequent cover-up.

    The most egregious example though is a provision where Russian citizens are compensated by the government for losses incurred as a result of action taken by foreign courts. Translation: when an oligarch’s property is seized in the US because of his involvement in bribery, arms trade, whatever – Russian federal budget will compensate the losses.

    1. toldjaso

      Exactly, the roundabout way of merchants is well known: Dan Morgan: “Merchants of Grain”.

    2. ian

      “This fits in well with Russian tradition of inflicting pain on its own population in retaliation to the West. ”

      The fact that they are willing to do that worries me as it gives them the upper hand. We look for ‘surgical’ sanctions that cause us no discomfort at all ( eg, the French still get to keep their Mistral ship contracts.

      1. Abe, NYC

        Russians can sustain an amazing lot of punishment but their tolerance has its limits as successive generations of rulers discovered.

        As for Westerners’ tolerance for sanctions, it’s been boosted by the downing of MH17. If an arms race ensues – which seems more likely by the day – that will create lots of jobs. Thanks Comrade Putin for strengthening NATO and bringing it closer to your borders, hope you’re happy now.

    3. OIFVet

      “The food will be brought to these countries, relabeled, and reexported to Russia” Try again, I recall reading that Russia did also address the possibility of Belarus re-exporting Euro foodstuffs. It ain’t gonna happen. Brazil and Argentina have plenty of food to offer, as does Turkey. And toilet paper too, since you are so concerned about it.

      1. Abe, NYC

        Can you give a link on reexports from Belarus? It would be extremely difficult to achieve in a customs union. Belarus can import anything it pleases, and once in Belarus there are no further checks moving the stuff to Russia.

        1. OIFVet

          I don’t remember where I saw it, but I remember distinctly that it was in connection with a Russian minister or deputy minister visiting Belarus in connection with the very sanctions. You follow Russian media, I’m sure you can find it if you just looked.

    4. Fiver

      Nobody would freak out more completely at the prospect of a severe toilet paper shortage than the US/Canada. I kid you not.

  14. tim s


    Can’t we all just stop this petty bickering?!? All of this “my country is the most corrupt”, “our leaders are the most rotton, clueless, etc,etc”, “our children are the most likely to wind up as sausage”, so on and so forth.

    Can’t we just realize that we are all one? All one in a giant western sandwich d’shite eaten on the table of fascism? Surely we see that all of our central bankers are one, the same face of satan with nothing but money in the eyes and webs of illusion, and that our politicians are nothing but pathetic lickspittles marching toward their terrible ends, and dragging the bulk of the duped, cotton candy enslaved masses with them.

    Lord help us all, if there is one. April may be the cruelest month to some, but I wonder if they have lived through December….

  15. FederalismForever

    So much love among the NC Commentariat for Comrade Putin, the “dear leader” who: (i) started a war in Chechnya to get elected (see Russian Apartment Bombings), (ii) lied and refused help when his submarine sank, and then blamed it on NATO (see Kursk Submarine Disaster), (iii) killed his own citizens during heavy-handed “rescue” operations (see Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis and Beslan School Hostage Crisis), (iv) has jailed and assassinated dozens of dissenters and journalists (ask yourself: would Putin’s government tolerate the same level of vitriolic commentary that is routinely expressed against the US and EU on this website?), (v) started a war with Georgia (see South Osetia War) and (vi) annexed Crimea.

    Don’t get me wrong: I am not at all on board with the aggressive expansion of NATO that has taken place since the Clinton regime. And I’m still weighing the evidence on who is responsible for the downed plane. But let’s not forget that Putin has many times expressed his desire to “reclaim” countries and territories that (in his mind) belong to “Mother Russia” – it’s roughly equivalent of Great Britain annexing countries that had formerly belonged to the British Empire. Lastly, it’s somewhat jarring to see comments approving of Putin’s desire to protect Russia’s “sphere of influence” from some of the same commenters who elsewhere have expressed contempt for the Monroe Doctrine.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      First and foremost old bean, if you have something to say, and its important, then at least have the decency to utilise your real name like I do, well unless you are coward afraid of being dismissed from your job, or under the illusion that by hiding behind a “moniker” the NSA somehow will not know who you are.

      Now, I use my real name when slagging off my own country, namely the United Kingdom, and another country, organisation, business or political leader I deem an idiot or threat to me and my family – Obama and the clowns in DC being a threat to me and my family, which Putin certainly is not – PERIOD.

      Now, the USA and the BS of exceptionalism, the BS that its not an imperialist power and the BS that its a bastion of freedom, truth and promoting democracy really gets on my tits, as does much of the crud you post on this forum. Now, and for the record, since Putin rose to power in Russia can you please instruct me how many deaths he and his “autocratic” regime have contributed too globally, i.e., how many Syrians has Putin killed, how many Afghan’s has Putin killed, how many Iraqis has Putin killed, how many in Central America has Putin killed, how many in South America has Putin killed. Oh the list is endless as far as the USA is concerned and its peace loving allies, among them the UK and Israel. God man, even England (the UK after 1707) has less blood on its hands and its history is far longer and sometimes bloodier than the USA.

      Now, because I’m a massive critic of hypocrisy, I’ll call foul when I see it, and I see it by the bucket load presently from the USA and its whores in NATO and the EU.

      Oh, and please do us a favour, not one person on these boards has claimed Putin is a Messiah, angel or innocent, quite the reverse, he can be as big a dickhead as those in DC. However, the fact remains that Russia is not an expansionist power presently, we must also respect the fact that Russia has a far longer history than the USA, that under its Tzar’s from the beginning of the 18th Century Russia was an expansionist power, this halted with Communism and the establishment of the USSR, which itself imploded by 1990 and has been in a state of flux since, but the fact remains, Russia has more right to play in the Ukraine than the West does, if only because their combined histories go back more than 200 years. And lets not forget Stalin, but let’s not also forget Ukraine nationalists who killed left-wingers and Jews during the Nazis occupation.

      Now, since the beginning of this year Putin has acted the Statesman as far as the Ukraine is concerned, whilst all other actors in this tragedy have been imbeciles of the most nasty and vindictive kind, see Ms. Nuland as one example of your wonderful country and its foreign policy.

      So, given you wish to pontificate and expect us who are calling Putin’s actions rational to now also include in all our posts how despicable he can act seems somewhat remarkable and rather caviller may I say. For, and lets set the record straight, it was not Putin and Russia that blew up the world economy, its not Putin and Russia that holds the World hostage via a policy of “full spectrum dominance”, and its not Russia that actually threatens to end the World by declaring that it, and it alone has the right to use nuclear weapons via a first strike policy, this on top of its full spectrum dominance strategy.

      Now remind me please, who is the hegemony around these parts and who are those doing the blowback, or am I sort of confusing matters here?

      1. FederalismForever

        @Christopher Dale Rogers. First off, many who post here fail to use their real names. I respect you for using your real name, but it’s a bit of a cheap shot to call me out on this point when use of an alias is regularly practiced by so many on this forum.

        I actually agree with much of what you say. It just seems to me that many who comment here have moved from “calling the US out on its hypocracy” to actually rooting for Putin across the board. In certain contexts recently, I confess to Rooting for Putin, as he has often been the voice of reason. And I certainly am greatly alarmed by this increased tension between Russia and the U.S., and in no way desire any U.S. military action.

        That said, I feel we should keep in mind that Putin is no saint, and a world in which he triumphs may not be one we would want to live in. In matters like this, I’m reminded of how so many on the Left cheered the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and Cambodia, and were so confident that an era of peace, love and harmony would prevail once evil U.S. departed. In fact, many millions would end up being slaughtered by the North Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge and by China in its brief war with Vietnam. (You might tally up the number of people murdered by governments during this era, and compare them to the number of dead you ascribe to US policy during the same time.)

        Turning back to Russia, you surely can’t be serious that the USSR was not an expansionary power? Finally, when you write about the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, have you fully taken into account the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum – e.g, Articles 1 and 4? Cheerio!

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers

          First and foremost, I’m most serious that I do not consider the USSR after the detonation of atomic weapons on Japan in August 1945 an expansionist power, the A bomb’s being dropped to stymie Soviet moves in the Asia Pacific region, which worked shall we say – no doubt you are aware that the geopolitical boundaries of the Eurasian landmass were sorted out on the back of an envelope during the later stages of the war and the Soviet’s abided by these – obviously we had proxy struggles globally, but its difficult to call these expansionist, with the one notable exception being Afghanistan in 1979, which resulted in a bloody nose for our Soviet friends. So, lets not conflate Communism and Communist expansion with Soviet expansion, these being two entirely different beasts shall we say.Neither should anyone one believe for an instance that Communism was a monolithic global force, quite the reverse, its was a highly fractured force, which suffered greatly from nationalistic tendencies and contradictions. And for the record, I have never been a Communist or affiliated to any organisation associated with the Communist Party, I’m a radical democratic socialist and bloody proud of it – hence my distrust of Washington, Beijing, London, Brussels and Moscow.

          Now, with regards the Budapest Memorandum, first and foremost it contained no “security guarantees” by any of the signatories, and secondly, any breach of the memorandum by any of the signatories is a moot point to say the least, particularly given that NATO, the USA and the EU failed to uphold appropriate democratic standards in the Ukraine, quite the reverse, and as per usual with the USA we had regime change – any consequent actions after the Coup can be seen as a reaction to the violation of the Memorandum on behalf of the Russian’s. This can be argued as a case of law under international law, but the fact remains the democratically elected and legitimate government of the Ukraine was removed not by the ballot box in elections to be held in 2015, but via the barrel of a gun, which is hardly democratic – so, lets call it for what it is, hypocrisy on behalf of the Western powers.

          1. FederalismForever

            @Christopher Dale Rogers. This is a truly remarkable and original view of the Budapest Memorandum, and the circumstances in which it can be viewed as “moot.” I wonder how many Ukrainians share your view. I bet many would be shocked to find that they had renounced their nuclear weapons in exchange for promises made in a document that can be voided so easily!

            Since I’m still having trouble getting my arms around your novel view of the Budapest Memorandum, let me ask which of the following has greater force and effect in your mind: (i) a promise supposedly made by Bush and/or Baker to not move NATO one inch eastward, which promise was only made orally and never reduced to writing (despite being of such crucial importance), or (ii) the promises made in the Budapest Memorandum, all of which were reduced to writing? (Again, for the record, I do not generally agree with U.S. NATO expansion.)

            Kudos to you for acknowledging Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. An expansionist attempt, at least.

            1. Christopher Dale Rogers

              I am amazed that you fail to understand the difference between a legitimately elected government and the imposition of a government via a Putsch, which is certainly not representative of the sovereigns within the nation state, namely the bloody voting electorate.

              I believe you’ll find that all signatories to the 1994 Memorandum could be deemed democratically elected by their respective populations and trusted to do the right thing by signing the memorandum, but, and here’s the elephant in the room, none of the signatories guaranteed the memorandum with enforcement in mind should it be breached, quite the reverse, the issue was to be taken to the UN if any breach occurred.

              Now, as a firm supporter of democracy, I and no doubt the Russian’s do not believe that the present regime in Kiev is legitimate, how could it be when change was enacted via a gun and not the ballot box – so, essentially it was all change, and given that NATO, the EU nor the USA stood up for the principle of democracy and following democratic traditions – which certainly do not run deep in the Ukraine, my humble opinion falls in line with that of the Russian Foreign Secretary, this being the memorandum had been breached via the imposition of a non-elected government in Kiev.

              I believe the above are the actual facts and as such can be argued at both a UN level or in an international court of law if all parties agree to abide by the Court’s judgements. Further, and as you will no doubt claim, the new government installed in Kiev has received a mandate from the people, I can also claim that the Russian’s legally incorporated the Crimea back into Russia following a plebiscite of all those residing in the Crimea. Hence, we are are now talking facts and interpretating those facts, but in my opinion Russia has a far stronger case than the Kiev post-constitutional government or NATO/USA/EU.

              You see democracy plays both ways, and given the USA is not prone to supporting democracy unless its a democracy to its liking its all rather moot is it not, but one things for sure the legitimate Kiev government that signed the 1994 memorandum does not exist, nor does a continuation of that government and its legitimate heirs exist, how can it if you have a coup?

              1. FederalismForever

                You seem quite certain that the CIA/USGovt engineered a coup. This former UK diplomat isn’t so sure:
                He also readily shoots down the claim (often parroted here at NC) that the US has invested $5 billion in this new Ukrainian government.

                That said, if you are right that the current government is a US/NATO puppet, and not representative of the Ukrainian people, I see your point that the current government might not be able to invoke the Budapest Memorandum. But what about the people of Ukraine? Surely, in some sense, the Ukrainian population (or some percentage of it) thinks that the Budapest Memorandum affords them some protection from Russian incursion, and that they got this protection as a result of agreeing to give up their nuclear weapons?

                1. Christopher Dale Rogers


                  In answer to your enquiry, I would say in all probability, based upon actual past historical precedents (Iran 1953, Chile 1973 to name but two) that nefarious Western forces were in play in Ukraine during the recent Coup, although the extent of this involvement may not be known for 30-50 years, if at all given state censorship of sensitive documents, be this British or the US.

                  Further, do I think that the present Ukraine government is a puppet of Western, namely: EU/NATO/US forces, actually I’d have to answer “no” due to the fact that the present Ukraine government is a Frankenstein monster, rather than an obedient client state – economically though, obviously any aid has strings attached and most aid will be via the IMF, World Bank and the EU. Make of these facts what you will.

                  As for the Budapest Memorandum and Ukraine giving up its nuclear arsenal for territorial integrity guarantees – please be advised that it costs huge sums to maintain a stable nuclear deterrent, costs that the Ukraine could not possibly burden under, hence it get a rather good deal from Yeltsin et al in 1994 given its precarious economic position. To think otherwise reads too much into the agreement, hence it was either the Russians decommission these warheads or the USA. I think this paints a more honest picture shall we say than what purists perhaps would like to hear.

                  On all other issues, I’m going to be somewhat Gladstonian here and invoke international arbitration, be it under the auspices of the UN or the Hague. Given the potent chemical mix presently, one way to defuse the situation is for all parties involved, namely all who signed the BM to commit to international arbitration and agree in principle to abide by the findings of an international tribunal – usually the USA will not commit to such arbitration, but hey, one can dream I suppose.

                  I trust this answers your enquiry and satisfies all criteria adopted by yourself in resolving this crisis in a peaceable and Statesmen like fashion?

                  1. FederalismForever

                    @CDR. International arbitration in the manner you describe is a great idea! If only the American President would exercise leadership and statesmanship (a la Gladstone) and advocate strongly for the solution you propose! Being that he is a former lecturer in Constitutional Law, one would think this would be right up his alley, no?

                    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


                      Whilst I have strong opinions and express said opinions, usually not in middle class tones shall I say, the fact remains if I returned back to teaching history and politics one has to be objective, rather than subjective. However, and as my political persuasion informs me, a solution to this crisis could be at hand if only all actors would adopt and gentlemanly manner. I favour peace, but not peace at any cost. Regrettably many in places of authority do not see it my way, which is a shame as all deaths associated with this crisis are a tragedy and should not have occurred in the first place if international norms and standards had been adhered too, and this mean’t calling the putsch out in Kiev for what it was, namely illegal and unconstitutional. Lets remember that democracy should not come out of a gun, however, lets not forget that sometimes its necessary to sacrifice ourselves if the democracy we desire and believe in is to be achieved.

                2. Fiver

                  Organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy took over many CIA functions long ago, and were responsible for spending the $5 billion. These did the organizational spade-work over a period of 20 years putting into place the various necessary elements for the installation of a rabid anti-Russian, neoliberal moron of the sort typified by Nuland’s pal ‘Yats’. In addition, both the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (assassinations, sabotage, renditions, etc.) have been active in Ukraine – for many years in the former case (who do you suppose Brennan went to see if not primarily the controller of his assets in Ukraine?) and since 2011 in the latter, according to ‘Dirty Wars’ author Jeremy Scahill.

                  If this was not a US-orchestrated coup, if you are actually attempting to suggest the US was/is acting to defend the right of fanatical, vicious, right-wing nut-bars to violently seize power from elected Governments, I suggest not only is this ‘principled’ decision anathema to democracy, freedom, rights et al, but as a ‘strategic’ response to a geopolitical problem easily ranks with the stupidest misidentification of US ‘interests’ any US Admin has ever made – though nuking an already defeated Japan, 30 grotesque years in 2 Asian nationalist wars mistaken for ‘commie’ threats, other faux ‘commie’ threat wars from Central/South America and Africa, 2 smashings and one strangling of Iraq after its ruler failed to knock off Iran, enmity with Iran in the first place, and of course, the never-ending War on Terror that has consumed the entire Muslim world from Libya to Pakistan on the entirely false premise that the ‘terrists are after are freedoms’ offer pretty stiff competition. Oh, and let’s not forget the simultaneous, current effort to ‘contain’ what is the laughable US charge of a threat from an ‘aggressive’ China.

                  I detect continuity of purpose – you are of course free to choose an unbroken string of ultra-violent spasms of good will and run with that if you wish.

          2. hkjk

            I think even Afghanistan is a questionable ‘exception’. For instance, the DPA was an independent leftist coup in the army against the king. The Soviets were invited into Afghanistan to defend it. The Taliban/Mujhadeen was organized and armed by S. Arabia and the West, etc…

        2. cwaltz

          Most of us realize that this doesn’t stop with Putin if things continue as they’ve been going and most of us aren’t OK with looting national resources to benefit a select rich few.

          As it is, one of the biggest reasons to hate the US is the continued practice of meddling with the politics of other countries to extract benefits for our own country to the detriment of the citizenry living there and HERE.

          Ask yourself this: Why did the US spend billions of dollars in Ukraine prior to the destabilization of the region, particularly at a time where it was crying “poor” to it’s own citizenry and cutting programs like food stamps and discussing reneging on the social contract known as Social Security? I think the answer to that question is why you see so many “rooting for Putin” instead of their own country. We’re tired of war so that the 1% have a larger region to loot and pillage and we’re tired of having it done on our dime.

    2. lolcar

      Ah the old “if you’re not in favour of conflict with (insert country here) then you must love (insert name of dictator here) and condone his doing (insert atrocity here)” chestnut. However to a large extent Putin is irrelevant. You bring up Chechnya, by far the worst of modern Russia’s sins, but the fact is that the First Chechen War was fought under Boris Yeltsin. Even a buffoon like him, felt compelled to respond brutally to a separatist bid that could have seen Russia split into separate republics. Likewise, any Russian leader, Putin or not, is going to feel compelled to react to the prospect of Ukraine’s entry into NATO. Despite your assertion that Putin desires to “reclaim territory for Mother Russia” I see no evidence that it was Russia that was dissatisfied with the status quo of an independent Ukraine – rather it was Western interests that wanted to force a decisive and irreversible break with Russia, which simply wasn’t going to happen in the normal course of events. Does recognizing this imply that one believes in a Monroe doctrine for Russia in its border republics ? I don’t think so – just that poking the bear

    3. toldjaso

      Recommended is a quick read, a primer that will do wonders for you and so many other troubled souls. It’s a good start, really. It reads much better than it sounds.
      “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The New World Order” by Alan Axelrod, Ph.D. (2010, ALPHA Books/Penguin, New York).

  16. mossmoon

    “And that’s before you throw in that Europe’e economy and its banking system are in far more fragile shape than America’s.”

    This statement makes sense to me under the following conditions: US banks are bankrupt, but EU banks are more bankrupt.

  17. VietnamVet

    The rush to war with Russia is incredibly insane. Since I check in with NC daily, I easily deduced that the Davos Elite had decided to conquer Ukraine for its resources and destabilize Russia for another chance to loot it; thus, the 24/7 propaganda to keep us disoriented, uninformed, and passive. In addition, since they had gotten a get out of jail card, there are no restraints on the enormous risks they will take for more wealth.
    The West is falling apart. The Great Recession persists. Austerity reigns. White men and women without a high school diploma lived 3 and 5 years less in 2008 than they did in 1990 respectively. Subprime loans for used cars, student debt, and Wall Street are financial houses of card. But today I read what nails it to the wall for me:

    “There is a deeper reason why the oligarchs who own and operate the country formerly known as America are currently attempting to enlarge every problem they see, be it stoking civil war in Ukraine or provoking ISIS into attacking Americans: they are desperate to avoid a scenario where the US collapses on its own, with no external enemy to blame.”

    1. Fiver

      One of several solid points raised in the article Vietnam Vet posted above, and which I just read (thanks to Mr. Vet) is that there is no real ‘win’ in this for the US should they actually succeed in ruining Russia. It just further destabilizes Europe, which has already been roughed-up enough by US policy, and is in no position to support a crashing Ukrainian economy let alone a Russian one – and critically, neither is the US for a world ravaged by the self-inflicted instability that goes along with the nouveau exceptionalist’s fusion of neoliberal crisis-enabled smash and grab financial/corporate mega-looting, an historically disastrous Crusade for the Holy Land, the immense power of the US military/security/spying State and no vision of any kind to offer the world of the future, or for the future other than the drive for full control.

      The question is not whether the US can prevail at some price, it’s how to stop the bleeding from a badly injured idea of what the US and globalization are all about when Putin is assassinated, or Russia dissolves into chaos, or Chinese capital flight flattens China and the global economy, or the final loss of confidence in anything resembling a positive global project coming out of Washington just knocks the stuffing out of global business because there are no standards of conduct whatever when one of the players can read the hands, the wallets, the eyes, the mail, the tweets, the videos, the Instagrams, whatever, while his opponents cannot. A collapse of the business spirit, one might say, until someone steps up to offer something a lot better than assorted violent rages and 7 year skewerings.

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