Michael Hudson: Ukraine Denouement – The Russian Loan and the IMF’s One-Two Punch

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is “The Bubble and Beyond.”

The fate of Ukraine is now shifting from the military battlefield back to the arena that counts most: that of international finance. Kiev is broke, having depleted its foreign reserves on waging war that has destroyed its industrial export and coal mining capacity in the Donbass (especially vis-à-vis Russia, which normally has bought 38 percent of Ukraine’s exports). Deeply in debt (with €3 billion falling due on December 20 to Russia), Ukraine faces insolvency if the IMF and Europe do not release new loans next month to pay for new imports as well as Russian and foreign bondholders.

Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko announced on Friday that she hopes to see the money begin to flow in by early March. But Ukraine must meet conditions that seem almost impossible: It must implement an honest budget and start reforming its corrupt oligarchs (who dominate in the Rada and control the bureaucracy), implement more austerity, abolish its environmental protection, and make its industry “attractive” to foreign investors to buy Ukraine’s land, natural resources, monopolies and other assets, presumably at distress prices in view of the country’s recent devastation.

Looming over the IMF loan is the military situation. On January 28, Christine Lagarde said that the IMF would not release more money as long as Ukraine remains at war. Cessation of fighting was to begin Sunday morning. But Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh announced that his private army and that of the Azov Battalion will ignore the Minsk agreement and fight against Russian-speakers. He remains a major force within the Rada.

How much of Ukraine’s budget will be spent on arms? Germany and France made it clear that they oppose further U.S. military adventurism in Ukraine, and also oppose NATO membership. But will Germany follow through on its threat to impose sanctions on Kiev in order to stop a renewal of the fighting? For the United States bringing Ukraine into NATO would be the coup de grace blocking creation of a Eurasian powerhouse integrating the Russian, German and other continental European economies.

The Obama administration is upping the ante and going for broke, hoping that Europe has no alternative but to keep acquiescing. But the strategy is threatening to backfire. Instead of making Russia “lose Europe,” the United States may have overplayed its hand so badly that one can now think about the opposite prospect. The Ukraine adventure turn out to be the first step in the United States losing Europe. It may end up splitting European economic interests away from NATO, if Russia can convince the world that the epoch of armed occupation of industrial nations is a thing of the past and hence no real military threat exists – except for Europe being caught in the middle of Cold War 2.0.

For the U.S. geopolitical strategy to succeed, it would be necessary for Europe, Ukraine and Russia to act against their own potential economic self-interest. How long can they be expected to acquiesce in this sacrifice? At what point will economic interests lead to a reconsideration of old geo-military alliances and personal political loyalties?

The is becoming urgent because this is the first time that continental Europe has been faced with such war on its own borders (if we except Yugoslavia). Where is the advantage for Europe supporting one of the world’s most corrupt oligarchies north of the Equator?

America’s Ukrainian adventure by Hillary’s appointee Victoria Nuland (kept on and applauded by John Kerry), as well as by NATO, is forcing Europe to commit itself to the United States or pursue an independent line. George Soros (whose aggressive voice is emerging as the Democratic Party’s version of Sheldon Adelson) recently urged (in the newly neocon New York Review of Books) that the West give Ukraine $50 billion to re-arm, and to think of this as a down payment on military containment of Russia. The aim is old Brzezinski strategy: to foreclose Russian economic integration with Europe. The assumption is that economic alliances are at least potentially military, so that any power center raises the threat of economic and hence political independence.

The Financial Times quickly jumped on board for Soros’s $50 billion subsidy. When President Obama promised that U.S. military aid would be only for “defensive arms,” Kiev clarified that it intended to defend Ukraine all the way to Siberia to create a “sanitary cordon.”

First Confrontation: Will the IMF Loan Agreement Try to Stiff Russia?

The IMF has been drawn into U.S. confrontation with Russia in its role as coordinating Kiev foreign debt refinancing. It has stated that private-sector creditors must take a haircut, given that Kiev can’t pay the money its oligarchs have either stolen or spent on war. But what of the €3 billion that Russia’s sovereign wealth fund loaned Ukraine, under London rules that prevent such haircuts? Russia has complained that Ukraine’s budget makes no provision for payment. Will the IMF accept this budget as qualifying for a bailout, treating Russia as an odious creditor? If so, what kind of legal precedent would this set for sovereign debt negotiations in years to come?

International debt settlement rules were thrown into a turmoil last year when U.S. Judge Griesa gave a highly idiosyncratic interpretation of the pari passu clause with regard to Argentina’s sovereign debts. The clause states that all creditors must be treated equally. According to Griesa (uniquely), this means that if any creditor or vulture fund refuses to participate in a debt writedown, no such agreement can be reached and the sovereign government cannot pay any bondholders anywhere in the world, regardless of what foreign jurisdiction the bonds were issued under.

This bizarre interpretation of the “equal treatment” principle has never been strictly applied. Inter-governmental debts owed to the IMF, ECB and other international agencies have not been written down in keeping with private-sector debts. Russia’s loan was carefully framed in keeping with London rules. But U.S. diplomats have been openly – indeed, noisily and publicly – discussing how to “stiff” Russia. They even have thought about claiming that Russia’s Ukraine loans (to help it pay for gas to operate its factories and heat its homes) are an odious debt, or a form of foreign aid, or subject to anti-Russian sanctions. The aim is to make Russia “less equal,” transforming the concept of pari passu as it applies to sovereign debt.

Just as hedge funds jumped into the fray to complicate Argentina’s debt settlement, so speculators are trying to make a killing off Ukraine’s financial corpse, seeing this gray area opened up. The Financial Times reports that one American investor, Michael Hasenstab, has $7 billion of Ukraine debts, along with Templeton Global Bond Fund. New speculators may be buying Ukrainian debt at half its face value, hoping to collect in full if Russia is paid in full – or at least settle for a few points’ quick run-up.

The U.S.-sponsored confusion may tie up Russia’s financial claims in court for years, just as has been the case with Argentina’s debt. At stake is the IMF’s role as debt coordinator: Will it insist that Russia take the same haircut that it’s imposing on private hedge funds?

This financial conflict is becoming a new mode of warfare. Lending terms are falling subject to New Cold War geopolitics. This battlefield has been opened up by U.S. refusal in recent decades to endorse the creation of any international body empowered to judge the debt-paying capacity of countries. This makes every sovereign debt crisis a grab bag that the U.S. Treasury can step in to dominate. It endorses keeping countries in the U.S. diplomatic orbit afloat (although on a short leash), but not countries that maintain an independence from U.S. policies (e.g., Argentina and BRICS members).

Looking forward, this position threatens to fracture global finance into a U.S. currency sphere and a BRICS sphere. The U.S. has opposed creation of any international venue to adjudicate the debt-paying capacity of debtor nations. Other countries are pressing for such a venue in order to save their economies from the present anarchy. U.S. diplomats see anarchy as offering an opportunity to bring U.S. diplomacy to bear to reward friends and punish non-friends and “independents.” The resulting financial anarchy is becoming untenable in the wake of Argentina, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other sovereign debtors whose obligations are unpayably high.

The IMF’s One-Two Punch Leading to Privatization Sell-offs to Rent Extractors

IMF loans are made mainly to enable governments to pay foreign bondholders and bankers, not spend on social programs or domestic economic recovery. Sovereign debtors must agree to IMF “conditionalities” in order to get enough credit to enable bondholders to take their money and run, avoiding haircuts and leaving “taxpayers” to bear the cost of capital flight and corruption.

The first conditionality is the guiding principle of neoliberal economics: that foreign debts can be paid by squeezing out a domestic budget surplus. The myth is that austerity programs and cuts in public spending will enable governments to pay foreign-currency debts – as if there is no “transfer problem.”
The reality is that austerity causes deeper economic shrinkage and widens the budget deficit. And no matter how much domestic revenue the government squeezes out of the economy, it can pay foreign debts only in two ways: by exporting more, or by selling its public domain to foreign investors. The latter option leads to privatizing public infrastructure, replacing subsidized basic services with rent-extraction and future capital flight. So the IMF’s “solution” to the deb problem has the effect of making it worse – requiring yet further privatization sell-offs.

This is why the IMF has been wrong in its economic forecasts for Ukraine year after year, just as its prescriptions have devastated Ireland and Greece, and Third World economies from the 1970s onward. Its destructive financial policy must be seen as deliberate, not an innocent forecasting error. But the penalty for following this junk economics must be paid by the indebted victim.

In the wake of austerity, the IMF throws its Number Two punch. The debtor economy must pay by selling off whatever assets the government can find that foreign investors want. For Ukraine, investors want its rich farmland. Monsanto has been leasing its land and would like to buy. But Ukraine has a law against alienating its farmland and agricultural land to foreigners. The IMF no doubt will insist on repeal of this law, along with Ukraine’s dismantling of public regulations against foreign investment.

International Finance as War

The Ukraine-IMF debt negotiation shows is why finance has become the preferred mode of geopolitical warfare. Its objectives are the same as war: appropriation of land, raw materials (Ukraine’s gas rights in the Black Sea) and infrastructure (for rent-extracting opportunities) as well as the purchase of banks.

The IMF has begun to look like an office situated in the Pentagon, renting a branch office on Wall Street from Democratic Party headquarters, with the rent paid by Soros. His funds are drawing up a list of assets that he and his colleagues would like to buy from Ukrainian oligarchs and the government they control. The buyout payments for partnership with the oligarchs will not stay in Ukraine, but will be moved quickly to London, Switzerland and New York. The Ukrainian economy will lose the national patrimony with which it emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991, still deeply in debt (mainly to its own oligarchs operating out of offshore banking centers).

Where does this leave European relations with the United States and NATO?

The Two Futures

A generation ago the logical future for Ukraine and other post-Soviet states promised to be an integration into the German and other West European economies. This seemingly natural complementarity would see the West modernize Russian and other post-Soviet industry and agriculture (and construction as well) to create a self-sufficient and prosperous Eurasian regional power. Foreign Minister Lavrov recently voiced Russia’s hope at the Munich Security Conference for a common Eurasian Union with the European Union extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok. German and other European policy looked Eastward to invest its savings in the post-Soviet states.

This hope was anathema to U.S. neocons, who retain British Victorian geopolitics opposing the creation of any economic power center in Eurasia. That was Britain’s nightmare prior to World War I, and led it to pursue a diplomacy aimed at dividing and conquering continental Europe to prevent any dominant power or axis from emerging.

America started its Ukrainian strategy with the idea of splitting Russia off from Europe, and above all from Germany. In the U.S. playbook is simple: Any economic power is potentially military; and any military power may enable other countries to pursue their own interest rather than subordinating their policy to U.S. political, economic and financial aims. Therefore, U.S. geostrategists view any foreign economic power as a potentially military threat, to be countered before it can gain steam.

We can now see why the EU/IMF austerity plan that Yanukovich rejected made it clear why the United States sponsored last February’s coup in Kiev. The austerity that was called for, the removal of consumer subsidies and dismantling of public services would have led to an anti-West reaction turning Ukraine strongly back toward Russia. The Maidan coup sought to prevent this by making a war scar separating Western Ukraine from the East, leaving the country seemingly no choice but to turn West and lose its infrastructure to the privatizers and neo-rentiers.

But the U.S. plan may lead Europe to seek an economic bridge to Russia and the BRICS, away from the U.S. orbit. That is the diplomatic risk when a great power forces other nations to choose one side or the other.

The Silence from Hillary

Having appointed Victoria Nuland as a holdover from the Cheney administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the hawks by likening Putin to Hitler. Meanwhile, Soros’s $10 million on donations to the Democratic Party makes him one of its largest donors. The party thus seems set to throw down the gauntlet with Europe over the shape of future geopolitical diplomacy, pressing for a New Cold War.

Hillary’s silence suggests that she knows how unpopular her neocon policy is with voters – but how popular it is with her donors. The question is, will the Republicans agree to not avoid discussing this during the 2016 presidential campaign? If so, what alternative will voters have next year?

This prospect should send shivers down Europe’s back. There are reports that Putin told Merkel and Holland in Minsk last week that Western Europe has two choices. On the one hand, it and Russia can create a prosperous economic zone based on Russia’s raw materials and European technology. Or, Europe can back NATO’s expansion and draw Russia into war that will wipe it out.

German officials have discussed bringing sanctions against Ukraine, not Russia, if it renews the ethnic warfare in its evident attempt to draw Russia in. Could Obama’s neocon strategy backfire, and lose Europe? Will future American historians talk of who lost Europe rather than who lost Russia?

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  1. Jim Haygood

    WSJ, Jan 16th:

    Last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a €1.8 billion ($2.10 billion) balance of payment loan for Ukraine through 2015 and early 2016.

    The money is planned alongside fresh assistance from the U.S. and other international sources to help the government in Kiev fill a funding gap estimated by the country at around $15 billion through the first quarter of 2016.

    Earlier this week, the U.S. pledged $2 billion in additional loan guarantees for Ukraine.


    What is the rationale for the US and Europe proposing their own bilateral aid deals? Trumping Russia’s $3 billion with our $4 billion to show we’re the ‘good guys’?

    Like Sarajevo in 1914, Ukraine in 2015 looks like the weakest link in a very long chain of potential consequences. The US is pursuing the same failed strategy that the Soviet Union did post WW II, of recruiting eastern European satellites and bringing them within its economic and military orbit.

    Permanent US military occupation of Europe via NATO was never a good idea. NATO’s expansion was an even worse idea. NATO’s break-up would be traumatic, but it is long overdue.

  2. guest

    this is the first time that continental Europe has been faced with such war on its own borders (if we except Yugoslavia).

    And if we also except Cyprus and Moldavia, where civil wars pitted different communities/ethnies against each other, involved outside powers (Turkey, Russia), and resulted in territorial fragmentation…

  3. guest

    Looking forward, this position threatens to fracture global finance into a U.S. currency sphere and a BRICS sphere.

    I feel this is actually a truly major development, but beyond presuming that major states will increasingly issue debt subject to their own national laws and not the rules defined by the London City, I find it difficult to grasp the impact on the financial world.

    Could somebody more knowledgeable provide some information or pointers to accessible articles about the consequences of a possible “stiffing Russia” and their scope?

  4. susan the other

    The idea of the division of the world into two financial blocks – one that financializes and impoverishes people (the US and the IMF), and one that respects sovereign and domestic priorities (BRICS) – sounds like a compromise made by us because everything got so out of control we couldn’t save it. We really wanted the whole thing. It’s easy to see that our financial system has been gambling on controlling the world but the world just wasn’t big enough to absorb all that ruthless ROI. The part I am wondering about is the greater war for oil in the Middle East and Mediterranean. If we can claim control (market control) of the oil field under the Caspian it will finance our unsustainable financial system well into the future. And finance NATO, as well as supply an EU military mobilization with sufficient oil. This looks like WW3 in full swing. And we are just a pot full of boiling frogs. Civilians getting mowed down right and left. Refugees all over the place. Ancient treasured cities bombed to rubble. Roving bands of terrorists. The US military can now be deployed anywhere geographically, Congress gave its blessing. And there is no way we are going to let Greece leave us (NATO) – not with all the oil/gas at stake in the eastern Mediterranean.

    1. Linda J

      “Civilians getting mowed down right and left. Refugees all over the place. Ancient treasured cities bombed to rubble. Roving bands of terrorists. The US military can now be deployed anywhere geographically, Congress gave its blessing.”

      I wish this would be read before every newscast. It is the perspective that is lacking for those bubbleheads.

  5. Rosario

    Ultimately any funds going to the Kiev government to finance further war will be going to a multitude of forced conscripts:

    from May 2014:

    recent from Counterpunch and a much better source in my opinion:

    and this is if the Kiev government can corral them up (as the Counterpunch article alludes to). Unwilling conscripts don’t make very good soldiers, particularly in the absence of a “noble” cause. So, only the most unsavory of the able and willing will be getting these weapons (meat-headed, macho, fascists, and soldiers of fortune). Though, most likely, mercenaries won’t bother. Why fight for the losing side while getting paid junk wages. If there are mercenaries on the separatist side, which there probably are, they are probably paid a very good wage by someone in Russia, maybe government money through fuzzy channels, maybe private Russian money, who knows. Mostly speculation, but with the horrendous media coverage and bold faced lies being spread about the conflict it is about as valid as the “certified” sources. What is certain is Kiev’s Ukraine is toast in the near and long term (they have pawned their future in infrastructure and blood), and it appears the East Ukrainian separatists will get what they want and much more, short of NATO bombing them into oblivion which is a suicidal provocation.

  6. thepanzer

    Excellent article.

    The linchpin for US dominance is reserve currency status along with the US dominated financial system and banking industry. (and the widespread belief both at home and abroad in the neo-liberal ideology backing it up)

    This is the US cutting off its nose to spite its face. It couldn’t choose a strategy more guaranteed to erode its dominance if it tried. The options its providing to everyone else, to include its allies are:

    A. Become a resource colony to the US or face economic blackmail/suicide (of course if you become a US resource colony that’s also economic suicide)
    B. Develop any kind of alternative system that isn’t US dominated

    “A” is inherently unstable, there’s simply no way that can last long term. Irrespective of the pain and threats, the US is forcing the planet to go to plan “b” sooner rather than later. And by going after Russia it’s chosen a target with the capability to get the ball rolling on plan “b”. The moment China buys in it’s game over for the west, as it will have enough momentum that neutral nations will also want to glom on. Within a few decades we could see the the US system along with a handful of it’s old allies and everyone else in a rival system.

    Future historians will have a field day analyzing why the US cut its own feet out from under itself.

  7. Pearl

    @ Michael Hudson

    (Although this is probably akin to my kids’ having left cookies and milk for Santa each Christmas Eve, I am going to believe with the naivete of a child that it is within the realm of possibility that you can, and in fact do, swoop down from your sleigh and visit each and every comment on each and every forum that posts your work.)

    Dear Professor Hudson,

    I would like to thank you for the enormous contribution that you make in the sharing of your knowledge, insight, and passion. Thank you, also, for your plainspoken style, for your frankness, and for the richness of context in which you frame these circumstances.

    I, and so many others, yearn for a touchstone upon whom we can depend to give us the facts as they are. I always trust you and your scholarship, and I follow your work to the extent that I can.

    I have four questions for you if you have time to consider them.

    1) In your opinion–what is the best possible (conceivable) long-term outcome here for the greatest number of average people? (Given the likelihood that no one will get everything they want and the diversity of parties involved.)

    2) What parts of this circumstance do you believe are already irreversible? (What have you personally conceded as a fait accompli?)

    3) What do you suspect that oligarchs (collectively) fear the most? (What is our leverage against them?)

    4) On a practical level (that’s not technically practical without the employment of deus ex machina), let’s say that I had a direct line to my President, President Obama. And that President Obama, out of great mutual respect, admiration, trust, and collaboration–always considered my insights and usually followed my advice, on the rare occasion of my stepping out on a limb and offering to him my unsolicited advice. (Let’s say that I was his mom and that he thought I was unusually wise and reliable.) What specifically would you have me ask him to do as it pertains to this situation? (Now, dis-employing deus ex machina, that which I asked him to do would have to be within the scope of his power and influence.)

    (This may not be a futile exercise. Indeed, I write to my President quite frequently, and only two times have I ever asked that he do something. Both times–he has done what I asked within about an hour of me having asked. Of course, this can be chalked up to coincidence, but I have already established that I have the naivete of a child, so please indulge me. Indeed, I fear that I might have inadvertently rubbed some sort of magic lantern, and that I have had two of three wishes already granted. I may only have one left–so I’ve been saving it.)


    By the way, the following may not be relevant, but I just stumbled upon it today, and I thought that you might find it a rather fascinatingly visual representation (animated) of the changes to the map of Europe during WWII, represented on a day-by-day basis, yet in just a 5 minute youtube. (If nothing else, the music is nice.)


    It is mind-boggling to grasp that 50 to 80 million people died as the result of WWII, or in other terms, roughly one third of the world’s population at that time.

    I doubt that many of those who died as the result of WWII were oligarchs, and I don’t know if the threat of another World War would even scare or deter the oligarchical class. But there must be something that can keep them in line–without the threat of death and destruction to others’ lives and to others’ children.

    Perhaps oligarchs love their children. Perhaps all oligarchs can be identified, and a world treaty signed that mandated, that in the case of a war, each child, grandchild, niece, and nephew of (said oligarchs) who are the age of majority shall be conscripted into an armed force, assigned the lowest possible rank, and sent into the bloodiest of battles–no exceptions for educational status, occupational status, marital status, parental status, gender, physical limitation, physiological limitation, mental status, or even that thing that got Rush Limbaugh out of serving in Vietnam.

    But that’s just my idea-du-jour. I would be far more interested in your thoughts and ideas on the subject.

    Thank you.

    1. Integer Owl

      I will not claim to speak for anyone else here, but in my opinion you are wasting everyone’s time with your posts, including your own. I would liken the situation to an advanced lecture in which a student that has obviously not spent the necessary time properly and sincerely engaging with the material being covered, insists on interrupting the class to ask questions that not only hold up the lecture, but betray a total lack of understanding of the most basic principles of the topic at hand. While a couple of students may directly confront you over this, what you fail to notice are the frustrated stares from the majority of (properly prepared) students that are being directed at the back of your head (the people I’m describing almost always sit at the front, btw).

      The is no shame in spending time becoming familiar with the more basic principles on your own, and sitting quietly and listening to the more advanced material in the meantime. In the context of the topics being discussed, this will require some critical analysis skills if you intend to continue to consume mainstream (corporate) media viewpoints while you educate yourself on the facts.

      I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you are who you say you are, however to be honest I am not totally convinced, as there really is no need to include all the personal information you have provided. If you are making an honest but misguided attempt to educate yourself on the matters being discussed on this blog I commend you, however urge you to consider what I have written, for your own sake.

      One final bit of advice, try to read widely about topics you are interested in and develop your critical reasoning abilities, and always ask youself cui bono? This way you will learn to triangulate the positions of the legitimate sources of information, and find satisfaction in being able to logically arrive at reasonable conclusions on your own.

      1. Pearl

        @ Integer Owl

        Thank you for your feedback.

        You are probably correct; I’m in way over my head. Thank you for clarifying to those few of us commenters here of average intelligence that we’re wasting the time of the people who actually matter.

        I never thought that a post on a blog could actually hurt my feelings and, in truth, cause me to actually cry. You changed that for me. So–as you said, I am wasting my time and, more importantly, the time of others.

        I will stop posting, and I apologize for wasting the time of the people, as yourself, who really matter. I thank you for reminding me that questions and input from average people really don’t matter and that such complicated material should be left to academic oligarchs. Scholars should concern themselves with scholarly matters. Housewives should sort laundry and scrub toilets; otherwise, the scholars who worry about and do research and write papers about the plight of average people might become distracted by having to to listen to and answer questions posed by average people–ultimately taking time away from you smart folks continuing to do the fantastic job you that you smart folks have done to fix the plight of we average people.

        Indeed–average people everywhere–disengage!

        Once you really smart people have fixed the plight of we average people–please let us average folk know about it. You should be able to find us on Fox Network blogs and maybe celebrity gossip blogs. When addressing us, be sure to speak in short sentences and use monosyllabic words.

        I’ve always wondered who in the world Kim Kardashian is. I guess it’s time I find out. Perhaps my low IQ and low socio-economic status will be received less offensively on such sites.

        Again. I am so very sorry for offending you with my average-ness and for not knowing my place.

        Best regards,


        1. Integer Owl

          While I am not one to give out details on my personal situation, I think you might be suprised if you knew the details. I will also say that it took me about 5 years of constantly engaging with the types of issues covered in this blog before I felt qualified to comment on them. This site in particular seems to have some of the most knowledgable people that I have encountered online, and I still feel that I’m in over my head here.

          My personal philosophy on people is that kindness and a commitment to the dignity of others trumps everything, so if you have these qualities then you are ok in my book. This does not mean, though, that I have an unlimited tolerance for foolishness. This is not to say you are a fool, however I have found your posts a little hard to stomach.

          In any case, I sincerely apologise if I have truly hurt your feelings, however the phrase ‘sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind’ may be apt here.

  8. RBHoughton

    Quite agree with the thrust of this article.

    US has overplayed its hand. It has discounted European dependance on Russia for energy supplies without offering any realistic alternative.

    The game of armed bluff that the US has forced (through NATO and its helpers in Kiev) onto the country can be expected to escalate and Europe now suspects America does not mind a war in Europe as its far from the homeland and will remove two competitors from the world stage for a considerable time into the future.

    Recalling the economic events of WWII we can expect to see European production again transferred to North America together with the patents and technology. Then there is just the Asian giants to be neutered and the age of national and regional governments will be over. Long live the King.

  9. Fíréan

    ” . . . implement more austerity, abolish its environmental protection, and make its industry “attractive” to foreign investors to buy Ukraine’s land, natural resources, monopolies and other assets, presumably at distress prices in view of the country’s recent devastation.”
    That sums up a main intent on the part some if not may of those persons and entities involved and/or who initiated this affair. This form of pillage has been well practised, though with greater success for the initiates, upon third world and central American countries over the last decades.

  10. Pete

    Such a shame that a man who writes so well about the EU and the US writes such rubbish about Ukraine and Russia because of anti americanist Russophile preconceptions. “Kiev invaded eastern Ukraine”??? Lets hear another one.

    Like all pro Kremlin liberals and leftists he can moan the collapse of the Russian empire, praise Putin’s attempts to restore it, yet condemn other empires and praise their collapse. They condemn Europeans who reject Russian domination, yet celebrate Latin Americans who reject US-Corporate hegemony. They condemn anti Kremlin Ukrainian fascists but not pro Kremlin French or Russian fascists and neo nazis. Particularly odd is Hudson’s notion that foreign corporations should oppose sanctions against Russia because they will suffer loss of profits?!?

    Such Fellow Travellers who do not accept old British or Spanish or French imperial myths and like to advocate the interests of their former subjects, nevertheless, share the Russian myth of an eternal imperial mother Russia and explicitly deny the claims and interests of its former subjects. This kind of bias only help Kremlin leaders delay the inevitable demise of Russia’s empire and ensure that before it does it causes much totally unnecessary death and destruction. If the Ukrainian national bourgeoisie prefers US-EU capitalism ot RUssian style capitalism that is their choice and if Putin opposes then US-EU capitalists are obviously doing the right thing.

    Leftists who warn about the horrors of Anglo-American neo liberal capitalism, ignore that Russian neoliberal capitalism is worse and that Ukrainian workers would be very pleased if Ukraine were like Greece or Spain or Poland . The Irish, Spanish, Portuguese and Greeks do not go to Ukraine or Russia to look for work. IMF conditions will lead to sell-off of infrastructure?? Since when did it belong to Ukrainians? It was first controlled by imperial Moscow and then by Oligarchs.

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