Washington Attempts to Bully India into Cutting Ties with Russia

By Conor Gallagher

For months the US has repeatedly tried to coerce India into cutting ties with Russia, thereby abandoning its national interests. New Delhi, however, continues to spurn American attempts to subject its economy to Washington’s dictates.

The latest fuss concerns the G7 price cap on Russian oil and EU and UK bans on shipping and related services for Russian crude. India continues to have no interest in joining the US-led initiative as it gets a steep discount on oil from Russia and wants to maintain the relationship with a long-time strategic partner. Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was just in Moscow on Nov. 8 to discuss continued sales of oil. From the South China Morning Post:

India’s foreign minister hailed New Delhi’s “strong and steady” relationship with Moscow on Tuesday, during his first visit there since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also declared India’s intention to continue to buy Russian oil, again disregarding the US appeal to allies and partners to isolate Russia from the global markets.

The G-7 plans are likely to send oil prices higher (despite US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claiming the opposite) and reduce tanker availability, both of which will threaten India’s energy security and hurt its economy as India is the third-largest consumer and importer of oil worldwide.

Russia has said it will not sell to any countries that participate in the price cap scheme, and Jaishankar has repeatedly stated that India cannot afford to buy oil at high prices – at least not without undermining its economic growth, which is forecast to be 6.1 percent in 2023, the fastest-growing major economy in the world. According to Energy Intelligence:

Russia emerged as India’s top crude supplier in October, shipping over 900,000 barrels per day or roughly a fifth of India’s demand. The two countries’ biggest concern is ensuring that Russian oil continues to flow after the Dec. 5 EU and UK bans and related G7 price cap.

But despite Jaishankar’s bullish stance in Moscow, India’s state refiners have not placed orders for crude lifting beyond Dec. 5 due to uncertainties about whether shipping and insurance will be available, Energy Intelligence understands. And a recent attempt by an Indian buyer to use the price cap in negotiations with a Russian seller prompted the latter to abandon the deal, market sources said.

The ongoing lack of clarity on the G-7 could be by design. Russian oil exports have already begun to dip, and Bruce Paulsen, a sanctions expert and partner at law firm Seward & Kissel, told American Shipper, “ If guidance on [price cap] compliance doesn’t come soon, some industry players may sit on the sidelines until they can determine that shipments under the price cap are safe.”

The US, in a neat sleight of hand, quit pressuring India to adhere to the price cap, and Yellen now says Washington is “happy” for New Delhi to continue buying as much Russian oil as it wants, including at prices above a G7-imposed price cap. But there are just a few caveats: India wouldn’t be able to use western insurance, finance, or maritime services to transport the oil.

“Russia is going to find it very difficult to continue shipping as much oil as they have done when the EU stops buying Russian oil,” Yellen told Reuters on Friday. “They’re going to be heavily in search of buyers, and many buyers are reliant on Western services.”

More from Energy Intelligence on why this amounts to a de facto price cap:

Indian refiners have the capacity to soak up another 600,000 b/d of Russian crude, provided it outcompetes the staple Mideast grades that are the lifeline of the country’s 5 million b/d refining base. But the availability of shipping and insurance — and payment channels — is key. From Dec. 5, tankers and shipping insurance linked to EU and G7 countries — which dominate oil shipping globally — will be barred from trading Russian crude unless those volumes are sold under the price cap, as yet undetermined.

About 90% of India’s liquids trade is shipped by foreign tankers, presenting challenges, independent energy analyst Narendra Taneja said. Insurance does not appear as problematic, and analysts say that Russian and Chinese firms can handle it.

This could leave Russia reliant on a shadow fleet of older tankers with opaque ownership that do not transact in dollars. According to Freight Waves:

Brokerage Braemar reported that 33 tankers previously handling Iranian or Venezuelan exports have carried Russian exports since April, mostly to China and secondarily to India.

Braemar defined the dark fleet as tankers that have carried Iranian or Venezuelan crude at least once in the past year. It put the current total at 240 tankers, mostly smaller and midsized, with 74% 19 years or older. Eighty of those vessels are very large crude carriers (VLCCs, tankers that carry 2 million barrels) that won’t fit in Russian ports but could be used for ship-to-ship transfers for Russian cargoes.

If the entire dark fleet switched to Russian service and were as efficient as the “mainstream fleet,” it would be more than enough to keep Russian exports flowing, but “vessels engaged in illicit trading are highly inefficient,” Braemar emphasized.

At the same time Washington is pressuring New Delhi to comply with the price cap, it is importing from India more vacuum gasoil, which is mostly used at refineries to produce other products such as gasoline and diesel. From Reuters:

Russia used to be a key VGO supplier to U.S. refiners before the Ukraine war broke out.

“Given that the U.S. is not buying Russian oil, they are looking for any and all alternatives,” said Roslan Khasawneh, senior fuel oil analyst at Vortexa…

U.S. and EU sanctions do not apply to refined products produced from Russian crude exported from a third country as they are not of Russian origin. In India, refiners boosted imports of discounted Russian oil to 793,000 barrels per day between April and October, up from just 38,000 bpd in the same period a year ago, trade data showed.

India joins a list of countries – including Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Turkey – that are causing heads to explode in Washington for refusing to be bullied into submission.

This all must be coming as a shock in Washington as its Indo-Pacific strategy in recent years has always included a “like-minded” India helping to counter China and do the US’ bidding in southeast Asia. The possibility that India might pursue its own national interests didn’t seem to factor into the strategy.

The tension over the Russian price cap is just the latest in a series of disagreements between New Delhi and Washington. US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports deprive India of cheap Iranian oil, and force it to buy more expensive US energy exports. India is now the largest oil export destination for the US.

Similar to the way Washington is arming Greece and Cyprus in an effort to bully Turkey into breaking off its friendly ties with Russia, the US is doing the same in Pakistan to pressure India. The US has begun to accommodate Pakistan again after the ouster of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, who blames his loss of power in a no-confidence vote on the US.

In September, the U.S. State Department enraged India when it approved a $450 million deal to upgrade Pakistan’s F-16 fleet. Shortly after, the US ambassador to Pakistan created more tension during a visit to the Pakistani-held part of Kashmir, which he called by its Pakistani name instead of the United Nations-approved name “Pakistan-administered Kashmir.”

On Nov. 8 US State Department spokesman Ned Price lectured India on what are in its best interests:

We’ve also been clear that now is not the time for business as usual with Russia, and it’s incumbent on countries around the world to do what they can to lessen those economic ties with Russia. That’s something that’s in the collective interest, but it’s also in the bilateral interest of countries around the world to end and certainly over the course of time to wean their dependence on Russian energy. There have been a number of countries that have learned the hard way of the fact that Russia is not a reliable source of energy. Russia is not a reliable supplier of security assistance. Russia is far from reliable in any realm. So it is not only in the interest of Ukraine, it is not only in the interest of the region, of the collective interests that India decrease its dependence on Russia over time, but it’s also in India’s own bilateral interest, given what we’ve seen from Russia.

We’ll have to wait and see if the Indian people get the message because as of now the opposite is true.  India’s Observer Research Foundation released poll results on Nov. 2 that showed that 43 percent of Indians regarded Russia as their country’s most reliable partner, which was far ahead of the US at 27 percent.

Washington would be hard pressed to explain how New Delhi scaling back its economic ties with Russia would be a good thing for India.

Fuelled by a surge in import of oil and fertilizers, India’s bilateral trade with Russia has soared to an all-time high of $18.2 billion over the April-August period of this financial year, according to the latest data available with the Department of Commerce. That makes Russia India’s seventh biggest trading partner — up from its 25th position last year. The US, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Indonesia remain ahead of Russia.

India, Iran, and Russia have also spent the past twenty years developing the International North-South Transport Corridor to increase trade between the countries, and it took on increased importance with the western sanctions on Moscow. From The LoadStar:

RZD Logistics, a subsidiary of Russian railway monopoly RZD, has begun regular container train services from Moscow to Iran to serve growing trade with India by transloading.

This is aimed at maximizing use of the alternative International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a Central Asia cross-border multimodal freight network helping the two strategic partners work around supply chain challenges created by western sanctions on Russia.

The inland-ocean leg involves an estimated transit time of 35 days, compared with about 40 with previous traditional shipping, according to industry sources.

©Peter Hermes Furian

In much the same way that US heavy-handedness is backfiring elsewhere, the pressure applied on India seems to only be encouraging New Delhi to find a way around the dollar. The Loadstar adds that the Reserve Bank of India is also implementing new regulatory guidelines to help exporters settle shipments in rupees, instead of US dollars that had run into sanctions-related bottlenecks:

The Federation of Indian Export Organizations has also been pressing government leaders to extend the alternative currency method beyond Russian markets.

“While the Russia-Ukraine war is a setback to our exports in the short run, we are looking to increase our exports to Russia once the rupee payment mechanism gets operationalised,” FIEO noted.

While India has been benefitting from the discounted Russian crude, it also wants to maintain good ties with Moscow to avoid pushing Russia closer to China and potentially Pakistan, India’s biggest rivals in Asia.

Pakistan is also now asking the Russian Trade Ministry to introduce a currency swap arrangement to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

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  1. nippersdad

    A quibble:

    Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine , the US has repeatedly tried to….”

    I question this framing. How can one invade the Donbass when one has been invited into it by the resident governments?

    1. Acacia

      Agree. Of course many liberals would object, tho, saying that the local govts didn’t have the authority to invite Russia into their territory. This is tangential to the subject of the article, but I’d like to have a more persuasive defense of this line of argument, because it seems to come under fire in every encounter with liberals who are all aghast at the “invasion!!!!”.

      1. nippersdad

        In my limited experience, the best defense is one of offense. The whole thing was incredibly legalistic, by design. Putin went out of his way to ensure that everything they did had a precedent in international law. If the run-up to the SMO was illegal for Russia, that makes our intervention in Yugoslavia illegal as well. If they want to argue away over thirty years worth of precedent AND R2P then they are welcome to do so. But it will take a lot of work on their part.

        Laws that are not equally applicable cannot be called laws at all.

      2. caucus99percenter

        Ha ha, did the phony “Republic of Hawaii” set up by U.S. businessmen and plantation owners after their putsch against Queen Lili‘uokalani and her people and government “have the authority” to invite the U.S. to annex the island chain?

        Asking for a friend.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and Guam, and Subic Bay and Okinawa and Rota and Rammstein and on and on and on.
          anybody living in that Muaddib* style edifice of the us embassy in Afghanistan?

          (*-“I have to say, one of my favorite parts of this section is detailing the Reverend Mother’s walk through the throne room. There’s great attention given to how architecture and design informs a space and the people residing in it. The idea the the room is angled in such a way that Paul appears giant though the hall is large, the structure of the throne and the position of people of relevance to Paul, the idea that having to walk a distance to reach someone of power and importance can cow even the most haughty of guests. As someone who has studied Greek architecture, including the way they used perspective and sloping to make their structures appear larger and grander, it’s always tickling to have a novel make note of these tricks and tools.”
          ive seen better treatments of herbert’s descriptions of imperial architecture, but this was what came up first)

    2. GramSci

      “De-nazification” works for me, although my relatives bristle at my claim that it was the Soviets, not the USians who liberated Auschwitz ( I think because it strips them of their moral authority in places like the w@st b@nk and the Halls of Congress.)

      1. nippersdad

        I have found it appalling how Democratic members of Congress can have stridently wailed about fascists in our midst for years and are now walking the halls bellowing out Banderite slogans in honor of people who wear Iron Crosses on their shirts.* We could do with a little “De-Nazification” ourselves.

        If they were ever interested in having some moral authority, they severely undercut it right there. The kind of cognitive dissonance that libs have to undergo these days must be torturous.

        * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=forj8kdmftg

        1. Kouros

          I read recently that some laws are pushed in Poland to force resident Ukrainians to vocalize loyalty to Poland and to also condemn Stephan Bandera and his atrocities during WWII.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            It wouldn’t surprise me: the Bandera-ites in their WWll Golden Age murdered a lot of Poles.

          2. Paul Jurczak

            War crimes of Bandera, OUN and Ukrainian SS divisions are taboo in the mainstream propaganda in Poland right now. You can’t disparage the Hero of Ukraine, especially during the official year of Stepan Bandera. The brain washing exceeds the levels I remember from Soviet times.

            1. chris

              At these have brains to be washed clean… Most in the US have no sense of history. They have no ability to consider actions from more than 5 years ago, let alone 80 years ago. They also have no idea of what it’s like to live under real physical threat from an aggressive neighbor. So the nationalistic calculus that lead the Ukrainians to ally themselves with Russian enemies is a completely alien concept. Once people like Kissinger are dead we in the US will be without any leaders who can think in these terms too.

        2. Acacia

          There’s been a lot of discussion on social media about that symbol on Zelensky’s shirt. The general claim is that it’s not the Nazi iron cross, but rather the symbol of the Ukrainian armed forces.

          On closer inspection, this appears to be correct, though I wonder about the claim that there’s “no relation” between the two symbols.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The first duty of a citizen is to be informed. This is propaganda we have all had. People hate to find out basic truths when their knowledge is pieced together from movies and restaurant placemats. Learning exposes their lifetime of ignorance.

          It’s not just knowing who liberated Auschwitz, an admittedly minor infraction of trivia, but other truths. The famed sketch with the SS officers asking “are we the baddies” is what people really fear. To be poorly informed is the hallmark of a citizen who has failed their basic duty. Instead people will simply deny minor trivia infractions for the sake of avoiding their failures.

          An old local Democrat and retired history professor tried to explain to me bow important the filibuster is. I asked for examples of positive times its been used. He came up with a movie and claimed the Bork nomination who received 58 no votes. He started from Team Blue is good and simply does good things. Hence he had no need to bother to look for evidence. To be fair, it’s hard to find evidence that doesn’t exist.

    3. elkern

      It is technically correct – and also just plain reasonable – to say that “Russia invaded Ukraine”. I wouldn’t use that phrase regarding Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, but Russian forces did “invade” many other areas which were recognized by pretty much everybody (including Russia) as Ukrainian territory.

      Many of us who understand and/or support Russia’s reasons for the SMO might object to the connotative aspects of the word “invade” (only “Bad Countries” invade, “Good Countries” use euphemisms when they do the same thing), but IMO, refusing to use the term weakens one’s position when discussing other aspects of the conflict. It indicates that one is “in the tank”, rooting for Russia, accepting Russia’s justifications, rather than trying to look at the mess objectively.

      And YES, I always refer to the 2003 US attack on Iraq as “invasion” followed by “occupation”.

      1. Paul Jurczak

        Agree. Putin vastly overplayed his hand with a march on Kiev. Sticking to Lugansk and Donetsk plus land corridor to Crimea would put him in better military position than he is right now.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The march to Kiev was to pin down a huge part of the Ukrainian Army so that they could not all concentrate on the Donbass or the region around Crimea. The Ukrainian forces were much larger back then and still had all their equipment. Nowadays, not so much.

          1. Paul Jurczak

            I disagree. I think this is a post factum whitewash of a strategic defeat. The march on Kiev was intended to shock and awe Zelensky’s government. Quick collapse was predicted by many (most) analysts. It looked good on paper, and is easy to criticize in hindsight. Putin knew how hard the fighting in Donbass was and will be due to the depth of heavily fortified Ukrainian lines of defense. The quick collapse of Ukrainian government and replacement of western puppet by eastern puppet was too alluring to pass.

            As to equipment, original AFU numbers of working hardware were replenished, since the invasion started. Hard to say how much of it survived till today, though.

            1. nippersdad

              “The march on Kiev was intended to shock and awe Zelensky’s government.”

              The population of Kiev is (was?) around three million people. The troops allocated to the Kiev project numbered around 40,000. That was really not a number calculated to shock and awe a military entrenched in their own capitol city.

              It was a deterrent force, not one designed to capture cities. A defeat would have involved the cutting off, strafing and ultimate destruction of the forty mile tank column, and, notably, that did not happen.

      2. nippersdad

        “…IMO, refusing to use the term weakens one’s position when discussing other aspects of the conflict. It indicates that one is “in the tank”, rooting for Russia, accepting Russia’s justifications, rather than trying to look at the mess objectively.”

        I don’t know that it does weaken ones’ position to say that Russia did not “invade” Ukraine. They did nothing until after they dotted all of the i’s and crossed their t’s WRT international law. Twice, because the Normandy process and subsequent Minsk Accords legitimized their earlier incursions in the Donbass.

        Objectively speaking, Russia did not invade Kherson region in 2014 when Ukraine broke its’ treaty obligations over Crimea’s water supply. Instead they started trucking water in at the expense of their own agricultural system. Water wars have been legion for thousands of years.

        Objectively speaking, there is no argument to be made that Ukraine and NATO have not been engaging in nuclear threat postures in Eastern Europe for a very long time. That Zelensky could openly talk about his nuclear ambitions in Ukraine at last years’ Munich Security Conference would have been sufficient cause for them to have secured such places as Zaporizhe or Chernobyl nuclear power plants. Nuclear proliferation is, after all, a concern elsewhere in places like Iran. And then there are the thirty confirmed biological facilities in Ukraine. We shouldn’t rule that out as a cause for intervention; after all, we still have the receipts from our supplying them to Saddam Hussein for the Iran/Iraq war. I doubt that went unnoticed in Russia.

        A holding action outside of Kiev would be perfectly reasonable if one wanted to limit the duration and spread of the conflict. Is that not our rationale for illegally holding on to a third of Syria and refusing to leave Iraq after their parliament essentially threw us out after the assassination of Soleimani?

        It strikes me that the legal case is pretty solid, and one cannot litigate it without bringing in instances that would put us in the wrong as a consequence. That is why the case has not seen the light of day under Guterres at the UN. That is what makes the case for those who want to use the concept of invasion as a club against Russia so weak. It depends upon an almost total absence of acknowledgment that they have both a rationale and a vote.

        Nuclear powers ALWAYS get a vote, and only really stupid people, like our present cadre of neocons, refuse to acknowledge that.

  2. The Rev Kev

    After seeing how the economy of Europe is being shredded and the place is also undergoing de-industrialization because they are following the dictates of Washington, could it be that the Indians suspect that Washington wants to throw a spanner into India’s development as well to eliminate them as a major competitor? They can see how China is going ahead with its development and do not want to be left behind for their own security’s sake. And the key to that is energy which they are getting from Russia at a discounted price. They are free to choose not to buy it but personally speaking I cannot see any real upside in doing so apart from Washington’s gratitude. And how much is that worth these days?

    1. John Wright

      One accurate statement that issued from George W. Bush’s mouth is that the USA “doesn’t do nation building”

      From 12 years ago: https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2010/10/nation-building-may-be-mission-too-far/

      “Bush had said in the 2000 campaign that “we don’t do nation building,” but the wars he launched inevitably led us into exactly that in both Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama was quoted recently as saying he didn’t want to get into long-term nation building in Afghanistan, but if don’t leave behind a viable state that is safe and secure and sustainable, what have we gained? ”

      The USA’s actions in Ukraine may make it more obvious to Europe/India/China/Ukraine/Libya/Iraq/Afghanistan/South America that the USA is very good at “shock and awe” destruction but is not very interested in the costly building of a stable and well-functioning international society in the destruction’s aftermath.

      1. David in Santa Cruz

        This is exactly the discussion that the Russian intervention in the U.S.-provoked “Ukrainian” civil war has instigated.

        The Queens and Kings of Chaos have been engaged in a policy of breaking the international order since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A generation who grew up during the 1950’s and 1960’s when the U.S. had brief economic hegemony after the other industrial powers bombed themselves back to the Stone Age want to Make America Great Again. In this regard the Clintons are no different from Trump or the Bushes.

        They have longed for the return of those salad days — without understanding that American industry has stupidly un-learned all the lessons of the Great Depression by spending the 1970’s and 1980’s financializing itself into irrelevance. The current governments of China and India in particular appear to have come to the realization that with access to Russian, Saudi, and African natural resources they don’t need to operate as sweat-shops for the American finance hegemon. They have sufficient internal markets if they can come up with a stable payments system for raw materials.

        The only question is whether they can stay out of the regional conflicts constantly being ginned-up by the Queens and Kings of Chaos. If they can accomplish this, it doesn’t end well for we Americans…

  3. nippersdad

    I will be interested to see how this latest episode of shooting-oneself-in-the feet will aid in the effort to bring a lasting peace to India and Pakistan. India has seen, yet again, how we treat people like Imran Khan, and their commonailty of interests is now striking. We did yeomans’ work in bringing together Russia and China in the face of all odds, hopefully we can do that again with India and Pakistan.

    1. chris

      It is kind of amazing, isn’t it? One of the reasons why I don’t assume malice behind many of my government’s actions is because they are clearly so limited in thinking, and possessed of such stupefying tunnel vision, that they really do believe “there is no alternative”. So when other countries do find alternatives, and they’re better than the status quo, it leaves the US dumbfounded. Even if you erased the sanctions today and set things back to the status quo ante, why would Russia and India go back to the way things were? Why would Saudi Arabia? At the very least saving 5 days off a trip like that is a huge savings in money and time. The war in Ukraine is clearly going to become one of those watershed moments in history that we’ll refer to later as the period when important things changed. And the saddest reason for that change is because so many people started asking, why not?

  4. Stephen

    The arrogance and sheer hypocrisy of that comment by Ned Price is breathtaking. He must have taken lessons from the nineteenth century British pro consuls of Empire.

    I also like the comment in Freight Wave about “illicit” trading and “dark” oil tankers. They are only illicit and dark if you assume that the US via its G7 and EU vehicles provides a legitimate world government that has total jurisdiction over all territories, international water and all humans. When I last checked that was not how the world officially worked.

    When empires unravel they have a habit of getting more violent (the USSR was one of the few exceptions) so I guess we need to fasten our seatbelts with all this anti imperial “rebellion” going on.

    1. digi_owl

      I wonder if USSR was an exception because Russia was basically subsidizing he rest, while usually an empire is all about moving goods from the periphery to the core. Thus violence emerges when said periphery is trying to get out from under the core’s thumb.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The branded USSR. It’s arguable we are still in its collapse or the collapse of the post Tsarist era and are having a reset. Some of the periphery were absorbed into the EU, but there has been plenty of internal violence. Aren’t White Russians trying to set up their own extraction policies backed by the US? Look at a map of anti-Bolshevik forces in the Russian Civil War. Communism is simply a red herring, an excuse to pillage by using priests to scare peasants.

        Eventually the US will be forced to withdraw from much of the world by external and internal pressures. We are buying shells from Korea with its own arms industry.

        1991 might wind up like 1215. It’s a year of storybook fame, but i don’t think it tells the real story.

      2. H. Alexander Ivey

        Good point. I’ve heard some Russians suggest that.

        And it has been said the USSR prevented war in Central Europe for its existence – thru some will argue about the Hungary and Czech uprising.

        1. rkka

          And it has been said the USSR prevented war in Central Europe for its existence – thru some will argue about the Hungary and Czech uprising.

          In mid-1994, I observed that in each of the three years since the end of the Warsaw Pact, there were more war dead inflicted in Europe than were inflicted there during the entire existence of the Warsaw Pact.

          In 1945, the Soviet government took the most powerful army the world had ever seen, parked it in the middle of Europe, and said under their breath

          Anyone here wants to fight can fight us.

          Within a month of the Warsaw Pact voting itself out of existence, the wars of the Yugoslav disintegration started.

          Things have been escalating since.

          I think this reveals something about what the actual foundation of Europe’s peace 1945-1991 was, and why we have escalating conflict now.

          1. digi_owl

            Pretty much my retort whenever someone claims EU is why there has been peace in Europe since WW2.

            Nope, it was because the region was split between two massive armies having a high noon staring contest (though perhaps with less of the theatrics on show at the Korean DMZ).

  5. Expat2Uruguay

    Wasn’t there a story in the last week about a dozen+ oil tankers being sunk by US missiles off the coast of Syria? I’d like to confirm if that was real news or fake news, but I haven’t been able to find it in a search. It seems that such an action would be threatening to the prospects described in this article. I would appreciate any help in finding out more about this vaguely remembered news story.

    1. digi_owl

      Sounds like it would be big news, as such an event would be a major ecological disaster.

      Best i can find was an air strike on a supply convoy going across the land border between Syria and Iraq that included tanker trucks.

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        Thanks caucus99percenter. That’s an interesting story, but there’s no source to that tweet. Sadly.

  6. Altandmain

    The irony of this whole situation is that the US was hoping to use India as a puppet as far of the “Quad” against China. I suspect that the “Quad” will soon become the “Triple”. That’s especially the case if the US doubles down, which I think it is.

    India seems to be wisely choosing to pursuing its own interests, not becoming an American vassal state. Although India has a large and growing economy, the income per capita in India is still quite low, which is why Dr. S Jaishankar indicated that Indians will not be able to afford higher prices for oil and gas.

    In fact, India has already seen some demand destruction from higher prices.


    We can already see how Europe is facing economic decline. The European manufacturing sector is in rapid decline and the same would happen to India if they were to follow Washington’s insane advice.

    Another consideration is that if India’s growth does really take off, the US will begin to see the Indians as a geopolitical rival to US hegemony and will try to knock India down. For that reason, their interests are more aligned with Russia and China. The Indians may have their differences with the Chinese, but the US is a far greater evil.

    As far as Yellen, her price cap makes me increasingly convinced that she simply is incompetent. There is a shortage of natural gas right now, which makes a price cap very difficult to enforce. It would encourage shortages and Russia has made it clear that it will not comply with any price cap. That could cause prices to skyrocket, something that even Western commentators realize.


    The Biden administration and indeed the US Establishment seems to be a Kakistocracy. The irony of this whole situation is that Biden advertised himself to be a competent leader during the 2020 elections. His administration’s policies seem to have accelerated US decline even faster than Trump’s policies have.

    1. digi_owl

      India is held back by its colonial legacy.

      After all, the CEO of both Microsoft and Google are of Indian decent.

      And there are now enough of them in the US tech world that caste issues are becoming a frequent topic of office politics (USA is frankly the place where the world’s obsolete customs are put to pasture).

      Simply put, India has a severe brain drain problem thanks to higher education being English. Thus it is easy for a newly minted graduate to head for California rather than try to start something back home.

      Also, India has tried to play all sides since it threw off the British yoke.

      Some news about Pakistan having LNG supply problems lead me down a rabbit holes of reading up on their relationship with Iran.

      A pipeline had been in the planning for ages, but Iran wants to get India involved.

      But each time India voice interest, they end up getting some sweetheart deal from USA instead.

  7. spud

    india is like any other country that free trades, they have enemies from within. india has a PMC class and of course oligarchs. under free trade those two groups make money from all over the world, have influences all over the world, and are influenced from financial entanglements from all over the world.

    indias leadership better recognize this pronto, and nip any color revolution in the bud, and watch out for a series of so-called accidents and sanctions.

  8. The Rev Kev

    The dogs bark but the caravan moves on-

    ‘India is eager to double its trade with Russia despite calls from Western states to join their anti-Russia sanctions regime, the Indian Express reported on Sunday, citing minutes from a recent high-level meeting between Russian and Indian officials.

    “The department of commerce mentioned that it was ready to support the initiative, and on the basis of feedback from various exporters and business entities, it was confident of doubling India-Russia trade within the near foreseeable future,” the document stated, as quoted by the news outlet.

    According to the report, Indian authorities believe the use of the Indian rupee for trade settlements will help boost mutual trade. The country is expected to start trading with Russia in rupees in the near future, as top lender State Bank of India agreed to facilitate the new mechanism back in September. Also, earlier this week the Indian government officially allowed international trade settlements in Indian rupees, according to the country’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.’


  9. elkern

    This is a fun story! I can’t help but chuckle, watching two governments with such inflated egos talk past each other.

    USA is still playing at being the World Police. I don’t see any quick path out of that hole. Any President or Candidate who even vaguely admits that we don’t rule the world will never win election again; both Parties are essentially forced to keep digging the hole deeper to avoid losing elections.

    India looks at US and sees: whatever, another Empire that thinks it’s a big deal. Across 5,000 years, they’ve seen empires come and go; some even conquered India, ruled for a while, then went away. The same will of course happen to the USA, probably in much less than 5,000 years, so they’ll put up with what they have to, negotiate with everybody for fun and profit, and muddle through. Hindutva as National Religion exacerbates (or facilitates) this; the rest of us are to be pitied for the way we blindly stumble from one life to the next with no understanding of the Big Picture.

    As I expected, India tried to use the Price Cap as leverage in ongoing negotiations with Russia, and as I expected, Russia slapped that down, hard. India will make a few sanctimonious noises, then go right back to bargaining.

    India has plenty of smart, enterprising Zillionaires who would love to poke John Bull by pinching some of the new “Non-Rules-Based” Maritime Insurance market share. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. I wouldn’t be surprised if China lets India dominate that market; it will likely be lucrative, but it involves significant economic *and* political risk.

    1. digi_owl

      “Any President or Candidate who even vaguely admits that we don’t rule the world will never win election again; both Parties are essentially forced to keep digging the hole deeper to avoid losing elections.”

      And this is endlessly frustrating and worrying as a foreigner, seeing foreign policy, up to and including wars, endlessly used as a domestic political bargaining chip. Some bastards seem all too willing to start WW3 if it means 2 more years in congress!

  10. Lex

    The tighter you squeeze, the more systems slip through your grasp. What the US is doing now is isolating itself. Everyone else has to present as being onside enough to try and avoid US wrath, because the US isn’t weak enough to be ignored without a very steep cost. But a decade ago many of the nations now asserting their sovereignty would not have done so, certainly not so openly.

  11. Haider

    The Great financial armageddon is on the horizon with BRICS masterminding. The disappearance of 10,000,000,000,000 FX income generated annually from $ denominated international settlements will destroy the offshore and onshore economies. Look out for BRICS.

  12. Patrick Donnelly

    The USA still retains the UN General Assembly. Massive ‘access’ to staff and representatives on home ground. Corruption follows.

    We will know the Hegemon is no more, when it moves elsewhere, possibly deliberately having sessions on each of the inhabited continents.

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