Locked and Loaded
Here’s the latest news from Ukraine: ‘Russia Orders Troops to Target Ukraine’s Western-Supplied Weapons’:
‘Russia ordered its forces to target the long-range missiles and artillery weapons that Western countries have recently supplied to Ukraine, a sign of how Kyiv’s additional firepower has begun to reshape the conflict.’
We remind readers that our team spirit barely reaches up to the south bank of the South River in Maryland…or to the Blackwater River in Ireland…certainly not to the Dnieper.
But with so much fawning coverage by the Western media — about how the valiant freedom fighters in Kyiv are kicking Russia’s butt — we’re beginning to wonder. There’s always more to the story; what is it?
What if the Ukrainians are not winning the war, and never were?
What if Russia were not a diddly-squat country; but one with a crucial part of the world’s economy?
And what if Russia’s traditional ally — General Winter — comes to its aid?
What the world needs
As we saw yesterday, Russia produces a lot of what the world needs — food, fertiliser, and fuel. It also produces a lot of ammunition.
And what we are seeing in the Ukraine/Russia combat is a real slugfest — involving a lot of ammunition. Every day comes fresh reports that the US and its allies are stepping up the flow of weaponry to the Ukraine. What happens to it? Well…it just doesn’t last very long.
Alex Vershinin reports:
‘In short, US annual artillery production would at best only last for 10 days to two weeks of combat in Ukraine. If the initial estimate of Russian shells fired is over by 50%, it would only extend the artillery supplied for three weeks.’
In previous issues, we’ve highlighted the collateral damage to the dollar-based international money system. Now, even the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is subject to sanctions. He ‘abused his position’, says the British foreign minister. How? By supporting his own country, Russia.
And who wants to keep his wealth where foreigners can seize it, or freeze it, with no due process of law? Russia is cosying up to its Chinese, Iranian, and Indian neighbours to bypass sanctions. They’ve already created a new money system of their own. How long before it rivals ours?
The sanctions also mean that a lot of grain, fertiliser and fuel can’t be sold freely in the world market. Who is the real loser?
Germany’s ‘Energy Stalingrad’
Sanctions are like a synthetic scorched earth policy — in the West, not in Russia. They strip Europe of much of its food by stopping exports (or merely raising prices) from Russia. China, Iran, and India may be able to avoid some of the cost increases. Others will need to reduce inputs of fertiliser and suffer reduced yields. Yesterday’s news:
‘The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russian gas producer Gazprom signed on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding worth around $40 billion, Iran’s oil ministry’s news agency SHANA reported.
‘The deal was signed during an online ceremony by the CEOs of both companies on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.’
Meanwhile, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been shut down for maintenance. France’s Economy Minister says he thinks Europe should prepare for a ‘total cutoff’ of Russian gas. Germany’s economic minister says it will be a ‘political nightmare’, which could destabilise Western European governments. Already, Germans are being asked to take shorter showers…to turn off the streetlights…to stop heating public pools. In other words, they’re preparing for an attack by ‘General Winter’, still saluting its Mother Russia!
It’s going to be Germany’s ‘energy Stalingrad’, warns colleague Byron King.
Over the edge
According to The Wall Street Journal’s report on the World Food Program:
‘…increases in the cost of food and fuel since March have pushed an additional 47 million people into acute food insecurity…taking the total to 345 million worldwide…some 50 million live on the edge of famine.’
The New York Times elaborates:
‘[S]oaring fertilizer prices, driven by sanctions on Russia and Belarus, along with high global energy prices, are broadening the scope of food shortages by making it more expensive to produce and transport food around the world.’
Maybe it will be ‘worth it?’
The Washington Post says it has talked to Biden officials who say they cannot allow Russia to ‘swallow up Ukraine — an outcome officials believe could embolden Putin to invade other neighbors or even strike out at NATO members — as so high that the administration is willing to countenance even a global recession and mounting hunger’.
So let’s get this right. The country that can’t shoot straight…with an incompetent military…an economy about the size of the greater New York metropolitan area…run by a mentally defective president…
…now threatens all of Europe! And the army that can’t take Kyiv is set to march on Berlin!
Yeah, whatever. But don’t worry. Here on the western slope of the Chesapeake Bay, we are locked and loaded…with firewood ricked up the eaves…and a copy of de Caulaincourt’s With Napoleon in Russia on the kitchen table.
For The Daily Reckoning Australia