It’s a bleak one today.
- Barclays: Russian Gas Halt Would Plunge Euro Below U.S. Dollar OilPrice
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the euro has dipped by around 8 percent and is currently at $1.03.
Croatia passes law paving way for euro currency introduction SeattleTimes
In the UK, £11.8bn of taxpayers’ money has been lost to fraud due to flaws in Tories' Covid support schemes. This is the equivalent of every UK household losing more than a month’s worth of food money. MorningStar
UK Delays Ban on Get-One-Free Junk Food Deals as Inflation Soars Bloomberg
Rules banning buy-one, get-one-free offers and similar promotions for foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar will be pushed back by a year, the government said Saturday in a statement. Restrictions on free refills for soft drinks will also be delayed, though new guidelines on the placement of junk food in shops will come into force as planned in October.
- European Drivers Face Further Gasoline Squeeze OilPrice
European drivers who are already experiencing substantial pain at the pump are about to get even more unhappy as the market for naphtha, a key ingredient in gasoline, tightens amid EU sanctions on Russia.
- France’s Power Sector Further Strained By Extended Outages And Repairs OilPrice
France’s nuclear power plants are undergoing repairs and extended outages, leading to a 25% decrease in nuclear power plant output this winter … France generates more than 70% of its total electricity from nuclear power.
France, Europe’s largest power exporter, could be left scrambling to import power this winter. France typically sends power to the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain—and could soon find those countries rivals in its quest to purchase power to sustain itself through the demanding winter months.
EU readies 195 billion euro plan to quit Russian fossil fuels Reuters
Russian Economy Crash Claims Totally Inaccurate -Ex Austrian FM TeleSUR
… In this vein, Kneissl said that any claim that sanctions are hurting Russia’s economy is completely misjudged. Kneissl said that, in addition to oil and gas, Russia supplies the world market with uranium, important metals and other materials that are equally vital to the global economy.
As for the Russian ruble’s growing reliance on commodities, Kneissl said this is “an interesting development in this monetary world because it has gained strength due to the fact that oil, gas and other important commodities that you cannot easily replace are at its backbone.”
Russian economy stronger than expected – JPMorgan RT
Nissan suspends operations in Russia and Ukraine for a year TASS
Russia Not Supply Electricity to Finland From May 14 TeleSUR
“We are forced to suspend the import of electricity from May 14,” the company said, specifying that the money for sales made since May 6 has not yet been credited to its bank account.
- Kremlin says report of possible gas cuts for Finland most likely a ‘hoax’ Reuters
Asia and Oceania
- Japan’s Food Self-Sufficiency Debate Overlooks the Core Problem TheDiplomat
The MAFF plan ambitiously aims to increase the proportion of domestic production of wheat by 40 percent, soy beans by 60 percent, vegetables by 15 percent, and feed by 48 percent. The plan intends to introduce high-yield or disease-resistant new varieties for many crops to achieve these goals.
However, the feasibility of these goals is highly doubtful. The production rate for these food items has been on the decline recently. Development and introduction of new crop varieties takes time. The industry’s rapid decrease in workers and farmlands exceeds the impact of new technologies.
India Says Wheat Exports Prohibited With Immediate Effect Bloomberg
More Than One In Six Mainland Chinese On 2022 Forbes Billionaires List Are Now Below The Cut. Forbes
Unfortunately, it’s not “below the cut” in the cool way. They just lost enough money to not be billionaires anymore. How on earth am I going to convince the widespread Western Dengist menace that they’re counterrevolutionary tankie scum if there are less and less billionaires in China? We’re close to being overrun by the immense hordes of tens, if not hundreds of millions of people in America who believe that China might be persuing a socialism that doesn’t correspond to the other kinds of purer socialism that arose in other countries (which, unrelatedly, don’t exist anymore). Time to make a 2 hour video essay.
New satellite images reveal North Korea has restarted construction on long-dormant nuclear reactor CNN
Lawmakers pressure EU for full ban on trade of goods made with forced labour SCMP
Lawmakers are piling pressure on the European Commission to implement a full ban on the trade of products made using forced labour, amid concerns that bureaucrats could water down plans to outlaw the practice later this year.
It calls for a total ban on the “import and export of products made or transported by forced labour”, as well as those found within the EU’s single market.
The motion is not aimed directly at China, but names only two instances of alleged forced labour in draft text seen by the South China Morning Post.
They are: the situation of Uygurs in Xinjiang, where China has been accused of cultivating a widespread programme of forced labour; and the alleged use of forced labour and human trafficking in the Serbian factory of Chinese firm Shandong Linglong Tyre Co.
In the US, which enacted the Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act earlier this year, customs authorities have been stretched to the brink, while importers have complained about the burden of proving a negative: that there is no forced labour in your supply chain, particularly beyond tier one and two suppliers in China.
Iran signs 110 mln euro contract to repair Venezuelan refinery Reuters
China and Uzbekistan: An Emerging Development Partnership? TheDiplomat
Uzbekistan’s economic engagement with China is mainly about infrastructure. An important area of cooperation is the much anticipated China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project (commonly known as the CKU), a 4,380-kilometer multimodal railway that aims to connect the Chinese city of Lanzhou to Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) dovetails with Uzbekistan’s aspirations to expand commercial and trade routes. Since the launch of the BRI in 2013, Uzbekistan has become a strategic geopolitical partner to China. Although the two countries don’t share a border, Uzbekistan’s location places it as a key nodal point in the BRI. Two of the BRI routes pass through Uzbekistan connecting eastward to China through either Kazakhstan in the west or Kyrgyzstan in the south; those two routes merge in Tashkent and transit in Turkmenistan to reach Iran, West Asia, and India, the latter connected from Iranian ports. Uzbek shippers can also connect to Europe, the Caucasus, and Turkey by accessing the train services on two other routes passing through Kazakhstan.
The injection of Chinese investment comes at a cost. Overreliance on China as a market and foreign investor creates significant risks, of which Uzbekistan and the other Central Asian states are already aware, some more than others. Concessional loans for infrastructure and technical assistance projects stipulate that no less than half of the materials, equipment, technology, and services procured under the contract should come from China. Uzbekistan’s economic difficulties and isolated geographic location make it particularly receptive — or vulnerable — to Chinese debt. Although Chinese credit increases economic activity and facilitates trade growth in Uzbekistan, the country runs the risk of becoming addicted to, and dependent on, Chinese investment to maintain and develop infrastructure constructed under BRI. Another concern is that in a context of facilitated trade, Chinese companies’ comparative advantages might destroy the competitiveness of local companies and create more demand for Chinese imports to Uzbekistan and Central Asia generally.
This is, of course, never an issue when the US does it.
- East Africa drought: ‘The suffering here has no equal’ BBC
A fourth season of failed rains is causing one of the worst droughts East Africa has seen in decades …
… the UN’s World Food Programme says up to 20 million people in East Africa are at risk of severe hunger.
Ethiopia is battling the worst drought in almost half a century and in Somalia 40% of the population are at risk of starvation.
- Extreme drought: millions of Kenyans going hungry AfricaNews
Like its neighbours in the horn of Africa, Kenya is experiencing extreme drought conditions. Some 3.5 million people are suffering from starvation.
- Baby Formula Industry Successfully Lobbied to Weaken Bacteria Safety Testing Standards TheIntercept
The current formula shortage is traced in part to a contamination-induced shutdown at a key manufacturing plant.
Baby Formula Shortage Worsened By Shopping Bots Buying Up Inventory Forbes
Oil rises 4% as US gasoline prices jump to record high AlJazeera
Biden’s battling one energy price nightmare. Here comes another. Politico
The Biden administration has been trying for months to dodge the political fallout from high gasoline prices. Now it has an even bigger energy headache to worry about.
A new record high for gasoline at $4.40 a gallon drew a fresh spate of headlines this week. But prices for another crucial fossil fuel — natural gas — have also surged to their highest levels in more than a decade, raising costs for everything from home heating and cooking to fertilizer, chemicals and wholesale electricity.
The US Can’t Make Enough Fuel and There’s No Fix in Sight Bloomberg
Americans haven’t hated the economy this much since the sloth-like recovery from the Great Recession BusinessInsider
- Venezuelan Telecom Rallies on Maduro Plan to List State Assets Bloomberg
Maduro says government to offer 5%-10% stakes in some firms; CANTV jumps more than 40% in two days after Maduro comments
- Pricey tortillas: LatAm’s poor struggle to afford staples SeattleTimes
- Oil Prices Climb Despite Demand Destruction Claims OilPrice. Also: Oil Prices Rise as Supply Concerns Persist TeleSUR
Despite reports from the IEA and OPEC that emphasized a decline in oil demand, oil prices jumped on Friday due to fears of Europe implementing a Russian oil ban.
- From Sneakers to Teslas, China Lockdowns Upend Global Supply Chains Bloomberg
Supplies of Adidas sneakers and Bang & Olufsen speakers have been hit. Automakers from Toyota to Tesla are facing “unprecedented” costs and production hurdles. Sony is struggling to make enough PlayStations.
China targetted gamers. Gamers. I bet Xi Jinping has never beat Dark Souls at SL1. I bet he’s never 100%’d every mission in every Assassin’s Creed game. Hell, I don’t even think he’s even beaten Darker Side in Mario Odyssey.
While “supply-chain disruption” is emerging once more as the most repeated phrase of corporate earnings season, the impact goes beyond multinationals’ profits. Hospitals from the US to Australia are wrestling with a shortage of chemicals used in X-rays, while real-estate projects are held up by delayed materials.
This pales in comparison to the gamer genocide.
- Russia-driven food shortage means cereal and corn will start running out in 2023, UN warns. ‘The world faces the risk of food shortages’ Fortune
Diplomatically and Politically
Involving Ukraine or Russia
- In first since Ukraine invasion, Pentagon chief speaks with Russian counterpart Reuters
Austin has tried multiple times to try and talk with Shoigu since the invasion started nearly three months ago, but officials said Moscow had appeared uninterested.
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the call, which was requested by Austin, lasted about an hour but did not solve any specific issues or lead to direct changes in what the Russians are doing in Ukraine.
Macron suggested Ukraine give up some of its sovereignty to allow Putin to save face, says Zelensky Yahoo
South Ossetia’s new president maintains that the breakaway republic should join Russia, sets date of referendum to be in July. Yahoo. Also: South Ossetia’s Supreme Court gives positive opinion about referendum TASS
Vast majority of Chinese have positive view of Russia RT
A new survey claims nearly 80% of respondents in China have a favorable attitude towards Russia but views on the US have worsened
Asked why their view of Russia had improved, many cited their admiration for the country’s leadership. Some of the common responses were “Trust Putin,” “Putin has guts,” and “Strong leadership.” Many Chinese people also stated that they felt a “brotherly love” between Russia and China, while some said they believed that “the enemy of an enemy is our friend.”
During the same three-year period, Chinese views of the US seem to have significantly worsened as less than a third of respondents claimed to have a favorable view of the country. The US was ranked the most negatively viewed country of the 25 mentioned, with some participants stating that while they perceive the US as an advanced and powerful state, they feel it is hostile to China, untrustworthy and has a tendency to interfere in other countries’ affairs.
Nearly 60% of participants stated that they believed Americans had a generally negative view of China, while only about 10% thought that Russians were ill-disposed towards Chinese people.
- British Police Have Disturbingly Deceived Many Activists Into Romantic Relationships. I’m already aware of this as TrueAnon did a segment on it and it was pretty horrific. Jacobin
In her new memoir Small Town Girl: Love, Lies, and the Undercover Police, activist Donna McLean writes of her boyfriend, known to her then as Carlo Neri, proposing at their shared Maida Vale apartment on New Year’s Eve in 2002. It was three months after they had met, introduced by mutual friends while protesting against the direction of the British government to go to war against Iraq. Carlo had already won the love of her family and had become a comfortable member of her tight-knit circle of friends.
Donna said yes. Carlo wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet; those who had gathered at the couple’s home to celebrate the new year cheered. The atmosphere was euphoric.
It was another thirteen years before Donna found out that Carlo Neri — the locksmith, anti-fascist, and trade union militant — had never existed. Neri was a character played by a different Carlo, a Metropolitan Police officer, and their relationship was part of an undercover operation orchestrated to spy on her activist friends. Every minute they spent together was being paid for by the state. The photographs of his son that he had brought into her flat were real — but what he hadn’t told her was that his son’s mother, to whom he was still married, was living in a house less than ten miles away.
Since 1968, more than one thousand political groups — the vast majority left-wing — have been infiltrated by units of the Met including the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Among others, the Met has spied on environmentalist groups, socialist and anarchist organizations, and justice campaigners like the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Asia and Oceania
Biden Hails “New Era” of US-ASEAN Ties at Washington Summit LaotianTimes. Also: US-ASEAN ties to be upgraded to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in November: Statement VietnamNews. Also: Malaysia touts trade access as U.S. Indo-Pacific plan only a ‘good beginning’ Inquirer
U.S. Seeks ASEAN Proxy Willing To Poke China Moon of Alabama
Marcos has said that he will keep the Philippines on the same neutral foreign policy line as Duterte did. Developing better relations with China is part of that. That does not fit U.S. plans to use the Philippines as a proxy to poke the Chinese tiger.
Currently Biden is holding a summit with the leaders of countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Myanmar was not invited to the summit and Duterte did not take part.
The agenda of the summit is astonishingly thin:
On Thursday evening, the White House announced new investments of about $150 million in the region as part of a series of agreements between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.
The investments by the United States include $40 million for clean energy projects in Southeast Asia. … The United States also pledged to invest $60 million to deploy additional maritime assets — led by the Coast Guard — to the region, and to perform training and other activities in coordination with other countries aimed at enforcing maritime laws.
And the administration said it would spend $15 million to expand health surveillance programs in Southeast Asia and better detect Covid-19 and other airborne diseases in the region.
These numbers are stingy and will not move anyone to support the U.S. against China which spends billions on infrastructure in those countries.
- In a simialr vein: US summit won’t sway ASEAN centrality, say analysts KhmerTimes
ASEAN leaders are more likely to emphasize their economic interests, analysts have said, adding the bloc members, who are seeking a post-pandemic economic recovery, will put ASEAN centrality at the forefront while deflecting any attempt to draw them into a US sphere of influence.
Time Is Running Out to Save Sri Lanka from Total Economic Collapse NakedCapitalism
North Korea Reports 6 Deaths After Admitting COVID-19 Outbreak TheDiplomat. Also: Kim Jong Un warns of ‘great turmoil’; 21 new ‘fever’ deaths AlJazeera. Also: Kim Jong-un declares Covid outbreak a ‘great disaster’ Guardian
North Korea says there have been 350,000 cases of fever – including 18,000 on Thursday alone – but it’s unclear how many of those with symptoms actually have COVID-19.
27 killed in fire in Indian capital BangkokPost
Is Australia still a Covid success - and does it matter to the election? BBC
New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID SeattleTimes
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 but said she still plans to travel to the U.S. later this month for a trade trip and to give the commencement speech at Harvard University.
The Japanese hunger striker demanding an end to US bases in Okinawa Guardian
Finland’s, Sweden’s rejection of neutrality to cause them serious damage, says Zhang Guoqing, expert at Chinese Social Studies Academy Institute of US Studies. TASS
“As for these two countries, the loss of neutral status will cause them relatively significant damage,” the specialist underscored. “It cannot be seen in a short-term perspective, but in a long-term perspective, their transformation from neutral states to NATO member states will lead to negative consequences.”
Israel Admits It Might Have Killed Journalist, Attacks Her Funeral TheIntercept
EU says talks with Iran ‘positive enough’ to reopen nuclear negotiations Reuters
Turkey pins NATO expansion on support in Kurdish conflict. So fucking cool that the only person holding NATO back is a deeply racist dictator. SeattleTimes
Turkey doesn’t favor Sweden and Finland joining NATO, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Istanbul on Friday, potentially dashing the two countries’ hopes of a quick accession to the military alliance.
Erdogan cited concerns over the presence of “terrorists” in both countries. A senior Turkish official later said Ankara wants Sweden and Finland to take a clear stand against supporters of a Kurdish militant group that’s fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast. Ankara will hold negotiations over their membership in the alliance, the official added.
Why is the United States Getting Away with Unleashing a Global Biological War? NEO
1894 Sioux Nation Treaty Council Appeals To UN As Colonized Nation PopularResistance
Problem With Lethal Injection Drugs Prompts Ohio Gov to Postpone Execution Newsweek
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has delayed the execution of a death row inmate for the second time as the state continues to struggle to find lethal injection drugs.
Lethal injection has been the preferred method of execution in states that have the death penalty, but as drug companies continue to block their drugs from being used in executions, states have faced difficulty obtaining drug alternatives.
- Gang Violence Leaves Haiti’s Health System in Hardship TeleSUR
Doctors Without Borders has warned that the latest wave of violence in Port-au-Prince is beginning to strain Haiti’s flimsy health services, with a rising number of gunshot victims needing intensive care.
- Navy’s Latest Shipbuilding Plan Is Not Good News For The Industrial Base Forbes
The U.S. Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan calls for reducing the number of manned warships in the fleet to 280 later in the decade, at a time when the number of warships in the Chinese fleet is expected to grow beyond 400.
U.S. warships typically are more capable than their Chinese counterparts, but when you factor in the concentration of Beijing’s fleet in or near home waters while the U.S. fleet must cover the entire world, it appears U.S. naval power in the Western Pacific is headed for marked inferiority.
- Through Struggle, Bolivia Became the Center of the World. An adapted speech by Bolivia’s foreign minister, Rorgelio Mayta. Jacobin
There, in this burning epicenter, everything that matters was at play. The centers of power and global decision-making were our periphery. Without a doubt, I do not think we are the periphery. This mini-census is not intended to be paralyzing. Quite the opposite.
In Bolivia, like in so many other places, what’s at stake is not a set of goods or a piece of land, not even a government. We have fought to defend life itself, to nourish her and watch her grow with dignity. We do not know of anything more important to do in these difficult times.
We are the center of the world.
- A Bill Could Criminalize NGOs and the Media in Venezuela CaracasTimes
- 4-hour wait for 5 gallons of gas: Oil shortage sparks panic-buying in Kyiv NBC
Sitting in a line that stretched as far as the eye could see down the side of a highway, Marina, who spoke on the condition of omitting her last name, said she was waiting to fill up another 20-liter can of fuel to add to her stockpile at home. The amount — just over 5 gallons — was the maximum allowed at the gas station.
She said she wanted to make sure she, her husband and their two kids would have enough fuel to make it safely to the border if Russians forces ever returned to the region.
- Noam Chomsky Says Ukraine Desire for Heavy Weapons Is ‘Western Propaganda’ Newsweek
“What if we were to argue to the Ukrainian people that if we provide the huge arms demanded by Zelensky, by the president, that this will be an act of destruction for the Ukrainian people, but the position of the Ukrainian people in response to that is, ‘We want those arms,'” U.K. journalist Owen Jones asked Chomsky in an interview shared Wednesday.
He continued: “Because then in a sense, it’s this danger that we’re arguing something against the expressed will of the Ukrainian people, we’re saying that ‘This will lead to your violent destruction,’ but their argument is ‘We need this in order to end a war of aggression, which is a war of subjugation,’ how do we square that?”
Chomsky responded: “Well in the Western propaganda system, what we hear is Ukrainian people want more and more arms. That’s the U.S. and British propaganda system.”
He stated that Zelensky—whom he said is “as much of a voice to the Ukrainian people as we have any idea about”—has “repeatedly” called for a “pretty sensible” political settlement in which Ukraine would “commit itself to neutralization,” give up NATO membership prospects, postpone the Crimea issue, and “move towards some kind of accommodation on Donbas.”
The article then goes on to quote the many times when Zelensky has asked for weaponry from the West.
- Russian telegram claims that the General Staff of Ukraine has made it illegal to criticize foreign equipment. “It was revealed that Ukrainian militants are now actively criticizing American M-113 armored personnel carriers, Javelin complexes, and British anti-aircraft systems. In addition, Polish tanks and Czech Dana howitzers began to be criticized.”
Russia + Donbass militia punches northwards from Popasna, assaulting settlements on their trek to Severodonetsk’s rear. Also, Russian aligned forces report that they’re attacking the outskirts of Severodonetsk, a little south of Vojevodivka, now that Rubizhne has fallen. Le cauldron develops.
Russia has had issues with crossing the river that runs through the area (always a pain in the ass during war) but appears to have managed it in multiple locations if DPA’s maps are true.
Very grisly footage continues to come in of Ukrainian soldiers lying dead and quite literally blown into pieces all along the Donbass front.
- Russia takes a village on the southern front near Zaporizhzhia (a particularly static place in the war, though I’m unsure how much effort is being expended there on either side) on their way to Velyka Novosilka, a slightly larger town now on the front. DPA notes that this is a transport hub for Ukraine, and would also potentially allow an encirclement of a local cluster of Ukrainian fortifications, and so taking it would be strategically significant. Even so, at this rate of movement, we probably won’t see news about it for a few weeks.
Dipshittery and Cope
- How Long Can Xi Prioritize ‘Zero COVID’ over the Economy? CTRL-F: “saving”. No mentions. “human”. No mentions. “lives”. No mentions. “death”. No mentions. That’s all you really need to know. TheDiplomat
Drawing on Mao-era terminology, Xi declared that “perseverance is victory” in what he has dubbed a “people’s war” against COVID-19.
Xi’s latest words also signal an unprecedented level of political sensitivity around his maximum suppression strategy. In a warning against dissent, Xi called on officials to “resolutely struggle” against those who “distort, question or negate our nation’s pandemic containment policies,” conveying a distinctly nationalistic tone. This comes amid growing criticism of Beijing’s zero-tolerance approach from both domestic and foreign observers.
Xi has sent a clear signal that he ultimately considers COVID-19 mitigation to be an even higher priority than the economy. This prompts an important question: Given all of the growing opposition and mounting economic disruption, why does China’s leader still feel the need to stick with such strict containment measures?
As I have explored before in The Diplomat, one reason is a narrative of systemic superiority that Beijing developed after its earlier success at suppressing COVID-19. It would also be a significant risk for Xi Jinping to change course during this politically charged year, in which he is expected seek a convention-breaking third term in power.
But Xi’s renewed commitment to zero COVID makes sense for another reason. During almost a decade in power, China’s leader has repeatedly shown a willingness to deprioritize economic growth in favor of political and social issues that he considers more urgent. Last year’s “common prosperity” campaign to redistribute wealth is a case in point, while efforts to alleviate rural poverty and protect the environment also fit this calculus.
If activity remains depressed over the next one or two quarters, the economic and social effects would start to be felt much more acutely. It is precisely this sort of politically destabilizing scenario that Xi needs to avoid and that could ultimately force him to change direction on zero COVID.
As we all know, the economy is entirely independent of people and The Line is determined by the whims of God. I’m reminded of an earlier article that said that commodities are no longer important to the global economy:
With vast territory and abundant mineral reserves, Russia since the days of the czars has banked upon parlaying natural wealth into geopolitical power. The strategy of becoming an “energy superpower” was always a dubious one, but especially so today. Putin is flailing against the history of modern economic development. The wealth of modern nations is overwhelmingly generated by human beings and their capabilities. Natural resources (land, energy and all the rest) have accounted for a shrinking share of global output for the past two centuries, with no end in sight.
“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realise that actually, money tastes pretty nice, and you can totally build an entire economy with no material inputs with it just being people gambling on cryptocurrencies for the rest of time!”
- Ukraine’s Allies Are Blundering Their Handling of Putin An Acceptance article. WaPo
If Israel has a senior global strategist, he is Yehezkel Dror. As a professor at the Hebrew University, he has educated generations of Israeli leaders. Six prime ministers have consulted him on issues of war and peace. …
Dror: “No. I think President Zelenskiy is facing a Melian Dilemma. … In short … the strong win and the weak lose. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Athenian generals presented the leaders of Melos with an ultimatum. ‘Look the facts in the face and consider how you can save your city from destruction,’ they said. ‘The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.’ The Melians felt they had the high moral ground and the support of a strong ally, Sparta. So, they refused to give in.”
Interviewer: “That decision, as I recall, ended in the annihilation of Melos. I assume that is not what you think will happen to Ukraine?”
Dror: “No. This war, like most wars, will end with no absolute winner. Both sides will lose. The question is which side loses more. Ukraine is fighting bravely. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has become a mass media hero. Western countries are condemning Russia and providing Kyiv with weapons and sanctions. But meanwhile, Ukraine is being partly devastated and depopulated. It is paying a very high price in blood and material, while Russia remains secure.”
Dror: “There is no “rules-based order,” only a partly coordinated international system. There can be no breakdown of what does not really exist. And, although it is not popular to say so, Ukraine is not blameless in this conflict. President Zelenskiy failed to understand that the desire to join NATO posed what President Vladimir Putin saw as a serious strategic threat to Russia. In April 2019, Zelenskiy said he regarded Putin “as an enemy.” In December 2021, he called for pre-emptive action against Russia. No one should have been surprised by the Russian invasion in February. Zelenskiy, who is an amateur at statecraft, was surprised and strategically blind.”
Interviewer: “The US and its allies do not appear to be moved by Russian fears, real or imagined. They frame the war as a battle between good and evil, democracy versus authoritarian dictatorship, progress against reaction. "
Dror: “This is delusional. There is no such thing as an inevitable “right side of history.” Not very long ago, rule by royal dynasties was regarded as the right side of history. And today, this idea is not universally held. For example, China, a highly relevant player in the world, does not share it. It has a very long political tradition and feelings of superiority that enable it to laugh off such prevailing Western notions.”
Dror: “First, I suggest to stop feeding misery in Ukraine by adding weapons to the fire, especially aggressive weapons. The war will very likely end with neither side completely satisfied. But Ukraine, as the weaker side, will be less satisfied. … I propose that the US, China, the EU and India meet in a neutral venue such as Singapore. If they can reach an agreement, they could then press it on Putin and Zelenskiy.”
Now for something more comedic and light-hearted. You’re gonna need it before the Climate section.
- ‘The country I love is becoming the country I left,’ says Chinese GOP candidate Lily Tang Williams Yahoo
In the segment, host Tucker Carlson began by reporting on Shanghai’s complete lockdown, describing how Chinese authorities were “ripping children from their parents’ arms” and “sending people to concentration camps,” referring to China’s quarantine centers.
Carlson condemned the East Asian country’s “totalitarian” measures but stated that the U.S.’ lack of critique and even “praise” was a cause for even more concern. “Watching that, you begin to ask yourself, ‘What can stop something like that from happening here if the people from our country are for it?'” warned Carlson.
“It sounds like your childhood in a repressive country really informs how you view America right now.” Williams also added that she was seeing a “rise of authoritarianism and tyranny” and that she did not want “another cultural revolution happening in [her] new country.” Carlson asked if the U.S. leaders “praising” China made her feel “uncomfortable.” “Not just uncomfortable,” responded Williams. “I’m terrified.”
On her Twitter, Williams describes herself as a “communism survivor” and “freedom lover.” In her recent Tweet, she writes that she “fled China for America in 1988” and was running to “fight for freedom” and “keep the American Dream alive.”
- Elon Musk thinks the American work ethic is alive and well … in China Fortune
While workers in China work through the night “burning the 3 a.m. oil,” he told the Financial Times, workers in America “are trying to avoid going to work at all.”
He extolled the many “super talented and hardworking people in China that strongly believe in manufacturing,” saying it’s like a “won’t even leave the factory type of thing.”
Musk’s comments come just days after reports emerged that workers at Tesla’s massive factory in Shanghai have been sleeping on-site and working 12-hour shifts with just one day off per week.
How Native Americans Are Keeping The Bees Alive PopularResistance
A Colorado State University-led study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology reveals that in U.S. cities over a several-year period, natural gas pipeline leaks were more prevalent in neighborhoods with low-income or majority non-white populations than those with high income or predominately white populations. ScienceDaily
‘Cash, coal, cars and trees’: what progress has been made since Cop26? Guardian
In the months since, however, there has been little advance on the Cop26 promises of cash. Rachel Kyte and Lord Stern, both former top World Bank officials, told the Guardian of several concerns over the World Bank’s programmes on climate. Stern said the bank’s resources would be stretched by the additional strains of high energy and food prices around the world, and the effects of the war in Ukraine.
Okay, not looking so great. What about the other three?
Since then, new evidence has emerged of coal expansion as recovery from Covid has quickened, and the war in Ukraine has spurred some countries to consider a return to coal, or a delay to its phasing out.
…right. But surely we can make more electric cars and stuff, if not trains, right?
Electric vehicle sales doubled in key markets last year, as manufacturers ramped up production and consumers embraced new models. But the future of the market this year is looking more uncertain; the war in Ukraine has disrupted key supply chains, and Volkswagen in Germany said earlier this month that it had sold out of electric vehicles for this year for its EU and US markets. Other manufacturers are also struggling with rising costs and looking for alternative sources for components.
Ah. Well, maybe we can save the trees at least.
But in the past months, Brazil’s deforestation rate in the Amazon has soared to devastating record levels, and a report on the Congo – one of the world’s most important remaining rainforests – has cast doubt on the government’s willingness to take the action needed to halt logging and destruction.
Never mind. Things have actively gotten worse since Cop26, as everybody predicted they would. However, I reckon if we give capitalism just 30 more years then we might actually get somewhere, because of like, competition and, um, technology, and… uh, investment, which is impossible in socialist countries.
Birds fall from the sky as heatwave scorches India Reuters
Early Monsoon in India to Give Relief From Heat and Spur Sowing Bloomberg
“Like an inferno:” U.S. West burning at furious pace so far DenverPost
Nationwide, more than 2,000 square miles (5,180 square kilometers) have burned so far this year — the most at this point since 2018, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Predictions for the rest of the spring do not bode well for the West, with the drought and warmer weather brought on by climate change worsening wildfire danger.
- Record high temperatures this weekend ‘are difficult for our firefighters’ CNN
Record temperatures expected in the fire-ravaged Southwest will continue to worsen the deepening drought, as well as make for tough fire-fighting conditions, as an intense heat wave will be felt across most of the southern tier of the US this weekend.
“High temperatures are difficult for our firefighters,” said Isaac Sanchez, battalion chief of communications for CalFire. “Just existing in those conditions is more difficult. Our ability to fight a fire for a long time and our firefighters endurance are all impacted.
I Thought I’d Mention
- Peru: Earthquake Higher Than 8.5 Degrees Possible TeleSUR
According to the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP), there is a high possibility of an earthquake higher than 8.5 degrees occurring in the capital of Lima.
- Boris Johnson says people should work in-person again because when he works from home he gets distracted by cheese BusinessInsider