In which there will be a recession, there won’t be a recession, there might be a recession, there probably will be a recession, there’s a chance there won’t be a recession, and it’s possible that there will be a recession.
Nike withdraws from Russia due to logistical problems.
Germany Prepares Coal-fired Backup If Russian Gas Stops OilPrice
Poland ‘very disappointed’ with Germany RT
Germany has failed to supply Poland with battle tanks after Warsaw depleted its own stocks to send heavy equipment to Ukraine, Polish President Andrzej Duda told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Poland has “weakened” its own military potential by using its own capacity to supply Kiev with “a large number of tanks,” Duda said, adding that Warsaw had expected support from NATO, and Berlin in particular.
Most of Poland’s tanks are German-made Leopards, the president explained, adding that Berlin earlier promised to replace military hardware delivered to Ukraine.
The West Desperately Needs To Invest In Uranium Mining OilPrice
Travel chaos looms as rail workers vote overwhelmingly for national strike Telegraph
The RMT union announced on Tuesday evening that its 40,000 members, across Network Rail and 13 out of 15 train operators, had voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
These were Chiltern Railways, Cross Country Trains, Greater Anglia, LNER, East Midlands Railway, c2c, Great Western Railway, Northern Trains, South Eastern Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast and West Midlands Trains.
It means that railways will only be able to open for 12 hours a day, instead of 24 hours. Services would run from 7am and 7pm, sources told The Telegraph. As many as 80 per cent of routes would be scrapped, with those that remain open running a reduced service.
The union said it was the greatest endorsement for industrial action by railway workers since privatisation, and is believed to be the biggest rail strike since Margaret Thatcher was in office.
Britain could soon be hit by a bottled beer shortage as glassware production costs soar, according to leading Scottish wholesaler Dunns Food and Drinks. Suppliers are already starting to struggle with a glassware shortage after prices skyrocketed by 80% over the past year due to rising energy costs.
Citigroup’s CEO says she is certain that war in Ukraine and the energy crisis will plunge Europe into a recession BusinessInsider
Russia’s biggest oil company has slashed its production levels as sanctions bite, report says BusinessInsider
Russia’s ruble continues to rally despite Moscow easing a key capital control, pushing the world’s top-performing currency even higher against the dollar BusinessInsider
Russia’s Oil Export Loophole Runs Through Greece OilPrice
The Rotterdam Port Authority plans to build large electrolysis units on reclaimed land and power them with new offshore wind turbines.
Europe’s Largest Port Plans To Become A Major Hydrogen Hub OilPrice
Burning gas to produce electricity is ‘stupid,’ the CEO of power giant Enel says CNBC
It wasn’t stupid before, when the only threat was something relatively small like a mass extinction and the deaths of billions of people, but now that we’re opposing Putler? Yeah, now it’s stupid.
Asia and Oceania
New Zealand’s central bank lifts rates to 2%, the highest level since 2016 Guardian
Quad discusses energy prices, food security, announces $50 billion for Indo-Pacific IndiaTV
The Quad leaders on Tuesday launched a new initiative for the Indo-Pacific that allows the partner countries to fully monitor the regional waters and announced over $50 billion of infrastructure assistance for the region over the next five years […]
In his televised opening remarks at the summit, Modi said the Quad is carrying a constructive agenda for the Indo-Pacific and it will further strengthen the image of the four-nation grouping as a “force for good'. In the deliberations, the leaders of the Quad, comprising India, Australia, the US and Japan, discussed their respective responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis and assessed its implications for the Indo-Pacific.
“In such a short time, Quad has assumed an important place on the world stage. Today the scope of Quad has become broader and the format has become effective,” Modi said in presence of US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese. “Our mutual trust, our determination, is giving new energy and enthusiasm to the democratic forces. Our mutual cooperation at the Quad level is giving a boost to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Though Biden and Kishida spoke strongly against the Russian attack on Ukraine, Modi did not touch upon the issue.
- Sri Lanka hikes fuel prices; petrol at all-time high of Rs 420, diesel Rs 400 per litre IndiaTV
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Tuesday raised the petrol price by 24.3 per cent and diesel by 38.4 per cent, a record hike in fuel prices amidst the country’s worst economic crisis due to the shortage of foreign exchange reserves. With the second fuel price hike since April 19, now the most-used Octane 92 petrol would cost 420 rupees (USD 1.17) and diesel 400 rupees (USD 1.11) a litre, an all-time high.
Kyrgyzstan, as of a month ago, is buying Russian fuels and lubricants in rubles.
Turkish lira plunges the most since 2021 meltdown Al Jazeera
Already the worst performer in emerging markets this year, the lira on Tuesday is on track for the world’s biggest decline against the dollar, slipping as much as 1.5% to the weakest level in five months. Little relief is in sight, especially as energy costs spiral higher for Turkey.
“Pressure on the lira is mounting,” said Per Hammarlund, chief emerging markets strategist at SEB AB in Stockholm. He cited “persistently high inflation, signs of slowing growth in Turkey and its main trading partners, and a disastrously misguided monetary policy.”
- Uzbekistan Restarts Gas Exports To China OilPrice
The US will not renew the license that allowed Russia to make payments on foreign debt in dollars. The Ministry of Finance of Russia made two premature bond payments before the license expired, meaning that any potential “default” would be in July. Russian officials believe it will not have much of an impact on anything, as the default would be purely artificial and so would not affect the financial reputation of Russia.
Russia is now exposed to a historic debt default: Here’s what happens next CNBC
Adam Solowsky, partner in the Financial Industry Group at global law firm Reed Smith, told CNBC on Friday that Moscow will likely argue that it is not in default since payment was made impossible, despite it having the funds available.
“We’ve seen this argument before where OFAC sanctions have prevented payments from going through, the sovereign issuer has claimed that they are not in default because they tried to make the payment and were blocked,” said Solowsky, who specializes in representing trustees on sovereign bond defaults and restructuring.
“They are potentially looking at a scenario of prolonged litigation after the situation has resolved as they try to determine if there was in fact a default.”
FERC approves new natural gas pipeline projects to increase U.S. exports EIA
S&P 500, Nasdaq slide as weak economic data, dire outlooks stoke recession fears Reuters
Jamie Dimon softens tone on a recession: ‘They’re storm clouds. They may dissipate’ Fortune
There’s a 50% to 60% chance of a mild recession next year, former Fed vice chair says CNBC
Economist David Rosenberg predicts the S&P 500 will crash a further 17%, and says we’re currently ‘reliving the summer of 2008’ BusinessInsider
US Federal Reserve says its goal is ‘to get wages down’ Multipolarista
Economist Michael Hudson responded to these remarks by the Fed, analyzing the inflation crisis in a May 13 panel organized by the International Manifesto Group.
“Inflation is basically the excuse that right-wing governments have for trying to lower wage levels by blaming the inflation on rising wages,” he said.
“What economists like to blame it [inflation] on is labor, on rising wages, on government social spending, and of course on Russia trying to break away from America’s unipolar international order,” Hudson explained.
“Well it’s junk economics, of course,” Hudson continued. “Today’s inflation throughout the world, not only in the United States but now in Europe, is led by pure monopoly powers, headed … by energy and food prices.”
The United States and NATO are trying to blame inflation on Putin and Russia not exporting oil and gas to Europe, as a result of the NATO sanctions against it, but gas hasn’t stopped yet, and … the US oil companies have said that, looking forward, they see a supply problem, and they’re raising prices now even though the supply of oil hasn’t really changed at all.”
“So you have supply being fairly constant, but prices going way up, because the oil companies say, ‘We anticipate they’ll go up, therefore we’re raising oil prices, because we can.’ Well, the same thing is happening in agriculture.”
“You’re also having rent rising as a result of the plunge in home ownership rates, that started with President Obama’s mass evictions of the victims of junk mortgage lending.”
“And the private capital investors that are taking over all of the houses, the owner-occupied houses that have defaulted, they’re being sold off, and you’ve had home ownership rates falling by about 10 percent in the United States since 2008.”
“Well now you have companies like Blackstone very sharply rising rents. In New York they’ve been jumping by about one-third in the last year. So again, with the same amount of real estate, prices are going way up.”
“So none of this can be blamed on labor,” Hudson stressed.
- Housing Bubble Getting Ready to Pop: Unsold Inventory of New Houses Spikes by Most Ever, to Highest since 2008, with 9 Months’ Supply, Sales Collapse at Prices below $400k Naked Capitalism
- Stellantis CEO warns of electric vehicle battery shortage, followed by lack of raw materials CNBC
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said he expects shortages of the batteries and raw materials needed to make electric vehicles in the coming years, as the global automotive industry pivots to EVs to meet an expected increase in consumer demand and government regulations.
Tavares said he expects a shortage of EV batteries by 2024-2025, followed by a lack of raw materials for the vehicles that will slow availability and adoption of EVs by 2027-2028.
Diplomatically and Politically
Involving Ukraine or Russia
Russian doctors are sharing best practices with Tajik colleagues, with direct co-operation between them.
Moldova’s pro-Russian opposition leader detained on corruption charges Guardian
The head of Moldova’s pro-Russian opposition party, former president Igor Dodon, has reportedly been detained on corruption charges, in a move likely to anger the Kremlin.
- Ukraine Newspaper Warns New York Times Not to ‘Appease’ Putin Newsweek
A Ukrainian newspaper warned The New York Times not to “appease Putin” after an editorial suggested that Ukraine might have to make a “painful compromise” to end the war.
The Times, in an editorial published last Thursday titled The War in Ukraine Is Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready, The Times critiqued the Biden administration for its “reluctance to put down clear goal posts” for the war, which began three months ago when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine.
The editorial board wrote that despite Russia’s struggles to make any meaningful progress in the conflict, its military “remains too strong” for a decisive victory for Ukraine to be a “realistic goal,” encouraging the Biden administration to make clear the limits to how far the U.S. will go to help Ukraine.
“If the conflict does lead to real negotiations, it will be Ukrainian leaders who will have to make the painful territorial decisions that any compromise will demand,” the board wrote.
- Russia ready to grant passage to vessels with food from Ukrainian ports TASS
“The resolution of a food problem requires a comprehensive approach, including that related to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russian export and financial transactions, as well as mine clearing is needed on the part of Ukraine in all the ports where the ships are docked. Russia is ready to provide the necessary humanitarian passage which it is doing on a daily basis,” the senior diplomat said.
- Chinese top diplomat calls for ‘green corridor’ for grain exports from Russia TASS
“In the current situation, the international community should assist a soonest ceasefire, contribute to creating a ‘green corridor’ for grain exports from Russia and Ukraine,” Wang Yi was quoted as saying by the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website.
- Finland, Sweden to send teams to Turkey to discuss NATO bids, Haavisto says Reuters
“We understand that Turkey has some of their own security concerns vis-a-vis terrorism,” Haavisto said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We think that these issues can be settled. There might be also some issues that are not linked directly to Finland and Sweden but more to other NATO members.”
- Hungary declares state of emergency RT
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, citing the conflict in Ukraine, just hours after parliament approved the measure as a way for Budapest to respond to crisis situations.
Orban announced the emergency in a video address on his Facebook page. The emergency regime takes effect at midnight, and the first measures will be revealed on Wednesday.
Asia and Oceania
- ‘Children are starving’: A cry for help from flood-hit Bangladesh Al Jazeera
The worst floods in Bangladesh’s northeast in nearly two decades submerged 70 percent of Sylhet and 60 percent of the neighbouring Sunamganj districts, leaving at least 10 people dead and more than two million stranded, officials said.
The United Nations on Monday said more than 1.5 million children in the country were at increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning and malnutrition due to the floods.
- EU-Vietnam relations to deepen with Indo-Pacific strategy VietnamNews
Việt Nam attaches importance to and wants to deepen relations with the EU, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn affirmed during his phone call with the Vice President of the European Commission (EC) and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell late Tuesday.
- Xi speaks with Bachelet, defends China’s rights progress Inquirer
Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his country’s human rights progress Wednesday in a virtual meeting with UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet during her controversial visit to China, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
According to the Chinese readout, Bachelet said the UN Human Rights Office is “willing to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side … and make joint efforts to promote the progress of the global human rights cause,” according to CCTV.
She was also reported to have said: “I admire China’s efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realising economic and social development.”
- China claims sabotage as UN rights official visits Xinjiang Yahoo
China on Tuesday said the U.S., Britain and other foreign powers are seeking to sabotage its foreign relations by orchestrating criticism surrounding a trip by the top United Nations official for human rights.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin went on the offensive over such criticisms Tuesday, saying “the U.S., Britain and other Western countries have been repeatedly staging political farces around the U.N. high commissioner for human rights’ visit to China.”
“They have first openly pressured and strongly demanded that the high commissioner visit China and Xinjiang, and conducted the so-called investigation with presumption of guilt," Wang said at a daily briefing.
The U.S., Britain and other countries “jumped out and spared no effort to disrupt and sabotage the visit, creating conditions and obstacles for the visit," Wang said.
China is building a new bridge on a disputed Himalayan border, drawing ire from India CNBC
Solomon Islands journalists shut out of China foreign minister visit, raising secrecy concerns Guardian
Pacific journalists have raised serious concerns about secrecy surrounding the upcoming marathon tour of the Pacific by China’s foreign minister, who will be visiting eight countries in 10 days.
Wang Yi will visit Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Fiji between 26 May and 4 June, on a tour of the region that has been labelled “extraordinary and unprecedented” by Pacific experts.
- Russian and Chinese jets patrol East Asia skies, capping Biden trip Reuters
Russian and Chinese military planes conducted joint exercises to patrol the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday in a pointed farewell to U.S. President Joe Biden as he concluded an Asia trip that rankled Beijing.
Armenian protests continue (they’ve been going on every day for the last few weeks) demanding the resignation of their government.
Pakistan capital blockaded ahead of opposition protest IraqiNews
All roads leading into Pakistan’s capital Islamabad were blocked on Wednesday ahead of a major protest planned by ousted prime minister Imran Khan and his supporters.
Saudi foreign minister says some progress in talks with Iran Reuters
Erdoğan says he is cutting all ties with Greek PM, dashing hopes of talks Guardian
- Gabon: Authorities ban protest against French military presence AfricaNews
Gabonese authorities banned a march that was to take place Tuesday. The organizers wished to demonstrate against the French military presence in Gabon.
Despite the opposition groups' commitment to ensure a peaceful gathering, the Gabonese Interior Minister did not grant the requested authorization citing the “cooperation and military agreements” binding the countries.
The Swedish Defence Research Institute assesses 350 French bases and installations are in Gabon.
- Relations between Russia and Algeria are Developing Rapidly NEO
- Majority Of Americans Think Protecting Economy—Not Sanctioning Russia—Should Be Country’s Top Priority, Poll Finds Forbes
More than half of Americans now believe the country’s top priority should be staving off damage to the economy rather than punishing Russia for invading Ukraine, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, as soaring costs and inflation amid the ongoing war prompt a reassessment of priorities.
- Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform Common Dreams
It’ll probably achieve nothing and the piggies will still do a massive protest that they can only legally murder 95% as many people as they could before.
- U.S. prepares renewal of Chevron’s Venezuela license without broader terms Reuters
Ukraine is claiming that Russia is using more aviation to support its ground offensives.
Ukraine says the Donbas situation is ‘very difficult’; Soros warns civilization may not survive war CNBC
Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation that “practically the full might of the Russian army, whatever they have left, is being thrown at the offensive there. Liman, Popasna, Sievierodonetsk, Slaviansk – the occupiers want to destroy everything there.”
Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian army is fighting back, but “it will take time and a lot more effort by our people to overcome their advantage in the amount of equipment and weapons.”
Meanwhile, billionaire George Soros has said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be looked back on as the starting point of World War III.
“Russia invaded Ukraine. This has shaken Europe to its core,” he told those attending his annual dinner amid the World Economic Forum on Tuesday evening, adding that “the Russian invasion may turn out to be the beginning of World War III, and our civilization may not survive it.”
Russia says they’ve destroyed 90 Bayraktar drones since February 24th. They say they are large, slow, poorly maneuverable, and can only attack one target at a time, which means that they are shot down with “100% probability” on repeated visits.
American Heavy Artillery Enters the Fight in Ukraine Yahoo
Three months into the war in Ukraine, the first M777s — the most lethal weapons the West has provided so far — are now deployed in combat in Ukraine’s east. Their arrival has buoyed Ukraine’s hopes of achieving artillery superiority at least in some front-line areas, a key step toward military victories in a war now fought mostly on flat, open steppe at long ranges.
Military analysts say the full effect won’t be felt for at least another two weeks, because Ukraine has yet to train enough soldiers to fire all 90 such howitzers pledged by the United States and other allies. Only about a dozen guns are now at the front.
Canada to send more than 20,000 rounds for M777 Howitzers to Ukraine TASS
Ukrainian soldiers: Only total restoration of Ukraine’s territory will be a victory EuroNews
Some western experts (e.g. Adrian Boke) claim that staged footage is used by western journalists. For example, Ukrainians once fired a mortar at a children’s park in order to shoot a story about the consequences of Russian bombing.
The US does not support the new Turkish military operation in Syria.
Ukraine is claiming that Russia is focussed on holding off the Ukrainian counterattack up in Kharkiv rather than advancing forward. Ukraine is now battling (rather than advancing into positions that Russia retreated from) for villages there, but I have no idea one way or another whether they’ll be successful. Time will tell.
Apparently, Ukrainian artillery is being withdrawn from Severodonetsk due to the threat of a flanking attack from Russia.
Russia launches push on eastern Ukraine towns; several killed Reuters
The LPR ambassador is saying that after Russia took the Svetlodar Bulge, the Ukrainian defense there crumbled and Ukrainians are fleeing through fields and country roads, sometimes into minefields. The full extent of who has remained and who has left, and from which settlements, is not yet known, but there’s an observable trend.
Ukrainians sometimes leave behind weapons and uniforms in their defensive positions, presumably fleeing in civilian clothes.
Zaporozhie was recently attacked by 4 missiles, 3 of which hit, which were described as “some of the most powerful explosions” by Ukrainian sources. The fragments of the shot down missile hit a shopping center which has been closed since the beginning of the war, but unfortunately each fragment managed to fly off and each take a baby out of an incubator in a nearby hospital and inscribe the words “CHEMICAL WEAPONS” on the wall before stopping, in a quadrillion-to-one chance.
The other 3 missiles hit a factory that makes engines for Turkish drones and helicopters.
From Russian Telegram:
Zaporozhye region, after complete liberation from Ukrainian nationalists, will take a course towards becoming part of Russia - representative of the local administration Vladimir Rogov
“There can be only one future for the Zaporozhye region - it should be part of Russia, should become a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation. We do not need gray zones, we do not need the Zaporozhye People’s Republic. We want to be part of Russia, as we always have been for hundreds of years,” he said.
The return of the Zaporozhye region under the control of Ukraine is excluded, as well as negotiations with the Kyiv regime, he stressed.
Russian passports are being issued to Zaporozhye residents. Putin has signed a decree on a simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for residents of Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
200 bodies found in basement in Mariupol’s ruins Politico
Workers digging through the rubble of an apartment building in Mariupol found 200 bodies in the basement, Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday, as more horrors come to light in the ruined city that has seen some of the worst suffering of the 3-month-old war.
Odds that this is Azov’s work?
- Ukrainian special forces carry out successful special operation in Melitopol May 23, says mayor Yahoo
“This special operation concerns the paralysis of the supply of firearms and ammunition by the invaders to the town of Melitopol and to all the occupied territories,” the mayor said.
Several blasts and shots were heard in Melitopol on May 23. Local media reported that the Ukrainian resistance movement had once again damaged railway tracks used to deliver supplies to the Russian occupation army.
Dipshittery and Cope
- Ukraine May Use Lincoln Project’s Anti-Trump Tactics Against Putin Newsweek
Given the failure of the Lincoln Project to do anything of note at all in the 2020 election, is this an admission that Ukraine wants to repair ties, then?
US submarine that crashed into an underwater mountain in the South China Sea ran into a pier months earlier Yahoo
EU’s von der Leyen says Russia is using food supplies as a weapon Reuters
Russia is using food supplies as a weapon with global repercussions, acting the same way as it does in the energy sector, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday.
You’ve got to be kidding me. These are the people who rule us? It’s just a failchildren daycare up there in the ivory towers nowadays.
- The big exodus of Ukrainian refugees isn’t an accident – it’s part of Putin’s plan to destabilize Europe The Conversation
It really probably isn’t.
- Bulgaria reconsidering ruble gas payments RT
Bulgaria plans to discuss ruble payments for Russian gas with the European Commission, Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said in an interview with BTV channel on Sunday.
Sofia had earlier rejected Moscow’s new settlement demand to countries that imposed sanctions on Russia.
Nikolov was asked what is the point of countries like Bulgaria, Poland and Finland not complying with the demand, when Germany and Italy have agreed to open ruble accounts.
- Who Decides the Right Way to Protest? NYT
This week, host Jane Coaston wants to know whether there is a “right” way to protest, and what makes a protest successful. To talk it through, she’s joined by the conservative writer David French of The Dispatch and the Times Opinion columnist Charles Blow. “I think a lot of times what the protest does is that it crystallizes and defines the parameters of morality on an issue,” Blow says. “It is a narrative-setting or -changing event.” But French argues that sometimes, in pursuit of raising awareness, protests can go too far. “If a group of people can menace a public official with enough ferocity that they can undermine the will of the people, you’re really beginning to undermine the notion of democracy itself,” he says.
Protests cannot do anything to actually change anything. They’re only there to make you think real hard about the issue for five seconds, deem it “too complicated to solve”, and continue with your day having changed nothing.
- On Taiwan, Biden Should Find His Inner Truman NYT
By Bedbug Stephens.
The White House insists that President Biden did not break with longstanding policy when, at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday with the prime minister of Japan, he flatly answered “yes” to the question, “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?”
Don’t believe the diplomatic spin that there’s nothing to see here. Don’t believe, either, that the president didn’t know what he was doing. What Biden said is dramatic — as well as prudent, necessary and strategically astute. He is demonstrating a sense of history, a sense of the moment and a sense that, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, new rules apply.
But he’s said this before, multiple times, because he’s addled old man. The only reason you think it’s different this time is because you’re artificially putting undue importance on it, in order to write an article, in order to get money.
Former presidents, including Donald Trump, have hinted that the United States would fight for Taiwan but have otherwise remained studiedly vague on the question. That may have once served Washington’s strategic purposes, at least when relations with Beijing were warming or stable. But Xi Jinping has changed the rules of the game.
He did so in Beijing by setting himself up as leader for life. He did so in Hong Kong by doing away with the “one country, two systems” formula and crushing pro-democracy protests. He did so by flouting the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling against China’s outrageous claims to possess most of the South China Sea. He did so through a policy of industrial-scale theft of U.S. intellectual property and government data. He did so through a policy of Covid-19 stonewalling and misinformation. He did so with pledges of friendship to Russia that reassured Vladimir Putin that he could invade Ukraine with relative impunity.
And he’s changed the rules of the game through some of the most aggressive military provocations against Taiwan in decades. Countries that spoil for fights tend to get them.
All the more so after the chaotic U.S. retreat from Afghanistan threatened to turn into a global rout. Chinese propaganda organs began speaking of the “Afghan effect.” An editorial last summer in Beijing’s Global Times warned that “Washington’s arms are way too long, so Beijing and Moscow should cut them short in places where Washington shows its arrogance and parades its abilities.”
What, then, should Biden have done? Stick to the diplomatic formulas of a now-dead status quo?
This is not the first time Biden has suggested the United States would fight for Taiwan, but the last time he said something along similar lines, it was treated as a classic Biden gaffe by the press. Now it should be clear he means it.
So you literally admit it! God damn it, I can’t even criticize these overpaid, incompetent motherfuckers without them turning around and going “Ah! I know I’m being fucking stupid - but actually, here’s why that’s a good thing!"
[…] U.S. defense spending, despite nominal increases, is also too low in the teeth of inflation, with a Navy that continues to shrink in a world far more dangerous in this decade than it was in the last. Biden may have wanted to model his presidency on F.D.R.’s and the New Deal. History may give him no choice but to model it on Truman’s and containment. There are worse precedents.
Biden is definitely doing that FDR strategy of putting minorities into camps, but I’m not sure what other parallels you can draw there.
- Why So Few Big Rats Have Fled Putin’s Ship Bloomberg
When someone like Boris Bondarev, a Russian counsellor to the United Nations in Geneva, slams the door on his employer, the Russian Foreign Ministry, and on his home country, it’s only natural to wonder if Vladimir Putin’s system is showing cracks three months into the dictator’s disgraceful Ukraine adventure. The answer, however, is “not really.” Despite the relative failure of the invasion so far, prominent defectors are remarkably few in number. The Russian establishment is not about to implode.
Bondarev, a rank-and-file diplomat specializing in arms control, is the highest-ranking Foreign Ministry renegade so far. No deputy ministers or ambassadors have made a show of abandoning ship even as Sergei Lavrov, the minister, has cast aside any pretense of diplomacy and joined the pro-war propaganda effort fulltime, declaring that Ukraine’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, could easily be a Nazi because Adolf Hitler — Lavrov alleged — had Jewish blood. Even so, it took Bondarev three months since the war began and three weeks since Lavrov’s anti-Semitic remarks to resign and voice some diplomatically mild criticism of the minister, who, Bondarev wrote, “constantly broadcasts conflicting statements.”
Other defectors of note? Well, there’s Anatoly Chubais, the long-time top civil servant, who quietly resigned his final, insignificant position as Putin’s special representative for sustainable development and left Russia without saying anything publicly about the war. A number of propagandists and state TV officials have jumped ship in spectacular fashion, like Channel One’s Marina Ovsyannikova, who disrupted a broadcast by jumping in front of the camera with an antiwar sign, or like two editors of the timid, pro-Kremlin website lenta.ru, who managed briefly to replace the landing page content with anti-Putin material. Others have left more quietly, like Kirill Karnovich-Valua, a senior manager at the RT propaganda network, who has made it known that the team of RT creatives he has led would rather operate as a start-up than continue working for the state-funded outlet.
A trickle of business figures has condemned the Ukraine invasion, billionaire Oleg Tinkov most prominent among them. Ukrainian and some international media had a field day with the story of Igor Volobuyev, a vice president at Gazprombank, which services Russia’s gas export contracts: Ukraine-born Volobuyev not only quit his job but moved to his native country and joined its territorial defense forces; the story would carry more weight, though, if vice presidents weren’t a dime a dozen at Gazprombank, as at many other banks.
But anyone looking for ministers, generals, state TV chiefs, presidential aides and oligarchs on, say, Newsweek’s recent “full list” of prominent regime dropouts will be disappointed. Sure, a few dozen cultural figures have resigned their state-funded jobs or left Russia in protest against the Ukraine invasion — a rapper here, a ballet dancer there, the odd film director or orchestra conductor — but these can hardly be considered pillars of the regime. They are easily replaceable, as far as the Kremlin is concerned.
If the rats aren’t running, the ship isn’t sinking, at least not from the rats’ point of view. One can count on regime supporters — a cynical bunch —to make their life decisions with a cool head. Emotional moves are a matter of days, perhaps a week — and the rare individuals among the Putin crew who were capable of strong emotions about an onslaught on a neighboring country quit within the campaign’s first few days. The rest are sniffing the air for the scent of defeat, and despite Russia’s military setbacks, they are not catching it. Top bureaucrats, officers, managers, business leaders know the rewards of serving Putin and the dangers associated with an open refusal to do so.
The Putin system has fed and tamed its people for two long decades. It’s unclear what a Russian general or minister could gain by denouncing the “special military operation,” as the war is officially known in Russia. Even the lower-ranking regime cadres who have tried to break with Putin in recent months face pushback from a vocal Russian emigre community. Russian dissidents living in Germany voiced loud protests when Axel Springer SE, the media giant, hired Ovsyannikova to report on Russia and Ukraine: Why reward the propagandist while many honest Russian journalists, who had never been employed by the Putin propaganda machine, are struggling to find gainful employment in Europe?
You don’t have to be an intellectual giant to know that, even if defectors are welcomed and seemingly rewarded, nobody really harbors any warm feelings toward them — any encouragement is really only a device to make defection look attractive. Once that purpose is served, long-time Putin servants have no future in the West, where Russian emigres and Westerners alike will always question their past; even in the best-case scenario, they will always face some career and business headwinds. In Russia, meanwhile, they can only be nonpersons, their names erased from every official source, their property, kin and friends at risk.
Even if, deep down, some of the Russian establishment figures — for example, the so-called “systemic liberals” who were always lukewarm toward Putin’s imperialist project — are against the war and everything it has meant for Russia’s place in the world, their best bet is to lay low and wait out what remains of Putin’s rule. Thus far, the war seems unlikely to displace him, barring a major reversal of military fortunes — but even if it doesn’t, he’s getting older and is rumored to suffer from a variety of illnesses. Anyone interested in grabbing a piece of the post-Putin pie should be in Moscow, or close enough to it, when the slicing begins. A comeback from Western exile is unlikely for the same reasons few German emigre figures (with notable exceptions such as Chancellor Willy Brandt) prospered in their home country after the fall of Nazism, while many former Nazis (including, for example, Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger) did.
That said, the near-lack of open establishment dissent is not exactly anything for Putin to celebrate. The weakness of sincere emotion he has bred in the Russian elite, the cold calculation in the face of exceptionally shameful circumstances speak to a decline in the elite’s human and intellectual quality. As the diplomat Bondarev wrote in his resignation statement: “I regret to admit that over all these twenty years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time. However, in most recent years, this has become simply catastrophic.”
Led by these people, under Putin and after he’s gone, Russia is doomed to lag and lose.
And, of course, none of the above applies to any of the US’s many, many, many wars of unofficial territorial acquisition and genocide because uh, freedom and democracy, or something.
- How Desperate Is Russia For Good Troops? It’s Hiring Mercenaries. Even The Law-Breakers. Forbes
Ukrainian air-defense troops firing a Stinger man-portable missile shot down a Russian Su-25 attack jet over the battlefield near Popasna on Sunday, killing the pilot.
The shoot-down itself isn’t unusual. The low-flying, subsonic Su-25 attack jet is one of the busiest aircraft types on both sides of the Russia-Ukraine war—and one of the most vulnerable. In 90 days of fighting, Russia has lost at least eight of the twin-engine, single-seat jets that outside analysts can confirm. Ukraine has lost at least five.
That poor “at least” is under so much fucking pressure right now, jesus christ. “At least a hundred Iraqis died in the Iraq War."
What’s noteworthy is the dead pilot’s identity. The BBC confirmed the man who died behind the Su-25’s controls while supporting the Russian attack around Popasna was Kanamat Botashev.
The 63-year-old Botashev was retired. He left the Russian air force as a general back in 2012 after “borrowing” an Su-27 fighter—a type he was not qualified to fly—and crashing it after a brief, acrobatic joyride.
The Russian John McCain.
Following his retirement, Botashev reportedly signed on with the Wagner Group, a sort of private holding company for ex-servicemembers that appears to function as a de facto arm of the Russian military.
Wagner isn’t known to operate Su-25s, implying that the company is hiring out its pilots to fly government aircraft.
That should come as no surprise. As Russian casualties in Ukraine mount, mercenaries are becoming indispensable to the war effort. According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, around 15,000 Russians have died in three months of hard fighting. That’s more than a tenth of the invasion force.
Add in the wounded and captured and it’s apparent the Russian army has lost around a third of its combat strength in Ukraine. Trained manpower is becoming such a precious resource that, when the Kremlin concentrated its surviving forces for a fresh offensive across a small salient in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region starting last week, it had to hire Wagner mercenaries to reinforce some of its front-line battalions.
And yet they’re still advancing! At an accelerated pace! How utterly peculiar!
The mercenary reinforcements are helping, however. “Russia has … achieved some localized successes” in Donbas, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported. Army and Wagner troops attacking north from Popasna have advanced nearly 10 miles. If they can advance another 15 miles, they might cut off the city of Severodonetsk and its Ukrainian garrison, thousands strong.
While Russia’s advances in Donbas pose a serious threat to Ukraine’s integrity, it’s worth asking what happens after the current offensive. If it’s taking the last of Russia’s trained manpower—that is, its mercenaries—to encircle one Ukrainian garrison out of dozens just a few miles from Russian-controlled territory, what are the prospects for a wider Russian offensive this summer?
Yeah, this seems like a situation with assumptions that contradict each other! This is utterly bizarre! What could possibly explain this? Mercenary groups?!
- The US Can’t Beat China If It’s Scared of Trade Bloomberg
President Joe Biden and his administration presumably hoped that the White House’s latest attempt to woo Asia, its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, would be seen as a dramatic return for the United States to a region where allies have felt largely neglected since 2016. In this part of the world, however, the sprawling and unwieldy framework has been met at best with polite silence — and, behind closed doors, with disappointment and even derision.
The White House stressed that it had gotten a dozen other countries to sign up, “representing 40% of world GDP,” and that the framework would “deepen US economic engagement in the region” along four pillars: trade, supply chains, the green transition and anti-corruption measures. These are perfectly reasonable priorities. But, for each of them, IPEF brings little concrete to the table. Even now, signatories still have to decide what will be negotiated within each pillar and which ones they want to participate in.
As an attempt to counter Beijing’s influence, the IPEF falls laughably short of what’s needed. Countries in the Indo-Pacific want two things: access to bigger markets and infrastructure investment. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, addressing the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific shortly after the IPEF was launched, pointed out that China was already providing both, by signing up to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free-trade pact and investing in its Belt and Road Initiative. That, he said meaningfully, was “practical action.”
But more market access, in particular, appears to be off the table for the US. The Biden administration’s fear that any movement on trade could lead to political attacks at home from left and right is palpable. Even the official announcement of the IPEF began by describing it as “rules of the road that ensure American workers, small businesses and ranchers can compete in the Indo-Pacific.” The framework, it pledged, would “protect us against costly disruptions that lead to higher prices for consumers.”
For the countries of the Indo-Pacific, this is a wake-up call. The US economy is booming, with unemployment in much of the country hitting record lows. Almost three-fourths of Democrats think that trade is an opportunity, not a threat. If an administration that prides itself on its outreach to strategically important partners is still too scared to increase their access to US markets, then why would any country imagine that closer relations with the US are important to its future? If, under such circumstances, US leaders can’t show leadership at home, it is presumably futile to expect the country to lead abroad.
Everyone knows what the US needs to do if it is to re-emerge as a credible alternative to China in the region: Increase its infrastructure investment in the Indo-Pacific manifold and re-examine former US President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. After all, the TPP was negotiated — when Biden was vice-president — with the interests of Democratic constituencies in mind and included stringent protections for labor and the environment.
If the US remains too paralyzed by fear and indecision to do so, then it might as well accept that the only Indo-Pacific economic framework that matters will be the one on offer from Beijing.
- China Will Soon Aspire to American-Style Growth Bloomberg
China still hasn’t fully utilized the great American art of passing money back and forth between institutions and calling that part of its GDP and thus calling that “economic growth”. SMH.
China’s economy is more than a weak spot in a faltering global expansion. Growth this year, assuming there is any, will likely fall well short of Beijing’s own projections. The country may even turn in a worse performance than the US for the first time in more than a generation. These are momentous developments for which the world may be unprepared.
Growth was on a firm track before Covid, even if the economy had slowed considerably from the double-digit rates that followed China’s entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001. The once-rapid ascent spawned a cottage industry of reports tipping exactly when the behemoth would supplant America, which seems to have gone quiet. A contraction early in the pandemic was understandable; everyone suffered. China got back on its feet quickly, and the first three months of 2020 looked like a blip — until very recently. Beijing now faces a fresh, and daunting, set of challenges. As long as the government is wedded to a Covid-zero policy, it’s hard to see any break from a series of stop-go expansions that start to resemble the America of the early-to-mid 1970s.
How many times have you heard Wall Street grandees and former political leaders intone that the biggest event of their lifetime was the rise of China? Now that its economy is stumbling for the second time in little more than two years, it’s worth asking if something is going on beyond Covid.
When the OECD published a paper in 2018 projecting the world economy through 2060, its prediction that the US would eventually outpace China looked like a typo. Between 2030 and 2060, the country would expand an average of 1.8% a year, while the US would travel along at about 2%, the paper posited, a pace broadly similar to that of the preceding decade. This scenario wasn’t based on a sudden upheaval, more a reflection of brutal demographic changes that have their roots in the one-child policy initiated early in the Deng era.
It’s possible to overstate the importance of China underperforming the US. The last time that happened, in 1976, the two economies were vastly different in terms of size, capacity, receptiveness to investment, education — pretty much everything. Multinational corporations, including those with headquarters in the US, were still years away from enmeshing mainland factories at, or near, the center of their supply chains. Nor has China completely collapsed under the weight of Covid. GDP climbed a respectable 8.1% in 2021.
Still, it has become clear that the world’s second-largest economy is no longer its guaranteed savior. When the International Monetary Fund made steep cuts to its growth forecasts last month and described a darkening international picture, China was one of the big worries. If a new global recession is in the wings, don’t look to Beijing for exceptionalism.
- MAGA Republicans aren’t isolationist. They’re pro-Putin. WaPo
By Maximum Bootlicker.
The good news is that the public — and Congress — still remains largely resistant to the long-discredited “America First” argument that we can hide from the world behind our two ocean moats. The periods in U.S. history when isolationism was resurgent, after 1898, were relatively brief and generally occurred after long wars: the 1920s-1930s (after World War I), the 1970s (after the Vietnam War), the 1990s (after the Cold War), and the 2010s (after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). But invariably a fresh crisis comes along to snap America out of its reverie: Pearl Harbor, the Iranian hostage crisis, 9/11, the rise of the Islamic State, and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Each time that happens, most Americans realize that the costs of abdicating international leadership are greater than the cost of exercising it.
The Ukrainian crisis has followed that template. A Pew Research Center poll found that 75 percent of Americans support strict economic sanctions on Russia and 71 percent support sending weapons to Ukraine. Roughly a third say we are not providing enough aid — even though Congress has committed a whopping $54 billion since the invasion began. The latest tranche of aid, $40 billion, was just approved by overwhelming majorities — 81 to 11 in the Senate, 368 to 57 in the House. Not a single Democrat voted against the legislation, even though they have a Bernie Sanders-led noninterventionist wing. Every “nay” vote came from Republicans.
That brings us to the bad news: Isolationism — or is it Putinism? — remains disturbingly resilient within Republican ranks. In the Pew poll, more than twice as many Republicans as Democrats said that the United States is providing too much aid to Ukraine. Roughly a quarter of House Republicans and a fifth of Senate Republicans share that view. Some of the influential voices opposing aid to Ukraine include former president Donald Trump, Fox “News” host Tucker Carlson, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Heritage Action for America (the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation), and FreedomWorks (the Koch-supported advocacy organization).
The irony is that all of these right-wingers claim to be fans of Ronald Reagan. Yet they reject a modern-day version of the “Reagan doctrine,” which called for aiding “freedom fighters” resisting Soviet aggression.
It’s hard to take the nationalists’ arguments at face value. They claim that we can’t afford to aid Ukraine because we have to deal with pressing problems at home, such as a shortage of baby formula. But all of the U.S. aid to Ukraine represents just 1 percent of the federal budget. Where were all of these supposed fiscal conservatives when Trump was adding $7.8 trillion to the national debt?
Many of the original “America Firsters” in 1940 and 1941 were actually pro-Nazi. Likewise, many of today’s MAGA militants are actually pro-Putin. They favor a hard line against leftist dictatorships such as those in Cuba, Venezuela and China, while advocating de facto appeasement of Russia’s right-wing dictatorship.
In 2018, seven Republican senators and one Republican House member — the Red Square Republicans, my colleague Dana Milbank called them — spent July 4 in Moscow. In 2019, Tucker Carlson said: “Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.” In February, Trump called Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s preparations for invasion an act of “genius,” “savvy,” and “smart.” In April, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) excused the Russian attack by saying that the Kremlin invades only countries that “were part of Russia.” (Should Alaskans be worried?)
Beyond shared beliefs, the MAGA affinity for Putinism is rooted in sordid self-interest: The Kremlin helped Trump win office in 2016 and is likely to aid him again if he runs in 2024. The GOP has become a cult of personality, and the cult leader not only admires Putin but enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with him. So the cult followers fall into line.
The extent to which pro-Russia sentiment has become embedded within the MAGA movement means it’s hard to take much satisfaction from the rejection of isolationism among most Americans and even most Republicans. If Trump takes power again, Putin’s fellow travelers will again be in control of U.S. foreign policy — and Ukraine, NATO and the rest of the “Free World” will be out of luck.
- NOAA Predicts Another Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season HuffPost
Federal meteorologists say the summer in the Atlantic will produce 14 to 21 named storms, with three to six turbo-charging into major hurricanes.
- Monarch butterflies bounce back in Mexico wintering grounds Guardian
Mexican experts have said that 35% more monarch butterflies arrived this year to spend the winter in mountaintop forests, compared with the previous season.
Experts say the rise may reflect the butterflies’ ability to adapt to more extreme bouts of heat or drought by varying the date when they leave Mexico.
Dozens of Baby Penguins Found Starved to Death as Water Too Hot To Hunt Newsweek
What Vaccine Apartheid Portends for the Climate Future NYT
The pandemic has been furnishing new and distressing episodes almost weekly for more than two years now. But what is in retrospect perhaps the most concerning, for me, came in May 2021, when the International Monetary Fund calculated that the full cost of vaccinating the large majority of the world’s vulnerable people would be $50 billion — just 1 percent of the money spent by Congress on pandemic relief and only about half of the money the United States has spent on fighting AIDS abroad. The I.M.F. called this “A Proposal to End the Covid-19 Pandemic” and meant it. The organization suggested the global payback for that $50 billion program, by 2025, would be $9 trillion — nearly a 200-fold return — in just four years. The humanitarian gains of a global vaccination effort would have been incalculable and still are. The diplomatic gains, as well.
And yet nobody took the global vaccination deal — not the U.S. alone, not the E.U., not the Group of 7, not the Group of 20.
Probably, the I.M.F. estimate was too optimistic, likely on both sides of the cost-benefit calculation (especially given how much more complicated new immunity-escaping variants made the pursuit of any real pandemic endgame). But even with the I.M.F. estimate of cost revised significantly upward and its payoff estimate significantly downward, this would have been a no-brainer of an investment, with returns within a single nation much larger than the total cost.
And yet faced with the choice — between one future in which everyone in the world was better off through expansive protection and one of more limited vaccination in which the rich were somewhat protected and others remained much more vulnerable — the wealthy nations of the world didn’t take the path that maximized overall protection and prosperity. That choice would have maximally benefited even those nations’ own people, who would have benefited from reduced spillover costs from disease spread abroad. Some vaccine donations and stuttering patent negotiations aside, the wealthy world instead took the path that produced the widest gap in protection between those with resources and those without.
None of this bodes well for climate, another wicked problem in which technological know-how is not a simple fix but only the very first step of response.
Over the past several years, as the rhetoric of environmental alarm has gotten more and more public visibility, so has the language of climate justice: the collection of principles holding that it is the poor and marginalized who suffer today the most environmental harms despite having done the least to cause them, that continued degradation will almost certainly intensify those divides and that any program to address the climate crisis should be targeted at reducing those inequities as well as overall impacts.
Consider responsibility first. The United States has alone produced 20 percent of historical emissions, almost twice as much as the second-largest contributor, China; all of sub-Saharan Africa, today home to about a billion people, is responsible for under 1 percent. Today 80 percent of the world’s emissions are produced by the nations of the Group of 20 and nearly half by the richest 10 percent of people, not all of whom, the economic historian Adam Tooze pointed out, live in the rich countries of the world — suggesting a carbon accounting based not on citizenship but on simple wealth. The average round-trip trans-Atlantic airline ticket melts several square meters of Arctic ice; the average Australian produces 40 times as much carbon dioxide just from the burning of coal than the average person from Congo, Somalia or Niger; each year, the average Ugandan produces less carbon than the average American refrigerator.
When it comes to climate impacts, the contrasts are just as stark. Many in the Global North have awakened just in the past few years to the imminence, if not yet omnipresence, of warming — the European floods, deadly hurricanes in New York City, wildfires across Australia and the American West unprecedented in modern times. But already, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests, nearly every country in sub-Saharan Africa is more than 10 percent poorer today than it would be without the effects of warming, with a handful more than 20 percent poorer. According to one paper cited in its most recent report, India is 31 percent poorer, thanks to climate change, which already has made global inequality 25 percent worse.
And it is perhaps not surprising that if recent optimistic revisions to the climate outlook bear out that peg likely warming this century at about 2.5 degrees Celsius from preindustrial temperatures, wealthy nations of the world would suffer but could endure, probably, and the Global South would be much more thoroughly devastated.
For decades now, small, climate-vulnerable and developing nations have looked at this pattern of facts and rallied around a discomforting message for the world’s rich: Pay. In 2009 the first promise of $100 billion each year in climate aid for mitigation and adaptation was made to the world’s poor. In 2015 in the Paris climate accord, the promise was made again. At COP26 in Glasgow last fall, it was made a third time, though by then, climate advocates from the Global South had raised their request significantly. Some diplomats called for $700 billion, others for $1 trillion or more.
Meanwhile, the $100 billion promise still hasn’t been fulfilled, and the commitments get close only if you count profit-making loans from the private sector, which, of course, the rich countries do. A report published by the U.N. in 2020 found that in the most recent year studied, 2018, grant finance amounted to only $12 billion.
Hubble reaches new milestone in mystery of universe’s expansion rate ScienceDaily
Hubble identifies unusual wrinkle in expansion rate of the universe CNN
Asteroid 10 Times Bigger Than the Statue of Liberty Approaching Earth Newsweek
A large asteroid that could measure around 10 times taller than the Statue of Liberty is set to make a close—albeit safe—approach to our planet on May 27.
At this point, the space rock will be zooming past our planet at a staggering speed of around 47,200 miles per hour. While this approach is deemed close by astronomical standards, it is not close by practical measures and there is no threat to the Earth from this asteroid, which was discovered in May 1989 by astronomer Eleanor “Glo” Helin at the Palomar Observatory in California.
- We Must Unravel Jupiter’s Cryptic Origin Story to Find ET Yahoo
I Thought I’d Mention
- Donald Trump Suggests Nuclear War ‘More Likely To Happen Than Not’ Newsweek
Now, however, because of our leaders rhetoric and very poor choice of words, it is perhaps more likely to happen than not,” Trump said.
“I would have never thought that would have happened, we’re the greatest danger of a nuclear war, it’s just a great danger. We’re not a respected country anymore,” he said.
Speaking to Fox News in March, Trump said that the U.S. should deploy nuclear submarines to go “back and forth, up and down” Russia’s coast in order to intimidate President Vladimir Putin amid the war in Ukraine.
“I listened to him [Putin] constantly using the n-word, that’s the n-word, and he’s constantly using it: the nuclear word,” Trump told Fox Business.
And we say, ‘Oh, he’s a nuclear power.’ But we’re a greater nuclear power. We have the greatest submarines in the world, the most powerful machines ever built,” Trump added.
“You should say, ‘Look, you mention that word one more time, we’re going to send them over and we’ll be coasting back and forth, up and down your coast.'”
In January 2018, Trump also boasted the U.S. had power to annihilate North Korea.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'” Trump tweeted. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
I forgot about that, lmfao.