- EU Shipowners Race to Move Russian Oil Before Sanctions Kick In WSJ
Tanker owners in Europe are shipping as much Russian crude as possible before energy sanctions against Moscow take effect in December.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Western nations have pledged to wean themselves off crude from Moscow and looming sanctions have raised fears among European processors and shipowners of being blacklisted for handling the fuel.
Shipments to Asia, meanwhile, have soared. China nearly doubled its Russian crude intake to an average of 1.13 million barrels a day in June, from 670,000 barrels a day in February, according to energy data provider Vortexa. India brought in roughly one million barrels a day last month, from essentially zero in the first two months of this year.
“Based on that trend it looks feasible that Russia could export all the available crude without American or European Union buyers,” said David Wech, Vortexa’s chief economist.
Greek tanker owners, who control nearly a third of the global fleet, moved about half of Russian crude volumes in May and June, according to brokers. Lloyd’s List Intelligence estimates that over those two months, Greek-operated vessels made 151 calls at Russian ports in the Black and Baltic seas, compared with 89 calls in the year-earlier period.
Greek tankers are also sailing as far as Siberia, a traditional preserve of Chinese and Russian shipowners. The Kriti Legend, which is owned and operated by Avin International, arrived July 12 at the port of Laizhou in China after lifting crude from Kozmino in Russian Siberia, according to maritime data provider MarineTraffic. Avin didn’t return a request for comment.
The EU sanctions will come into effect on Dec. 5 and call for a ban of Russian oil shipments to Europe. Shipments outside the continent by tanker operators won’t be banned, but the vessels won’t be able to get insurance coverage, making any sailings illegal under international maritime law.
The long runway before the shipment ban is meant to give enough time for governments to switch to alternative energy sources outside Russia, according to EU officials.
High demand for oil after the Ukraine invasion has pushed freight rates for medium-size Aframax tankers to around $40,000 a day, compared with $10,000 in January, shipping brokers say.
- EU’s crop yield projected to fall RT
The production of wheat and other grains in the European Union is expected to fall this year due to dry weather, agriculture consulting firm Strategie Grains warned in its latest report, published on Thursday.
The study showed that the EU’s wheat crop is expected to be 123.3 million tons, down from the 124.4 million projected in June and below the 129.9 million tons harvested last year.
The barley harvest is 49.6 million tons, compared to the 50.3 million predicted last month and 51.9 million in 2021. The corn harvest is projected to fall to 65.4 million tons, down from 66.8 million tons last month and 69.7 million last year.
The research company lowered its wheat and barley crop estimates last month, citing overly dry conditions during the first half of the growing season in many countries.
Mother Nature is weaponizing food exports to make her enemies suffer. We must escalate our war against her in order to bring her to the negotiation table. Everybody: start throwing your batteries into the ocean.
- Putin Seeks to Cement Ties With Iran, Turkey in Rare Trip Abroad WSJ
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to travel to the Middle East this week, a rare trip abroad intended to signal that the protracted and costly war in Ukraine hasn’t diminished Moscow’s place on the world stage.
In only his second trip outside Russia since the country invaded Ukraine in February, Mr. Putin is set to travel to Tehran on Tuesday, where he will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The visit reflects the importance Mr. Putin places in maintaining the leverage Russia gained from years of military and diplomatic intervention in the Middle East.
Mr. Putin’s trip comes just days after President Biden’s own tour of the Middle East, where he sought to rally Israel and Arab countries to counter Russia, China and Iran, whose influence has grown while the U.S. has scaled back its presence in the region.
“In light of the invasion of Ukraine, isolation from the West, sanctions, maintaining that influence if not expanding it is becoming even more important for Russian foreign policy,” said Hanna Notte, a senior research associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.
Russia is “realizing there’s no future with the West. This is irreversibly gone,” she added. “Its future will have to lie with the global south.”
Mr. Putin is seeking to cement Russia’s relationship with Iran, an American foe that, like Russia, is the target of crippling U.S. sanctions and has become a key military and trading partner to Moscow. In June and July, Russian officials visited Iran to review the country’s attack-capable drones, according to U.S. intelligence, which believes Iran is set to provide them to Russia for the Ukraine war.
- Russian economy expected to thrive by year’s end – Putin aide RT
The Russian economy is expected to show positive developments by the end of the year, Maksim Oreshkin, economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said during a speech at a youth forum on Saturday.
“The wheels of our economy are building momentum step by step, lending volumes are increasing, and interest rates are falling. We see that the loan portfolios of banks are already growing, while during the most difficult periods in April-May, they were declining. All this indicates that the wheels of the economy have started to work. And by the end of the year, we should see positive developments,” Oreshkin said.
Oreshkin also said Russia’s key task is to build a “sovereign economy” which would be “confident in its abilities, working with any partners, but at the same time does not depend on them and is invulnerable.” His remarks echo the view of the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, who said earlier this week that Russia should strive to reach “technological sovereignty” and focus the economy on prioritizing domestic needs, while continuing to increase export potential.
- UK military chief says Putin health rumours are ‘wishful thinking’ Jakarta Post
The head of Britain’s armed forces has dismissed as “wishful thinking” speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin is suffering from ill-health or could be assassinated.
- Germany and France ‘killed’ Minsk agreements – Russia RT
Germany is demanding that Russia guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but such a deal was previously signed, only to be “killed” by Berlin and Paris, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
“When [German Chancellor] Olaf Scholz demands that Russia should be compelled to sign an agreement granting Ukraine guarantees of territorial integrity and sovereignty, all his attempts are in vain. There was already such a deal – the Minsk agreements – which was killed by Berlin and Paris. They were shielding Kiev, which openly refused to comply,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
- UK Labor Shortages May Cost Economy £30 Billion a Year, REC Says Bloomberg
Labor shortages in the UK could cost the economy £30 billion ($35 billion) a year, a prominent jobs consultant said, putting pressure on the government to boost the workforce.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said a 10% surge in demand in the economy coupled with shortages like the ones the UK is now suffering could shave as much as 1.6% off gross domestic product by 2027.
- UK regions expected to smash temperature records The Guardian
Some of the most extreme weather globally is currently happening in the UK, which is in the middle of an exceptional and unprecedented heatwave. The UK’s highest observed temperature previously stood at 38.7C (101.7F), which was set in Cambridge in July 2019.
The UK maximum temperature record is expected to be broken again on Tuesday but at numerous weather stations across central and eastern England. The widespread nature of this heat is staggering. Another notable feature of the current heatwave is the very high overnight temperatures forecast on Monday night. Many places are expected to record a “tropical night” where the temperature does not drop below 20C.
England, Scotland and Wales are also all expected to set new individual nation records on the same day, and potentially by a large amount. Wales has the potential for its previous high of 35.2C in Hawarden, Flintshire, to be completely smashed, with the possibility that north-east Wales will reach about 37C-38C.
A cold front will spread in from the west during the next 24 hours, bringing the potential for thunderstorms. This will introduce much cooler air to all parts by Wednesday and will bring an end to the heatwave for the UK. Nevertheless, southern Europe will continue to experience above-average temperatures, in what is turning into an extremely hot summer for many parts of the continent.
Meanwhile, much of northern and central Russia as well as Alaska are experiencing temperatures close to 10C below normal. High pressure to the north of Russia is helping pull cold air in from the north-east, while this relatively cold air is being wrapped within an area of low pressure across Alaska, keeping it relatively cold and also wet across southern and western areas in particular.
- France braces for record temperatures as wildfires rage across Europe The Guardian
France was bracing on Monday for the peak of the heatwave gripping the country, with crushing temperatures expected from the Mediterranean, as wildfires continued to rage across Europe.
Forecasters have put 15 departments in France on the highest state of alert for extreme temperatures, including Gironde in the south-west, where wildfires have already wrought havoc.
It comes as firefighters battled to contain blazes across south-west Europe on Sunday as a heatwave showed no sign of abating, and Britain was poised to set new temperature records this coming week.
- Ukraine conflict could speed up Germany’s green energy transition, study says Reuters
The consequences of the Ukraine conflict could accelerate Germany’s green energy transition despite Berlin’s decision to reconnect coal-fired power plants to compensate for falling fossil fuel supplies from Russia, a study published on Sunday showed.
The German government has been pushing for a shift to renewable energy, aiming for renewables to contribute 80% of the country’s electricity generation by 2030.
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? “Okay, I’ve fucked up. I had three months to write this essay, and now it’s due the day after tomorrow. But I reckon if I do 4 hours of writing, then a 1 hour break/powernap, and repeat that for the next 48 hours, I can still get an A on this thing."
- Italy’s Draghi visits Algeria for gas talks while political crisis continues at home Euro News
With his government’s fate in limbo, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is visiting Algiers on Monday to finalise deals seeking to boost Italy’s gas supplies as Europeans brace for a possible cut-off of Russian gas.
The Italian delegation includes a range of high-ranking ministers - including the foreign minister, interior minister, justice minister and ecological transition ministers - showing just how important the government considers the meeting. They’ll hold a day of talks, meet with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and sign joint agreements.
Algeria is set to replace Russia as Italy’s main gas supplier, after energy giant Sonatrach and Italy’s ENI reached a major agreement to increase gas exports during a trip by Draghi to Algeria in April. EU countries have scrambled to diversify energy sources since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Monday’s trip comes at a precarious time for Draghi, who had to cut it a day short because of political troubles at home. A main partner in his pandemic unity government, the populist 5-Star Movement, boycotted a confidence vote in the senate last week on an energy costs relief bill, jeopardising the survival of the 17-month-old government.
Asia and Oceania
- Boeing cuts long-term industry forecast after excluding sales from Russia and Central Asia, which had been expected to buy 1,500 jets over next 20 years Business Insider
- China Is Falling Out of Love With Skyscrapers Bloomberg
Nothing ruins a Chinese neighborhood like a vacant skyscraper owned by a bankrupt real estate developer. But Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province, has something worse: the first floors of a building intended to be one of the world’s tallest. Its owner, cash-strapped China Evergrande Group, has suspended construction while it tries to avoid a default that would shake China’s economy.
Even if Evergrande manages to dig itself out of its financial hole, the physical one will remain. Earlier this week, China’s chief economic planning agency announced that it was severely restricting the construction of tall buildings to improve urban environments, while China’s housing agency ordered developers to focus on low-rise residences. These are monumental shifts for China, which long prioritized the construction of tall buildings at the expense of safety, livability and affordable housing.
If the government follows through on its promises, the 518-meter (1,669-foot) Hefei tower will never rise. But a more livable urban China will.
The article goes into more detail and history for those interested.
- Scorching heat expected to resume baking China this week Jakarta Post
- North Korea says it is nearing end of COVID crisis as Asian neighbours fight resurgence Reuters
North Korea is on the path to “finally defuse” a crisis stemming from its first acknowledged outbreak of COVID-19, the state news agency said on Monday, while Asian neighbours battle a fresh wave of infections driven by Omicron subvariants.
The North says 99.98% of its 4.77 million fever patients since late April have fully recovered, but due to an apparent lack of testing, it has not released any figures of those that proved positive.
“The anti-epidemic campaign is improved to finally defuse the crisis completely,” KCNA said. It added that the North had reported 310 more people with fever symptoms.
The World Health Organization has cast doubts on North Korea’s claims, saying last month it believed the situation was getting worse, not better, amid an absence of independent data.
- Pakistan’s Khan calls for early election after state assembly victory Iraqi News
Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan called again Monday for an early national election after his party seized control of the state assembly in Punjab, the country’s most populous province.
Twenty seats were up for grabs in the Punjab by-election, which was seen as a popularity test for the former international cricket star dismissed by a no-confidence vote in April.
His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 15, with the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) of current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif taking four, and one going to an independent.
Sunday’s vote was also seen as a bellwether for national elections that must be held by October next year, although Khan has campaigned across the country for an earlier poll since being dismissed.
- Iran’s exports to EU up 39% in 5 months on year Tehran Times
The value of Iran’s export to the European Union (EU)’s member states rose 39 percent in the first five months of 2022, as compared to the first five months of 2021, according to the data released by the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat.
- Iran says it’s capable of building nuclear bomb RT
Iran is technically capable of producing a nuclear bomb but no political decision on such an option has been made, Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has said.
“In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium,” Kharrazi told Al Jazeera on Sunday.
The bombshell revelation comes shortly after US President Joe Biden pledged Washington will do everything to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weaponry. The pledge was made during Biden’s visit to Israel earlier this week, when the US president and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint declaration on the continued strategic partnership between the two countries. Among other things, Washington pledged “never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” confirming it “is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome,” according to the declaration.
- Oil prices rise above $100 a barrel as Biden fails to secure an oil output deal with Saudi Arabia Business Insider
Oil prices rose Monday as supply pressures brew following President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
The Brent crude, global benchmark rose 2.69% to $103.79 a barrel — set for its biggest one-day rise since early July. Last week, it dropped for a fifth straight week, under pressure from concerns about demand destruction if recession takes hold.
Supply constraints are boiling up in energy markets after Biden failed to persuade Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, to boost oil production in an attempt to help bring down sky-high energy prices. Sanctions and boycotts on Russian fuel over the war in Ukraine have forced many countries to seek other alternative sources of supply. Instead, Saudi ministers said the country would align its oil production within the framework of the OPEC+, per Bloomberg.
- Under pressure from climate change, Morocco’s oases struggle to support life Africa News
In the south of Morocco’s High Atlas mountains is one of the few palm tree oases still inhabited in the country. Over 25 square kilometres, the Skoura oasis features palm trees of course, but also olive and almond trees. The 20,000 residents live amongst nearly 140,000 palm trees.
Residents of the oasis live from the produce they grow on the land, mainly date palm, but they’re suffering from the effects of climate change. Most of the palm trees are dried and damaged, and the soil bears the cracks of water scarcity.
“Today, we notice the great impact of climate change on the oasis of Skoura, as the scarcity of water has led to a shrinkage in the afforestation circle in the region. There is a shrinkage of palm trees, olive trees, henna cultivation, in addition to many products related to the economy of the region, and all of these products were destined for export, whether to northern Morocco or neighbouring countries,” says Mustapha Laissate, president of Green Carpet Association in Rabat.
- Bernie Sanders rebukes Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, says the US shouldn’t ‘be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship’ Business Insider
“I just don’t believe that we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that,” Sanders told ABC News' Martha Raddatz on Sunday.
Sanders said he did not think a country whose leader ordered the killing of a Washington Post journalist should be “rewarded with a visit” from the US president.
- Yellen says US wants to end dependence on China for rare earths Jakarta Post
The United States wants to eliminate its “undue dependence” on rare earths, solar panels and other key goods from China to prevent Beijing from cutting off supplies as it has done to other countries, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
Yellen, who arrived in Seoul late on Monday, told Reuters she was pushing for increased trade ties with South Korea and other trusted allies to improve the resilience of supply chains and avert any possible manipulation by geopolitical rivals.
“Resilient supply chains mean a diversity of sources of supply and eliminating to the extent we can the possibility that geopolitical rivals will be able to manipulate us and threaten our security,” she said in an interview en route to Seoul.
- Two Weeks Of National Strike In Panama Popular Resistance
The last two weeks were marked by massive mobilizations against the high cost of living and an escalating economic crisis in Panama. Movements with the People United for Life Alliance have presented a list of 32 demands to the government to address the crisis but the government has refused to take serious action. The protests have seen broad participation from people across Panamanian society such as workers, fisherfolk, Indigenous communities, students, educators, and civilians.
- Iran and a Suspicious Flight to Argentina WSJ
The Argentine treasury, strapped for cash, is lobbying hard in Washington for a new half-billion-dollar loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.
Argentina’s lousy debt-service record, as discussed in this space last week, is one reason not to turn over the money. A second, and perhaps greater, reason has to do with a Venezuelan-flagged plane parked on the tarmac at Buenos Aires’s Ezeiza International airport since June 8. The aircraft, whose Iranian operator is subject to U.S. sanctions, was allowed to land at Ezeiza by Argentine aviation authorities on June 6 with a crew of 14 Venezuelans and five Iranians, including at least one senior Tehran official.
The jet has since been seized by order of an Argentine federal judge, who also has ordered the passports of the crew withheld. But those developments came to pass only because some in Argentine law enforcement and the country’s Congress have resisted attempts by the Federal Intelligence Agency to sweep the episode under the rug.
A still-unfolding investigation by an independent Argentine prosecutor into the plane, its passengers and contents suggest that something suspicious was afoot. Gerardo Milman, a former head of criminal intelligence at the Ministry of Security and now an opposition congressman, filed the complaint that triggered the investigation.
Mr. Milman suspects, according to La Nación, that the flight “had the objective of supplying technological equipment to a ‘cyber-intelligence operations base’ to settle in [Argentina] with Venezuelan agents.”
Dude, that’s awesome.
That’s not surprising, since Venezuela, Cuba, Russia and Iran have been working to penetrate democracies in the region for decades.
The Ukraine War
- West can’t sustain prolonged conflict in Ukraine – Pentagon supplier RT
This is probably just one of those things where a military contractor says “We’ve ran the numbers, and– yep, there’s just no helping it. You need to give us another hundred billion dollars. No other way. I’m sorry. Social security is important, but we won’t even have a country if we can’t defend ourselves against Russia and China, on the literal other side of the fucking planet, separated by entire oceans.” But I also think there’s an element of truth here, if the current situation in Ukraine is anything to extrapolate from. Obviously, the US doesn’t want either side to win because that means that the MIC grift stops, but they’re not supplying enough weapons to Ukraine to even force a stalemate that would keep the war going for however many years.
The West doesn’t have the stockpiles of weapons needed to sustain a prolonged military campaign in Ukraine or elsewhere, the CEO of one of the Pentagon’s main defense contractors has warned.
The military-industrial complex therefore needs a “clear demand signal” from Western governments on what exactly it should produce and whether it will be purchased, Kathy Warden told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday.
“The most important thing now is to get a clear demand signal on what the sustained commitment is and the level of drawdown from those stockpiles is going to be,” she explained.
Existing weapon stockpiles were not designed for a prolonged conflict, Warden said. However, the West is not yet running out of arms for Ukraine.
The Pentagon’s main contractors have been meeting several times a week to discuss efforts to supply Ukraine. The dialogue with the Pentagon was “good,” Warden said, and further discussions are ongoing about “getting clarity on their plans.”
“They’ve been doing their best to pull industry together and share those plans, both at a more general level and specific, so that we can get ahead of contract and make investments and advance,” she added.
While Northrop Grumman is ready to invest and even expand its factories “ahead of a contract,” the industry still needs more clarity about Washington’s plans to support Ukraine, Warden warned. The military-industrial complex needs to “get an indication that if we build it, the demand will come.”
The US has become Kiev’s top supplier in the ongoing conflict, allocating billions to prop up Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Moscow has reputedly urged the West to stop “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, insisting that the aid would only prolong hostilities rather than change the ultimate outcome.
- Zelensky explains why he fired Ukraine’s top security officials RT
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has fired Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova and the head of the country’s top security agency, Ivan Bakanov, citing allegedly rampant “treason” in both services.
In Sunday’s dramatic announcement, he claimed that a large numbers of staffers at Kiev’s successor to the KGB, the SBU —which Bakanov headed since 2019 — were working with Russia.
“As of today, some 651 criminal cases have been registered on high treason and collaboration activities of employees of the prosecutor’s office, pre-trial investigation bodies, and other law enforcement agencies,” Zelensky stated, announcing the decision.
Amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, “more than 60 employees of the law enforcement agencies and the SBU” remained in the “occupied territory” and are now working against Ukraine, Zelensky claimed. That vast “array of crimes,” as well as contacts between “employees of law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and Russia,” are posing “serious questions” to the heads of the respective bodies, he went on, warning that “every such question will get an appropriate answer.”
- Italy may soon be unable to arm Ukraine – foreign minister RT
Political turmoil in Italy could soon see Rome unable to continue supporting Ukraine with weapons deliveries, the country’s foreign minister has warned. According to Luigi Di Maio, this would be the case should the incumbent government not survive a no-confidence vote next week.
In a phone interview with US media outlet Politico on Friday, Di Maio said that those in Italy who want the collapse of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government are playing into the hands of the Kremlin.
“The Russians are right now celebrating having made another Western government fall,” the minister argued.
Di Maio went on to express doubt as to whether Italy will be able to keep supplying arms to Ukraine under these circumstances, adding that “it is one of the many serious problems.”
Dipshittery and Cope
- Russia once had ambitions of making Moscow an international finance hub. Putin’s war has crushed the dream. Business Insider
Maybe not for Western countries, but India and China are definitely moving in while the West is moving out. And hopefully, the developing world will increasingly engage there too.
- Economic War of Attrition Takes Toll on Russia, West WSJ
Beyond Moscow’s military campaign is an economic war between Russia, on one side, and the U.S. and Europe on the other. That conflict is becoming a test of who can endure the most strife.
So far, Russia appears to be suffering more, analysts say, with its economy set to contract sharply this year, the cost of living soaring and hundreds of businesses, from McDonald’s Corp. to French car maker Renault SA, fleeing.
But the U.S. and Europe are also incurring severe costs, mainly through higher energy prices that are likely to rise this winter, analysts say. Joblessness is expected to mount, too, as central banks respond to those inflation pressures by raising interest rates.
“After an extremely professional analysis, we have determined with 100% certainty that brands (not the factories or stores, just the names on them) leaving Russia is more impactful than people in Europe needing to choose between heat and food this winter."
The coming months will prove crucial in determining who gains leverage in this economic war, analysts say, with Russia struggling to find imports for its military and economy, and Western nations maneuvering to replace Russian energy.
. The war will cost roughly $1 trillion in global output this year, according to a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, a U.K.-based research group. The global economy is now projected to grow 2.8% instead of its prewar forecast of 3.9%, with the biggest losses in output suffered by Italy, Germany and France, the EIU says.
Russia is “testing the West and the West is responding in kind,” said Tymofiy Mylovanov, a University of Pittsburgh associate professor of economics and former Ukrainian government official. “It’s a war of attrition—not only for Ukraine and Russia in the war theater, but for the moral resolve of Russia and the West,” he said.
This is a closer outcome than what many expected at the outset, when almost all the economic firepower was trained on Russia.
“Russia is definitely feeling the pinch here—especially the Russian middle class who are used to being able to do all kinds of stuff they can’t do now,” said Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, a U.K.-based economic-research consulting firm.
But the war is also exacting a toll on the West, analysts say. Trade disruptions caused by the sanctions, combined with investor fears of an eventual shortage of energy, have pushed up prices for oil, natural gas and other commodities.
That has helped drive inflation to multidecade highs, leading central banks of the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K. to raise interest rates and the European Central Bank to prepare to do so. Not all this is war-related. Even excluding food and energy, inflation is high, especially in the U.S., which is less exposed to higher natural-gas prices than Europe. Barclays PLC analysts expect the eurozone to slip into recession in the fourth quarter of this year.
That outlook could slip further if the energy crisis deepens. If Russian gas supplies are shut off completely, Germany’s output would likely fall 5% this year compared with current projections, according to the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank.
A senior Biden administration official said that the sanctions are having the desired effect and that the White House believes it is winning the economic war. As Russia’s economy deteriorates, President Vladimir Putin will face growing pressure to shift course, the official said.
Still, Russia seems to have outperformed President Biden’s own expectations. In late March, Mr. Biden said on Twitter that “the ruble was almost immediately reduced to rubble. The Russian economy is on track to be cut in half.”
The ruble did initially tumble but has recovered—thanks to interest-rate increases by Russia’s central bank, capital controls, growing exports and reduced imports. The most pessimistic projections don’t see Russia’s output contracting as much as Mr. Biden suggested.
High inflation is contributing to political strife in the West. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi tendered his resignation last week because of differences over how to respond to the war in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron lost his parliamentary majority in an election driven by voters’ concerns about the rising cost of living. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned this month under pressure from Conservative Party lawmakers who worried scandals would impede the government’s ability to respond to inflation.
This article - or, to be more precise, the general reaction of the Western media to the fact that Russia has not collapsed economically or militarily, while the West is showing signs that it is, especially when winter comes - is almost the platonic ideal of shifting the goalposts. I do hope that the Russian economy falls less than 3.5% so I can watch these people go “Aha! Putler’s regime is on the ropes! We, the educated, competent, well-paid analyists, said this would happen!” ignoring they predicted absolute catastrophe in March.
- The West’s risky sanctions game—economic pain for Europe now, and much more for Russia later Fortune
It’s basically the exact same article but coping in a slightly different way.
- Ex-NATO commander says Russia’s war in Ukraine will likely end and become a ‘frozen conflict’ in 4 to 6 months, compares to Korean War Business Insider
James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, said on Sunday that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely conclude in four to six months, with a “frozen conflict” ending similar to the Korean War.
Stavridis discussed the state of the war during a WABC 770 AM radio interview with New York businessman John Catsimatidis, where he remarked that it was “extremely obvious” the conflict has “bogged down on both sides.”
“The Ukrainians are putting up a very strong fight,” Stavridis said. “[Vladimir] Putin’s war plans have proven to be not particularly effective. He has gained a little bit of territory over what he started the conflict with.”
A LITTLE BIT OF TERRITORY?! Russia is occupying a land area half the size of Norway!
He continued: “I see this one headed toward a Korean War ending, which is to say an armistice, a militarized zone between the two sides, ongoing animosity, kind of a frozen conflict. Look for that in a four-to-six-month period. Neither side can sustain it much beyond that.”
“As we all know, due to Newton’s laws, when a soldier on one side dies, an equal and opposite soldier on the other side dies. That’s why Ukraine’s plan to conscript a million soldiers and throw them at the southern front is so smart: it will also kill a million Russian soldiers, and how can Russia sustain that? Anyway, I’ll be taking my 4.5 million dollars from the Freedom Institute of How Ukraine Will Win and Russia Will Lose, thanks!"
- John Bolton says the foreign coups he helped plan were necessary to protect ‘America’s best interests’ Business Insider
STOP DOING OUR BITS FOR US!
- Why The U.S. Can’t Curb The World’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions Forbes
There is a huge disparity between carbon dioxide emissions of developed countries and those of developing countries. The 38 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are high-income countries generally regarded as developed countries. Carbon dioxide emissions in these countries have been in decline for 15 years, and are at approximately the same level they were at 35 years ago.
Non-OECD countries, on the other hand, have seen an explosion in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions. There are two primary reasons for this disparity.
First, coal played an important role in the early development of OECD, but it is now being phased out. The non-OECD countries are going through a similar development phase by using coal, and that is driving up their carbon dioxide emissions.
The second major reason is that the majority of the world’s population lives in developing countries. Their standards of living are increasing, and that generally entails an increase in energy consumption. Even though per capita emissions in these countries is low, a large population of people that is slightly increasing per capita emissions is having a large overall impact on global emissions.
But this poses a major challenge in controlling the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Around 60% of the world’s population lives in the Asia Pacific region. Per capita consumption is much lower than in the world’s developed countries, but billions of people slowly increasing consumption has been the driving factor behind rising carbon dioxide emissions for decades.
Since 1965, carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and the EU haven’t changed much. But they have grown steadily in Asia Pacific region, reaching a new record high in 2021. Asia Pacific’s emissions are now over double the combined emissions of the U.S. and the EU.
The blame is entirely misplaced - newsflash, it actually is the United States' fault. Its framing is right up there with the people who are deeply concerned about overpopulation, as opposed to fair distribution of resources so that most of the world’s treats don’t go into fucking American McDonalds Happy Meals to be thrown out of the window in the car ride back.
Firstly: the OECD countries comprise 18% of the world’s population, and the graph says that they emitted about 11 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2021. Then double those emissions, about 22 billion metrics tons of CO2, was emitted by the remaining 82% of the world’s population. That’s an incredible ratio! Imagine if those 18% had the same per capita CO2 emissions as the people in the 82%, which is COMPLETELY possible, and if anything, SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED BY NOW BECAUSE WE SHOULD ALREADY BE IN A NET ZERO ENERGY SITUATION!
Secondly: do you think the reason why the non-OECD countries have such large emissions as a group has anything to do with the fact that we exported our fucking industry to them? And that they are essentially the global treats factory for us while we sit on our jenga towers of financial scams and fake companies and new speculative bullshit like cryptocurrency we like to call an “economy” and lord over them?
Third: do you think the reason why we don’t have ubiquitous renewable/nuclear energy generation by now has anything at all to do with the fact that one of the major load-bearing pillars of US hegemony is oil and the petrodollar? Maybe the fact that the US derives a substantial portion of its global power by effectively controlling (economically or militarily) much of the global oil supply, which countries around the world need for cheap energy generation in lieu of more expensive, less reliable (depending on climate, etc) renewables?
China is among the only countries outside of the Global Good Boys Club that both has significant emissions and has the ability to execute energy policy independent of the US to some extent (mainly because it can’t be militarily subdued like certain other countries that have tried to break away from US hegemony and now have open-air slave markets for that heinous crime), increasingly with their alliance with Russia. And they - last time I checked - spend more on renewables than every other country on the planet COMBINED.
Good Takes that are Dope
- Evo Morales: UK Role In Coup That Ousted Him Popular Resistance
This is a long article, first describing the process that the author went through to get to have an interview with Evo Morales:
I got the interview because of an investigation I wrote in March 2021 revealing the U.K.’s support for the coup which deposed Morales.
The British Foreign Office released 30 pages of documents about programs run by its embassy in Bolivia. These showed it appeared to have paid an Oxford-based company to optimise “exploitation” of Bolivia’s lithium deposits in the month after Morales fled the country.
It also showed the U.K. embassy in La Paz acted as “strategic partner” to the coup regime and organized an international mining event in Bolivia four months after democracy was overthrown.
The story went viral in Bolivia. The foreign minister, Rogelio Mayta, called in the country’s U.K. Ambassador Jeff Glekin to explain the contents of the article and requested a report on the findings. The British embassy in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, released a statement claiming Declassified was engaged in a “campaign of disinformation,” but provided no evidence.
And it then continues, with Evo talking about how the West wanted to overthrow a successful left-wing government, and so on.
Bloomerism and Hope
- Ukraine war shows West’s dominance is ending as China rises, Tony Blair says Jakarta Post
The Ukraine war shows that the West’s dominance is coming to an end as China rises to superpower status in partnership with Russia at one of the most significant inflection points in centuries, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said.
The world, Blair said, was at a turning point in history comparable with the end of World War Two or the collapse of the Soviet Union: but this time the West is clearly not in the ascendant.
“We are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance,” Blair said in a lecture entitled “After Ukraine, What Lessons Now for Western Leadership?” according to a text of the speech to a forum supporting the alliance between the United States and Europe at Ditchley Park west of London.
“The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar,” Blair said. “The biggest geo-political change of this century will come from China not Russia.”
- Argentina And Mexico Increase Commercial Ties With Cuba Popular Resistance
Cuba has ramped up commercial ties with Argentina and Mexico this week as it looks toward Latin America to break out of the blockade imposed by the United States. Havana is currently hosting a trade conference with Mexican businesses to attract investment and on Tuesday Argentina formalized a wide-ranging cooperation agreement to boost the agricultural sector.
The Mexico-Cuba trade conference, hosted at the Hotel Nacional, concluded today with the signing of 12 investment agreements in renewable energy, textiles, food, information technology, and other areas. The conference was inaugurated by Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, and the Mexican government’s Sub-secretary for Industry and Commerce, Héctor Guerrero.
- Caribbean states call for the lifting of sanctions against Venezuela Canadian Dimension
From July 3 to 5, the heads of states of 15 Caribbean countries gathered in Paramaribo, Suriname for the forty-third regular meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a regional intergovernmental organization that promotes economic cooperation between members. At the conclusion of the meeting, CARICOM released a communique which summarized the wide array of issues discussed and emphasized the importance of the Venezuelan economy, particularly the energy sector, to the infrastructural needs of the region. In unequivocal terms, they called for the lifting of US sanctions on Venezuela.
“Heads of Government agreed,” the communique reads, “in the context of the bilateral relationship with the United States, to urge for the removal of the sanctions on Venezuela to allow for countries in the Region to benefit from the PetroCaribe initiative and for progress on the exploitation of cross-border natural gas fields between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.”
- Wild Elephants from China Wander Near Lao Border Laotian Times
Wild Asian elephants in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve have been spotted wandering along Laos’ northern border after a 17-month cross-country journey.