Why London, Too, Will Balk At Sanctions Against Russia (And Putin Knows It)

Tyler Durden's picture

A week ago, when the idea of sanctions against Russia was first officially announced, we made a statement, which was obviously in jest yet which, as so often happens, was so rooted in reality:

How is this an indication of reality? Well, for one, as we reported previously, the one country that has the most to lose from Russian sanctions, Germany, and specifically its industrial superlobby has already said "Nein" to any truly crippling trade blockade of Moscow would backfire on Germany's own economy and bottom line.

But what about London? Here, the NYT explains why, once again, it was all about the money, and why were right even when we were being humorous:

The White House has imposed visa restrictions on some Russian officials, and President Obama has issued an executive order enabling further sanctions. But Britain has already undermined any unified action by putting profit first.


It boils down to this: Britain is ready to betray the United States to protect the City of London’s hold on dirty Russian money. And forget about Ukraine.

At this point, in standing with the ideological framework of the host media outlet, the author takes a detour into naive idealism - a world in which it is not money that talks, but a declining global superpower, whose hypocrisy has been exposed time and again, and where extinct words like "mission" and "moral" are used with reckless abandon:

Britain, open for business, no longer has a “mission.” Any moralizing remnant of the British Empire is gone; it has turned back to the pirate England of Sir Walter Raleigh. Britain’s ruling class has decayed to the point where its first priority is protecting its cut of Russian money — even as Russian armored personnel carriers rumble around the streets of Sevastopol. But the establishment understands that, in the 21st century, what matters are banks, not tanks.


The Russians also understand this. They know that London is a center of Russian corruption, that their loot plunges into Britain’s empire of tax havens — from Gibraltar to Jersey, from the Cayman Islands to the British Virgin Islands — on which the sun never sets.


British residency is up for sale. “Investor visas” can be purchased, starting at £1 million ($1.6 million). London lawyers in the Commercial Court now get 60 percent of their work from Russian and Eastern European clients. More than 50 Russia-based companies swell the trade at London’s Stock Exchange. The planning regulations have been scrapped, and along the Thames, up go spires of steel and glass for the hedge-funding class.


Britain’s bright young things now become consultants, art dealers, private banker and hedge funders. Or, to put it another way, the oligarchs’ valets.


Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, gets it: you pay them, you own them. Mr. Putin was absolutely certain that Britain’s managers — shuttling through the revolving door between cabinet posts and financial boards — would never give up their fees and commissions from the oligarchs’ billions. He was right.

So, let us get this straight? It is great when the Russian oligrachs "invest" their stolen money in luxury London real estate, the FTSE100, and various other inflating assets which are mistaken for an improvement in the broader "economy", but when the alarm clock of realpolitick rings, it was all bad?

What we are more stunned by is that while London has at least figured out the quid pro quo, the US, and its leader, so far seem completely incapable of doing so. Perhaps someone should explain to Obama that with the Fed tapering, the only incremental buyer of high end real estate are precisely the oligarchs from Russia, whom he will soon alienate, as well as those from China, which also may decide it is too risky to park "hot money" in New York triplexes, and instead once again, like in 2011, park it all in gold and other precious metals.

But going back to the NYT article, the author does make the following accurate observation: "This is Britain’s growth business today: laundering oligarchs’ dirty billions, laundering their dirty reputations."

His conclusion, too, is spot on:

The Shard encapsulates the new hierarchy of the city. On the top floors, “ultra high net worth individuals” entertain escorts in luxury apartments. By day, on floors below, investment bankers trade incomprehensible derivatives.


Come nightfall, the elevators are full of African cleaners, paid next to nothing and treated as nonexistent. The acres of glass windows are scrubbed by Polish laborers, who sleep four to a room in bedsit slums. And near the Shard are the immigrants from Lithuania and Romania, who broke their backs on construction sites, but are now destitute and whiling away their hours along the banks of the Thames.


The Shard is London, a symbol of a city where oligarchs are celebrated and migrants are exploited but that pretends to be a multicultural utopia. Here, in their capital city, the English are no longer calling the shots. They are hirelings.

Still think Putin is ready to "blink"?

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Soul Glow's picture

Even though Obama says the US can make up for lost LNG from Russia, the US can't.  

takeaction's picture

Seriously....what are we supposed to do...this is not our fight?  Are we supposed to get into a nuclear conflict over any of this bullshit.  Keep our noses out of all this shit.  Rand Paul...I hope we can make it that far....and by the way...Bitcoin is a disaster.

zaphod's picture

Can you blame the Brits after Obama's treatment. 

During the last election Obama went out of his way to re-write history and say that the US has no historical ties to Britain and to suggest so was racist. Remember that whole lefty uproar when a Romney campaign staff member in the UK stated that the US has a special relationship with the UK due to the common anglo-saxon cultural heritage, and the lefties went crazy, writting piece after piece stating how racist it is to think the US has a cultural heritage based on the UK, and they were writting these peices in ENGLISH which is a language from ENGLAND. If you were the Brits I'm sure you'd write off the US from now on. (BTW I am silician decent but have only spoken English because my family has lived in the US for generations and I understand that the UK is my cultural heritage)

knukles's picture

As a US expat for many years (past) in Britian, I'd suggest the bottom line is that the US can go fugg'emselves.


PS  Nobody fucks with the City of London.

The Alarmist's picture

The City is the last bastion of hope for the UK to have influence in the world.  IOW, it IS the red line that the UK government will not allow to be crossed.  IOW, "BHO, sure we've got your back in the UK."

gmrpeabody's picture

"(BTW I am silician decent but have only spoken English because my family has lived in the US for generations and I understand that the UK is my cultural heritage)"


Pure Evil's picture

The Brits aren't totally stupid.

They know that possession is 9/10ths Jungle Law.

And, with troops and mobilized armored divisions already in place it'll take a world war to remove them.

The Brits may have been Uncle Sam's lap poodle in the past when it came to Iraq and Afghanistan, essentially since Uncle Sam was doing the heavy lifting, but I doubt you could mobilize the populace to fight another reenactment of the Somme in Crimea.

Unpopular Truth's picture

<<<=== Winston Churchill

<<<=== Neville Chamberlain, appeasement, head in the sand, all is fine

The Dunce's picture

Why?  Capitalists love money.  That's why.  They pray at the feet of the golden calf.  Bastards.

Ifigenia's picture

Chamberlain was not a fool, he only want to play Hitler against Stalin by selling the Czech Sudetans. Unfortunately, Hitler was more cunning

RSDallas's picture

The Brits have been on the wrong end of the stick since the beginning of time.  When are you going to wake up?  This is your demise, you are toast, the fat lady is singing.  You are idiots and the US has been trying to rid ourselves of you fools since 1776 and before.  You are idiots!  You people have proven to be the most crooked, evil, non godly and useless since the beginning of time.

God, I pray that you will protect the innocent and at the same time you will punish the evil no matter where it is located.  Game on and God Speed!

Byte Me's picture

Fuck off with your Holier-than-thou claptrap theism.

God doesn't exist. Period. If you want to spend your own time in pious contemplation, go ahead, it's your right to do so, but spare me from your parsimonious drivel. Goddism is what has caused the delicious MESS that America now is. The people in power don't care one whit for your deity they just want power over YOU. If your God actually existed you wouldn't need to 'pray' to him/her/it - your problems would have long been interceded upon for you. They haven't and will not be and that should tell you all that you need to know inre 'His' existence.

Furthermore, there are no innocents.

Buck Johnson's picture

Exactly, also they know their limits unlike many in America.  Rule number one in propaganda, don't believe your own propaganda.  Our leaders have started to believe what they have been telling us for decades, and it's going to nail us in the ass.  Also good article about the shard.

h0oS's picture

Damn right knukles.

Robinhood's picture

Hey CuntUkles,

You live in a land of unarmed, inbred pussies. Go fugg'yourselves...again.


teslaberry's picture

Except goldman sachs. bitches.

Abitdodgie's picture

the city within a city within a country ,the city of london one of the 3 axis of evil , Vatican , Wash DC , city of London , they are the ones running this show .  

AmCockerSpaniel's picture

So; "Nobody fucks with the City of London".

Me thinks the Queen answers to only her subjects, and nobody "F...,s" with her.

Ifigenia's picture

not even Victoria, Victoria Nulland

AmCockerSpaniel's picture

I would not write off the Queen if I were "The City of London".

StychoKiller's picture

So, you deny your heritage of Betelgeuse?

Joshua Falken's picture

Of the past twenty years, US businesses and the US Government are increasingly hostile and controlling to the countries closest to the USA.   The behaviour of American politicians and institutions is seared into global conscience and we should ask "the land of the free" to consider what one word they think of when reading the following list;  NSA, INSCOM, Federal Reserve System, Google,  Apple, Facebook, MF Global, PFG Best, Madoff, AIG, Lehman, Enron, Worldcom, Cendant, Fannie Mae, HealthSouth, Tyco, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Federal Reserve System, Bernanke, Greenspan, Clinton², Bush², Obama, Geithner.

Just look at how Hilary Clinton, John Kerry and Victoria Nuland have flip-flopped their new BFF’s over the past year and all three historically despise Westminster.

Europe understands that Moscow has controlled East and South Ukraine since 1686 and Crimea since 1783 and will never give away its access to the Black Sea.  Washington is implicated in fomenting and funding this crisis and riding roughshod over European sensibilities when the best course for peace is the divide the country along the 2012 electoral affiliations.

The NYT’s “London’s Laundry Business” is White House propaganda which is neatly “fisked” by CityAM editor Allister Heath here. http://www.cityam.com/article/1394429878/new-york-times-totally-wrong-it...


The world has learned that Americans in government and business cannot be trusted and are moving on. Bullies always end up having no friends.

kaiserhoff's picture

Tail wagging dog.  Britain's financial sector is a ridiculous multiple of the hollowed out real economy.

Oh well.  It worked great for Iceland, Ireland, Cypress, anyway, it's different this time.

Aaaarghh's picture

The UK is a crack cocaine snorting whore eeking out a sorry existence prostituting itself for money. The change in Cameron after geting into power is as obvious as it was when Blair got in. Popular at first, but then someone with money "gets to them". I'd say something needs to change, but then it never will. 99% of the population are hypnotised by TV/MSM or are just too damn stupid. Fuck 'em, I'm voting UKIP next time round just because I like the way Nigel throws shit over barrosos way.

123dobryden's picture

your vote is very very important :)

frenzic's picture

Voting is bullshit and you know it. When this one gets into power he'll turn out to be another politician. When do people learn.

Ifigenia's picture

voting is masturbation. It only get economic values if we could trade it just like any other goods Is unfair that the big shots could enrich in elections campaigns of billions of dollars and we, small fish, could not sell our vote.

stopcpdotcom's picture

your vote is very very important :)


g&#039;kar's picture

Your vote is very impotent, like over here.

Omen IV's picture

"Seriously....what are we supposed to do"

We (USA) are Pirates  -- get with the program!

R & P Action (Rape & Pillage)  is the only game - yours is not to reason why, yours is just to do or die!


VD's picture

so next Cypress'd is London'd and shit really gets fukd...

TruthInSunshine's picture

Americans, Europeans, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Singaporeans, Japanese, Koreans, Indonesians, Mexicans, Australians, Brazilians, Canadians, Arabs, Jews, Chileans, and the rest of the world's citizenry, LEND ME YOUR EARS -

Do you now see the world as it is? Do you see the grotesque, decrepit, immoral, greedy, depraved conditions that fractional reserve fiat banks, who are puppets of the Money Masters, have created?

Jack&#039;s Digestible Ideas's picture

Clearly no. Even after the dust settles and the wars come to an end, those that remain still will not have made the connection between war and banking. It's damn frustrating.

Kaiser Sousa's picture


illyia's picture

So stop reading and go to sleep. Or let your brain explode all over the neighbors.

They may not thank you for it, either. No satisfaction there...

Somewhere in all that, maybe stop giving the banksters any more power (money and respect).

Do business without them.

tonyw's picture

and with the emotive language Britain is ready to betray the United States it's back to "either you're with us or against us"

So, any country that does not do exectly the bidding of USA is "betraying" ???

In fact the GB politicians have been pushing hard and denouncing Putin for his illegal acts of regime change, which are of course comletely different to our far more numerous illegal acts of regime change.


Ifigenia's picture

a little correction, not the USA, only the 1% of USA.

logicalman's picture

Imagine the required increase in fracking to achieve this, and the logistics of delivery.


Soul Glow's picture

They would have to frack California and Colorado to achieve it and I don't think the liberals in those states are stupid enough to let them.

Also, refining the gas to liquid is a very unstable process - not to mention costly.  Where on the East Coast should we put the plants?  Nobody living there will want them in their backyards when an explosion would decimate the landscape for tens of square miles.

Hongcha's picture

Soul Glow, not with our water supply where it is.  I doubt even Gov. Moonbeam possesses the degree of rancidity of spirit to allow that to be considered.

disabledvet's picture

the natural gas processing facilities have already been built and are fully operational in Ohio.
Why would the USA care if the Brits don't want to fight for their food supply? We don't have that problem in the USA that's fer sure. And why should we want to "save Europe" anyways? Maybe the right play is to go "full on bipolar" here and support Russia in its aggression. "It wouldn't be the first time" that's fer sure and of course the USA and Russia have never gone "hot" with one another...ever.

I do think the Brits won't let Cyprus go that easily...nor have they. And the bulk of the Russian oligarchs have been obliterated by the Olympics and the collapse of the ruble this year.

Germany has already come down hard against "independence" for Crimea. I can understand Putin's "temptation" because if he takes out Ukraine he gets control not just of the natural gas but of all the distribution into Western Europe. That's also a massive amount of food supplies to the world leaving out of Odessa...plus all the rail lines. Talk about "capital appreciation."

As an American i don't feel directly threatened by this...but I don't feel like Russian diplomacy has been very "pro-American" either. Surely if we want to take out all the other world financial capitals and leave only New York and Moscow we can start talking. I haven't seen that presented as a war aim yet though.

Diplomacy is a weird business. One day you're declaring war and rallying the troops...the next day it's "show me the money."


WhackoWarner's picture

Coming to a DC near you pretty quick.  This UK slum will migrate.  The influence will come West and the gold will go East.


WhackoWarner's picture

My head keeps humming Springsteen.


Waist deep in the big muddy.  You start off standing but you end up.......


and again "poison snake bites you and you are poison too....waist deep in the big muddy"



Lumberjack's picture

See Arab Bankers Association/Larry Summers/UPC. More to come.

g&#039;kar's picture

Obamao will not allow increased LNG exports for only one reason, politics. Red states have the most.



Wahooo's picture

Someone please give me a clue: what is the common thread through obama's foreign policy decisions? Because I'm not seeing a strategy.

kaiserhoff's picture

Screw Ze Middle Class.