Things That Make You Go Hmmm... Like Iron Fists And Velvet Gloves

Tyler Durden's picture


Men like Putin understand the ruthlessness required to keep an iron grip on power, and the press is largely an irrelevance to them, while those in the West prefer the velvet glove approach — writing checks to their electorate, taking the softly, softly approach with their foreign policy, and constantly courting the press — desperate for approval (echoes of Sally Field once again).

Russia’s temporary exclusion from the G-8/G-7 and the accompanying sanctions are designed to send a message to Vladimir Putin and force him to the negotiating table over Crimea; but though the sanctions imposed will certainly cause some discomfort in Russia, the Western press is already questioning the validity of moves which impact individual companies such as Rossiya Bank and Rusal (the world’s largest aluminium company, which teeters on the brink of insolvency in the wake of the recently imposed sanctions):

(FT): Rusal warned of “material uncertainty” over its future as the world’s largest aluminium producer reported a $3.2bn loss in its worst annual performance since 2008.


The Russian aluminium group, controlled by Oleg Deripaska and listed in Hong Kong, confirmed that it had asked lenders to delay a repayment due next month on part of its $10bn net debt pile.


It said that it expected to complete long-running negotiations with its banks to amend the terms of its debt, but warned that there could be no certainty it would succeed.


“Management acknowledge that these conditions result in the existence of a material uncertainty with respect to the group’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the company said. Rusal’s auditor, KPMG, included an “emphasis of matter” paragraph in its report on the company’s earnings statement to draw attention to the issue.

Expect no such compassion from Putin. Instead, Russia’s leader is already working to tighten his alliances and broaden his power base amongst the GoP.

Many commentators point to the potentially devastating effect on Russia’s economy that the sanctions put in place by the EU and the US might have, whilst others emphasise Russia’s moves to strengthen their ties to the East and reduce reliance upon their Western trading partners.

One thing is certain: the combination of Putin’s hardline approach and refusal to play by Western rules, along with the West’s desperation not to take any action without the explicit backing of their electorates, means that, for now at least, Putin’s path through what could have been a tricky bracket has been very smooth indeed.




How this plays out is anybody’s guess right now, but this much I know: one should NEVER underestimate the ability of the average Russian to bear hardship, nor should one ever underestimate the West’s lack of fortitude once any situation becomes politically unpalatable.

I also know that everywhere you look around the world, electorates are just itching to vote for change and to hand power to new parties and new leaders, many of which are extreme in nature and possess the ability to seriously upset the status quo.

What else do I know? Well, I know that neither Russia nor China feels the US’s place at the top of the food chain is either justified or indefinitely sustainable, and they both smell weakness.

Ukraine is just one in a series of situations which will shape and reshape the geopolitical sandscape in coming decades, and the squabbles amongst the G-8/G-7 threaten to strengthen existing alliances and forge new ones in the crucible of conflict.

Pay very close attention to the sand beneath your feet, folks. It is unstable and unpredictable, and that is the most dangerous combination of all — ask Vlad.


Full Grant Williams letter below...


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Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:03 | 4615722 Cattender
Cattender's picture

our president Obumba is better at Basketball..

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:12 | 4615740 zaphod
zaphod's picture

Obama speaks loudly but carries no stick.

Once Putin understood this he is free to do anything he pleases. He now knows that he can roll into neighboring countries and the US (and EU) will do absolutely nothing since we are bankrupt and most imporantly the public is war wearry after a decade and a half of war. Additionally Obama's base will never allow him to start a large scale operation. 



Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:27 | 4615783 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

zaphod speaks loudly but possesses no intelligence...

(hey... everybody does it sometimes right?)

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:41 | 4615831 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

Putin vs Obama is more like an iron fist versus a limp wrist, if you know what I mean....

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:40 | 4616105 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

One should NEVER underestimate the ability of the average Westerner to ignore the evil that their country does.

And the ability of the not-so-human Westerner to approve of it.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 02:05 | 4616281 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture


More like Saunaboy versus Gay icon

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 05:36 | 4616461 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Zaphod definitely is right on with his comments... Trouble is, most American's don't want to hear the truth... Like my own sister who is concerned about spots on her new carpet and is ticked cause her hair dresser went on vacation! 

America is being led by the neo cons. The neo con agenda is spelled out in the PNAC paper... project for a new American century. Google PNAC and read it... You can bet your bippy that Putin has memorized it.

The neo cons are/were fools to publish the PNAC. Only fools would let their opposition know their exact agenda unless they had a very good reason to do so. Did the neo cons expect the American people to go along with such an agenda? If not, there was no purpose to publish... I bet not one American in a thousand, or ten thousand, could tell you what the PNAC is or what goals it contains.

Political rule number one; Never let your opponents know what you are really thinking.

Political rule number two: There are no rules except rule number one.


Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:34 | 4615813 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Hey FuckToon, straight out Ill not fight in Europe for any reason. No matter who Russia invades. So, fuck you.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:20 | 4615920 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

I'll second that motion... plus I'm way too old, have flat feet, bum knees and a strong self-preservation instinct that practically borders on cowardice...

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:54 | 4615882 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

Map of US military bases overseas. Maybe there's a better one someone can find. No matter who was in charge of the US, Putin would have drawn the line with the West's Ukraine gambit.

If McCain or another hawk were president, maybe we'd already be in a hot war with Russia, or at least a lot closer. Overall Russia is less powerful than the US, but the only way we're going to take them down is for us to be taken down also. I don't care what the reason is for Obama being ineffectual vs Putin, I don't want a military confrontation with them over Ukraine. It would be suicidal, and we don't have the moral high ground.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:16 | 4616162 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

...we don't have the moral high ground.

When it comes to Second and Third World countries, the US automatically has every bit of high ground.

We're not the hellhole, countries like Russia and China are.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 04:23 | 4616414 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

One thing that I know... Grant Williams is always going to be one of the smartest guys regardless of which room I enter.

Here is Grant in a 55 minute interview with some other smart guys...

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:16 | 4615760 Cattender
Cattender's picture

also.. i bet the Wookie could kick putin's ass..

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:44 | 4616553 RazvanM
RazvanM's picture

Or lick putin's ass.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:01 | 4616007 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Is there any proof of that? 

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:05 | 4615728 ramacers
ramacers's picture

never forget stalingrad.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:22 | 4615773 Ness.
Ness.'s picture

and Poorski.  Never forget Poorski.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:06 | 4615731 cossack55
cossack55's picture

The siege of Leningrad is a great example of endurance.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:05 | 4616017 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

That was easy for the communists.  Not so much for the dystopics.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:22 | 4615769 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Paul Craig Roberts on how Ukraine got to where it got and where it is heading...

(spoiler alert: it won't be nice.)

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:38 | 4615824 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

You know, I've money on tap for PCR, Fred Reed, and Eric Peters - but my delightful city has me facing the gulag of 500 per day in fines as my chimney on a rental needs attention.

Why I just didn't start a bank and steal a half a trillion dollars, I'll never know.

Imagine that fine.

500 per day.

I'll say it again, let this cuntry burn.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:25 | 4615875 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Unless TPTB figure out how to get us out of this mess (they can't and won't)... it will likely spontaneously self-combust on it own.

(Across from a city lot with chest high weeds we get a $350 fine for grass over 6" high in an industrial area... at least they cut the thin strip of grass though...)

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 01:34 | 4616247 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Make sure you add your oppressors' names to your guillotine list.


Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:33 | 4615811 LooseLee
LooseLee's picture

The leaders of the USSA have no integrity, no character, no fortitude, and, as such, are a bunch of LOSERS in my opinion.  And because the leaders have such qualities, the populace blindy absobs those selfsame qualities. I don't know much about Putin or Russians, but I know many (if not most) Americans are fat, lazy, slothen, and mentally asleep. If such were NOT the case, we would not be in the position we are in economically, politically, morally, spiritually, and socially......

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:48 | 4615850 ltsgt1
ltsgt1's picture

We can get rid of Obuma in few more years nut we can never get rid of the dumb Americans whom voted for him.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:16 | 4615989 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Please don't believe that elections have anything to do with anything.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:14 | 4616161 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

On the other hand, the events have exposed folks like you to be un-American.



Wed, 04/02/2014 - 04:58 | 4616433 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

LooseLee... A few of our leaders have a little character, trouble is it's BAD character.

Russians and Chinese people have endured untold hardships for thousands of years... America recently appeared on the world scene. What America has now is a pack of neo cons that stir up shit then run and hide while they watch the outcome. They are like children in a 'chemistry 101 lab' with the proff out of the room. Putin sees right thru their little games and plays them like a fiddle. The neo con 'colored revolutions' are going to blow up in their faces exactly as happened in the Georgian republic... every time. When will the neo cons figure out that Putin is ALWAYS going to use 'protection of Russian people living in former parts of the CCCP' as an excuse to roll the tanks or take whatever action he deems necessary? How many times do the neo cons want to see this movie? How retarded are they? And, how long are the morons in Europe going to go along with these dangerous children?

When Putin plays the 'protection of Russian people living in former parts of the USSR' card he is simply borrowing a page from Hitler's play book... Remember the Sudatenland? Obviously the neo cons dont. 



Tue, 04/01/2014 - 21:35 | 4615816 Latitude25
Latitude25's picture

The West likes velvet glove solutions like creating false flags and pressing ICBM launch buttons, all the while thinking they are gods and will somehow live happily in some cave in Colorado.  Putin is ready and says, "Bring it on fuckers.  We'll all suffer and die together but you'll never come out the winner."

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:17 | 4615924 Drifter
Drifter's picture

3/5 of the world's population now realize they have sufficient financial leverage to stop the 1/5's hundred year run of bullying and looting, with more than enough nuclear weapons to guarantee their success.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:17 | 4615925 sangell
sangell's picture

Normally Grant Williams is super intelligent but his speculation about the Group of People bloc is just silly. India and Pakistan in a bloc with China??? Those countries fight wars with each other not join together to destroy the US. What in the world does Catholic Brazil have in common with Muslim Indonesia and how on earth does he toss Japan into his new bloc? Silly, as is the notion that Putin has all the diplomatic cards. Does Grant think Xi Jinping does not see Russia's dilemma as Europe breaks free from Russian energy imports ( and it can do this faster than Putin can put a pipeline into China. What kind of price is Xi going to offer Putin and if Putin's customer is China think they will tolerate him threatening them with supply interuptions? AP article out to day that has Sweden rethinking its two hundred year old neutrality policy and with Finland considering NATO membership. Putin has breathed new life into a moribund military alliance and only has a bankrupt province of 2 million people added to his government's budget. Hardly a plum.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:22 | 4616059 Bach's_bitch
Bach's_bitch's picture

Does Grant think Xi Jinping does not see Russia's dilemma as Europe breaks free from Russian energy imports

What are you talking about?

and it can do this faster than Putin can put a pipeline into China.

You mean about 3 years?

What kind of price is Xi going to offer Putin and if Putin's customer is China think they will tolerate him threatening them with supply interuptions?

Unless they want to threaten him with sanctions or execute propaganda campaigns against him, they won't really have any reason to think that.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:45 | 4616113 sangell
sangell's picture

Indeed, Cheneire Energy's Sabine Pass LNG terminal will begin operations next year and Dominion's Cove Pt, Maryland facility by 2017. Fracking wells are underway in the UK so by 2018 they should be well along in increasing their domestic production. So should Ukraine where Chevron has been drilling in Western Ukraine. Shell has the rights in Eastern Ukraine and one could expect the Ukrainian government if not the Dutch and British governments to lean on them to get moving. How much additional gas Europe can import from North Africa via pipeline and tanker or other gas exporters like Qatar and Trinidad remains to be seen but it should be substantial.

As to Sino-Russian relations, Putin will not be an equal partner. While he may not try any contract dispute tomfoolery with China ( he can't burn his bridges here as there is nowhere else to go) he may find his pipelines under attack by Islamic seccessionist regions in Russia proper or Uighur extremists in China. That is what is so perplexing about Putins confrontation with the West. He's got major Islamic threats to his nation and his security forces do not seem to be able to prevent these groups from conducting attacks as witness the two serious bombing incidents that preceded the Olympic games. If you can't protect the main train station in Volgograd you can't protect pipelines in across Siberia.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:36 | 4616188 Bach's_bitch
Bach's_bitch's picture

Indeed, Cheneire Energy's Sabine Pass LNG terminal will begin operations next year and Dominion's Cove Pt, Maryland facility by 2017. Fracking wells are underway in the UK so by 2018 they should be well along in increasing their domestic production.

So your answer to my question is yes, yes?

As to Sino-Russian relations, Putin will not be an equal partner.

Neither will Europe if they turn their oil dependency away from Russia.

He's got major Islamic threats to his nation and his security forces do not seem to be able to prevent these groups from conducting attacks as witness the two serious bombing incidents that preceded the Olympic games.

Oil pipelines have higher priority than the Olympics. Besides, the Russians or the Chinese, both as a governments and as people, aren't very kind and forgiving.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 23:40 | 4616104 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

These countries don't have to band together like BFFs. If they just stop allowing the USA to play them against each other that is enough to take the power away from the USA. Japan and Germany didn't band together in WW2, they just agreed to let each other fight a common enemy. 

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:01 | 4616139 sangell
sangell's picture

Amazing the childlike quality of your response as if the most pressing issue facing these nations is fulfilling your desire to bring the US down. Not  only is it a juvenile view of the world it is stupid at least from the POV of India who have major territorial disputes with Pakistan and China. Why one earth would India want to alienate the US to enhance the power and prestige of Russia or China?

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:35 | 4616160 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Excuse me, but where in my post did I express a 'desire to bring the US down'?

Paranoid much?

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:49 | 4616210 Bach's_bitch
Bach's_bitch's picture

Why one earth would India want to alienate the US to enhance the power and prestige of Russia or China?

Simple. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't. Indian leaders have always recognised the need to avoid deep alliances while slanting either one way or the other. Historically they've slanted the way of the USSR, which changed with its collapse. That may change again now. You have to realise that all of these countries have one thing in common - dismay with the dollar as reserve currency. If that dismay grows large enough for whatever reason, it may well suck them all in together.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:08 | 4616523 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

If the world wasn't fed up with the dollar the SCO wouldn't exist.

If the world wasn't fed up with the dollar/IMF the BRICS development bank wouldn't exist.

These organizations get very little or no mention in western media... even ZH rarely mentions them.

Btw, India and Pakistan are observer states in the SCO... the US asked to be an observer state but was refused. The wiki link below contains lists of members, observers, etc...

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 06:52 | 4616506 Seer
Seer's picture

"Why one earth would India want to alienate the US to enhance the power and prestige of Russia or China?"

The US empire is in decline.  All empires collapse.  It's prudent to plan for thise kinds of things: I see that many countries are figuring this out; if India isn't I'd think that that would mean that they're not as smart as they think they are.  The US and its military forces won't be in India's back yard forever.

Knock, knock.  Who's there?  Odds are that it's a neighbor rather than someone who resides far away.  As the world shrinks back from the never-possible-new-world-order (transport/shipping costs rising sharply) one will end up having to deal on a more regional basis.  Long-term India has little choice other than to deal with its neighbors.  Be prepared to go to war with them, or, sit down at a table (a bit of discomfort if you've spent a lot of energy calling them names and generally acting poorly with them).

ALWAYS see things from the perspective of resource movement/allocation.  India doesn't have energy resources: this is one of the reasons why a ocuple years back when it was all the rage to hype up the BRICS I was pointing this out and saying that India was NEVER going to become this big economic power that folks were saying (it was all hype to cash in, surprise!).

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:57 | 4616002 Bub Ba
Bub Ba's picture

Putin has a higher approval rating in the USA than Obama.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:12 | 4616157 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Only amongst people wanting to sell out their own country.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 00:50 | 4616211 Bach's_bitch
Bach's_bitch's picture

Only amongst people wanting to sell out their own country.

I'm guessing you're talking about Obama supporters?

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 06:54 | 4616509 Seer
Seer's picture

Cool!  Like being back in high school and participating in those all-important popularity contests!  Sure do miss them! </sarc>

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 02:42 | 4616322 inky
inky's picture

Why dosnt america just use its resources to repair its own country,instead of pokings its nose round the world & dragging everyone else down the pan with it.

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 03:16 | 4616356 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Methinks it's just because it's so much fun to fsck with people!

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 06:55 | 4616510 Seer
Seer's picture


You speak Unix?

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:02 | 4616516 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

Yep! "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda"  ;-)

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 05:21 | 4616449 Incubus
Incubus's picture

cuz your common american lardbeast that grazes at walmart isn't worth a fucksounce of shit on the global arena.

It isn't about keeping pudgy americans happy.  It's about keeping the cardholders in the game.  Just because you were sold some nationalistic bullshit and believe in your nesting instinct, doesn't mean the rest of the world falls into that paradigm. 

Americans are going to get a dose of reality in these upcoming decades.  And there won't be an app for that. 

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 07:07 | 4616520 Seer
Seer's picture

What resources?

It's like this... You have taken out a second mortgage on your house.  You're behind on BOTH mortgages.  You wishto remodel your home so you go to the bank and expect them to overlook the fact that you're not able to make your mortgage payments and that they should give you a loan to remodel?  Um... collateral?

Per (at the moment I checked), the US trade deficit was over $117 trillion.  Here's their definition of this:

The number above represents the U.S. trade deficit, up until this second, for the year 2014. A trade deficit is a calculation of the difference between the goods and services Americans sell to foreigners and the goods and services that Americans purchase from foreigners. A trade deficit with one country or in one year is not necessarily worrisome, and according to standard economic theory, will correct itself over time. But the theory has been proved wrong over the last 30 years as the United States has run consistent and increasing trade deficits. The enormous size of the trade deficits over the last several years raises the possibility of a severe international economic crisis should foreigners begin to dump the dollars they hold in world currency markets. The trade deficit is calculated on an annual basis, so the number above was $0.00 on January 1st, 2014.

This does NOT include the debts held by individuals OR the projected deficits of future programs.

EVERYONE is pretty much broke.  What does this really mean?  It means that growth will slow down drastically; and, most likely it will reverse- massive depression.

And then there's the question about what is to "repair" (other than, of course, its finances).  Infrastructure?  Fix roads?  So all the unemployed can pay more taxes for roads that they cannot afford to drive on?  Create "new" infrastructure, like light rail?  So that all the unemployed...

People!  Can you not think things through?

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