The most succinct statement about how governments get their people to support war came from Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials after World War II: "Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." It is rather frightening that a convicted Nazi war criminal latched onto an eternal truth!
We have previously profiled the "holy grail" gas deal between Russia and China on several occasions, and noted last week how it is expected to be signed this week - pending some final price negotiations. It appears that was spot on as Reuters reports, Russian state-run Gazprom said it was still "one digit" away from finalising a 30-year gas supply deal with Beijing which is expected to crown Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China next week. On the heels of Russia's de-dollarization meetings, the coming week appears a crucial one for the history books of the US Dollar as reserve currency (or will China leverage Russia's need to diversify from Europe and stall the deal once again?)
We have previously profiled the "holy grail" gas deal between Russia and China on several occasions, and with its announcement scheduled for next week (barring some unmitigated disaster) during Putin's first visit to China since Xi's appointment as president last March, it is time to do a status update on where it stands even if according to SCMP, at this point finding the "holy grail" is merely a formality. "Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said on Monday that the deal was "98 per cent ready". Supply would begin no later than the end of 2018."
Interview: Bailins May Cause Bank Runs and Capital Controls In Western World - Russia, China Opt OutSubmitted by GoldCore on 05/14/2014 18:05 -0400
And in Cyprus when it happened, the authorities said it was a once-off, because of all of the hot Russian money that is in Cyprus, and this will not happen anywhere else...but meanwhile they are planning for that scenario in most of our countries. People need to be aware of that and they need to prepare.
Russia Ministry of Finance is ready to greenlight a plan to radically increase the role of the Russian ruble in export operations while reducing the share of dollar-denominated transactions. Governmental sources believe that the Russian banking sector is "ready to handle the increased number of ruble-denominated transactions". According to the Prime news agency, on April 24th the government organized a special meeting dedicated to finding a solution for getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations. Top level experts from the energy sector, banks and governmental agencies were summoned and a number of measures were proposed as a response for American sanctions against Russia.
Update: And just to make sure Russia has a catalyst: UKRAINE FORCES ATTACK EASTERN CITY OF SLOVYANSK, INTERFAX SAYS
With the US having voiced its support for Ukraine's "anti-terrorist" operations, and Russia strongly supportive of pro-Russian people's decisions to regional self-determination, the threats coming from the newly independent regions are a concern (that markets clearly do not care about):
*DONETSK ARMY SAYS WILL FIGHT UKRAINE FORCES IF DEADLINE IGNORED
Ukrainian military forces have 48 hours to leave the region or Donetsk own "anti-terrorist" forces will fight. Of course, with the US already saying the referendums are illegal and not recognizing them, we suspect it will be time for more sanctions soon (despite the lessons below).
- Hillary and Me: The 2008 campaign was a nightmare. Will 2016 be as bad? (Politico)
- What Timothy Geithner Really Thinks (NYT)
- Rebels declare victory in east Ukraine self-rule vote (Reuters)
- Race for AIG's Top Job Has Two Favorites (WSJ)
- America on the Move Becomes Stay-at-Home Nation for Millennials (BBG)
- Old, Fired at IBM: Trendsetter Offers Workers Arbitration (BBG)
- Bad luck Jonathan: Pressure Mounts on Nigerian President (WSJ)
- Iran leader slams West's 'stupid' missile stance before talks (Reuters)
- Conchita Wurst of Austria Wins Eurovision Song Contest (WSJ)
- Greek Finance Ministry expects Q1 GDP contraction of less than 1.5 pct (Kathimerini)
One can’t help but look at the situations transpiring around the globe and hope: things are different this time. The problem is being different puts it right back in line with that other caveat: history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And so lies the most troubling aspect facing not only the U.S. economy, but quite possibly the world as whole. For if things rhyme anything inline with past events in history: We’re all in a dung heap of QE based minutia, with Geo-political ramifications the “intellectual” crowd never contemplated as possible – let alone probable.
If We Don’t Learn Our History … We May Very Well Blow Off Our Own Foot
The US approach to the Russia/Ukraine situation reflects a serious misunderstanding of the situation. Russia has little choice but to try to raise the price of products it is selling, any way it can. It needs to cut out those who cannot afford its products, including the Ukraine. If Europe increasingly cannot afford its products, Russia needs to find customers who can afford them. There is little chance that the United States is going to be able to help Europe with its natural gas needs in any reasonable timeframe. Our best chance at keeping the global economy “working” for a little longer is to try to keep globalization working as best we can. This will likely require “making nice” to countries we are unhappy with, and putting up with what looks like aggression. Policymakers like to think that the US has more power than it really does, and like to encourage stories suggesting great power in the press. Unfortunately, these stories are not true; we need policymakers who understand our real situation
...What’s left for the Empire of Chaos is to pray for chaos to keep spreading across Ukraine, thus sapping Moscow’s energy. And all this because the Washington establishment is absolutely terrified of an emerging power in Eurasia. Not one, but two – Russia and China. Worse: strategically aligned. Worse still: bent on integrating Asia and Europe. So feel free to picture a bunch of Washington angry old men hissing like juvenile delinquents: “I don’t like you. I don’t want to talk to you. I want you to die.”
China is already Iran’s largest trading partner and oil customer and Iran is China’s third largest oil provider... and this week Iran and China’s Defense Ministers vowed to boost military ties following a meeting in Beijing on Monday. Chinese officials noted that "common views over many important political-security, regional and international issues, Beijing assumes Tehran as its strategic partner."
As tensions between all parties in Eastern Europe boil over, Chris Martenson provides a brief tour through just some of the antics surrounding the US' involvement in bringing about change (you can believe in!) in Ukraine. We raise these items to counter the usual clutter and complete lack of context being provided in the US press and to illustrate that the US is already in pretty deep and therefore unlikely to back down now. Before we move on, do you not find it at all strange that the US media, usually extremely sensitive to anti-semitism, has given the McCain and Nuland support of the Svoboda party a complete pass? I find it to be like the case of "the dog that did not bark", meaning the silence reveals a very fickle moral compass at the heart of the western press. The demonization of Putin as the bad guy here is near complete in western media. But there’s plenty of mischief all around and, as usual, the US finds itself with some pretty strange bedfellows as it seeks an outcome it likes.
Oil prices have increased recently as tension in Ukraine has escalated and raised concerns about the risks of disruption in Russian energy exports. There is a risk that the security situation in the east Ukraine will worsen even further ahead of the 25 May elections. As Nordea notes, Russia is as important an oil exporter to Europe (of both crude and refined products) as it is a gas exporter, and the consequences of a cut in Russian oil supplies could be as grave since the global oil market has little back-up capacity to lean on. As a result, a halt in the oil deliveries from Russia to Europe will spark a sharp spike in oil prices (potentially to $150/bbl) and in a worst case scenario an oil crisis and European recession (and major slowdown in global growth) and US shale oil or an SPR release will prevent the spike.
Polls: Americans Are Sick of the War On Terror, War On Drugs ... And All of the Other Failed U.S. WarsSubmitted by George Washington on 05/01/2014 20:42 -0400
"Americans In Large Numbers Want the U.S. to Reduce Its Role In World Affairs Even As a Showdown with Russia Over Ukraine Preoccupies Washington …."