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Insane In The Ukraine

Portfolio Armor's Photo
by Portfolio Armor
Monday, Jan 24, 2022 - 8:07

The Motherland Monument in Kiev, Ukraine (Max Vakhbovych/Pexels).

The Insanity Of Our Ukraine Policy 

In my last post (Too Many Women In The Wrong Places), I mentioned how our elites continue to court disaster by ignoring the reality of human differences. They also ignore the reality of geopolitics, and our history with Russia since the fall of Berlin Wall. Matt Stoller broke down the key facts in a brief Twitter thread, which I've posted in full below, followed by a brief elaboration. Before I get to that, a quick reminder: I plan to post Nasdaq hedges after we get a bounce, but if you'd like to scan for optimal hedges now, you can do so using the Portfolio Armor website or iPhone app

Now to Matt Stoller's thread, which starts with him quoting a hawkish tweet by former U.S. ambassador to Russia (during the Obama administration), Michael McFaul. 

On The Destruction of The Russian Economy

Regarding Stoller's second tweet, about Western economists destroying Russia in the '90s, here is some hard data on that, via Dimitri Sines' excellent post last week in The American Conservative ("How Russia Went Wrong"). I've taken the liberty of bolding a couple of sections: 

By the end of 1992, prices had skyrocketed by 2,508 percent while real wages fell by about a third. Hyperinflation impoverished tens of millions of Russians practically over night by wiping out their life savings. Although grocery store shelves were now filled with products, the cruel irony was that many Russians could not afford to buy them. Over the course of 1992, Russians were forced to cut their consumption of vegetables by 84 percent, meat by 80 percent, fish and milk by 56 percent. Even members of the military were not immune to this food crisis. In early 1993, a nationwide scandal broke out after it was revealed that four navy conscripts died of starvation in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok. Another 250 of their fellow recruits were subsequently hospitalized with alimentary dystrophy. [...]

When Yeltsin unexpectedly announced his resignation in favor of Putin on New Year’s Eve in 1999, many Russians breathed a sigh of relief. The Russian president left the office with a single-digit approval rating. During his eight years in office, Russia’s GDP collapsed from $518 billion in 1991 to $196 billion in 1999, a decline more dramatic than what the United States experienced during the Great Depression. As a result of the economic hardship, the death rate in Russia was 1.5 times higher than the birth rate, which sparked widespread concerns that the country was rapidly approaching a demographic abyss.

Under Putin, Russia's economy eventually recovered and resumed growing; in 2020 its GDP was about $1.5 trillion. But you can see why there'd be some ill will toward us on their part. And that's before you consider that we've expanded NATO Eastward despite promising not to do so in the past. 

McFaul's Facile Hitler Comparison 

Michael McFaul responded to Stoller's thread by implicitly comparing Putin to Hitler: 

When journalist Zaid Jilani wondered why Americans constantly make these Hitler comparisons, 

Nicolo Soldo suggested it was part of our state religion:

Sounds crazy, but then so does the rest of this. 

 

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