Global Intel Hub -- Knoxville, TN -- 2/10/2024 -- For the first time since the Ukraine "War" started, Russian President and Emissary Vladimir Putin had an opportunity to speak freely to the world and the American people who have been mostly kept in the dark regarding the details of the war. To skip to the important facts:
- The intellectual argument was about the War Party vs. the Peace Party. Putin claimed, with evidence, Russia wants peace, and the US wants war.
- It seemed from Putin's arguments, and this is evidenced by US Policy, the US wants war at any cost. Tucker's questions had a false premise by default, because he was assuming the US wants peace, asking questions on the assumption of the lies the US created that Russia would invade Poland and Europe.
- Tucker Carlson is a free speech hero, and a war hero, for creating this platform. We can give Tucker any benefit of the doubt just for creating this interview. Many of the questions he asked seemed childlike or at least naive but that may have been intentional. Either way, he accomplished an amazing mission - giving Putin the chance to state Russia's case, which he laid out logically and based on extensive History.
- The US is the leader in a global War Machine and they care not who is the enemy. Now it's Ukraine, next it's someone else.
- Russia is not a villian, as portrayed by Media.
- Sanctions had a net benefit to Russian and net negative impact on the US Dollar and US economy, as we have stated at Global Intel Hub.
- Russia is willing and able to come to the table to create a Global peace - based world order since 1991 and Putin attests since he is in power.
We have repeated the same things that Putin repeated, since 2014 on the record and since 20010 off the record, and Putin repeated them to Carlson multiple times. The Russian position is clear, logical, and inviting. Let's engage! Of course, the Deep State does not want peace, so there is no point in real Détente if the real goal is war at any cost.
Maybe a new administration will change that, and also help Disclosure. Checkout our articles from 2014 repeating Putin's words recently (it's obvious to any observer with an above room temp. IQ) --
Let's examine what happened from the beginning. An extreme right wing group, with US and NATO support (according to released internal transcripts), overthrew the legitimate Ukrainian government (illegally) via violent coup. The fact that this group had western support is not important really, but should be noted. So according to 'international law' - this 'country' is NOT Ukraine. Ukraine cease to exist when this happened. The new 'government' - not popularly elected, seized control by force. If anything we could call this country (still yet to be defined) the "New Ukraine" - of course if the current 'government' suggested this it would diminish their power; it serves them to mislead the world (those who are uninformed) that this is in fact the Ukraine, the same country that existed before. Once the legal process breaks down, there's no going back.
Now, the smoking gun:
Why is this important?
When Russia went into Crimea, they claimed that they were protecting Russian citizens (who are the overwhelming majority there), which at the time sounded as an excuse for 'annexation' of Crimea (although Crimea was always part of Russia and mostly Russians are living there). Is it possible that Russian intelligence received such real threats to Russians in Crimea? Also to note the vehement anti-Russian stance of Western Ukrainians, at least those in power.
RT commentators saying this recording is right out of "Dr. Strangelove" - only problem, Ukraine doesn't have nuclear weapons. Is she referring to her western friends? If they hate Russians so much, why not leave Crimea to them?
Where US interest lies
The US has few economic or political ties to Ukraine, other than the NATO agenda to expand further into Europe and Eurasia (Grand Chessboard). But the US has very strong economic ties with Russia. Russia is a huge consumer of USD, invests in the US, and has provided transportation and other logistic services to US forces in Afghanistan. Not to mention US corporations now doing business in Russia:
U.S. companies have also made sizable wagers in Russia. In 2010, PepsiCo agreed to buy Russian dairy and juice manufacturer Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods for over $5 billion, or about 16 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amoritization. The deal was seen as a way to boost the company's revenue growth, which had slowed as PepsiCo's mainstay U.S. market matured.
Today, Russia accounts for about 7 percent of PepsiCo's total revenue. PepsiCo declined to comment.
Russians have also been gobbling up US real estate at an increasing pace, even financing new developments:
Russian Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach recently said that he expects Russians to invest $80 billion outside of Russia over the next few months, up from the $65 billion that he predicted originally.
Until now, investment in the U.S. only accounted for a small fraction of that number. But that may be changing. Mermelstein expects Russian real estate investment in the U.S., both commercial and residential, to double from its current share of 5 percent of Russian investment abroad to 10 percent in 2012.
Not to mention other sectors, such as the Steel industry:
Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal yesterday said it is buying a Western Pennsylvania coal company for $1.3 billion in cash, adding to the surge of Russian money into the United States.
What happened to 'the customer is always right?'
Russia is certainly not the largest customer of the US. But they are a significant one. And with US companies in Russia, trade has been two way.
Part of the motivation of dismantling the Soviet Union was to create a capitalist 'open market' system, that the US could do business with Russia. They have done that. Their economy has grown, and they've learned from the American system, adopting many US-led economic practices. They have even replicated the 'open markets' model creating a commodity and derivatives exchange:
In February 2011 JSC “Saint-Petersburg exchange” and JSC “RTS Stock Exchange” carried out a joint project on organization of trading of commodities futures. In this project organizer of trading is JSC “Saint-Petersburg exchange”, clearing organization is CJSC “CC RTS”, settlement organization is “Settlement Chamber RTS”. Trading is carried out on the basis of trade system and risk-management system of FORTS derivatives market. It ensures the principle of single money position in all markets for the participants of trading.
Russia is depicted in the media as a wasteland. Moscow has built a downtown filled with skyscrapers comparable to many international business districts. A growing middle and upper class in Russia puts in on par if not more advanced than Western economies:
Stable gross domestic product growth, declining inflation and a record-low unemployment rate are pointing to positive consumer purchasing power in Russia. The Russian middle class, which stands at 104 million strong, is fueling that power. This segment of the population is projected to rise 16 percent between now and 2020, at which point it will represent 86 percent of the population and amount to $1.3 trillion in spending—up 40 percent from 2010, based on a global study of the emerging middle class and related databases by Dr. Homi Kharas of the Brookings Institution.
“There is an equal share of money at the top and in the middle,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, chief economist, The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “Russia’s middle class today has the same share of income as the upper class and has remained an untapped opportunity by many international corporations.”
While the top 20 percent of income earners in Russia represent 47 percent of the country’s total income, the middle 60 percent accounts for 48 percent, according to federal statistics from the Bank of Russia (2012). The bottom 20 percent comprise the remaining five percent of income.
Ukraine on the other hand, has done none of this. Many of the media depictions of Russia are more applicable to Ukraine.
Finally, since this issue has become polarized, just to compare the 2 choices. Is it better to support a coup government that seized power by force, with few economic and political ties (Ukraine); or Russia, a legitimate country, world power, with many economic ties, who has proven in the past 10 years that it has accepted the suggested economic reforms?
Supposedly as traders we look at economic data and make economic decisions. Following the 'sanctions' logic to the end, we have much more to lose by supporting 'Ukraine' than Russia. Taking what they have learned from the West, it would not be difficult for Russia to internally reorganize their economy, and make new partnerships that have already been in the making for years (such as with China, India, and others). Russia also sits on vast natural resources, which could be used internally or sold to China.
Irony of fallacious policy
Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent on propoganda, intelligence, and other means, during the Cold War, trying to convince the Russians to go capitalist. Open their markets. Finally it suceeded, and they have developed a sophistocated, capitalist market system. All of those efforts are now in jeopardy.
Now, for reasons unknown, the West is sending the opposite message. Through the use of account freezing, trade sanctions, and other economic tactics, the West is doing exactly what the West tried to convince the Russians not to do for decades.
No matter the outcome, the West (US and Europe) has much more to lose in any scenario.
Traders should only be concerned about the message being sent to the markets. Markets operate based on a series of rules. The market opens at a certain time, closes at a certain time. Contracts are defined in quality and quantity. Although traders may be emotional and irrational, they cannot operate outside of market rules (for example, if you are not happy with the outcome of a trade, you cannot just delete it from your account). A violation of market rules opens a pandora's box.
What's next? Politicians will decide that in order to support the US market (because it's now suffering due to billions flowing out because of sanctions, or assets are frozen) that now to support our efforts overseas, we can only buy (not sell)? Or that IRAs are converted to tbills to 'save Ukraine'? Since when did any Westerner care about Ukrainian politics?
..44 percent weren't sure about the name of the former Ukrainian president with close ties to Russia who was recently removed from office. Only 40 percent correctly chose Viktor Yanukovych from the list. Sixteen percent selected an incorrect answer.
A relative lack of knowledge, however, doesn't stop some from giving their opinion on various policy questions. The poll found that 24 percent of Americans were willing to express an opinion on whether the nonexistent Ukraine Administrative Adjustment Act should be repealed in light of the conflict. Respondents who gave an answer were divided evenly, with 12 percent backing repeal and 12 percent opposed.
With the economy faltering as it is, a market based approach to the current situation would have given a boost to the economy, instead of putting further negative pressure.
Looking economically, any trader should agree that if you can lose 100 and gain possibly another 20 or more through solidifying the relationship (Russia) and lose a few; OR (Ukraine) gain a few, but in the process lose 100, it's a no brainer trade. That is the economic magnitude difference between Russia and Ukraine, based on above referenced economic data.
The reason Nixon opened up China, was to further the US economy, not to meddle in Chinese politics. Even recently, we've overlooked China's domestic problems, such as human rights, the seizing of Tibet, rampant pollution, and other issues not acceptable by Western standards, in the interest of furthering trade. And over a period of decades, with US cooperation, China has built itself into an industrial powerhouse, and supplies goods in almost every economic sector, and is the US biggest customer.
Some important facts to note about Russia:
- 40% of EU energy comes from Russia.
- 45% of EU cars are sold to Russia.
- US poverty is 3% higher, than in Russia.
- More billionaires live in Moscow than any other city.
- Russia has no external debt!
objective political analysis
The situation with Russia should give investors and traders a reason to brush up on their history, as current events take root in things that happened 50, 100, and 200 years ago. To understand this, can provide perspective, during an information war, where it's not easy for some to separate facts from beliefs and propoganda (on both sides). The relationship between US and Russia has always been interesting, as we shall explore.
The cultural divide
The US and Russia have very similar cultures. Both; superpowers, with a vast countryside, dominated mostly by white Christians. Both have vast resources, difficult to invade, and both have been the victim of European and other external politics. Of course Russian culture is much older, and has a different set of influences and experiences than the US, situated in North America.
There's probably more misinformation in between the two cultures than any other, because for 60 years both have spent significant effort in propoganda. So it's difficult for most Westerners to be objective on this topic.
One theory on the divide between the two similar cultures was the decision for Russia to accept Christian Orthodoxy, started by Peter the Great (thus creating a divide between their Catholic neighbors, such as Poland, Croatia, Latvia and others). If you look the dividing lines of political and economic alliances in Europe, historically, there seems to be a correlation with the dominant religion. Not that any of these countries are of significant importance, but if all examined through this eyeglass, it seems that differing ideologies happen to be divided along these lines. Many of the anti-Russia US hawks for example, are either of jewish or catholic heritage.
The American Revolution
One interesting fact not reported much was Russian support for America during the American Revolution, both directly and by financing France, and through diplomatic and trade ties. Not that Russia was doing the US any favors in that time, it simply supported their situation, and that they had an interest to not support the British. But it should not be forgotten, that Russian support was crucial for the Americans in their struggle against the British.
Ironically, considering the current US policy about Crimea, the Alaska purchase happened due to circumstances during the Crimean war:
After the Crimean War (1853-1856) Russia felt concern that the British would seize Russian America if a war broke out, strengthening the British in the north Pacific. To avoid this and to raise money, Russia offered in 1859 to sell the territory. In 1867 the United States purchased the whole of Russian America (Alaska) in the Alaska Purchase. All the Russian administrators and military left Alaska but some missionaries stayed on because they had converted many natives to the Russian Orthodox faith.
The larger territory of the current United States was largely purchased or annexed (skipping the original 13 colonies which is a whole different issue). Since the Revolutionay War, the US has aquired most of its territory by this method. In that time the US was a new country. These new aquisitions were exploited by the US, and helped fuel the US industrial revolution, and finally, what enabled the US to build a war machine during the 1940's.
World War 2
World War 2 was the defining moment in American history when the US rose to superpower status, eventually creating the US Dollar as the dominant currency for trade in the world. Before World War 2 (and more so before WW1) the US was largely isolationist, not seeing the relevance of foreign affairs. But due to a number of circumstances, and the influence of the British (again, ironically) the US entered WW2 which changed world history. It should be remembered however, that this was a new idea. Before WW2 the US Army was largely comprised of Calvary soldiers on horseback. There was no real Army capable of fighting in that time, the US was not prepared for war. There was not a significant Navy, and certainly no advanced military technology, and no nukes. While most of the world was at war, the US was able to convert its industry, organized by powerful US corporations, to build munitions instead of consumer goods and other products (guns vs. butter). This gave the US the advantage, finally 'winning' the war, and leaving many nations indebted to the US. This is important because this is the origin of American power, and many of these relationships, such as US-German relations, and US-Japan relations, exist to this day, because of WW2.
Since WW2, most countries choose to use the US "Petrodollar" - for a number of reasons. But the system is very fragile; as we can see from its origins. For example the deciding factor of 'winning' WW2 was the Manhatten Project, composed of many refugee German scientists. Historians have explored that Germany was in fact working on a similar bomb, but due to their extensive obligations in their operations, were not able to complete it. That, and other advanced technology being developed by Nazi scientists, certainly would have created a different world, economically speaking.
Both the US and Russia have been largely influenced by Europe, both in trade and politics. But differently, Russia has been invaded many times by aggressive forces, which the US has not (aside from Canadians burning down the White House but this was not militarily significant). Yes, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, but only because Roosevelt threatened to cut of their oil supply. And it certainly was not an 'invasion' - such as happened to Russia during WW2. In many ways, Russia is more the victim; or at least to say has experienced more hardship as a nation, due to circumstances beyond their control, mostly created by outside influences.
Origins of the Cold War
Henry Kissinger had recommended to Nixon that one of the most important strategic alliances for the US to pursue was with Russia. His logic was that both countries were culturally similar (more so than for example China) and that a deal with Russia would have cemted both countries long term supremacy and boosted trade. This was never pursued (and maybe never considered) in favor of a hostile policy thus creating the cold war, but it allowed huge spending into the military industrial complex. Since then, the US instead chose to have a special relationship with China, which is now on the verge of a major financial bubble.
During this era, the CIA did and intensive analysis of the potential military risk of Russian aggression. The CIA concluded that the Russians have no intention and no capability of posing any risk to the US. But in a press conference, Rumsfeld eloquently said that "Just because we didn't find any threat or capability, doesn't mean they don't have one" and based on this reasoning, we entered the cold war.
This information indicates, it was US hawks that initiated an aggressive policy against Russia first. General Patton has pleaded with his commanders to fight the Russians in Germany. Although the cultures are similar, there seems to be some genetic mistrust (or can be explained in a number of different ways, but its not rational). In any case, billions have been spent on propoganda demonizing Russians that they are 'criminals' - according to one prominent propoganda film, Communism is an "International Criminal Conspiracy" (although it was Wall Street that financed the Bolshevik Revolution).
It would be extremely politically inappropriate to mention Israel in this context.
Since WW2, real war between two states has become impractical, between nuclear powers. Even with other states, the alliance with a nuclear power then makes war just as impractical. The new war can only involve minor tit for tat conflicts, or be economic. Possibly for this reason, policy makers and scholars in Russia have started incorporating a policy of 'tanks not banks'. This also may explain why the US has not annexed any territory since WW2, and many other policy shifts.
Supposedly, free markets operate based on free and open trade. By imposing sanctions, limiting the use of the SWIFT system, and blocking Visa transactions, it changes the dynamics of the market, irrespective of the potential harm to targeted parties (although many analysts conclude sanctions will harm the West more than Russia). Russian banks and oligarchs probably own at least a few shares of almost all US issues. A certain majority of Russians are NFA members, RAs, etc. Our economies are intertwined, all economies are intertwined, a policy forwarded by those such as Thomas Friedman.
If sanctions include the asset freezes of any company owned by a Russian, does that include Bank of America, Caterpiller, McDonalds, etc.? What about holdings of the oligarchs, Russian banks, citizens, inside the US?
As one commentator said, the US is playing marbles, and the Russians are playing Chess. The following video is a must watch, vivid analysis of the Russian position. It's no indication that this will or will not happen, but in this case, they are holding all the economic cards:
The situation in Crimea, which has nothing to do with the west, is irrelevant for the West. The relationship with Russia participating in the Western economic system is a net benefit to the West. Russian businesses operate in the US, UK, Germany (not to mention supplying energy to the EU) and invest in the West. They are great customers. Obviously the current administration never worked in the real economy, learning the expression that "The customer is always right." Since Crimea was previously part of Russia, and its mostly Russian speaking, Russians living there, this is really a non-event.
Not understanding all this, the West has created a situation where many will question the legitimacy of Western markets. Making the economy political changes the dynamics of the market. If we traders and investors spend our energy analyzing the markets to make decisions, and then to have our assets seized or a company we invest in, then it seems we are all in the wrong business. Certainly that is not the idea of capitalism, or free markets. Like during the 2008 credit crisis, when we explored the idea of losses are socialized and profits privatized, this is a very bad omen for not only the asset values, but also the proper functioning of the market.
Don't forget 1991 and 1998
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trillions of dollars flowed into the West, creating and economic boom for a decade. Oligarchs seized control of previously state owned assets and many of them invested in the West. Trade opened, and the West did business in Russia. One of the dominant Forex trading platforms is from Kazan, Russia (Meta Trader). The economic effects of this event have only been slightly examined - however it can be said they were significant.
Then, in 1998, Russia devalued the Ruble and defaulted on some of its obligations, in a period of economic reorganization. The 1998 event is significant because it almost collapsed the world financial system - not by intention, but because of volatility created, which the largest hedge fund in the world at that time, LTCM, was exposed to. Specifically, LTCM was not exposed so much to Russia directly (they were) but it created a chain of events that created havoc in the derivatives market, opening but bond and option spreads to unseen levels, and destroying liquidity (similar to what happened in 2008 which was a US issue).
It would not be difficult for Russia to start pricing goods in non-USD. Certainly, the US is not going to nuclear war to protect the Petrodollar, as was done in Iraq, Libya, and others. Russia is a huge consumer of USD, not only for reserves, but for trade. Russia has a very strong position, it likes the relationship with the USD, but if Russia feels that its becoming a net loser, it will not think twice about using Gold, Euros, Rubles, or some new Russian Bitcoin. Also it will have a tremendous negative impact on US markets, as Russian money flows out, and trade encouters problems.
Any event such as this can create huge volatility in the USD and other US markets. At that time, it's possible the US will react with further political moves to protect the USD (such as Nixon did, not honoring payments in Gold for USD creating modern Forex) including but not limited to, limiting the sale of USD.
Clearly, none of the suggested policies would be profitable. There's more money to be made by trading, than through taxes and government restrictions, price controls, capital controls, and other regulations. Dodd-Frank destroyed the retail Forex market in the US. This situation can have far more damage. But traders and investors should be vigilant, understand what's at stake, and understand the potential market impacts; either to profit, or to protect their portfolios.