Moderator: The Staff
International trade is mainly conducted in US dollars, but Euros are also used for some products, with the permission of the US of course. Commodities are nearly always traded in dollars, but we now have the Russian Gas-for-Rubles mandate, and we can expect to see increasingly more Russian exports being traded in rubles with Russian-unfriendly countries, that is until Russia can find alternative markets in the growing Eurasian trading block. We also see Russian-friendly countries trading with Russia in rubles and local currencies, not in dollars.
Western sanctions on Russia have seriously threatened the reserve status of the dollar and the Euro. Russia can still do trade in dollars with non-Western countries, but not through Western banks. The West continues to threaten countries that trade with Russia with secondary sanctions, which if not illegal under international law, is certainly immoral. Third party countries are not obliged to follow the West’s sanction mandates; they are not colonies of the West, even if the West thinks they are. Only the other day the EU came out and publicly threatened Turkey with secondary sanctions over its trade with Russia. The EU accepts Russian oil purchases through 3rd parties because it suits them, but denies other 3rd parties to trade with Russia if it doesn’t. I’m afraid this is yet another example of EU double-standards, entitlement, and hypocrisy.
Despite Western efforts, Gas-for-Rubles has set world de-dollarisation in motion, very slowly for now, but set to accelerate as the Eurasian trading community grows. Indeed, many of the world’s energy exporting countries are already in, or look likely to join the Eurasian block, and world trade in energy looks like it will drive the dollar and the Euro’s decline.
I’m not sure how a reserve status currency collapses as I’ve never seen one collapse before, but I’m going to have a WAG (Wild Arse Guess). An indication of loss of confidence in the Euro will be when holders of Euros start selling them for dollars, which will be seen as a relatively safe haven, at least for now. So the devaluation of the Euro against the dollar is a first sign, which I think we are seeing happening now. As other currencies, like the Pound and Yen lose confidence, they too will follow suit. The dollar bubble will inflate and will eventually become so artificially strong that it will make no sense to trade in it. The US has printed trillions of dollars. It is only the global reserve currency because the US will destroy or overthrown any country that challenges it. I don't think anyone without a vested interest in the dollar really believes in it anymore, but no one would dare to make a move against it, that is until now. With the Eurasian block providing a safe haven for dollar dissenters, a lack of confidence in the dollar can be expressed, and when that happens, when someone shouts ‘The emperor dollar has no clothes’, everyone will shout it, and the dollar bubble will pop, and the dollar slide will begin.
Another WAG I’m going to make is over the next few years I expect many holders of dollars around the world will need less and less dollars and Euros, and they will become overall sellers of the dollar and the Euro rather than buyers. Under the pressure of all this dollar selling, if the dollar is not to collapse, someone will have to buy them, and when I say someone, I mean the US. The US is going to have to step in and buy back those dollars using its foreign reserves. That means trillions of dollars; around $33 trillion held in US and foreign reserves, financial assets and bank deposits, and in global circulation, returning to the US. If $33 trillion were allowed to enter the US economy it would destroy it, but I’m sure the super rich will find a use for them. Maybe the US has the reserves to buy these dollars back. By the time they had bought a third back, the dollar and the US economy would have collapsed anyway and there wouldn’t be any point in buy back any more.
I have no idea how many trillions of Euros are floating around out there; probably a fraction of the number of dollars; maybe €5 trillion, who knows, maybe €10 trillion? It doesn't really matter as I’m pretty sure whatever it is, the EU won’t have the foreign currency to buy them back. If the dollar collapses before the Euro, unlikely as that is, it will take the Euro with it and that’ll solve that little problem.
I haven’t even mentioned the stock markets yet. There are trillions of dollars tried up in stock and frozen out of circulation where they can do no harm. When the dollar devalues and dividends on stocks reduce, we can expect stock to be sold, devaluing it, and causing more stock to be sold and devalued. When stock markets crash, selling become a positive feedback loop; a vicious cycle of devaluation and selling. Selling starts with people thinking it's probably a temporary bear market that will soon turn bull, and ends in a slow motion train wreck, wiping out businesses. If the stock markets crash we can expect a tsunami of dollars pouring out of them. Many will end up in bank deposit accounts around the world, and many in the US; and every economy they touch will be damaged. Think of stock exchanges as polar ice caps keeping all those fresh water dollars locked up, preventing them from flooding low lying economies; and think of a stock market crash as being when the ice caps melt.
In part 1 of why I think the Euro will collapse before the end of 2023 I talked about the sheer weight of debt pressing down on the EU financial system and how EU sanctions are in the process of destroying the economies of Germany and Italy; two of the EU's biggest funders.
In part 2 of why I think the Euro will collapse before the end of 2023, I talked about the loss of dollar and Euro reserve status and how that would result in Euros flooding the market and devaluing to the point of collapse.
In this part 3, I’m going to talk about the appalling state of the EU banking network; its inability to cope with the approaching financial storm, or even survive it.
What do the heads of financial institutions, financial policy advisors, and finance ministers across the EU have in common? Answer; they are all working for their respective deep state to extract as much wealth as they can from the economies they claim to manage on behalf of the people who trust them. You could argue these people are just incompetent, and in many cases you might be right, after all it doesn’t take a genius to do what you are told to do and follow the procedures laid down for you; but first and foremost these heads of this and that, and their underlings, do what they do because they get paid a lot of money to do it, and that’s all that matters to them.
The state of the EU banking network
The aftermath and analysis of the banking crisis of 2008 revealed banks were over-stretched, under-funded, and hollowed out by dodgy deals and dividend payments to corporations and anonymous investors. They were conducting too much business for the money they held, and no one talked about why there was so little left in the banks when they collapsed or where all the money had gone. It’s as if trillions had simply disappeared into thin air. By my estimation, the UK alone lost £450 billion; I don’t know how many trillions EU member countries lost.
Despite all the legislation put in place following the crash, here we are again. Nothing has changed; the banks still have one foot on a banana skin and the other on a bar of soap.
Irresponsible Fractional Reserve Banking was one contributing factor identified for the 2008 crash. Most banks were holding less than 10% of their deposit liabilities as cash reserves and lending out 90% or more. Some banks were holding zero and lending the lot. When the crisis came, and people wanted their money back, the banks couldn’t cover their liabilities and had to be refinanced; and when I say refinanced, I mean bailed out by tax payers to stop them going bust.
The European Central Bank (ECB) under the presidency of Christine Lagarde has set a capital requirement of just 10.6% which in my layman’s opinion is nowhere near what it should be considering the risk the banks are carrying. But what do I know; like the bankers say, idle money is wasted money, right?
Now, I know what you are going to say; ‘Ms Lagarde must be a financial wizard. I mean, she was the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2011 to 2019, and was the French Finance Minister under President Nicolas Sarkozy before that for goodness sake. How could she possibly get appointed to these senior financial positions if she wasn’t a financial expert?’
To which I’d reply; before she was the French Finance Minster she was a lawyer, and probably knows as much about finance as any other lawyer that has been winging it in a finance job for the past decade with the right contacts. Ms Lagarde is a shining example of how incompetent people find their way to top jobs based on obedience to the deep state, rather than on merit. I described this in an earlier post as a cancer that has spread throughout our society.
Let me paint a picture of Ms Lagarde before moving on. In 2016 she was convicted of ‘Gross Negligence by a Person Charged with Public Responsibility’; this was a criminal, not a civil offence. It carried a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a €15,000 fine. Despite the court finding Ms Lagarde guilty, the Judge did not impose any sentence and even ruled that she not receive a criminal record. I’m not making his up; if you internet search this, every newspaper has a web page on it. Here’s the Independent newspaper article. Here’s the Guardian newspaper article.
Long story, short; Ms Lagarde awarded €403 million ($531 million) to Bernard Tapie who claimed the bank he had sold his majority holding of Adidas shares to, had undervalued them because they went on to sell them for a profit. A curious accusation to be made by a businessman as that is kind of the point of business; selling things for more than you paid for them, and I assume before businessmen sell things they check the market price. I think the issue was, the government had told him to sell his shares to avoid a conflict of interest if he wanted to proceed with the deal he was planning, and because the bank was state run, he claimed it was all a conspiracy to defraud him. The problem was Bernard Tapie was a personal friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy who was Ms lagarde’s boss, and a major donor to the Sarkozy’s political party, and had been convicted of fraud, and Ms Lagarde had not applied due probity to the arbitration. In 2013 Ms Lagarde’s apartment in Paris was raided by the police looking for evidence and they found a bizarre letter addressed to Nicolas Sarkozy, handwritten but undated and unsigned. It said stuff like;
“Use me for as long as it suits you and suits your action and your casting.”
“If you use me, I need you as a guide and as a support: without a guide, I risk being ineffective, without a support I risk having little credibility.”
“With my immense admiration. Christine L.”
Again, I’m not making his up. Even France 24 the French news channel published part of it; here's a link Lagarde's Letter It’s even on Wikipedia (so it must be true). They should turn it into a song and sing it at the opening of every meeting of the ECB Ms Lagarde chairs.
Questions have been asked as to why this wasn’t a fraud case, why a Judge gave mitigating circumstances on her behalf, referencing her good character, senior position, and her high pressure job to justify a gross negligence charge. Here's an article in the Express newspaper.
Questions have been asked as to why Ms Lagarde received no criminal record after being found guilty in a criminal case, and why Ms Lagarde was allowed to remain head of IMF in 2016 and be appointed President of the ECB in 2019. Here’s an article from the European Journal of International Law suggesting her appointment to the ECB was illegal.
Hopefully I’ve answered the question as to why I don’t have confidence in Ms Lagarde’s financial expertise or competence to do the job and I think I’ve painted fair picture of her, so let’s move on.
You can’t blame the ECB policy of zero, or near zero interest rates entirely on Ms Lagarde as this has been going on since before the 2008 financial crash, but she has continued with the policy since taking up post and has repeatedly refused to raise the base rate over the past few years. The problem is banks use this free money to buy government bonds and sell them to the central bank for a profit, then use the profit to create debt to make more profit to make more debt, and funnelling money out of the economy instead of using it to stimulate the economy has become the norm. Corporations use the free money to buy back stock to inflate its value and to create money-laundering zombie companies. Large investors use it to feed the stock market. Financial institutions use it to speculate in property and commodities. The bottom line is free cash creates debt and there has been an awful lot of free cash printed and an awful lot of debt created, and the ECB is a culpable player in this Greek tragedy.
Leading up to the 2008 crisis, many governments fell into the free money spend-spend-spend honey trap; Italy, Greece, Spain, and Portugal to name the big four. Southern European countries borrowed heavily from the free money pot to artificially accelerate their standards of living, but this was a standard of living built on debt, which is great until the house of cards collapses. Debt-driven economies are at the mercy of interest rate rises which quickly destabilise them. The debt ends up constraining the interest rate rises needed to control inflation. If interest rates are raised to the level needed to control inflation, the debt comes back to bite the hands that fed it.
As head of the IMF and ECB, Ms Lagarde has overseen public and private debt explode; catastrophically for the more vulnerable nations. Greece’s debt in 2008 was 109% of its GDP, now it has nearly doubled to 215% Italy’s debt in 2008 was 106% of GDP, now it’s up over 50% to 160% and like I say, zero to near zero interest rates, without restraining legislation to keep the bankers in check, have been instrumental in this credit-debt free-for-all. The ECB still has its base rate set at 0.5%
The point I'm trying to make in this opening salvo of Part 3 as to of why I think the Euro will collapse in the next year of two is we have terrible people in charge of the ECB and EU member central banks and all throughout the banking sector. Most bankers appear unaware of even basic economics, most appear incompetent, they take their orders from the deep state and work to a the deep state’s agenda. They do not care about the economy they are charged to nurture or the well-being of the people. Maybe I've picked on Ms Lagarde a bit as she is only one of many such financial leaders, but she is a good example to describe the rest. None of them have a got a clue, none of them could manage an economy through the financial storm that is coming and none of them give a fuck. How can the Good Ship Euro survive the approaching storm, when there is no one steering and the captain is nowhere to be found?
Balance sheets should tell you if you can afford to do the business you are doing, that you have enough assets to cover your losses should you make any, that everything in and out of your account is in balance. The size of the balance sheets tells you how big your business is, how much it’s worth, and if there is scope to grow it or if you need to shrink it. Loans you make to others are classified as assets because they provide you with a steady, predictable income. Loans you take out to borrow money are liabilities because you have to make payments on the capital and interest you borrowed. This all make perfect economic sense. Unfortunately, this is why economics is just a theory, subject to predator manipulations to mold the theory's outcome. To use economic theory in the real world it has to be applied by the worldly-wise who know all the tricks of the trade, like people palming you off with bad loans, and know how to counter them.
If the loans owed to you are bad loans or even fictitious loans, then the balance sheet is fictitious. Its use changes from being an economic tool to effectively manage your business, to being a tool to cover up the financial scam you are running; to borrow all that you can, then disappear out the backdoor with the cash just before the business goes bust. That pretty much describes the EU banking network.
As you can imagine fictitious balance sheets are not easy to prove; tracks are covered, internal reports are classified and buried, and financial information made public is selective and favourably presented.If you search the internet for ‘EU bad loans’ you’ll find europa.eu telling you EU bad debt was around 6% (€1 trillion) in 2016, around 3% (€550 billion) in 2020, and are expected to be around 8% (€1.4 trillion) by the end of 2020.
If you look at statista you’ll see the average heavily weighted by 14 countries with bad debt less than 1%, effectively hiding the bad debt of the major economies of Italy and Spain at 3%, and Portugal and Greece at 3.5% and 7% respectively, which are the points where the Euro dam will burst. You’ll also see the overall figure for the EU bad debt is just 2% not 8% as stated by Europe.eu, so they haven’t got their stories straight.
There are websites that quote Italy at 4.36%, Spain at 13%, Greece at 27% I’ll leave you to find them, but here’s the one for Spain at 13% for starters gulf news. The numbers are all over the place, the narrative is falling apart, and the genie is getting out of the bottle.
The Banks also bury their bad loans in good financial bundles that they then sell on; and there is downright fraud where the financial regulators sign off bad debt as good, on condition it is sold on as quickly as possible, often to their central bank, and becomes someone else’s problem.
Here’s a little YouTube that talks about it. It’s over 50 minutes long, but the bit I’m talking about is from 23.24 to 28.08 so 4 and a half minutes isn’t too bad. I don’t agree with Alistair Macleod on a lot of things, and he is biased towards gold, working as he does for a bullion trader, but he does talk a lot of sense a lot of the time.
Before you watch the video, he mentions Target2 and the Repo market, so I’ll briefly explain what these are. Target2 is like a mini SWIFT for the EU, used by the ECB and EU member central banks, and some of the bigger commercial bank players, where transactions are concluded, and who owes what to whom is tracked. The Repo market is where banks borrow against their assets which are used as collateral, a bit like a pawn shop. When you pay the bank back, you get your asset back; or you can roll it over and re-pawn it again. I’d liken Repo bad debt as pawning a counterfeit Rolex, and then one day the owner of the pawn shop discovers it is worthless.
He talks about Repo from the 20 min mark and about bad debt from 23 min 24 sec if you want to go straight the 4 minute bit I'm talking about.to it
Alistair Macleod makes so many good points in that video I previously posted that I think I’ll go through some of them. These are his points, but my take on them.
- Italy has big banking problem; they are overstretched by crazy levels of balance sheet gearing, and are drowning in debt. The current level of non-performing loans is unknown, but it was a massive 13% in 2014, so who knows what it is now. Italy’s banks are not in a good place.
- Assets and borrowing look in balance on paper, but some of the assets smell fishy. Balance sheets are being used to hide problems rather than expose them; so much for the theory of balance sheets.
- Bad assets have been used as collateral in the repo market to borrow against. They have been used by banks to borrow from their central banks, and by their central banks to borrow from the ECB, so now the ECB has a fake balance sheet. The US Repo market in 2021 was at $2 trillion; in the Eurozone it was €8.7 trillion. What happens to €8.7 trillion repro if interest rates go up?
- The level of bad debt in the settlement system is a well kept secret and the regulators and the banks are in on it.
- All the central banks including the Bundesbank have turned a blind eye to the bad asset collateral in the system.
- On the surface, balance sheet liabilities match assets to the penny, but banks and investors could end up not being paid at the end of the day.
- Increasing interest rates mean increasing bond yields, and with 33% of bonds being part of corporation portfolios; if corporations don’t get paid and discover they have non-performing assets on their balance sheets, we could see balance sheet contractions across the board. This is a fancy way of saying factory and office closures, unemployment, recession, depression, and buddy can you spare a Euro.
- The scale of losses resulting from increased bond yield payments is huge; currently at €750 billion Euros. Even if ECB rules on capitalisation are followed, banks will only be capitalised to 10.6%. As interest rates rise, the banks will find themselves underwater.
Alistair Macleod’s video has also reminded me to mention Asset-to-Equity (A/E) ratios. The A/E tells you how much of your assets are worth real money. A low A/E means a lot of your assets are funded by shareholder cash, or cash in the vault, maybe even gold reserves although you could argue gold isn’t cash in the bank. An A/E of 1 means all your assets are covered by cash. A high A/E means a lot of your assets are funded by debt.
For example, if a bank has €1,000,000 of assets and €50,000 of equity, it has an A/E of 20 (1,000,000 divided by 50,000), which means only 1/20th or 5% of the assets have been funded with equity and 95% has been funded by debt.
The Eurozone A/E is 20. Yep, a massive 95% of EU bank assets are funded by debt, and those assets are used to borrow against. As a side-note, all 3 UK G-SIBs (Global Systemically Important Bank); Barclays, HSBC, and Standard Chartered, have an A/E ratio of 20, so the UK is looking at potential banking meltdown as well.
So we have debt built upon debt, banks borrowing money to buy assets to use to borrow money against, and banks lending money that has been borrowed. It’s currency made from currency; no one is actually making anything. It’s not really money at all, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole.
Even if the ECB could borrow enough money to bail out an economy the size of Italy, it would have to borrow it by using debt funded assets as collateral. Would central banks, corporations, and the bond buying super rich be happy to lend money to central banks like the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, or the European Central Bank against such assets? Up until now I would have said yes, and they have been for a decade, because they are all in on it, and as long as everyone makes a shed load of money, no one is going to rock the boat, and when it all collapses, what do they care.
Time to have a quick moan about economists
The problem is, economists that work for the governments have, like the governments, been paid to support the elite’s ravaging of Western economies with economic mumbo-jumbo and double speak. They have supported quantitative easing (money printing), and have been saying for years now that zero or near zero interest rates are not only economically valid, but they are the best thing since sliced bread. They have claimed we have never had it so good and that hard capitalist monetarist policy has raised, continue to raise, and will always raise everybody’s standard of living forever. Ironic that monetarists, whose bedtime mantra is ‘money supply devalues currency’, should turn a blind eye to their own philosophy when paid to do so. They said this can go on forever, trust us, we’re economists. They didn’t mention the standard of living dream they were selling was built on debt and one day the bill would have to be paid.
The monetarist economists not riding the gravy train were saying the opposite; ‘the sky is about to fall, everybody run for cover, and buy my book to read about money supply as you cower under the kitchen table’; and everyone was going ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever’, as they went out shopping with their credit cards.
How many times have we heard some economist on the telly or on YouTube say the stock market is about to crash, or the housing market is about to crash, or gold is about to go up to £10,000 an ounce, or the Western debt balloons can’t keep expanding forever’. They said the dollar would collapse with all this money printing. But when US public debt reached $15 trillion and it didn’t, they said it would when it reached $20 trillion, then $25 trillion, then $30 trillion, and it still didn’t. According to this chart Dollar Index it’s up to $32 trillion now, and the current dollar index is at 107, the second highest ever; the highest was last month.
I’ve held the opinion that the Western financial bubble can grow for as long as the US military can force the rest of the world to go along with it; or until some huge event lets inflation out of the box. As if to prove the saying ‘you never know what’s around the corner’, we had the coronavirus pandemic which hit economies hard around the world and inflation stirred. But I think inflation would have gone down again post-pandemic with new debt and new debt spending. But then we had Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine.
Not understanding the fragility of debt bubbles, or their vulnerability to inflation, or how they dodged a bullet with the coronavirus pandemic, Russophobia got the better of our piss-poor leaders and they placed massive sanctions on Russia to destroy it. The EU pretty much refused to buy everything it needed from Russia to make the things that earned the money, that supported their economies, that would stop the West’s debt bubbles from bursting. The consequence of this event has been interest rates are on the march, and they threaten to blow the whole West’s financial house of straw down.
There is a pin. It is the pin of pins. Some say there is one pin to rule them all, if there is, then this pin is it. The pin has a name and that name is the Pointy Pin of Inflation. It was forged in the fires of Max Profit, polished by greed until you could see your face in it, and sharpened by the twin sisters of anxiety and doubt. Its deadly bubble popping point is the destroyer of worlds and currencies.
It took a while for Pin to wake up this time. There had been the usual ups-and-downs recessions in 2008 and 2011 where Pin stirred a little, mumbled something about the need for profit, and went back to sleep again. Pin woke up properly in 1974 and again in 1980 and went on holiday to see the US and the UK. It liked the UK so much it went back again in 1990.
Pin meets the Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic started at the beginning of 2020 and most thought it would all be over by Christmas, but 2020 turned into 2021 and it wasn’t. In fact, it was to last another full year, and only ended when politicians and the media finally realised the medical advice they were being given was fantastically risk adverse and unsustainable when applied to the real world, where, with the exception of the medical advisors, most people lived.
Throughout these 2 years about the only thing you were allowed to do was to go food shopping, and go to work so that you could bring the deadly coronavirus back into your house and give to granny. This pretty much sums up UK Prime Minister BoJo the Clown’s coronavirus strategy. Trouble was no one was allowed to go out to the shops and buy what was being made, and as supply chains broke down; even going to work didn’t mean businesses made any money. It was a time of falling GDP and printing money to pay employers to keep employees on tick-over pay.
Businesses in general had been frustrated with years of low interest rates, low growth and stable prices. They saw the supermarkets put their prices up and knew their time would come when the pandemic was over now the supermarkets had broken the ice. They just had to bide their time and wait for the price rise starting pistol to go off and they’d be able to recoup their losses and make some serious dough. As for everyone else, there was a serious loss of confidence. People wondered if they would still have a job when the plague was over, and what their pay and conditions would be when they went back. The answer was most would still have their job, and its pay and conditions would be just as bad as ever. Those that found themselves without a job, found there were more vacancies, with even worse pay and conditions than the job they lost, than they could shake a stick at.
Who woke the Pin up?
In January of 2021 Pin was suddenly woken up by the sound of the supermarkets puffing on their price rise balloons. Pin had a stretch and rubbed the sleep from its eyes, and still drowsy from the long sleep in the box pin had been put in, Pin didn’t notice the full-to-bursting balloons all around him. There were housing market balloons, stock market balloons, currency balloons, debt balloons, supply chain balloons, balloons of all colours, there was fake companies, fake accounting , fake GDP, fake investment; and red hot printing presses throughout the land. But sleepy Pin just saw the UK inflation; 1% in January 2021, 3% in August, and 5% by December, and to Pin’s delight, no sign of it flattening off. This was just the sort of nourishment the little Pointy Pin of Inflation needed to grow into a big strappy Pin in his prime.
What with Pin awakening, this should have been the time to shut everything down and introduce price controls. “What!” I hear the economists say, “Heresy!” So I should quickly say that a recession is a price control. The alternative to forcing sellers to stop putting their prices up, is to take away the buyer’s money so that the seller can’t put their prices up, because people wouldn’t be able to afford to buy what they are selling. Taking away people’s money reduces demand and forces some sellers out of business which reduces supply, so the whole economy shrinks, and trade and price rises slow down. Indeed that’s the definition of a recession. Initiating a recession in 2021, yes, they are deliberately initiated, would have put Pin back in his box and back to sleep, and he would never have noticed all those lovely brightly coloured financial scam balloons around him. How do you initiate a recession? I hear you ask. You raise interest rates, freeze credit, and cut spending to close businesses, create poverty, homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction, and generally ruin people’s lives. Had they done so, the financial institutions would have lived to scam another day, but they didn’t. From the politician’s perspective an interest rate rise would be an election loser what with businesses and people in debt up to their ears. From the perspective of the super rich and their financiers; their mantra was ‘ride that pony into the ground, and when it’s dead its dead’.
In 2021 the US’s response to Pin waking up was to release a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Package. The EU’s response was to agree a 2021-2027 €1.8 trillion budget to provide a Covid Recovery Package and NextGenerationEU programme. The UK’s response was to launch a series of small initiatives and support packages which collectively came to around £350 billion, which per capita was not far off the US package. On one hand, the West printing trillions of Dollars, Euros and Pounds in the middle of a money supply crisis may not have been the wisest response to an inflation that threatened to take the whole Western banking system down. On the other hand, the Financial Institutions would probably have printed it anyway and spirited it away, so at least some people got to see some of it, before it was spirited away. Pin on the third hand was fully awake now and looking around at all those pretty balloons.
Who woke the monetarist economists up?
Suddenly the ‘very quiet until now’ monetarists woke up and started to shout stuff about how they were right all along about money supply, and how the $1.9 trillion spending package had caused an inflation crisis, and how ordinary people shouldn’t receive financial help and the poor shouldn’t receive life support because it would cause inflation. You know; the sort of things monetarist economists shout about whenever ordinary people look like getting a share of their master’s money-grab.
Whilst the monetarists were shouting about the folly of printing $1.9 trillion, they failed to mention why they hadn’t shouted about the money printing before, after all the US already had $30 trillion of public debt. This $30 trillion hadn’t resulted in the dollar’s collapse, so why should another $1.9 trillion? They also failed to mention that inflation had kicked off before the $1.9 trillion had been spent on anything yet. If I had had the opportunity to ask one of the economists that recommended the $1.9 trillion package one question, it would have been why did you think trying to stimulate an economy as heavily in debt, falsely accounted, and as corrupt as the US economy was ever going to work? Still, at least some money found its way to some working and middle class people instead of the upper class taking it all.
Sanctions against Russia – Pin is what Pin does
The West’s sanctions against Russia were like a shot of growth hormones, steroids, and smelling salts to pin. Pin felt higher than Zelensky on cocaine. Even the US military couldn’t put pin back in the box now, no matter how much they threatened other countries. The Pointy Pin of Inflation was ready to pop balloons.
It didn’t have to come to this of course. NATO could have withdrawn its armies from the boarders of Russia. NATO could have guaranteed Ukraine would never become a NATO member. The Kiev regime could have been ordered to stop shelling the Donbass, which over 8 years racked up 14,000 dead ethnic Russians and forced Russia to step in. The Minsk agreements could have been implemented. The West could have de-nazified Ukraine, or better still never have brought them into power in the first place.
But it has come to this and we are where we are. The world has split into two, the super rich have lost half their kingdom and power, European economies are heading off a cliff, and it looks like the wealth extraction scam is over. The US may survive Pin’s popping of the dollar bubble, but it will never be the same.
Instead of stepping back, someone let the neo-con and neo-liberal dogs out. Who let them out? The answer is an elderly angry, bitter and senile US President who didn’t even know it was his job to hold them on a leash. Let’s not forget the European leader’s role in this. I know they were put in place because they are easily controlled little children from rich families, but they have been allowed to let their child-like hatred of the Russian people spill out all over the place. A parent should have smacked their bottoms and sent them to bed without any supper. I’ve never heard European politicians openly say they want to destroy a country and its people before. Even when they nearly destroyed Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, no one actually said it out loud. The current travel ban that has turned into a discussion about Visa restrictions, has racism at its heart. How ironic Woke Europe should be pursuing racism against a whole people. It reminds me of the ignorance of 1950s and 1960s England where landladies would put ‘no blacks or Irish’ signs in their windows. We haven’t moved on, we’ve just moved on to a different race to hate.
Can Pin be put back in the box?
I expect the super rich will order a covert rolling back of Western sanctions and get the media to cover it up, but what with the bile and spittle aimed towards Russia and the Russian people, I think they will find out that as soon as Russia doesn’t have to sell its energy, food, fertiliser, and commodity products to the West, it won’t, and will say ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’, and that’s when the West may decide to go to war with Russia, to take what Russia won't sell.
Is there a way to reverse all of this, to stop the Pointy Pin of Inflation, and avoid a war? A ‘night of the long knives’ might, where all the current Western leaders are denounced as traitors and like the current President of the ECB, Ms Lagarde, be charged with gross incompetence, only this time they are sent to prison for a year and fined €15,000 . Their replacements might mend bridges.
Meanwhile, back in the real world we have alternatives reserve currencies emerging from the BRICS group threatening the dollar, countries looking to move towards Eurasia, beyond the reach of the US military, Europe facing ruin, the US becoming lords over nothing, and the EU and the Eurozone looking like they are falling apart...
...and that’s why I think the Euro is going to collapse sometime before the end of 2023.
Let’s have some WAGS (Wild Arse Guesses) about the upcoming shit-storm that’s coming our way in Europe; I think it will reshape our society.
In the UK we have energy caps. These are limits on what the retailers of energy can charge for a unit of energy and the standing charge which is the charge for delivering energy to your business or home. The trouble is, the producers of energy products, the oil companies, set the price. This means the energy retailers who buy oil and gas from the oil companies have to cope with ever increasing costs, so the energy caps have to be raised every time the oil companies hike the price up. The oil companies are making record profits because their contracts allow them to take a fix percentage of what they sell, even though most businesses and people are unable to pay an ever increasing percentage of their income on energy. Do the oil companies care they are destroying businesses, jobs and lives for profit? That’s a good question; let me think about that. I’m joking of course; they don’t, and that’s why it’s vital to nationalise industries that can hold countries to ransom and destroy them for profit or political gain if they so wish.
Gas and Electricity
Energy bills in the UK will go up on 1st October 2022 because the energy cap is being raised from £1,971 to £3,576 for the average household. So be warned; whatever your gas and electricity bill is now, expect it to rise 80% in October.
Some mainstream media ‘experts’ predict the cap is expected to rise to £4,799 in January, and spike in April 2023 at £6,089. Like everything else that comes out of mainstream media, assume it to be a load of crap and you won’t be disappointed. There is one energy broker, Auxilione, saying the cap is more likely to reach £7,000 in April 2023 and doesn’t make the ridiculous unsubstantiated claim it will spike, level off, or in any way go down in 2023. I think this is more realistic.
I predict October bills will go up 50% in January 2023, and January’s bill will go up another 50% in April 2023 if the oil companies are not stopped, or at least reigned in.
The reason why I do not believe energy inflation will level out in 2023 is because money will be printed to support struggling households and businesses which will be immediately taken by the oil companies in even higher increased prices. Inflation will peak when no more support can be given by the government and businesses and people can no longer afford energy, then prices collapse as unemployment grows, people freeze, and many sick and elderly die in winter temperatures. During the Great Depression, inflation reach -33%, or to put it another way, deflation reached 33%.
There will be a lag between inflation and energy price rises, but I predict with every jump in energy prices, there will be a jump in inflation a month or 2 later because energy is used to make pretty much every product we consume.
I’ve read predictions of 20% inflation by the end of 2023; Goldman Sachs predicts 22%. They talk of inflation spiking, as if that means it’s the beginning of the end of the recession. It really means it’s the start of the impending deflationary phase. Most recessions, like the one in 2008 reached equilibrium, prices rose, levelled out, and the new high prices became the norm leaving wages a decade to catch up again. This is the reset nature of recessions, but this is going to be more like a depression than a recession. In this sense it doesn’t matter how high inflation goes, because when the great collapse comes, no one will have any money to buy anything anyway regardless of its price.
But for what it’s worth, I predict the October 80% energy price hike will take inflation to 15% in November/December. The January price hike will take it to 20% in February/March 2023, and the April hike will take it to 25% in May/June. We may see an accelerated pace of inflation as businesses closures accelerate, plus rising interest rates will make many rents and mortgages unaffordable, which I’ll come onto in a bit, so I may be underestimating things here.
The population of the UK is 67 million and the mainstream media are saying 45 million will experience energy poverty this winter. As disastrous as that is, businesses are not protected by the energy cap, and many small and medium sized businesses will close because of tripling, quadrupling energy bills that can’t be passed on in product prices. We can also expect significant redundancies from large businesses and the multinational corporations as they contract. The loss of worker incomes is more likely to mean 45 million in poverty, not just in energy poverty.
The Bank of England has pretty much said it expects to raise interest rates to rise to 4% by early next year, which I assume to mean February/March 2023 following the January energy price rise. It was said some time ago, I think by the BoE that 4% was the maximum interest rates could go without collapsing the banking system due the level of public debt held by the government, and private debt held by businesses and households. What happens if 4% interest rates do not slow inflation, as I expect it won’t? Inflation will have to be left to run out of control. I am of course talking about the bank base rate here; interest rates on loans and mortgages are set well above the base rate. According to Moneyexpert, some mortgage providers are predicting mortgage rates to rise to 13% in 2023.
What to do?
Here’s a few things that might work;
- Batten down the hatches. The UK is an island nation, time to start acting like one.
- Secure the sale of the UK’s North Sea oil and gas for UK use only.
- Either agree price controls with the oil companies, or put in motion nationalisation of the oil and gas industry if they refuse.
- Reduce reliance on imports and exports
- Introduce strict import and export controls.
- Introduce rationing to manage shortages.
- Align wages with the new level of product prices to make them affordable.
I predict the UK will be dumped by the US and the EU will collapse. Maybe some ex-EU member countries could form a common market with the UK if they adopted a similar approach.
The UK has a new Monarch
The Queen is dead and her idiot son will now take over. For those that don’t know, the monarch is a figurehead for the UK state and the upper class, providing medieval titles and rituals to give the upper class, and lower class politicians and businessmen, titles and status, so they can pretend they are modern day knights and important players in a long extinct British Empire. For middle and working class wannabe Upper Class like Sir Tony Blair WC (War Criminal), becoming a knight gets you invited to upper class parties, and automatic accesses to the highest paid jobs throughout the establishment. For the republicans out there, not having a monarch is no different to having one. The country is still ruled by the super rich Ruling Class; the only difference is you don’t have a figurehead, and their huge extended family, to pay for.
The UK has a new Prime Minister
Boris Johnson has been kicked out by his own deep state for not doing what he was told, and for letting everyone see what a lying, immoral and incompetent clown he was. He has been replaced by Liz Truss, so we have a new lying, immoral and incompetent clown to replace him. I assume Liz Truss was picked because the dodgy financial dealings of her only opponent Rishi Sunak (Fishy Rishi) have been exposed. Plus, Liz has demonstrated she has no personal convictions whatsoever and will believe in and do whatever she is told. She will hate Russia with every fibre of her being if she is told to, and she will uphold sanctions until Russia is destroyed if she is told to; and she has been.
The appointment of Prime Minister Truss kind of takes my preferred solution to the current crisis of dropping anti-Russian sanctions and buying energy from Russia again, off the table, and leaves two rather stark alternatives, to introduce price caps, or not to introduce price caps and let prices run and see where it goes.
The problem with not price capping energy is spiralling inflation, collapse of living standards, civil unrest, and the government having to order the military to start shooting people. The problem with price capping, if you have to print the money to do it, is it risks devaluing the currency, which could also lead to spiralling inflation, collapse of standard of living standards, civil unrest, and the government ordering the military to shoot people.
Price Cap UK (so much for my predictions)
Prime Minister Truss’s first action on taking up post has been to announce a price cap on UK energy bills, throwing my predictions of 80% price rises in October 2022, and subsequent rises of 50% in January and another 50% in March out of the window; thank god.
It just shows how quickly things can change. When the Labour Party opposition suggested energy prices be capped, Liz Truss said this would never happen on her watch; now she’s prime minister, it’s the first thing she’s doing. The energy price cap will take the form of £130 billion in subsidies to energy wholesalers to cover rising costs of energy they buy from the energy producers (oil companies). As the UK is heavily in debt and is running a government spending deficit, this money will have to be borrowed (virtually printed), or literally virtually printed by adding some noughts onto the end of the deposits column of the government’s account.
Printing £130 billion may not in itself collapse the Pound, but £130 billion is only the start of it; £130 billion may not even last the winter, then more will be needed, and more after that. Why not just print the UK’s energy bills in full you ask? What could possibly go wrong? There is also the issue of the collapse of the Pound taking down the Euro and the entire Western banking system with it.
Unfortunately, to cap or not to cap both result in inflation. To cap means the oil companies will put their prices up to get their hands on the £130 billion subsidies, and printing £130 billion risks reduced trade being conducted in Pounds and devaluation. Not to cap means the same; oil companies will continue to put their prices up and inflation will continue to rise.
Price Cap EU
I expect the EU will follow the UK lead because all Western Leaders follow each other forming a circular firing squad, so everything I said about the devaluation of the Pound will apply to the Euro.
One aspect of buying energy not talked about much is the way it is done, through the Margin system which is a certain type of loan system with its own T&Cs. When an energy wholesaler buys say gas, half is paid for in cash from the previous month’s profit of gas sales and the rest is borrowed from Margin lenders. The cost of borrowing next month’s gas is getting more expensive as interest rates rise, but there is also the increase in the cost of collateral demanded by the lender as security against gas prices rising more than expected. If the lender fears the borrower’s collateral isn’t enough to cover the lender’s risk, they will request more cash which the borrower has to borrow elsewhere. If the lender get’s really worried to the point they fear the profits made from the sale of next month’s gas won’t cover their loan, they issue a Margin Call where the loan is called in. A Margin Call is a bit like the bank repossessing your house if you can’t make the mortgage payments. The gas purchased up to the Margin Call is sold by the lender who repays himself the loan he made plus interest, penalties and fees, and what’s left goes back to the borrower. This means a loss for the energy wholesaler, less gas purchased for next month, so shortages, and less profit to pay for next month’s gas. There are also additional liabilities on loans taken out to cover inadequate collateral on previous month gas purchases. Long story short, just like repossessions, rising Margin Calls are an indicator of trouble ahead, and they are rising.
I heard a YouTube video the other day saying Margin Calls in Europe have reached an unprecedented $1.5 trillion in the past week and we don’t have winter gas price rises yet. All this comes when the debt market is over 3% and governments are not only printing money to pay the interest on the debt they owe, but also to buy back their debts, i.e. pay the loan off with printed money. There will come a point when the lender will refuse to accept printed money as payment. To prevent this from happening Quantitative Squeezing is in the process of being introduced, but with a credit squeeze and restrictions of money printing coming online, we have a perfect storm where money has to be printed to save the energy companies and keep the gas flowing, but can’t be printed because the Western financial system is on the brink of collapse.
Clarification of new capping policy for the UK
Here's a useful video from Martin Lewis who is a television celebrity money consultant. The new price cap will be £2,500 and be in place for 2 years, but from October 22 there's £400 being taken off this winter bills as a one-off payment, effectively lowering the price cap for this winter only to £2,100, so expect a 6.5% increase in October from today’s prices. But don't forget today's prices are around double those from last year, so expect double winter bills from last winter.
Note that the above does not yet apply to Northern Ireland for some reason, but the government has promised it will as soon as they work it out.
It's also important to note that Businesses and non-domestic energy users like schools, government and public buildings etc., have not so far been covered by the energy price cap. During 2021 and the Covid pandemic, well before the West's sanctions on Russian oil and gas, many small businesses were complaining about soaring energy prices, and many had gone bankrupt because of missed payments to energy retailers who just brutally cut them off. The new price cap announced by PM Truss now extends the price cap to businesses and non-domestic users for 6 months, although the cost of doing this has yet to be announced. This is important not least because if the company you work for goes bust because they can't pay their energy bill, then you get laid off, and a price cap, no matter how low it is, is of little use to you if you can't pay it because your unemployment benefits don't stretch that far.
From the Telegraph (a right-wing conservative/neocon propaganda rag that calls itself a newspaper) dated 8 Sep 22;
- Both small and large businesses will also be protected under the new plans.
- They will receive the equivalent in support, but for six months as opposed to two years. After that, the most vulnerable businesses such as hospitality - pubs, restaurants etc - will be protected.
- Schools, hospitals and other public buildings and businesses will also receive support, meaning they will not face the 500 per cent - 600 per cent hikes in costs they some had predicted.
- The scheme for businesses will be reviewed after three months.
- The Government will provide energy suppliers with the difference between this lower price and what energy retailers would charge their customers if this was not in place.
Here's a link to the article; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/20 ... ment-help/
Whilst we wait for Europe to collapse, I thought it would be good to take time out and reflect on the calibre of people Europe has leading us through this economic war we have declared on Russia. Sanna Marin, the 34 year old Prime Minister of Finland, surely proves the terrible stereotype surrounding the Barbie Doll as an empty headed, sexually promiscuous, cocaine snorting bimbo is totally wrong, and that not all 34 year old Millennials are like that (some would say unfortunately).
Here's a picture of gorgeous Sanna wearing a suit and addressing the Members of the European Parliament on 13 Sep 22 in the Eurochamber in Strasbourgnd, and being treated totally seriously by other European leaders;
Gorgeous Sanna said; "Ukraine will win the war with our support, there is no other option, but she has already won in our hearts". She went on to say "the full suspension of a visa facilitation agreement with Russia are not enough; ordinary Russians should feel pressure in their everyday lives". She received great applause, and respect I'm sure, from the other leaders of the EU, especially the older male ones that were drooling.
The bad news is gorgeous Sanna is married, but the good news is here she is dirty dancing with a stranger at a nightclub, so you might be in with a chance. You can tell by the look on the guy's face that he really wants to discuss geopolitics with her back at her place.
I'm not going to post the video of her partying with a group of similar intellectual giants rubbing their boobs and talking about being members of the cocaine "Flour Club" as that might put the office of Prime Minister into disrepute. Anyway she tested negative for cocaine, so clearly she only hangs out with people that take it, and never snorts it herself.
On the other hand,
I hope Liz Truss takes note and gets down and dirty with the kids.
It seems to me that the problem with Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO), is that it does not have, and doesn’t appear to ever have had the manpower needed to achieve its objectives to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine. Ukraine is not only too big, but it has open borders with its Western allies and unfettered access to NATO supply lines stretching right to the Ukrainian front.
If you go back to page 1 of this thread, right to the beginning of the SMO, Russia looked like splitting the country in two, cutting off the eastern half of Ukraine from the western half, encircling not just central Ukraine, but encircling the Donbass within that encirclement; creating cauldrons within cauldrons like Russian dolls. More importantly, splitting Ukraine in two would have created a relatively short 300km defensive line against Western Ukraine and NATO, preventing the West’s resupply of weapons, ammunition, and fuel through Europe to central and eastern Ukraine. Once central and eastern Ukraine had been defeated, including the city of Kiev, replacement troops could have been brought in until a new administration could be formed to police and denazify the area, freeing up combat troops to advance on Western Ukraine. How many troops would be needed to do this? Probably all 700,000 of them, but this never happened. Instead it’s estimated that 150,000 troops were deployed, and that was never going to be enough to do this. So, I’m asking the question if Russia has the military capability to take Ukraine, why hasn’t done so? I think there are several reasons why so let’s go through them.
Where the Soviets went wrong
After the defeat of Germany in WW2, the Soviet Union used the European countries it captured from the Nazis’ as a buffer zone against a hostile West that had turned from an ally to adversary almost on the day the war ended. Like most European countries occupied during WW2, these buffer nations between East and West had built up strong pro-Nazi movements and supporters, and some of the people in these countries sided with the West and saw the Soviets as invaders and occupiers. With the help of the West’s covert military and intelligence agencies and with the help of the newly formed CIA in particular, these groups were funded and organised to resist and protest. This led to Soviet crackdowns on the dissidents, which led to more bad feeling, which led to many that once had sided with the Soviets to turn against them as they too suffered from the same crackdowns.
Gradually the pro-Nazi sentiments faded, but instead of the Soviets embracing these countries, they continued their crackdowns on the dissidents which only served to grow pro-Western movements. The constant Western media propaganda promised the people of the Eastern Bloc paradise; that freedom, opportunity, and wealth awaited them in the West if they overthrew their occupiers. As the pro-Western movements grew in these countries, so did resistance to the soviets and socialism. This led to more crackdowns until the majority of people in these countries no longer identified as being part of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union regarding these countries as unfriendly and little more than buffer states to be controlled.
The Soviet crackdowns in Eastern Bloc countries didn’t solve anything, just as British crackdowns in Northern Ireland in the 1970s during ‘The Troubles’ didn’t solve anything; they just made matters worse. During WW2, Vichy France, which occupied nearly the whole southern half of France, was denazified by inclusion and re-education rather than suppression of the Vichy French population. Nazi Germany was denazified in a similar manner, as was Italy. Don’t get me wrong, there was considerable hardship endured by those that supported Fascism and Nazism, and many died in the years following the war, but eventually things got better as the ideology was purged. When General Franco died, Spain’s fascism was phased out gently, and a policy of not mentioning it was adopted. Even in the UK, a country whose ordinary people fought the Nazis had an upper class that supported the Nazi ideology, including their figurehead George VI the King of England, and they were respectively asked to ‘put a lid on it’ if they didn’t want the newly elected post-war socialist government to do something about it.
Those days are long gone but the stories have been passed down, and with the help of the ultra-Nationalists/neo-Nazis I think many ethnic Ukrainians have been encouraged to draw parallels between what Russia is doing today in Ukraine and what the USSR did after WW2 with eastern bloc countries. I think Russia this time round wanted to learn from the mistakes of the Soviet Union. Buffer States cannot be held by force indefinitely, and to try and do so is ultimately self-defeating. This time round Russia would win the hearts and minds of ethnic Ukrainians; to gently wean them off Nazism; not destroy their infrastructure, not kill civilians, treat captured soldiers well. In doing so, eventually Ukrainians would welcome them, and Ukraine would voluntarily choose Russia over the West and become a friendly state to Russia. Oh boy, did Russia get that wrong.
Russia underestimated the extent to which ethnic Ukrainians would fight for their Nazi regime and that after 8 years of this toxic ideology, an awful lot of Ukrainians had become signed-up members of it. Far from welcoming their liberation from Nazism, they saw the Russians as invaders and occupiers, just as many in the Eastern Bloc countries had all those years ago.
Russia underestimated the pro-Ukrainian support from the people of European countries, not just from NATO, and the EU and UK political elite, but from the media and the flag wavers on the street. In the UK, some theatres banned Russian performers; some banned Russian plays, ballets and classical music compositions from being performed at all, some pubs have banned the sale of Russian vodka; honestly, it’s pathetic. Police have arrested pro-Russian protesters for breach of the peace for waving a Russian flag, virtue-signallers have held benefit events to raise money for the Ukrainian war effort, and there’s a general feeling of hesitancy to express any opposition to the Nazi Kiev regime for fear of harassment.
In 1945 Marshal Zhukov said after the capture of Berlin, “We liberated them, and they will never forgive us for this”. When President Putin frequently says “the Soviet Union liberated Europe from fascism”, I suspect many Russians, especially the older ones, quietly finish the sentence off under their breath.
The war against the West cannot be won in Ukraine
It wasn’t until the launch of the SMO that Russia realised it was in a proxy war with the West. It wasn’t until the launch of the economic war that it realised it was in an existential economic war of attrition where Russia would be financially ground down until bankrupt and could no longer fund the SMO, or afford to defend its homeland. It wasn’t until the launch of the SMO that Russia realised just how much the West hated Russians and how much it wanted to destroy their country.
I think this revelation has moved the goalposts of the SMO; there is a realisation now that it is all about money. It costs money to deploy 150,000 soldiers to fight battles, and a lot more to deploy 700,000. Fighting CIA instigated regime changes and regional conflicts around Russia’s borders costs money. There is also a need to fund military forces held back in reserve in case they are needed in a direct conflict with NATO. The West for its part is trying to goad Russia into a full scale war with Ukrine which will cost Russia a fortune and serious weaken, if not destroy its economy. However, Russia appears to becoming increasing aware of this and if there is a war, it will not be with Ukraine, but with NATO, including Ukraine which is in effect now part of NATO.
NATO’s undeclared war on Russia
Russia completely underestimated the involvement of the West and NATO in the Ukrainian conflict, which has mission-crept steadily towards full participation in the conflict, so much so that the line between the West waging a proxy war and an actual one with Russia is getting dangerously blurred. There are suspicions that NATO troops are operating NATO supplied weaponry, there are NATO troops participating in the conflict disguised as foreign volunteer fighters, NATO is providing command and control on the ground in Ukraine, there are NATO Special Ops groups there, and the Russian’s know NATO is providing intelligence and weapon targeting information to the AFU. It is beginning to become clear to Russia that without making any declaration, NATO is at war with Russia; the question is when will Russia say it out loud and more importantly act on it. I think the final proof of NATO participation will be when high yield long range NATO missiles strike Russian territory. It will be the equivalent of a Russian Hypersonic missile striking New York.
The strategy of the West appears to be to wear Russia down economically through military commitments. Wherever Russia draws its border between ethnic Russian liberated and non-liberated territory, NATO will continue to attack this boarder using Ukrainian troops. The population of Ukraine is about 40 million and is more than able to field a ‘million-man army’ if it’s paid for and organised by the West. If just US, Canada, UK, France, Poland, and Germany, fund, train, equip, transport and keep supplied with logistics 10,000 new soldiers, that’s 60,000 a year between them, which is enough to keep the conflict going on a yearly basis; replacing the 60,000 dead and injured Ukrainians each year with another 60,000 Ukrainians the next. OK, it may take 16 years to deploy this million-man army, and another 16 years to deploy a million after that, but the point is Russia needs to win the economic war so that the West cannot afford to fund such an immoral strategy.
The only military solution to this that I can see is for Russia to take the whole of Ukraine and make it part of Russia and hope that NATO doesn’t attack Russia directly to take it back. But that takes you back to the cold war scenario when a large proportion of the population you have annexed don’t want to be there. Could the ethnic Ukrainians be won over in time? Maybe, if Russia doesn’t make the same mistake as the Soviets made during the cold war and crackdown on them. But it comes back down to money. Can Russia afford economically and financially to do this; only Russia knows the answer to that question.
But let’s remember the cause of all this shit. Russia demanded NATO take its troops and missiles off its doorstep and stop advancing eastwards. Russia defending a border separating ethnic Russians from ethnic Ukrainians, 600Km long, with NATO missiles positioned all along the front doesn’t achieve this. Even a military solution where Russia takes the whole of Ukraine would leave Russia facing NATO along the Ukrainian border with fingers twitching on missile launch buttons. Not ideal, and not what Russia would want for sure. A Russian economic victory on the other hand would result in the disintegration of the EU, a serious weakening of the US and European economies and militaries, and most likely the collapse of NATO.
New Multi-polar World Order
The key objective for Russia has to be to destroy Western currencies and cause economic collapse, obviously treating the dollar reserve status as a priority. The Eurasian economic system along with Western sanctions are key to achieving this objective, and the key player in this new Eurasian economic system is of course China. India looks like it may join the club along with Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and an increasing number of other countries. With these players in place I suspect half the world will follow their lead; maybe the whole world with the exception of the West. Russia’s behaviour in the Ukraine SMO has to keep these countries on side, and that applies to any military solution. Players in the New World Order may find the dissolution of Ukraine or its absorption into Russia unacceptable, and for Russia to pursue such a course could well result in it sawing off the branch it’s sitting on. The Eurasian new world order is the big prize. It ensures the old US unipolar world order will not be able to terrorise the world again through its military and financial might. Any military solution in Ukraine has to keep at least China onboard, indeed it may require China’s financial backing to be successful. It’s not inconceivable that China might agree to this covertly as I’m sure they know they’ll be next on the US hit list after Russia.
Where I think it’s going
I think Russia will take the Donbass, and go on to secure ethnic Russian territory all the way down to Odessa, and at some point they will retake Kharkov. But if they don’t take the territory up to the east bank of the Dnieper River, this would leave them with a 600km border to defend. If they do take this territory, the river will provide a natural defence requiring less troops to guard it. At the top of the Dnieper River is city of Kiev. Will Russia take Kiev as an SMO within an SMO? I suspect if they don’t it will be become a constant source of irritation. After that I foresee a defensive waiting game as Russia freezes the conflict and waits for the economic collapse of the West.
Whatever Russia decides to do, surely they will have to bring more troops in to hold territory they have liberated to avoid a repeat of Izium. Leaving 40,000 odd ethnic Russians to the tender mercies of Ukrainian Nazis is something I don’t think the Russian people would tolerate again. The Kraken Nazi battalion has already rushed there to do their thing, some say what’s left of the Azoz Nazi battalion have joined them; and there are already reports of torture and murders coming out of the region.
There have been referendums held in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic, and in Zaporozhe and Kherson regions to join Russia. All have population majorities of ethnic Russians, most speak Russian as their first language, some as their only language, and most live and identify with the Russian culture. Voting in these referendums has been confined by necessity, to just those eligible to vote in the LPR, DPR, and Russian held territories. I don't know if the 4 million refugees spread all across Russia got to vote, and nobody seems to know what the populations of these regions are anymore, what with all the movement of people. I could talk about the Ukrainian threats of 10 to 15 years imprisonment for anyone who voted, the Ukrainian shelling that tried to disrupt the voting (and failed), and the death threats against observers that took part, etc. There's also the ethnic cleansing that has taken place in the Kherson region over the past 8 years, where the Ukrainian Nazi battalions forcibly evicted ethnic Russians from their homes, to give them to nationalist ethnic Ukrainians, but all that would take up a post in itself and I’d be going down an unnecessary rabbit hole if I try to do it here.
The West is already calling these referendums a sham. The Chairman of the UN, who is compromisingly aligned with the US, has called them void. The US controlled UN General Assembly will no doubt vote to condemn them, and I expect the vote will follow recent trends with the West and their allies voting for the resolution to condemn it, and the rest of the world either abstaining or voting against it. Any vote in the important UN Security Council will be vetoed by Russia, and possibly China and India.
From the Russian perspective, these referenda had to be done this way because there was no other way of doing it under wartime conditions. They had to be done to protect the ethnic Russian populations. Maybe it'll all be sorted out afterwards when the war is over. My view is the ethnic Russians in the Ukrainian held territories will vote in exactly the same way as the ethnic Russians in the Russian held territories, and any re-vote after the war will confirm this.
Just to give you some idea of UK turnout at the last 4 general elections, they ranged between 65% and 69%; the turnout in the 2019 general election was 67%. Voter turnout for Brexit in 2016 was 72% where 51.89% voted to leave the EU and 48.11 voted to remain. The Conservative party is in power in the UK after winning 43.6% of the vote, the Labour party came 2nd with 32.2%, the Liberal Democrats came 3rd with 11.2%, and the rest scored 4% and under.
- Luhansk People's Republic: turnout 94.15%, 98.42% voted for joining Russia.
- Donetsk People's Republic: turnout was 97.51%, 99.23% voted for joining Russia.
- Zaporozhe: turnout was 85.4%, 93.11% voted for joining Russia.
- Kherson: turnout was 78.86%, 87.05% voted for joining Russia.
Source: TASS dated 28 Sep 22 https://tass.com/politics/1514667
These results are from the votes cast just from the Russian held territories, and I don't know if they include refugees in Russia. I have assumed 70% of the population in these regions are eligible to vote, which is what it is in the UK, and note that I'm comparing the votes cast (turnout) with population estimates for these regions;
- There are around 1.5 million eligible voters in the LPR and 100% of them live in the Russian controlled area, so 98.42% of the LPR voted for joining Russia.
- There are around 3.1 million eligible voters in the DPR, with about 1 million live under Ukrainian control and 2.1 million under Russian. Around 2.1 million voted to join Russia; that's 68% of the total population even if every voter in the Ukrainian controlled territory voted not to join Russia. I suspect the opposite, and that 99% of the DPR citizens living in the Ukrainian controlled territory would also have voted yes.
- There are around 750,000 eligible voters in the whole of the Kherson region, and 570,000 voted to join Russia; that's 76% in favour of joining Russia if we assume every voter in the Ukrainian controlled territory voted no; again very unlikely.
- There are around 1.2 million eligible voters in the whole of Zaporozhe region. Unlike the other 3 regions, only a minority (44%) live under Russian control. 540,000 people voted to join Russia (93%), so around 690,000 votes in the Ukrainian territory have not been cast or counted. The population of the city of Zaporozhe which is under Ukrainian control, has a population of 760,000 and 530,000 eligible voters, so 80% of the uncast votes in the Zaporozhe region are from the residents of Zaporozhe city.
It's worthwhile setting a baseline here. There are 46.6 million eligible voters in the UK and Boris Johnson came to power in 2019 with 13,966,451 votes, that's 43.6% of the people who voted, but just 30% of the UK voting population. The vote for Zaporozhe to join Russia was won by 93% of the people who voted (the Russian half), and by 44% of the Zaporozhe voting population (including the Ukrainian half). Had the head of the Russian controlled Zaporozhe region stood against Boris Johnson in the UK 2019 general election and got these votes, he'd be running the UK.
But if every person in Ukrainian controlled Zaporozhe region, including Zaporozhe city had voted to say no to joining Russia, the result would have been no to joining by 150,000 votes. It goes without saying that if 150,000 out of 690,000 were to vote yes, then Zaporozhe region would have voted to join Russia. I call that close enough in times of war. I believe that as with the DPR, had the Ukrainian half of Zaporozhe been able to vote, they would have voted 93% to join Russia like the Russian half.