Monday, August 1, 2022

    • Key takeaways: US foreign policy blunders have driven Russia and China together and they will act to displace US global supremacy. India is also moving into Russia's orbit. Most people in the world live in nations that do not support sanctions on Russia. Energy sanctions on Russia have backfired, causing an energy crisis in Europe.
    • "Regardless of who wins the Ukrainian war, the United States will be the strategic loser. Russia will build closer relations with China and other countries on the Eurasian continent, including India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states. It will turn irrevocably away from European democracies and Washington. Just as President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger played the “China card” to isolate the Soviet Union during the Cold War, presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will play their cards in a bid to contain U.S. global leadership."
    • "Since the Ukraine invasion, Russia has become China’s top oil provider, replacing Saudi Arabia... The Chinese will likely be able to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel shipments from the Middle East which must pass through vulnerable naval choke points such as the Malacca Straits."
    • "Before invading Ukraine, India bought almost no oil from Russia. Now it is importing over 760,000 barrels a day. Increases in Russian fossil fuel sales to India will be detrimental to efforts by the United States, Australia, and Japan to continue to draw Delhi into a closer orbit with democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific region."
    • "Two-thirds of the global population live in countries that have refrained from denouncing Russia. Even neighboring Mexico refused to condemn Russia or join economic sanctions."
    • "The West’s energy sanctions have to an extent backfired, causing inflationary and supply disruptions so severe that Brussels now is struggling to cope with the economic consequences... While the West complains that Russia weaponized its oil and gas exports, the reality is that it was Brussels and Washington that first raised the energy sword when they announced their intent to cut back Russian fossil fuel purchases immediately after the Ukraine invasion."
    • "The United States is no longer the world’s sole dominant power. More burden sharing in the U.S. alliance system will have to happen sooner or later to deal with the reality of an increasingly multipolar world."

  • Have Western Sanctions Against Russia Failed? (The National Interest, 8/19/22)
    • Key takeaways: Russia's GDP contraction is far smaller than projected with the ruble not turning to "rubble". Western products are still for sale in Russia while major countries refuse to join in the sanctions war. Meanwhile Russia energy sales are skyrocketing, not shrinking.
    • "Russia’s economy shrank by 4 percent year-on-year over the second quarter... the ruble became one of the world’s strongest performing currencies this year."
    • "From Levi’s jeans to Apple iPhones, numerous common and luxury products continue to be available for purchase in Russia’s metropolitan centers despite the fact that these manufacturers are no longer directly supplying Russian markets. Such goods typically arrive in Russia by way of unauthorized imports..."
    • "...the fact [is] that the world’s great economic powers have not only refused to join the Washington-led sanctions regime but continue to deepen their trade and financial ties with Moscow."
    • "Russian earnings from energy exports skyrocketed following the West’s sanctions barrage earlier this year."

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