February 2024
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Has Putin exposed the West’s irrelevance?

weekend blog

“Massive, devastating” sanctions?

As Mad Vlad the Bad’s tanks roll across Ukraine, the West’s leaders have issued bloodcurdling threats about the supposedly “massive” and “devastating” sanctions they will impose on Russia. The UK for example, has temporarily frozen the London assets of five Russian banks, taken some sort of action (I’m not clear what) against three rather wealthy Russians and has banned Aeroflot flights from Moscow. Oh, and the UK has sent a few hundred troops to a couple of countries that are in no way even threatened by Russia.

Meanwhile, the EU’s response has been even more pathetic. The EU hailed a 2am agreement on a “massive” package of measures in punishment for the Ukraine invasion, including a freeze on assets and a block on Russian banks’ access to European financial markets.

But there is an exemption for Moscow’s main source of revenue – energy exports – which means its banks will still enjoy lucrative revenues from gas and oil sales. And Germany, France and Italy opposed a UK request to shut Russia out of the SWIFT international payments system – despite Ukraine saying the West would have “blood on its hands” if it refused.

The German finance minister, Christian Lindner, admitted Berlin refused to go further because of “a high risk that Germany will no longer be supplied with gas or raw materials”.

And Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said he opposed Russia being excluded from SWIFT, following the EU discussions giving the following cowardly bureaucrat’s weasel-worded excuse: “It’s very important that we decide on measures that have been prepared in recent weeks and reserve everything else for a situation where it is necessary to do other things as well.

Vlad and Xi take over the world?

With Russia’s Mad Vlad and China’s Xi Pingpong getting into bed with each other, the world’s centre of power has suddenly switched from Washington/Europe eastwards. Russia and China make an almost perfect partnership – Russia’s vast underpopulated territory contains almost unlimited amounts of natural resources and China needs those resources for its massive manufacturing sector.

As they bluster and threaten Putin, our leaders don’t seem to understand their increasing irrelevance. Here, for example, are US pharmaceutical imports by country;

(left-click on image and then left-click again to see more clearly)

This may not look too bad as China and India are selling similar amounts of pharma products to the US. But this chart doesn’t take into account the fact that around 80% of the materials used in Indian pharma exports come from China. Moreover, the US for example, no longer makes any antibiotics. The last US plant making antibiotics closed around 2014, if I remember correctly.

Or we could look at semiconductor production volumes:

(left-click on image then left-click again to see more clearly)

A little bit worrying?

In fact, whatever raw material or product you look at, you’ll see that the West is depressingly dependent on either Russia or China.

One could get the impression that, while we were obsessing over how many genders there are and what pronouns were acceptable and how to reach the economically-suicidal, ludicrously-unnecessary ‘net zero’, Russia and China were taking over the world.

Can the West save itself?

There is, of course, another scenario which could play out. Maybe Putin has overplayed his hand? Perhaps a messy outcome in the Ukraine may lead even some of Putin’s closest cronies to wonder if they might be better off without him. If Putin’s position looks threatened, no doubt China’s Xi will distance himself from Putin to stay in with Putin’s successor in order to have continued access to Russia’s gas and other natural resources.

There is even the possibility that the Ukraine invasion will lead to the democratic West reassessing its priorities and deciding that committing societal and economic suicide wasn’t such a smart idea after all. Then the West could dump all the greeny, woke, virtue-signalling, transgender nonsense and rebuild its supply chains to become less dependent on Russia and China.

It’s been a pretty exciting week. I wonder what next week will bring?

8 comments to Has Putin exposed the West’s irrelevance?

  • twi5ted

    Think Putin appears to have gone too far but it’s very hard to know what’s happening given the media just pump out propaganda. They seem very keen to show protests in Russia but not Canada or years of gilets jaunes protests in France.

    If wilder, and less wild, discussions on the web have any truth Russia was very nervous about the West’s mis-use of biolabs they are running in Ukraine and potential release of pathogens. Seems all too familiar.

    David Starkey gave an interview with Mark Steyn on Thursday which was worth a watch. He says pax americana has lulled the west into complacency preferring to chase unicorns rather than prepare for real threats. We are facing people in the west dying from cold and hunger with the possibility of nuclear war or even tanks in our towns and villages as a result of the West’s negligent leadership and their absurd priorities.

  • Stillreading

    Those of us who are sufficiently old just about to remember our sense of national pride during WW2, the post-war stagnancy under Labour, followed by the onset of the drug-fuelled, self-absorbed, hedonistic 60s, have watched, impotent, of recent years, from our quiet seaside-town retirement flats or bungalows, the relentless erosion of the traditional standards and values by which we have lived our lives. Paradoxically, we enjoyed more innocent childhoods than any child growing up today, being, many of us, scarcely initiated into heterosexual sex by the time, aged 18, all males were conscripted into two years’ National Service. Many things were flagrantly wrong of course: the mercilessly cruel treatment of many young women who bore a babies out of wedlock and fell into the hands of the Catholic religious institutions or just “unmarried mothers’ homes” and were forced to gfive away their babies. No one would wish for a return of that or, indeed, the persecution under the Law of homosexuals, usually men. Homosexuality between couples o feither sex has always existed and to regard such relationships as “perversions” demonstrates both ignorance and outright cruelty. But when normal 5 and 6 year olds are being taught, encouraged, even instructed in primary schools to question the “rightness” of the gender they were self-evidently endowed with at conception, or are told no longer to refer to their Mummy and Daddy as just that, but as “the adults” instead, it is evident that a severe social sickness has afflicted a society. It is outrageous that a man, endowed with the normal male hormones, all physical equipment intact, can “self-identify” as a woman in order to gain access to womens’ lavatories and womens’ prison, therein to display his genitals and even engage in rape. The ridiculous “gender pronoun” issue is yet another example of societal idiocy and decay. David Starkey indeed said most of what needs to be said the other evening on GBNews, when interviewed by Mark Steyn. I found myself cheeering him aloud, from my contented single-occupancy pad! And this clever, informed, articulate, historian, author of many excellent works on the Tudors in particular, his self-professed area of expertise, has been “cancelled” by his alma mater, Cambridge, for ONE perhaps ill-advised epithet he spoke publicly and under a bit of duress! Putin is both bad and mad, and the latter makes him very dangerous. It’s not improbable that Western democracy, together with the self-indulgent narcissism it has engendered, could soon have far more urgent stuff to worry about than gender pronouns! It’s a tragedy of the human condition that every civilisation seems to require war periodically to focus its collective mind on the qualities required for survival.

  • A Thorpe

    I’m pleased to see others referring to David Starkey. I saw part and found the rest on catchup. Perhaps his views are really why he was removed from the BBC. They prefer women, hair blowing in the breeze on boats, flirting and treating history as a soap opera. Today’s blog and the previous link together and link with Starkey’s view.

    Perhaps it is inevitable. Britain led the industrial revolution but others will eventually catch up with more modern equipment.We had the raw materials and developed steam power. Now we don’t have the materials and don’t want to get the fossil fuel out of the ground. Britain failed to modernise after the last war. We talk a lot about history and our place in the world, but it might be geography that is more important. Britain has used the materials that geography gave us. We want consumer goods and we have become a throw away society, wanting the latest versions for little benefit. As Starkey pointed out our spending is mostly on welfare, pensions and health. It does not create wealth. We want security and safety and have put trust in the government to provide it in return for giving up our freedom and complying with every stupid edict they produce.

    Boris really is the clown of Europe with his views of devastating sanctions. They will devastate Europe not Russia. Trump made the USA energy independent. Biden says American oil and gas cause climate change and is now importing Russian climate friendly oil. Americans will not tolerate high gasoline prices. Stupidity rules in the west and it starts in schools. We have several generations fed with nonsense and a belief in entitlement to everything they desire.

    In relation to Stillreading’s last sentence, perhaps wars are needed to clear out the weak.

  • Jeffrey Palmer

    Some random thoughts on the Ukraine/NATO situation –

    Are white central Europeans somehow more worthy of sympathy than Arabs and Afghans?
    Iraq. Afghanistan. Libya. Syria.
    We all remember the graphic tv images of bombing and missile attacks.
    And Western governments are lecturing Russia?

    Russia has been warning for a long time that NATO’s continual expansionism would have consequences. But nobody was listening. To agree with Ukraine’s membership of NATO, you’d also have to imagine that the US would tamely allow Russian forces to set up shop in Mexico or Canada. But most educated people are aware of the US’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’. What’s sauce for the goose….

    As our pound-shop Churchill offers Zelensky and the Ukrainian mafia political asylum (a conveniently wealthy replacement for the Russian kleptocrats he’s kicking out), NATO and its boss Stoltenberg will be congratulating themselves on a job well done.
    With Europe’s total military impotence suddenly laid bare for all to see, a new arms race will start. NATO will now be able to tell European governments exactly what weaponry and troop strength it wants. And governments will have no choice but to spend the money.
    The weaponry, of course, will now be much more expensive as arms manufacturers pass on the hugely increased costs of energy to the unfortunate taxpayers who will be forking out for all the new hardware.
    But the military-industrial complex is in for a bonanza.

    And social benefits will inevitably be taking a big hit as a result, while national debt will skyrocket as governments borrow even more to pay for the military. On top of the eye-watering sums they’ve already had to borrow as a result of the pandemic. Good news for the big banks.

    Russia, with its own oil and gas, no ‘Net Zero’ agenda, a miniscule national debt, and a military budget already rather less than that of the UK, will be looking on with some amusement as Europe proceeds to bankrupt itself.

    One recalls that after NATO forces left Afghanistan, huge quantities of Western military equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban.
    I wonder how much US and British military equipment, recently shipped to the Ukraine, is about to fall into the hands of the Russians?
    We have previously been informed by the government that there are British soldiers in the Ukraine, training Kiev’s troops. It would be very interesting to know what their orders are, under current circumstances – fight, or flee?
    It would also be interesting to know just what Johnson would do, should any of them fall into Russian hands. I somehow doubt they’d be too popular with the Russian forces.

  • Bd Brian

    This has escalated far more than I had anticipated even though everyone I speak to is now clear that they saw all this coming.

    The reason I did not believe it would lead to the attack and attempted invasion of the entire country of the Ukraine is that I still do not understand how Putin thinks he or Russia will ever benefit from this monsterous behavior.

    David’s article above was correct at the time of writing but it does appear that perhaps the EU is beginning to find a tiny amount of backbone including the Germans who so far have been disgusting in clearly only being interested in their own interests.

    And that is the problem. Unless the West grows up and acknowledges we can’t continue to do business with Putin and his thugs, we have to accept it will cause us pain in all sorts of ways, but it would be worth it. The same applies to China.

    Watching the news on TV, I am also concerned that there has developed a strange sense of optimism as to how the Ukranian forces and population are bearing up which I worry is a bit misplaced. My fear is that if Putin becomes even more deranged due to a lack of progress to his invasion, that he will simply bring more and more pressure to bear. I believe up to now he has proceeded relativley softly to minimise civilian casualties. This could change at any moment and great slaughter could result.

    The fact is that the West needs to wake up and accept that we need to increasingly project power and determination to protect our interests so the bad guys don’t get over confident.

    The Russian public are not for this war and we can only hope that they get their act together soon and give the puppets that Putin surrounds himself with enough courage to do away with Putin altogether which would be a great way to end this outrage.

    It’s the West that should be putting up an IRON CURTAIN to protect our interests and keep Russia and China and other tin pot countries firmly in their place. However, this costs money.

    new I for one would gladly sacrifice speed bumps and cycle lanes, gender neutral toilets and our police monitoring Facebook for hate speech, if it would help.

  • Brenda Blessed

    GB News Mark Steyn Thursday 24th February 2022 –

    David Starkey comes on after Mark Steyn’s cutting monologue about Ukraine being writ large in the politics of the US Democrats, involving Biden and his Ukrainian-oligarch son, Hunter.

  • Bad Brian

    We are being fed a pile of lies by the MSM such as Ukranian Pilot shoots down six Russian fighter planes. Yea, I bet he did. A column of 56 Russian tanks destroyed. Really ?
    Where ?

    The Russians are going in soft and encircling Ukranian cities.
    They are not destroying the water supply, sewage plants, power supplies or other infrastructure. They are in no hurry. They don’t want to have to rebuild once they take control.

    The top Ukranian military were all at school in Moscow with their counterparts 30 years ago and they are communicating non stop because the phones and internet are all working. The Ukranian military will change sides when it suits them to do so.

    Excluding the Russians from the financial systems means that international trades will not continue to be done in dollars which will mean that the dollar will drop in value and the Russians will build up foreign currency reserves which they can use when required, to destabalise other countries.

    All this nonsense about Russian forces being held at bay by Ukranian civilians is dangerous and stupid.

    The Ukranian government handing out 18000 AK47’s to civilians is also crazy. This will simply encourage gangs of looters and will result in civilian deaths. Is this a deliberate policy so that the West will step in against Russia ?

    Ukraine has been encouraged by the West to defy Russia but they have been led up the garden path. Why else is Russia still selling gas to Europe by means of gas pipes that go through the Ukraine ? Whatever is going on, there is more to this than meets the eye or what we are being told. I don’t believe a word of the MSM stories we are being fed, and although the Rouble is falling fast, the money men will pounce and make a fortune when it bounces back just as fast.

  • Mark Ager

    The timing of the invasion says it all to me. Just as the “pandemic” has been kissed off in England, the invasion begins to keep prices rising and the global fear factor going with the threat of nuclear war because the pandemic psyop was over everywhere sooner or later as soon as England exited stage left.

    Thanks to partygate and GB News telling as much truth as it could get past the media regulator, Ofcom, and Canada giving the totalitarian game plan away in the west, even though ignored by the MSM.

    Enter our window-dressers. Anyone who can read a script can become a minister.

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