CRISIS IN RUSSIA: Seven reasons why Obama should’ve nixed the Congressional sanctions



The President’s feeble attitude to more Congressional sanctions on Putin’s Russia reflects the spineless nature of his presidency as a whole.

I’ve lost any feel these days for what drives the American Establishment. On the one hand, President Uncle Tomobama went native pretty much from the first week back in 2008; yet on the other, the tribal reactions to the Michael Brown killing showed that the US has learned very little over the years about how to be a more cohesive society ethnically.

Nothing shows more clearly just how little Americans have learned than their foreign policies. Belligerent, trigger-happy and naive, in recent years the blundering motivation behind them has been compounded by a naked desire to prosecute energy (and other raw materials) imperialism that will satisfy the infinite greed of its dominant neoliberal franchise.

What never ceases to baffle me is the American citizen surprise when, on going abroad (and over 74% of them never do) they discover the profound degree to which US interference in other people’s affairs has made them widely loathed. It is equalled in my experience only by the inability of Germans to understand why they get poor service in Greek restaurants.

In the last few years since the City and Wall Street screwed up (another dimension of that Special Relationship we’re alleged to have) the US State Department and its allies have been working puppets from behind in Britain, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Syria, the Ukraine, Hungary, France,Turkey and Brussels. The shambles following ‘the Arab Spring’ nonsense has once more given Islamist militant headcases the excuse to do their worst, but the Ukraine intervention was about as pernicious as it gets.

While both the liberal and neoliberal press continue to paint Vladimir Putin as the villain of the piece, this is completely unsupported by the evidence. That he is a ruthless former KGB villain is not in doubt; but the ludicrously one-sided reporting of the Western media has shocked even an old cynic like me.The shooting down of MH17 “by Moscow”, for example, was treated by our western press as an established fact. In truth, all the facts suggest strongly that anti-Russian Ukrainian forces armed by the US shot it down.

Three considerations should’ve preceded involvement in Ukraine. First, the fact that former Russian satellites have been grabbed (again via American influence) with almost indecent haste by an egotistical Brussels gang…and that Putin the patriot had no choice but to accept it. To imagine that he would stand by and smile benignly when the EU – again prodded by the US – started messing about to destabilise an elected pro-Moscow President in Ukraine was foolish. Second, Russian speakers predominate in the Eastern part of Ukraine: historically, the case for its independence from Moscow is flaky at best. And finally, Putin was already giving aid to assist Ukrainians with their dire economic situation…and still supplies most of Europe’s gas.

However, those three factors having been brushed aside, one would’ve thought, by now, it might have dawned on Washington that things haven’t gone entirely according to plan. Manipulating the oil price down at the very moment when the global slump became obvious to the most bullishly bullshitting bull wasn’t especially bright: even dimmer was not expecting OPEC to cash in on this opportunity to ruin the US shale industry.

So now here we are with the Ruble in freefall plus a massive rates hike that has barely affected its rate of descent. And what does Congress do? Demand further sanctions.

Obama let it be known that he opposed this, but rejected the use of his veto. A genuine statesman would’ve vetoed it out of hand. But Obama is not a statesman: he is a puppet. He caved in against Wall Street because he lacks any calling to leave the World better than he found it. The last two Republican Presidents emerged direct from the oil business. Now the third Bush is expected to declare his candidacy. Why do we expect anything more from these people?

Well, here are seven reasons why thinking Americans should stop Congress in its tracks:

1. Think about all the futures and derivative bets that were not counting on oil at $56.

2. Ditto for a Ruble at 50% of its 2013 value against the Dollar.

3. Think about how many banks are exposed to a Russian default. Think RBS, for instance. Soc Gen. Raiffeisen. Raiffeisen’s share price fell 8% yesterday.

4. Think about the effect on emerging markets debt: by yesterday afternoon, investors worldwide were storming out of EM bonds. If things get worse, Turkey and South Africa will start to suffer.

5. Think about the growing desire of countries from Argentina via Iran to Venezuela to join a Russo-Chinese bloc ready to challenge neoliberal Dollar hegemony.

6. Think of what will happen to Zirp if enough currencies have to defend their ability to attract liquidity. Think of what might happen to Western debt management costs if an alternative bloc used gold backing and high interest rates to get the liquidity back.

7. Think of the long-term effect of a Russian population as resentful of US dollar diplomacy as the Arabs are. Remember: when Putin declared Crimea’s return to Russia, he got an 87% approval rating. Is it really likely that the US can effect ‘regime change’ in Russia: won’t it just unite the country behind its President?

There is still time to put the lid back on Pandora’s box: some of the wriggly worms are already out there. Far more will follow unless American citizens move to calm down the mood of jingoism. Up until now, Washington has been shooting itself in the foot. It is in danger of shooting itself in the head.

Yesterday at The Slog: suicide by deflation while balance of mind disturbed