Discover more from News from Underground by Mark Crispin Miller
Some (forbidden) readings on what's (really) happening in Ukraine, including its dire economic consequences (for the West)
Some antidotes to the intoxicating Kool-Aid pumped out by the Western propagandists
From Richard M. Rosenthal:
New World Disorder
This is not going to get better, just worse
The Saker", Andrei, interviews Michael Hudson (who described the "petrodollar" in "Super Imperialism" for Nixon and Kissinger to exploit):
Andrei: How hard a hit would this Russian decision potentially have on the dollar? And MBS negotiating with the PRC for oil sales in Renminbi. Do you think that China and Russia will bring down the Petrodollar and will we see a commodities-backed Ruble and a commodities-backed Yuan replacing the Dollar?
Michael Hudson: The petrodollar will remain between the United States and its allies. But alongside it, there will be the Saudi-yuan and India-yuan arrangements for trade in oil, minerals, industrial products and probably international investment. Trade in these products will be able to occur in a number of currencies, probably on a number of exchanges. It is not clear whether some formal or informal arbitrage may develop between these areas. That is part of what is to be designed. To oversee and regulate the resulting financial and trade arrangements, an alternative to the IMF is needed. The U.S. will not join any organization in which it does not have veto power, so we will see a division of the world into different trading and monetary areas. The result is not so much a conflict as two quite different operating philosophies as the non-U.S. world develops its alternative to financialized neoliberalism.
Andrei: The US has basically stolen Russian gold and foreign currency. The Russians claim that the US has shot itself in the foot and that this will ruin the reputation of the dollar, do you agree with that?
Michael Hudson: Absolutely: Iran after the Shah was overthrown, Afghanistan’s foreign reserves earlier this year, Venezuela’s gold held in the Bank of England, and now Russia. Even timid Germany has asked that airplanes begin flying its gold held in the New York Fed back to Germany!
Tom Luongo has unusually good analysis here: NATO and Russia — Whistling Past Each Other’s Graveyards
Excerpts: The fault for this gap lies wholly with NATO and the West who have steadily advanced until they reached the Russian border at the Donbass. To discuss this in any other terms is pathetic and just an excuse to exercise one’s inherent racism and bloodlust against Russians...
Russia’s list of grievances is as long as any bill that passes through a Congressional committee these days. But the big ones have been the attempts on flipping Belarus and Kazakhstan. These two pivotal countries were victims of failed revolutions to overthrow the governments there and install NATO-controlled puppets, trying to replicate the ‘victory’ in Ukraine in 2014.
Not only did they fail miserably, if anything they furthered Russia’s aims to bring the former Soviet republics back into their orbit and end their flirtations with the West. The only one of these left, really, is Ukraine....
...This war was chosen by the West. It was designed this way. All “attempts” at diplomacy by NATO, the UK, France and the US were simply nothing more than time-buying exercises to build up Ukraine’s strength to launch a blitz of the Donbass and sanction Russia for even responding....
… Make no mistake, Minsk II was nothing more than another time-buying exercise by NATO and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel to get Nordstream 2 completed and allow NATO to build up the Ukrainian military to the point where it could credibly blitz the Donbass.
When Putin ordered a massive multi-front invasion he was simply pre-empting an attack that was coming.
The sanctions packages implemented since then were already prepared. They were happening no matter what move Putin made. There was no different outcome here, only the dates on which these events were going to take place.
NATO chose the place. Putin chose the time. Everything else is chatter and noise...
The losses on both sides will be horrific and high. The chaos unleashed on Ukrainian civilians is terrible. The scenes in recently ‘liberated’ Mariupol are heart breaking...
Opening salvos have been fired, now the real war for the future of humanity begins at the legal and financial level...
.. Since the EU are not reliable actors Russia put them on the published ‘unfriendly list’ of countries that now are allowed to pay for their Russian exports in either rubles (announced by Putin earlier this week) or gold (announced yesterday)...
Russia has the real power here because it produces what the world needs while the people pushing this war are doing so from an increasingly shaky foundation of paper assets.
So, contracts be damned, it’s gold or rubles for natural gas, unfriendly Europe.
It’s bitcoin or local currencies for everyone else.
Ukraine will be neutral. China will remain friendly. Words matter when a person wants them to matter.
And from where I’ve sat these past ten years the Russians have honored their words while the West has used them as weapons.
"Joe Biden" met with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw today. They met privately for a couple of hours, declared friendship and commitments to the long-term problem that is "Ukraine" and especially reaffirmed the NATO protection of NATO member states. "Biden" "Stands with Ukraine, period" (or perhaps somewhat behind Ukraine). The substance of their talks is unclear, but would naturally involve Polish claims on western "Ukraine". Poland does not want to take risks or blame, would rather let Russia take all the blame, but has nationalistic reasons to reclaim western Ukraine (Galicia and its problems) as part of Poland. If Galicia becomes part of Poland, it will be covered by NATO, but Polish incursions into Ukraine would presumably be at Poland's own risk. Some agreements will need to be reached...
Despite Kiev’s attempts to involve NATO in a war with Russia and establish a no fly zone over Ukraine, the alliance has once again confirmed its unwillingness to get into a military confrontation with the Russian Army.
Instead, the alliance has decided to strengthen the defense of its own territories. Four additional multinational NATO combat groups of 40,000 troops will be deployed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia on a permanent basis.
Biden offered to Ukraine to resolve territorial issues with Moscow itself, but left the opportunity for the alliance to use force against Russia. The US President noted that NATO could intervene in the conflict in the case of the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine. Given the example of false flag chemical weapon attacks in the war in Syria, the risks of provocation by the Kiev regime and the threat to civilians and military alike on the territory of Ukraine have increased.
Poland’s proposal to deploy NATO military units in Ukraine was rejected. However, this does not exclude the possibility of Poland’s participation in the war in Ukraine outside the alliance. Warsaw intends to introduce its contingent in the western regions of Ukraine to support the “fraternal Ukrainian people” and not miss the opportunity to establish its own control over the historically disputed territories. Apparently, this will be the main topic of negotiations between Biden and Duda on March 26.
Not mentioned is payment for petroleum products in Rubles or gold.
EU Steps Back From Impractical Russia Oil Embargo
Central Bank Digital currencies (not your friend) are poised to "become the solution" to collapse of global petrodollar financial order (also not your friend).
The findings of the experimental CBDC program could assist in the adoption of CBDC international settlement for G-20 nations, though given the rising geopolitical fissures in the so-called “international rules based order”, it is far from clear which countries would be willing to engage with one another in such a way.
China has already launched its own digital yuan and is piloting its use in more than a dozen cities and regions. It has also been experimenting with its cross-border functionality. This has ignited fears in the West that that U.S. “financial leadership” is under threat — fears that have been magnified by the way US and EU sanctions against Russia, particularly the confiscation of a large chunk of Russia’s foreign currency reserves have backfired...
It will grant central banks far more power over our payment behavior.
That power could be used to “program” our spending.
No limit on negative interest rates.
Financial exclusion on steroids.
Lyons warns that CBDCs, “if not deliberately and carefully constrained in advance by law,… have the potential to become even more than a technocratic central planner’s dream. They could represent the single greatest expansion of totalitarian power in history.”
Pepe Escobar, Make Nazism Great Again (sort of a haphazard history of Galicia and fascism through world wars and CIA "patronage")
The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.
From the (Russian) horse's mouth, an assessment of the first month of the special police operation to de-nazify Ukraine:
...The secret cipher telegrams of the 4th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine and classified documents captured by Russian servicemen revealed the plan for the preparation of the strike groups for offensive actions in the zone of the so-called “joint forces operation” in the Donbass. All measures of the nationalists’ combat coordination were ordered to be completed by February 28. In order to start performing combat missions as part of the Ukrainian “joint forces operation” in the Donbass in March 2022. Since February 2022, Ukrainian troops have multiplied artillery attacks on Donbass with prohibited large-caliber artillery weapons... https://southfront.org/russian-mod-on-causes-and-current-results-of-military-operation-in-ukraine/
Moon of Alabama (German) Various national and regional interests will diverge from US/NATO under economic stress. Some Likely Longterm Effects Of The War In Ukraine https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/03/some-likely-longterm-effects-of-the-war-in-ukraine.html#more
Weird and unexpected... Pentagon Drops Truth Bombs to Stave Off War With Russia...
Tuesday, the Pentagon took the bold step of leaking two stories to reporters that contradict those tales. “Russia’s conduct in the brutal war tells a different story than the widely accepted view that Vladimir Putin is intent on demolishing Ukraine and inflicting maximum civilian damage—and it reveals the Russian leader’s strategic balancing act,” reported Newsweek in an article entitled, “Putin’s Bombers Could Devastate Ukraine But He’s Holding Back. Here’s Why.”.
The piece quotes an unnamed analyst at the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) saying, “The heart of Kyiv has barely been touched. And almost all of the long-range strikes have been aimed at military targets.”<br style="--tw-translate-x:0; --tw-translate-y:0; --tw-rotate:0; --tw-skew-x:0; --tw-skew-y:0; --tw-scale-x:1; --tw-scale-y:1; --tw-pan-x: ; --tw-pan-y: ; --tw-pinch-zoom: ; --tw-scroll-snap-strictness:proximity; --tw-ordinal: ; --tw-sl