March 4, 2018

Twitterer-in-chief is hellbent on further eroding our international trade with the world in general, and allies in particular, through unilateral, brick-headed, and misdirected threats of tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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He is also quick to threaten to escalate an all-out trade war with our allies.

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China could not be happier as the Trump administration continues to cede economic leadership to them all over the world.  Russia could not be more pleased as Trump sews dissent across the board with nearly every single US ally in little more than a year’s time.  Where China’s future economic advantages are becoming well defined, what Russia stands to gain in the international theater from Trump’s bumbling, is a little less clear but possibly more worrisome.

Putin has an election coming up and with thousands of people forced to attend joyfully celebrating Putin’s certain victory at a recent rally, it’s pretty clear he is going to be overwhelmingly re-elected.  That being said, he needs to get working on ways in which to keep the oligarchy in the lavish lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.  STAT.

Russia continues to be in serious economic difficulties.  With Oil prices climbing back up to $60 a barrel things are less awful (but still awful) for a resource driven economy like Russia’s, but that’s nowhere near the $120 a barrel that Russia road to economic recovery in 2012.  Russia, unlike China, refuses to diversify it’s economy.  The oligarchy/government is perpetually crafting media narratives to sway their public that everything is as it should be.  Sounds familiar, right?

“Russia’s state-owned media juggernaut has been able to turn western sanctions into a scapegoat for the government’s own failures, and to whip up support for foreign adventurism – including the seizure of the Crimea, military intervention in Syria, and meddling in US elections. Most Russians, constantly manipulated by their country’s schools and media, are convinced that conditions are much worse in the west (a hyperbolic claim even in the era of “fake news”).”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/05/there-is-little-reason-to-be-cheerful-about-russias-growth-prospects

With US sanctions not being implemented, and exactly zero fucking response from the White House to Putin’s claim that he could hit anywhere in the world with his latest nuclear weapons and not be stopped(complete with a video of a nuclear missile heading off to the US), the US is giving Putin the greenlight to do as he wishes.

I believe that following Putin’s re-election, we are due for a major Russian event within the proceeding couple of months.  Long enough lead time before the US midterms, for at least the idiot Americans to forget all about it, and start worrying about the imminently more important- Ivanka’s hair style or latest White House scandal.

Possibilities:

  1. Expanded involvement in Syria.  There are myriad reasons why this could happen.  Firstly, military presence.  Their station in Tartus, Syria is their only Mediterranean port.  Hmeymim, Syria is their major airfield for the middle east.  Even though Russia has announced they will be drawing down presence in Syria, I highly doubt that’s likely.  Secondly, Instability in the entire middle east would be a boon to Russian petroleum exports.  Thirdly, Russian military involvement in Syria is a showcase for their arms sales.  Russia just deployed two new SU-57 stealth fighters to Syria.  Don’t doubt for a second there might be a dust-up from the SU-57s, as the US military keeps trying to get close to them for a real good look.  Something’s gonna happen sooner or later.
  2. Overt interference in European politics.  A new Democratic funded congressional report on the Kremlin’s interference in western democracies that no Republican signed on to.  It outlines the problem and states firmly Trump doesn’t care and isn’t doing anything.

 

3. The Magnitsky act.  Bill Browder has been a goddamn, one man wrecking crew when it comes to seriously harming the Russian Oligarchy with lobbying for passage of the Magnitsky Act in country after country.  Expect increased counter lobbying efforts by Putin at best, and at worst- Browder suddenly and mysteriously deciding to jump off of a tall building or accidentally ingesting a deadly toxin.

4. Ukraine?  Not direct military actions.  Perhaps foment real unrest?  Dunno.

 

There may be some other opportunities I am not thinking of at this time that i may add later.  Point is, the time is now and Russia has the greenlight.  The Trump administration will do nothing to stop Russia.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “March 4, 2018

  1. I worry about Putin expanding his war on the Ukraine. I think he will try to take more of the country. Was there much news coverage / any action taken by the US government on the Russian backed mercenaries attack on a major US base in Syria? Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The mercenary firm is named Wagner, and it has been linked to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch who was recently indicted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III for an alleged role in “information warfare” ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

      Liked by 1 person

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