Friday 7th of October 2022

they shoot lame ducks, horses, useless prime ministers and old presidents…...

The West, in its intention to hurt Russia with sanctions, has shot itself in the foot, many media outlets have been writing for a while now. The result is high inflation, energy and food shortages, recession, and many political and social problems that Europeans don’t know how to deal with. The IMF itself admits that the promotion of a spiral of unilateral sanctions by Western countries threatens to increase inflation and a global recession.

Against this backdrop, a geopolitical shift in the decision-making process in Europe is underway at the expense of the well-being of the people, and the continued instability and fragmentation of the political situation demonstrates a growing gap between the ordinary population of European countries and the elite. Such a policy has already led to a frenzied spike in prices, which is why many Europeans have begun to protest. More than 80,000 Belgians took to the streets of Brussels on June 20 and staged a demonstration to protest against the sharp increase in the cost of living.

 

BY Valery Kulikov

Changes in the socio-political situation are also manifested in the deepening of disagreements between the parties now governing in the European Union and opposition forces. An example of this is the vote at the end of June by the People’s Assembly of Bulgaria for a vote of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.

Europe’s governing elites hope that, at least until the next election cycle, the anti-Russian policy, dominating under Washington’s guidance, will have an impact on Europeans for some time. Anti-elitist sentiments among the people, however, are growing much faster than expected, with the populations of various countries not waiting for the next elections, and as a result, political upheavals are already taking place in Europe.

On July 4, protests began in the UK over the rise in the cost of gasoline. In June, UK residents’ bills for gasoline and utilities rose by 25% and 40% year-on-year, respectively, according to the Financial Times. The Daily Mail, citing forecasts from consultancy Cornwall Insight, said UK household energy bills could rise to more than £3,000 a year in January 2023, threatening to “push millions of people into poverty,” experts warn. Boris Johnson did not show any activity in improving Britons’ social conditions. He was mired in scandals and desperately clung to his post, Spiked stated. As a result, Britons’ patience snapped and the prime minister was forced to resign. Taking into account the opinion of the inhabitants of the kingdom, The Guardian in its article “Johnson will leave scorched earth. The idea that he should stay until autumn is madness,” wrote that the Conservative Party created a monster – Boris Johnson. After all, it is Boris Johnson who is behind the shelling not only of eastern Ukraine, but also of the peaceful Russian cities of Belgorod and Kursk. And Britain’s residents should know that he is one of the main advocates of the war against Russia to the last Ukrainian. According to The Telegraph, perhaps only Ukraine regrets his resignation.

The disappearance of this British “lame duck” from Washington’s flock in Europe, however, could be the beginning of the collapse of the political career of many other representatives of the current political elite of the European Union. Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are the heads of the two most influential countries initiating economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis and causing significant damage to their own countries with their policies. A similar fate may soon therefore affect the American president, who risks soon losing power and leaving the international political arena. According to the National Review, Biden has completely discredited himself in front of Democratic voters, 74% of whom do not want to see him again as US president. At the same time, readers of the magazine suggest that Biden should not be let into the White House at all during the remaining two years of his term. Even an imbecile can become the president of the United States and Biden proved it, writes The Washington Times, using not-so-polite epithets regarding the head of state and thereby emphasizing the attitudes towards him. The head of the White House continues to lose the confidence of Americans, including among supporters of his own party, most of whom want him to be replaced, the American media reports. The fact that it is time for Biden to be impeached was announced on Fox News by Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs. A significant number of other American politicians and US citizens share the same opinion.  So, it is quite possible that the “head of the flock” may soon appear in the caravan of “lame ducks.”

As for Europe, the protracted conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had a negative impact on public opinion in the European Union. And this leads to the policies of the current European political elite increasingly facing populist political challenges, especially problems in the energy, financial, and food industries, all of which are associated with the well-being of ordinary people. All this inevitably affects the mood of Europeans, and as a result Europe awaits the culmination of a real political crisis. After the inglorious end of Russophobic British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the leaders of other European states should think about where such a policy will lead.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in this context, may become the most likely next “lame duck” in the very near future.  Readers of the German newspaper Die Welt have already called for him to resign, especially after Scholz’s unsubstantiated claims about Russia’s alleged use of gas as a weapon, uttered on July 6 at a conference of the German Renewable Energy Federation.

Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Italy Mario Draghi not so long ago delivered an address to his Western partners to stop the sanctions pressure on Russia because it primarily affects Europeans themselves – in a negative manner. The European Union, according to the politician, finds itself in a difficult position, while the Russian economy is only becoming stronger. At the same time, it should be clarified that Draghi has long understood how extremely seriously the sanctions hit the comfort and the main aspects of life of the European states themselves. That is why he, along with Scholz and Macron, went to persuade Zelensky to halt the hostilities and move on to a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Yet, in the absence of consolidated support for his policies in parliament and among Italy’s political parties, Mario Draghi resigned, thereby increasing the number of “lame ducks” in Europe. Recall that it’s not only British PM Boris Johnson who’s part of this downfall of leaders in Europe, as the Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas also announced her resignation. And it earlier became known about the resignation of their Bulgarian colleague, Kiril Petkov. Although all these cases are unrelated, nevertheless, the “Ukrainian issue” was ever-present. And it is precisely the position on Ukraine that runs counter to Germany’s own interests that could force the resignation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Don’t forget that voters don’t vote for those leaders who create rather difficult living conditions for them, but for those who will make changes for the better. The appearance of many “lame ducks” on the political horizon of Europe and America, therefore, isn’t surprising. Especially given their provocative, politically biased Russophobic policy that goes against their national interests, all in the name of pleasing Washington.

Anyway, it would be much more useful to think not about these flying “lame ducks,” but about their successors because it’s possible that extremist movements could use this opportunity to attract the attention of all those dissatisfied individuals (and their numbers are growing every day!), and this could lead to a more radical takeover of power.

 

 

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

READ MORE:

https://journal-neo.org/2022/07/18/political-lame-ducks-are-fleeing-the-european-union/

 

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sanctions are the mothers of inventions…….

Just over four months ago, the U.S. and several allied nations levied unprecedented sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. 

For weeks afterwards, the Russian ruble's value tanked, foreign multinational companies pulled out of the country, and economic prospects began looking grim. 

But Russia responded aggressively. It shored up the ruble's value and increased oil exports to China and India

The ruble is now the world's strongest performing currency. Thanks to years of preparations, Russia has become far more self-sufficient, and has massive foreign exchange reserves. It has also reopened several companies that were previously under foreign management, like McDonald's

So, are sanctions working?

"It depends on the criteria," Russian political scientist Ilya Matveev said. "If the goal is a quick and complete collapse of the Russian economy, then no, sanctions are not working because the Russian economy is still functioning. But if the goal is to weaken Russia economically over time, then sanctions are 100% working."

We examine how Russia prepared for this moment, and what sanctions may mean for its war on Ukraine.

 

How did Russia prepare for this moment?

Russia is now under almost 11,000 individual sanctions.

After it invaded Ukraine in February, dozens of countries responded by rapidly turning Russia into the world's most sanctioned nation.

Some of the most significant sanctions included removing several major Russian banks from the SWIFT payment clearing network; freezing Russian assets in foreign countries; restricting imports of Russian oil; and cutting off key exports to Russia like high-tech components and microchips.

 

While the sanctions caused some immediate damage, the Russian government has spent years preparing for a situation like this. When it faced sanctions in 2014 after annexing Crimea and launching a "hybrid war" in eastern UkraineRussia began trying to sanction-proof its economy

In 2013, for example, Russia imported about half of its food; but today, it is self-sufficient in basic food supplies and has even become a significant exporter of items like grains and wheat, according to Chris Weafer, the chief executive of the Moscow-based consultancy Macro Advisory.

Prices were initially high and the quality of many products like bread, cheese and breakfast cereals varied.

"We went through a couple of years of eating what I could best describe as flavored tissue paper as they were trying to get it right," Weafer said of many Russian foods at that time. Now, he said Russian companies were able to meet many of the country's food needs, as well as other basic supplies like detergents. 

Russia also reduced its reliance on foreign debt and amassed a huge supply of reserves in foreign currency.

What are the long-term prospects for Russia?

This week, Russia defaulted on its foreign debt payments for the first time in more than a century. [GUSNOTE: THIS IS FALSE — the money is available for those who dare break the sanctions. NOTE: the US would defaults regularly on its debt, but it avoids doing so by PRINTING MONEY]

That might not have an immediate impact, Weafer said, because Russia doesn't have much foreign debt compared to countries like the U.S., and sanctions had already prevented it from borrowing money. But the default "will hang over it like a bad credit rating hangs over people," he said.

rojects, it will need to borrow money. And then, that might be difficult because of today's default."

The ruble's value was also high "for the wrong reasons," according to Michael Alexeev, an economist at Indiana University Bloomington — chiefly because Russia's central bank limited exchanges of the ruble, and Russian businesses had maintained high exports as imports plummeted, resulting in a record trade surplus

"If you earn in dollars and you spend in rubles, the weaker the ruble, the better," Weafer said. "So the central bank is now in a quandary...the current rate is about 54 [rubles] against the dollar. The Finance Ministry and Economy Ministry say it should be 75 to 80. But the central bank are scratching their heads as to how they can do that without risking a collapse." 

And while Russia is relaunching versions of some multinational businesses that have left, such as McDonald's, this is far harder for those that relied on imports.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.npr.org/2022/07/01/1109033582/are-sanctions-actually-hurting-russias-economy-heres-what-you-need-to-know

 

Western countries have slapped harsh sanctions against Russia in the wake of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, targeting Russia's businesses, economy, media, sports and even culture.

Russia cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, but the isolation is not going to happen despite the Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

 

"In the modern world, it is impossible to just draw a circle around something and enclose it," Putin said.

 

The Russian leader went on to state that Moscow will not be "baffled" by Western efforts to restrict or even completely close off access to high-tech products.

 

"We will not give up or get confused, or even, like many of our ill-wishers predict, go decades back in terms of development," the president assured. "Of course not. On the contrary, acknowledging the enormous amount of difficulties that we face, we will actively look for new solutions, effectively utilize our existing sovereign technological reserves, and the developments of domestic innovative companies."

 

As part of the mechanism that would allow the country to overcome the sanctions-induced problems, Putin listed the involvement of private capital in Russian companies and additional efforts and control when it comes to high-tech projects.

Earlier in July, the Russian president acknowledged that many risks caused by sanctions still remain, but highlighted that the Western restrictions have backfired against those who imposed them. The United States, as well as several European countries, has faced soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy prices in the wake of the anti-Russian sanctions.

Earlier in the week, the European Union mulled the idea of making changes to some of the anti-Russian sanctions, particularly those related to gas, oil, and fertilizers. The move was introduced as a possible way to avoid the risk of hampering food exports.

 

READ MORE:

https://sputniknews.com/20220718/putin-russia-wont-be-separated-from-the-rest-of-the-world-by-sanctions-1097420167.html

 

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the next lame duck…..

Boris Johnson claims ‘deep state’ plot against Brexit

 

The UK prime minister, due to leave office in September, has warned that his successors could try to rejoin the EU 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed in parliament on Monday that the Labour Party and the so-called “deep state” would try to rejoin the European Union once he leaves office in September. Labour leader Keir Starmer called Johnson’s comments “delusional.”

With a Conservative Party contest to replace Johnson currently in full swing, the embattled prime minister won a confidence vote in parliament on Monday, ensuring that he will remain in office until his party names a successor in September. The vote was called by the government itself, in response to a Labour Party motion to censure Johnson.

“Some people will say as I leave office that this is the end of Brexit… and the leader of the opposition and the deep state will prevail in its plot to haul us back into alignment with the EU as a prelude to our eventual return,” Johnson declared before the vote.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.rt.com/news/559259-booris-johnson-deep-state/

 

 

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