Following are a few articles and videos on the Ukraine invasion and the effects on the rest of the world. First up is a video from S2 Underground. In their video On the Steppe, they give a good and heavily-mapped overview of what is happening on the ground in Ukraine. They also spend some time talking about what NATO is doing or not doing, and a little bit on the effects of sanctions, such as the price of fertilizer. Following the S2 video is an article by investment banker and market analyst Bill Blaine talking about how the world has changed with the invasion, especially focusing on market matters.
After Blaine’s article is a video of Ukraine President Zelenskiy calling on able Ukrainians to come forward so that Kiev an arm them. The general mobilization prohibits any male citizens aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country.
Forward Observer’s daily situational awareness video discusses soaring wheat prices. Following that is a short article from the BBC on prices which may increase as a result of the war, and then a longer article/interview from WWD on Russia’s motivations, goals, and implications for various future problems.
Blaine’s Morning Porridge: Hold the Narrative and Win the Game of Risk excerpt:
The world changed yesterday. Markets did not.
For the next 10-14 days – for that is how long it will likely take Russia to subjugate Ukraine – it will be wall to wall coverage. Already some fatigue with the streets of Kyiv is setting in. Our shock, horror and outrage will continue to be blunted – and by the time it’s over, other topics will be filling the screens.
Probably these other things will be surging inflation, soaring food prices, unimaginable energy bills, tensions in the Taiwan straights, and Europe bickering across every imaginable policy decision. For the next few years expect horror reports about brave Ukraine resistance fighters being massacred – or terrorists being dealt with if you watch Sputnik TV.
The reality is the world fundamentally changed yesterday:
There are the obvious issues; prolonged inflation for longer. We’re all aware that food prices will be impacted long-term. Russia is a major supplier of fertilisers, Ukraine is the number one sunflower seed producer, no 2 in Wheat and massive across agricultural commodities. (Some readers have already asked if it’s a “Ukrainian Chicken Farm moment” – the absolute top of the corporate cycle, named for the said poultry farm that launched a massively oversubscribed bond deal at an insane price, just days before SARs and Bird Flu caused it to shut with uninsured losses – but that is a story for another day…)
Energy is the other talking point – massive spikes in European Gas as we wonder where it’s going to come from. European nations are all eyeing each other – nervous the rest might cut a deal with the Kremlin to secure their own supplies.
It also confirms the critical effect of Geopolitics – and it confirms a massive tectonic shift has occurred as the world splits into new plates with their attendant conflict zones.
- Putin is aware reproachment with the West will be a long-term play – and he won’t be counting on it happening soon. He’s pivoting (what a great word) to Asia – setting up Gas, Energy and Food deals with China.
- China is happy to continue building its co-prosperity sphere in Asia. The more Russia and Europe can distract the US, the happier Xi will be.
- The “West”, including our outposts in Japan and Oz will be wondering where they should stand.
- The pundits expect Trump or a Trump Clone to lead the US into isolationism in 2025.
- Europe will remain a tired, broke little grab-bag of ill-assorted nations pretending the like each other, at the end of very long supply chains dependent on what Russian Energy they can beg, borrow or steal.. (Steal in this context being breaking the climate change agenda to re-invest in Energy Security by opening coal, oil and gas facilities – prompting fury from climate activists who will accuse governments of stealing from future generations.)
That leaves Africa and South America up for play – the Chinese have learnt their debt lesson and will be loath to rely on further soft-power through lending. They may get… “outward bound”… As resources dip, populations rise, and climate change fries Africa the refugee crisis will further destabilise Europe.
I’m sorry if it sounds like a Game of Risk – but it’s beginning to look that way..
BBC news: Five Ways Life Could Get More Expensive excerpt:
The Russia-Ukraine conflict is expected to drive these [energy and fuel prices] even higher and has already caused the oil price to jump to its highest level in more than seven years, while future gas prices have increased 60% in just one day.
WWD: Worse Than a Crime, It’s a Blunder excerpt:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has profoundly shaken the world order (such as it is) and raised a host of questions about Putin’s endgame, the West’s response, the alternative courses that neither side took, and the consequences for Ukraine, Russia, and nearly everyplace else. In search of some preliminary answers, Prospect editor at large Harold Meyerson and managing editor Ryan Cooper talked to Anatol Lieven, senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and author of Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry. An edited transcript follows.
Harold Meyerson: What is Putin’s endgame, as far as you can discern it?
Anatol Lieven: Up to this morning, I would have said, on the basis of my conversations with people in Moscow, officials and former officials, that what they were going to do was take the Russian-speaking areas of the country in eastern and southern Ukraine and then, basically, offer to reunite Ukraine on the basis of federalism—in other words, basically propose the Minsk agreement for the Donbas, but into a kind of confederal state in which pro-Russian areas would have de facto control over Ukraine’s international alignment. And accompanying that with a treaty of neutrality. Now—and I think it’s still too early to say for sure—but after Putin’s speech and given what looked like Russian moves towards Kyiv, it may well be that they want more than that, they want to replace the government in Kyiv with a pro-Russian government.
Putin’s talk about denazification, demilitarization, punishment of Ukrainian criminals points in that direction, and the fact that they seem to have crossed the border on the ground from Belarus heading for Kyiv. The Russian bombardments, of course, extend across the whole of Ukraine, but that’s what you would have expected, a classic military offensive to knock out the military infrastructure through air power and missiles. But in the end, the political fate of Ukraine will be determined by what territory the Russian army occupies on the ground.