Reading between the Russian lines in Ukraine

Russian central bank’s assets are frozen
–Sanctions mean little new investment from the West, and sanctions could take years to unwind
–The EU and Germany in particular have announced massive investments in decarbonization.
–The EU and Germany in particular have announced plans for re-arming, and increasing military cooperation and capabilities.
–The EU announced plans to end all Russian oil and gas contracts by 2027. Even if Putin can develop the Odesa gas fields without western help, he won’t have handy customers.
–Finland and Sweden are discussing joining NATO.
–Ukraine is in talks to join the EU, which will further pull Ukraine out of Russian influence.
–The vaunted Russian army looks pretty weak.
–Whiz-bang western military hardware like NLAWs and Javelins seem extra fearsome.
–China seems lukewarm about giving Russia a hand. Possibly looking to see which way the winds are blowing before taking sides.
–The oligarchs who help keep Putin in power might just value their former lifestyles more than they value Putin.

You know I don’t disagree with any of that, but I also know that “energy” and “high gas prices” will make people do funny things.

For example, we’re starting to talk to Venezuela, we might even invest in getting their oil operations to be more efficient, because high gas prices at the pump are an election killer. And we already don’t talk to Iran, or Venezuela, or (now) Russia. At some point we’re going to have to address the pure, raw, energy issue, and I can see the fracture lines forming (pardon the pun) between the “drill baby drill” segment and the “renewables” faction.

We put Venezuela on the bad guys list just a few years ago, and now maybe it’ll be OK? Heck, we’ve all but countenanced Saudi Arabian murder of American journalists because we can’t afford to do otherwise.

So while I agree that Putin totally, absolutely, completely screwed up, with possible long lasting effects for his country and economy, I am just not so convinced that it won’t be smoothed over more quickly than any of us like. Let’s remember, he invaded and annexed Crimea less than a decade ago, and yeah, nobody remembers. He came in on the “wrong” side in Syria, has inserted itself into numerous nations (including US elections!) and shows no sign of remorse yet, in spite of a sputtering economy. I am afraid we give ourselves too much credit and view him through the lens of “rational actor” when he is no such thing. More’s the pity.

Putin’s been walking this way for two decades, I doubt he is about to turn around now.…



The structural changes that the West wants are profitable. Yes they are not the lowest bidder profitable. That is why they are profitable. China’s break with the west is happening concurrently. We want the iron curtain to drop. Heck Japan is totally in on it.

It is not that there is not oil and gas there. It is not that China has US corporations there. It is that we are shifting entirely way from them. We want to make money right? At some point soon China will totally overshadow that. While Xi is doing stupid things with a bad hand dealt him we are moving.