January 25, 2022

Inflation and the Ukrainian Stalemate

Timothy Birdnow

Let me offer you a point to ponder; Inflation in Russia is up to 8.1%, down a bit from a high of 8.4% in November, but well above the 7.7% in October.

According to Forbes:

Russia's consumer price inflation came in at 8.39 percent year-on-year in December 2021, little changed from the previous month's rate of 8.40 percent, which was the highest since January 2016. Inflation has risen sharply in 2021 and is now running at a level that is more than twice the central bank's target of 4 percent, on the back of a rapid economic recovery from the initial phase of the coronavirus, reports of labor shortages across many industries and the ongoing supply issues. Upward pressure came from food (10.62 percent vs 10.81 percent in November), non-food products (8.58 percent vs 8.32 percent), and services (4.98 percent vs 5.15 percent). Policymakers have warned about the threat of an inflationary spiral as consumers bring forward purchases as they fear future price rises, and said food prices should increase further in 2022 due to a weaker-than-expected agricultural season in Russia.

So Russia is particularly hurting in the prices of food.

That is significant.

The Soviet Union fell because of food shortages.

I knew the CIA analyst - a wonderful man named Herb Myers - who figured out that the Soviet Union was going to collapse. He realized it when he heard about Russian peasants storming a food train; he knew then that their economy was on the verge of collapse.

Inflating food prices may not be at that point but they suggest a downward spiral for the economy. Vladimir Putin lived through that era. He knows what that means.

So he is in a position where he may well feel it necessary to start a war.

The U.S. showed an inflation rate of 7.1% in December of 2021.

So we aren't far behind Comrad Putin and his Dancing Teeth.

Now, the traditional fix for bad economic times has been to go to war to hide your domestic failures. Mr. Putin, true to form, is threatening to invade the Ukraine, and Mr. Biden is making very contradictory rumbling noises about making war himself.

We appear to be caught between an anvil and hammer. We have a crazy ex-KGB agent wanting to protect his power going up against a crazy cornpone Senator with dementia determined to stay in power.

Both men have attained office by, uh, rather controversial electoral procedures. In both cases the pandemic made it possible to stuff ballot boxes.

So you have two very similar leaders with similar problems and a similar solution. One wonders at why they wouldn't take it.

Inflation in the U.S. isn't at emergency levels yet but it's getting there. What it IS doing is threatening the Democrat's electoral prospects.

Hitler rode into power on the back of hyper-inflation, I might add.

And this inflation is NOT the temporary inflation we were led to believe by many economists. In point of fact it appears systemic, a result of the $2.5 TRILLION dollars we spent for the big holiday bash we called Covid, and the threat of even more spending under Mr. Biden's "build back bitter" plan. The spending already amounts to 11% of GDP and it is only going to climb.

This won't be going away for a while.

Nor will shortages.

And China is lurking in the tall grass, watching and waiting. If Biden fails to stop Putin they will likely move on Taiwan. If Biden gets us embroiled in a war in Eastern Europe China is likely to invade Taiwan. Either way we are on the precipice of world war. And Mr. Biden and his friends do not appear to be up to this sort of challenge. They are purely political animals, interested primarily in their own power and in advancing a radical Progressive agenda.

Official estimates of China's inflation rate is 2.9%, but take that with a grain of salt. They won't report the real rate. And it's hard to determine in an economy like China's, as they are always manipulating currency rates and do not really have free market controls.

At any rate, we have two peacocks preparing to peck away at each-other. Unfortunately both peacocks have nuclear weapons.

This is a very dangerous time.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 10:12 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 722 words, total size 5 kb.

1 The only difference I see between the two situations is that if Putin starts a war, he'll have done it deliberately, whereas Biden is more apt to bumble us into one by various diplomatic and other screw-ups -- not meaning to, but by not being able to make a single good decision to keep us out of war.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at January 25, 2022 03:12 PM (Ys0s/)

2 There is probably no point in me saying that Mr. Putin is absolutely not "threatening to go to war" and has, in fact, repeatedly said that he has no intention whatever to invade Ukraine. The lie has been repeated so many times that it is now universally accepted as fact, but that does not mean that it is fact. It is not. Putin has never threatened to invade Ukraine and there is no evidence that he has any such intention.

Posted by: Bill H at January 26, 2022 12:10 AM (/sW5m)

3 Well Dana that may be true, but our efforts to expand NATO to the Ukraine was the genesis of all of this. In that regard we might say it was our fault.

And we have little choice if Putin acts. We promised the Ukrainians we would defend them if they got rid of their nuclear weapons. They did, and now they have no way of stopping the Russians.

Teach them to trust US.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 26, 2022 09:21 AM (T6Yjz)

4 It's by his actions Bill. He's built up a major invasion force on the border.

And while he may have justifications for doing that he knows full well we aren't going to invade Russia from the Ukraine. This is exactly what Putin did in Georgia and in the Crimea. THAT is how he is threatening to invade the Ukraine.

And while he hasn't said he's going in he's certainly run his mouth enough.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 26, 2022 09:23 AM (T6Yjz)

5 "Built up a major invasion force” has he? Not that I’ve seen in what claim to be photos of that "major invasion force.” The largest one, which is parked in storage formation, contains 34 tanks, and the snow cover shows no signs of activity.

A major invasion force "on the Ukrainian border” is it? Only if 260 kilometers can be considered "on the border.” The only one closer to the border is the smallest force of the bunch, containing only 12 tanks. If US "intelligence” has better pictures, it certainly isn’t showing them. Why is offering these duds as proof?

What forces he has moved, he’s moved in response to threats by the US, and those threats have been in the form of munitions moved into Ukraine and US training provided to Ukrainian military forces.

All of this noise has been generated to cover up Russian demands that we stop placing offensive weapons on their borders, in moves that would be analogous to Russia putting such weapons into Mexico and Canada. We have been moving NATO and US weaponry closer and closer to them for decades and they are demanding that we stop.

Posted by: Bill H at January 26, 2022 09:57 AM (/sW5m)

6 Whatever Putin's saying, and either doing or not doing, I would not want to be in Ukraine right about now.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at January 26, 2022 12:19 PM (A0QQk)

7 And you're right about the eastward expansion of NATO, which Billy-Jeff pushed through against all good advice.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at January 26, 2022 12:53 PM (A0QQk)

8 "What forces he has moved, he’s moved in response to threats by the US, " Bill, we don't have ANY forces there. Putin has over 120,000 troops in position. https://nypost.com/2022/01/26/russia-has-up-to-120000-troops-on-ukraine-border-more-coming/ He's stationed 20 warships off the coast, and a thousand paratroopers. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17443128/russia-warships-paratroopers-ukraine-border-strike-kiev-2/  Here is a rundown of some of the hardware put in place by Putin. https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/russian-militarys-buildup-analysis-on-ukrainian-border-how-will-war-unfold-articleshow.html and Russian tanks are 18 miles from the border, far closer than your numbers indicate. https://uatv.ua/en/number-tanks-located-along-ukrainian-border-tripled/

I have read they have 1200 tanks, not the twenty some odd you suggest.

At any rate, why amass so large a force? Bear in mind that when Russia invaded Crimea they had a lot of sleeper soldiers too, making their force larger than it was on paper. No doubt this is the case here.

What are they there for? There are no American troops there, and the Ukrainians clearly are not planning to invade Russia. Ordinance you say? And how is that used, and how is it a threat to Russia exactly?

Bill, I get your distrust of the media on this. But Putin has played this exact same game in Georgia and Crimea. Remember, Crimea was part of the Ukraine until Putin stole it.

Like it or not, the U.S. agreed to defend the Ukraine when it got rid  of their nuclear weapons. It was a bad deal we made. But it leaves us in a position of either keeping our word or breaking it.

Of course, war with Russia is insane and absolutely avoidable. But with these two guys in power - Putin and Biden - I fear it may happen.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 27, 2022 08:53 AM (MPAp3)

9 Yeah Dana; it was a terrible idea, expanding NATO to Russia's doorstep. They were guaranteed to push back. Bill is right in that regard; we've been provoking them with encroachment for years now. You just can't do that to Russians; they need space to feel secure. They've been invaded enough to know they have to have a buffer.

Clinton was a total ass who allowed Russia to become what it is now. There was such a great opportunity when Yeltsin was in office there. The Boy Wonder blew it big time.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 27, 2022 08:59 AM (MPAp3)

10 You just cannot let go of this Putin as a rebirth of Stalin and his empire building theory, can you?

"The same game with Crimea and Georgia?” Please.

Georgia is to this day fully independent and has US advisors, including military, in place teaching them how to use NATO weapons which we have provided. I know that to be fact because my nephew, Colonel US Army, is one of them.

Russian forces never entered Georgia in 2008, they entered South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Georgia had invaded, and, having expelled the Georgian forces, returned to Russia.

Russia had troops in Crimea prior to the overthrow of the Ukranian government in 2014. They were there as part to a treaty regarding a Russian seaport at Sevastapol, a perfectly normal arrangement similar to many which we had all over the world.

When the Ukrainian government was overthrown, the people of Crimea did not want to live under the new government which had been installed, so they had a vote to separate themselves and apply to become part of the Russian Federation. Russia had nothing whatever to do with this vote, it was a populist move, and was the same process that Hawaii used to become a state in the United States.

The US then claimed that Russia "invaded and occupied” Crimea because there were a handful of Russian troops in Sevastapol at the time, but it was never even close to being true.

You are parroting what "I have read,” but what is the credibility of what you have read? I followed the links and what I saw was the hyperventilating of media shills and the screeching of Ukrainians who want more US military support for their internal wars.

What I am saying is my own conclusions based on photos and statements cited by the media as having been provided by the US government, and reading between the lines to determine what they actually reveal instead of blindly believing what the media says they show.

Posted by: Bill H at January 27, 2022 09:47 AM (/sW5m)

11 Sorry, I don't agree with you, Bill. Putin has ambitions, and now that America is terribly weak, he will feel free to act on them. Especially since we seem to have no allies anymore. We've heard for years that he mourns the death of the Soviet Union and the power that its leaders had. Frankly, I wouldn't trust him with a burnt-out match.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at January 27, 2022 11:18 PM (QlyGH)

12 South Ossetia was a province of Georgia. Yes, we have advisers there now, but the Russians did in fact invade Georgia, Bill, and they stopped the construction of the pipelines we were in the process of building.

I do not say Putin is Stalin. But he's an ambitious and aggressive thug who wants to restore the old glory days.

As for the annexation of Crimea, imagine if a sizable chunk of the U.S. tried to join another country because they didn't like the election results. We know what we did; we fought a civil war over it. And who were these secessionists? Mostly ethnic Russians who had settled there during the Soviet occupation, that's who. That would be like hispanics in California seceding to join Mexico. We wouldn't allow that. And then it's like Mexico sending in troops and equipment to fight against the U.S.

I followed both wars pretty closely. The Russians were sending in special forces out of uniform as well as filtering all sorts of equipment. It is their modus operendi.  And they sent in actual troops, many of them in both cases.

This is shaping up exactly as those two wars did. We can debate who is at fault in the long run, but it's clear that Putin is provocking this now. There are and were other ways to deal with this. He knows that, too. Biden is weak and could have been easily manipulated, but Putin wants to exercise power here to show he can. It's a big part of his strategy to recreate the old Soviet sphere of influence.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 28, 2022 08:39 AM (6I0JO)

13 BTW in Crimea the Russian government funded much of the dissatisfaction. It was a classic game of gaslighting.

And in Georgia these were secessionist states (seceding from Georgia largely at Russia's behest.) It was in no small part an attempt to thwart the building of oil and gas pipelines. While it didn't work (the Russians ran out of money as I wrote here https://pjmedia.com/blog/timothy-birdnow/2008/10/24/drill-here-drill-now-helped-end-russia-georgia-war-n18506 ) that was unquestionably the goal. Russia had no reason to give a rats behind about South Ossetia.

But you are right; it was the threat of Georgia joining NATO that provoked Putin. You will notice it never has and that is a result of the war. Putin won on that score.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 28, 2022 08:53 AM (6I0JO)

14 As for me, I'm going to just sit back and watch the action, especially the futile efforts by Wynken Blinken and Co. And we'll just see what happens, Bill. I'm not going to bet any rubles on Putin's good intentions.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at January 29, 2022 12:30 AM (QlyGH)

15 We can agree to disagree on this Bill. I just think Mr. Putin is engaged in a power-grab. Yes, the U.S. provoked him, but he provoked the U.S. too, and he's acting right now because he sees a weak and cowardly President and a divided country.

He would not have dared do this when Trump was in office. That isn't Trumpophilia, but rather just an acknowledgment that a stronger President would have kept him at bay.

Russia sees the Ukraine as it's vassal and always has. This is nothing but a way to force them back into the Russian sphere. Putin and most of the Russian leadership see this as their right.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at January 29, 2022 09:10 AM (JWkYd)

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