“Sanctions are a sign of irritation; they are not the instrument of serious policies.”
— Sergei Lavrov
The West is running out of creative ways to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Seven Russian banks have been blocked from SWIFT, the overnight clearinghouse for global banks… various “authorities” have seized oligarchs’ yachts and London fortresses… no longer can you get a Большого Мака in Moscow… you can’t even get a burnt cup of joe from Starbucks in the capital city anymore.
So there, Putin!
This week the Biden administration has deprived Americans of the use of Russian oil. Looks like a convenient way to end inflation; more on that below.
We read a piece this morning that only served to get the guffaw muscle in our less-than-stellar lower belly working overtime. The righteous Canadian author Naomi Klein says in The Intercept (emphasis mine):
Before Russia’s tanks started rolling [into Ukraine], we were already hearing that the best way to stop Putin’s aggression is to ramp up fossil fuel production in North America.
Within hours of the invasion, every planet-torching project that the climate justice movement had managed to block over the past decade was being frantically rushed back onto the table: every canceled oil pipeline, every nixed gas export terminal, every protected fracking field, every Arctic drilling dream.
Since Putin’s war machine is funded with petrodollars, the solution, we are told, is to drill, frack, and ship more of our own.
Ha. Ha. What did she think was going to happen? Rather, how did she type those words on her computer then send ‘em thither to get published? Oh, yeah, there may have been hydrocarbons involved. Maybe even a rare earth metal or two.
Putin was also suggested for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, recently, by economist Martin Armstrong, because Putin eviscerated the pandemic narrative in 48 hours by launching missiles at women and children. Where’s that goofy guy with the too-tight-tie been lately; you know the guy with the archetypal evil-scientist-sounding name? (Hint: his name is Dr. Fauci.)
Ugh. We’re working on a book called Bumfuzzled: What to Do When the Economy, Politics, Markets and Society All Go Cattywampus at the Same Time.The basic premise is every 4th generation or so the world goes mad. In our time, technology is speeding up the madness.
“WTF?” is what the kids would, and will, say on TikTok when they suddenly find out they themselves are adults and have to live with this mess…
Today the White House announced plans to end Russia’s “most favored nation” trading status, giving Biden’s White House the power to impose punitive tariffs on Russian goods. It’s not clear what good that will do, since Biden also said he’d sign an executive order banning Russian vodka, diamonds and seafood, including caviar.
The president is also banning exports of luxury goods to Russia. Aren’t politics fun?
Best we can figure, Biden thinks eating our own rich will convince Vladimir Putin to…. what?! Get that convoy outside of Kyiv turned around?
Somehow we doubt these measures, which make up a miniscule portion of the Russian economy, will put any more pressure on the oligarchs. And Putin suggests his country could simply seize the assets foreign companies have left behind.
There’s also still the possibility, as James Altucher told us last week, that the cryptocurrencies will give Russia a way around any sanctions. What happened to free trade? Free markets?
Follow your bliss,
Founder, The Financial Reserve