Tuesday, 31 May 2022 — The Van Says…
For all the talk of the ruble being rubble, over the last two months, the ruble has rubbished the West
Drastic changes have taken place in the world over the last three months, and many of them are happening outside of Eastern Europe. This article will examine a number of issues concerned with the Ukraine but not necessarily having a direct bearing in the happenings currently taking place there.
Rallying the Ruble
After taking a beating on world markets in the aftermath of Russia beginning its Special Operation in the Ukraine, the ruble nearly trebled in value against the euro and dollar in the subsequent months. As good as this seems for Moscow at first glance, too strong a ruble creates other problems for the Russian economy, last week seeing its value checked back to around seventy to the dollar which sits at the mark where the Russian economy does best in world trade.
Requiring the Ruble
To the great chagrin of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, me began to demand payment for oil and gas in rubles rather than dollars. The question as to why eurozone countries were so keen on using the dollar rather than the euro of ruble says a lot about their allegiances, but more than one person has commented on the fact that with the ruble rocketing on world markets when extensively used for business, should the dollar suddenly be dropped, its value would drop even faster, an already delicate situation turning critical in a matter of mere weeks.
In the Balance
As the Ukrainian Army faces the real possibility of having considerable assets contained within Russian cauldrons in the east of the Ukraine, other nations face the problem of keeping the fires burning. Kiev has become increasingly aggressive in its rhetoric towards Germany over recent weeks, demanding ever more armament, and above all heavy weapons to combat the Russian advances that are now beginning to cripple the country. Aside from the fact that the German government is not going to give what it has not got is obvious, yet there are other twists to the tale. Whilst not declared openly, it is supposed that if European nations really start to clear out their entire arsenals in favor of what is essentially an already lost cause, this may cause the Russian government to suspend all exports to Europe. There is also talk of there being a veto on heavy weaponry to the Ukraine in exchange for the release of the vast grain stocks in Odessa which will be covered separately. Blogger Gonzalo Lira stated two weeks ago that Russia is already considering a stop on exports such as this to ‘unfriendly states’ not later than the end of September, yet should Moscow do this with little prior warning, it would send European economies into a tailspin.
At Arm’s Length
Not satisfied with having received (and in many cases subsequently lost) immense quantities of military equipment and munitions, the Ukraine is also attempting to acquire both Patriot missile systems as well as longer-range rocketry with which to attack Russia. This presents two issues. The first is that the Patriot system is vastly inferior to the S-400 employed by Russia, and the Houthis in Yemen have flown primitive drones straight through its ‘cover’ in order to attack Saudi assets on numerous occasions. If a box of tricks such as this cannot stop a propeller-driven drone, it is not really going to present Russian forces with many difficulties before being promptly destroyed.
The other matter is that of long-range missiles. Biden yesterday stated that he will not supply these and for good reason. In response to the White House announcement, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said that it was a reasonable decision. He added that:
‘Otherwise, when attacking our cities, the Russian Armed Forces would have fulfilled their threat and struck at the centers for making these criminal decisions. Some of them are not located in Ukraine at all. There is no need to explain what happens next…’
These systems cannot be operated unless highly skilled staff are employed and the training necessary to gain competence in their use takes years not months. The only way that these missiles could be effectively employed would be through the use of US military personnel. This would turn what is to date a proxy war into a hot one, the consequences possibly leading to a full and potentially nuclear conflict.
Against the Grain
A recent article covered the massive exportation of foodstuffs from the Ukraine, ostensibly as part payment for the assistance it is receiving from the West. A far more important matter for Kiev’s western sponsors is the fact that if the contents of grain silos of the Ukraine can be put up for sale, this will for a short time at least keep the current price spike from going any higher. The consequences that this may present for the country as a whole are much more serious, but there are also huge reserves stored near Odessa that both Europe and the US are desperate to get their hands on. Certain reputable Telegram channels are of the opinion that Russia would only release these reserves under the condition that no more heavy weaponry was to be given to Kiev under any circumstances, the following being quoted by one source:
‘Europe is worried about the prospect of being left without grain, the Office of the President of Ukraine has already understood that Europe has scammed them. The situation at the front is critical for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Without heavy weapons, Ukrainian troops will not last long, they constantly have to retreat under the onslaught of Russian artillery and infantry…’
Boris Johnson and the rest of the British political establishment have spent the last few years mercilessly antagonizing Russia on Washington’s behalf, but recent days have seen a rude awakening amongst some in London, they finally realizing that far from facing immediate and imminent defeat in the Ukraine, Moscow is actually doing rather well. Moreover, rather than it being Britannia that rules the waves, Russia could rule the roost should it want to. The British have finally realized that not only can new Russian weapons such as the Kinzhal missile hit the Ukraine, they could hit the UK as well. Professor Andrew Futter, an international relations expert at the University of Leicester, stated that if Moscow strikes, London will be extremely vulnerable due to the lack of defensive systems. The kingdom’s armed forces simply have nothing to counter the Russians’ new missiles. ‘This is just one of several terrible weapons that Putin owns’.
As sweeping as the Russian advances are in the Ukraine, the changes that we are seeing across both Europe and the Atlantic are equally dramatic. In the space of a year, from giving Russia the boot wherever possible, we’ve arrived at a point the western world is now almost having to lick Russia’s boots, the dominance of certain nations now in very serious doubt indeed. Not only has the Russian economy defied the West’s best efforts, but when Moscow came on song, Europe suddenly had to dance to the ruble’s tune, dedollarization and dependence on Russia suddenly coming to the forefront.
Russia’s new role on the global stage may have come as a surprise to many, but even the staunchest of warhawks are now admitting that Putin got it right. They are now trying everything the can to get him to play ball with food supplies, but after the western world has shown its true colors, the Kremlin should not trust the US et al concerning promises regarding the Ukraine and future weapons shipments. What is for certain however is that should some arrangement be made, what remains of the Ukraine will collapse like a house of cards, an already desperate situation then becoming a catastrophe, a country that sold its soul to western hegemony being sold down the river in the interests of western markets…