Wednesday, 22 June 2022 — Moon of Alabama
On March 26 U.S. President Joe Biden called for regime change in Russia:
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, President Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
The White House immediately rushed to talk back that call for regime change and a day later Biden himself denied that he was calling for regime change:
President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday he was not calling for a regime change in Russia when he said a day earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” a surprising comment the White House quickly tried to walk back Saturday.
When a reporter asked if he was calling for Putin’s removal from office, Biden replied “no” as he walked out of church Sunday afternoon, according to Bloomberg pool reporter Courtney Rozen.
However, other parts of the U.S. government makes unmistakeably clear that its aims in Russia go even much than regime change. Tomorrow the US Government’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) will hold a briefing on the “Moral and Strategic Imperative” that makes it necessary to “Decolonize Russia”.
As Nicolo Saldo points out:
What is notable about this panel is the shift from “spreading freedom and democracy” to the need to “decolonize” Russia.
The neo-conservatives are back using a new narrative to push their old agenda.
Russian officials will love such talk:
Today’s panel is a further step forward in that it tells ordinary Russians that even regime change and democracy is not good enough for them. They require the partition of their country into smaller (more easily controlled) polities, so that they can be free. Needless to say, this is a propaganda coup for Putin and the Kremlin as it allows them to paint the conflict in Ukraine as an existential fight.
The Kremlin has no need to ‘paint’ the conflict as an existential fight. The Russians know that it is such a fight.
Biden’s haplessness continues to tank the Democrats chances to keep house majority.
In a meager attempt to tackle the high fuel price he will today call on Congress to suspend the tax on fuel for three months. It is just a gimmick which would have little effect at the pump and has no chance to pass Congress:
GOP lawmakers have been hammering Biden and Democrats on the campaign trail over inflation and fuel prices. They argue that such measures are political theater that will do little to make long-term dents in oil prices. The best way to reduce oil prices, they say, is to loosen regulations and increase U.S. oil production.
California had the highest average gas price of any state at $6.398 per gallon. The gas tax suspension would reduce the cost of a gallon of diesel fuel by 24 cents.
The real reason for high fuel prices is Biden’s misguided foreign policy. Three of the biggest oil producers on the globe, Venezuela, Iran and Russia, are under U.S. sanctions that limit their oil exports:
The sanctions have made it more difficult for Russia to sell its oil. Biden has also banned the import of Russian oil, and last month Europe announced it was imposing a partial embargo on it.
As of 2020, Russia was the world’s third-largest producer of petroleum, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
As the New York Times correctly headlines:
That move will continue to boomerang. Russia sells it oil to China and India where it gets refined. The resulting gasoline and diesel is then exported to the U.S.. That is good for India and China as they buy the oil with a rebate and sell the end products with a substantial margin. It is a ‘win’ ‘win’ ‘win’ for Russia, India and China with the sole loser being the ‘west’. Whatever NYT hope of sanction success is expressed in its ‘for now’ addition to the headline is not going to change that.
Meanwhile Russia is announcing the next target of its campaign to counter ‘western’ misbehavior – the reserve status of the U.S. dollar and the Euro:
MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. The issue of creating an international reserve currency based on currencies of BRICS member-states is under consideration, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday in the welcome address to BRICS Business Forum participants.
“The matter of creating the international reserve currency based on the basket of currencies of our countries is under review,” the Russian leader said.
BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Together those countries represent 3.2 billion people and a third of the world’s purchase power GDP. The new international reserve currency would therefore have a much larger backing than the U.S. dollar or the Euro.
The U.S. is moving too but in the wrong direction.
Some in the Biden administration are pushing to lower Trump era tariffs on Chinese goods. M.K.Bhadrakumar interprets that as an attempt of a new détente with China. I doubt that lowering the tariffs would have much effect on prices in the U.S. as a new law that became applicable yesterday will raise prices of goods from China even more. The U.S. is slowly waking up to the consequences of such stupidity:
The Biden administration has said it intends to fully enforce the law, which could lead the U.S. authorities to detain or turn away a significant number of imported products. Such a scenario is likely to cause headaches for companies and sow further supply chain disruptions. It could also fuel inflation, which is already running at a four-decade high, if companies are forced to seek out more expensive alternatives or consumers start to compete for scarce products.
Failure to fully enforce the law is likely to prompt an outcry from Congress, which is in charge of oversight.
“The public is not prepared for what’s going to happen,” said Alan Bersin, a former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection who is now the executive chairman at Altana AI. “The impact of this on the global economy, and on the U.S. economy, is measured in the many billions of dollars, not in the millions of dollars.”
As Bhadrakumar acidly comments:
When Russia attacked Ukraine and the West imposed sanctions against Moscow, Washington threatened China that any move on its part to help Russia circumvent the sanctions would trigger severe punishment. Now the wheel has come full circle and the US needs China’s helping hand to salvage its economy. This is Thucydides Trap turned upside down — an emerging power rescuing an entrenched great power, whose extravagance pauperised it.
I doubt that. Tariffs or no tariffs China will not help the U.S. in anything. It knows that the U.S-Russian proxy war is about much more than Ukraine.
The current U.S. aim may well be to decolonize Russia, but its real geopolitical aim is a re-colonization of China.