Putin Chooses to Be China’s Flunky Instead of the USA

There are various reports about Putin having decades long anger at Russia losing the Cold War to the West. Putin felt humiliated that Russia was treated as second rate by the West after the USSR fell.

Big tough Putin and Russia with nuclear weapons demanded respect and is forcing respect by taking maybe half of Ukraine.

Putin had to ask permission from China’s Xi Jinping. Xi told Putin to wait until after the Olympics. Big, proud and tough Putin waited until after the Olympics because no one tells Putin what to do… Except Xi Jinping.

In a few years, Europe will have transitioned off of importing 2.3 million barrels per day of oil from Russia and will not be using Russia natural gas.

Putin’s Russia will proudly sell its oil and gas to China. China knowing there is no other customer will pay about half of the market price. Russia will sell all of its oil and gas but not at that humiliating Global Western price. He wants to sell at the proud Iran-China oil price which is about half. Putin clearly has made the smart 3D chess move.

Putin decided he was too proud to have a second-rate Russia. He has chosen to make Russia third rate. None of that second-rate humiliation. He becomes third-rate but proud.

Putin looked at North Korea’s and Iran’s economy and decided he wanted Russia to have some of that action. Iran’s GDP dropped from $500 billion to $250 billion. North Korea has its nukes and Russia has 2000 and not just 20.

Russia will not be able to keep up and develop with the global technological transformation. Russia could not diversify from oil and gas and some other commodity products. The world economy could triple over the next 15-20 years with monster growth from AI, robotics and electric cars and trucks and self-driving cars and trucks. All of the computer technology-based advances. Russia will get none of that or only whatever scraps China passes along. China still has not caught up on the leading edge of computer chips. China could take decades and still might not reach the leading edge of computer, AI and biotechnology.

China could also sell even worse technology to Russia because it would not be worth the cost in sanctions to fully support Russia.

North Korea, Iran, Venezuela all do not get China’s best gear.

Putin’s masterstroke was to join the Kim Jong Un global club.

Over time Russia will become economically, technologically and militarily weaker and weaker. European opponents will get economically, technologically and militarily stronger.

It was clearly monstrously stupid and useless.

SOURCE – Brian Wang’s analysis

104 thoughts on “Putin Chooses to Be China’s Flunky Instead of the USA”

  1. In the US, 26% of energy is used for transport. And we are far from the most efficient in transportation. Though, 66% of oil is used for transportation. Not included in "transportation" are tractors and dump trucks and such used in mining, farming, and construction.
    Oil prices can move a lot with fairly minor input changes, because people still drive, and must drive or die. Entire economies require oil. Without it, nothing gets to market. The amount of unnecessary travel, by those who can least afford it, is a small fraction of travel.
    The US and other industrial countries have moved away from oil for electrical generation. The energy used in electrical generation is the energy most under control by countries trying to meet goals. Oil for transport was really never a big piece of the objectives. Sure, countries want electric cars, but it was always going to take several decades to make a large impact on that.
    Oil is also used for chemicals, plastic, rubber, drugs, toothpaste, washing detergent and thousands of other things we never think about.
    By the way, India is building coal power plants just as fast as it is able. And very dirty ones. The 2 worst power plants by carbon efficiency are both Indian. China is also continuing to build them. As long as coal power plant continue to be built, all such agreements are rubbish.
    How about an agrement where the top 50 least carbon efficent power plants in the World are demolished each year? Who would build coal then?

  2. I think Russia produces vast numbers of metals and gasses as well as grain and cooking oil. It provides Europe with electricity, oil, and gas as well as fertilizers this is a no win for everyone. There will be food shortages for some and get used to higher prices for all. Asia is aligning itself to be a trading block with a separate financial system. Taking peoples possessions by the decree of politicians without due process based on their ethnicity damaged the concept of " rule of law", trusts have been broken. What about the biolabs in the Ukraine? War is ridiculous the intelligent see it for what it is. What do you see?

  3. The oil people seem to think that Venezuelan oil industry needs years of investment and repair before it can start producing big volumes again.
    Not a short term solution even if the politics gets sorted out.

  4. Looking up some stats, natural gas accounts for 15% of Germany's electric supply. About 32% of their natural gas is from Russia. Coal accounts for another ~25% of electricity, and a bit over 50% of their coal comes from Russia. So maybe 18% of their electricity is dependent on Russia. Probably a bit worse since they just shut down some nuclear power plants, so call it 20%.

  5. It lost where it had been enforced for a while. Around the edges. Graeber argues that these things are like boiling water, not a progression. Janov exposes the power addiction, the non libertarian Forms, to use a Theosophy term. It is not new to the West, but understanding the System is a big change that applies everywhere. All power addiction is under threat of exposure as mental illness. Not only when the person's defense breaks down and he goes sproing. All the time he is a power addict!

    The West's problems are to a great extent caused by the socialist War on Drugs. There, the power addiction is an addiction to oppressing addicts. Clueless.

  6. The Russians might be able to take Ukraine. They won't have anything left in the tank afterwards. The Poles will have plenty of time to prepare and they will be extremely well armed, have US intelligence on their side and maybe some "advisors". As to the Germans, they just need to remember their roots.

  7. The oil the US buys from Russia could be replaced by oil from a closer country: Venezuela. I wonder what would happen if a expeditionary strike group showed up.

  8. Here is an idea. Get out an atlas. Look at the distances involved and the terrain. It is economically infeasible to trade overland without something like an anti-gravity drive. That is why most trade takes place on the oceans. Who controls the worlds oceans again?

  9. Don't feed the trolls. It only encourages them. @Dan Please send all replies to /dev/null.

  10. China is playing the big game here. Russia gets cut off from the west, and China gets not just a great supply of energy and raw materials, but also an anchor customer in building an alternative global financial system not controlled by the West. Further, Russia and others not keen on being bullied by Western control of finance and tech, would be drawn to China’s financial and technical alternatives to western hegemony. China can play both sides as long as it needs to, selling its products to the West, while building up its alternatives for those seeking to escape control from Washington, Brussels and London. In the long run, a two pillar world emerges, one based on Western finance and tech, and another based on China’s. Then, China will be free to act without having to worry about the crippling economic sanctions Russia is experiencing, and will by then have the military might go challenge even the US if called upon.

    The Chinese are smart and play the long game. Russia is just a chess piece.

  11. Lots of good stuff. Too bad Russian and Chinese don't get to watch such things. Censorship, a symptom of Repression if ever there was, you know. Censorship, power addiction as a symptom of mental illness, energy from Space, Liberty. Imagine, there's no countries.

  12. I think we agree more than we disagree. But the rape of Russia occurred mostly in Russia by other Russians.
    Hedgemony of ex-satellites was mostly driven by greed. Not sure why Russia is ready to go to war against EU expansion, but against NATO I understand. Should these countries remain Russian vassals forever due to the Yalta agreement?
    They are independent countries. As they were before the war.

  13. I will not dispute that. The level I am looking at is such things as censorship, etc, libertarian issues. What the power addicts call themselves matters quite little, from this perspective. The details as to the politics are certainly important, but it is the same mental illness, fundamentally. Everywhere.

    “Centuries of Russian and Soviet leaders treated their subjects as
    chattel, expendable on behalf of State power,” says John Sipher, who
    worked as a clandestine Central Intelligence Agency officer in Moscow
    during the 1980s. “They thought even less of the lives of outsiders in
    lesser nations. Butchery and terror was an expected part of keeping
    themselves in power. It is as consistent as it is ugly.”

  14. I blame China for instigating Putin's invasion of Ukraine. After jousting with the US on Taiwan in recent times, Xi has given Putin the backing he needed to invade Ukraine. Putin would have never launched his invasion without that backing from Beijing. We can see the large energy supply deals signed between Beijing and Moscow just prior to the Ukraine invasion. Now Xi has managed to divide and weaken the chances of a potential coalition against him, while distracting the world from his upcoming invasion of Taiwan. Clever Xi.

  15. The invasion of Taiwan will mean these sanctions will be much shorter than the 2014 sanctions. Don't think the other shoe won't drop.

  16. Man, don't try to camouflage triumphalist NATO expansionism into something benign. By keep NATO around after the breakup of USSR, instead of replacing NATO with OSCE, this has only led to a revival of the Cold War. Fear of a future Russian threat has now become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  17. Germany has now boosted its military budget up to 2% of its economy, suddenly vaulting it into the 3rd-largest military spender in the world. Between a newly aggressive Russia and a new military colossus Germany, if I were the Polish, I'd be nervous.

  18. Putin himself is not a communist. He's more like a nationalist. In his speech justifying the invasion of Ukraine, he blamed Lenin (the father of Soviet communism) for the creation of a separate Ukraine apart from Russia.

  19. They didn't shell the power station. What happened was that a training/admin building several hundred feet away caught fire. The nuclear reactor complex itself was never in danger.

  20. Plenty of Russians support Putin bringing Ukraine back into their fold. They may have misgivings about the current blitzkrieg, though. NATO should have been disbanded and replaced with OSCE after the breakup of the USSR. By continuing to keep it around for the past few decades, and even expand it under one pretext or another, it has only brought about a revival of the Cold War. And don't think that the West now has the luxury of scoffing at a new Cold War, because now China is back onside with Moscow and in a much more powerful form.

  21. It is quite topical, now after all these years of effort on my part. Does my sudden relevance disturb you?

  22. Sorry if I am being pessimistic, but it looks like Democrats and media want a war. If we need a buildup of forces to protect our allies and no one is volunteering they will have no other choice.
    And then if Xi sees a chance to take Taiwan it becomes much worse.

  23. I bet Putin is going to be ousted or put down, along with anyone who agrees with him, before that happens

  24. The backlash against conscription the U.S. would be as bad as a war, so it's not happening. Also, someone from inside Russia is definitely going to make sure Putin and his loyalists don't survive this, and that who without hegemonic ideas and who doesn't want to punish people, will replace him.

  25. Calling it rape is a bit harsh. EU expansion provides cheap labor to Europe. NATO expansion new customers for MIC.
    They were warned by the leading statesmen of the time.
    I have no problem with supporting a proxy with sales of materiel used for self-defense when they are wrongfully invaded, as long as we are not being drawn into a conflict which does not directly concern us.
    I hope the insurrection makes it impossible to sustain, but I also think the disposition of border nations must be addressed.
    Idiots calling for assassination are unhelpful.
    Biden may have been able to resolve this diplomatically, but he chose confrontation. Putin is no longer able to avoid that challenge without appearing weak. Therefore, we will have violence. The strongman must continue to appear strong in order to survive.
    He has bet all his chips that the west will blink- and do you blame him? The woke movement has infected the officer corp and the political leadership. We are the ones who look weak.
    Buckle up snowflakes. When they are unable to meet enlistment numbers and war is looming there is sure to be an emergency vote to re-institute conscription.

  26. Agree with Brian.

    Only issue is that Putin could go full on Dr. Strangelove on planet earth.
    If he can’t rule, Everyone dies and that’s okay with him.

    Fool, thy name is Putin

  27. Increasing energy cost is only one way to cut energy consumption – I listed that and several others that could have immediate impact – unlike drilling and building nuclear power, which could take years. Also, if energy cost is raised via taxation, the revenue can be fed into other areas of the economy to ameliorate the harm done.

    If Ukraine falls completely to Russia, bitter partisans will very likely strike at Russian energy profits by blowing up pipelines running through Ukraine. Maybe Nordstream pipeline infrastructure as well. Forget energy price induced cuts to energy consumption then – actual energy availability for consumption collapses.

    (Speculation: Putin might soon 'settle' for 'just' the Eastern half of Ukraine he claims he is 'freeing from Nazis' – hoping to prevent the above pipeline destruction scenario so his gamble can pay off. Maybe he 'generously' draws his new border to put Kyiv back in Ukrainian hands – just across the border from a Russian airbase the new government of "East Ukraine" authorizes.)

  28. Are you referring to the incorrect use of "its" above? Seems like a 12 year old would know better.

  29. The only people who can actually prove they realize they are neurotic are those, such as myself decades ago, who seek Primal Therapy. All other such claims are doubtful, because they don't realize what neurosis is, likely, else they would seek Therapy. Do you envision yourself as a therapist?

  30. I don't believe his goal is to take back those countries. All he needs to do to score a win is to make the EU and NATO blink. If he gets them out of the Baltics he becomes a legendary Russian leader.
    I am also convinced that China is a silent partner. They provide support in the Security Council and will expect that favor to be returned if they move against Taiwan.

  31. "[You] don't even realize that [you] are neurotic" . Or just go ahead and tell us about your childhood traumas, maybe it will help.

  32. China is not reliable. They are experiencing their own geostrategic and demographic problems. Their entire economy is the largest ponzi scheme ever built.
    It looks like a 50/50 chance that China will use the current Ukraine crisis to invade Taiwan. If they do, the USA will most likely respond with similar sanctions, or even war. China has no chance of surviving such a war. Just as European dependence on Russian oil will weaken their resolve, China is 100% dependent upon the USA for survival.
    If we deny their ability to convert Yuan to Dollars, they're done in a month or less. No invasion needed. No bombing needed, although that will probably happen too and make things worse for them.

  33. Because the sarcasm is positively dripping. There is some information in there but it all comes off as, "Nice move genius."

  34. Shutting down energy consumption is generally done by greatly increasing energy cost. This has an immediate negative result for every economy involved.
    The answer is to replace foreign energy by increasing domestic energy.
    More drilling for oil (while oil remains relevant) plus the installation of new nuclear reactors.
    We've known for decades that Russia wants to expand for immutable geostrategic reasons. We should have been building out nuclear reactors already in anticipation of this.

  35. This is bigger then Ukraine but it still ends in Ukraine. Putin will eventually come up against Chinese assets and they won't like it. Putin will never be able to take Western Europe or the rest of Eastern Europe or Asia or Latin America (even if he has lackies there) and he certainly would never be able to lay another finger on the Middle East and Africa. That's a joke.

  36. Nah, I doubt that. There's no way this ends without everyone involved coming out equal, East and West. China and Russia will never overtake the U.S. and the U.S. will never overtake China. That's what this entire thing is about. It's fat larger than East against West and one crippling the other.

    Besides, one reason the Russian government has chosen to censor Facebook and Twitter is because one or more people inside the Kremlin have realized that Vladimir Putin is fatally ill. They don't need any additional censorship to prevent uprisings. The only other reason could be that there's something about Putin's health that they don't want leaked.

  37. Shouldn't Germany – and NATO nations in general including the US – be doing all they can to slash energy consumption for the duration of the war?

    E.g. if Germany is dependent on Russia for 40% of their energy, reducing 4% of their total consumption can cut 10% off their dependence on Russia, helping keep the price of oil and gas down.

    All non-essential lights and heating off or reduced – including most streetlights and maybe all of them after midnight. Ask everyone to prove their support for Ukraine by setting their thermostat lower. Raise gasoline prices to discourage driving. Demand that major companies allow and encourage more work-from-home to reduce commuting.

    Unconditionally approve Tesla's German Gigafactory to start production immediately if Tesla agrees to sell all 2022 production exclusively in Germany.

    Stop planning to close down the nuclear power plants and work to re-activate the ones most recently closed ASAP, even if you have to promise to stupidly shut them down "after the crisis ends".

  38. You can't stop us . . .


    "Then it's kind of a giant Alamo," Smith said. "It's an Alamo they can sustain for quite a long time if they've got the ammunition. They have the deepest subways in the world. It's their backyard. They could fight for a very, very long time." -Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

    Wiki- Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians and Tejanos
    to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians
    defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the rebellion in favor of the newly-formed Republic of Texas.

  39. Brians world political and strategic analysis reads like a 12 year old primary school essay.
    Its outstanding.

  40. Putins doing what he thinks is best for him and his country. Russia was raped and exploited by the west after the breakup of the USSR.
    NATO trying to expand onto Russias doorstep was doomed to cause trouble.
    The west is reaping what it sowed.
    Feel so sorry for the people of Ukraine that are stuck in the middle of it.

  41. Europe's resolve can't last long without Russian oil, unless the US steps up and starts a big push to pump 5-6 million more barrels a day (what Russia exports), and export that to Europe and countries that are currently receiving that Russian oil. 2 million barrels of that should be easy, if we forgive some debts of some oil companies that failed due to the pandemic, and get workers to those fields. Retraining coal workers, opening up more offshore production, and maybe more Alaskan production, should be enable us to reach the target exportation level. We can also do things to reduce wasteful consumption: Require all new road tires to be low rolling resistance, all new pickup trucks natural gas or electric, get a bunch of geothermal power plants built around the Salton Sea that also mine lithium and other minerals. Get all oil heating replaced with natural gas on the East Coast. Clearly, something is wrong with freight rail in the US. It should be at least 6x cheaper than it is. Electrify Freight rail, and use eminent domain to buy all the freight rail. Companies still own the trains, and rail yards. They would just pay to use the rail, and electricity. Currently, monopolistic forces are causing rail freight to be expensive. Much better if it was like the highways. They would encounter major fines for going slow/stopping and obstructing traffic, and damaging rail. When rail shipping is much cheaper, most freight will be moved to it, and Semis will be used much less.

  42. This will be over in 18 days everything will be sorted. Russia has the highest percentage of educated people and vast resources. They will be fine, China has CIPS a money exchange system to circumvent SWIFT. China has implemented the digital Yuan in China only but eventually China be the world currency for trade and held as sovereign reserves by Russia. Things are changing.

  43. If you "believe in or advocate the initiation of force or fraud to achieve political or social ends", you are socialist. If you do NOT, you are libertarian. Has Koch and the fossil industry paid for their use of my portion of the Earth's resources, including the atmos? Have they lied in a commercial setting, fraud? Claiming to be libertarian? Supporting the parts of *freedom* (to steal) that go your way, but not the other, is NOT libertarian. Not really even political or social, just criminal theft here. As to the statement, it is a Science observation, made after an experiment YOU can do, not a wish. Janov states that people who have succeeded in Therapy, thus are healthy, have a "live and live attitude", shorthand for actual libertarian. Even those not yet healthy who are libertarian by sheer intelligence are in the truce. No actual libertarian initiates the stuff. Clear? A *free market*. Are you libertarian? Is Putin mentally healthy? Does he mind people using him as the Poster Child of Neurotic Power Addiction? Do those close to him mind being smeared by contact? They are! Chinese commie nists joining in, too. They don't even realize they are neurotic. That they are humiliating themselves. That they are showing PRIDE in their symptoms of mental illness, power addiction included.

  44. Koch empire is pro-libertarian and they supported it. They promote their coal, oil agenda and work against clean energy or progress in that direction. They did a lot of damage to world and of course they are rich because oil and coal,…They want to futher erode worker rights, like minimum wage under some pretext, so that they can be exploited even more,…

    ""All mentally healthy people are libertarian, and have a truce with all other libertarians that makes economic sense."

    That is the dumbest statement I have read in a long time.

  45. Russian history of leaders that made such gross errors is 100% removal. How long will it take to remove Putin? As many commented, at least this tragic was is good for accelerating emissions reductions. But crucially, if Putin is removed, better Russian leadership that is more cooperative towards climate is possible. Putin is not a trustworthy partner on climate, in fact much of actions (not talk) suggest he is deceiving on his climate intentions, and could be a huge drag on reducing emissions. I believe Putin is dumb enough to believe global warming will be a net benefit to Russia, without realizing the global catastrophe will end up ruining Russia also. Putin needs to be out, and we absolutely need better Russian leadership.

  46. Putin is 70 years old in a country where men don't live very long to begin with.

    He has no real friends and it appears he is developing some serious health issues.

    Even just being too sick to govern for a few days would probably be enough to get him killed at this point. Heck, the real reason he is so super scared of COVID is almost certainly because of that. It doesn't even have to come close to killing him, in order to kill him.

  47. Russia was in no danger from NATO.

    Putin is like some old guy losing at checkers who suddenly knocks over the board and whips out a pistol, firing it wildly in all directions. It's an inappropriate response for the provocation.

    The error was in letting him get away with every atrocity without serious consequence (Hillary Clinton even gifted him with a reset button in 2009). So he finally stepped so far over the line no one could ignore it. You are right in that regard. The West should have seen that coming.

    Embracing Socialism and trying to make it work for over half a century had consequences. Losing a Cold War had consequences. Get over it.

    I expect this will go on until he falls to a coup, possibly just after he decides to use a nuke and his own inner circle has to take him down. Problem being that we still have former KGB officers in charge despite the fact they will use the opportunity to repudiate everything he did and blame it all on him. And the rest of the world will be happy to let them.

    The real hope being they will all pass on before one of them decides to follow in Putin's footsteps (and is any way able to).

    It won't happen, but the best thing for Russia right now would be for them to eliminate Putin and offer to destroy all their nukes in exchange for entrance to the EU and NATO and possibly some economic assistance in rebuilding themselves and making reparations to Ukraine.

  48. Do you favor leaving power addicts and theocrats in control without challenge? Do the people in their grip have human rights?

  49. The error was cornering the bear and keep poking it with expanding NATO to the east, fomenting the Maiden revolution, trying to get Ukraine into NATO.

    Western specialists have been warning about that since the 90s.

  50. The specialists, like Political Scientists, probably disagree with you, like John Mearsheimer

    Watch the video sometime posted above, with warnings from US specialists since the 90s about the error of getting Ukraine into NATO, and how the Russians, ANY LEADER, would react.

  51. Russia and China make very good complimentary trading partners.

    Manufacturing in Russia has tanked except in a few areas like aerospace. But, they still produce incredible amounts of raw materials and Food.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese need raw materials. And, they need food. And, they need someone who can supply them over a land route, because the Chinese cannot defend the naval approaches to the country.

  52. Putin isn’t the only one in Russia with military or other critical officials in his pockets. Don’t mess the Russian billionaires bank accounts…as is now happening with sanctions. They may just suggest he step down.

  53. Or, some talented adrenaline junky with a death wish actually manages to collect on the bounty aced on Putin's head which, one way or another, removes him from power. Then the politicians and people who've been against him in Russia the whole time move to oust his entire cabinet and weed out any other people with the same imperialist aspirations. Russia helps Ukrainians rebuild Ukraine (which is different from Russia rebuilding Ukraine). The next domino to fall is Lukashenko. The Belarus Security Council takes temporary control while elections are held. But this all happens after Russia [very quickly] elects a smart leader who doesn't fancy taking over the world or trying to bring back the USSR. This means that whoever succeeds Lukashenko can't be anyone LIKE or worse than Lukashenko, since they'd never be supported by the post-Putin Russian government.

    I like my ending better. Being an eternal optimist gives me many more chances to party hard when I get things wrong. ^_~

  54. Yeah, I think Putin probably wants that 1730s style good ol' Imperialism feel. At some point, that's going to include some of China. But I say Putin will be dead before any of this even begins to pan out.

  55. USA will continue to buy oil from Russia. Unless Russia refuses to sell. In that case, gas prices double. Bad optics with elections looming large.

  56. A deep question whether *civilization* is the System or our evolving love in response to it. Also deep is whether these are natural things. Without humans loving Nature, it is doomed long term, either by our hand or an asteroid. The System is a huge factor.

  57. I don't need to watch the video to know that NATO is to blame. More specifically, politicians using NATO to peacefully capture poor Eastern European countries so they could enlarge their servant class. All of the greatest political minds of the time warned that this exact scenario would be produced.
    Late now. This doesn't end in Ukraine. To deal NATO a mortal wound he must move in the Baltics.
    Because Kaliningrad.
    Thanks, Toe-To-Toe Joe.
    Two fronts, no problem.

  58. Russia managed to growth at the same rate as Germany since 2014 despite under sanctions and very tight budget (reserves hit 640 bil $, public debt below 15% gdp). It's not bad at all. Russia will be weaker when compare to China but stronger when compare to Western Europe.

  59. I think what they've really done is agree to support each other diplomatically at the UN while first Putin ties the US down in Eastern Europe and then Xi moves against Taipei.
    Deal probably includes regular oil shipments from Russia and banking services from Beijing.
    US needs to avoid entanglements in Eastern Europe while building alliances and logistics in Asia.
    I think that Xi may be having second thoughts after watching Ukraine's demonstration of resistance. I imagine Taiwan is dug in 100 times better.

  60. I don't think it would be the West, if that happened. He's made a lot of enemies very quickly. China may not voice it in order to save face, but there's no way they can be comfortable with Putin giving orders to shell nuclear plants. I can't imagine any other foreign leader looks at that and says, "Huh, that's a very sound mind at work, that is."

  61. I think he very well would try. He'd fail, but what a sore loser does with too much power is the wildcard in this scenario. It's a wildcard we can't afford.

  62. But still on a large scale, that is not the course that civilization is moving. It is very easy to sabotage this natural contract we have with one another.

  63. Assassination may be the best option. The likelihood of that being planned is not very high though considering the mindset prevailing in the West.

  64. More dangerous, like shelling the largest nuclear power station of its kind in Europe. Although the fire at the station is a training area and the plant is supposedly secure, I don't think it's so secure with Russia on its porch.

    Skilled arbitration or someone collecting on the bounty that's been placed on his head by another Russian (saw that one coming).

  65. Don't forget the brain drain.

    Russia gets to keep oligarchs and people to dumb to find work elsewhere.

  66. In this context Putin is as monstrously obese as the records keeper in Blade, he needs no feeding because he has already glutted himself on the resources of Russia and what remained of the now recaptured eastern European states after the USSR dissolution.

    He's old and rich enough that he's probably happy to run Russia into the ground to satisfy some long standing fantasy of conquest.

  67. The definition of "insane" as total loss of control or such is not adequate. The exact same amount of Repression in another person can be hidden by neurosis, the successful Repression of childhood trauma. Yet the actions and beliefs of the neurotic are as unconscious and involuntary as the total psychotic. Having company in this neurosis is one of the symptoms, flocking. Pride is the hilarious one. Pride in one's power addiction, a clear symptom of mental illness. Ouch. All mentally healthy people are libertarian.

  68. I am NOT for Russia or this war.
    I am being pragmatic with what will most likely happen.
    Ukraine will be conquered by April, no country will come to its aid.
    Long term, Ukraine's natural resources will more than make up for the economic hit by the sanctions.
    The sanctions on Russia will be removed by 2030.
    NATA will get stronger and larger (fear of a common enemy will increase spending by the European nations).
    EU will FINALLY decide to create an army.
    Russia and China will grow economically closer (The world will be safer with these two not fighting each other).
    There will be no iron curtain on Ukraine, those who want to leave will be able to.

    Putin is not insane; he is a socially conservative, traditionalist, Russian nationalist.
    Remember this and most of what he does can be understood.

  69. I think that Putin realizes that. He may try now to do something more dangerous to avoid that fate rather than pull back. Unless some very talented arbitrator shows up and able to get him down of the tree with something reasonable in return.

  70. The key to a successful economy is the same thing as the key to a successful market: diversity. The key to life, to a species health, almost by definition. All mentally healthy people are libertarian, and have a truce with all other libertarians that makes economic sense. Diversity is not welcome. It is encouraged!

  71. Alice Miller "For Your Own Good" is a fairly traditional treatment of what leads to this sort of thing. On the broadest human scope, 7 million years, the System, the Beast, the Apocalypse, has been feeding on our children's souls, such as young Putin's. The long range evolutionary response to this unique human situation is also unique to humans, in the unnatural power it possesses: love.

  72. The problem for Russia is Europe has rather belatedly come to its senses now and realises its long term strategic error of feeding the beast that would do it harm.

    Over the next five years the income loss pauperises Russia with little obvious prospect of turning this around. With global warming the sunsetting of the petrochemical industry was always going to happen but Putin's strategic blunder is to put this transition on speed. Russia has robbed itself of the time to adapt and will probably collapse as a result.

    The Russian people never seem to get a break with the sheer incompetence of it leaders, to a man they've been terrible for the last 150 years!

  73. People stop going to the gas station where the gas station attendent sometimes robs or bullies it customers.

  74. There will be and is starting to be diversification from Russia. It is not just geopolitical calculation or government decisions. It is a business risk calculation and business driven. They cannot trust Russian supply. A lot more nuclear and solar can drastically reduce the need for natural gas. Natural gas supplies (LNG) from the US, Qatar and other places just makes business sense. Pragmatic decision making means switching most if not all of it away. Plus Russia saber rattling (vs Poland, etc…) means that they know for self preservation they have to get off Russia gas and oil. The technology shift to electricity for transportation is purely economic and tech trends. So it does not much political effort to go all the way off.

  75. I agree with much of this but I have doubts that Europe will make the effort to get off Russian gas or even maintain sanctions after the new pro-Moscow government is running Ukraine. “Peace” and “easing of tensions” will take precedence.

  76. I don't doubt any of this. China knows the power of economy versus military. However, considering recent developments, I think it's possible that Putin may not live long enough to satisfy whatever curiosity he has over how far he can get (or fall).

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