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Blindspot #031 – Kicking & Screaming: Is Ukraine dragging the world into a collective suicide pact?
Buiteboer // Dr Petrus de Kock
I – Market Mayhem: Unleash the Recession Kraken
The impact of the Russian military neutralisation, and de-nazification operation in Ukraine, has by now, a mere three weeks later, reverberated to just about every corner of the globe. This impact comes not only in the form of ‘news’ from the frontlines. Commodities markets, oil, gas, nickel, gold, coal, corn, wheat, fertilisers – too many to mention, have spiked as markets panicked. In South Africa fuel prices are bound to sky-rocket, and consumers are warned that in about three months the price of bread might do the same.
Look at some commodities headlines from the past three weeks:
- LME nickel stages a historic spike, trading above $100,000 a ton before paring gains and being subsequently halted on LME;
- From MiningWeekly: Palladium prices surged as the Russia-Ukraine crisis fuelled supply worries;
- The conflict is powering safe-haven gold back through the key $2 000 level;
- Spot palladium jumped 5.9% to $3 173.02 per ounce, resuming its rally after slipping from an all-time high of $3 440.76.
This is not even scratching the surface.
In the midst of all of this it has to be understood that it is impossible to account for all the dynamics at play, at such a global scale, but, one can chew away at it from the fringes. That is why the title of this Blindspot is inspired by one one of the three articles we are covering today, these being:
- F. William Engdahl. Ukraine and the Deeper Global Suicide Agenda. New Eastern Outlook. 9 March, 2022. https://journal-neo.org/2022/03/09/ukraine-and-the-deeper-global-suicide-agenda/
- Christopher Black. Legality of war. New Eastern Outlook. https://journal-neo.org/2022/03/08/the-legality-of-war/
- Wolf Richter. But Whose Money Evaporated when JP Morgan, BlackRock, Pimco, Calpers, Others Report Huge Losses on Russian Assets? https://wolfstreet.com/2022/03/14/but-whos-money-evaporated-when-jp-morgan-blackrock-pimco-calpers-others-report-huge-losses-on-russian-assets/
By looking into some of the details in these articles, it might be possible to get a glimpse of larger-scale issues, implications, and fall-out impacts one might need to brace for.
II – Ukraine and the Deeper Global Suicide Agenda
History is being re-written by platforms such as Vleisbook, Google, Twitter, and the like censoring, shutting down, and de-platforming anyone from a President Donald Trump (banned from Twitter while still sitting MAGA-man in the Oval Office).
From vaccine and covid-debates throttled, to demonisation of anyone who dares to oppose the dominant MSM talking points of the moment, which, at this moment happen to be anything anti-Russian. In the latter case Facebook/Meta, for example, allows for hate speech calling for the killing of Russians, while banning Canadians who supported the trucker convoy rallying against authoritarian jab-mandates. Go figure.
The article by William Engdahl raises some very important historical dynamics conveniently ignored, or actively suppressed in current non-debates about the Ukraine situation.
Key moments referred to:
- The 1990 ‘Baker Agreement’
Engdahl argues: “The current conflict in Ukraine has its seeds in the 1990’s and the US-backed collapse of the Soviet Union. During high-level Two Plus Four Treaty talks pertaining to Germany’s reunification in 1990, talks between US Secretary of State James Baker III and then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, along with France, the UK and the West German government, over unification of Germany, Baker gave a verbal promise that NATO would not move “one inch” to the East to threaten former Soviet territories, in return for the USSR allowing German reunification within NATO.
For years Washington has lied about the exchange, as they moved one after the other former Warsaw Pact countries including Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Baltic States into NATO and closer to striking distance to Russia. Recently Putin cited the 1990 Baker agreement to justify Russian demands that NATO and Washington give binding legal assurances that Ukraine would never be admitted into the NATO alliance. Washington until now has categorically refused to do so.”
2. Vladmir Putin – at Munich Security Conference 2007
Engdahl argues: “In his 2007 Munich remarks Putin told his Western audience, “It turns out that NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders, and we continue to strictly fulfil the treaty obligations and do not react to these actions at all. I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself, or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.” Putin added, “But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee”. Where are these guarantees?” That was 15 years ago.”
Other ‘moments’ Engdahl covers:
3. The 2014 Maidan Coup d’Etat
4. Zelensky and Munich 2022 – here Zelensky threatened to withdraw from the Budapest Agreement, and to re-arm the country with nuclear weapons. This was covered in a previous Blindspot.
5. Huge military build-up Biowarfare
[Let’s look at what President Putin said in 2007 already, long before the eruption of violence and instability in Ukraine – 2014 – Scroll down to view the speech by President Putin…]
III – This is how everyone, on all sides of the screen, will end up feeling the bite
Wolfstreet published an analysis on 14 March, of the exposure western banks, have to the Russian market. He indicates significant exposure, meaning that the financial and market fall-out of the conflict is indeed being felt on all sides of the battlefront, and the screen.
Western banks and investment behemoths with exposure to the Russian market, all now at risk of exposure to significant losses due to Russia being excommunicated from western market and financial platforms.
Important notes from Wolfstreet:
- Russia’s Central Bank indicated that the Moscow Stock Exchange will remain closed at least until 18 March;
- Gazprom stock value, traded in London, collapsed by 93% by the time trading was halted on 2 March;
- JPMorgan Emerging Europe Equity Fund, were frozen on February 28, after Net Asset Values collapsed;
- “BlackRock, with about $10 trillion in funds under management, said on March 11 through a spokesperson, cited by the Financial Times, that Russian assets in its funds on February 28 were down to about $1 billion, from $18.2 billion a month earlier, and that the $17-billion plunge was from markdowns of asset values, rather than asset sales. BlackRock didn’t provide details as in which funds these losses occurred.”;
- “Pimco funds held at least $1.5 billion in Russian government debt in January and $1.1 billion in bets on Russia through credit-default swaps. Other funds are similarly exposed.”;
- Wolfstreet indicates that, for example, US pensions funds had exposure to the Russian market, “…the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), the largest US pension fund, held $420 million of Russian stocks and $345 million in illiquid real estate assets… In internal discussions, Calpers staff was weighing the costs of a sudden exit from Russian assets (which would require the board’s approval), and “some senior managers reckoned the investments would be worthless if they tagged them for hasty disposal amid stiff sanctions and swooning prices for Russian assets,” according to Bloomberg, citing a source.”
On 28 February Wolfstreet reported that:
“Earlier today, the ruble collapsed by nearly 30% to where it took 117 rubles to buy $1, up from about 83 rubles on Friday under the broad range of sanctions, many of them targeting the Russian financial system. The Central Bank of Russia implemented numerous emergency measures to contain the chaos, the bank runs, the frenzied hunt for dollars, and to prop up the value of the ruble. These measures included some capital controls, a promise of unlimited ruble liquidity for the banks, and the mother of all rate hikes: 1,050 basis points, from 9.5% on Friday to 20% on Monday. Which succeeded in softening the collapse of the ruble on Monday, now trading at 103 rubles to the dollar. As the 25-year chart below shows, ruble-collapses and financial crises are a regular occurrence in Russia: The 1998 Russian Financial Crisis, Russia’s part in the Global Financial Crisis, the 2014 Russian Financial Crisis, and now the 2022 Russian Financial Crisis. Over those 25 years, the ruble has collapsed by 97% against the USD.”
The economic calamities that may yet flow directly and indirectly form this conflict, combined with the financial system headaches in global markets, are creating conducive conditions for financial chaos & mayhem akin to the chaos & mayhem playing itself out in the hot proxy war site of Cold War 2.0, anchored in Ukraine, to hit global markets.
Is it possible to draw a conclusion?
Perhaps only initial one’s. Indeed, the Ukraine is a situation that will impact on households around the world through energy- and food insecurity. As illustrated by Wolfstreet, even though some Californians might view the Ukraine conflict only through the screen, they might feel the pinch at both the petrol pump, and in the sudden potential hole left in their pension funds!
And the suicide pact? If this conflict escalates into a long-term military- and economic war, and if current trends of absolute opposition & division persist (either you are for Ukraine, or, against Ukraine, for Russia, or against Russia), the world might yet be agreeing to collective suicide. To avoid this, it is necessary to acknowledge the history (as addressed in this Blindspot), that is being suppressed, as we speak.