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2022-09-22 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 723 references
[Comments enabled]  

Putin gave a speech and the media is all a-twitter over it.

"To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries, and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal," Putin said in a Wednesday address.

"It's not a bluff," he added.

Do recall that Russia is not the USSR.  Unlike Stalin there are now constraints that are in fact quite-democratic; in fact Putin is constrained by the Duma, which must pass laws to enable his acts and power.  We may well disagree with the determinations of the legislature there just as we might with regard to Mexico, Canada or France but what's unmistakable is that said power is in fact delegated, not predicated on dictatorship or monarchy.

In other words Putin is not Hitler, nor is he Stalin.  He might, however, be somewhat akin to Xi.

There are referenda being taken in one and part of a second province of eastern Ukraine as I write this.  These are areas of the nation that historically, before Ukraine was "spun off", were Russian.  The people there identify as Russian and the land shares a border with Russia.  In the case of Crimea it was literally purchased by Russia long before the USSR (an "agglomeration" of lands) existed.

I have, as you might expect, plenty of questions about the legitimacy of said polling; is it truly free in that it expresses the will of the people in these parts of the nation?  I don't know the answer to that but what I do know is that if the people of a land have the right of self-determination when it comes to their government that extends, with certainty, to them choosing to ally themselves with a government that happens to be immediately-adjacent on one of the sides of the land in question.

You either stand on this principle, without which The United States has no right to exist or you don't:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

Therefore the limits of said inquiry are whether the referendum was in fact representative -- that is, is it fraudulent or was it freely taken among the people of said land?  That's the beginning and end of it, and if it was freely taken and results in said people choosing to be Russian in terms of their legal identity then the expelled government is in fact an unlawful occupier unless they immediately and peacefully depart.

If someone forcibly invades your land then whatever you must do to expel them is just.

Everyone lies during war, and virtually everyone who wants a war lies too.  All the time.  One cannot take anything from parties with a vested interest in the outcome as having any veracity whatsoever without strict proof, which is almost impossible to obtain due to active obstruction.  As a result I cannot offer an opinion as to whether these votes are just or not and neither can anyone else.

But what we must ask ourselves is whether we, as the United States, are willing to commit our nation including both material and treasure to enforce another nation's demand that people live under their rule who do not wish to be so because there is a very real argument that in fact that is going on right now.

Should we not first determine if indeed any such claim is in fact legitimate or manufactured nonsense before we offer said commitment?

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2022-09-06 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 1374 references
[Comments enabled]  

It appears that Putin's government has announced that Nordstream I will not be restarted until western sanctions are lifted.

Russian natural gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany will remain shut until the Western sanctions that impede gas turbine repairs are lifted, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. 

The gas crisis in Europe took a turn for the worse at the end of last week, when Russian gas giant Gazprom said after three-day maintenance ended on Friday that Nord Stream would remain shut until “operational defects in the equipment are eliminated,” upping the ante in its gas war against Europe. 

As a reminder the pipeline had only one operational gas-turbine driven pump which, according to Gazprom, requires maintenance.  There are usually five of them available for service with a sixth held in reserve as a spare at that specific station through which the gas flows.

As things stand now there are no spares and one sort-of-operating one that was shut down as a result of a fault discovered during an inspection.  There are people saying that Russia could operate the one with the leak anyway but why does anyone believe there is any sort of duty to do so and shave the margins of safety?

There clearly is no such duty and, further, the gas is Russia's so if you think you have the right to sanction a nation and then demand they trade with you its rather obvious to me that your IQ is smaller than your shoe size.

For those who claim Russia is waging an "energy war" well, perhaps they are, but let's not forget the west is attempting to wage an economic one!

I've never in my life seen a "war" in which the people backing one side of it demand that the party on the other side continue to trade with them and not only that, but then attempt to put in price controls such that they demand not only the product but also what they pay for it.

Putin obviously thinks that's crazy.

Now the West and Europe in particular get to choose: Either drop the sanctions or you get no gas.

I fail to understand how this cannot be viewed as an entirely-reasonable position unless your view is that Russia has no right of national sovereignty at all, including the natural resources that lay within her border and those that transit same.

If that's your position -- that the West has the right to impose a political and economic structure on a sovereign government then just come out and say it.

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