The thing I love most about NZ is that when something truly huge happens, like Russia invading Ukraine, our shallow news models have all the intellectual depth of the ZM Breakfast Show & watching our faux journalist broadcasters struggle is divine.
What the fuck can The Project or Seven Sharp or either Breakfast shows provide in terms of insight and oversight when it’s all the level of The Edge Morning Madhouse?
Worshipping at the altar of light entertainment ‘current affairs’ by both channels at 7pm has led to a brain bleed of public discourse.
Thank Allah you have the choice of The Working Group 7.30pm Mondays.
I think Putin made his call to invade the Ukraine when he saw the West attempt a coup to his South last month with the sudden explosion of violence in Kazakhstan.
Russia was always going to send troops to support the Kazakhstan government, the country is simply too important for Russian strategic interests to allow a revolution to sweep away their pro-Moscow regime.
The Russians have their Cosmodrome there, their secret hypersonic missile test range and Russian owned uranium mines.
Russia saw this attempted revolution as part of a hybrid war strategy that America and the West are conducting by seeding Western NGOs into civil society to ferment populist uprisings.
For Russia this is existential meddling in their neighbourhood and the likely response was always going to be a push back in the Ukraine with an invasion.
My guess is Putin will take Eastern Ukraine and carve out strategic assets along the Black Sea. He would require at least 450 000 troops to occupy the whole of the Ukraine and he’s only mobilised 200 000 so I don’t think he’s taking the whole country, he’s moving troops into regions that are already in dispute and will probably keep them easily, however along the coast where he will attempt to clear a path to Crimea there may well be heavy fighting.
Putin will keep a large military pressure across the border next to Kiev to force Ukrainian military to defend the capital rather than engage in the East or South.
This will hurt globally…
Why it matters: If there was a Russian invasion, there would not only be geopolitical shockwaves and human tragedy, but it also could upend markets and strain the global economy.
- The largest country on earth by land mass, Russia is a commodities giant, ranking as a top producer of natural gas, oil, nickel, palladium, copper, coal, potash, wheat and more.
- Disruptions to Russian exports — either at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s say-so or due to sanctions — would drive up commodity costs, adding to global inflationary pressures and supply chain disarray.
State of play: Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas and crude to the European Union.
- Oil prices briefly jumped above $96 a barrel on Monday — the highest since 2014 — as investors grew skittish about continued access to Russian crude.
- Natural gas is an issue too. Europe — particularly Germany — is most exposed should supplies of Russian natural gas stop flowing. More than 20% of Germany’s gas flows from Russia, so a gas shutoff to the European economic and export giant could hurt growth and reverberate throughout global supply chains.
Yes, but: The impact of a disruption of Russian raw materials would be broader. It’s difficult to predict how the dominoes would fall.
Worth noting: High prices are also incentivizing American energy production.
What we’re watching:
- Inflation: If oil prices hit $120 a barrel — as analysts think could happen if Russia invades — that could make the recent inflationary surge more long-lasting than economists now think. (Central banks are watching. More on that later.)
- Autos: An invasion could break another link in the rickety auto supply chain. Russia is the world’s biggest supplier of palladium used in catalytic converters that scrub auto emissions.
- Wheat: Russia is the world’s third-largest wheat producer — Ukraine too is a massive wheat farmer — and prices for the grain could spike on an invasion, even without major disruptions of shipments. (That’s what happened during Russia’s 2014 takeover of Crimea.)
- Aluminum: When Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska — who controlled Russian aluminum producer Rusal — was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2018, it set off a 30% price surge.
…The focus now goes on Biden’s response.
If Biden takes the ‘nuclear option’ of sanctions, he will cancel all international SWIFT banking from interacting with Russian banks. Biden is seen domestically as weak after the Afghan fiasco and he will need to look tough and the severing of Russian Banks from the global banking network is the most muscular move he can make.
Russia who see their invasion of the Ukraine as geopolitical even stevens however will consider such move as a provocation that goes too far rather than a legitimate response.
Maybe this is the over reaction Putin is looking for to launch a far wider level of conflict chaos?
Consider the following, Russia responds to Biden’s banking over reaction with grey war tactics and launches cyber strikes while tearing open conflict in the Middle East by giving Iran the last pieces they need for nuclear capability.
Iran gaining nuclear technology is a red line for Israel and the Russians know that.
Israel responds with a massive never before seen military strike on all Iranian nuclear assets which causes oil prices to explode and supply chains to freeze to a stand still.
Inflation jumps to double figures as global markets implode.
This starts in the Ukraine but could end with Israel bombing Iran.
Watch for China to attempt its own symbolic show of strength while Biden is dealing with Putin.
Constant external geopolitical shock waves are the new post Covid normal.
Let’s see The Project & Seven Sharp manage to explore that without using a sporting analogy, Hillary giggling or Kanoa castigating herself for not have a Te Reo pronunciation for Russian strategy.
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