Thursday, 4 December 2014

the world is complex: US, Russia, Ukraine, oil, global economy

Salon has published an article asserting that the crisis in Ukraine and the civil war are substantially the fault of the United States. Skip through the argy bargy slanging off and consider the merits of the arguments, including in the articles to which links are provided. Such as this:

One of the side issues in this has to be the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight flying above the civil war zone. On a path which the Ukraine government left open. You can limit the discussion to who fired the shot, who owned and supplied the weapon, who controlled the use of the weapon... but if you take the steps further and think about the wider issues of the origins and provocation of cicil war, the puff-chested macho displays towards the Russians become things of dress-up belligerency, the boy with the trumpet following the flag, the antithesis of problem solving.

The general stridency of anti-Russian policy may undo us all...

Four weeks ago, The Guardian argued that the United States and Saudi Arabia were driving the price of oil down as a strategic weapon against Russia.

A month later the situation is much more dangerous for the world economy, as oil prices fall further... More in this here. If indeed there was such an American effort to use oil as a weapon against Russia, it would seem very likely that the weapon will shoot the Americans in the foot, given the risky loan basis of much new oil venturing in the USA, unsustainable at present prices. A dual shock possible: a shock failure of the US to maintain its recent self-sufficiency in oil production and a new shock to the international economy more serious than the last one. Or a triple shock if and as and when oil prices go north again in economically difficult times... Consider also what other damaged countries may do. Russia will depend more on its energy exports to China.

Hello, China. How many countries can you save this month? They expect it of you, you know, but only if you stay meek. An Indian perspective here.

I observed in a news commentary in 1989, actually thoughts offered privately by a Chinese official at the time, that the Chinese leadership did not have the maturity and sensitivity to handle the crisis arising then in Tiananmen Square. How easy it is to hammer the Chinese Government for mishandling that.

By comparison, capacity to handle a coming economic crisis is ... where? This wasn't even on the agenda at the G20 meeting last month and there seems little willingness in political quarters to focus on the situation now. Alarm at the prospects for the Australian economy is constrained by very insular thinking: the general narrowness of the government's perspective, with just a small concession now that contractionary policy is unwise (as it has been throughout the time they imposed it and told everyone to be afraid) and with the financial markets in the hands of people who have no knowledge of history and precious little understanding of strategic matters beyond short-term money-shoving.

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