That was the first thought I had when I saw the news from several angles, when we consider the responses from Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Viktor Yanukovych and a few others. The Americans were (as expected) all about keeping an eye on what Russia does. My first question could be ‘then what?‘.
This would be a fair question as we have seen what happens when ‘the line gets crossed‘ as President Obama mentioned. Basically nothing happened in the end. There will be rattling of sabres and after that people create some diplomatic summit in a luxury place and in the end nothing really changes. If you doubt that, then ask the Syrians. In the end President Assad needed time and time he got and plenty of it. In that regard consider last week’s NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/world/middleeast/un-orders-both-sides-in-syria-to-allow-humanitarian-aid.html), so after several weeks the peace talks ended in failure. Be honest, was there ever a decent chance of a good outcome? This was all about delaying for President Assad, and as such he seems to have won. So, what will happen to the Ukraine?
The Ukraine is not like that, I know, but in the end, does that matter? The US is too weak, it has no reserves left, in addition, there is a growing pile of evidence that big business, not the politicians or the legislative branch are in charge of what happens in America. Feel free to doubt me, but consider the largest employer Wal-Mart. Consider that the owners are multi billionaires and that their staff members need food stamps and financial support just to survive. Did you hear me? This is not about the unemployed, but the workers who still need that level of support and the taxpayer gets those bills, not the employer. This is in my mind a level of clear evidence that the politicians as well as the legislative branch of the US government have failed its citizens. So, they are going to mess with Russia, just as the military has announced massive cuts and downsize plans? Who is kidding who here?
Now on the honourable representative players in this game called John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. I am not attacking them. They are representing their government, but are they speaking their mind and heart? They likely are and they are not happy about any of the issues currently rising, but they are unlikely able to make a true impact at present. You cannot spend money from a budget that is no longer there. Basically, as this administration was idle for over three years to tackle big business, to tackle spending habits and to hunt down tax evaders, the economic trinity at large, the US is pretty much bankrupt, which means they cannot pay for the fuel to make the war engine go forward. It will run out of fuel before it can truly engage a theatre of upcoming war. It is not a good thing, but it is what it is, so at this time it pretty much sucks to be the US Secretary of Defence!
But this is not just about America, many might ‘like’ this US bashing, but that is not what this is. Consider the words of Peter Stano “Peter Stano, Spokesperson for European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule, stated the European Commission (EC)’s ‘door remains open’ for Ukraine. The EC’s policy is very open, transparent and predictable, he said. The EC’s offer is tabled, he continued further. The EC offers highly important EU neighbours the opportunity to come closer to the EU with political association and economic integration, he explained“
Consider the NY Times from January 2nd 2014 (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/business/international/the-euro-adds-latvia-but-further-growth-is-uncertain.html) “Those include achieving a deficit of 3 percent of gross domestic product and keeping debt to 60 percent of the annual gross domestic product.” This is about its newest member Latvia. You can read two parts here; one is to lower the deficit to 3%, which might be a good achievement. Yet at http://www.kase.gov.lv/uploaded_files/2010/SSD/news_release_2014-A-0109_011.pdf we see the mention “R&I believes that real GDP will continue to grow around 4% on the back of a recovery in the European economy.“
Really, who is buttering who’s bread and where (more important, who owns the butter to begin with). This is a massive amount of iterated bad news management I am appalled that the PRESS is not more active in finding out the ‘real’ truth here. Consider a 2013 report from the EC (at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/2013/pdf/ee3_en.pdf) and consider that the numbers on page 47 is up to 2011. So, the 2012 numbers are not even there for a 2013 report. This is all about marketing, all about as they state “Overall, a broad-based look at underlying factors suggests that sufficiently strong conditions are in place for Latvia to be able to maintain a robust and sustainable convergence path in the medium term“, which makes this 55 page paper a sales pitch.
How is this connected?
That is the question isn’t it! It is not about Latvia, or the Ukraine. This is about the EEC and their approach to ‘some kind of a future‘. This is all good, but these events are about setting economic prosperity for a few EEC bigwigs. As they add members, as deficits are still not met in several nations and debts keep on rising, the taxpayers will soon face a harsh reality and it is a bigger one than they bargained for. On my side, there is also a view. Am I comparing apples to pears?
Yes, to some extent I am. The issue is that the EEC is not a vendor of apples or pears, they are dealing in fruit and we all get thrown into the same trog. Russia seems adamant that the Ukraine does not enter the same trog. It prefers its own trog to the EEC one, which might looks nicer but has the same stale grub in the end.
So when we see the sabre rattling from both sides, make sure that you all realise that this is not about the Ukrainians, their choices their future. It is for the Ukrainians, but the other parties are engaging for one reason, their economies! It is about the economic futures of others. Will this all bring prosperity to the Ukraine and its people? Not until the EEC and America end up with a much better economy, which require these governments (all of them) to get their budgets in order. Until then they are showing themselves as some sort of hedge fund dealers. You might remember how that ended up in 2004 and 2008. Now, it is no longer about de-valuated pieces of paper, now it will all be about people and whoever will be the ‘last’ nation left standing. We need to get out of that rat race and real quickly too!
That part becomes more and more visible when we see the latest from Sky News “Russia is ready to help Ukraine as it seeks to stave off economic collapse, US Secretary of State John Kerry says after talking with his Russian counterpart” (at http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=954470). In addition “Ukraine owes $US13 billion in state debt payments this year – a massive sum in a country where state reserves have shrunk to less than $US18 billion” gives some level of evidence to my views. Another government had been spending money they never had to begin with. When smaller economies fall over, how long until the larger ones take a tumble (especially as they add on new in deficit grown members), because if these issues do not change that will be the clear terminal result, no matter what sales pitch a hedge fund call centre operator calls you with.
In that regard there is an interesting paper at http://www.project-bridge.eu/datoteke/Actions2012/BRIDGE-ANALYSIS%20OF%20THE%20EU-UKRAINE%20RELATIONS.pdf. Denys Kuzmin and Iryna Maksymenko wrote an interesting piece in 2012. Not sure how much I can agree with (as I was never an economic), but it reads like this is all about a possible future for the Ukraine, not about keeping the EEC alive. That side is getting less and less likely, as we see the growing influence from Nigel Farage, Marie Le-Penn, Bernd Lucke and Geert Wilders in their respective governments. Whatever will happen after that will have long term consequences for all the EEC players, even though many ignore these dangers, the dangers will not go away any day soon because that is the consequence of a weak economy, the people choose and currently they are very afraid for their personal futures. So is Ukraine better off with Russia or with the EEC? I actually have no idea, but consider that Russian Commerce is currently buying up commerce all over Europe like for example the Dutch Jeweller ‘Siebel’. The chips are not just changing hands, they are now moving out of local owner’s hands into the hands of foreign corporations. I am not talking about the big boys, they have been in some international hands for a long time, we are now talking about smaller shops where all the moms and pops go. Consider that these places are no longer held by some oil sheik (like large portions of London), or certain American multi-national groups. Now Russian companies are moving in (through legal methods) and taking control. Who would have guessed this event 10 years ago? Perhaps it is time to ignore these high boasting Wall Street analysts, it is time for actual data, not have baked forecasts to take control of budget goals and government expenditures.
For those wondering about the hot air reference in the title, this is a reference to the windy city of Chicago. The windy city was not about the fresh Canadian air, but about their politicians (filled with hot air). The escalating issue as they are shown in the Ukraine is now in my view all about politicians and spokespeople. For the last 8 years politicians sat on their hands and spokespeople did whatever they could to divert the eyes of politicians, politicians for governments, spokespeople for economic interested parties. If you doubt my words then look at Darfur, Bagdad, Nigeria and Syria, all colossal failures. The politicians failed, grabbing for some ‘sanction solution’ that has never actually worked. Now their credibility of strength is gone. Big Business has been pushing for the lowest and cheapest option for so long; it has made the rich richer, the poor with less, whilst the rich avoid taxation by the billions and after half a decade they are still not dealt with, whilst many taxation coffers are less than empty. Consider the words of Mariana Chilton, an associate professor at Drexel University’s School of Public Health: “If they wanted to address poverty and hunger in this country, then they would pay a living wage, and they would make sure that their workers had good benefits and good family leave for when families have children, etcetera” (at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/business-solution-war-on-poverty-lyndon-johnson)
These two groups talk to all but they do not really communicate. In the end, when it all falls over they only have themselves to blame and end up blaming everyone except themselves, whilst at the same time they will leave the taxpayer with the cost of it all.
In the end, Russia can do to Ukraine (read Crimea region) whatever it likes, because the west currently has no real actionable options left.