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Who Pays the Price of Sanctions

Written By: - Date published: 4:32 pm, March 20th, 2022 - 194 comments
Categories: boycott, China, Diplomacy, Economy, energy, Europe, exports, farming, food, Gerry Brownlee, Iran, Japan, monetary policy, Peace, Peace, Russia, same old national, trade, uk politics, Ukraine, United Nations, us politics, war - Tags:

New Zealand’s sanctions on Russia have not stopped the war in Ukraine. They may have made our parliamentarians feel better, and Tony Blinken was quick to congratulate us on falling into line with the US “high-impact sanctions.” The language is combative, but the evidence shows sanctions do not  work. They can have significant blow-back effects, particularly if not combined with effective diplomacy.

There are already signs that Western sanctions will impose significant blow-back on the sanctioners. Russia has watched the way the US-led west has used sanctions to impose its own laws on other countries, and has prepared its defences. It is one of the most autarkic countries in the world, a major oil and gas producer, the main source of grain exports, has extensive rare earth materials, and is a major exporter of fertilisers.

Europe is dependent on its natural gas for heating and for industry, and the price of oil and as has risen to add to already rapidly rising inflation across the world. Russian consumers will be less impacted by sanctions than the rest of the world. We will certainly feel the effects here, as the price of fertilisers as well as petrol rises.

Not only that, there are signs that sanctions on Russia will expedite moves to replace the US dollar as the preferred payment for oil and gas. China, Iran, and India are moving to pay for these materials in their own currencies. The US’s ability to run massive deficits and pay for its bloated military are heavily dependent on the privileged status of the dollar. Reports are emerging of the Saudis moving to consider payment for oil in other currencies. That could be huge in its effects on world trade and US hegemony.

Russia has identified what it calls ‘unfriendly countries,” who have imposed sanctions against it. Apart from occupied Japan, South Korea and Micronesia, they are almost all white and colonisers, or in our case colonised. A map of the sanctioners shows that it is  by no means most of the world. Writing in the Guardian, columnist David Adler considers this might be the shape of a new non-aligned world for the global south. It’s also where most of the world’s resources and people are.

Russia has so far not imposed any counter-sanctions. That will depend on events, but if imposed will be proportional and significant.

On top of the Russia-specific sanctions legislation,  our government has indicated it will also consider moving to legislate for an autonomous sanctions regime. That would be a major change in New Zealand’s supposedly independent foreign policy of many years’ standing. We have always stood for a multilateral approach to such measures, and this was the main reason why we did not support the US-led “coalition of the willing” in Iraq, against John Key’s taunts that we were “missing in action.”

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken was quick to note that “For the first time, New Zealand has extended its sanctions authorities beyond its UN Security Council obligations.”

Gerry Brownlee has led the charge for the National Party, but additional support has come surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, from Simon O’Connor and Louisa Wall, New Zealand’s representatives on the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.  O’Connor has promoted so-called Magnitsky sanctions, named after lawyer accountant for their main promoter, former Soviet oligarch Bill Browder. Browder’s background is here where he is described as a ‘billionaire accused of being a fraud and a liar.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance is an international self-selecting informal body of individual politicians, who are not supportive of China. It is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, known for funding colour revolution regime change operations, the National Endowment for Democracy ‘we do openly what the CIA used to do in secret,” and the Democracy Foundation of Taiwan. Both of the latter are foreign government-funded front organisations and advocates for political change. Soros and the NED were active in funding the so-called Maidan colour revolution in Kyiv in 204, which saw the ouster of the Russian-supporting President Yanukovich.

This raises the question of whether the purpose of Magnitsky sanctions would also be to give the government power to propose sanctions on China. In a recent article in the Herald advocating Magnitsky sanctions for New Zealand, O’Connor highlights his criticisms of China. This association would take us into a completely new dimension as it would mark a major shift away from Labour’s platform commitment to multilateral diplomacy. Magnitsky sanctions legislation so far has been limited to the FiveEyes countries, so this shift would be  just another way of bringing us into line and effectively signalling the end of any pretension on our part to an independent foreign policy. There was no opportunity for select committee submission or wider discussion on the Russia-only sanctions legislation, and once imposed sanctions are hard to back down from. That debate is urgently needed now.

Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins has written extensively about the nugatory effect of sanctions, most recently in relation to those imposed by the United Kingdom on Iran, but also last year in relation to those imposed on Belarus. His words apply to Britain but they have some resonance here as well.

As for the crisis in Ukraine, the sanctions monitors at the American Peterson Institute for International Economics can find no sign that the severest economic aggression in modern history has yielded “the slightest evidence that Moscow will change course and ‘rehabilitate’ itself in the eyes of the west”.

The glib reply of proponents of sanctions is that they are better than war. In other words, it is taken as read that the west has an obligation to “do something” about evil regimes wherever they exist. The weapon appeals to democratic politicians as seeming tough without being violent. It offers a quick headline with no need for subsequent validation.

…while sanctions may not achieve their objective, they do exact a human price. They block the restoration of relations between disagreeing states. They deny the liberalising effect of trade and of intellectual and humanitarian exchange. Soft power is denied its potency. Worse, by being so vacuous, sanctions become almost impossible to withdraw.

Unless wonders happen, Ukraine should expose the hypocrisy of the “age of sanctions”. It has Britain traipsing round the Middle East begging for cheaper fuel, so it can pretend it is saving the planet by not drilling its own. It has had to negotiate with one regime, Iran, that it purports to detest, while pleading with another, Saudi Arabia, that it refuses to detest. All because of sanctions. Has British diplomacy ever looked more shabby?

One thing that is noticeably missing from the debate is how to we may be able to stop the war and  return to peace. Western media, including our own, has gone full-blown frantic into disaster porn, and one suspects that the rush to judgment represented by the Russia bill represents more a response to blinkered and ahistorical media pressure than to any real intention to work to bring about a change to peace. Sanctions are intended as a punishment, but all too often the wrong people are punished. The supposed causal chain is that by imposing punishment on a people, their leaders will be overturned. All the evidence is that this does not happen, and all that does happen is that ordinary people are subjected to harsher living conditions.

Not only that, any chance of us considering ourselves as peace-making brokers is gone, now that we are aligned. In my opinion the most depressing idea  in this sorry saga is that put forward by Gerry Brownlee calling for the expulsion of the Russian ambassador. Who do we expect to call to discuss how to get to peace if there’s nobody there to answer the phone? One thing you can say about Russian diplomats headed by the incomparable Sergei Lavrov is that they are very competent. They want to bring this war to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

194 comments on “Who Pays the Price of Sanctions ”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Good piece, thank you….just imagine if any of our media (including RNZ) allowed this sort of narrative to get even a little air or print time…just to, you know, offer a bit of balance, but no…just one singular narrative is ever allowed on MSM when it comes to Russia….as I mentioned earlier, it is exactly like when they were pushing the Trump/Russia conspiracy…no counter narrative allowed..ever, no matter how ridiculous and absurd their stories became….it was jaw dropping to watch.

    "so this shift would be just another way of bringing us into line and effectively signalling the end of any pretension on our part to an independent foreign policy. There was no opportunity for select committee submission or wider discussion on the Russia-only sanctions legislation, and once imposed sanctions are hard to back down from. That debate is urgently needed now."

    There will be no debate…in case you haven't noticed….debating to not allowed.

    • Incognito 1.1

      There will be no debate…in case you haven't noticed….debating to not allowed.

      It is, here on TS angel

      • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1

        That is true Incognito….unfortunately the debate that should be happening and actually matters is not held on small forums such as these ( as fun and informative as they are)..debates and just mature conversations should obviously just be a regular and normal part of the MSM news cycle for all citizens to be informed by…why isn’t that happening do you think?

        The thing that always comes to mind to me on this subject is Malcom X and Huey P Newton..now here are people that we know that the establishment in the US considered to be an radical and dangerous extremists…but were regularly interviewed and debated on MSM in the US, even from a prison cell no less!…do you think that Malcom X or Newrton would be respectfully interviewed and debated on MSM today?..can you remember the last time Assange was interviewed by MSM?

        • Incognito 1.1.1.1

          I’d like to think that debates on important issues are much more than “fun and informative”. They’re important for participation and engagement of all people who want it – freedom of speech is critical to an inclusive pluriform society. MSM don’t seem to have a functional debating feature and only comment sections and open letters (letters to the Editor) at most. If we want more and better debate we need to have and set examples and make it happen – be the change you want to see. So, why not here, on TS?

          • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1.1.1

            Sorry I didn’t mean to belittle the place of TS as an important place where ordinary citizens can engage one another in meaningful political debate and discourse, I think it is all of those things and is a great asset to all who use it..I should have chosen my words with more care.

            However I am still interested in your answer to my primary question, which was, why has discussion and debate on extremely important issues like Trump/Russia and Ukraine/Russia, for all intent and purposes been completely deleted from MSM output?

            • lprent 1.1.1.1.1.1

              …debate on extremely important issues like Trump/Russia and Ukraine/Russia, for all intent and purposes been completely deleted from MSM output?

              Clearly you must have a very limited and highly select view of media (doesn't surprise me after reading your waffle in recent weeks).

              It has pretty much been the consistent topic of all the printed and net media that I have read for 3 weeks.

              I can't speak for broadcast media like radio or TV because I seldom bother with it. But RNZ website have about 4 articles on their main page on aspects of the conflict in Ukraine as it relates to NZ today. Stuff has at least 7 articles. abc.net.au has about 5 articles. Washington post, BBC world news, NY Times have a *lot* of articles and opinion pieces. The Economist that I read on Sunday had about 15% allocated to discussions of the economic and political effects.

              Even mainly tech sites like The Register, Ars technicia, Quora, and other that I routinely read have articles on various aspects.

              Medium has gone mad with opinions on the politics and the conflict.

              Military analysis sites like Janes have been awash with information. I won't even mention the war blogs.

              Perhaps you just need to learn to read wider than your own navel?

              • Adrian Thornton

                As far as those other sites go..of course these is plenty of good information on the net if you know where to find it..or more importantly have the inclination to do so…which, let's be honest here, most people don't..most people still rely heavily on MSM for their news and views, so it is vital that these outlets are fair and balanced…which as far as I have seen they are not.. show us some recent links to MSM presenting a fair and balanced Russian perspective of why they have gone into the Ukraine….I am happy to be proved wrong.

                • Incognito

                  It seems to me that many people disagree on what, how, when or who decides what is “good information”. Do people have to decide on an ad hoc basis and for and by themselves, i.e. reinvent the wheel each and every time, or are there rules of thumb or guidelines that they can use? What role does one’s education, experience, scepticism & independent critical thinking, values & morals, ideology & tribalism, or prejudice, for example, play in all this? What role do role models, experts & expert authority, or peer pressure, for example, play in all this?

                • lprent

                  The view that I would think is fair and balanced is highly unlikely to be one that you would consider to be fair and balanced.

                  Since the topic is sanctions. I have been impressed with the quality of analysis in the last two issues of The Economist on the effects of currently added sanctions and blocks against Russia on both Russia and Europe. Those are free falling the Russian economy as we speak.

                  The effects on Europe are limited as few of the gas pipelines are currently configured to send gas to China or anywhere apart from west to Europe. Bearing in mind that they are just about the only large hard currency export that Russia has at present. It makes it hard to rearm a army that is expending munitions at the rate that Russia is without hard currency to buy machine tools or munitions. Unlike the US or NATO countries at present, China isn’t noted for giving things away.

                  https://www.economist.com/printedition/2022-03-19
                  https://www.economist.com/printedition/2022-03-12

                  To a much lesser extent on raw material supplies for the world if Russia decides to try to leverage sanctions on hydrocarbons, nickel and wheat. That winds up as cost increases but ones that aren’t hard to work around for the sanctioning and sanctioned nations – except for Russia – which has a real problem with spare parts and payment with a falling currency.

                  Wheat has a limited effect because there will be a lot of response to increase production from other wheat growing areas. It is also likely that the biggest issue about wheat i not Russia doing sanctions. It is the effective closure of the Black Sea ports of both Ukraine and Russia by a combination of each others forces, those of Turkey, and the cost of insurance. Since that is where most of Russia and Ukraine ship most of their wheat and raw materials from apart from gas, There is already an effective blockage of most Russian hard currency exports.

                  Unfortunately for Russia going into summer is the worst time to try to use sanctions on gas. And there is a lot of spare gas and oil producing capacity at prices rise. Fracking in the US and elsewhere will have a field day.

                  Nickel is interesting. The main market for Russian high quality Nickel is actually China these days for EV batteries and stainless steel. Trying to get China to sanction anyone is going to be tricky if they make profit out of it.

                  But there are a number of sites in the US and other places that become viable for fast production wind ups. All that takes is a change in attitude and a rise in prices. Try WSJ. But the same issues apply for places like Canada and Australia.

                  After all that is what markets are good to respond to – price increases are opportunities.

                  Basically Russia has virtually no additional leverage except for gas – and no other way of generating income to support their war for very long without hard currency.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    "The view that I would think is fair and balanced is highly unlikely to be one that you would consider to be fair and balanced."…so just to be clear, are you saying that overall you would consider MSM coverage of the Ukraine crisis to be 'fair and balanced' or not?

                    • lprent

                      so just to be clear, are you saying that

                      Nope – that is your way of trying to shove word into my throat to satisfy your simple and limited nuance world view.

                      Let me ask you some questions to see where you stand around some of the more obvious media

                      It depends which MSM you're talking about. FFS: it isn't monolithic to the point that anyone could say "MSM says…".

                      For instance Russia Today is about as uselessly unbalanced as it is possible to get. But the Russia owners asserts that it is free and fair media. It didn't look that way to me the other day – I could damn near see the wires opening and shutting the anchors mouths. It claims to have a world wide audience. I have it on my TV apps along DW, EuroNews and a number of others that I occassionally glance at.

                      Do you consider RT to be MSM? What do you think about their coverage?

                      Going to a RNZ, which is also is a state supported organisation that in my view produces reasonably factual and often quite detailed written analysis. Its radio shows usually top the reported listener ship ratings of all radio stations in NZ. I listen to that regularly to track NZ news.

                      Do you consider them to be MSM?

                      Mike Hosking operates what is reputed to be the most popular radio show in the private sector for NZ. I find that he operates a fact and news free zone where he blows arbitrary 'reckons' that appear to arise mostly arise from forms of ignorance and outright bigotry. He just labels something without ever bothering looking at the detail. I characterise him as simple parasitical entertainer who is only really interested in his pay packet.

                      Do you consider them to be MSM?

                      Fox News has a massive audience in the US and elsewhere. Personally I find it really hard to find any interesting factual information in the opinion leaders. Most of the time they seem to simply repeating other Fox news heads talking points – sort of a incestuous Jörmungandr.

                      Do you consider them to be MSM?

                      What do you consider to be MSM? Because I don't have a definition that goes beyond that it is vast range of organisations and people – that doesn't appear to have a definition.

                      //———–

                      Basically if you want an actual answer rather than getting blown off as a idiot shithead who asks leading pig-fucker questions (third interpretation), then I suggest that you get quite specific in your questions.

                      If that means your questions will expose your actual opinions and ideas more clearly that you usually do, and therefore to criticism. Well, then it would be a nice change from your usual lazy critic s role where you say nothing much of interest and as you act as like a particularly stupid religious policeman.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    "that is your way of trying to shove word into my throat to satisfy your simple and limited nuance world view."

                    "Nope – that is your way of trying to shove word into my throat to satisfy your simple and limited nuance world view"

                    Iprent, why don't you settle the hell down for once for fucks sake man…all I was doing was asking you to clarify your previous statement..nothing more, nothing less…I will go through your questions later an answer them respectfully, maybe you could try doing that in kind for me in future.

                    • lprent

                      Nope you asked for my opinion on something that has a very broad definition, and for which you provided no bounds to describe what you were requesting it on.

                      You were asking me to express an opinion on an unbounded something that I don't know and could never know without reading your mind. Because you didn’t provide and explanation of what you were asking about.

                      There is a reason that such questions are limited in virtually all work and legal settings.

                      If I had someone ask me something like "how long do you think that X would take?" in a work situation, I'd be asking for a specification or clarification – and I wouldn't be polite about it.

                      It is a classic ploy by police in interviews and interrogations, and it isn't hard to find even death row convictions based on such questions solely based on such questions – which is why they are often called pig-fucker questions.

                      It is a standard ploy for lawyers to people on the stand, and also the cause of probably about half of all objections in court by opposing barristers.

                      And of course it is a common and very familiar evasion tactic on on-line forums to try to snarl debate up into definitions of discussion – that the original author should have taken the time to define in the first place. The person deliberately using that reprehensible tactic is usually after a situation where they can write a soothing remark saying essentially “I don’t know what you’re upset about” so they can feel they pwned the discussion.

                      Basically, in all circumstances, just asking pig-fucker questions has to be viewed as an indication towards stupidity, ignorance or malevolence.

                      You haven't exactly engendered trust from me on the latter motivation – so I assume malevolence. My responses to the tactic usually just tear a strip of flesh as a reminder not to do it again.

                      So your behaviour really does look that of a horrible pigfucker. Would you like me to adjust your handle to reflect that?

            • lprent 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Umm. I do take your point if you were talking about the local blogs.

              Just had a look at TDB and KB. Posts and even the discussion there is pretty muted. Even Bowalley is light (and kind of confused).

              • Incognito

                Not so muted here …

                • lprent

                  Just bloody noisy. Robust debate generates a lot of steam as friction warms up the usual social lubricants.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    "So your behaviour really does look that of a horrible pigfucker. Would you like me to adjust your handle to reflect that?"…..

                    Thanks for exposing to everyone exactly what you are….a disgusting low life.

                    • lprent

                      Perhaps you should look back at the names and debating techniques you had been applying to others who disagreed with you before I intervened.

                      I wrote a comment about what I was planning to do to you.

                      Perhaps I should apply Adrian's techniques to Adrian?

                      I'm pretty sure that I can get a educational response as I shovel, in a very personal fashion, a pile of derogatory labels on them in a escalatory fashion.

                      I have noticed that Adrian has a very thin skin, a almost complete inability to frame an actual argument, never actually answers questions aimed at the inadequete basis of what arguments they manage to cobble together, and a clearly shallow intellect.

                      After all I think it would be educational for them

                      I just took your behaviour and amplified it because you appear to not be considering your own behaviour and how it appears to others.

                      Found a label that you objected to and keep piling it on. Kept demanding that you answer questions and justify your opinions on some arbitrary basis that you were being judged on. Never dealt with any point that you raised, but instead deliberately dealt with a misinterpretation of it. Demanded that my way set how you should judge yourself. In short I acted like your sanctimonious self.

                      In other words it was a mirror. I guess you liked as much as others liked dealing with you doing it to them.

                      If you don't like it, then you should look to your own behaviour. In an exaggerated way, that is what you look like on this forum to me and to others.

                      In case you hadn't realised it, part of my role on this site is to act as the shit hammer. The reason for that is obvious. Someone has to to do it to make sure that the place doesn’t wind up as a shit pit. I have a longer history and more resources at stake in this site than anyone else, so I tend to do it when I have time.

                      If you don't like it, then I'd be happy to point you to the last paragraph on the about.

                      /torment

              • Tiger Mountain

                TDB seems a bit like blocked plumbing these days–KB denizens who have slipped their collars often feature–and Bowalley is rather turgid in terms of the commenters.

                The Standard, though I despair at the world view of some here, is more free flowing and more useful links imo.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    They want to bring this war to an end.

    Just so – and they are prepared to sacrifice the last Ukrainian to do it.

    George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, known for funding colour revolution regime change operations,

    Better known for reprinting Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies.

    As Putin goes full totalitarian, Russia's defeat is increasingly desirable. The question the West (and that includes NZ) must answer, is whether the minimal level of our aid is unnecessarily prolonging the conflict.

    As Sun Tzu says I have known bad short wars, but I have never known a good war that went on for any length of time. The rump of the Soviet regime has been tolerated for far too long, at tremendous cost to Russians and to their neighbours – half of Chechnya died at Putin's direction in the second Chechen War.

    Putin is a war criminal, and must be treated as such. The Ukraine invasion is criminal. The Chechen Genocide and Citrus Wars were criminal. And whining about America doesn't make it any better.

    That said, almost no-one will object to Bush fils meeting justice for using white phosphorus in Fallujah – apparently to make sure no child was left behind.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.1

      "The rump of the Soviet regime has been tolerated for far too long, at tremendous cost to Russians and to their neighbours – half of Chechnya died at Putin's direction in the second Chechen War"

      By Soviet regime I assume you are referring to the democratically elected Putin govt?…anyway that aside, I fully agree with your statement Re;Chechnya, but just wondering if you think we should ally that level of culpability to the the USA, and the rest of the world should stop also stop tolerating the USA regime for all their well know world wide inflicted destruction and chaos?

      • Stuart Munro 2.1.1

        By Soviet regime I assume you are referring to the democratically elected Putin govt?

        You are perhaps unaware of the story that won the Russian Journalism Award in the year of his first election, which detailed scores of large scale systematic electoral frauds. It has largely been excised from the net, along with the institution that published it. Putin was at the peak of his popularity at the time, in the wake of his successful genocide in Chechnya, and would have won on the second ballot – but he cheated anyway. And the journalists (about thirty of them) who contributed to that story confirm that he has cheated in every election since. So, democratically elected? No.

        we should ally that level of culpability to the the USA, and the rest of the world should stop also stop tolerating the USA regime for all their well know world wide inflicted destruction and chaos?

        There are indeed many sins that can be laid at the door of the US, but there are leavening instances of appropriate behaviour, like the rescue of South Korea from the invasion of the Stalinist north and subsequently the Chinese human wave attacks.

        It is the level of oppression the US visits on its own citizens not approaching that of either period or contemporary Stalinism, that makes regime change both viable and desirable for Russia, but not the US, at this time.

        Putin is the rump of a failed Soviet leadership, with no vision for the world beyond banditry. He is illegitimate, having no genuine mandate from the Russian people, nor is he a popular or effective administrator. We need hardly make such calculations however, since he made himself president for life! No-one is that good, though Tito and some others were able to achieve something similar, without cheating.

        • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1.1

          First let me make it crystal clear, I do not like nor do I endorse Putin or his many nefarious and horrific actions…however your comment is so full half-truths, straight out inaccuracies and misdirection, you leave one no choice but rebut your comment…Putin has so many faults I don’t understand why you and so many on this site insist on doing this…why not just stick to the facts…

          “and would have won on the second ballot – but he cheated anyway. And the journalists (about thirty of them) who contributed to that story confirm that he has cheated in every election since. So, democratically elected? No”

          Creditable academic link to those assertions please…
          and also a creditable link to establish if there is any factual truth that Putin doesn’t enjoy overwhelming support from the Russian population…which would of course establish as a fact that he has been democratically elected.

          “like the rescue of South Korea from the invasion of the Stalinist north and subsequently the Chinese human wave attacks.”

          I assume that you are not aware that the US Military version of the Korean War that you and I consumed most of our lives has been thoroughly debunked (mainly by US historians I might add), as is much of our perception of The Eastern Front in WW2 ( if you are actually seriously interested in this history I strongly recommend you read ‘Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East’)

          The Mistaken History of the Korean War: What We Got Wrong Then and Now
          https://www.kobo.com/ph/en/ebook/the-mistaken-history-of-the-korean-war

          Maybe read his preface here

          Further the barbaric actions of the US military in “saving” South Korea is now widely regarded as a war crime…as it should have been at the time….

          US destruction of North Korea must not be forgotten
          https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/us-destruction-of-north-korea-must-not-be-forgotten/

          Can the United States Own Up to Its War Crimes During the Korean War?
          https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/can-united-states-own-its-war-crimes-during-korean-war/

          There is plenty more in your comment I could rebut but lets start with these first few points shall we…

          • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.1.1

            You know I get really tired of your prating, fatuous ignorance. I spent getting on for fifteen years in Korea, and discussed the war at length with quite a few people, including Park's chief economist and a history professor. It's fair to say that you don't know wtf you are talking about.

            There is plenty more in your comment I could rebut

            You should abandon hope of rebutting people, until you have taken the trouble to learn something about the subjects in which you improperly claim expertise.

            Do you really imagine that I, and the other people you argue with here, are ignorant of US war crimes in Korea? Or of MacArthur's plan to nuke and invade China? Of the bombing of civilians, or the hunting of the Cheju dissenters?

            I do not like nor do I endorse Putin

            Yet you miss no opportunity to parrot his foolish propaganda, and take his side at every opportunity. I'm not sure if you are fooling yourself, but you certainly aren't fooling us.

            • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Of course, as suspected, no links to back up anything you say, in this comment, or for the links I asked for to verify your assertions in your last comment…so in other words, you must think everyone should just believe everything you say…because…well, you said it?…it doesn't work like that pal…put up, or shut up.

        • DS 2.1.1.2

          I would have thought that, you know, the actual Russian Communist Party (which opposes the War) would have been the rump of the actual Soviet leadership. Putin is no Communist, of course. His brand of nationalistic reaction is basically the Tsarist Empire – minus the Tsar.

          • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.2.1

            that, you know, the actual Russian Communist Party (which opposes the War) would have been the rump of the actual Soviet leadership.

            In a better world perhaps.

            Putin's inheritance is less ideological, and more of the style of governance practiced by the Soviets, and yes, the Tsars before him – autocratic repression with lashings of Russian imperialism.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Sometimes doing the right thing costs. So, sanctions on Russia will certainly be very costly for the west as well as Russia.

    Sure, a few countries like Russia and China may set up their alternative to the SWIFT system. But that those sort of moves will take time.

    The point at the moment is to run Russia out of funds so they can't continue the war effort. If it wasn't for this, then Russia would have the military might to eventually overcome Ukraine. But, the effect of sanctions will be to run them out of money for the fight. Thus, the longer Ukraine can hang on the more difficult it becomes for Russia

    In the longer term, the big issue for Russia is that European countries are looking for ways to free themselves from dependency on Russian energy. I suspect that many Western countries will start to view China in a similar way. Thus, I don't think China will be happy with what is happening in Ukraine at the moment.

    Also, many of the Western companies that have withdrawn from Russia may well not return.

    Thus, Russia is going to be much poorer and weaker at the end of all this.

    • Francesca 3.1

      Russians might be poorer but they’ll be a lot healthier , McDonalds, Pepsi, Coca cola Starbucks, British America tobacco,Nestle…whoosh! Gone!! whats not to like

      • tsmithfield 3.1.1

        LOL. Fair point.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1.2

        MacDonalds stores In Russia are being rebranded as Uncle Vanya's ( from the Chekov play)

        You may notice the logo seems familiar ( V is written as B in cryrillic)

    • Blazer 3.2

      These same sanctions were enacted against Russia circa 2014-2015 after the C.I.A funded coup that deposed the russia friendly Ukraine Govt.

      Russia will have been expecting them.

      • SPC 3.2.1

        German acceptance of sanctions on Russian banks and via SWIFT was not expected, nor the immediate doubling of its defence budget and suspension of Nordstrom (this led the wider western move away from Russian oil and gas).

        • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.1.1

          Oil and Gas arent under sanction ( of course its not)

          Gazprombank and Sberbank arent excluded from Swift ( of course they arent)

      • RedLogix 3.2.2

        Utter nonsense – these sanctions, in many cases bordering on embargoes, are far deeper than anything ever imposed on any nation ever. They go well beyond even government actions – global companies are pulling back as fast and deeply as possible.

        Putin's war in the Ukraine is going to degenerate into a brutal stalemate; the Russian's know they cannot win anything meaningful in the political sense, so now they are going to inflict as much misery and suffering as possible with the goal of terrifying not so much the Ukrainians, but the rest of the world into surrender.

        Putin has degenerated into pure evil mode. His western cheerleaders are supping with a fucking short spoon.

        • Blazer 3.2.2.1

          Yes the U.S seems steadfast in their refusal to accept Russias really quite understandable demands.

          Pity it's the Ukrainians that suffer because of U.S recalcitrance.

          There can be no stalemate…Putin would find that too much to …bear.

          • RedLogix 3.2.2.1.1

            It is the Ukrainian people who are rejecting these 'reasonable' Russian demands with their lives.

            Right now as you type.

            • Blazer 3.2.2.1.1.1

              It is the Ukrainian people whose lives are being lost and ruined ,not its puppet master who pulls their strings.

              Not yet a month has gone by since the real conflict began.

              It certainly looks like Russia under estimated the opposition.

              Whether it takes 1 month or 3 months the result will be the same.

              It is another american inspired…tragedy imo.

              • aom

                Despite all the 'blue-eye' flag waving and Russia phobic ranting, it is interesting to note from today's Ukrainian death toll that is still less than the accumulated losses in the Donbass which was supposed to be protected from Ukraine by the Minsk Accords which were ignored, no doubt with NATO blessing.

                It is about time the world got beyond living under tyranny of every shade, especially that perpetrated by the hypocrisy soaked enforced alliance we have now been firmly signed up to under our 'Independent foreign policy'.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.2.1.1.2

              Ahh The keyboard warriors have spoken. 3 cheers for the Qwerty Brigade

              Ctrl Alt , Crtl Alt , Ctrl Alt.

          • lprent 3.2.2.1.2

            Yes the U.S seems steadfast in their refusal to accept Russias really quite understandable demands.

            Those are not the decisions that the US can make. They are decisions for Ukraine.

            Tell me – do you also wish that Australia or the US makes the foreign policy and security decisions for us? I suspect that you'd be up in arms at the idea..

            Yet you have the unmitigated gall to try to say that the USA (and presumably Russia) as an imperial power can make those decisions for other nations – presumably also supporting Russia's right to invade, destroy, and plunder Ukraine on their search for it.

            It looks to me like you need to return to the 19th century along with the other pig-ignorant imperialists.

            There is nothing quite as obnoxious as ignorant unthinking regressive progressive – apart from a imperialist like you.

            • Blazer 3.2.2.1.2.1

              'Tell me – do you also wish that Australia or the US makes the foreign policy and security decisions for us? I suspect that you'd be up in arms at the idea..'

              As a very junior party in 5 eyes…I always thought they did.

              'Those are not the decisions that the US can make. They are decisions for Ukraine.'

              The U.S funded regime change in the Ukraine in 2014 and continue to do so…those are …facts.

              How naive are you?

              • lprent

                You appear to be illiterate and ignorant.

                Perhaps you should take a look at the actual decisions of the 5 eyes. Or even just read the statements made about 5 eyes by New Zealand

                The U.S funded regime change in the Ukraine in 2014 and continue to do so…those are …facts.

                No they aren't bloody facts. The claims about US involvement are mostly supposition, speculation and outright bullshit. Sure there were US diplomats and probably US intelligence people observing the protests against a unilateral decision of the Ukrainian president and prime minister.

                There were also Russian ones and they had some much clearer involvement in forcing a political confrontation that resulted in months of large and persistent protests. In particular with quite overt propaganda campaigns

                Most of the claims that I presume you are going to pull up will be probably be based on the allegations made the rapidly departing president and the Russia that he fled to. But there is a no credible information that I am aware of that indicates either an overt or covert effort by the US government to support the protests.

                Basically you're probably just an parrot or a unread fool. I'll be generous and assume the latter.

                • Blazer

                  U.S funds the Ukraine with billions and billions=fact.

                  As the U.S is not known for altruism…the Q is why?

                  House passes Ukraine aid in government funding bill (cnbc.com)

                  IF12040 (congress.gov)

                  I was tempted to describe you as either a dimwitted half wit…or a half witted dimwit…but couldn't decide.

                  • lprent

                    U.S funds the Ukraine with billions and billions=fact.

                    As the U.S is not known for altruism…the Q is why?

                    Evidently you haven't been reading the news. On the 24th of February 2022 some nation that appears to be as thick as you are invaded Ukraine. Your article comes from the 3rd of March 2022.

                    The reason for the 'altruism' is to provide a defence of Ukraine, a nation attacked without provocation, without a declaration of war, attacked in violation of explicit guarantees from 1994 by the invading nation that they wouldn't attack Ukraine and would respect its borders, and who borders the nations that

                    Other nations who have sent similar material and financial support include Germany, Poland, all of the Baltic states, Sweden, France, Hungary, France, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and many more. Like the US they are responding to the requests by Ukraine for material and humanitarian aid to help to repel an aggressive invader.

                    The UN itself would have probably have passed a motion condemning the aggressor nation, if Russia had not voted against it in the Security council. Russia being the aggressor nation.

                    I was tempted to describe you as either a dimwitted half wit…or a half witted dimwit…but couldn't decide.

                    You are describing yourself quite well. Somehow you responded to a refutation of events eight years ago in 2014 in the Maiden protests with a link that is from earlier this month. It has no particular relevance to either my comment, your previous comment, or even to the post.

                    To me, it either means that you're detached from reality, or your have some kind of temporal mind-shift screwing up your brain. Or you’re just dim-witted.

                    • Blazer

                      The link shows the U.S funding every year from 2014 till today.

                      The political landscape in Ukraine has changed often since independence…any guarantees and agreements by all parties seem to have been disregarded.

                      The point you do make ,is that myself and others have veered away from the actual…thread topic.-noted.

                    • lprent []

                      The link shows the U.S funding every year from 2014 till today.

                      Sure and what happened in 2014 ? Russia unlawfully made acts of aggression against a bordering state – Ukraine.

                      Wasn’t that the year that Russia invaded with unmarked troops and then annexed Crimea. 2014 – wasn’t that the year that Russia encouraged and supported a violent succession movement with Russian ‘volunteer’ soldiers and equipment in the Donbas?

                      Couldn’t that be the reason that the US and other countries who support the UN charter, while unable to get UN action because of Russia using its veto to prevent chapter 7 provisions against such aggression, provide military assistance at the request of Ukraine. Russia and you are complaining about the reaction to events that Russia itself triggered.

                      The political landscape in Ukraine has changed often since independence…any guarantees and agreements by all parties seem to have been disregarded.

                      Nope – Ukraine has closely abided by all the provisions of its agreements and guarantees as far as I can tell. So have all other parties to agreements and guarantees to Ukraine – except for Russia who appears to regard them as guidelines to be overstepped.

                      Russia complains about some ‘agreement’ about NATO, one that never written down or signed as an agreement anywhere. That ‘guarantee’ moreover, if explicitly made, was actually made to a state that no longer exists – the USSR. If Ukraine or Georgia or Lithuania or Baltic states, who were also part of the defunct state don’t appear to see that the growth of NATO is a problem, and all have joined or wanted to join NATO – why should Russia’s delusions on the subject overrule theirs?

                      The point you do make ,is that myself and others have veered away from the actual…thread topic.-noted.

                      Damn good idea, perhaps you’d stop trying to have the final word so I don’t have to keep pointing out your delusions.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.2.1.3

            So different from 1948 when a 'state' that existed 2000 years ago was suddenly bought into existence in an existing territory.

            The US strong armed a few General Assembly members to get the vote passed with 2/3 as required which partitioned Palestine

            ( Thailands delegation was revoked after their first vote of No)

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Partition_Plan_for_Palestine#The_vote

            • SPC 3.2.2.1.3.1

              All territories on the planet are existing. Palestine was not existing as a nation state, it was a former territory of the Ottoman empire.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Palestine did exist as mandate of the league of Nations. Like Syria

                It wasnt self governing but it did exist as a nation of its people like all the other ex Ottoman territories
                viz Aotearoa existed as the nation of the Maori people even though its wasnt a nation state in the western sense. But I digress

                https://www.britannica.com/place/Syria/The-French-mandate

                Greece was once part of the Ottoman empire too, like the other other Balkan states

                Israel didnt exist under the ottoman empire it was created by essentially US soft power in its 'sphere of influence' THE UN

                Not only creating a state that only existed 2000 years ago , the partition plan could only find 1 district that had a jewish majority and that was Tel Aviv – and that only worked by excluding its contiguous port city of Jaffa which was Arab.

                Creating a minority jewish state out of a majority arab territory – no problem when it serves US interests. NO can do do to carve a russian majority territory out of Ukraine.

                Oh and the jewish terrorist gangs started the war of expulsion agaisnt the arab villages even before the British left

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Hametz

                No siree no comparison with Putins war in Ukraine ( barrel bombs in Arab villages came later)

                https://etzel.org.il/english/photo/chavit.htm
                Funny how history repeats even when some say its doesnt

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Ottoman sanjaks which comprised Palestine: Accre , Nablus and Jerusalem Basically from coast to Jordan river valley as the natural line

                • SPC

                  Palestinian self-governance of any form had not existed in that land for for 2000 years – Jewish, or otherwise.

                  The 1947 partition included only two parts – one of which had a Jewish majority.

                  • ghostwhowalksnz

                    Not at all . The palestine territory didnt have a jewish majority

                    [deleted mostly copy-pasta without a referencing link, but rather ironically, too many links that triggered Auto-Moderation]

                    • Incognito

                      Mod note for you.

                    • ghostwhowalksnz

                      I disagree on that .

                      You said 'too many links' but Im 'missing links' as well Surely a note to fix the missing ones in a a reply could have worked?

                      But Ive got the message .

                    • Incognito []

                      You can disagree all you like, with a computer, which is essentially what Auto-Moderation is.

                      What was missing was the source link of your copy-pasta and it looked like something taken from Wikipedia.

                      Surely, you were in the wrong and wasting Moderator time.

                      I’m so glad that you’ve got the message though.

                    • SPC

                      Imbedded links in wikipedia copy and pastes need to be removed.

                    • Incognito []

                      Paste as plain text or Ctrl+Shift+V and embedded links will be converted to plain text.

            • lprent 3.2.2.1.3.2

              The creation of a partitioned Palestine was a complete mess forced by the US – agreed.

              However your assertion of an "existing territory" was more than a little (and probably deliberately) ambiguous.

              Palestine was seized by the British in 1917 while in a state of war declared against them by the Ottoman empire in 1914. It was conceded by the Ottomans to the British in 1918 as part of the peace settlement.

              In 1920 it was made a "mandate" of the British by the League of Nations. The Balfour declaration by the British caused a mass of Jewish migration to the mandate, aggravated by pre-WW2, and post-WW2 by the German (and other countries) persecutions.

              Both Jewish and Arab populations were large and this caused a problem about how to withdraw the mandate by the UN post-war. Especially considering the ongoing conflicts between ethnic and religious communities inside the mandate territories in the 3 decades of occupation.

              In 1945, the British announced that they would be not be interested in the UN Trusteeship. They proposed several plans to the UN between 1945 to 1947. The US rejected them and as they have a veto on the security council, the British eventually handed the problem to the UN.

              UNSCOP, a UN committee proposed the plan that was eventually followed on 1947. As far as I am aware, that was the only vaguely viable plan that was available for the UN to vote on. Although I suspect that simply forcing Jordan to accept Palestine under UN supervision would have been preferable.

              The US strong armed a few General Assembly members to get the vote passed with 2/3 as required which partitioned Palestine

              It was a shit plan voted on by the UN, and the US role was mostly shoehorning votes in the UN to adopt the plan in absence of anything else being available as an alternative. The British weren't staying. In 1948, there were no UN peace keepers. No-one else really wanted the place or had the credibility that they would even try to stop ethnic cleansing.

              Which is what happened anyway as the Israeli republic did their best to drive out and block the Arab citizens from returning.

              I can't see how that post-war fiasco has much to do with Russia invading Ukraine. Not unless you do what you did and smudge historical facts to try to makeup a story to fit your prejudices.

              • Poission

                The US had changed their mind over partition,and wanted Palestine under UN trusteeship,it was NZ who torpedoed Trumans plan.

                New Zealand's next action came at the. UN special
                session in March, 1948. At this session the. United
                States tried to backtrack. from its earlier position of
                support for the partition plan. 11 Truman did have a
                passing moment of indecision, in March 1948, when the gravity of the situation in Europe and the .outcry raised by
                the American Ambassadors in the Arab countries moved him to
                renounce the partition plan and propose international
                control over Palestine. This was also due in part to the
                fears for the safety of the new state entertained by
                friends of the Jews, for seeing the imminent Arab attack"

                The American proposal would have seen Palestine
                administered by the UN as a trust territory. This
                suggestion brought a .strong protest from New Zealand's
                representative, Sir Carl Berendsen. He dismissed the idea
                of trusteeship and the resolution proposing i.t. He
                argued that if partition was right in November 1947, then
                it was .still right. "When Berendsen sat. down, the
                American trusteeship idea was dead

                https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10092/12117/McKay_thesis.pdf

                • lprent

                  That is actually right. Thanks, I'd forgotten that bit of drama.

                  I vaguely remember that being part of the UK dislike of being potentially pushed back into Palestine as part of any trusteeship. They were well underway with their withdrawal at the time. The biggest problem with the US change of position was who was going to run the trusteeship.

                  https://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10092/103474/Galvin_1982.pdf?sequence=1

                  It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement. 56 voting or abstaining. There are now 193 Member States

                  During the committee discussions, New Zealand’s UN representative Sir Carl Berendsen spoke out strongly on the need for implementation provisions.

                  New Zealand voted for partition. The Yearbook of the United Nations records that the representatives of New Zealand, Canada and Denmark “held that the Partition Plan, although not a perfect solution of the Palestine question, represented the most equitable solution attainable under the circumstances.”

                  Partition was on the basis of demographics, with each proposed state having a majority of its own population. The Arab State was to have 804,000 Arabs and 10,000 Jews; the Jewish State (of which over half was the arid Negev Desert) was to have 538,000 Jews and 397,000 Arabs.

                  Resolution 181, the Partition Resolution, was passed on 29 November 1947 by 33 votes to 13 in the General Assembly, with 10 abstentions – more than the required two-thirds majority. The Arab UN delegates walked out of the Assembly in a body, saying they would have nothing to do with the result, and spoke of bloodshed to come.

                  • Poission

                    The UK at that time had severe economic constraints,housing shortage,reconfiguring industry from war to civilian production,large debts to the US and US political constraints on how you can use US dollars without having to bow to oversight from US politicos.

                    It is hard to judge political decision historically without viewing the full bed of constraints.

  4. Francesca 4

    I was amused by the begging trip to Maduro.Whatever happened to Juan Guaido ?

    As to the sanctions turning Russians against the Kremlin, that has never happened , it just reinforces in Russian minds the hostility the west has for Russia.

    But the unprecedented sanctions introduced by the west that could shrink the country’s GDP by as much as 20% have not turned the population against the Kremlin. “For now, sanctions actually have an opposite impact. Pointing to the sanctions, the authorities have been effective in convincing Russians that a ‘hostile’ west is acting against their interest,” explained Belanovsky.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/vladimir-putin-waves-the-flag-in-a-polarised-country-where-views-are-hard-to-shift

    And of course Russia is not about to default when it can repay its foreign debts with oil and gas prices through the roof

    . According to Javier Blas of Bloomberg, at the start of the year, Russia was earning $350 million per day from oil and $200 million per day from gas. On March 3 2022 Europe paid $720 million to Russia for gas alone.

    https://adamtooze.substack.com/p/chartbook-93-russias-720m-per-day?s=r

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      Russia is not about to default when it can repay its foreign debts with oil and gas prices through the roof

      It's funny how easy it is to repay your foreign debts when you can unilaterally opt to to repay them in worthless rubles. The effect is not dissimilar to outright seizure of assets, something which has been known to attract military responses. Russia issues list of ‘unfriendly’ countries amid Ukraine crisis | Russia-Ukraine war News | Al Jazeera

      As to the sanctions turning Russians against the Kremlin, that has never happened

      The combination of propaganda and state repression are hard to overcome – but Putin no longer has the mirage of communism with which to distract his victims. Moreover, it's a more joined up world, and the people are not quite as illiterate:

      In 1917, within the remaining Tsarist territories, an estimated 37.9% of the male population above seven years old was literate and only 12.5% of the female population was literate.

      In 2018, adult literacy rate for Russian Federation was 99.7 %. Adult literacy rate of Russian Federation increased from 98 % in 1989 to 99.7 % in 2018 growing at an average annual rate of 0.59%.

      That doesn't necessarily make them smart enough to reject Putin (it hasn't for you after all roflmao), but as a percentage, their credulity will be sensibly reduced.

      • aom 4.1.1

        What a strange comment. Of course Russia will pay in rubles, that is all they can do with ill considered sanctions imposed by hypocritical states under the control of an immoral regime – one that will greatly profit while the poodles have to suck up the consequences.

        By the way Stuart, have you not realised that the majority of the world's population has not signed up the Western Accord or whatever you want to describe it as.

    • SPC 4.2

      Yes the West is allowing SWIFT to be used to pay for any Russian oil and gas they still use.

      Russia’s Ministry of Finance has said it transferred a $117m bond interest payment, indicating it could have avoided its first external bond default in a century.

      The payments, which were due on Wednesday but with a 30-day grace period, are seen as the first test of whether Moscow will meet its international debt obligations after Western sanctions froze much of the government’s hard currency reserves held outside the country.

      The head of the International Monetary Fund warned a state default was no longer “an improbable event”, and ratings agencies have slashed Russia’s credit rating to below investment grade, or “junk”.

      Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Russia would pay in roubles should sanctions result in banks being unable to carry out interest payments in dollars. The ratings agency Fitch said such a move would constitute a default.

      Washington slapped harsh sanctions on Russia’s central bank in late February, blocking Americans from engaging in any transactions involving it.

      In early March, however, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a general licence that authorised transactions for US people for “the receipt of interest, dividend, or maturity payments in connection with debt or equity” issued by Russia’s finance ministry, central bank or wealth fund. The exemption runs out on May 25.

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/17/russia-says-it-transferred-bond-payment-to-avoid-default

  5. Francesca 5

    Lucy Komisar was on to the Bill Browder fraud in detail years ago .For us to be swallowing the Magnitsky story, (via O'Connor) is shameful.

    There is so much out there showing him to be a total fraud, but of course he's singing the anti Russia /Putin song that we apparently like to hear.

    Look up Komisar's stuff, she used to write on Common Dreams.She's an investigative journalist specialising in financial fraud.

    https://usrussiaaccord.org/lucy-komisar-danish-press-board-says-report-on-browder-is-true/

    A list of her articles, covering all manner of financial fraud, including the Bill Browder, Magnitsky reports

    https://muckrack.com/lucy-komisar/articles

    • Subliminal 5.1

      Yes Francesca. Putin demanded that all those that had made out like bandits in the Yeltsin years, recieving state owned assets at a level that makes NZs Roger Douglas years look amateurish, at least start paying taxes on their ill gotten wealth. It made him a lot of enemies and was the beginning of the attempt to reclaim Russian resources for the Russian people.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    For the Putin cheerleaders here:

    An interview with a Russian Putin critic who has survived two poisonings from the Putin regime.

  7. Byd0nz 7

    This phrase says it all ' It is one of the most autarkic countries in the world, a major oil and gas producer, the main source of grain exports, has extensive rare earth materials, and is a major exporter of fertilisers.'

    This is the prize the US wants, this is their hegmonic dream, Regime change of a US flavour, but as with all US fantasies, it wont happen. More likely if there was to be a change, it would be the second most popular Party that could prevail and far from being a dream change for the US that 2nd most popular Party is the Communist Party far far removed from Putin capitalist party of greed which is closer in nature to the US. Hope this scenario comes to fruition, welcome back Karl.

    • Stuart Munro 7.1

      It is always difficult to determine, let alone prove motives.

      But America has learned harsh lessons about crude resource grabs, and compounding Iraq with a much larger geographic occupation of Russia is implausible at this time.

      It would quite like to be rid of Putin however. Happily for the US, Putin is expending his military stockpiles far faster than he will be able to replace them. In a crude balance of power sense, the longer Russian forces bleed in Ukraine, the better it suits US interests. Putin without a capable military is not harmless, but much less of a nuisance.

      • Subliminal 7.1.1

        Oh right. That lesson must be that when you attempt to launch chaos and misery on some poor but resource rich country (Yemen) keep it out of the news, sell as much weaponry as you can to the agressor (Saudi Arabia) and fill in all the gaps that are less visible (targeting, naval blockade support and fighter refuelling)

  8. RedLogix 8

    Not only that, there are signs that sanctions on Russia will expedite moves to replace the US dollar as the preferred payment for oil and gas. China, Iran, and India are moving to pay for these materials in their own currencies.

    Typical anti-American wet-dream. The exact opposite has actually happened. Flight capital has been flooding into the US Dollar as one of the few safe currencies in the world.

    The Euro is a regional currency.

    The Ruble is worthless as no-one will reliably exchange it for anything.

    Every time the Yuan is opened up to free exchange the capital flight is unsustainable for more than a few weeks

    No-one will ever let the Poms be in charge of anything ever again

    One thing that is noticeably missing from the debate is how to we may be able to stop the war and return to peace. Western media, including our own, has gone full-blown frantic into disaster porn,

    Again completely divorced from reality. Putin started it, he has threatened to go nuclear against NATO if they do anything directly concrete to stop it. Smith is using the word diplomacy when he really means that Ukraine should surrender and let the Russians roll over the rest of Europe as he clearly would like them to do. Bombing cities into rubble as they go.

    There is only one path through this now – Ukraine is turned into a killing field where both sides grind themselves to a standstill and the Russian military have nothing conventional left and not much of Urkaine left standing. What we have to fear is not Russian strength, it is their weakness. At the point where they are at a stalemate on the ground, their choice will be between humiliating defeat and the removal of Putin, or they resort to nuking the rest of the world for the sheer nihilism of it.

    That is what we are up against – and Mike Smith is obviously backing Putin; his posts condemn everything Western and remain silent on Russia. He even manages to describe media coverage of Russian destruction as 'war porn', implying that like the Russian media the rest of the world should be gagged so as to ignore what is happening.

    His motives are clearly rooted in his long-standing and clearly articulated hatred of anything American that leads him into a full-throated support for both Xi Xinping and Putin – both of whom indisputably lead vile, authoritarian, anti-democratic regimes. There is no moral difference between Smith and the useful idiots in the 20' and 30's who thought Stalin was wonderful.

    • weston 8.1

      Dunno what youre on about red ?" Russians rolling into the rest of europe bombing cities into rubble as they go " What rubbish theres zero evidence of that ,and anyway how could they ?,if you listened to your own properganda press theyre meant to be losing the war theyre poorly trained running out of food cant fly their planes etc etc etc you cant have it both ways red lol .

      actually it looks to me like a peace deal is about to be struck with zelensky publicly making concessions .I get the impression that some people are almost disappointed and they actually wanted ukraine to fight to the very bitter end with everyone dead and everything destroyed !!

    • Byd0nz 8.2

      Pure diatribe from you as usual RL.

      If the UN had bothered to debate Russian concerns about the threat to it's security from the NATO expansion and billions of dollars worth of weaponary to an illegal Ukrainian regime post the 2014 coup, there would not have been a conflict of war.
      Under their own NATO rules, this Ukraine would need to clean up it's politics and corruption before it could join Nato. So they have used an innocent Country to needle the Bear knowing full well they would not help Ukraine except to feed them with WMD on Russias border. That is arrogance of the first order and every country aligned to the UN is complicit in this disaster. What major power would accept such weaponry on its border, come on get real.

      • RedLogix 8.2.1

        It is Ukraine being raped right now – and you are blaming them.

        You are a total fucking moron.

        • Byd0nz 8.2.1.1

          I think you will find that you are the fuckin moron. If your one eye was able to read the comment, you would see I was blaming NATO and the non action of the UN over Russian security concerns, not as your one eye suggested, blaming UKRAINE. Duh

          [Take the rest of the day off to chill down – Incognito]

          • Incognito 8.2.1.1.1

            Mod note for you.

          • Incognito 8.2.1.1.2

            To clarify, RedLogix got one warning, also because his past here as Moderator and Author. You have a much more checkered history and happened to be the next one stepping over the line. It’s only for one day, so stop your moaning.

    • Blazer 8.3

      ' Ukraine should surrender and let the Russians roll over the rest of Europe as he clearly would like them to do'

      Utter stupidity….not even entertained by Russia .

      This is a totally unnecessary conflict .

      The Ukraine has stated they feel betrayed and left on their…own.

    • SPC 8.4

      Putin was led into a trap by western intransigence. Zelensky will take the regret to the grave that he did not do a deal with a Putin (Macron was the only one looking out for Ukraine within NATO) – an armed neutrality for Ukraine, compensation for cession of Crimea, and EU/UN oversight over plebiscites determining the eastern border was possible.

      Now Putin will seek to siege cities until Ukraine accepts de-militarisation (vassal status), and loss of nova Russia. And leave Zelensky in place to make the deal so as to gain international acceptance.

      One little problem – in UN determined in 1949 that changes in borders realised by war would not be seen as legitimate internationally.

      Russia would require plebiscites for border change credibility. If the public mood in Kherson is any indication … and the bombing of Mariupol to ethnically cleanse the area …

      So Putin is left with all Ukraine or withdraw from Novarussia in return for demilitarisation.

      • RedLogix 8.4.1

        Putin was led into a trap by western intransigence

        Why the fuck should anyone let Putin turn Eastern Europe into his backyard?

        Everyone saw what he did in Chechnya, Georgia and Syria. And every country bordering with Russia knows that they could easily be next. This is pure ‘blame the victim’ apologetics.

        This war is Russia's last gasp, geographic and demographic concerns alone mean that either Putin succeeds in expanding the Russian borders back to that of the old Soviet Union, or they will cease to be a functional nation within decades.

        Their only path out of this fate is to join with the EU, but Putin's racist, homophobic vision of a morally superior Rus people defending themselves from the decadence of the West will preclude them from this as long as he lives. Which hopefully will not be long.

        • SPC 8.4.1.1

          Why the fuck should anyone let Putin turn Eastern Europe into his backyard?

          Accepting the loss of territory occupied by Russia since 2014-2015 is not letting Putin do anything that has not already been done.

          This is pure ‘blame the victim’ apologetics.

          The fault is with those turning Russia and Ukraine into victims to restore unity of NATO at the expense of those outside of it.

          Their only path out of this fate is to join with the EU

          The Russians will only feel equal to those in the West and thus part of their Europe, once the Americans depart.

          There were two scenarios for this.

          The easy way.

          1. Putin did not invade Ukraine, via talks with Macron, the new German leadership, Poland and Zelensky – a neutral and armed (Russian air defence system) Ukraine ceding Crimea and allowing EU/UN managed plebescites to determine borders. Ukraine joining the EU and a Russia-EU FTA (building on Nordstrom).

          Germany keeping defence spending at 1% and other EU members reducing spending down to this level, and forming a EU – Russia defence pact. The EU nations separating from the real NATO – Norway/UK/Canada/USA, and NATO forces leaving the European continent with the EU taking over all NATO bases.

          2. the hard way, coz it is inevitable.

          PS Russian occupation of their "Vladimir of Kiev homeland" is a poisoned chalice. The madness of King Putin has turned it to a Han Chinese occupation of Tibet or the NW, it is a warning to Beijing about the importance of getting the how of incorporating Taiwan right.

          • RedLogix 8.4.1.1.1

            The fault is with those turning Russia and Ukraine into victims to restore unity of NATO at the expense of those outside of it.

            The fault is with the evil madman who has ordered his tanks and missiles to murder a country. Your pathetic, groveling disgusts me.

            it is a warning to Beijing about the importance of getting the how of incorporating Taiwan right.

            Getting the apologetics in early for that one as well. Is there no totalitarian shit-head you won't rent yourself out to?

            • SPC 8.4.1.1.1.1

              Those who are not capable of rational discourse, resort to their primal capacity to hate and how to insult. They are unfit to set a moral course, thus their ways lead to war and not peace.

              • RedLogix

                Not me giving cover for Russian tanks and missiles murdering a country. I am of course perfectly capable of rational discourse and I have been doing it here for a lot longer than you. So you are dead wrong on that.

                But I am going to call out all the Putin cheerleaders here as devoid of all human morals. There comes a point when disgust and anger is indeed the correct response.

                • SPC

                  Not one word of your response to my posts was rational.

                  It seems you are trapped in some sort of either goodies or baddies mode for the duration.

                  It's sort of sad how Putin, and the leader of their Night Wolves, wrap themselves up in the same sort of white race moral Christian cause as the goodies in the West. But in each case, the lives of others are so easily sacrificed.

                • Incognito

                  That may be so, but please take your foot off the insult accelerator.

      • Francesca 8.4.2

        Kosovo?

        • aj 8.4.2.1

          Hmmm. Kosovo …

          One of the best French takes on the current situation is that of Dominique de Villepin here:

          [They also both dislike] the West’s hypocrisy. For Putin we are liars. Example: 1999, Kosovo. We engaged a military intervention without authorization…from the UN security council by claiming there was a genocide on Albanians by the Serbians.

          The second lie that demonstrates Western hypocrisy is the US in Iraq. The Russian foreign minister told me many times we never did anything to judge those who committed the…monstrous war crimes that killed hundreds of thousands of people, like George Bush or Tony Blair."

          https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1505396482274304000.html

        • SPC 8.4.2.2

          Secession into an independent state is not acquisition by an existing nation state (for example the Albanians did not annex Kosovo).

          And nations can allow secession by plebisicite – for example Scotland referendums or deny them (Catalonia).

          Russia backed the independence of Abkhazia from Georgia and recognises its independence and South Ossetia from Georgia also – few other nations have recognised either. However, what it has not done is allow a merger of North Ossetia (within Russia) and South Ossetia.

      • aj 8.4.3

        Zelensky will take the regret to the grave that he did not do a deal with a Putin (Macron was the only one looking out for Ukraine within NATO)

        If Zelenskyy was brave he would have stood up to the Nazis and the United States, instead of being a puppet that put his citizens in danger by not living up to the agreements with Russia that Ukraine has been breaking for 8 years.

        • roblogic 8.4.3.1

          Leading your nation to war against an overwhelming foe, and refusing to surrender in the face of likely death from Russian bombs, is not enough bravery for you?

          You have a slave mentality that would put Ukraine back in chains under the Russian yoke.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    The implications of New Zealand stepping outside the UN umbrella with the special Russia sanctions legislation is most concerning. “Rules based” international consensus and negotiation has long been this country's approach to armed conflicts.

    The Labour Caucus has taken the Anglophile 5 Eyes bait and we are now undeniably linked to US Imperialism again. Bad move. Because a reasonably independent foreign policy and bilateral trade and cultural ties with individual smaller countries was the way forward for Aotearoa NZ in the era of climate disaster, COVID collapsed supply chains and imperialist driven aggression.

    • Adrian Thornton 9.1

      @Tiger Mountain +1

    • Ad 9.2

      It is a big step, Good to see us acting when the UN Security Council can't.

      Let's see exactly how big a step it really is the next time the US does something really stupid.

      • Francesca 9.2.1

        Do we really need to wait before we know?

        Come on, I think we already know we are small and gutless.The US is already committing genocide on the Afghans by divvying up Afghanistan's money amongst well off US citizens, family of 9/11

        I'm waiting to hear the squeaks from Mahuta, who supposedly stands up for the rights of indigenous peoples.Palestinians ditto

  10. tsmithfield 10

    The question posed on this thread is "Who pays the price of sanctions".

    Well, for one, I am willing to pay the price. Whether that be in higher fuel prices or inflation, or helping poorer nations affected by Putin's madness.

    The hypocrisy of those who appear to be supportive of what Putin and Russia is doing astounds me.

    For one, they are happy to enjoy all the west has to offer while at the same time pouring scorn on it.

    Secondly, they are happy to use the freedoms of expression the west offers to spew their bile. But I have no doubt they would be the first to complain if their rights to express those views were removed, in the same way freedom of expression is repressed in Russia.

    So far as I am concerned, people who think and feel that way should at least be consistent with their beliefs and emigrate to Russia and see how they enjoy living there.

    • Tiger Mountain 10.1

      The old “Nu Zilund–love it or leave it” shtick eh smithfield…

      At the end of the day as a former NZ PM used to say, Russians will have sort out their own country with mass participation and some international solidarity. A mate of mine based in Geneva works for the IUF a union Federation that assists organising millions of workers including in Russia.

      Interestingly in the USA mass participation is also needed right now to avert official authoritarianism likely in the event of a Republican win in the 2022 mid term and 2024 elections. Further voter suppression laws are being installed at state level where there are Republican Governors.

  11. Francesca 11

    So it's now hypocrisy to exercise one's right of free speech?

    Criticism of hubristic foreign policy and recognition of Russia's security concerns now means whole hearted approval of all things Russia/Putin.? I think it is you who is suggesting a soviet style group think as the only way to go .Dissenters should be excised and exiled?

    "You're with us or against us "

    • tsmithfield 11.1

      "Criticism of hubristic foreign policy and recognition of Russia's security concerns now means whole hearted approval of all things Russia/Putin.?"

      I have no problems at all with discussing international issues as they affect various countries.

      But the target of my comment was those whose arguments are used to justify or minimise what is happening in Ukraine by Russia against innocent civilians at the moment. Those who view what is going on in Maruipol at the moment as collateral damage rather than deliberate targeting of civilians and war crimes.

      Those who criticise my comment, please watch the video above and let me know your position on that. Then I will know where you stand.

      • Blazer 11.1.1

        Here is an overview of the whole situation by the U.K Daily Mail journalist Martin Jay.He makes some very salient points.

        Well worth reading.

        'The theme of meddling in the domestic politics of countries that are politically finding their own feet after the fall of communism, by backing so-called “revolutions” but then failing to support their friends when the blood starts to flow is really what Biden is all about. '

        Ukraine War Will Bring NATO to New All-Time Low When Biden Arrives at Brussels Meeting — Strategic Culture (strategic-culture.org)

        • tsmithfield 11.1.1.1

          I already know where you stand.

          Yesterday you made the comment:

          "Your video does not convince me that civilians were deliberately targeted."

          By deduction then, you would just view this situation as "collateral damage".

          But then again, cool. That article you linked to is asserting that the west should be doing more not less so far as supporting Ukraine is concerned.

          "The danger of being weak, which is clear to see with the Ukraine situation where NATO hasn’t the courage to threaten Putin with a nuclear or even conventional war, is that people remember it for a very long time and in terms of PR and its own identity, the failure to support Ukraine will reverberate for decades to come"

          So, the article is arguing that the west should be stronger not weaker with respect to Russia.

          I am glad you are starting to see sense.

          • Blazer 11.1.1.1.1

            You need to broaden your outlook.

            What were the catalysts that resulted in this tragic conflict?

            If you are objective ,you can easily find the…answer.

          • left for dead 11.1.1.1.2

            "collateral damage"interesting you use an American term for their killing of civilians.

  12. Sanctuary 12

    "…Russia has so far not imposed any counter-sanctions. That will depend on events, but if imposed will be proportional and significant…"

    Russia is a literal petro-state that can't keep it's fifty year old tanks fueled up 70km from it's own border and has to resort to 1940s style indiscriminate bombardment to match it's 1940s style aggression. It has an economy roughly the size of Italy except Russia actually is run by the mafia and relies exclusively on energy and nuclear blackmail to maintain the pretense it is a superpower. In fact, Russia is a fascist gangster state that is so enfeebled by larceny and corruption as to barely be a regional power and has an army that is making an absolute meal of trying to overcome the fierce resistance of one of the poorest countries in Europe, and that country is situated right next door to Russia.

    The world got on fine without the much trade with the USSR and it will again – in fact this war is probably the kick up the pants a complacent Europe needed to get serious about removing it's energy dependence on Russia. China might fill the gap, but the relationship will not be one of equals and Putin will quickly discover that being a Chinese vassal isn't as much fun as playing the bully boy on the forecourt of Europe's gas station has been.

    • Francesca 12.1

      It must be the most highly armed country in Europe as well as one of the poorest.

      It’s been receiving arms since 2014, plus its been propped up with IMF loans, had already received 5 billion US $ before the coup in 2014, and is even now being sent further billions courtesy of the US taxpayer.

      If the country wasn’t so riddled with thieving oligarchs like Ihor Kolomoisky, (sponsor of Zelensky)they’d be a damned sight better off

      But records show that year after year, the transfers continued while prosecutors say Mr. Kolomoisky orchestrated a scheme that nearly bankrupted Ukraine’s largest financial institution and sent the nation’s economy into a recession.

      https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2022/02/20/Ihor-Kolomoisky-US-banks-warren-ohio-steel-plant-ukraine/stories/202202200063

      The US grand jury is examining the finances of Kolomoisky, a key supporter of President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a probe that has tracked the money from the Ukrainian bank through a maze of offshore companies to the US, according to two sources familiar with the inquiry.

      https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/mikesallah/ukraine-billionaire-oligarch-money-laundering-investigation

      Maybe Russia and Ukraine and the US share common values
      It’s a war of oligarchs?

      • DB Brown 12.1.1

        "It's a war of oligarchs?"

        Isn't it always. We can say it's oil or minerals or arable land… but it's the rich people who think it's their right to control said oil, minerals and arable land who battle each other over such things and drag the rest of us into it. Religion, race, politics… find some way to define the differences between two mobs and set them at each other. Supply the weapons, food, healthcare, etc and cash in.

        Everyone's a winner if you stand back far enough.

      • RedLogix 12.1.2

        So what. Right now tens of thousands of Ukrainian people don't give a shit about your demands for historic political perfection – they just want Putin out of their land.

        And their sacrifice is giving birth to a new nation right before our eyes. Yet you would have it strangled.

    • lprent 12.2

      Russia is a literal petro-state that can't keep it's fifty year old tanks fueled up 70km from it's own border and has to resort to 1940s style indiscriminate bombardment to match it's 1940s style aggression.

      I don't think that they have a lot of choice about the indiscriminate bombardment. Apart from going through much of their stockpile of precision bombs in the first week of the war. The military analysis indicates that Russia hasn't managed to take control of air, and have mostly been doing the bombing of positions in cities at night. It is pretty pointless using their remaining precision weapons at night, so they're often way off target with dumb weapons.

      By all accounts, they haven't managed to do much better with artillery. Due to the lack of observers from drones or air, the viscous counter battery fire from the Ukrainians, and a presumed inability to get relevant information from satellites to the arty – they appear to have been pretty indiscriminate on that as well.

      It has been notable to me that most of the recent precision strikes recently have been using cruise missiles fired from Russian soil against previously known and mapped sites like barracks and underground military warehouses.

      Basically, the Iranians and Yemenis with their drone strikes and relatively primitive missiles against the UAE and Saudis could give the Russian forces some useful pointers and lessons in precision strikes.

      Just about any other armed forces in the world could give them lessons in logistics.

    • tsmithfield 13.1

      My simple response to that is: "two wrongs don't make a right".

      But really, you are pointing to a huge false equivalence in the links you have given.

      If those actions in the past by Ukraine appall you, then what do you think of the video I posted?

      • Francesca 13.1.1

        Appalling.War is appalling .

        But the US and the EU chose to turn a blind eye to what Ukraine was doing for 8 years, Ukraine chose not to implement the Minsk accords, relying on EU/US complicity and encouragement and sending of arms so that Poroshenko and Zelensky could believe in a military solution

        Where is their military solution now?

        History does not start today

      • Francesca 13.1.2

        You choose to turn a blind eye to one of the wrongs in favour of the other .There is your hypocrisy

        • tsmithfield 13.1.2.1

          As in many situations there is no clear beginning and ending to conflicts, and in some cases, chains of injustice go back centuries or longer.

          Look at the history of Afghanistan for example.

          But, can you agree with me that surrounding a city with artillery and shelling it constantly knowing many civilians still live there, frequently preventing civilians to evacuate, shelling hospitals, shelling civilians waiting for bread, bombing civilians sheltering in a facility clearly labelled "children", refusing to allow humanitarian supplies to come in, is totally wrong and immoral, whatever the historical context is?

          • Blazer 13.1.2.1.1

            Yet you have stated Russia has already lost!

            Where is your hard evidence backing your assertions of pre meditated crimes against… civilians?

            • tsmithfield 13.1.2.1.1.1

              FFS. If the evidence that is already out there isn't enough to convince you, then nothing will. I think you should definitely emigrate to Russia as you seem to be Putin's cheerleader.

              Let me spell it out to you.

              If a military intentionally surrounds a city with artillary knowing that many civilians are there, and intentionally shells that city to the point of destruction, then it is intentionally targeting civilians. Because a known consequence of that action will be many civilian deaths.

              If that same military blocks humanitarian aid getting in, and prevents civilians from leaving, or shells civilians who are fleeing, then I don't know how a rational person could view it as anything other than targeting civilians.

              And Russia has already lost. It has lost in so many ways. Even if it meets all its military objectives it is lost in the longterm as has been explained to you numerous times.

            • aj 13.1.2.1.1.2

              An unpopular take: when the dust settles, Russia will be found to have conducted a military campaign where assiduous compliance with the law of war was the norm. Ukraine, on the other hand, will be the subject of numerous war crimes investigation

              Scott Ritter – twitter

              • joe90

                The replies…surprise

                • aj

                  You often play the man, not the ball. Same with Douglas Macgregor a few days ago.

                  Irrespective of elements of their background, they have training, experience and credentials to base their comments on.

                  • joe90

                    Lending credence to the utterings of a twice-busted wannabe kiddie fucker says an awful lot about those who do, sport.

                    • Francesca

                      no kiddy fucking took place .It was a sting operation, that doesn't detract from his knowledge of military intelligence and strategies one little bit.

                    • aj

                      Paul Gauguin? Michel Jackson? says a lot more that most people can separate the personal issues from the art and music.

              • Francesca

                Actually aj, here's an interesting take from Christopher Black, Canadian criminal lawyer who has been involved in war crime tribunals…on the legality of the invasion

                https://christopher-black.com/the-legality-of-war/

                • weston

                  Brilliant ,and' good to know ' thanks fancesca

                • RedLogix

                  The entire case rests on one key sentence:

                  First, the Kiev regime was mounting a major offensive with NATO’s help against the Donbass Republics with the intent of destroying them.

                  That is the lie. The rest unravels into nonsense.

                  • Francesca

                    Thanks Red, couldn't find the lie in your link , but great link!

                    https://greekreporter.com/2022/02/22/history-donbas-donetsk-luhansk/

                    This strike was followed by a 1994 consultative referendum on various constitutional questions in Donetsk and Luhansk, held concurrently with the first parliamentary elections in independent Ukraine.

                    These questions included whether Russian should be declared an official language of Ukraine, whether Russian should be the language of administration in Donetsk and Luhansk, whether Ukraine should federalise, and whether Ukraine should have closer ties with the Commonwealth of Independent States, the remnants of the Soviet Union.

                    Almost 90% of voters voted in favor of these propositions; however, none of them were adopted: Ukraine remained a unitary state, Ukrainian was retained as the sole official language, and the Donbas gained no autonomy.

                    Seems like the Donbas has wished for its close ties with Russia to be recognised since at least 1994.

                    The OSCE reported a buildup of Ukrainian troops at the LOC prior to the invasion, weapons were being pumped in, encouraging the Ukr. army a military solution was possible

                    • RedLogix

                      Let me see – Australia decides to send lots and lots of people to say Northland. And once those people become a majority they declare themselves a Republic and then elect a government that has a policy of becoming another state of Australia.

                      Then when the NZ govt decides to take Northland back, the Australians invade the whole country and bomb old peoples homes to rubble as a means of persuading us.

                      I guess you would be good with this. No?

                    • SPC

                      Texas. But yeah R

                    • SPC

                      Russia had mobilised an army to move into Ukraine, and any activity by Ukraine is intent to attack the areas seeking autonomy … ?

          • Francesca 13.1.2.1.2

            I note that when Russia advanced deeper into Mariupol, it is then that the humanitarian corridors became viable.

            Note Patrick Lancaster moving towards the centre of Maruipol through Russian cleared territory, and the direction of travel of the refugee cars

            And also the plight of the civilians on foot , who think all the warring parties are dicks

            Plus the drunken civilian idiot in possession of a machine gun firing at random.Great idea to let out the prisoners, hand anyone a gun .God knows where these guns will end up via the black market

        • Sanctuary 13.1.2.2

          One side is heroically engaged in a existential battle for the very survival of their country. The other is engaged in a brutal and unnecessary war of aggression. That's it. There is nothing else to consider.

          And I'll admit it – the Ukrainians have my admiration, they are to a man a shit ton braver than I'll ever be and their will to fight and utter determination to resist the invader is worthy of the highest accolades. If they win this war, they'll have paid for their independence in their own blood. Would we be as so determined to resist an invader? I doubt it. Reading this site tells me a lot of people have no idea how important being independent and governed by laws of your own making is.

    • Sanctuary 13.2

      Who started the war? Who was to blame for area bombing, Churchill or Hitler? Remember, we declared war on the Germans so were we the aggressors?

      I don’t get all this bending over backwards from elements of the left to accommodate a fascist dictatorship waging a war of aggression using facile whataboutism and wailing finger pointing at the horrors of war to create a false equivalence.

      We can talk about the state of the Ukraine once they have won the right with their own blood to decide that for themselves.

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        Exactly. I think there is a form of cognitive dissonance going on here with some of those who try to deny, minimise, or refuse to condemn, what is happening in Ukraine at the moment.

        I don't think they can reconcile their favourable view of Russia and Putin with the horrors happening to civilians in Ukraine at the moment. So, the way to deal with the inconsistency is to find some way to justify, or at least minimise what Russia is doing in Ukraine.

        I think if it was the US behaving in exactly the same way to some other country their response would be quite different.

        • Blazer 13.2.1.1

          'I think if it was the US behaving in exactly the same way to some other country their response would be quite different'

          As would yours…guaranteed.

          • tsmithfield 13.2.1.1.1

            If the US was doing what I described above:

            "surrounding a city with artillery and shelling it constantly knowing many civilians still live there, frequently preventing civilians to evacuate, shelling hospitals, shelling civilians waiting for bread, bombing civilians sheltering in a facility clearly labelled "children", refusing to allow humanitarian supplies to come in"

            Then, yes, I would be responding in exactly the same way. Because such behaviour is totally inhumane, and those who in anyway support such behaviour are tainted by implication IMO.

            • Blazer 13.2.1.1.1.1

              You must be horrified at what is happening in Yemen right now then!

              Did you see the school bus blown to pieces by a U.S bomb?

              US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus | Yemen | The Guardian

              • tsmithfield

                More whataboutism.

                Complete false equavalence. Did the US directly drop the bomb? No.

                However, I think if countries supply munitions to other countries and those countries misuse the munitions in human rights abuses, then the country that supplied in the first place should certainly not supply more, and should condemn the action.

                If the US hasn't taken that step, then they should.

                • Blazer

                  So aside from the U.S supplying the bomb and supporting the Saudi regime….you are o.k with the actual conflict?

                  I love the disdain for whataboutism, since it was a default rejoinder when the Natz were in power='Labour did it…too'…!

                  It is a convenient device in a wider context now…as used by you re the U.S.

                  You really do live in a black and white universe…that is your personal…tragedy.

              • RedLogix

                The Yemen conflict is a nasty proxy war between Saudi and Iran – two countries that hate each other without limits.

                Both sides are using weapons supplied from all over the planet – and if the US didn't supply them someone else would.

                It would of course be hypothetically good if someone invaded Saudi Arabia and removed the pack of psychopathic princelings who run the place. Or the thugs who run Iran, preferably both. But then all the tyrant loving rent-boys here would predictably fall into line, run apologist lines for them and blame the US.

                • Blazer

                  Capt America…'logix'

                  ' and if the US didn't supply them someone else would.'

                  • RedLogix

                    There are plenty of countries that make armaments – do you imagine that if the the west embargoed selling to Saudi that the Russians or Chinese would not rush to fill the orders?

                  • Blazer

                    @incognito…is today ad hominem day?

                    RL replied to me-'do you imagine that if the the west embargoed selling to Saudi that the Russians or Chinese would not rush to fill the orders?

                    He also then stated that-' Chinese firms accounted for 13 per cent of total Top 100 arms sales in 2020'

                    So the basis for his premise is clearly flawed ,and nothing more than a reflection of his own prejudice.

                    • Incognito

                      When in doubt use the Duck Test combined with Occam’s Razor.

                      Your logic seems flawed to but feel free to have another attempt at faulting RL’s premise. I think it’ll be an exercise in futility (actually, a mission impossible), but who am I to stop you from trying. Just stop the willy-waving contest.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  "The Yemen conflict is a nasty proxy war between Saudi and Iran – two countries that hate each other without limits"…..you are a smart guy RL, you must understand that the conflict in Ukraine is a also proxy war between US-NATO/Russian right?

                  "It would of course be hypothetically good if someone invaded Saudi Arabia"….name one country that has US protection, that has been invaded in the past twenty years?..apart from the Ukraine?.

                  ” do you imagine that if the the west embargoed selling to Saudi that the Russians or Chinese would not rush to fill the orders?”…..you or I don’t know that, from what I can make out, the Chinese position is generally they prefer countries to be at peace so they can trade with them and in the surrounding area’s more smoothly.

                  • RedLogix

                    Oh well never mind:

                    Chinese firms account for second largest share of Top 100 arms sales

                    The combined arms sales of the five Chinese companies included in the Top 100 amounted to an estimated $66.8 billion in 2020, 1.5 per cent more than in 2019. Chinese firms accounted for 13 per cent of total Top 100 arms sales in 2020, behind US companies and ahead of companies from the United Kingdom, which made up the third largest share.

                    ‘In recent years, Chinese arms companies have benefited from the country’s military modernization programmes and focus on military–civil fusion,’ said Dr Nan Tian, SIPRI Senior Researcher. ‘They have become some of the most advanced military technology producers in the world.’ NORINCO, for example, co-developed the BeiDou military–civil navigation satellite system and deepened its involvement in emerging technologies.

                    • Blazer

                      Vey selective ..'whataboutry' there Red…

                      'Chinese firms accounted for 13 per cent of total Top 100 arms sales in 2020,'

                      Misleading bold header.

                    • RedLogix

                      @Blazer
                      Finally I understand what your problem is. You are a fuckwit.

                      The words in the article are plain enough – Chinese companies comprise the second largest group of armament sales globally.

                      Which blows the other fuckwit’s claim literally out of the water.

                    • Blazer

                      Well this fuckwit can read your link and the main takeaway is this…

                      'US companies amounted to $285 billion—an increase of 1.9 per cent compared with 2019—and accounted for 54 per cent of the Top 100’s total arms sales. Since 2018, the top five companies in the ranking have all been based in the USA.

                      God knows what point you are trying to…make.

                    • Incognito []

                      I have to agree that your comments read as if they’re made by a simpleton fuckwit. The point made was clear enough and in direct, appropriate, and relevant response to Adrian Thornton @ 8:19 am (https://thestandard.org.nz/who-pays-the-price-of-sanctions/#comment-1877347).

                      Maybe it’s time to call a peaceful end to this willy-waving contest.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      "According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's latest report on the global arms sales in 2020, U.S. companies continue to dominate the ranking. Together, the arms sales of the 41 U.S. companies amounted to 285 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 1.9 percent compared with 2019. And since 2018, the top five companies in the ranking have all been based in the United States"
                      http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/06/c_1310355141.htm

                      US strides ahead of competition in global arms sales results
                      https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/defence-notes/global-arms-sales-sees-us-stride-ahead-of-competit/

                      Combine the 39% of world wide arms sale coming out of the USA with those of it's allies in Europe the UK and elsewhere..and a clear image starts to emerge….over 60% of the worlds arms trade originates from the so called defenders of Democracy…isn't that strange?..it is almost as if they more interested in destabilizing certain parts of the world….unless of course you believe democracy is best delivered at the gun of a gun?

                      "The 26 European arms companies in the Top 100 jointly accounted for 21 percent of total arms sales, or $109bn"

                      "The seven UK companies recorded arms sales of $37.5bn in 2020, up by 6.2 percent compared with 2019"

                    • Incognito []

                      Another one who’s so close yet so far. Did you all fail reading comprehension at school or is it just selective blindness with obnoxiousness? Why are you bleating on about Europe and the UK? Why are you quoting those irrelevant stats? The point/premise was that China (and Russia) would be rushing in to fill arms orders “if the the west embargoed selling” [sic]. Unless the West ≠ US, UK and Europe. In fact, China is already the second largest arms trader in the world, as RL pointed out.

            • RedLogix 13.2.1.1.1.2

              Exactly. And that is the polite version.

              • Blazer

                The U.S military/industrial complex meddles in the affairs of other nations….because they…can.

                The U.S is responsible for more death and destruction in the world in the last 50 years than all other actors…combined.

                • tsmithfield

                  In what way does what the US has or hasn't done in the past in anyway justify what Russia is doing to innocent civilians right now?

                  • Blazer

                    It doesn't.

                    But you have yet to prove that Russia is deliberately targeting civilians.

                    We can prove the U.S has deliberately targeted civilians on a number of…ocassions.

                    • RedLogix

                      But you have yet to prove that Russia is deliberately targeting civilians.

                      Producing that proof is an impossible demand – for the simple reason that no-one has reliable access to what the Russian military's intentions are.

                      But we can sure as hell make some pretty good deductions based on all the images of destroyed civilian apartment blocks and similar such devastation now flooding the internet.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “But you have yet to prove that Russia is deliberately targeting civilians.”

                      Oh right.. so what would be an acceptable standard of "proof'" to you?

                      Or is this just a little game you are playing where nothing would be acceptable as "proof'" no matter how good it was?

                      But here is a list of a few of the ”alleged” war crimes:

                      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/russias-most-barbaric-war-crimes-26490300

                • RedLogix

                  The U.S is responsible for more death and destruction in the world in the last 50 years than all other actors…combined.

                  And paradoxically also responsible for more peace and human development than at any time ever in our human history.

                  There are no perfect human polities, they all make mistakes and become entangled in disasters. But the redeeming features of the Western model are:

                  • The sanctity of the individual and human life
                  • The role of markets and contracts
                  • An independent media
                  • An independent judiciary
                  • Democratically accountable government and voluntary transfer of power

                  These mechanisms, again all imperfect, nonetheless mean that we self-correct. And that people like you are free to speak out, which means that mistakes instead of compounding eventually die away. By contrast the strong man autocrats you love so much, invariably become isolated and lacking anyone to correct them – fall into madness.

                  Try seeing how long you would last in Red Square protesting against this war.

  13. Sanctuary 14

    I watched a video this morning of Ukrainian troops in Mariupol fighting at point blank range a street battle with Russian armour, using a heavy calibre automatic weapon on an armoured vehicle to destroy an infantry fighting vehicle and a tank at less than 25m range.

    It was an uncomfortably voyeuristic experience. Ferocious combat, close range, intense and terrifyingly violent and it showed an inevitable truth of modern war – when two equally heavily equipped and determined adversaries decide to fight extreme violence will happen. War has a remorseless logic of its own and savagery enters the souls of the good and the bad alike. That is why we must always condemn in the strongest terms those who start wars as war criminals, and Putin is without doubt a war criminal for starting this needless war. The blame is entirely his, and his alone, and all his generals are accomplices in his crime.

    • tsmithfield 14.1

      It if it wasn't so chilling it would be ironic. Putin claims he wants to "denazify" Ukraine. But he is behaving like the biggest Nazi of them all.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        Yes the historic parallels are obvious and downright chilling.

        • Blazer 14.1.1.1

          Here is some balance for you Red…a renown U.K journo who actually lived in Russia.

          '

          We have been utter fools.

          We have treated Russia with amazing stupidity. Now we pay the price for that. We had the chance to make her an ally, friend and partner.

          Instead we turned her into an enemy by insulting a great and proud country with greed, unearned superiority, cynicism, contempt and mistrust.

          I have to endure, often several times a day, listening to people who are normally perfectly sensible and reasonable, raging wildly against Russia and Russians.

          Once, I was just like them. I had the normal anti-Russian prejudice of so many Western people. '

          PETER HITCHENS: Why I blame the arrogant, foolish West for the Ukraine crisis | Daily Mail Online

          • RedLogix 14.1.1.1.1

            Show me where I have said anything anti-Russian. It is Putin and his cronies who are the filth, not the Russian people who I have a genuine respect for. Quite the contrary as a consequence of living and working in the country for a period during 2001 I came away wanting only the best for them.

            Tragically it is not only the Ukrainian people who are going to suffer catastrophically as a result of this madness.

      • lprent 14.1.2

        That was from the rally he made? The most chilling bit for me was..

        The crowd listened to nationalist singer Oleg Gazmanov performing a nostalgic song, “Made in the U.S.S.R.,” extolling the Soviet Union’s reach to include countries like the Baltic states, Moldova and Kazakhstan.

        Now that has to be chilling after Putin pulling the whole Russian ethnic superiority shtick, making threats against all of the "opponents, who are branded traitors and “fifth columnists” by authorities.". Apparently ordering students and state employees to attend.

        He even went to far as doing what I'd describe as raising a pogrom or a crusade.

        He said Russian soldiers were “fighting shoulder to shoulder” supporting and covering one another and upholding Christian values. “We haven't had such unity for a long time,” he said.

        It would appear that even being being a member the Ukrainian Eastern Orthodox christian in Ukraine means that christian soldiers from Russia should try to kill you. Anyone who supports that, (including Mike) should really satrt to have a clsoe look at who they are supporting.

        What I saw of it just reminded me of the film shot with all of the pageantry, christian and racial fervour that was displayed at the Nuremberg rallies in Germany in 1936 and 1937.

      • Ad 14.1.3

        State control of a country's major corporations through autocratic command is pretty much a definition of National Socialism.

        So the label fits Putin pretty well.

        • Poission 14.1.3.1

          Na John Raulston Saul defined it well in the unconscious civilization

          “Now listen to the first three aims of the corporatist movement in Germany, Italy and France during the 1920s. These were developed by the people who went on to become part of the Fascist experience:
          (1) shift power directly to economic and social interest groups;
          (2) push entrepreneurial initiative in areas normally reserved for public bodies;
          (3) obliterate the boundaries between public and private interest — that is, challenge the idea of the public interest.
          This sounds like the official program of most contemporary Western governments.”

          And defines well the courtiers who never quite get to seat at high table.

          “The neo-conservatives, who are closely linked to the neo-corporatists, are rather different. They claim to be conservatives, when everything they stand for is a rejection of conservatism. They claim to present an alternate social model, when they are little more than the courtiers of the corporatist movement. Their agitation is filled with the bitterness and cynicism typical of courtiers who scramble for crumbs at the banquet tables of real power, but are always denied a proper chair.”

          • Ad 14.1.3.1.1

            JR Saul might want to better investigate Russia and the Putin-Ologarchy State.

            • Poission 14.1.3.1.1.1

              and their Arabian friendships.

        • Sanctuary 14.1.3.2

          IMHO, we shouldn't rely on phenomenological observations of the nature of the Russian gangster klepto-state to decide whether or not Putin is a Fascist.

          If we examine the situational development of the Russian state rather than trying to work out if Putin meets a set criteria of style over substance (is that "Z" a fascist symbol? is Putin a sufficiently charismatic strongman to qualify? Does his economic model meet the criteria?) and instead see fascism as a process then we can instead replace procedure with some questions. Does Putinism claim there is a crisis that cannot be solved by traditional methods? Does his Russia demand the individual be subordinated to the group? Does he believe Russia is a victim, legitimising extra-legal action against his enemies? Is exclusionary violence part of an effort to reverse decline?

          By these criteria then the undeniability of the Fascism of Putin's Russia comes into sharp focus.

          As an aside, if we treat Fascism as a process then it should be clear that Trumpism and our own Voices For Freedom crowd are Fascist movements at different points along the above questions of process. Of course, Claire Deeks would refuse to identify as a Fascist – to paraphrase the fascist Primo de Rivera she isn't a fascist, she is a patriot. She is from a middle New Zealand, but she rejects mainstream New Zealand.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 14.2

      Yes . NZ joined the harsh Nato sanctions against its member Turkey for the unprovoked war and invasion of neighbour Independent and commonwealth member Cyprus.

      Ahh. No they or we didnt do anything

      Then there was the invasion of East Timor… I think you get the drift

      Lest not forget the invasion by US of Panama ,(89-90) an independent state which just happened to have a canal.

      Footnote Panama was created out of Colombia by 'the locals' (after Colombia rejected the proposed new canal) who just so happened to have US Marines stationed in the main city. So we can relax , as Panama was totally in US sphere of Influence and they do as they pleased

      • SPC 14.2.1

        Indonesia withdrew from East Timor before the "invasion".

        It's a rules based world.

        No one confronts nations with nukes directly, no one sanctions allies and when ethnic groups get their self determination, it is good or bad based on who does it (Kosovo good, South Ossetia and Abkhazia bad etc).

        Noriega had been indicted for drug trafficking.

  14. Francesca 15

    Looks totally generic to me .I see middle class matrons any day of the week wearing something similar in Wanaka .Any verification thats a genuine Loro Piana coat?

    Can't see the label from here , and Putin hasn't hung his coat on my hook for a while now.

    I'd say the shoes are Bata though, definitely.

  15. Ad 16

    What would the EU and NATO consequences be if Belarus sent its own troops and airforces into Ukraine?

    The buildups along this northern border to block NATO nation resupply routes look convincing.

    • tsmithfield 16.1

      There is a good reason Belarus is cautious about joining the war directly (although they are supporting indirectly in other ways).

      Firstly, it would be hugely unpopular at home.

      Secondly, the Belarusian forces simply aren't up to it.

      "There’s a good reason for that caution. Joining the attack against Ukraine would be hugely unpopular — a survey found that only 3 percent of Belarusians support such an idea, according to Ryhor Astapenia, who leads Belarus Initiative at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Program — and it could break the military, which is one of the key pillars keeping Lukashenko in power.

      “The Belarusian army has never fought anywhere, the army is not prepared for external conflicts,” said Valery Sakhashchyk, a retired army lieutenant colonel and former commander of the 38th Airborne Brigade based in the city of Brest near the border with Ukraine. “Lukashenko is far from being a fool. He understands that there is a large risk that the Belarusian army will not succeed, that it will suffer heavy losses, and then his last supporters could very well turn away from him — and that would be a disaster [for Lukashenko].”""

      https://www.politico.eu/article/belarus-ukraine-war-russia-alexander-lukashenko-dodges-weaves/

  16. UncookedSelachimorpha 17

    Glad to see Mike is calling Russia's despicable war a "War" in this article, unlike in his first where he stuck to Kremlin-friendly terminology such as "Russia’s territorial incursion"

    Of course, calling the war a "war" could catch you a lengthy prison term in Russia these days.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1

      Dont be silly . People will call it what they want . The official line is 'special operation' but web sites that say war only get blocked

      Remember Operation Iraqi Freedom ? or OIF has the military love of acronyms came to call it

      '"My fellow citizens. At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

      No mention of war or invasion

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/mar/20/iraq.georgebush

      The official history of the US navy doesnt call it war either, and also falsely claims it was 'authorised by UN '!

      https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/wars-conflicts-and-operations/middle-east/operation-iraqi-freedom.html

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 17.1.1

        Whadabout…?

        I don't ever recall saying the murderous war in Iraq was justified or not a war.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1.1.1

          Just saying that political leaders have a 'special speak' all of their own. Trying to pharse what people say when is fraught with difficulty

          But this is more your thing , surely you stand up for Freedom every where not just Russia

          And talking of political protests this gets you jailed in Singapore – yes that freedom loving Singapore

          'Singaporean activist was jailed for three weeks Monday [2021] after pleading guilty to holding a small protest aboard a metro train.

          https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210215-singapore-activist-jailed-for-train-protest

          • RedLogix 17.1.1.1.1

            This whataboutism is all you have. It's a transparent ploy to distract and derail from the obvious – that you are here giving cover to a monster, excusing and minimising hellish suffering and misery we can see with our own eyes.

            This is just a gaslighting game to you.

  17. adam 18

    I want the sanctions to work.

    But lets face it, they can't be targeted against the bastards who need their assets stopped.

    Oh the right wing how I love thee stupidity. Remember when John Key and company wanted to make our trust laws more like North Dakota. Turn us into the protectors/hidden guardians of the greedy and scummy.

    Oh wait, he got stopped when the Panama Papers came to light. And his slimy little hand was all up inside these greedy grubby scum bags. The public was like, no thanks not in NZ.

    Well it seems all to many others, are happy to hide the money of these Russian scum bags behind shell companies and trusts. It looks these sanctions are going to mean sweet bugger all to them.

    How about our government, puts some pressure on the places who let these scummy SOB's hide their money.

    https://www.icij.org/investigations/russia-archive/icij-releases-the-russia-archive-an-inside-look-at-how-elites-close-to-putin-hide-wealth-offshore/

  18. esoteric pineapples 19

    Well said Mike. It is disturbing that this Labour government has gone so far, so deep and so quickly into this war, to the point where the prime minister is saying we would give missiles to Ukraine if we had any to spare. What an anti-socialist party Labour has become.

  19. Blazer 20

    'who pays the price of sanctions'?

    History shows ordinary civilians in the country sanctioned pay…the biggest..price.

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