Matters of Concern: 2022-03-04
A world war may be inevitable.
I am still experimenting with news formats. I frankly can’t compete on breaking news, but what I can do is offer you the high points of the week — both in verified news reports and scuttlebutt that folks like me call “intel” and try to paint a picture of overall trends. Let me know what you think. Our Discord community is open to all.
My feeling today is that we are closer to world war than we were a week ago. But my feelings are irrelevant here, so let’s look at the facts.
In February, President Biden specifically said, “That's a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another.”
Love him or hate him, he is the man in the Oval Office, with access to much more information than we’ll ever have.
Many escalations took place this week. Russia has been cut off almost entirely from the SWIFT international payment system, as we anticipated. In fact, Russia has been cut off from pretty much anything you can name, even cat shows.
These moves are well-intentioned means to force Russia to cease its aggressions without escalating to a world war. However, if a foreign power intentionally crashed our economy, I’m almost certain we’d see it as an act of war. Again, that’s a feeling, not a fact. Let’s look at more facts.
Perhaps the biggest escalation of the week was the fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe. It was hit by shells and Russian troops prevented Ukrainian firefighters from addressing the blaze.
The Russians eventually gained control of the plant and managed to safely shut it down.
Ukraine claimed that if it had melted down, it would have been ten times worse than Chernobyl. This is a matter of debate, but that’s irrelevant now.
What isn’t up for debate is the increased public appetite for NATO’s involvement after the possible meltdown. Senator Lindsey Graham publicly called for Putin’s assassination after the fire, and a trending topic on Twitter that night was calling for NATO intervention.
NATO has so far pushed back on the idea of a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Many experts believe that establishing a NATO no-fly zone over Ukraine would be in essence a declaration of war because no-fly zones are enforced with fighter jets, which Russia also has. In short, NATO and Russian forces would likely shoot at each other. And you know what President Biden said about that.
Thankfully cooler heads are prevailing so far, but how long will the public stand for Russia’s reckless actions threatening our allies? Just keep in mind that Russia is promising nuclear action if it comes to world war.
Fiona Hill, who worked as an intelligence analyst under Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump, believes that Putin is willing to use nukes. She is a controversial figure in some circles because she turned against President Trump and testified at his first impeachment. She may have her own agenda in all of this, but she is undoubtedly an expert.
Other matters of concern:
The Saudis aren’t happy with the US and are threatening to reduce investments here.
When asked to clarify, the crown prince made clear his feelings about Biden. The UAE also isn’t happy. This could potentially cause oil prices to rise more.
Shipping giants Maersk and MSC are halting shipping containers to and from Russia. My understanding is that they practically control this field, so it makes it even less likely that Russia will be exporting fertilizer or oil. No, I don’t think they send oil in shipping containers, but importing electronics and replacement parts will be a challenge so they may not be able to keep equipment running.
Zero Hedge, which I always take with a grain of salt, says that Russia is discouraging fertilizer exports. Many countries rely on Russian fertilizer. What we do know is that wheat and corn prices are surging, which will likely cause other food prices to rise more. Store food while it’s cheap.