Matters of Concern: Knocking on Heaven's Door
If you thought cable news was crazy, wait until you get a load of Russian TV.
Hello, everyone. I’ve been struggling with a man cold this week and I’m very tired, so this Matters of Concern is shorter than usual. Maybe that’s a good thing? In any case, this edition is free.
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Are we on the verge of a nuclear World War III? Russian commentators seem to think so. This clip is worth a minute or so of your time:
Margarita Simonyan, an editor at RT, said:
“Either we lose in Ukraine or the Third World War starts. I think World War III is more realistic, knowing us, knowing our leader. The most incredible outcome, that all this will end with a nuclear strike, seems more probable to me than the other course of events. This is to my horror on one hand but on the other hand, it is what it is. We will go to heaven, while they will simply croak... We're all going to die someday.”
Well hey, at least there’s good news! As nutty as American cable news panels are, imagine if Don Lemon said something like that? It’s more likely than you may imagine. Seth Cropsey published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called “The U.S. Should Show It Can Win a Nuclear War.” Here’s an excerpt:
“The reality is that unless the U.S. prepares to win a nuclear war, it risks losing one. Robert C. O’Brien, a former White House national security adviser, proposed a series of conventional responses, which are necessary but not sufficient to deter Russian nuclear escalation. Developing a coherent American strategy requires understanding why Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons and how the U.S. can recalibrate its strategic logic for a nuclear environment.”
At least not everyone on Russian TV is insane:
Many of us have grown used to Russia’s pervasive nuclear threats, but don’t grow complacent. Biden has brushed off Putin’s threats, saying they’re a sign of desperation, but there’s no animal more dangerous than a desperate one.
CIA director William J. Burns said earlier this month:
“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons.”
Many of us grew weary of Russia’s constant threats to invade Ukraine — myself included — until they suddenly did it. Putin has the means, the motivation, and he’s impulsive enough to do it. Don’t take this lightly.
Meanwhile, as we ship weapons to Ukraine, we may have trouble rebuilding our stock.
Keep an eye on the country of Moldova. Many think that Russia may roll into it soon.
Where the hell is Moldova? It sits between Ukraine and Romania.
Is Russia Winning the Oil War?
Putin told European countries, which get most of their oil and natural gas from Russia, to pay in rubles or be cut off, and he followed through, cutting off Bulgaria and Poland’s fuel supply.
The European Union is warning member nations that paying Russia in rubles would be a violation of sanctions, but if given the choice between freezing or receiving a finger wag from the EU, Europe will take the latter. Italy is setting up accounts to pay Russia in rubles, and so is Hungary. Uniper, a German importer of Russian gas, has hinted at preparing to pay in rubles.
Meanwhile, not only has the ruble recovered, it’s doing better than it was before the invasion.
Miscellaneous Doom and Gloom
As we’ve been warning, the economy “unexpectedly” contracted in the first quarter. It’s not officially a recession yet, but it’s getting close:
More signs of impending food supply trouble, with more farms reducing fertilizer usage:
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is worried the United States is headed toward civil war:
Finally, there has been a mysterious wave of childhood hepatitis around the world.
It’s spring. No, for real this time. Things are finally warming up, and the food situation isn’t getting any better, so it’s time to be starting your gardens in earnest. I’ve been hearing that a lot of people are starting gardens this year who have never gardened before, which is great. Here are some of our articles to help you get started:
And don’t just grow gardens: start thinking about building resilient systems. We point you in the right direction in What Is Permaculture?
Don’t say you weren’t warned. I know I keep harping on these same topics, but it’s for a good reason: the food situation is going to be bad. You need to become a producer and not just a consumer. We’re not selling boner pills and tinfoil hats here — we’re encouraging you to learn skills that may become invaluable in the 2020s and beyond.