Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
Changing face of geo-politics
The sands are shifting quite fast across the globe. Power equations are changing faster than ever before.
In February 2022, the world was recovering from the third wave of COVID. The American media could not stop saying, Putin was about to attack Ukraine. They knew it was going to happen. They knew for certain. How?
At the June 2021 Brussels summit, NATO leaders reiterated the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest summit that Ukraine would become a member of the Alliance with the MAP as an integral part of the process and Ukraine's right to determine its future and foreign policy, of course without outside interference.
The exact same situation played out in 1962. On that occasion, the Russians hoped to put missiles on a small island nation called Cuba. A completely independent nation was going to align with whichever military they wanted. USA, the world leader in backing countries that want to make their own decision, did not like that decision. That incident in 1962 gave us the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Unlike Russia in Ukraine, the Bay of Pigs was a failed operation.
Every member of NATO was probably plain stupid if they expected Russia to lie down and take it.
The entire Western Hemisphere went to war with Russia. They engaged in financial war by manipulating the global financial system to work against the Russians. They sent weapons to Ukraine and effectively entered into war with Russia. Even soldiers, who have been till now called Soldiers of fortune. What fortune? I will not know.
Two Americans captured in Ukraine while fighting with Kyiv's military were "endangering" Russian soldiers and should be "held accountable for those crimes," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday in an interview with NBC News.
The interview marks the first time the Kremlin has commented on the cases of Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, both US military veterans, according to NBC.
If at all anything it is Russia that has shown marvellous restraint in not calling this what it is - a western proxy war. Ukraine effectively serves as the condom.
In March, I had written
For the last 70 years, a country of about 300 million people, has been able to hold sway over the rest. Have the situations developed such that 3 Billion of them decide to turn on them? Could Russia, China and India form a triumvirate the determine the new world order? Russia and China have authoritarians who can determine to do pretty much anything they like. India has a right-wing extremist who is great at making his sins look like virtue. The political will and capability seem to be there.
The entire financial war conducted by the US and Europe was carried out over this antique called SWIFT.
Source: Insider Intelligence
The financial system that the west is so proud of is slipping through their fingers.
I had written a blog earlier this week on how one often meets their destiny on the road they take to avoid it.
India’s biggest cement producer, UltraTech Cement, is importing a cargo of Russian coal and paying using Chinese yuan, according to an Indian customs document reviewed by Reuters, a rare payment method that traders say could become more common.
UltraTech is bringing in 157,000 tonnes of coal from Russian producer SUEK that loaded on the bulk carrier MV Mangas from the Russian Far East port of Vanino, the document showed. It cites an invoice dated June 5 that values the cargo at 172,652,900 yuan ($25.81 million).
Source: The Wire
As the post-COVID consumption ramped up across the globe, American posturing implied a decrease in the purchase of oil and gas from Russia. This sent prices soaring. Russia went ahead with its plan to make every buyer pay in Rubles. This was to serve as a hedge against the financial war.
Russia’s ruble hit 52.3 to the dollar on Wednesday, an increase of roughly 1.3% on the previous day and its strongest level since May 2015.
The ruble has actually gotten so strong that Russia’s central bank is actively taking measures to try to weaken it, fearing this will make the country’s exports less competitive.
Russia also continues to offer oil at a discount. This has given China and India an opportunity to reduce their dependence on the dollar and bring down their import bill.
While China is emerging as the only market for crude shipped from ports on Russia’s Pacific coast, India has rapidly become the largest purchaser of barrels loaded at ports on its western shores. Asian buyers, dominated by China and India, are now taking close to half of all the crude shipped from the country’s ports, with a steady stream of tankers heading around Europe and through the Suez Canal from the Baltic and Arctic Seas.
Almost 860,000 barrels a day of crude were loaded onto tankers at Russia’s western export terminals in the week to June 10 before heading to destinations in Asia. And the figure will almost certainly be revised higher once destinations become apparent for almost 210,000 barrels a day that are on vessels yet to show a final discharge point.
Source: Economic Times
The only thing that the west seems to have achieved with all of their sanctions is to push India, China and Russia closer together. So much for isolating Russia.
It has also allowed the countries to see the world as being less Western-centric. So when questions were asked, the slippers came off,
"This idea that I do a transaction, that I come in one conflict because it will help in conflict 2- that's not how the world works. A lot of our problems in China have nothing to do with Ukraine, Russia. They are predated," Jaishankar said as he was asked on whether India expects global help in its situation with China.
"Europe has to get out of the mindset that Europe's problem is the world's problem but the world's problem is not Europe's problem," the foreign minister said adding, “Today linkages being made between China and India and what's happening in Ukraine. Come on guys, China and India happened way before Ukraine. I do not see this as a clever argument.” All big challenges facing the world today have their solutions coming from India some way or the other, Jaishankar said.
Source: Hindustan Times
It was an impressive takedown of the Western world. You can watch the entire interview here.
Here is a strange realisation that the west is having.
India and China are performing a service to their economies by buying Russian oil.
The west has taken to siphoning off all the production coming out of the Middle East. If India and China pile on the demand, the inflation problem will be further exacerbated and result in even more strife within those so-called “developed” nations.
China seems to be mighty impressed with the stance that India has taken. China is always attacked for not being a democracy. It is very helpful for it when the largest democracy in the world speaks the words that it wants to.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has praised India for calling out the West, lauding External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for a speech he made in Europe earlier this month.
The Chinese minister said that the way Jaishankar “expressed his disapproval of European centralism” and “objected to external forces meddling” in China-India bilateral ties, is a reflection of “India’s tradition of independence”.
Source: The Print
In the meantime, interesting geo-economical moves are being made.
The trial of transporting Russian goods from Astrakhan to a southern Iranian port to its destination at Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) under the International North-South Transport (INSTC) Corridor marks the baby steps toward India joining an emerging Russia-Iran-India axis.
Source: The Eurasian Times
India is working with Russia and another one of America’s dearest friends - Iran. Iran somehow finds itself at the heart of the oil logistics business across central Asia. The Chabahar Port was financed by India with the express expectation of importing Iranian oil, now it will double up to bring in Russian oil as well.
So now that the Russians have found alternate markets and stabilised their state income, they feel two can play this game.
In the latest sign that Moscow appears intent on punishing Europe for sanctions and military support for Ukraine, Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled energy giant, last week cut by 60 percent the amount of gas it delivers via Nord Stream 1, a critical pipeline serving Germany and other countries. It is not clear if the throttling is a precursor to a complete cutoff.
On Thursday, Germany triggered the second stage of its three-step emergency gas plan, citing a deterioration of natural gas supplies. The final stage could include gas rationing. “Even if you don’t feel it yet: we are in a gas crisis. Gas is a scarce commodity from now on,” said Robert Habeck, the economy minister.
Source: New York Times
Germany has a gas problem. Very dark humour comes to me.
But that aside, Germany is the largest economy in Europe. This can prove to be a jujitsu move. Hurting the largest economy in Europe could send the dominoes falling across Western Europe.
If the lack of electricity in Germany triggers a decrease in industrial output, that would be very beneficial for China on the one hand. On the other hand, it can affect a lot of upstream and downstream manufacturers across Europe.
The hunter is being hunted.
The next 6 months are going to be incredibly interesting to watch
- Would there be a thaw in the relationship between India and China?
- Would Europe force Ukraine to sue for peace?
- Is Europe going to show resilience? Would they be willing to die on the hill that they stand on?
- What can this potentially do to NATO?
- Is a counterforce to NATO in the making in Asia?
- What is all this going to mean for the economy of Iran? What would be strengthened Iran choose to do?
- What does this mean for Saudi Arabia which has always aligned itself with the USA?
- If electricity becomes a problem in Europe, what can all this mean for electricity and where it comes from? Further, the electric car “revolution”!