War in Ukraine | Scoins.net | DJS

War in Ukraine

War in Ukraine


I am finding it very difficult to engage with this as a news event. It seemed obvious to me that the inaction over the Crimea would be repeated. The only question was how soon the hang-wringing would occur. I am very clear in my own mind that Russia should have no say in how the Ukrainians choose to run their country, just as I am very clear that invasion is a wrong move. I am ambivalent about refugees; yes, they need support, but so do those who stay behind to attempt to preserve their country. Not all refugees are escaping rats. I am very uncertain about the validity of hosting a Ukrainian in my house, but that is at least half due to failing to trust anything this government says.

An article in the Conversation [1] suggests that Russia cannot afford this war. It suggests that the market judgement is that Russia is close to defaulting on its debts. Those debts are relatively small; the Russian economy is stagnant (see Renaud Foucart's response). Sanctions have some effect and, if perpetuated for long enough, would reduce Russia's trade to a short list.  Read [2]. Big issue for Germany with its enormous purchase of gas and the Nord-Stream pipeline(s). Less so for the remainder of Europe, but still a significant problem. This just might push us into ecological action that avoids fossil fuels, but that (yet again) requires our government to grab an idea and stick with it: it is far more likely to do nothing, whatever noise is made.

Any collapse of Russia assumes that sanctions cause collapse. North Korea and Iran continue, so 'collapse' needs explanation and expansion. I have no doubt that a shortage of Russian oil will cause renewed sales of Iranian oil. Not collapse but poverty. It is possible that China becomes Russia's biggest customer, making Russia remarkably dependent upon the PRC. I find it more believable that Russia simply becomes (more) introverted and independent, while continuing to interfere overseas. So one desirable would be to effectively close the Russian borders, especially the European border. I do not see this occurring.

A measure of 'collapse' might be GDP per capita: Iran's is 20% of Russia's, which is 20% of Germany's.

A term one might want to investigate is import substitution.

One argument in support of Putin blundering relates the numbers of lost soldiers. In Afghanistan. 15,000 (Russian) lives were lost, over 9 years. Already, this Ukrainian intervention has cost 12,000. This would be worthwhile only if the gains are not subsequently lost. I'd like to check on territory currently occupied by Russia; perhaps chunks of Moldova, the Crimea,  the North Caucasus, bits of Moldova and, effectively, Byelorussia.

What bothers me, expressed in passing in the first paragraph here, is that the inaction over the Crimea told Putin that such behaviour succeeds. I see no incentive for him to desist. He takes land, holds it and everyone else adjusts their position, moaning the while. But he continues to hold the extra land, so there is little reason to hand it back and no-one seems to be asking if there are costs attached to holding the land meanwhile.

[1]  https://theconversation.com/the-cost-of-war-how-russias-economy-will-struggle-to-pay-the-price-of-invading-ukraine-178826?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20March%2014%202022%20-%202233522156&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20March%2014%202022%20-%202233522156+CID_8575e0822a201173f0d9bdc2610502f3&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=The%20cost%20of%20war%20how%20Russias%20economy%20will%20struggle%20to%20pay%20the%20price%20of%20invading%20Ukraine

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0014292120302178

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/ukraine-is-winning-war-russia/627121/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20220321&utm_term=The%20Atlantic%20Daily


20220202 or 2/2/22, was, conveniently, a Twos-day. 

Consequences of the closing of Russia's borders are likely to include a lack of movement of money and materials. That includes a range of fossil fuels from Russia into Europe, such that the Nord-Gas pipeline into Germany will be stopped or shut. It also, rather to my surprise, means another hike in oil prices (not only gas, but gasoline too). Whether or not Russian oil comes to Europe or Britain matters not if the effect is that general supply becomes reduced the price will rapidly rise. Already £1.50 per litre is a 'good' price and I think we'll see it rise past £2 if this struggle (and therefore the attached sanctions) continues any length of time measured in months. Only rarely do fossil fuel prices fall at all, so we might as well view this as a general incentive to reduce gas demand and petrol/diesel demand. Maybe we won't be going on the long drive(s) we had planned.

The boss is concerned for the few eastern European students, specifically the Russians in school. One assumes that travel to and fro would be difficult, such as flights passing through a relatively neutral country (maybe India or China, but perhaps sites in the Middle East) and that, maybe, staying put (much as through the pandemic) is going to be the safe assumption. We will see.

15 minute city   Email: David@Scoins.net      © David Scoins 2021