Notes From Underground: Just A Small Piece On Some Critical Issues

I am reissuing four pieces from 2009 and 2010 about the Ukraine. The importance of Ukraine to the EU and Russia should not be diminished and therefore what we have seen over the weekend is just another scene in a very long drama. The most positive news has been that Victor Yanukovich seems to have abdicated his position as President and that previous leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed from prison. But, caution should be the watch word as the Winter Olympics come to an end and Russian President Putin will turn from being a congenial host to a grand-master of the political chess game.

The initial results from the Ukraine is that the radical reformers have appeared victorious as the decision by Yanukovich to pivot away from the EU and toward Russia was met by political dissent and “revolution.” With Russia’s energy pipelines traversing the Ukraine, much is at stake for the energy giant GAZPROM and Russia’s control of supplying oil and gas to the EU. Also, the history of Russian Empire has made Ukraine a very strategic element in Russia’s desire to play an important role in European politics. During the 2008 Summer Olympics, Russian forces dealt a serious military blow to Georgia and the response from the EU and the rest of the world was tepid at best. Western Europe had very mixed views and the U.S. was too busy with Iraq and Afghanistan. Will Putin again push the envelope of power politics and challenge the U.S. and the EU by engaging in military activity in the Ukraine? Or will the Russian President utilize more covert tactics to undermine western support for the Ukraine democratic movement?

[Click links below to read]

December 29, 2009: Putin, You Wily Rascal?

January 18, 2010: Are British Assets Cheap? Kraft Pursues Cadbury with Sweeter Deal

February 3, 2010: If the G7 can have 8 members then 2+2=5

February 8, 2010: Three Words That will Move the Europeans to Aid the Greeks and Other Peripherals

***Disregard the G-20 communique for it is the most meaningless drivel to fill a printed page. In a measure of its irrelevance, I provide a quote from U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew: “That is why the decision in Sydney to focus on growth strategies is so significant. The strategies can help address the near-term challenge of high unemployment, uneven economic growth, and weak domestic demand.” Upon reading this and other remarks by various financial ministers, all I could say was, “What about the mandates?” Do central bank mandates take second place to the desires of a powerless and unelected global organization? It is all meaningless unless Draghi and Yellen are liars, which they are not. Central bank mandates supercede all the rhetoric of the IMF and G-20. Case closed.

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14 Responses to “Notes From Underground: Just A Small Piece On Some Critical Issues”

  1. Dustin L. Says:

    Yra- I couldn’t agree more on Ukraine. Have you read the piece by Felix Zulauf at the beginning of Feb, “Another Deflationary Episode”? I think it is well worth a read. The old link seems to have been removed but it can be found at:

    http://felixzulaufblog.blogspot.ca/2014/02/felix-zulauf-warns-of-another.html

    Cheers,
    Dustin

  2. asherz Says:

    See Rajan comment below and changes in final communique from the original draft. I’m not sure it is meaningless.
    The markets will dictate US policy on tapering. Current policy is not etched in stone by any means.

    Bloomberg News

    Yellen Wins Praise at G-20 as Emerging Markets’ Angst Eased

    By Paul Badertscher, Jason Scott and Raymond Colitt February 23, 2014

    Janet Yellen, in her first global forum as Federal Reserve chair, won praise for helping smooth emerging-market concerns as the Group of 20 nations pledged to be mindful of international repercussions of monetary policy.

    In the lead up to the concluding communique released yesterday in Sydney, India and South Africa were among nations calling for the Fed to consider spillovers as it withdraws stimulus. Officials from the U.K. and Australia had backed the Fed’s right to set policy to its own needs and said some were using the impact of tapering as an excuse for domestic failings.

    Announcing the G-20’s priorities, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said Yellen was “hugely impressive” in dealing with the issue of taper fallout. “There was proper recognition that the movement of monetary policy in major developed countries either way, whether it be tightening or easing, is going to have an impact on emerging economies,” he said in a speech.

    Three weeks into her job, Yellen, 67, kept her influence behind closed doors, eschewing public statements while in Sydney. As Hockey and his French and Spanish counterparts noted her impact in deliberations, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, who warned before the meetings of a breakdown in global policy coordination due to tapering, noted “widespread agreement” on the need to calibrate policy.

    The timing of stimulus pullback will depend on the outlook for prices and growth, the G-20 communique said. The group will aim to lift collective gross domestic product by more than 2 percent above the trajectory implied by current policies over the coming five years.

    ‘Remain Accommodative’

    The final G-20 statement included a commitment that central banks would be “mindful of impacts” of monetary policy settings — a clause that wasn’t in a draft seen by Bloomberg News on Feb. 21. A line saying the G-20 nations “recognize that monetary policy needs to remain accommodative in many advanced economies” was also added since the draft statement was seen.

  3. Chicken Says:

    I’m pretty sure they all serve the same master?

    “What about the mandates?” Do central bank mandates take second place to the desires of a powerless and unelected global organization? It is all meaningless unless Draghi and Yellen are liars, which they are not. Central bank mandates supercede all the rhetoric of the IMF and G-20.

  4. CHT Says:

    Yra – great work.

    The geopolitical coverage on the Ukraine has been rather poor.

    I care deeply about the Ukraine but here are a few observations:

    i) The far right neo-nazi party Svoboda has hijacked the movement in Maidan, if you look closely at some of the photos shared in the media men in ski masks can be seen waving red and black flags which represent the party;

    ii) The people have tolerated and respected them because they are angry at authorities and the Svoboda party members were willing to man the front lines and protect/defend the people.

    My concern is whether they are allowed to get a foothold of power without critique. Hopefully the democratic process will circumvent their efforts.

    Also, do you think Putin will try to take Crimea? Doesn’t Russia view it as an independent state?

  5. yra Says:

    Cht–history would agree with you and I think of terms of U.S. in Guantanamo–there is precedent in that

  6. Arthur Says:

    UKRAINE’S “opposition” or “the protestors” are much-used terms. But who are they? via The Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2014/02/ukraines-protestors

  7. Shocked to Find Gambling Says:

    I am not sure that Putin will stand for Westernization of the Ukraine. It may sound absurd, but I would not rule out a Russian military incursion into Ukraine. I believe that there are a lot of energy pipelines going through Ukraine, which are key to Russia.. Also, I heard someone say that Russia is just a country and with Ukraine it is an Empire. I think Putin prefers an Empire.

  8. yra Says:

    Shocked –dead right on and as John Kerry threatens sanctions the Russians are laughing in their borscht—the U.S. wants no confrontations—can’t we just get along–

  9. Shocked to Find Gambling Says:

    Yra- agree. The chance of USA or EU opposing a military move
    ( militarily) into Ukraine is close to Zero. I think we have a borscht gap.

  10. Nate Says:

    The old saying “Actions speak louder than words” comes to mind. Putin is SILENT, and our fools in charge are yapping at the gums…. While our nation is rotting from within.

    I would bet dollars to donuts these armed men everyone is talking about are Spec Ops securing prioritized assets… but what do I know!

    • CHT Says:

      Nate, don’t you think it’s nonsensical to suggest that a western hand is responsible. Honestly, this is the talk of the lunatic internet fringe which is typified by this type of hyperactive agency detection, in this instance replace god with the CIA or whoever you’d like to assert is responsible.

      What’s most disappointing though is that by making these assertions you diminish the gravity of the revolution, the simple fact was that these people were sick and tired of corruption and the EU deal was only a catalyst for them!

      I’m sick if these types of comments, I’ve seen far too many of them on RT articles, it seems Russia, by way of (un)natural selection via torture, imprisonment and murder over the course of hundreds of years has created a sycophantic population who seem to say exactly what the regime want.

      Finally, don’t forget the west is “yapping at the gums” because we are genuinely concerned about human rights violations in a country of lovely people who deserve much better!

      • rockeye118 Says:

        CHT,

        To be honest, I am unsure of the extent, if any, of the West’s involvement . BTW, my first comment was Russian Spec Ops, not Western in relation to Crimea… The news from Ukraine seems to validate my assumption. I was not in any way suggesting the West is responsible for what is going on in the Ukraine, nor do I doubt the West had some role. I only get “news” from different sources and I believe it is all suspect.

        I have lost all ability to think anything from any sector of the world is “genuine” anymore. The lunatic fringe you refer to seems to be the norm, unfortunately.

        I know for a fact the West is VERY CORRUPT, and I know for a fact the East is VERY CORRUPT. Just like in “1984”, George Orwell paints the picture of all powers (3 if I remember correctly) had the same type of totalitarian Big Brother regime, that controlled the people in each region that just warred with each other constantly. I think we are in that type of era. We just get to enjoy our lives much more than the book foretells.

        But I can give laundry lists of human rights violations (real and/or perceived), by MOST nations involved at some point in recent history. But every nation involved has their conflicts of interest and will attempt to capitalize on ANY misstep by ANY party involved. It is truly a scary situation that I hope resolves itself soon.

  11. Chicken Says:

    Looks like a preliminary hearing before proceeding with the murder trial, to me.

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