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The Russian Bear by Bill Bonner

Putin bites back, cancel finance and new world workarounds…
The Russian bear has claws… and teeth. Here’s the latest, from Fortune: In the FX world, the ruble had its biggest gain in the week yesterday, climbing nearly 7% against the dollar. One impetus for that came from Russian president Vladimir Putin’s surprise statement on Wednesday to demand that “hostile states”—presumably the European Union—pay for Russian energy imports in rubles. That confusing statement knocked global equities and sent natural gas and oil prices soaring in afternoon trading on Wednesday as confusion gripped the markets about what Putin could possibly mean. Let’s take a guess. The ‘democratic alliance,’ led by the USA, ‘sanctioned’ Russia’s dollars. Russians who had no part in Putin’s war suddenly found their money was no good. They couldn’t access their foreign bank accounts. They couldn’t go about their business as usual – even as they were offering valuable goods and services to overseas buyers. Financially, they were ‘de-platformed.’
What good is money that someone can cancel with a flip of a switch… on his own say-so? Not much. So, it was inevitable that the Russians would look for workarounds. Michael Hudson comments: If you sanction a country, you force it to become more self-reliant and across the board, from agriculture to dairy products to technology, Russia is forced to become more self-reliant and at the same time to depend much more on trade with China for the things that it is still not self-reliant in. So America is bringing about exactly the opposite of what it intended… American sanctions are driving Russia and China together, and America has gone to China and said, Please don’t support Russia. Most recently, on Monday, March 14, Jake Sullivan came out and told China, we will sanction countries that break our sanctions against Russia. And basically, China said, fine. Yes, the decline of the American Empire continues… one blunder at a time.

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