A Russia Blood to the Head...
They're coming for your Bitcoin and spending it on caviar.
Mainstream madness abounds and as ever the convergent opportunists are making hay.
There will be people in certain quarters who are dancing a jig at the prospect of using the current conflict to demonise and delegitimise Bitcoin.
There doesn’t seem to be any action so far, but exploratory questions have already been raised by the usual suspects about seizing crypto assets, and it doesn’t take a great leap to get to a prediction that crypto exchanges converting fiat currency to/from crypto are going to come under a lot of pressure, which could - in today’s febrile climate - very quickly escalate into something that will make it incredibly difficult to get even legitimate money in or out of the cryptosphere.
That, of course would serve the Fed and the Bank of England very nicely as they wonder how to stop people pulling their assets out of the inflationary shitstorm that is the quantitively eased UK Pound and US Dollar.
But lets not dwell on that… let’s instead think about how we can cripple Russia and ‘do our bit’ by boycotting sales of Ladas, caviar and beetroot.
The answer is hidden in this 2000 word drivelfest by someone called David Cox (no identifiable LinkedIn profile, though it could be this dude, who looks like he stepped straight out of the Marx Brothers or a Le Carre book) who opens his article with a ludicrous reference to Rosa Parks.
When Rosa Parks refused to let a white man sit in her seat on a bus in 1955, she sparked a mass boycott of Montgomery City Lines, costing the bus operator hundreds of thousands of dollars and eventually bringing about an end to segregated seating.
LOL.. yep… that’s definitely how the civil rights thing went down.
But I digress. The answer is “you can’t”. Russia supplies commodities, which are pretty much all aggregated globally before they make it into any products you’ll touch. Oil, gas, aluminium, potatoes and machinery prototyped using breezeblock and paperclips.
It does amuse me that the article implies you should stop taking vitamins from Holland and Barrrett, after 2 years of conspicuously not telling us to mainline Vitamin D3 and Zinc to keep the Wuhan at bay. The world is a strange place.
Here’s a couple of interesting things though…
According to this, Russia’s top 5 trading partners are:
China (US$112.4 billion)
Germany (US$46.1 billion)
Netherlands (US$37 billion)
US (US$28.8 billion)
Turkey (US$25.7 billion)
We know all about Germany buying a huge proportion of its gas from Russia.
Stranger is The Netherlands (home of noted larrikin Adam Piggott). This country is the size of a small conservatory and has a population of about 17Mn. Yet its trade with Russia is more than the USA’s and about a third of China’s (population 1.4Bn). I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the Netherlands (my company has an operation there and I do like a cheeky bifta); I’ve never noticed an abundance of blini.
Considering the commie ‘tractor stats’ trope, this tickles me greatly.
So what does Phlegmmy-G import from Russia?
Okay, that makes sense. And given that there are some pretty major oil industries in the Netherlands, I think we can expect some pretty serious resistance from their government and industry to a kibosh on Russian exports. One to watch. Perhaps one for the aforementioned kangaroo botherer to comment on.
During the last 24 years the exports of Russia to Netherlands have increased at an annualized rate of 16%, from $1.19B in 1995 to $41.7B in 2019.
During the last 24 years the exports of Netherlands to Russia have increased at an annualized rate of 6.28%, from $1.57B in 1995 to $6.78B in 2019.
Well, that’s gonna be awkward.
I’m only singling out the Netherlands because it amuses me… a lot of countries are going to find it very difficult to forego Russian exports and it’s going to have a huge impact on the functioning of our globalised economies with our fragile supply chains and I think we’ll see a huge gap between rhetoric and reality in this space.
Meanwhile we’ll be bombarded by Telegraph twonks with implorations to do this or that thing that will have literally ZERO impact on Russia. But then, if the last 2 years have taught us anything, we currently live in a performative world where the important thing is keeping everyone emotionally invested in whatever the agenda-setters want us to focus on while they are plundering our money and our finite time on this doomed planet.
If Allister Heath is right in the things he said in his piece yesterday - and he makes a number of interesting points - us accelerationists could be about to get a lesson in being careful what we wished for, because his prescription is one that I don’t think our society or government have any hope of delivering on.
This new conflict will almost certainly be long, complex and extremely expensive. It won’t be like fighting the Taliban, or Saddam Hussein, or lone wolf actors. It will require us to relearn strategies, tactics and virtues at odds with the hyper-emotional performative stupidity and instant gratification of the Twitter era. Our elites will need to reprogramme themselves psychologically, economically and militarily, read some history, become more serious and austere, and knuckle down for a lengthy fight.
I’m not sure they are ready for the challenges ahead. So far, while the West has successfully launched an economic blitzkrieg on Russia, hammering it far more comprehensively than expected, Putin hasn’t retaliated with counter-sanctions and export restrictions. He may yet decide to do so, cutting off energy, fertiliser or precious metal supplies. Such a move would be suicidal for his regime, but would wreak devastation in the West, forcing the imposition of rationing, three-day weeks and speed limits as we scramble to find new sources of oil and gas.
Since the end of the cold war, we’ve had the luxury of humouring a claque of delusional, piss-weak politicians and academics who have been blithely sacrificing our society on the alter of juvenile obsessions with diversity, inclusion, gender and vegetables, all of which are antithetical to efficiency, excellence and robustness.
I don’t disagree with Allister that the geopolitical situation is going to force us to get over ourselves. But as a society, I don’t think we can and I don’t think we will. Since 1990 we have bred two whole generations of bedwetting, gender-bending, pronoun-fetishists who faint when you call decline to call a spade a metalloid heat-formed excavation system. Western society will finish circling the drain and get in there.
The only way to avoid that is to slam shut the dressing-up box and man the fuck up. Honestly, what are the chances?