The overwhelming majority of Russian natural gas supply cannot be sold elsewhere, as its LNG infrastructure is not well developed and the pipelines run to Europe. Oil is much more flexible. If Russians sell their oil in Asia (at steep discounts) then those Asian consumers need not buy somewhat more expensive non-Russian oil, which is then bought by European consumers. Market magic. The fact that oil prices haven't spiked up by multiples, as natural gas prices in Europe did, and further that oil prices have fallen from a high of ~$130/bbl to $90/bbl when the average for the last 5 years is $70/bbl, indicates that this pivot of the oil market is in fact happening. Europeans are more sanguine now than they were several months ago, as they find alternate supplies of LNG and substitute gas with other fuels. Germans have decided to postpone the closure of their last remaining nuclear reactors, but haven't decided to restart recently closed ones - that must indicate that they are far from desperate. I doubt the majority of German voters would really prefer freezing to restarting nuclear power plants.

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Europe and those alternatives.... whence magically will all this gas come, where have the LNG/LPG plants sprouted, the storage facilities and the tankers to transport the gas? Given that most gas was piped, given that the World has gone mad and vowed to destroy the fossil fuel industry and has throttled investment, who has been/who will invest in the increased extraction and infrastructure to replace piped gas with liquified gas and at a time when the US Government is strangling its own gas output and now becoming a net buyer on the global market rather than a net supplier? It is the same with the switch to wind and solar fantasy - nobody considers the infrastructure required, the resources needed to provide it and just assumes there is a Genie somewhere for whom our wishes are his command and everything will magically appear overnight.

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To sleep, perchance to freeze - ay, there's the rub

For in that freeze of death what gas may come,

when we have erred to end our nuclear boil,

must give us pause. There's the respect

that makes calamity of that far land,

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his power make

With buncha fuel rods?

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I think China is more constrained by its zero Covid policy than real-estate problems. Which is odd. The strength of the Chines economy has been the willingness to do the economical efficient thing over the politically correct. Covid zero is not the result of a cost benefit analysis.

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I think we need to rethink our image of East Asians as being efficient over politically correct.

Asia has its own particular culture, and that culture has its own political and cultural taboos. Not every taboo in the West is a taboo in the East, and to some Western people the fact that they ran roughshod over some of our sacred cows because they didn't share them made people think they were hard headed materialist pragmatists. This was an error.

It should be clear now that East Asians are highly conformist people who have their own versions of political correctness that they are just as attached to and probably moreso. COVID puts it all to bed. It's not just China, you see people in Japan and Taiwan masking outdoors too. It's an East Asian thing, not just a CCP thing.

The idea that these hard nosed STEM dudes from Asia would save us from our ideological death spiral just isn't going to happen.

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Good points! Masking, however does not seem to be the best example. It ma not quite pass a CBA when ambient contagion levels are low, but the costs are pretty low.

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> The strength of the Chines economy has been the willingness to do the economical efficient thing over the politically correct.

That's not what communists do.

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But in lots of ways, that is what CPC did. It did not let NIMBY's get in the way of building dams and highways and new cities. But not with ZERO COVID

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As in the comments above, it's partly a matter of which cows are sacred. Communists don't recognise the M in NIMBY.

But it is mostly that post cold war communists lacked the self confidence enforce their own sacred cows. And they benefitted mightily.

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Agree. So far, pre-Zero Covid, most of their sacred cows have had low economic value.

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The worrying part in this scenario (which I generally find plausible) is that it jumps to the end state, but the global stability risk of a declining power (Russia) and a peaking power (China, presuming a rough parrallel of late Cold War Russia) means two nations where internal stability can’t be bought by economic growth... and we have good examples where the ruling government attempts to get stability in other ways that aren’t great.

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Where is the talk of INFLATION? Many think it's the biggest US economic problem.

All of the other G-7 countries, as well as China, are in worse shape than the US (Canada not better) so the excess dollars printed by the US gov't will not result in as much inflation as expected, as measured by FOREX. One Euro is worth less than a US$, Japan's yen has dropped in value.

If Biden had good people to increase US oil & gas, and solve baby formula & other supply chain mess ups, the US inflation rate would go lower even without Fed rate increases - which are too little too late combined with Democrat policies increasing demand and reducing supply.

Even at a big discount to China & India, Russian oil is letting Putin spend billions, with oil far more expensive under Biden = profitable and helpful to Putin.

For years, decades, China watching bears have been wrongly predicting a collapse. The death of some big Chines companies, combined with COVID lockdowns, seems to be very very harmful. Plus the under reported drought: https://phys.org/news/2022-08-china-drought-worst-heatwave.html

Simultaneously less and more dangerous - but the OECD response to Russian invasion might be Taiwan's biggest shield from an invasion by Xi (plus the ocean).

China's nuclear reg agency giving the OK to a new Thorium molten salt nuclear reactor is mid- & long- term news for energy.

The UK will probably start fracking, maybe even more nukes. What will Germany do with its nukes?

I'm expecting Putin to negotiate keeping Crimea, but maybe not until after a difficult/ energy very expensive winter.

The EU & NATO are likely to become stronger, with more pro-Christian, pro-capitalist, pro-nation state parties gaining power in many countries, and the global elite anti-nationalism & green parties losing power, but slowly. Sweden & Finland wanting protection from NATO seems like more realism/ realpolitik than too much EU happy talk of the last two decades, and laughing at those who say it's foolish to be energy dependent on a hostile country.

I'm feeling pretty good in Slovakia - went out to sing Karoke last night. There was one place with a small group singing a Russian song; we went to another English-Slovak singing place.

This year is a good example of historical trends being guided by powerful leaders and what those leaders believe. The individuals with power combine with the trends to determine what happens - kind of like how individual will & action combines with genetic tendencies and external opportunities to determine results for individuals.

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Europe would have plenty of their own natural gas if they would get rid of their ban on fracking. The question is whether virtue signaling will win out over economic prosperity.

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Saudi Arabia is buying Russian fuel oil to produce their electricity which frees up their own output to sell for higher prices in other markets. Nice bit of arbitrage.

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"Russia’s official line is that sanctions are not hurting the economy. But if that were true, they would probably not be shutting off gas to try to get European countries to remove the sanctions."

Yup. I think this has to be right. The *threat* of cutting off gas was so much more potent than actually doing it, that you'd figure they're either not very good at this whole geopolitics thing (possible) or they were in a position where they had to execute on the threat.

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Russia is too small a part of the world economy for its shrinking to have much impact on the US. Europe is more serious. International trade and investment in general is a good thing that benefits all parties; so Europe becoming poorer is not good for the US.

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Putin is done. There was at some chance that if the frontlines stabilized into a stalemate he might have walked out of this is a negotiated settlement. Now that its clear Ukraine can make stunning gains in short order, I can't see anyone ever negotiating.

It's also apparent that Putin doesn't really believe in escalation. He hasn't mobilized. He hasn't brought new tactics or weapons to bear. And while some of that might have made a difference months ago, at this point it's probably too late.

Whether this means the war will end soon, who knows. The only way it would really end at this point is with a stunning collapse of the Russian war effort. It's possible it will just drag on, but Putins not going to get to keep anything in the end.

The only regrettable part of this is that apparently it has taught people that the American Empire is great again and we need to go abroad looking for dragons to slay. Or in Noah's case, that every single aspect of his ideological outlook is fundamentally correct and can not be questioned.

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> The only regrettable part of this is that apparently it has taught people that the American Empire is great again and we need to go abroad looking for dragons to slay. Or in Noah's case, that every single aspect of his ideological outlook is fundamentally correct and can not be questioned.


> It's also apparent that Putin doesn't really believe in escalation. He hasn't mobilized. He hasn't brought new tactics or weapons to bear.

What new weapons does Putin have to bring to bear? He's using everything Russia has, including their hyped hypersonic missiles, except WMDs (nukes, chemical and biological weapons). Some reasons why there aren't floods of Armata tanks etc. in the field are illustrated by this funny 2020 article on the woes of Russia's import substituted UAV program [https://archive.ph/UbcGc]. New tactics, unless this means stuff like bombing power stations with cruise missiles, would almost certainly require a complete change of the officer corps and, more importantly, as Girkin himself remarked a few months ago, a complete change of its mentality from one emphasizing passively following orders to one emphasizing individual initiative, and that is not compatible with the fundamental structure of the Russian state.

Russian milbloggers and Westerners who follow their lead prefer to believe that Russia isn't fighting seriously, that Putin has the real Russian army squirreled away somewhere and isn't letting it out for humanitarian reasons, or some such bullshit. They don't want to consider the possibility that what they see on the ground is all that Russia actually has. That'd be too horrible to contemplate.

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There is a scenario where after they failed to take Kiev, Russian declares war, mobilizes millions of troops, nukes every single entry point for Nato weapons, and actually tries to win. It didn't do this.

Fundamentally, it didn't take this war seriously. I don't think this is because Russia is holding its "real army" in reserve. I think the Russia is fundamentally a broken and unserious state. It is completely unworthy. I think it's finished. The only question is how many people die along the way to that conclusion.

In general, my problem from this war is trying to read in grand narratives. One side is liberalism and the other is Orks. One side is Third Rome and the other is western stooges. The war will prove who not anywhere near Ukraine is right about a bunch of things not related to Ukraine.

I'm not sure any of the fundamental problems will be solved when we look ten, twenty, etc years out. Will Russia solve its fundamental problems, probably not. Will Ukraine solve it fundamental problems, probably not.

If I want to be an optimist, perhaps the reality of war will melt away some of the bullshit on both ides. That's the one benefit war is supposed to have. Certainly, individuals on both sides have learned who puts up and who shuts up. Ukraine will get more out of this dynamic than Russia, there will be an esprit de corp from this experience.

Militarily I'm not sure what to learn. I do think the general principal "the defensive once against has the advantage in ground combat" is probably true for peer competitors. I've heard that Ukraine had an 8:1 advantage in manpower during its Kharkiv offensive. That's probably enough. But I think the general principal that against highly motivated peer competitors the defense has a 3:1 or higher advantage probably holds in this era.

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> There is a scenario where after they failed to take Kiev, Russian declares war, mobilizes millions of troops, nukes every single entry point for Nato weapons, and actually tries to win.

The question is whether this scenario was ever anything but theoretical. Nukes were probably out because Americans likely told the Russians early on that they'd respond militarily to a nuclear attack on a non-nuclear state (especially as nuclear attacks on 'points of entry' would hit NATO territory too, at least with fallout). As for full mobilization, it is possible that such an attempt would simply tear the fabric of Russia like cheesecloth, and that that is why Putin has so far avoided it. Perhaps you'd say that that's part of being a broken and unserious state, but if so then there is no point discussing this scenario. It's analogous to discussions of the various coup-complete American problems in conservative outlets that ignore the reasons why these problems are coup-complete.

> Militarily I'm not sure what to learn.

Perhaps that gadget-war doesn't replace and doesn't work without grunts in tanks and trenches?

> I've heard that Ukraine had an 8:1 advantage in manpower during its Kharkiv offensive.

*Localized* advantage in manpower, perhaps. I'm not too sure of that figure. The amount of Russian equipment captured and destroyed in the Kharkiv operation (judging by photo evidence collected by Oryx etc.) argues for a somewhat smaller ratio. But even if it was higher than 3:1, that's how you do proper offensive operations: you concentrate, and the more you concentrate, the faster your operation will go and the fewer losses you will sustain. Textbook stuff, really. The main military lesson other than the above seems to be that boring textbook stuff works. It's a useful corrective to half-baked ideas that thrive when they can't be checked against reality.

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The war in Ukraine was justified as an existential threat to Russia. If it's an existential threat you put all your cards on the table. What we learned a month in is that:

1) Putin did not consider this an existential threat

2) The war could not be won on the cheap with material (at least peer level material, its not like this was a USA vs Iraq scenario). I do think there is a lesson to be learned that blitzkrieg against peer competitors isn't possible with current technology.

This meant that substantial Russian gains were over after about a month. I suppose for the last several months Putin assumed he could artillery his way to a negotiated settlement based on current front lines that saved face on his half assed war. This killed a lot of people.

What we learned this last month is that even on the defensive, outnumbered and unmotivated troops can't hold territory. Russia can sure up a single front against this, but not multiple fronts. Since Russia is unwilling to mobilize the troops to fix this deficiency (and at this point I don't think they could chance course if they wanted to) this means that Russia will inevitably lose the war.

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> its not like this was a USA vs Iraq scenario

To be fair, that's part of "what we learned a month in". Before the invasion commenced, there were more than enough military analysts, both Russian and Western ones, saying that it was exactly a USA vs Iraq scenario. People like Khodarenok were in a decided minority.

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Clearly, the successes and failures will not be absolute. Still this is an interesting take on why America (and the Americas, India, etc) will be less hurt by the war.

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I think liberals (or more accurately, free marketeers) need to take the L on touting blanket free trade with illiberal regimes as a trouble-free way to bringing the world together.

I still believe in mostly free trade, but it's evident that while it can make everyone better off, it's also no necessarily so.

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Putin is deeply morally and legally wrong to have launched an invasion. Ukraine is absolutely right to fight for its defense and to defeat Russia. It is good policy for the US / NATO to facilitate that outcome. And yet, I cannot muster enthusiasm for the fight. The invasion should never have happened and that it happened has tripped dominoes that will greatly elevate immediate human suffering and escalate the risk for great global calamity.

Remember, one of the early justifications for Western aid to Ukraine was that Russia was aiming to rebuild the Soviet Union. Maybe that was true ideologically. Militarily it was not true and now we know it isn't true. Russia is weak. And what has happened supports my original thesis that Putin invaded out of desperation. Putin saw the inevitable of Ukraine joining Western Europe and determined the only chance to stop that was to attack and hope the West would react the same as they reacted when Russia retook Crimea and suppressed Georgia from joining NATO.

But why did Putin think he could succeed going after such a prize as Ukraine. For unlike Crimea or Georgia, the West clearly had a stake in Ukraine. Why did Putin think Ukraine would fall? And if Putin did not think Ukraine would be obtainable, would he have invaded?

I offer that Putin's notion for success was triggered by Biden's disastrous pullout of Afghanistan. This sent the signal that Biden, like Trump, was disengaging the US from the international stage. But unlike Trump, Biden didn't care about making the USA look weak. Putin was worried about Trump choosing or being forced to retaliate harshly against Russian aggression. He did not have this concern with Biden, which was a misread of the situation by Putin.

My greatest concern is the utter lack of prioritization for peace. I appreciate the defense of Ukraine includes the American bravado of "making Russia pay". Vengeance, however good it may feel, will further destabilize international relations.

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No vengeance. Just back to the 2014 borders. We have no interest in regime change; it's probably better with a chastened Putin than with someone else.

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Remember, Eastern Ukraine was already dealing with sectarian conflict between Ukraine & Russian interests. I don't think Russia signing a "truce" fixes this contention. This is where some wise people need to step up. Should have happened last year or earlier.

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‘European liberalism’... is an oxymoron as is European democracy. There have been some great liberal thinkers in Europe (Continental), and Europe has voting, but to speak of either as indicating a prevailing ideology and polity of liberalism and democracy is to speak of things that do not nor have ever existed in Europe. Europe has been, since the time of the Romans, one long precession of authoritarian regimes - absolute monarchs, emperors, dictators, revolutionary committees, autocracy, Fascism/Dirigisme, Communism/Socialism - and it’s current state a centralised, technocratic tyranny running a protectionist economic bloc in a manner that would make Mussolini proud. As the German Minister put it, Germany would stick by Ukraine no matter the hardship, no matter what the German voter wants, it’s what the Government says that counts. . How’s that for liberalism and democracy? Backing Ukraine against Russia is like backing Stalin, that erstwhile ‘good guy’ of the war years, against Hitler. As for USA and NATO Governments - not populations - backing Zelensky, as my teacher at primary school used to say, show me your friends and I’ll tell you what you’re like. Those Governments were the same ones in case short term memory has failed, which followed the playbook of the most tyrannical, thuggish, brutal, murderous regime on the Planet... China, so their yap of supporting freedom and democracy and sovereignty - Iraq? Afghanistan? Syria? Libya? is humbug. It shows the low grade intellect of those commentators who seem unaware of the reality in Europe right now, or indeed the hell-in-a-hand-cart USA. The only Western economy left standing? Lucky if it’s left flat on its face.

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Looking at all of this from Europe, I have a feeling that the scenarios Zeihan predicted are coming true. Alas, everyone here still seems to believe that this can be undone, that we will return to the pre-2019 and pre-February 2022 world. This was articulated recently by Habermas, who repeated with philosophical pathos the fairytale of a new European unity born out of confrontation with Russia.

Arnold, what probability would you assign to the possibility that the EU will not survive this decade in its current form?

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If the just got rid of the Euro but left free-ish trade and immigration intact, that would be a a big improvement, especially if UK would re-join.

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