True to form as the judo master that he is, President Putin just flipped the financial tables on the West with his latest geo-economic move declaring that payment for gas exports to newly designated unfriendly countries can now only be made in rubles. It’s no coincidence that the dollar dropped 8.3% to the ruble right afterwards since market observers rightly fear that the West is on the precipice of a major economic meltdown that US President Joe Biden is falsely blaming on the Russian leader. The EU is now forced to either bolster Russia’s previously falling currency or completely cut off its imports from the Eurasian Great Power and risk prices spiking upwards of $4,000 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas.
Either outcome is beneficial for Russia: its currency will stabilize or the euro will start crashing just as fast if not more and thus comparatively cushion the ruble’s own crash. President Putin’s declaration strategically comes just ahead of Biden’s visit to the bloc where he’ll attend the NATO, G7, and European Council summits prior to paying a visit to his country’s top anti-Russian vanguard nowadays, Poland. That aspiring Central & Eastern European (CEE) leader is also on the brink of clashing with its conservative-nationalist ideological allies in Hungary over Warsaw’s demand that the entirety of Europe immediately follow its newly promulgated “de-Russification” policy of cutting all ties with Russia.
The US-led West naively thought that their unprecedented and preplanned sanctions against Russia following the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine that it was provoked to commence after America refused to respect its security guarantee proposals would crush that country’s economy, thus coercing it into undertaking unilateral concessions that would essentially amount to sacrificing on the integrity of its national security red lines in Ukraine in particular and in Europe more broadly. President Putin’s geo-economic judo move just proved that this was a completely mistaken prediction that’s now become completely counterproductive for the Western economies, especially Europe’s.
Instead of Russia’s economy nearing collapse, it’s now the US-led West’s that must face this startling scenario, and all because of the events that America itself decided to set into motion. If the second-mentioned future possibility comes to pass, then Russia’s economic collapse wouldn’t even be all that bad since the rest of the world with the likely exception of China would go down with it, thus placing pretty much everyone in the same situation and make Moscow’s own economic decline comparatively less painful. About that, despite its hitherto crashing currency, Russia is already largely self-sufficient with most basic goods and services, especially agricultural products, so it’ll still manage no matter what.
Everything mentioned thus far is already very dark but the worst might be yet to come if the food price crisis that French President Macron expects in several months’ time also ends up materializing too. That could very well happen due to Russia and Ukraine’s agricultural exports from what’s affectionately been described as one of the world’s breadbaskets being adversely affected by the ongoing conflict and the economic restrictions imposed against Moscow. Furthermore, the US-led Western sanctions against Russia and its Belarusian ally mean that neither phosphate power will be able to provide fertilizers to many of their partners, further spiking the price of basic foodstuffs and possibly reducing output too.
Not only could this lead to literally millions of people across the already impoverished Global South dying of food shortages like President Putin warned during last week’s “Meeting On Socioeconomic Support For Regions”, but it could also trigger profound political changes within the US-led West due to the “Golden Billion” being unaccustomed to such basic struggles such as being able to afford food and energy. The US and its European vassals have already experienced large-scale unrest due to many of their people’s belief that certain COVID-connected restrictions weren’t really related to promoting epidemiological security but were really imposed for self-interested political reasons by their elite.
These preexisting protest networks can very easily be activated once again in pursuit of the much more urgent need to ensure that average people are provided basic food and energy, both of which might no longer be guaranteed considering the interconnected crises that were just explained and which were both catalyzed by the US-led West’s response to the same Russian special operation that they themselves provoked. In the extremely unfortunate event that any of this happens, then Russia might turn from a so-called “pariah” into a paradise since it has enough food and energy to meet its own people’s needs, which would be the ultimate geostrategic judo move if it happens.
By Andrew Korybko Via https://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=2634