Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Russian re-collapse...

I'm not much on calling catastrophes, but I think the economic sanctions derided as too little and too feeble by the die-hard hawks in DC are seriously biting Putin's butt.
There has been little attention to this in the western media, but the Russian ruble has suffered a major decline in the last few months.  Earlier this year it was running around 25-30 to the US dollar.  Now the official rate is at 40, but the black market rate is at 50 and falling.  There is major capital and human flight going on that is attracting increasing comment in Russian sources.
Two pro-Putin economists have subtly noted problems.  In English in Russia Behind the Headlines this past week, Alexander Shokhin, Director of the Union of Industrialists, has argued that the fall of the ruble will have some positive effects, particularly in the agro-industrial sector.  However, he also warns that it will be damaging in the high technology sector, along with the sanctions, most notably in the nanotechnology sector, which was getting off the ground and has now come to a complete halt. [More]

In an instantaneous world, we have been reluctant to embrace long-haul foreign policy, such as the sanctions on Iran, even though patience seems to be a valid choice. I also think the mad rush to bomb is economic stupidity of the highest level and reveals the shallow thinking of deficit hawks in Congress. Not spending trillions on questionable conflicts is good for the economy.

I have not been thrilled with our ISIS response, but do support the slow vice of economic sanctions now taking a toll in Russia and Iran. It's not showy, but add in an oil price war and the oligarchs in Russia have some real headaches to deal with - all thanks to the breathtaking arrogance of their leader. 

There is a time for troops, but it is exceedingly rare IMHO. And should be.

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