Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 21, 2022

No, The Ukraine War Has Not Stoked A Global Food Crisis.

Russia is falsely accused of blocking Ukraine's sea ports and thereby increasing a global food shortage:

The United Nations has warned that the war in Ukraine has helped to stoke a global food crisis that could last years if it goes unchecked, as the World Bank announced an additional $12bn in funding to mitigate its “devastating effects”.

UN secretary general António Guterres said shortages of grain and fertiliser caused by the war, warming temperatures and pandemic-driven supply problems threaten to “tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity”, as financial markets saw share prices fall heavily again on fears of inflation and a worldwide recession.

Speaking at a UN meeting in New York on global food security, he said what could follow would be “malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years”, as he and others urged Russia to release Ukrainian grain exports.
...
Before the invasion in February, Ukraine was seen as the world’s bread basket, exporting 4.5m tonnes of agricultural produce per month through its ports – 12% of the planet’s wheat, 15% of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.

But with the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and others cut off from the world by Russian warships, the supply can travel only on congested land routes that are far less efficient.

It is not Russia that is withholding Ukrainian grain or cutting off its seaports. Ukraine does that all by itself. As the Russian Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine reports:

75 foreign vessels from 17 countries remain blocked in 7 Ukrainian ports (Kherson, Nikolaev, Chernomorsk, Ochakov, Odessa, Yuzhniy and Mariupol). The threat of shelling and high mine danger created by official Kiev in its internal waters and territorial sea prevents vessels from safely leaving the ports and reaching the open sea.

In confirmation of this, the Russian Federation is opening daily from 08:00 to 19:00 (Moscow time) a humanitarian corridor, which is a safe lane south-west of Ukraine's territorial sea, 80 nautical miles long and 3 nautical miles wide.

Detailed information in English and Russian on the modus operandi of the maritime humanitarian corridor is broadcast daily every 15 minutes on VHF radio on 14 and 16 international channels in English and Russian.

At the same time, the Kiev authorities continue to avoid engaging with representatives of states and ship-owning companies to resolve the issue of ensuring the safe passage of foreign vessels to the assembly area.

The danger to navigation from Ukrainian mines drifting off their anchors along the coasts of Black Sea states remains.

The Russian Federation is taking a full range of comprehensive measures to ensure the safety of civilian navigation in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

That is just Russian propaganda you might say. But no, it is not. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published reports about the Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov:

At the start of the conflict approximately 2000 seafarers were stranded aboard 94 vessels in Ukrainian ports. 10 vessels have subsequently safely departed the Sea of Azov and 84, merchant ships remain, with nearly 450 seafarers onboard.
...
The Council (C/ES.35) on 10 and 11 March agreed to encourage the establishment, as a provisional and urgent measure, of a blue safe maritime corridor to allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high-risk and affected areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to a safe place in order to protect the life of seafarers, and ensure the mobilization and commercial navigation of vessels intending to use this corridor by avoiding military attacks and protecting and securing the maritime domain.
...
The Russian Federation has informed IMO that it had established a humanitarian corridor, to provide for the safe evacuation of ships once outside the territorial waters of the Ukraine. Despite this initiative, there remain many safety and security issues which hamper access to the corridor and the ability for ships to depart from their berth in Ukrainian ports.

Ukraine’s ports are at MARSEC (maritime security) level 3 and remain closed for entry and exit. Sea mines have been laid in port approaches and some port exits are blocked by sunken barges and cranes. Many ships no longer have sufficient crew onboard to sail.

Ukraine also provided their preconditions for the safe evacuation of ships from their ports. These include an end to hostilities, the withdrawal of troops and ensuring the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, including carrying out mine-sweeping activities with the involvement of Black Sea littoral states.

The MARSEC level of a port is determined by the local authorities. Ukraine is simply prohibiting ships from entering or leaving the ports it controls. It has taken these hostage and makes unreasonable demands for their release.

It also has laid some 400 anchor mines around Odessa which are so old that some of them have parted from their chains and drifted south towards Turkey. It does not allow Russia to de-mine the sea.

Meanwhile foreign ships that had been held by Ukraine in Mariupol have been able to leave since Russia has taken the city and its harbor.

UN secretary general Guterres certainly knows all this. That he is accusing Russia of causing a blockade only shows that he does not honor the neutrality his position demands.

The global food shortage has by the way been around since early 2021. It was not caused by the Ukraine crisis but, as an October 2021 report says, by high prices following supply chain disruptions during the pandemic:

[T]he food shortage around the world isn't just a factor of supply chain issues. According to a rapid phone survey done by the World Bank in 48 countries, a significant number of people are running out of food or reducing their consumption. Global food prices have hit a 10-year peak, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), driven by gains in cereals and vegetable oils. Despite record cereal consumption, a shortage is forecasted on higher consumption projections.

Guterres' accusations were copy-pasted from remarks U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had made in an interview:

Blinken: Ukraine is one of the leading producers of, among other things, wheat in the world. Russia, of course, is a large producer itself. And in Ukraine, there are literally tens of millions of tons of wheat that are stuck there because Russia's blockading Ukraine's ports. There are about 85 ships right now with grain, wheat in them. They can't get out. There are another 22 million tons of wheat in silos near the ports that can't get there.

Blinken is lying about the port blockade. The Ukraine is by the way currently exporting wheat via railway, Danube barges and then through the Romanian port Constanta. That wheat though is likely to go to Europe.

Blinken is also lying about fertilizers:

Blinken: Now, the reason for that is there's also a fertilizer shortage because a lot of that is produced in the region. That means that as farmers are thinking about next year's crops, if they don't have fertilizer, the yields are going to go down. So there's going to be even less food on the market and and prices go up even more.

Russia and Belarus are big fertilizer producers. Neither has been hindered to produce by the war. There is therefore no shortage. The only reason the U.S. and 'western' countries will not get fertilizer from those countries are the sanctions they have enacted against buying from them.

This passage from Blinken's interview has a comical element:

Q: You were in Kyiv recently, about a month ago, and you said that Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. What is your assessment now?

Blinken: That remains the case. Here's what's important: Putin's number one objective in going into Ukraine was to erase its independence, erase its sovereignty, to bring Ukraine fully back into the Russian fold, to make it part, in some fashion, of Russia. That's already failed.

How would Blinken know what Putin's number one objective was or is? Has he put himself into Putin's mind? Putin himself has given the reasons for the launching the operation in his Victory Day speech. Ukraine's independence was never questioned in it.

The next question after Blinken had put himself into Putin's mind is this one:

Q: How did he get this so wrong? How did he miscalculate this so badly?

Blinken: It's very hard to fully put yourself in the mind of anyone else.

Yeah. Thought so.

Q: What are you hearing intelligence wise?

Blinken: Well, we had, of course, very good information about Russia's planned aggression in the first place, which we shared with the world. A lot of people were skeptical. And it's one of those things where, as I said, I wish we'd been wrong about it, but we were right. ...

When during the winter of 2021 Biden warned of an 'imminent Russian invasion' of Ukraine he did not know what Russia's plans were. What he did know was that the Ukraine was planning, with U.S. help, for an all out on attack on the Donbas republics in February 2022.

Biden knew that no Russian politician could stand back when that were to happen. When you know on what date a war will start it is of course easy to predict when the response to it will happen.

Starting on February 16 Ukrainian artillery attacks on Donbas increased from a few dozen per day to more than 2,000 per day as was dully noted and reported by the OSCE special observer mission. It were these artillery preparations for a full blown attack that pushed Russia towards the preemptive operation in Ukraine.

This is confirmed in a recent Russian news report about the liberation of Azovstal (machine translation):

The [Russian] operation [in Ukraine] began against the backdrop of the situation in the Donbass that worsened in mid-February. The authorities of the DPR and LPR reported increased shelling by Ukrainian troops, announced the evacuation of civilians in the Russian Federation and asked for recognition of independence. On February 21, Putin signed the relevant decrees.

Again:

  • There was and is a global food crisis because food has become unaffordable for some people.
  • The war in Ukraine did not cause the food crisis.
  • Russia does not blockade Ukrainian harbors.
  • Ukraine could export more wheat if it would allow ships to leave its harbors.
  • Putin has not questioned the independence of Ukraine.
  • The reason for the war was the planned and prepared for Ukrainian attack on Donbas.

Anything else said about those points is just propaganda.

Posted by b on May 21, 2022 at 15:02 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Russia exports (normally) 4 times the amount of wheat that Ukraine does. Sanctions is certainly having a boomerang effect


BTW - Blinken is the poster child of the limits of ethnic nepotism. Tragic

Posted by: Exile | May 21 2022 15:12 utc | 1

I encounter following notice on the web site of bpost, the Belgian postal service:

bpost still handles shipments to Ukraine and neighboring countries. Commercial shipments to Russia and Belarus are suspended.
bpost management has decided to stop all express and commercial shipments to Russia and Belarus until further notice. bpost will continue to accept letters, Economy & Standard parcels to Russia and Belarus.

Meanwhile, Russia supplies EUrope with gas.

Posted by: Passerby | May 21 2022 15:12 utc | 2

A report that is on the money as always, thank you MoB.

Posted by: Thaisleeze | May 21 2022 15:14 utc | 3

Claiming Russia doesn't question the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine when it's currently carving up parts of the country and has made abundantly clear that it won't tolerate a NATO aligned Ukraine is ridiculous. Argue that Russia has legitimate security concerns that can override Ukrainian sovereignty (it does), but don't claim that that Russia respects Ukrainian independence.

Posted by: Ben | May 21 2022 15:23 utc | 4

Whenever I see Blinken or hear him speak I am reminded of that old quip "the light is on but nobody is home"

Posted by: Nowhereman54@protonm | May 21 2022 15:23 utc | 5

Looking at recent comments on this page, at this bar, about the Holodomor and the Irish Famine makes me think there will be no clarity on this matter. Food is important, absence of food is important. Which means it will be important to spread lies. Easy lies spread further than difficult truths.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 21 2022 15:24 utc | 6

This live map from marine traffic dot com does indicate a dearth of traffic in the Black Sea to & from Ukraine.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21 2022 15:32 utc | 7

There is also an effort by the Ukrainians to make the wheat situation worse. Egypt recently refused a cargo of wheat after being "told" that it had been stolen from Ukraine. As Russia exports wheat itself, this seems more like an attempt to stop Russian exports. But the poorer Egyptians didn't get the wheat in any case.

Posted by: Stonebird | May 21 2022 15:35 utc | 8

Thank you, b, particularly for this:

When during the winter of 2021 Biden warned of an 'imminent Russian invasion' of Ukraine he did not know what Russia's plans were. What he did know was that the Ukraine was planning, with U.S. help, for an all out on attack on the Donbas republics in February 2022.

[my bold]

Posted by: juliania | May 21 2022 15:38 utc | 9

Before the invasion in February, Ukraine was seen as the world’s bread basket

'cuse me. When I was a child, I was told that Pennsyltucky was the world's bread basket. Much later, when I was adult, I read that ancient Hellenes feasted on corn, so that may be why Jerrod Berstein insisted that the ancient Levant was the world's bread basket.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 15:45 utc | 10

@Passerby #2

Everything is so expensive now that Russia makes a good profit with less exports to EU. I wouldn't stop export either. It also shows who the crazy is.
In the winter many expect a spot gas price of at least 3000, so 10x more than a year ago.
What Russia must do is change the payment method for unfriendly countries for all commodities, no just gas.

Posted by: rk | May 21 2022 15:46 utc | 11

B, your posts are beginning to evidence the depth and authority I used to perceive decades ago when reading the London or NY Times. Thank you very much.

Posted by: Scorpion | May 21 2022 15:47 utc | 12

russia pays no attention to the buzzing of mosquitos
to continue to entertain every ridiculous comment/narrative/fantasy is to descend into madness

empire of assholes will do/say what it will

Posted by: ld | May 21 2022 15:52 utc | 13

So be has laid out the case why the emerging food crisis is not directly caused by Russia, more perhaps by Ukraine.

But Ukraine is managed by US.
The L.A. port enacted a new law last year which meant that only about 10% of the typical fleet of trucks was now qualified to off-load cargo from Chinese and other containers there. (Stupidity or malice?) In Taiwan one of only two core ingredient factories for HCQ burned to the ground. Trains carrying fertilizer in the US a few months back - fires again. Meat processing plants - destroyed. Gas pipelines.. shut down. Wheat and other shipments via the Black Sea.... curtailed.

Now many hear will argue this is all coincidence or ineptitude anything but concerted deliberate campaign to undermine western economies and polities. But at this point it seems reasonable to assume that State governments in the US which continue to push for mask mandates and compulsory vaccinations despite clear evidence that they don't help and may indeed do more harm than good are operating more out of malice than stupidity since stupidity would err in many directions not always and only in totalitarian ones.

Food shortages are being manipulated into being.
Inflation, energy supply bottlenecks and blockages are being deliberately manipulated into being.
In 2020 race relations in the US were deliberately inflamed.
In 2020 an election was flagrantly stolen and any protesting it labelled as domestic terrorists, still ongoing.
The border in the US has been left wide open and international NGO's provide $800 a month debit cards for hundreds of thousand of refugees coming from all over the world, such monies continuing after they cross the border. This is being organized.

Decent people have a hard time believing that wicked people are running things since they have a belief in a country, similar to a belief in a God, which trumps perception of data or facts every time and non-stop propaganda enforcing those beliefs. 90% of Americans - even cynical red-pilled ones, believe that America is the best country that ever was, the most compassionate, generous, noble, progressive and so on. They believe this even when their country is run by criminals the country is good just a few rotten apples in the barrel which can easily be picked out (Trump 2024 should do the trick, they think despite how such hopes were dashed from 2016 to 2021.)

At some point, deeply perceptive writers like b may be able to determine why this going on, what the end is. For now we still seemingly assume that the USG is run by nasty fools because entertaining the notion that this is all coordinated somehow is just a conspiratorial bridge too far.

Posted by: Scorpion | May 21 2022 16:00 utc | 14

Baby Formula.

It's ALL Russia fault!!

They keep blocking baby formula from US store shelves!!

Posted by: BroncoBilly | May 21 2022 16:01 utc | 15

"Claiming Russia doesn't question the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine when it's currently carving up parts of the country and has made abundantly clear that it won't tolerate a NATO aligned Ukraine is ridiculous. Argue that Russia has legitimate security concerns that can override Ukrainian sovereignty (it does), but don't claim that that Russia respects Ukrainian independence."

Russia is not carving up parts of Ukraine, it's own citizens are doing that because they don't want to be ruled from Washington. But that truth is unpalatable to the Western elites. There is nothing resembling "independence" in Kiev's actions, only American puppetry.

Posted by: nook | May 21 2022 16:02 utc | 16

So be has...
not
So be has

Posted by: Scorpion | May 21 2022 16:03 utc | 17

"So b has" not "so be has"
I swear there is a gremlin here....

Posted by: Scorpion | May 21 2022 16:04 utc | 18

http://vestnikburi.com/krizis-rynok-truda-i-trudovye-otnosheniya/

This article from Russian left-wing website "Storm Herald" provides an interesting perspective on the domestic effects of the sanctions on Russian workers and is worth translating. In general I've found analysis from this site very good and it is generally able to critique Putin's decisions in much better faith than Western media. I know "balanced perspectives" is an abused concept at this point, but I think most analysis on the economic situation in Russia tends to take a very eagle's eye approach and reading more about the actual effects on the workers is also important.

Posted by: VeraK | May 21 2022 16:06 utc | 19

@sln2002 #10
I am fairly certain corn, or maize, originated in the Americas.
Hard to see how ancient Hellenes could have feasted on it.

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 16:08 utc | 20

C1ue @ 20

British usage. Any grain is a corn. Maize was once called Indian corn. Oats and barley can be called corn. Certainly causes confusion.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 21 2022 16:17 utc | 21

European wars traditionally start in August or September when the harvest is in

This war was started by USA which is not part of Europe

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | May 21 2022 16:21 utc | 22

Re: How would Blinken know what Putin's number one objective was or is?

Because the USA has made all other hypothetical objectives impossible. Western belligerence mandates, that Russian tanks reach the Polish border and take over all of Ukraine. Russia will have to "erase its independence, erase its sovereignty, to bring Ukraine fully back into the Russian fold, to make it part, in some fashion, of Russia."

People have wondered why the Ukrainian troops are still dug in in their positions at the line of contact, when they should be in some defendable positions further west. There was and maybe still is a very simple way of ending the war. Ukrainian forces withdraw from the LOC to the administrative borders of the former Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts. The Ukrainian troops remain dug in in Severodonetsk and Adveeka precisely to prevent this outcome from ever happening.

By losing its independence to the West, Ukraine also lost its ability to sue for peace. The United States's number one objective is to prevent any negotiated settlement on Ukraine. The only possible end to open hostilities is, if Russia enforces its will on all of the Ukraine and places Russian troops and tanks on the Polish border (wherever that is). Even that will not end the war. It will continue as economic war and insurrection, but at least the flow of heavy weapons will stop.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 21 2022 16:21 utc | 23

@oldhippie #21
Thanks - the Corn Laws now make a lot more sense to me.
2 countries divided by a common language...

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 16:22 utc | 24

thanks b... bang on!

i highly recommend reading @ oldhippie | May 21 2022 15:24 utc | 6 post.. the same attempt at rewriting history is in play right now... many will fall for it..

Posted by: james | May 21 2022 16:22 utc | 25

US forces burn crops in Syria to starve the locals

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | May 21 2022 16:23 utc | 26

Clue @ 20,

'Corn' was the generic term for wheat back in the very old olden days.

Posted by: polecat | May 21 2022 16:23 utc | 27

@Petri Krohn #23
I think we're way past your proposed solution.

You are also discounting the possibility that most Ukrainians, including in the military, just decide the war isn't worth fighting any more.

This has happened before, and the Russian "limited war" approach makes this much more likely since the main reason people would fight to the death in the medieval (and before) past was the certainty that a sack of a city or country was the worst possible outcome.

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 16:25 utc | 28

see also:
https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/14/business/india-wheat-export-banned/index.html

https://www.albertafarmexpress.ca/crops/wheat-supply-drop-sharpest-in-a-decade/ (late 2021 but relevant)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-farmers-wheat-prices-1.6379852

as for russia's supply...if only there was a huge country with a billion people in the vicinity. or maybe an entire continent of food insecure darker skinned people who have spent a few centuries being f_ucked with by the west and don't care about sanctions. if only.

Posted by: the pair | May 21 2022 16:31 utc | 29

B, thank you for yr quality observations. It is always a surprise to see what suject you have chosen to highlight.
This foodscam is just another blamegame as soo many before. Russia is the culprit...
You can type yr fingers blue proving there is nothing to blame. It will be in vain. The Kiev regime
will do everyting to amplify the blame. Bad Russia. They hope to raise te moral indignation of the general public so the western elite will be ultimately obliged to to forcefully intervene in the Ukraine to get the Russians defeated.
To make it short: "the end justifies the means". Russia subjucated to the US/UK rule of law.
No more Multi-polair world.
So Russia keep going dont mind the West. No excuses...

Posted by: DutchZ | May 21 2022 16:34 utc | 30


While the Ukraine crisis did not start the insufficiency of food world-wide, it does exacerbate the intensity. The fallowed hectares in Ukraine due to conflict (and possibly also lack of people to farm) will make things worse. But the plethora of sanctions via the west most probably will have much more knock on effects to the scarcity of food this year and in years to come.

BTW, Does anyone know how this will effect buckwheat prices. I paid $68 for 25 pounds (organic) last January (organic) and it still goes up. I would be buying the normal stuff, but I do not live in Canada anymore, sigh.

In the long run, the "weirding of weather", i.e. more extremes of highs and lows of temperature, precipitation will have consequences for decades.

Posted by: paxmark1 | May 21 2022 16:36 utc | 31

@Don Bacon #7:

This live map from marine traffic dot com does indicate a dearth of traffic in the Black Sea to & from Ukraine.

Actually, it shows a huge number of ships near the Danube River Delta loading wheat from river barges that are bringing it down the river from the Ukrainian ports of Reni and Izmail.

Posted by: S | May 21 2022 16:41 utc | 32

(Possibly from the Moldavian port of Giurgiulești as well.)

Posted by: S | May 21 2022 16:43 utc | 33

Goddamn Ukrainians. They cannot fight off an invasion from a country three times their size and still maintain regular grain exports. They do not deserve to exist as a nation.

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | May 21 2022 16:44 utc | 34

oldhippie

You are right, The Corn Laws for example.
In the Irish Famine discussion, a granary of misinformation, someone (English no doubt) reported that Peel had imported wheat to Ireland. It was, in fact, corn. Or Maize.
It is sad to see the English being blamed for the Irish Famine- the real culprits were the capitalist agents in Ireland who, to provide an income for the absentee landowners (something like 7/8ths of Irish rents left the country) rackrented the land that had been stolen from the, communal farming, Irish clans between roughly, 1500 and 1800. Thrown off their own land the peasants rented back small plots from the middlemen and tried to live off potatoes, the miracle crop.
Everyone saw what was bound to happen, and always does in monoculture.
As to the English-these were the Hungry Forties in English History- times of mass hunger, unemployment, strikes and the Chartist Movement(which was led by two Irishmen who knew that the problem was capitalism in Ireland and liberal ideology in Britain.)
A famous Master (Head) of Balliol College recalled that he had stopped believing in Political Economy at the time of the Famine. He had asked a colleague, economist, whether it was true that a million people had died of starvation. The answer "Oh yes at least a million" had died he was told by the academic economist "but the question is whether a million is enough."
These were the days of surplus population theories (we still hear their echoes) in which the market dictated how land was to be used. And most of the Irish peasantry, subsistence farming for a millenium, had no money so their needs never got a voice in the market. And their land, and their labour on it, was used to raise livestock for salt beef and pork for the shipping industry, and butter and cheese for export. As everyone knows the years of the potato famine were years in which food exports from Ireland were untouched. And the beneficiaries were not The English, starving themselves both in the countryside and the cities, but the capitalists including the landowners.
How many died? Many more than we will ever know: those who died in Ireland were only the most concentrated group. And even then the precursors of the 'Covid is a Hoax' school were blaming those deaths on co-morbidities, lifestyle choices, sluttish housekeeping and other victim choices (including whiskey). The Capitalists loved the diversion.
Then there were the emigrants-most of whom went to Canada, Montreal, Quebec City and St John New Brunswick, in the coffin ships (The Pogues-Thousands are Sailing). I believe that Boston actually refused to accept the ships from Ireland. And who can blame them? the emigrants were starving, diseased and carrying epidemics with them.
As to The Holodomor there is a good article from the old Counterpunch which has a lot of links to research by serious scholars rather than the intellectual whores of imperialism.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/03/the-holodomor-and-the-film-bitter-harvest-are-fascist-lies/

Posted by: bevin | May 21 2022 16:50 utc | 35

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 16:25 utc | 28

I think we're way past your proposed solution.

In the current situation, for hostilities to end, Ukraine would have to cede all of Donetsk and Lugansk, plus whatever is now under Russian control, i.e. Kherson, most of Zaparozhia and eastern Kharkov.

You are also discounting the possibility that most Ukrainians, including in the military, just decide the war isn't worth fighting any more.

Actually I am counting that in. Russian tanks can start moving to the Polish border only after most Ukrainians decide the war isn't worth fighting any more.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 21 2022 16:55 utc | 36

If the defense against Ukraine nazism is that Zelensky is Jewish, does that by default make this a Jewish war on Russia?
And, does having only one day of atonement create moral hazard for the other 364 days?

Posted by: FredF | May 21 2022 16:56 utc | 37

Nobody talks about Wall Street much (except in terms of the death of capitalism). Of course shorters are happy to see the stock market collapsing but people who depend on 401Ks certainly must be starting to feel the pinch. Crypto isn't looking so bright either.

I wonder if Wall Street isn't secretly hoping Russia wins so things can get back to some sort of normal.

Posted by: dh | May 21 2022 16:58 utc | 38

Posted by: paxmark1 | May 21 2022 16:36 utc | 32

The fallowed hectares in Ukraine due to conflict (and possibly also lack of people to farm) will make things worse.

Most Ukrainian wheat is winter wheat. It is sown in the autumn for harvesting the following summer. In drone footage you will notice that most of the fields are green.

I think the bigger problem could be lack of diesel fuel in areas controlled by NATO. But sowing should be over by now, so maybe it did not have an effect.


Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 21 2022 17:04 utc | 39

As well as the Covid restrictions, another major cause of the increase in grain prices is the recent drought in India. The ban on wheat exports from that country of more than a billion people is pushing up prices - much more than the war in Ukraine.

Wheat is a global commodity, so even the effects of sanctions against Russia will only have a short-term effect. That disruption will disappear as buyers all over the world switch over to new suppliers.

Posted by: Brendan | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 40

"The reason for the war was the planned and prepared for Ukrainian attack on Donbas.
Anything else said about those points is just propaganda."

I have a lot of respect for MoA, the main reason why i come here daily.

So, respectfully, a couple of questions.

1- I also checked, at the time, the OSCE data, and observed there was a unilateral escalation in the shelling from the Ukrainian side.

My questions are:
A- How does this PROVE an actual invasion was imminent?
B- How does this not EXCLUDE the possibility it wasn't merely done as a provocation to then precipitate a Russian invasion? An invasion which had been prognosticated for some time by the US, but had not yet materialised?

2- MoA, Martyanov and other bloggers have often alluded to "plans" of an imminent attack in the Donbass by Ukraine. As far as i know, no such 'plans' have ever been shared or proven conclusively.
How is it that claims the US has no proof/insight into Putin/Russia's plans/thinking appear reasonable, but the claims MoA et al. make about Ukraine instead stand up to no such scrutiny?
As far as i know, any proof of such plans only exists by inference (and btw, by well researched and sensible reasoning, much of which i have little reason to disagree with, although, i would stop short of guaranteeing with any degree of certainty)

3- MoA published an article back in 25/1/22:

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2022/01/a-parthogenetic-conflict-there-is-no-russian-invasion-threat-to-ukraine.html

With expanded satellite pics, it aimed to disprove claims of any disposition of forces signalling a Russian invasion. At the time, I also read it and agreed. Only later did the thought occur to me, that these 'barracks' were actually temporary field barracks, consistent with a newly repositioned army, precisely what one would require for an invading force of one's own.


I guess my main question is, when so many of us were wrong about a Russian invasion that most alt media commentators failed to predict, how can we then make claims with such certainty about a presumed Ukrainian invasion that we have so little to actually prove, and that never materialised precisely because it was preceded by the very thing we failed to predict?

I am sorry if it comes across as disrespectful in any way, and if it was made in ignorance or overlooking any evidence that was otherwise provided, please accept my apologies, but i do feel it is a valid point to make.

Posted by: Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 41

All that Ukraine grain can be ship out to Poland and from there forward.

Posted by: Andrew | May 21 2022 17:10 utc | 42

Posted by: dh | May 21 2022 16:58 utc | 39

I wonder if Wall Street isn't secretly hoping Russia wins so things can get back to some sort of normal.

I do not think the markets are keeping any secrets. Any news of Ukrainian "victories" will push down the markets. News that predicts a quick end to the conflict makes the markets go up. (This observation from my investment banker friend.)

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 21 2022 17:11 utc | 43

Goddamn Ukrainians. They cannot fight off an invasion from a country three times their size and still maintain regular grain exports. They do not deserve to exist as a nation.

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | May 21 2022 16:44 utc | 35

instead of implementing the Minsk accords, they chose to lose to an armed force a third of the size of their own.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 21 2022 17:14 utc | 44

Posted by: VeraK | May 21 2022 16:06 utc | 19

Interesting the name of the site you link to, from herald to storm herald, a play of words in Russian. It could be a little heavy reading for whomever is not into labor analysis and statistics -like me- but the core of it is very clear, everybody is going to lose, east and west, import substitution is a forced situation under sanctions, but autarky is never going to be more efficient than trading under normal circumstances. It is not going to be "la vie en rose" for anybody, we're all losing, and many are losing their most valuable asset, life itself. But then again, this was forced and started back in 2014. Nuremberg 2.0 should start with Cookie Nuland, but at this point that is a doubtful proposition, the heavily tattooed goons will get it though.

Posted by: Paco | May 21 2022 17:17 utc | 45

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 16:08 utc | 20

Exactly. But "corn" is how anglophone classicists have translated what can only be wheat (possibly since arable Pelopponese is marginal), barley, and legumes in classical Greek texts (for this I had to dig deep into out-of-print non-fic at archive.org, when historians were not as self-conscious as today's "multicultural" youth). Other invidious malaprops which I've come across by re-reading secular bibble epics at perseus.tufts.edu are iron, (gifted by Athena), God, and of course Plato's alter-ego, his shade (Egypt, Old Kingdom) or psyche (Greek). (The bi-lingual dictionary and editors' annotations are quite extraorinary, mostly because it reveals disagreement among translators about meaning, declention, conotations, and even pronunciation of koine Greek, because the context, historicity, provenance of the OG author in hand is, as they say, not well-understood.)

sample set of polemical European "social sciences"
Leo Weiner, Africa and the Discovery of America, vol II (15th cen. ES, PT, and agriculture)
Harold Bloom, The Book of J (Hebrew)
Emily Watson, The Odyssey (koine GR)
The Great Syphilis Pandemic's True Origins ("modern" medicine)

When "trusted sources" repeat a false fact often enough, lots people have and will accept it as "truth".

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 17:17 utc | 46

@44 "News that predicts a quick end to the conflict makes the markets go up. (This observation from my investment banker friend.)"

That's my impression too. The markets hate instability. I guess the Wall Streeters don't complain though. They don't want to appear unpatriotic.

Posted by: dh | May 21 2022 17:18 utc | 47

Posted by: Scorpion | May 21 2022 16:00 utc | 14

At some point, deeply perceptive writers like b may be able to determine why this going on, what the end is.

There certainly seem to be a number of agendas being actioned.

I remember President Joe "Build Back Better" Biden warning that food shortages were really going to happen and then, as if the disruption caused by the sanctions and the shutdowns was not enough, there were all these food processing plants burning down -

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2022/05/17/food-plants-on-fire/

I noted the emphasis from Reuters and fact checkers that these fires were just coincidental but, as a btl MoA commenter once said "The chain of coincidence has gone beyond synchronicity".

Next, there is Ukrainian grain being moved in bulk out of Ukraine by road. https://gpovanman.wordpress.com/2022/05/19/holodomor-2-0/

Posted by: cirsium | May 21 2022 17:23 utc | 48

@ Noam A. Larkey | May 21 2022 16:44 utc | 35

actually it is there usa-uk-nato supervisors that can't do it... and instead they continue to pour billions in, along with all the weapons, and the sanctions - and amazing! they still can't do it! maybe the idiots will decide to try a different approach??? i doubt it..

Posted by: james | May 21 2022 17:27 utc | 49

@ Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 41

at some point, a person has to connect the dots for themselves.... i can't help you do that..

Posted by: james | May 21 2022 17:32 utc | 50

if you actually read all the posts at moa, you'd be quite capable too..

Posted by: james | May 21 2022 17:35 utc | 51

Maize was once called Indian corn. Oats and barley can be called corn. Certainly causes confusion.
Posted by: oldhippie | May 21 2022 16:17 utc | 21

The nations of merchants started calling maize "corn", because they cannot. leave. well enough. alone.
Neither is indigenous to the British islands or Greece or Africa as they damn well knew SO GREAT is the compulsion to dominate and disrepect people, processes, and things they cannot "monetize" or otherwise destroy.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 17:40 utc | 52

@Et Tu

My questions are:
A- How does this PROVE an actual invasion was imminent?
B- How does this not EXCLUDE the possibility it wasn't merely done as a provocation to then precipitate a Russian invasion? An invasion which had been prognosticated for some time by the US, but had not yet materialised?

A:
- NATO membership written into constitution
- Backing from NATO
- Laws implemented to retake Crimea
- Speeches by president who announced plans to retake Donbas
- Core of the Ukrainian army positioned away from their barracks on the Donbas borders, battle ready
- Artillery preparations ongoing
- Whatever Russian intelligence collected from Ukraine
B:
- Provocation from Ukraine that risks destruction of its country for what gain?

Posted by: b | May 21 2022 17:40 utc | 53

How is it that claims the US has no proof/insight into Putin/Russia's plans/thinking appear reasonable, but the claims MoA et al. make about Ukraine instead stand up to no such scrutiny?

Posted by: Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 41

you appear to be oscillating between standards of proof. you want a criminal standard, instead of what "appears reasonable" applied to claims about Ukraine intentions, and then contrast that with the civil standard quite reasonably applied by b and many others to US claims. of course there won't be certainty beyond a reasonable doubt in the fog of war. that is no reason to disregard experience and the history of the US and NATO and Ukraine itself in the runup to this war.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 21 2022 17:43 utc | 54

good luck talking with someone who refuses to see what is in front of them everyday... i am stupid to try...

Posted by: james | May 21 2022 17:46 utc | 55

I guess my main question is, when so many of us were wrong about a Russian invasion that most alt media commentators failed to predict, how can we then make claims with such certainty about a presumed Ukrainian invasion that we have so little to actually prove, and that never materialised precisely because it was preceded by the very thing we failed to predict?

Posted by: Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 42

You might shed some more light on this issue if you turn the question around. What was the best solution that Ukraine could hope to achieve, given that Minsk agreements were deemed unacceptable. The best outcome for them would have been the repeat of another US engineered "solution" as in Croatian Krajina when a separatist Serbian population was chased out of their ancestral homes. Ukrainian leadership did state that they needed the territory not the people who rebelled. If eight years of bombardment did not succeed in chasing them out the only other way was a military campaign with the aid of NATO. The Russian intervention was going to be a problem, so in order to disrupt such Russian plans and stigmatize Russia in case of intervention, a hysterical campaign about imminent intervention was launched.

Posted by: Pagan | May 21 2022 17:46 utc | 56

I read that Janet Yellen said that they've already accomplished the important goal of driving up food and energy prices. Shock Doctrine. book by Naomi Klein.

this whole thing is a gift to the death machines, worldwide, and to Austerity imposed by governments all over.Bye unions, the shreds of free speech remaining, elections will continue to be manipulated.

as much as it will hurt us, i welcome dedollarization for the sake of the world.

Posted by: polarbear4 | May 21 2022 17:51 utc | 57

Russia and Belarus are big fertilizer producers.

Does anyone seen any concrete information on the actual cost of fertiliser over time, in different parts of the world? How it has been affected by the rising price of energy, and by the sanctions. My assumption is that the effects (both energy prices and sanctions) will be not slightly different but radically different in different parts of the world - especially between those countries with good relations with Russia/Belarus (where fertiliser can still be produced cheaply) vs the "unfriendlies". I read that the cost in Russia for farmers is almost unchanged.

There has been so much talk about the prospects of famine in the global south, but how is that playing out in reality? Potentially, since Russia can produce fertiliser cheaply, I see this as a heaven-sent opportunity for radical changes in global changes in strategic allegiance to Russia's benefit. By offering to sell cheap fertiliser (and energy etc) in local currency to friendly countries of the global south, while forcing unfriendly countries to buy at high prices in rubles, the traditional disadvantage to the global south can be reversed, their own local currencies beneficially revalued relative to the unfriendly countries who normally exploit them, and the global south countries are amply encouraged to geopolitically align with Russia. As a form of subsidy, it costs money; but Russia is raking in huge profits, and as the arrangement is intrinsically win-win the overall financial benefits to Russia in the long term would be gigantic.

Posted by: BM | May 21 2022 17:52 utc | 58

@ 32, you were able to purchase Canadian organic buckwheat in Canada?? This is one of my main grievances with the global commodities or whatever the heck it is, system. Canada grows premium cold-weather organic buckwheat (granted, in limited supply) but the best prices come from Japan (soba noodles - very, very serious buckwheat consumers). So when I go to buy it, I can’t find organic buckwheat grown in Canada. *I have to buy imports!* I don’t begrudge the Japanese their appreciation for a fine buckwheat, nor the Canadian farmers their appreciation for being paid well… but. The same applies for organic sunflower seeds grown in Manitoba, I had to purchase ones grown in China. (!)

As a Canadian, I find this whole “Ukraine feeding the world it’s grains” highly insulting. We know what Russia thinks about it. I wonder what India has to say, or China even. Australia. Geez. Euro-centricity is making a big comeback.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 21 2022 17:54 utc | 59

Posted by: Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 41

Et tu Brutus... disrespect can be forgiven, at times, but being a weasel is unforgivable, well now they call it concerned trolling or something like that. Do a search, "Azov Batallion plan to reach the Russian Federation border through Novoazovsk". Plans, maps, dates and instructions were found in Azovstal, here a link to an article in Russian, bye bye Ceasar, you deserve to be eliminated by your adopted son.

Azov's plan was the USA's plan

Posted by: Paco | May 21 2022 17:55 utc | 60

@42 & 48

An eighteen wheeler truck might carry 50 tons. Rail is not working in Ukraine The amount of grain being held up at this moment is variously given as 20 million to 25 million tons. That is a lot of trucks. There is a reason heavy freight moves by water. Even when it is possible to do the whole trip by truck the cost is far higher.

Posted by: Oldhippie | May 21 2022 18:02 utc | 61

https://www.iceagefarmer.com/2022/05/17/iran-digital-food-rationing-rolls-out-using-biometric-ids-amid-food-riots/

Iran is set to be the first country to roll out a food rationing scheme based on new biometric IDs. Where vaccine passports failed, food passports will now be eagerly accepted by hungry people who can’t afford rapidly inflating food prices. This is the realization of a longstanding agenda by the Rockefeller/UN/WEF crowd to, as Kissinger put it, “control food, and control people.”

https://www.iceagefarmer.com/2022/04/01/biden-pays-farms-to-stop-eu-out-of-feed-meat-taxes-chicken-permits-up-to-you-to-grow-food
Even as Biden and Trudeau announce food shortages, farmers are being paid to STOP farming. Chickens are now “illegal animals” in more municipalities, requiring a permit, “due to bird flu.” The EU is culling livestock as they run out of animal feed, and the Netherlands is seriously considering a meat tax. — And yet, there is a resurgence of regenerative agriculture and community victory gardens, as people realize it is UP TO US to feed our families going forward!

https://www.iceagefarmer.com/2022/03/25/biden-food-shortages-real-bird-flu-pcr-pfas-closes-farms
Bread & circuses keep the masses asleep…and they are taking away the bread. As Biden announces food shortages are coming — prompting many to go stock up, and likely necessitating food rationing — two massive attacks are being perpetrated against our food supply: a “bird flu” epidemic is sweeping Europe and the US, again fueled by PCR tests, forcing mass depopulation of poultry & “backyard flocks.” And farms contaminated with PFAS are being shut down as it is finally revealed that the “Biosludge” applied to farms (including organic!) was the equivalent of salting the Earth to destroy food production.

https://www.iceagefarmer.com/2022/03/04/brace-for-rationing-food-crisis-escalates-eu-farmers-furious/
The food crisis is escalating: more countries are halting exports, but even as the EU converges a food crisis meeting, they refuse to relax restrictions on farmers. Similarly, the US is not waiving biofuel mandates even as grain prices explode. Christian explains that this crisis is needed to advance the agenda, and reiterates the priorities for your victory garden to insulate your family and community from this worldwide food crisis.


ttps://www.iceagefarmer.com/2022/03/03/food-crisis-eu-expects-shortages-s-korea-feed-producers-to-declare-force-majeur/

The food crisis is here. The EU’s agricultural ministers held an emergency meeting, and are set to activate a “Food Crisis Contingency Mechanism” in anticipation of the shortages resulting from the blocked 40% of global wheat exports that are no longer flowing from Ukraine/Russia. S. Korea’s animal feed producers are preparing to declare force majeur, unable to produce feed without the 300,000 metric tons they’d expected from Ukraine now stuck in the Black Sea. Nations are banning exports to cling to what food stocks they DO have. Things are escalating quickly in the food crisis – and all of this was pre-scripted in the 2015 Food Chain Reaction Game, and we are now walking through that script.


https://www.iceagefarmer.com/2022/03/01/shippers-cut-off-russia-wheat-price-explodes-cyberattacks-on-shipping/

As Major shipping companies are cutting service to Russia and UK bans shipments from Russia, the disruption to global food supply is now a lasting one. What effect will cutting out the breadbasket of the world have, and–more importantly–who benefits from doing so?

Posted by: susetta | May 21 2022 18:03 utc | 62

"asymetric defense just rolled off the assembly line of lethal aid for "partners".

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 18:11 utc | 63

"global commodities" formely-known-as cash crops.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 18:14 utc | 64

@ bevin | May 21 2022 16:50 utc | 36 , who says, "These were the days of surplus population theories (we still hear their echoes)..."

Apparently, surplus population theories are still around among the elite who are running things. Hence you have one elite source I saw somewhere saying the world's population needs to be reduced by 20%, while Stephen Martin says the globalists mean to reduce the population by 92% https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/05/20/the-four-planks-of-the-21stc-final-empire-platform/ . I do not know who this Stephen Martin is, and I would like to, if anyone does know. But he seems to be in synch with many views entertained here at MOA, in particular Michael Hudson's idea that a worldwide famine is being deliberately engineered this year with the intent of further subjugating the debtor nations under the American financial boot, and there is also Hudson's assertion that the World Bank's mission is specifically to prevent countries from growing their own food.

So that a worldwide famine that Ukraine may be a part of is possibly in motion seems likely. One of Martin's ideas is that the Ukraine war provides a cover for elite dominationist and genocidal moves, and that has been aired here too. But on the point of disruption of food supplies and food dependency, who exactly is to blame for that? Would such disruptions have occurred had the US not goaded Russia into intervening by itself trying to make Ukraine into a US satellite? Certainly not. So blame must go back to the would-be world-ruling elite.

However, this still leaves a question of what exactly the elite are trying to get out of the mess they have made of the world. Is it really a calculated depopulation and genocide? I think we have not to attribute so much foresight to the elite. While there are no doubt elite planners who think they have worked everything out, a lot of the elite are probably only doing what they do best, trying to get more money by hook or by crook. And how good can the planners be anyway when they profess to be blase about the dangers of nuclear war? Even without nuclear war, it would seem to me that actual depopulation efforts, especially one as drastic as 92% of the human race, would take on a life of their own and lead to unpredictable results, such as possibly the extermination of the perpetrators. That makes me a little reserved about such claims, even though I think the intentions of the elite must be entirely selfish.

Posted by: Cabe | May 21 2022 18:21 utc | 65

bevin @ 35

First I want to say that I respect your erudition and your contributions here. You know more about the Irish Famine than I do. But.

Who collects rent is a landlord. Or simply say lord. Who owned rural land in 19th century Ireland was not a capitalist who had made an investment in real property. The lord was an hereditary lord who had land by ancient right and because the King gave it to his forebears following war of conquest. The Irish peerage was same as the English peerage..

Enclosure was straightforward theft. Common goods and common wealth were taken from peasants and appropriated by lords. This was not capitalism. It was a pure expression of power. Power wielded by an aristocracy who did not care about feudal obligation or human life and grabbed what they could.

Enclosure had the added benefit of creating an uprooted class of potential industrial labor.First it was theft. If the labor was used, or used after being exported, the master of the dark satanic mill would most often be a younger son of the enclosing peer.

Posted by: Oldhippie | May 21 2022 18:24 utc | 66

@Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 41

I recall Russian MOD and/or DPR saying they had captured documents indicating an imminent invasion.

........................................

Article on Russian economic situation posted by Posted by: VeraK | May 21 2022 16:06 utc | 19

Very long and, as Paco said, a bit much to wade through all the detail. Basically a rundown on the employment picture in Russia and its persistent problems and a projection at the very end on what the expected impact of the current sanctions will be on said labor market compared to previous economic shocks.

It suggests that a great variety of industries and businesses are dependent on imported equipment/machine tools/parts that have become unavailable due to sanctions. Logging and woodworking (Stihl or Husky chainsaws and shop equipment I guess), papermaking and printing (inks and perhaps machine parts), auto industry (foreign auto parts and machine tools for the domestic industry), equipment and foreign expertise for energy [gas and petroleum extraction and refining] and mining. Loss of some export markets...

They suggest that from the worker's perspective they should leverage the government incentive to minimize social disruption and unrest. Not a very forward looking solution...

So it would seem to me that there are quite a few things the government and business could do to both ease short term problems while trying to move ahead with resilience - such as supporting domestic industries to diversify to meet demand for goods that were acquired abroad, import substitution from Asia, seeking acceptable export markets, etc

I read that import restrictions on car parts (and perhaps other similar items) were to be lifted for instance.

The issues of low wages, contract work without social benefits, tax avoidance - these are in the government lap for the most part.

Here are some reflections from the Altai region of Siberia that illustrate a the local response.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 21 2022 18:28 utc | 67

Kiev pays the West grain for weapons — Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Polyansky
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2022, 20:26-REGNUM First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyansky called hypocrisy the words of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba about the alleged blocking of Ukrainian ports by Russia in order to prevent the export of grain. According to the Russian diplomat, Kiev pays with Ukrainian grain for the supply of weapons.

«Вы знаете лучше других, что Россия не блокирует экспорт продовольствия из украинских портов. Вы держите [порты] заминированными и используете иностранные суда в качестве живого щита», — написал Дмитрий Полянский в ответ на заявление Кулебы в Twitter.
As the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine stated earlier, Russia's actions to block Ukrainian ports threaten millions of people with hunger. According to Kuleba, Ukraine and its Western partners have established two land routes "to deliver food exports and save Africa and other regions from hunger."

As Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Polyansky caught Kuleba, " the ongoing land-based export of food ... does not go to Africa, but pays the bills for weapons."

See also: Nebenzia said that Kiev gives the West grain for weapons

Подробности: https://regnum.ru/news/polit/3597518.html
Любое использование материалов допускается только при наличии гиперссылки на ИА REGNUM.

Posted by: Meriem Kheira Peille | May 21 2022 18:30 utc | 68

Posted by: Ben | May 21 2022 15:23 utc | 4

When the US Secretary of Defense calls the Russian Minister of Defense and proposes a ceasefire in Ukraine, then Ukraine has ceased to exist as an independent nation.

Posted by: Passerby | May 21 2022 18:30 utc | 69

Thank you sln2002 @64

By the way, I did find organic buckwheat products in Vancouver. No it wasn’t on the black market, it was at one of those specialty stores that sells Japanese products, but not the ones produced for export. Nice soba noodles. Here in Montréal, it is easy to find bread using wheat (organic, special varieties) grown in Quebec, milled in Quebec, and then baked at a boulangerie in Quebec. The French will not be denied their baguettes and other breads.

Aren’t we all supposed to be going gluten-free anyhow?? What happened to that?

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 21 2022 18:34 utc | 70

Two points:

#1 - directly related to wheat - this is from today's antiwar.com ...
US Drawing Up Plans To Sink the Russian Black Sea Fleet: Ukrainian Official

Reuters reports the White House is seeking to move advanced anti-ship weapons to Kiev
by Kyle Anzalone Posted onMay 20, 2022CategoriesNews

Shortly after Reuters published an exclusive story that the White House was looking to move advanced anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, an official in Kiev said that the US is making a plan to sink Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

#2 - the big picture ... from a comment on Unz.com ...

Putin has brought us to the doorstep of WW III and Whitney is cheering him on.

Putin has made a horrific blunder, and let’s hope the consequences can be contained.

The same thing happened at the start of WW II. Hitler had reasonable demands on Poland, and tried for a year to negotiate them. When that failed he thought he could take what he wanted. What he did not understand was that Jews controlled the west and were waiting for a reason to go to war with Germany.

Putin is making the same mistake. He had reasonable demands on Ukraine, and tried for years to negotiate them. Failing that he thought he could take what he wanted. What he did not understand was that Jews controlled the west and were waiting for a reason to go to war with Russia.

Posted by: Saggy | May 21 2022 18:34 utc | 71

Posted by: Et Tu | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 41

The question you pose is relevant, but don’t expect a serious answer here, these guys aren’t ever wrong. If I asked them they would probably say that the chemical or biological false flag (biological isn’t even technically possible because pathogens spread uncontrollably) they where all screaming about a few months ago kinda sorta occurred.

I can boost my ego by pointing out that I changed my mind about Russian military intervention a full two days before the new round of the war started. When Ukrainian soldiers (a team of saboteurs) entered Russian soil they had to respond.

The reason I thought otherwise up until then was that the number of troops massed where too small for a full scale invasion and occupation. They still are.

The possibility of this kind of limited war didn’t occur to me. I probably spent too much time watching the US way of warfare.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | May 21 2022 18:39 utc | 72

Re buckwheat

Buckwheat is a plant without many storytellers.
As I have sat for decades, meditating and mentally wandering, on the same buckwheat hull cushion, trying to become a better person, huh, I offer this outdated, it seems, citation to a local agricultural take on Buckwheat — Fagopyrum esculentum Moench! a broadleaf plant native to northern Asia: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/alternativeag/cropproduction/buckwheat.html


I read most of the comments here and thank you all for your contributions. Spring briefly flushed into summer here and has now made a retreat. The asparagus and greens have been abundant despite the lack of ‘normal’ spring rains. The sweet song of the Orioles have arrived, as have the mockingbirds, all of which I feed, water and appreciate.

War is hell and those who engineer it by whatever means & veils deserve their karmic results. Sad but no surprise.

Posted by: suzan | May 21 2022 18:41 utc | 73

Posted by: Meriem Kheira Peille | May 21 2022 18:30 utc | 68

Grain for weapons: that was my understanding, Unkraine must pay for the weapons, and the grain is being shipped West to do that. Should pay very well in the coming food shortages.

Posted by: Bemildred | May 21 2022 18:43 utc | 74

Wow, I just read a very detailed and instructive article about worldwide and Ukraine/Russia
wheat/Barley/Corn production. Why are those countries such major players in the foodmarket.
This link tells you why...

https://telegra.ph/Black-Gold-Its-not-what-you-think-05-21

As I am sure you have heard, trouble and famine are coming, the war has caused Russia and Ukraine, two of the world's largest food exporters, to stop or partially stop their export flow, why are these two lands so fertile?
Just the heading of the article.

Posted by: DutchZ | May 21 2022 18:47 utc | 75

Posted by: Passerby | May 21 2022 18:30 utc | 69 Ukraine had already ceased to be a sovereign nation when Viki Nuland discussed who was an acceptable replacement for Yanukovitch with Geoffrey Pyatt in 2014.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 21 2022 18:52 utc | 76

The following is via google translate of the Turkish newspaper Aydinlik, dated 21 May 2022.

There are problems providing a direct link/url but this is what I used:

https://www-aydinlik-com-tr.translate.goog/haber/ukrayna-turk-gemilerini-canli-kalkan-yapti-317058?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-GB

"Ukraine made Turkish ships human shields Aydınlık reached the information that Ukraine did not allow 21 Turkish ships to leave the port and made human shields to prevent the attacks on Odessa.

FOREIGN NEWS SERVICE

Special operations of Russia continue in Ukraine. While the neonazi groups trapped in the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol surrendered, it turned out that Ukraine did not allow foreign ships to leave the ports to prevent attacks on Odessa. According to the information Aydınlık obtained, 21 of the ships that were not allowed to leave the port of Odesa belong to the Turks. Indicating that 4 of them are Turkish-flagged and the other 17 are Turkish-owned, sources state that they carry the flag of another country: “Even though they carry the flag of another country, these 17 ships belong to the Turks. There are 21 Turkish ships in total. Ukraine does not want these ships to leave, on the grounds that "there is a danger", citing the mines left in the sea. Russia has opened a security corridor, but they still do not allow it. But the main purpose is different. If foreign ships leave, the Ukrainians will become a clear target and Odessa will soon fall. For this reason, Turks do not allow foreign ships, including 21 ships. One of the reasons why Turkish ships are kept waiting is this: If the Russians start an operation in Odessa and hit Turkish ships, it is calculated that there will be tension in Turkish-Russian relations.” they said."

Posted by: G | May 21 2022 19:03 utc | 77

@Scorpion (14) Is it really necessary for you to keep bringing up your pet peeve—masks and COVID vaccines—which you believe do not work. Firstly, you are absolutely dead wrong, and secondly, masks and vaccines are almost never relevant to whatever subject is being discussed. I know you think that everything is part of one giant conspiracy, but give a rest for Chrissakes.

Posted by: Rob | May 21 2022 19:06 utc | 78

... disrespect can be forgiven, at times, but being a weasel is unforgivable, ...

Posted by: Paco | May 21 2022 17:55 utc | 60

Deftly handled, looks like the subject matter is on someone’s coin-operated intervention list. There are a few posters who “turn on a dime” when certain subjects or protagonists come into view.

Tawdry but there you are.

Posted by: anon2020 | May 21 2022 19:10 utc | 79

@ S 32
[The live map] shows a huge number of ships near the Danube River Delta loading wheat from river barges that are bringing it down the river from the Ukrainian ports of Reni and Izmail.
Thanks -- I wondered what all that traffic was.
Apparently a portion of that barge traffic is headed for Romanian ports.
some headlines:
Reuters, Apr 28: First Ukrainian corn cargo leaves Romanian Black Sea port
Bloomberg, Apr 29: Ship Loaded With Ukrainian Corn Departs From Romania --
--Vessel with 71k tons of Ukrainian corn departed from Constanta
--War has shut most Ukraine ports, leaving silos full of grain
. . .but look at where Ukraine is this season compared to last
Reuters May 19:"The ministry data showed that Ukraine has exported 46.51 million tonnes so far in the 2021/22 July-June season, versus 40.85 million a season earlier." . .So they are ahead of last season.. . .we may add that to b's list.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 21 2022 19:12 utc | 80

I hear that RUS+Secessionists are going to Liberate the Coastal Regions; and let the Residents decide who to Affiliate with. (Those with Friends there should recommend RUS+CHN, since Kolomoiskyy/Zelenskyy/Blinken/Nudelman-Khagan/Slow-ydAustin will use them as Fodder, Hostage, and Shield.)

Also, I understand Wheat(and other Export) Payments in ₽UB via RUS_Banks are going to be mandated upon "The Unfriendlies". RUS should get those De-€UR/U$Dollarization Projects moving quickly.

Posted by: IronForge | May 21 2022 19:13 utc | 81

It appears that some people in Georgia (not that one, the other one) are operating in a different time zone. Week 11?

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 19:20 utc | 82

Just a quick one: what are the rules here not to get censored?

Posted by: e | May 21 2022 19:26 utc | 83

@ Oldhippie | May 21 2022 18:24 utc | 66

thanks for saying all that! i agree..

@ Jörgen Hassler | May 21 2022 18:39 utc | 72

aside from b giving an individual response @ 53, i am curious why you are such an unappreciative fuck head who continues to read and post here if you want to crap here all the time?? you are a weird dude jorgen..

Posted by: james | May 21 2022 19:27 utc | 84

However, this still leaves a question of what exactly the elite are trying to get out of the mess they have made of the world. Is it really a calculated depopulation and genocide?
Posted by: Cabe | May 21 2022 18:21 utc | 65

Not that hard for me to believe. Evil can evade our suspicions by hiding out beyond the pale. In the introduction to Act 5 of "The Deputy", Rolf Hochhuth puts it this way (my emphasis, translation by Richard & Clara Winston):

The most momentous events and discoveries of our time all have one element in common: they place too great a strain upon the human imagination. We lack the imaginative facilities to be able to envision Auschwitz, or the destruction of Dresden and Hiroshima, or exploratory flights into space, or even more mundane matters such as industrial capacity and speed records. Man can no longer grasp his own accomplishments.

Hochhuth, writing only 17 years later, confesses that scenes from inside a death camp are unimaginable.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 19:30 utc | 85


in case folks still deny Nazism in Ukrainian ranks:

https://twitter.com/CanAnon7/status/1528034107191545858?s=19

Also, LOL captured US and Nato officers in that Azovstal plant! Need some 'splainin!

https://twitter.com/vic_top55/status/1527724904082247681?s=19

Posted by: HandsomeMan | May 21 2022 19:33 utc | 86

"...corn, or as the natives call it, maize...in conclusion, America is a land of contrasts," Bart, faking a book report in an early simpsons' episode.

i regularly say to people, as they are tossing their hands up in despair about the latest thing, "but the natives lived here for 10000 years. and we managed to totally trash the place in what? 75-125 years?" and they nod at my wisdom, and go on pumping corn into their veins, gmo'd by Nestle and Coca Cola. bunch of cows defeated the mighty buffalo. this world is messed up.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 21 2022 19:45 utc | 87

this world is messed up.
Posted by: rjb1.5 | May 21 2022 19:45 utc | 86

Still and all -- early corn, on the cob, is amazingly tasty this year, as usual.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 19:55 utc | 88

@Petri Krohn #36
I again disagree.
Putin said the objectives were demilitarization and deNazification; the purely territorial situation you describe achieves neither objective.

Nor is "tanks can move to the Polish border" clearly the way to achieve either of the above 2 objectives. While the far right is based in Western Ukraine, it is still not clear to me just what percentage of the population even there strongly supports the far right. It might be high, it might be low; but strong support does mean a long running guerilla especially since the West has openly proclaimed its desire to support such.

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 20:05 utc | 89

Some remarks on agriculture (I am running a small farm in one of the post Soviet countries)

Ukraine has excellent soils. It can therefore produce a wide range of crops. Wheat and sunflower (for oil) being the most important commodities. Petri Krohn is correct - wheat has been sown in autumn. The empty fields were waiting to be sown with sunflowers or feeding crops like oats. Or brewery barley. Or buckwheat (still possible to sow, late stuff). Buck wheat grows on the worst soil available. Despite this, the Ukraine seems to be a large producer after Russia and China. May be for some change of cultivated crops to restore soil quality.

I grew buckwheat ("organic") and we had some recent calls from wholesale buyers, seems there is risen demand.

The loss in wheat because of the war seems to be small, lower than 5%. Because of tanks driving around, shelling, mining etc. The bigger problem is the price (and availability) of fertilizers and the price of fuel - in the Western part. The Russian part gets fuel and fertilizers without problem for Russian prices. That has been announced by Russian officials.

The rise in fertilizer prices started in summer 2021. Even a bit earlier after someone tried a color revolution in Belarussia. But in late summer 2021 some producents of fertilizer in Europe (UK, Germany, Lithuania ...) halted production due to risen costs of gas! The price of fertilizers, overall (NPK), has risen by some 200%.

The other big problem is food being traded in exchanges.

Russia has declared being ready to sell 25 Mio. t of wheat to friendly countries, beginning from August.


On famines.

Whilst it is correct to assume a famine in Ukraine in the 1930+, the underlying drought is usually neglected. Despite the fact that climate change is now "common knowledge". No one makes FDR guilty for the dust bowl of the US mid west around the same time. But in Europe it was Stalin and the communists - sure.

A big famine occured in Persia 1917+ with estimates as high as 10 Mio. death, up to 50% of the total population.

Posted by: BG13 | May 21 2022 20:08 utc | 90

@BM #58
It isn't hard to figure out: the majority of nitrogen fertilizers are created using natural gas and the Haber Bosch process to create the ammonia, then the Ostvald process converts said ammonia to create the nitric acid. The Ostvald process requires heat, but again natural gas has generally been the cheapest way to produce heat so natural gas prices also are linked to nitric acid cost.
The combination of the 2 outputs above creates ammonium nitrate = fertilizer and/or ANFO bombs (see Beirut).

Worldwide, you can see the oilprice.com natural gas index - some judicious pointer work and you can set the timeline to 1 year (max for the front page graph). The natural gas prices worldwide have been increasing dramatically for the past year - the most in Europe, but there have been dramatic increases in the US, Asia and everywhere else.

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 20:11 utc | 91

what are the rules here...?
Posted by: e | May 21 2022 19:26 utc | 82

So far as I can tell, e, mathematical constants are allowed, but not exactly encouraged. For instance, Euler's identity:

e^(iπ) + 1 = 0

I might think it's cute. But there's just no place for it, here.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 20:16 utc | 92

Posted by: BM | May 21 2022 17:52 utc | 58

Modern agriculture is heavily dependent on N-P-K inputs (quantity and timing) to maximize yields. N is nitrogen, usually in the form of ammonia and it is manufactured from natural gas; it promotes green growth. P is phosphorus and it is mostly mined (soft rock phosphate, guano, etc.); it promotes root growth as well as being important for flowering. K is potassium (potash) and it is mined, Belarus and Canada are huge producers; it’s essential to plant growth. Most secondary inputs are derived from hydrocarbons, fungicides and pesticides etc.

The recent average price for N fertilizer in west Michigan (a heavy farm region) was $300/ton. This year it was $1,400. K fertilizers have seen a similar climb. P fertilizers are hardly available and many of the secondary inputs are unavailable as well. Source: father in law is a retired dairy/crop farmer in the area. Agricultural inputs are a world market that responds and in this case N fertilizers and secondary inputs were a big business for German chemical companies using Russian gas.

The US could produce most all the inputs it needs but it was more profitable for corporations to not do so. Now we’re in a bind. The cost of finished goods is going to have to reflect the price of inputs. Besides, many areas of the US are either struggling with drought or it’s been too wet to plant (also in France). Timing is everything in farming and late planting always means reduced yield. It’s a confluence of events and poor planning for the sake of quick profits.

Russia has released projections for wheat exports. With sanctions in place (maybe regardless) I would expect those to go to “friendly” countries and may be off market deals to manage prices. The west isn’t worried about global hunger. The west is worried about hunger in the west because it’s a real possibility

Posted by: Lex | May 21 2022 20:21 utc | 93

The holodomor or great famine that lead to the deaths of millions of people was preceded by the elimination of the Kulaks as a class by Stalin after they opposed his efforts to collectivise farming and establish state farms.

While the effort to collectivise farming was begun shortly after the Revolution it preceded apace in the 1930-1931 period. More than 1.8 million Kulaks were forcibly dispossessed, deported and executed.

Now it is important to understand that the Kulaks were the prosperous farmers or what we would call commercial farmers here. They produced more than they consumed for the purpose of selling the excess production in the market. Therefore, the elimination of the Kulaks as a class as a whole literally meant eliminating the very group of people whose excess agricultural production fed the population.

By eliminating the farmers you eliminated agricultural production leading to a severe shortage of food in the open market which in turn led to hunger and starvation.

But some of the Marxist ideologues that post here would rather chew off their left arm than admit that Marxist ideology as implemented by Stalin led to mass starvation.

It’s much easier simply to dismiss people as intellectual whores for capitalism than deal with the facts as they are.

It may not have been an intentional policy to starve millions of people to death but that doesn’t matter one bit to those who starved as a result of Marxist ideology.


Posted by: Down South | May 21 2022 20:27 utc | 94

Posted by: the pair | May 21 2022 16:31 utc | 29

One day.

Posted by: G | May 21 2022 20:39 utc | 95

Hi Aleph_Null - Thank you for mentioning Rolf Hochhuth. I believe it was you who mentioned him in a previous thread meandered into film a bit. A welcome reprise at times. I am eager to see Amen by Costa-Gavras, one of my favorite film makers. I also want to read The Deputies.

And thank you suzan for the story about buckwheat.

And scorpion had a really interesting post in a previous thread about water vortex power and Viktor Schauberger.
I learn so much here.
Now I think I need to learn about being a prepper.

Posted by: lex talionis | May 21 2022 20:40 utc | 96

I just feel a need to state that the current Un Secretary General Guterres is a disgrace and will go down in history as such.

as to the @Et Tu discussion: the issue is open, and his question is perfectly legitimate. b responded with the the available facts. We can add reports that some of the surrendered soldiers have allegedly spoken about the plans and orders to attack Donbas. All that, however, does not close the matter. It will be open for a long time to come. We can not seriously claim to know, we just can cite what Putin and other Russian officials have said, and look at the Ukranian actions that are verifiable. It would be more productive in these debates if we were open minded and critical. Question everything.

Posted by: JB | May 21 2022 20:42 utc | 97

Can we say that Zelensky has been an absolute disaster?

Posted by: FredF | May 21 2022 20:44 utc | 98

Posted by: Brendan | May 21 2022 17:06 utc | 40

Pakistan is in the same position; as is France:

https://www.france24.com/en/environment/20220519-france-s-crop-yields-will-be-very-poor-due-to-unprecedented-drought

Posted by: G | May 21 2022 20:47 utc | 99

An interesting discussion of Russian front line strategy around Izum in this sit-report from today

Regarding the Turkish ships at Odessa - the Ukrainians intend to sabotage them if attacked (and blame it on the Russians)? Not clear to me how much of an impediment they would be, depending on the strategy used to attack. Can't see the Russians trying an amphibious landing there at this point, but they are quite a ways from having a land corridor available.

Curious to see if port traffic at Mariupol starts to pick up over the next couple of weeks.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 21 2022 20:48 utc | 100

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