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Could the Ukraine War Turn Russia Into North Korea?

North Korea Artillery
U.S. Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 1 use an M-88A2 Hercules recovery vehicle to remove a damaged Iraqi self-propelled artillery piece from the Al Anbar University campus in Ramadi, Iraq, Nov. 29, 2008, during a tank removal mission. Marines are removing the tank as part of the ongoing effort to rebuild Iraq and beautify the country. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt/Released)

Russia: The New North Korea? As of last week, the Kremlin has reportedly lost more than 18,000 units of equipment – including tanks, armored personnel carriers, military vessels, combat aircraft, and large artillery – since it launched its unprovoked and ill-fated invasion in February. The losses are the greatest a military power has seen destroyed or captured since the Second World War.

Russian forces are believed to have seen more than 420 troops killed in the past week, while six tanks and seven APCs were destroyed. In total, nearly 2,900 Russian tanks have been destroyed or captured, along with more than 5,800 APCs.

Earlier this month, the Kremlin also lost 24 tanks and 800 men in a single day as its defense of Kherson crumbled. During the week-long fighting for the city, Russian forces saw 2,600 soldiers killed. The Russian death toll since the start of the full-scale invasion is believed to have surpassed 83,000. 

By contrast, Moscow had lost around 15,000 soldiers during its nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan, and even greater than the 58,220 U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam.  

The Financial Cost of the Ukraine War

It isn’t just the human toll that is so shockingly high. In August, it was reported that the war was costing Moscow around $1 billion a day, and that figure has likely only increased.

On Monday, it was reported that Russia had borrowed £11.4 billion ($13.4 billion) in its largest-ever debt issuance in a single day. Moscow raised the money by issuing new debt bonds over the weekend to help fund the ongoing conflict and to raise as much cash as possible before the conditions worsen and the costs go up.

Russia’s military budget is expected to be about 40 percent higher than forecast for next year. Replacing the massive losses isn’t going to come cheap.

At the same time, Russia’s economy officially entered recession last week, shrinking by 4.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, followed by a four percent decline in the third quarter. Even as the sale of oil and gasoline – after prices shot up after the war broke out – have kept the country afloat, Russia is now facing an embargo by the U.S. and EU, and revenues are expected to shrink in 2023.

Russia’s economy is expected to fall by 4.6 percent over the course of the year. This will be Moscow’s second recession in three years. Though not as bad as the recession Moscow faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, it isn’t as clear how Russia will come out of it – especially as the likelihood of Russia quickly restoring global trading relationships even after the war is ended is remote at best.

The U.S. Cost of the War

Even as some U.S. lawmakers have sought to reduce the amount of money sent to aid Ukraine, the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) has described the costs to defeat Russia as “peanuts” for the United States and its allies.

As the report noted, the Biden administration has to date, received Congressional approval for $40bn in aid for Ukraine for 2022, while it has requested an additional $37.7bn for 2022. 

More than half of that aid has been earmarked for defense. 

Su-34 Russia

Su-34 fighter. Image Credit: Russian Government.

“These sums pale into insignificance when set against a total US defense budget of $715bn for 2022,” CEPA stated. “The assistance represents 5.6% of total US defense spending. But Russia is a primary adversary of the US, a top tier rival not too far behind China, its number one strategic challenger. In cold, geopolitical terms, this war provides a prime opportunity for the US to erode and degrade Russia’s conventional defense capability, with no boots on the ground and little risk to US lives.”

Simply put – again in cold, geopolitical terms – the war is destroying Russia so that it really can’t be described as a “near-peer” adversary, apart from its nuclear capabilities. 

Russia is isolated, broke, and relying on antiquated equipment. This war has destroyed the Kremlin in a way that even President Ronald Reagan’s spending in the 1980s failed to beat down the Soviet Union. At best, Moscow will be the capital of another Hermit Kingdom – one that was created due to a failed effort to restore former glory.

Russia Tank Ukraine

A Russian tank under attack by a drone from Ukraine. Image Credit: YouTube/Ukrainian military.

It is just too bad that Ukraine’s people had to pay to ensure that America won’t need to fear the Russian bear for at least another generation.

A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Goran

    November 21, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Comparison with North Korea does apply, but it gets even worse as Kim Jong-un does not have to worry much about different interest groups within his fiefdom on the scale that Putin has to worry about oligarch loyalties and upheaval within ethnically fragmented Russian society. Consequences of a continued aggression against Ukraine will be immense to Russian society and will be far deeper than just sanctions and isolation.

    I do understand that sunk-cost fallacy can wreck rational thinking and that it’s emotionally difficult to change the course, but Russia has no better options than to cut its losses and leave Ukraine. A negotiated compromise can be some sort of non-territorial autonomy for ethnic Russians living within the borders of Ukraine and that is it, holding onto a piece of land (as if Russia is lacking land) reminds me of that technique of catching monkeys with coconuts. Russia should let go, it should pull its hand out of the coconut before it is too late.

  2. Roger Bacon

    November 21, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    ” the Center for EUROPEAN Policy Analysis (CEPA) has described the costs to defeat Russia as “peanuts” for the United States”

    Emphasis on “European”.

  3. YS

    November 21, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    Modern wars are won by nothing but propaganda… who when and how manages to spin it – will determine outcome of this conflict. There’s no doubt internal tensions within Russia and, indubitably, Ukraine caused this.

    I recall Russian president Boris Eltsin saying “God Bless America!”. Now we have a “proxy war” between US and Russia. There’s no doubt hoi polloi opinion is played skillfully by propaganda channels in US and Russia. War correspondents are frequently prosecuted for honest reporting on both sides.

    “assume nothing – check everything”

  4. Neofeudalfuture

    November 21, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    There was a week long fight for Kherson? Funny how nobody else noticed this. Pretty sure the Ukrainians followed the retreating Russian troops in.

    Its probably not a good idea to believe either the Russian or Ukrainian estimates of enemy losses.

  5. Gary Jacobs

    November 21, 2022 at 4:07 pm

    A couple of days ago Ukraine reported 330 dead Russians, but only 1 tank, 2 APCs, and 1 artillery gun.

    Far below Russian tank losses in the dozens claimed very recently. These claims of killed may be a bit inflated, but the trends are still worth tracking. it made sense Russia’s losses were far higher during Ukraine’s Kherson counteroffensive.

    Yet Ukraine is repulsing attacks on those cities in the east, and Ukraine did claim 330 Russian dead. That means that Russia is assaulting those villages without much armor, using human waves, marching them into a wall of Ukrainian artillery.

    What a wretched way to fight a war. There are tons of videos of massed Russian casualties on the outskirts of some of these towns.

    I mean Extremely disturbing video, so click with caution. I’m not exaggerating, there are dead Russians strewn all over the battlefield. So many of those videos, with at least one Ukrainian Telegram channel devoted to the gore.

    Almost as disturbing are the videos of the living conditions Russian soldiers are enduring in the winter in Ukraine with sheets of plastic fixed to trees as tents…with no heat. It’s Russian soldiers themselves posting those videos. Good luck sustaining that. It didnt work out too well for the Russians last year. It could be even worse this year.

    If the Russians are going to treat their troops that badly, the Ukrainians should just keep grinding on them with artillery and probing attacks for a bit while the winter weather takes its toll, wait until the ground freezes, and then begin maneuvers.

    In the places where there is still mud, the Ukrainians are posting videos of MaxxPro MRAPs like they were filming scenes from Tokyo Drift. Those are HUGE vehicles…and the Ukrainian mud slides them around like they were nothing. Zero traction at all.

    On the Russian economy… they are in real trouble. Brent oil is down to about $85, and Russia has to sell to India and China at a discount.

    Germany just got its first of 3 floating LNG conversion terminals, and there are 30 ships waiting off the coast of EU countries to deliver gas. Putin’s energy extortion gamble failed miserably.

    And on the defense side India and other countries are cancelling orders for Russian gear left and right…and buying American instead.

    Poland ordered 220 HIMARS with longer range ammo. Ukraine is ruining Russia’s military with 45 HIMARS equivalent including the M270s.

    Now is the time to make sure Russia is not capable of launching another war like this for generations.

  6. 403Forbidden

    November 21, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Russia turning into the NK of europe, whose fault ?

    It would be good for hunanity if that happens as the global fascismo forces would then suddenly discover they have bitten off far more than they could chew.

    Sow the ill wind reap the whirlwind!

  7. Raik W.

    November 21, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    I like to read alternative media, also media from UK and USA, but several attempts on this site with different authors show that these self-proclaimed experts, obviously know nothing about RF. I had many years ago in another time – gladly called the Cold War – the pleasure of many years to travel the then USSR and to get to know the people – their understanding of homeland short what means to people in Russia the term “Mother Russia”.
    This conflict between RF and Ukr did not have to be. One of many like George Friedmann of Stratfor had put it in a nutshell at the Chicago Council – the over 100 year struggle to prevent a connection between Germany and Russia. Exactly this is the origin of the conflict, for it according to the will of the planners in the USA and GB the Ukrainians and best also immediately the peoples of Russia should jump over the blade.
    Apart from the fact that the headline alone is wishful thinking of people who are probably historical low-flyers. Why should Russia become a second North Korea? Neither the author nor in the comments was there a hint. I ask for a friend.
    If the USA/GB had not been hindered by their arrogance since 1990, especially since 2001, and the two had not opposed Russia’s admission to NATO, where would we be today. Note for the author + comments, among others, the statement of the former Japanese prime minister. The constant underestimation of the supposed opponents is one of the biggest problems of the USA/NATO. THE USA/NATO should slowly recognize that their time is coming to an end and undertake a roll backwards to save what is to be saved.

  8. mcswell

    November 21, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    403 wrote “Russia turning into the NK of europe, whose fault ?”

    This is a trick question, right? Because the obvious answer is Russia. Had Russia not invaded Ukraine, things in both Ukraine and Russia would be going on as they had been. Russia would not be (so much of) a pariah, its economy would not be falling apart, its military would not be falling apart, and there would be 100,000 more potential fathers in Russia. But Putin did make that fateful decision, and as you say, he is reaping the whirlwind.

  9. tomb

    November 21, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    why does russian equipment look so very rusty ?

  10. Jacksonian Libertarian

    November 21, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    “It is just too bad that Ukraine’s people had to pay to ensure that America won’t need to fear the Russian bear for at least another generation.”

    The Ukrainians are NOT paying a price to ensure Americans won’t have to fear Russia for a generation. The Ukrainians have been getting murdered by the corrupt Leftist Authoritarian Russian culture since the Holodomor in 1932 starved 5 million to death. The Fact is Ukrainians are fighting for independence/freedom/self-defense, and destroying the Russian Orcs, pounding a stake in Russia’s heart, perhaps forever.

    This is a black and white war, with a clearly evil authoritarian invader, and staunch freedom loving Ukrainians defending. Not helping Ukraine would be like spitting in George Washington’s face.

  11. Gary Jacobs

    November 21, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    403forgotten…

    LoL, ‘Global Fascismo’ hey, that’s Putin’s posse you’re talking about there. He does support Le Pen in France, Orban in Hungary, Russia’s Imperial Movement…and it’s militia fighting for Russia in Ukraine… along with just about every other far right wingnut on the planet.

    Your ability to project Russia’s own lunacy onto others is such standard is such Putinista talking points… that with every mistake your hero makes he loses more and more the ability to fool others into following him. The global south is figuring out real fast who is holding up the grain deliveries. India is finding out how unreliable Russia is as an arms supplier… and on and on.

    I could go on for days like this, but for now I digress.

    Have a liberating day.

  12. pagar

    November 21, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Evil is as evil does.

    Nobody’s batting an eyelid to such backpage news like these:

    Indigenous people six times more likely to get murdered in canada than other groups

    80% of homicide victims in manitoba were indigenous females

    The death rate of indigenous and racialized victims disproportionally high

    Yet, ottawa is now issuing ukraine sovereignty bonds; how about issuing indigenous freedom & safety bonds.

    Evil is as evil does. Indeed.

  13. Mario

    November 21, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    YS:”Now we have a “proxy war” between US and Russia”.
    I do not think. A proxy war does not involve the true adversaries. There is a proxy war, but between the West and… China.
    Russia has been nothing more than a puppet in the hands of xi. By draining western resources to the war and throwing russia into chaos and destruction, both of its military and its already low credibility as a threat, only china benefits.

  14. June

    November 21, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    Although the US and NATO benefit from this war, Ukraine is not fighting for the US and NATO. To prevent any future Russian aggression, this war has to be worse by an order of magnitude than the Afghanistan war and Ukraine is currently achieving this goal. The current Ukraine opinions and wills to fight seem to indicate that they understand this situation.

  15. Razumov

    November 21, 2022 at 10:41 pm

    Please keep smoking the “Russia is Defeated” dope.

    Winter is coming and some ummm surprises for you…

    Did you notice that Russia is launching huge airstrikes on Ukraine every week, even after you said that didn’t have any missiles left?

  16. pagar

    November 22, 2022 at 2:16 am

    It’s crystal clear, or clear as day, russia hasn’t learnt anything useful from 1945.

    In 1945, the US showed the whole world how to win a war against a greatly weakened enemy.

    When a country is in possession of nukes, and finds itself at war against an enemy, it must use its nukes even if the said enemy is already in a weakened state.

    Failure to learn from the US example displayed in 1945 has far reaching consequences.

  17. Jim

    November 22, 2022 at 11:26 am

    This article comes off as repeating the mantra, “Russia is about to collapse.”

    How long have we been told that?

    Since the first day of the invasion.

    Has it ever come true?

    Just like we’ve been told, “Ukraine is winning” from seemingly the first day of the war…

    Biden, “As long as it takes.”

    That is the definition of “forever war.”

    Endless war… that seems to be the plan… a plan the American People were never told about.

    This is Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football, all over again.

    The Sovereign is the American People, not a small foreign policy clique… a clique bent on Russian regime change. They’re committed to their ideology… I get that… even though they are so ashamed of their ideology they don’t want to explain it to anybody… for fear of being called a “neoconservative.”

    Why? Because they know to explain themselves would make them politically “radioactive.”

    Nobody likes a full on warmonger.

    Too bad they aren’t committed to the Peace & Prosperity of the American People.

    (They are selfish people obsessed with their world view … and determined to impose it no matter how many people die & suffer.)

  18. Gary Jacobs

    November 22, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Jim,

    LoL… you have actually seen the Russians collapse and retreat from Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Kherson.

    their economy is not well, their politics are not well, and its only going to get worse as the world finds alternatives to everything Russia has to offer.

    You continue to misuse the term, “neoconservative.”

    Just because someone is thinking ahead to see what might happen IF Russia’s regime changes, does not mean that they are planning neocon level intervention to achieve it.

    All one has to do is look at Russian history to note that Russian armies have come home after wars they lost and changed their own regime… because their own politicians sent them to die. It doesnt take a ‘neocon’ to read Russian history correctly and see parallels.

    But then again it is your M.O. to ignore the full context of history and only cherry pick the parts that fit your false narrative. Just like you blame everything in 2014 on Victoria Nuland instead of Putin even though the massive demonstrations began without Nulland…AND The Ukrainians went through basically the same thing in 2004 with the Orange Revolution… long before Nuland came on the Ukrainian scene.

  19. jeff

    November 22, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Pagar, Russian learned from the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. They are obscenely destructive, and the land becomes a wasteland. Also, you seem to have overlooked the fact that once a nuke is unleashed the war enters a whole new dimension. Europe and NATO will most likely use conventional weapons to retaliate and show the world what happens when you use a nuclear weapon. Be careful what you wish for.

  20. Jim

    November 22, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    No collapses.

    “…retreat from Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Kherson.”

    Yes, retreats… but hardly collapse.

    That’s why Russia incorporated four Oblasts and hold roughly 20% of former Ukrainian territory.

    Actually, the Russian economy is doing better than the so-called “experts” expected, remember, they predicted collapse, remember Biden’s “The Ruble will turn to rubble,” that didn’t happen and today, the Ruble is trading roughly 60 to the Dollar, about where it was trading at the start of the war.

    Russia has the resources to generate their own economy when you add in the revenue from hydrocarbons on the world market. Their supermarkets are full of food & goods… and they have excess food to sell.

    Just because the foreign policy clique wants it “does not mean that they are planning neocon level intervention to achieve it”

    What a sad joke… if you think people are going to believe that pile of malarkey.

    This is the mistake you make over and over: it is regime change by any method that defines the “Maximalists,” aka, neocons, whether “color revolution,” sanctions, coups, assassinations, whatever it takes to get regime change.

    You continually claim that to be a neocon you have to want boots on the ground and occupation.

    That just isn’t true… John Bolton is a neocon and he wants regime change in Russia, but he doesn’t want boots on the ground… he thinks it can be done other ways… (as stated in an article right here on 1945 that John Bolton wrote).

    It’s a red herring to claim you are only a neocon if you want boots on the ground.

    What we know is that neoconservatives are warmongers… but they’ll take any route they can to get regime change.

    And we know you want regime change… enough said.

  21. Fred Adams

    November 22, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    The Ukraine has learned a bitter lesson in this invasion, that Russia is not a peace-loving or trustworthy neighbor. To lose their war for freedom will bring death and slavery to Ukrainians, and the loss of a Ukrainian presence to the world. Imagine what war crimes Russia would commit if the Ukraine weren’t resisting them. Twenty million dead weren’t enough for Stalin. How many will Putin require? Unfortunately, until the war’s destruction is brought home to Russian real estate, Ukraine will be unable to prevail,

    The Ukraine is steadily being destroyed by Russian aggression. It will not cease until Ukraine is a hole in the ground. The only hope for Ukraine is for the Western powers to enter the war and unleash destruction on Russia and Russians. Treat Russia to the same aerial bombardment as is being visited on Ukraine, and don’t stop ’til the lights go out. As far as possible, interdict all Russian traffic outside their country by air attack. Seal them off and destroy their infrastructure. If Russia responds with nukes, then match their escalation.

    Finns, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Moldovans, North Caucasians, Georgians must be able to sleep soundly without fear of the Russian wolf. Russia has caused misery and misfortune for millions of other people. It must stop.

  22. Gary Jacobs

    November 22, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Jim,

    LoL, you are projecting YOUR “malarkey” again. and you continue to prove you dont actually understand the big picture. The “retreats” were actually a collapse in their own right… but taken together they are a collapse of Russia’s imperialist fantasies. And they will continue to lose. You have a Putinista dream of Russia incorporating 4 oblasts from Ukraine… which they do not control all of any of those, and they control less and less with every passing day.

    You claim “Russia has the resources to generate their own economy when you add in the revenue from hydrocarbons on the world market.”

    Meh, Russia is selling their oil and gas at a MASSIVE discount to India and China. And reputable economists show they need $85 per barrel to prop up their kleptocracy. They arent getting that anymore. Which is one reason why they just had to have a debt auction.

    Another reason for the debt auction is because countries like India keep cancelling weapons purchases from Russia. Their equipment isnt good, and Russia cant meet the promised timelines. India is buying a lot more from the west however.

    Russia is propping up its army with ancient T62 tanks and mobiks who got 2 weeks of training and no winter gear. All that means is more dead Russians in Ukraine, and more destroyed tanks. It’s a house of cards waiting for the tipping point to collapse several more levels in a couple more stages.

    Then there is Germany getting their first floating LNG terminal. 2 more are coming. they will never be beholden to Russian gas blackmail ever again. 30+ ships waiting off EU countries to unload more gas. Putin’s energy weapon against the EU is a dud.

    The sanctions are actually starting to bite the Russian economy hard, as is Russia forcing able bodied men from key industries to go fight and die in Ukraine. Russia has a completely unsustainable strategy…and with more time it will get worse and worse for them

    As for your dismissal of the ‘color revolutions’ as some kind of ‘neocon plot’ I’d say that is the soft bigotry of low expectations that you pretend the Ukrainians arent smart enough to realize that their future will be much better facing west.

    The EU has a multi Trillion $$$ economy, and the EU trade with the US is the single largest trading relationship in the world. That makes access to the EU market and trade with the US much more appealing than trading with Russia. It’s Not. Even. Close.

    And since Putin’s repeated attempts at coups and naked aggression in Ukraine is so important to the EU, and the EU is our most important trading partner… that alone [among many other reasons] makes Ukraine important to us, the US.

    You trying to wish all that away as some kind of ‘neocon blah blah blah’ says more about you than it does about the basic reality of what is actually going on in the world. And no amount of your ‘neocon malarkey’ talk is going to change reality. pretending Bolton or Nuland are the end all be all of Ukraine policy made me laugh. Hard.

    As for ‘maximalist’ blah blah… it’s quite simple really:
    Russia should honor the Budapest Memorandum they signed in 1994 which recognized Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for Ukraine giving Russia Ukraine’s nuclear weapons.

    Russia has never honored that, or Minsk, or any other agreement they have ever signed with Ukraine. So now it’s time for them to do more losing on the battlefield.

    Have a liberating day.

  23. Jim

    November 23, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Gary, you are so zealously committed to this policy (years?)… you simply don’t have an objective view point that anyone can rely on.

    Thus, you have no predictive or situational credibility… you’re hopelessly partisan on Ukraine.

    What I will say is that I certainly don’t have a crystal ball… nobody does… that includes you and your fellow travelers in the “hate Russia” camp.

    Your Russia hate will not win the war… just as any of my thoughts will not win the war… in that regard we are equally situated in this whole sorry mess.

    Oh, by the way, I take your “blah, blah, blah” comments as an admission that you don’t have a response to my particular point.

  24. Gary Jacobs

    November 24, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Jim,

    LoL, my ‘blah blah’ is of course in reference to you droning on about the ‘neocon’ boogey man you see around every corner even though you continue to completely misuse and abuse the term completely out of context.

    Your last post shows you are basically whistling past the graveyard of your own faux notion of smarts.

    You are still projecting your own failures onto others as you ignored a large array of facts that you cant compete with in order to focus on ‘blah blah’ as an excuse to ignore the actual facts. Nice try, but epic fail.

    As well, I do not ‘hate Russia’. I hate Putin’s Russia, and I hate Imperial Russia… because I actually know the history of Russia [which you clearly do not].

    I do have hope that there are Russians who have the will and determination to create a better Russia. I recommend the books by Bill Browder: Red Notice; and Freezing Order. They are first hand accounts of a businessman trying to work in the mafia state kleptocracy that is Russia under Putin.

    They also shine a light on good Russians willing to live and die for a better Russia. Those books are the backstory of the Magnitsky Act from the death of Sergei Magnitsky. That serves to freeze and seize Russian assets from criminal activity…some of which flows all the way up to Putin. Browder estimates over $1 Trillion in laundered funds keeping Putin’s Kleptocracy afloat. That has to be squeezed out and redirected towards positive activity.

    Speaking of squeezing Russi, and dispelling your notion of Russia’s economy continuing with the help of Hydrocarbons… come December 5 roughly 1.1 million barrels a day of Russian Crude oil to the EU will be halted entirely.

    That’s when EU nations will ban seaborne imports of Russian crude, and EU companies will be barred from insuring Russian oil shipments or providing other related services.

    But where all those banned barrels will end up is uncertain. China, India and Turkey have emerged as big buyers of discounted Russian crude that Western customers shunned. However, purchases from those three countries have stabilized in recent months, and the volume oil that will be banned is too large for them to absorb. As noted in a prior post, those countries already get a massive discount, which started at $30 per barrel below the Brent Crude price, and has recently come to $20 below the Brent price. That means they are getting about $60-$65 per barrel. Totally unsustainable for Russia long term.

    It remains to be seen if Moscow can land any new customers to take in the seaborne barrels Europe is set to ban…but I am quite skeptical. Worldwide demand has fallen, and the price has fallen a lot even after Opec+ announced 2million bpd cuts a couple weeks ago. Now another 1mil barrels off the market, and still the price doesnt spike. Some Chinese buyers halted their purchase of Russian crude as they wait to see if they can get even better deals once the EU price cap goes into effect on December 5.

    Basically the vultures are circling around Russia to pick it apart as it crumbles under the weight of so many of Russia’s own mistakes.

    You should try doing a better job of examining your own mistakes instead of weakly trying to discredit me when I clearly have a much better grasp on the facts than you do – both deep background and current events.

    Perhaps I could do a better job of being diplomatic about it, but I dont think you grasp how disconcerting it is for people who actually care about facts, accuracy, and a better future to hear people like you misuse and abuse the term neocon as a pejorative to try and discredit people who are not at all neocons. If you want to impress a college professor, go back to school. In the real world, you do more harm than good to serious policy discussions and constructive public discourse.

    Have a liberating day.

  25. Jim

    November 24, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Gary, the U. S. policy towards Eastern Europe should be to calm all the ancient, ethnic, national & tribal rivalries & hatreds.

    That could have been done… as George F. Kennan, father of U. S. Containment strategy suggested. Other voices also called for a peace policy, such as Noam Chomsky and Jeffry Sachs.

    How to do it?

    Abundance… of opportunity, through economic development, the same way we, here, in the New World calmed the ancient rivalries of recent European immigrants…

    I know of no better way than to promote an abundance of resources & economic development, which fosters peaceful trade & cultural exchanges between these fractious peoples… over a sustained time frame.

    And that was the promise of U. S. Leadership after WWII… an ability to help Europe, as we did in the Marshall Plan… how we rebuilt Western Europe and fostered a peaceful coexistence among those many nations.

    But somehow we lost our way listening to the siren call of world dominance… taking a baseball bat to this hornets’ nest of ancient animosities in Eastern Europe.

    It’s a failure of imagination.

    This war between Ukraine & Russia was unnecessary, an “ill wind” that revived the Cold War… when I saw the headlines of invasion… a cold shiver of disappointment ran through my spine.

    But other people thrilled to the sound of gunfire… a culmination of their schemes & plans… many years in the making that the American People were never told about.

    U. S. foreign policy has failed principally because it fell into the hands of people whose top priority was dominance rather than peace.

    Your ideas are sadly mistaken… no matter how long you’ve thought about them… your ideas are of the Old World… we can do better than that.

    And if we can wrestle American foreign policy away from people like you, the American People will be a lot better off… and that is my first concern… however, I’ll add that a peaceful Europe including Eastern Europe is a benefit to America.

    You seem to have forgotten the most basic of policy principles… Peace & Prosperity.

    As I said, it’s a lack of imagination that is the downfall of the dominance crowd… such as yourself.

  26. TheDon

    November 24, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Russia wont be a North Korea, yet. Indebted to Chinese who do need farmland and natural resources does however put them in a precarious future position, without world support.
    Bad strategy. Its not the west they should fear. Their long term future with an atheist communist regime with growing needs on fuel, food, and other natural resources will mean the fall of Russia and Russian orthodox, probably within 100yr.
    Xi is so excited. Russias not a worry on his mind. Trust the honorable Chinese just as many business have.

  27. MI6

    November 26, 2022 at 8:08 am

    According to our sources deep inside the Kremlin, six of Putin’s doctors hoped he might be suicidal but after he took an IQ test, they discovered he wasn’t as clever as Hitler. They tried another tack. After trying it out themselves, five of his six remaining doctors recommended he play Russian roulette but that didn’t work either: he simply shot five of his generals.

    Not surprisingly, they brought forward Putin’s annual cognitive test after reading about allegations that he blew up his own pipeline, a famous Crimean bridge and even his flagship. He explained to his doctors that NATO was to blame because Russia was fighting a proxy war against NATO. “How’s it going?” asked one doctor. “So far, we’ve lost at least one pipeline, one flagship, many bridges, 100,000 troops, 50 generals, 1,500 tanks and 500 planes”, Putin replied. “What about NATO?” asked his doctor. “They haven’t turned up yet.”

    Later Putin was overheard talking to a portrait of himself. Putin asked “When, not if, we lose the war what will happen?” The portrait replied “They’ll take me down and hang you instead!” No wonder Putin’s favourite song is Crimea river.

    …. and to think I thought Putin was a prim and proper President until I read the epic spy novels Slow Horses by Mick Herron and Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series by Bill Fairclough to finish off my MI6 induction program … At least now I know why Putin spells Ukraine, Mykraine, how Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy learnt to spell his own name and that Putin is just a deceitful genocidal pathological liar.

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