This is the Moment to Act

Photo by Amir Esrafili on

Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve Bank raised the nation’s interest rate by .75 bps. Forecast had it that the figure would be either 0.5 or 0.75.
Markets went up after the news but today lost all the gains and are back down to where they were before the announcement.
To the extent that financial markets anticipate the state of the economy, the news is not good. We’re heading downhill.
The Federal Reserve may have been too aggressive, particularly since the markets had been heading down steadily. The bank’s chairman, Jerome Powell, had talked of a soft landing as he raised rates but instead gave in to the hawkish wing of the bank that pushed for the 0.75 hike.
Now think of how different things could be if we were winning the war instead?
Vastly different.
Optimism would fuel the markets and we would feel much more positive about being able to prevent a recession.
If only we were doing what we should be doing.
Macron, Scholz and Draghi (from France, Germany and Italy) met today with Zelensky, Ukraine’s president.
The public statements of the officials are all for supporting Ukraine’s fight for independence, but what happens behind close doors is likely very different.
For one, neither Germany nor France have delivered the heavy equipment Zelensky has called for.
Instead they are likely pushing for Zelensky to settle. To negotiate with Russia, to agree to terms.
Both Macron and Scholz would love to see themselves as the grand negotiators that brought the warring parties to the table. They may be already dreaming of the Nobel prize they’d be sharing for bringing peace to the region.
Zelensky should not give in.
Macron and Scholz are telling Zelensky, ‘look, inflation is hurting us badly. We have done enough. You need to think of compromising. We can’t get all we want in life, so give in a little.’
Zelensky should not give in.
The real problem with inflation is the war.
Russia has been able to circumvent the sanctions and managed to sell a good deal of its oil. They are filled with cash and confident that they’ll keep finding ways to do so.
Today I read that Russia has now cut back further on their gas supplies to Europe. The squeeze is on.
So why isn’t Zelensky and Ukraine getting all the help they need?
Because many nations in the western bloc are chickening out.
Surely there are real life obstacles to delivering the heavy equipment needed but if you’re dragging your feet then you’re chickening out. Then you’re saying, ‘Putin is really scary, he’s out of control, he just might target us. Oh, no. What will we do if that happens?’
The real problem with today’s inflation is the war.
Yes, it has to end, but not without first giving Ukraine all they need to fight back and that should include war planes.
Otherwise Ukraine should not negotiate with a killer who has butchered their nation.
Mr Biden, I’m not letting you off the hook.
I’m sure you were told in detail of Macron, Scholz and Draghi’s mission. Do not be a party to that weaklings’ effort.
Step up, do not back down now.
You’ve been courageous until now, but this is not over and not the time to call it quits.
This is a unique moment in our history, indeed, the world’s history.
We can’t let the bully win.
Ukraine wants to fight till the end. How often do you hear that from a nation?
Ukrainians who left are returning to their land in the middle of the war. It takes guts to do that.
If you do not fully back Ukraine you will lose your presidency. Period. But back Ukraine with all they need and your standing will be exceptional.
Damn it, make the difficult choice! You’ve been there before. Don’t join with the appeasers.
See, even if Ukraine doesn’t beat back Russia, if they get all the equipment they need they would have fought an exceptional battle. We haven’t seen anything like this since WWII.
It is your turn to shine, Mr Biden. Take the chance. Don’t back down.
Putin can be beat. He will not trigger WWIII. He won’t because he’s not crazy and has a lot to lose. But he’s good at scaring people and has been getting away with it.
Don’t let him scare you, too.
He’s already got Macron and Scholz in his back pocket.
This is your moment, Mr Biden, win or lose, this is your moment. Don’t flinch. Go forward.,,, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

Ukraine Needs Fighter Jets

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Russian troops in the eastern section of Ukraine continue to push to encircle Ukraine’s forces.
Should it happen, Ukraine would lose a significant portion of its army.
I read that the leaders of France and Germany, Macron and Scholz, have spoken to Putin and that he’s shown interest in peace talks.
But to think that the Russian would cede the territory he’s earned is sheer denial of the facts.
With such a deal he could turn to his people and say, ‘we now have most of southern Ukraine and more of the East. We pause now, resume later.’
And he’ll speak with the same assurance of Russian leaders who offered security guarantees to Ukraine when they gave up their nuclear weapons in the 90s, only to violate them later.
The sanctions imposed by the West are biting. Putin’s army is short of men, thus the decision to increase the upper age limit to conscription from 30 to 40 years old.
It’s in Ukraine’s best interest that the war be short for they are fighting in their land and suffering all manner of losses. And it’s in our best interest too.
But we need to push harder.
I was pleased to hear that a large aid package to Ukraine was approved with bipartisan support, and that Biden is about to send more weapons, i.e. MLRS, multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine. But it may not be enough.
So why not give aircraft to the Ukrainians, fighter jets they can use to push back Russia in the East and elsewhere?
Would this be seen as an escalation on the part of the West? Yes.
But is Russia fighting in Ukraine with an army equal to theirs? No.
So is it fair for Russia to have all the advantages and for Ukrainian soldiers to be supermen and beat back the Russians with fewer numbers and weapons?
While Ukraine has the will to fight, the West, not just the US, should give them what they need.
This is the time.
Will the giving of aircraft push Putin to threaten nuclear weapons?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. By now his posturing has been degraded.
And just how will he threaten with his nuclear weapons? Will he threaten to use them in Ukraine itself, or will he threaten to fire on the West?
The resolve the West has shown in support of Ukraine tells Putin that we are not intimidated.
He has nuclear weapons and so do we.
Putin is not crazy. He likes remaining in control of his country which by now, after 20 years of his leadership, has become emotionally impoverished and accustomed to bowing to the ‘great’ leader. Accustomed also, to seeing their emerging leaders, like Alexei Navalny, be treated like criminals. Navalny just had his prison term extended on trumped up charges.
What this war has shown, is that Putin is no match for the West.
China is seeing the drama unfold and is having second thoughts about betting on Vladimir.
Having become an accomplice of Putin has eroded China’s prestige in the world.
And should they catch wind that Putin wanted to use nuclear weapons, they would be the first to tell him, ‘Don’t. For if you do, the West will answer, hit you and hit us too.’
Ukraine needs planes to win this war.

Oscar Valdes,,, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.