Monday Message Board

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please.

I’ve moved my irregular email news from Mailchimp to Substack. You can read it here. You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin

I’m also trying out Substack as a blogging platform. For the moment, I’ll post both at this blog and on Substack.

58 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. In the YouTube clip, Garry Kasparov speaks of the Ukraine having been a nuclear power. This is well known. He also says the US and the UK asked the Ukraine in 1994 to give their nuclear weapons to what is now the Russian Federation and he refers to the Budapest agreement.

    I have no information that the US and the UK asked the Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons. However, I did find a document about the 1994 Budapest agreement, which makes clear that at that point in time the Ukraine was a non-nuclear state.

    The document is titled: “Ukraine, Russian Federation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of Amerika, Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Budapest, 5 December 1994.”

    Subject to some conditions, Russia, the UK and the US reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

    The document was signed by the representatives of Ukraine, Russian Federation, UK and USA on 5 December 1994.

    However, the document shows it was not registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations by the Ukraine until 2 October 2014. By that time the conflict in the Donbas was about 6 months old.

    Click to access volume-3007-I-52241.pdf

    Garry Kasparov talks about the dependence of Europe on Russian energy and he mentions Angela Merkel (former Chancellor of Germany), suggesting she had a particular role to play in this dependency. It is the case that Germany’s dependence on Russian gas is higher than that of Europe (55% before the war for Germany, 40% for EU in total), which is not surprising because Germany has more heavy industry (steel, chemical and glass) than most EU countries. However, it is misleading to suggest this dependency started with Merkel. German imports of gas, oil, and other raw materials from Russia go back to the mid-1950s and grew during the Cold War with the so-called ‘German miracle’. It increased further through the unification of East and West Germany and ‘globalisation’. The situation became messy during the period of growing neo-liberalism and privatisation. Instead of heaving long term contracts between the USSR (later Russian Federation) and the German governments, corporations in East and West made contracts. Merkel is criticised within Germany for having called the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be a private projects as late as 2018. The Green Party was very critical of this project from the start. No cubic meter of gas has gone through this pipeline so far.

  2. It’s complicated. It’s difficult to cut off long-term ties of economic inter-dependency. It can’t be done overnight without causing a lot of self-inflicted damage. Germany finds itself in this position. Everyone, not just Germany, proceeded on the premise that Russia would not be excessively belligerent when its best interests clearly lay in remaining a reasonably sensible global citizen.

    Modern Ukraine became fully independent in 1991. Surprisingly;
    “Ukraine was one of the founding members of the United Nations when it joined in 1945 as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic; along with the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Ukraine signed the United Nations Charter when it was part of the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly independent Ukraine retained its seat.” – Wikipedia.

    Russia both fostered and accepted Ukraine as a fully independent nation, not a Soviet Republic, from 1991 at least and certainly formally from 1994, at the latest. Any claim that Ukraine did anything wrong in international law or in relation to treaties is clearly revisionist. Certainly it did nothing wrong as a sovereign state to justify a full and highly destructive collective punishment invasion. A strong degree of NATO support and solidarity with Ukraine is both justified and wise. All NATO countries will fully get there I think and do so as soon as feasible. They know it is a matter of survival to oppose Putin’s Russia and Putinism.

  3. Ukraine 1991 “according to some estimates, a full third of the Soviet arsenal”. And Ukraine at the time “doesn’t want a button”.

    From LA Times 1991;
    “Ukraine Votes to Quit Soviet Union : Independence: More than 90% of voters approve historic break with Kremlin. The president-elect calls for collective command of the country’s nuclear arsenal.


    DEC. 3, 1991 12 AM PT
    “The United States and other Western nations are very concerned about the fate of the nuclear weapons now based on Ukrainian soil–according to some estimates, a full third of the Soviet arsenal–and Kravchuk devoted much of his first series of post-election comments to the arms.”

    “As to the problem of nuclear weapons and strategic forces, we are going to pursue the principle of collective security,” he said. “We will stand for the liquidation of nuclear weapons, tactical and strategic, and this should be done in a process of negotiations with all countries. The Ukraine only wants control over the weapons on its territory, but it doesn’t want a button,” Kravchuk assured the U.S., Canadian and other election monitors. “We cannot allow several nuclear powers to form on the territory of the ex-Soviet Union.”

    “Instead, Kravchuk endorsed forming a collegial decision-making body on which the Ukraine would sit with the other republics that have nuclear arms on their territory, namely, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Significantly, he did not mention any role for Gorbachev or the fast-imploding central Soviet government. The four-member body “would have a joint function and joint responsibility for those weapons,” he said.
    Via Ref#2…
    “Nuclear weapons and Ukraine”

    [… Interesting opinions  …]

    “The deterrent value of the nuclear weapons in Ukraine was also questionable, as Ukraine would have had to spend 12 to 18 months to establish full operational control over the nuclear arsenal left by the Russians.[9] The ICBMs also had a range of 5,000–10,000 km (initially targeting the United States), which meant that they could only have been re-targeted to hit Russia’s far east.[9] The air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) left by the Russians had been disabled by the Russians during the collapse of the Soviet Union, but even if they had been reconfigured and made to work by the Ukrainians, it is unlikely that they would have had a deterrent effect.[9] Had Ukraine decided to establish full operational control of the nuclear weapons, it would have faced sanctions by the West and perhaps even a withdrawal of diplomatic recognition by the United States and other NATO allies.[9]Ukraine would also likely have faced retaliatory action by Russia.[9] Ukraine would also have struggled with replacing the nuclear weapons once their service life expired, as Ukraine did not have a nuclear weapons program.[9] In exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons, Ukraine received financial compensation, as well as the security assurances of the Budapest Memorandum.[9]”

    “Budapest Memorandum

    “The memorandum reads as follows:[10]

         ” Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,”…

  4. Putin is Scary. “During an annual state-of-the-nation address given on March 1, 2018,”…
    …”This weapon is designed to create a tsunami wave up to 500m tall that will radioactively contaminate a wide area on an enemy coasts” …
    …”Putin discussed the existence of a nuclear powered underwater torpedo and a nuclear powered cruise missile (9M730 Burevestnik), both with effectively unlimited range. He discussed that Russia had tested a new class of traditional ICBM called the Sarmat, which expanded upon the range and carrying capability of the Soviet-era Satan ICBM.”

    Russia and weapons of mass destruction
    …”As of 2022, the Federation of American Scientists estimates that Russia possesses 5,977 nuclear weapons, while the United States has 5,428; Russia and the U.S. each have about 1,600 active deployed strategic nuclear warheads. Russia’s stockpile is growing in size, while the United States’ is shrinking.[24] Russia has six nuclear missile fields in Kozelsk, Tatishchevo, Uzhur,Dombarovskiy, Kartalay, and Aleysk; nuclear missile submarines patrolling from three naval bases at Nerpich’ya, Yagel’Naya, andRybachiy; and nuclear bombers at Ukrainkaand Engels air bases.[25]

    “The RS-28 Sarmat[26] (Russian: РС-28 Сармат; NATO reporting name: SATAN 2), is a Russian liquid-fueled, MIRV-equipped, super-heavy thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile in development by theMakeyev Rocket Design Bureau[26] since 2009,[27] intended to replace the previous R-36 missile. Its large payload would allow for up to 10 heavy warheads or 15 lighter ones,[28] or a combination of warheads and massive amounts of countermeasures designed to defeat anti-missile systems.[29][30] It was heralded by the Russian military as a response to the U.S. Prompt Global Strike.[31]

    “In 2015, information emerged that Russia may be developing a new nuclear torpedo, theStatus-6 Ocean Multipurpose System,[32][33][34]codenamed “Kanyon” by Pentagon officials.[35][36] This weapon is designed to create a tsunami wave up to 500m tall that will radioactively contaminate a wide area on an enemy coasts with cobalt-60, and to be immune to anti-missile defense systems such as laser weapons and railguns that might disable an ICBM.[33][34][36][37][38] Two potential carrier submarines, the Project 09852Belgorod, and the Project 09851 Khabarovsk, are new boats laid down in 2012 and 2014 respectively.[35][36][39]

    “Status 6 appears to be a deterrent weapon of last resort.[38][39] It appears to be a torpedo-shaped robotic mini-submarine, that can travel at speeds of 185 km/h (100 kn).[38][39][40] More recent information suggests a top speed of 100 km/h (54 kn), with a range of 10,000 km (6,200 mi) and a depth maximum of 1,000 m (3,300 ft).[41] This underwater drone is cloaked by stealth technology to elude acoustic tracking devices.[33][39]

    “During an annual state-of-the-nation address given on March 1, 2018, President Vladimir Putin publicly claimed that Russia was now in possession of several new classes of nuclear weapons, including some with capabilities previously speculated to exist. Putin discussed several new or upgraded weapons, including a hypersonic glide vehicle known as the Avangard, capable of performing sharp maneuvers while traveling at 20 times the speed of sound making it “absolutely invulnerable for any missile defense system.”[42]

    “Putin discussed the existence of a nuclear powered underwater torpedo and a nuclear powered cruise missile (9M730 Burevestnik), both with effectively unlimited range. He discussed that Russia had tested a new class of traditional ICBM called the Sarmat, which expanded upon the range and carrying capability of the Soviet-era Satan ICBM. Animations of these weapons were shown in front of the live and televised audience. Putin suggested that an online poll be conducted to give them official public names.[43]

    “Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of Soviet-era nuclear warheads remained on the territories of Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Under the terms of the Lisbon Protocol to the NPT, and following the 1995 Trilateral Agreement between Russia, Belarus, and the US, these were transferred to Russia, leaving Russia as the sole inheritor of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. It is estimated that the Soviet Union had approximately 45,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled at the time of its collapse.[citation needed]”

  5. Harry Patch said;

    “Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”

    “calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings” … “war isn’t worth one life”.[53]

     “War is a thousand times worse than I thought it would be,” wrote Private T. J. Graham in November 1916.

    Private Nugget Bell of the 20th Battalion near Armentieres, following an artillery barrage in 1916: “I don’t call it war, I call it scientific murder.”

  6. In an Argus Media post headlined Frac fleet shortage slows US shale growth, dated Apr 25, it begins with:

    Shortfalls in hydraulic fracturing capacity, needed to bring new wells on stream, will hamper efforts to raise US shale oil output this year.

    Rising costs, supply chain bottlenecks and a lack of investor capital are impeding a faster recovery in US tight oil production despite very high oil prices and government pleas for firms to boost supply. “I understand the desire to find a quick fix for the recent spike in gasoline prices,” Pioneer Natural Resources chief executive Scott Sheffield told the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on 6 April. “But neither Pioneer nor any other US producer can increase production overnight by turning on a tap.”

    What use to take “6-12 months” is now taking “18-24 months for our company,” according to Sheffield.

  7. Russia has stopped gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. That is the obvious way to missuse Nord Stream – to cut off Poland without cutting off Germany. Gas prices are up, more likely on fears this is just the start. The deliver stop itsself should not matter much. Poland has long been paranoid about Russia – more so if you ask me than is reasonable even with the current events. So Poland is prepared and has demanded a boycott from the European side anyway. The obvious angle is to create tensions with Germany. As far as tabloids and xenophobic politicians are concerend, that should work just fine. On the substance of support for the Ukraine by both nations, or the lukewarm fealings regarding Russia, that will change nothing anywhere. In substance, just as delusional politics as starting that war.

  8. War is among humankind’s worst folly; the ambition for Empire is right up there, and glorification of it is pretty high up the list, too. Think of Alexander the Great; why is he called that? It’s because he conquered Persia and great tracts of other lands and countries, and brought it all under his empire. The footnote though, is that he died at age 32, and the empire dissolved into civil war. What was the point of all that war, waged for what was a purposeless quest to have a bigger territory for a few years, and then blam, all gone again.

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