Blain’s Morning Porridge, 24 Feb 2022 –
“The Russian soul is a dark place..”
This is deliberately a very short Morning Porridge.
This morning’s invasion of Ukraine will be a massive market mover. Rather than jumping to any conclusions or making predictions – it’s probably best to watch and listen to what’s happening in Ukraine, and take time to figure it out. Consider the implications, consequences, and to strip out high emotions. Markets were already fraxious – but the price spikes were seeing across oil and gold sum up the reaction to the Russian Invasion – complete surprise despite all the warnings.
Like so many other market participants I did not believe it would happen. I am shocked, revolted and horrified. It just does not feel real, but for Ukraine it is. I did not believe the intelligence Western Governments were pushing at us – but Biden was right and telling the truth. We did not listen.
Russia’s actions this morning mean The West must respond, marshalling the full Arsenal of Democracy at its disposal to hit Russia hard, combining the might of Nato, Decency, Law and Order to clobber Putin with the ultimate weapon….
Which sadly is… based on our current military capability…
Today, the best we can do is send a Very Angry Letter, telling Putin just how angry we are…
And that’s going to be a great comfort to Ukraine…?
The West has miscalculated massively.
Yesterday I received an email from a Russian:
“Are you sure that Germans, Italians and the French are still closer to Brits and Americans than they are to Russians? Back in the Cold War there was an impenetrable ideological East-West divide. Now there is none. The world is realigning according to the interest of the actors rather than ideological shadows from the past.”
Are you serious? The fundamental differences between Russia and Europe are more real than ever. Europe got rid of Kleptocratic Absolute Dictators 77 years ago and embraced democracy, law and order and decency. Russia had the opportunity – but let it be stolen from the people by the oligarchs and other criminals. Democratic Europeans have nothing to gain from dishonest absolutism. The health, wealth, freedom and happiness of the West is far ahead of Russia.
European and US democracy may be imperfect and fragile, but it’s a damn sight better than what Putin has become – a Fascist, a Nazi willing to put his own into the meatgrinder in pursuit of his personal ends.
I suspect the way I feel is the same as my Grandfather must have felt on September 1st 1939 when the Nazi’s rolled into Poland. Remember, the Russians swiftly followed them. Europe was plunged into 6 years of hell.
My Grandfather taught me all about appeasement and political failure. And he gave me a love of history – and an understanding of how even after such terrible mistakes, democracy eventually triumphed.
History repeats. Let’s hope not so bloodily. Democracy works. Kleptocracies don’t.
Let’s watch and listen… and pray.