US spending for Ukraine arms, proxy war against Russkies now to go to $70 BILLION, suckers

Apollonian

Guest Columnist
Biden wants Ukraine aid slipped into massive US govt funding bill

His latest request could push total spending on the war to $70 billion. Will Congress get the chance to even debate it?

SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
Written by
Andrew Lautz

Link: https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2...allocating-ukraine-aid-with-little-oversight/

The White House knows members of Congress have one major priority left on their to-do list before they leave Washington, D.C. to campaign in the midterm elections: pass a spending bill that keeps the government open beyond September 30. The Biden administration would like lawmakers to tack a huge emergency spending package onto that must-pass bill, and they’re proposing the United States commit $13.7 billion more to help Ukraine fight Russia’s invasion.
Attaching a major emergency spending package to a must-pass spending bill robs members of Congress of more debate and deliberation about the contours of such an emergency package. Faced with casting a protest vote against aspects of the emergency spending or avoiding accusations of effectively “voting for a government shutdown,” many members may choose the latter path.
If Congress accedes to the Biden administration’s request, then the U.S. government will have committed nearly $69 billion in taxpayer funds to Ukraine in just six short months. While U.S. policymakers and citizens of all ideological stripes support helping the people of Ukraine beat back Russian military aggression, it’s up to Congress to carefully scrutinize each funding request from the administration. Instead, too many lawmakers have sought to measure their level of support by how much money they can direct to the cause — much of it to the U.S. military rather than the people or government of Ukraine.
The latest request from President Biden allocates about half of the total funding to the Department of Defense ($7.2 billion) and the other half to the Departments of State and Energy ($6.5 billion). This is in line with the first Ukraine aid package Congress passed ($13.6 billion total, which included $6.5 billion for DoD and $6.8 billion for State) and the second, much larger aid bill Congress passed ($41.6 billion total, including $20.1 billion for DoD and $19 billion for State).
As noted above, if the Biden request passes as is, then total U.S. taxpayer commitments to Ukraine will approach $69 billion in six months. For context, that’s more than triple what the U.S. spent in Afghanistan in the first year after 9/11 before adjusting for inflation, and still more than double what the U.S. spent in the first year of Afghanistan after adjusting for inflation. It’s also more than the State Department’s FY2022 budget and what Russia spent on defense in 2021.
This spending is not paid for or offset elsewhere in the budget. Congress has not, for example, given the regular DoD budget a haircut to cover the costs of sending DoD billions more to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Instead, as my organization National Taxpayers Union has noted, all of the current and proposed Ukraine funding will be “financed by more debt, which American taxpayers will have to pay back someday.” In fact, rising interest rates mean that the interest costs alone on this $69 billion in debt could be an additional $14 billion to $15 billion over 10 years, raising the taxpayers’ total tab for Ukraine assistance to as much as $84 billion.
Using DoD’s own methodology for its Cost of War reporting on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, if Congress passes the Biden request, the war in Ukraine will have cost each taxpayer in America about $373 in six months, or about $62 per taxpayer per month.
Many may say that cost is worth it, especially when it comes to the economic and humanitarian assistance the United States is providing the Ukrainian people. However, for many Americans, $373 is not an investment they would want to see squandered or, worse yet, to fall into the wrong hands.
I have written before:
“Spending surges to federal agencies come with an enhanced risk for waste or misuse of taxpayer dollars, and we would encourage Congressional watchdogs and the State Department IG to exercise vigorous oversight of how any emergency funding [in Ukraine] is spent.”
Afghanistan unfortunately offers a cautionary tale. I wrote for Responsible Statecraft in May:
“Among the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) ‘best practices’ for future aid in Afghanistan, released earlier this year, are: ‘insist[ing] that any organization receiving U.S. funding is fully transparent,’ ‘set[ting] a tolerable level of risk, and be[ing] ready to end an activity if that risk becomes too great,’ and ‘keep[ing] track of how money is used and regularly reassess[ing] to see if activities are actually helping people.’ Other best practices include ‘determin[ing] clear, relevant metrics that measure actual outcomes, not just how many dollars were spent,’ and ‘be[ing] prepared to pull the plug” when activities are going poorly.’
In the months since, there’s little evidence that Congress or the administration are taking these best practices seriously. According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, DoD has not “estimat[ed] long-term costs” for equipment and infrastructure projects in Europe, and has not yet taken GAO up on its recommendation to “develop cost estimates for sustaining posture initiatives … in the long term.”
And already some of the most hawkish members of Congress are suggesting President Biden’s $13.7 billion request is not enough. Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), an influential lawmaker who has pushed defense spending above sustainable levels for years, tweeted that the Biden administration’s proposal “is insufficient.” Inhofe also argued “Congress will have to lead again,” presumably by increasing the topline taxpayer commitment in this third Ukraine aid package.
Many Americans support sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to help the people of Ukraine, and will continue to support doing so. That does not give lawmakers, DoD, or the State Department a free pass to send money out the door without proper safeguards or a long-term plan for U.S. engagement in the war. Both are still missing from the bigger picture debate about U.S. funding for Ukraine.
 

Apollonian

Guest Columnist

The War in Ukraine Marks the End of the American Century. “What’s Left is a Steaming Pile of Dollar Denominated Debt”​

By Mike Whitney
Global Research, September 10, 2022

Link: https://www.globalresearch.ca/war-ukraine-marks-end-american-century/5782901

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First published on Global Research on July 7, 2022
***
“The ferocity of the confrontation in Ukraine shows that we’re talking about much more than the fate of the regime in Kiev. The architecture of the entire world order is at stake.” Sergei Naryshkin, Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence.
***
Here’s your ‘reserve currency’ thought for the day: Every US dollar is a check written on an account that is overdrawn by 30 trillion dollars.
It’s true. The “full faith and credit” of the US Treasury is largely a myth held together by an institutional framework that rests on a foundation of pure sand. In fact, the USD is not worth the paper it is printed on; it is an IOU flailing in an ocean of red ink.
The only thing keeping the USD from vanishing into the ether, is the trust of credulous people who continue to accept it as legal tender.
But why do people remain confident in the dollar when its flaws are known to all? After all, America’s $30 trillion National Debt is hardly a secret, nor is the additional $9 trillion that’s piled up on the Fed’s balance sheet. That is a stealth debt of which the American people are completely unaware, but they are responsible for all the same.
In order to answer that question, we need to look at how the system actually works and how the dollar is propped up by the numerous institutions that were created following WW2. These institutions provide an environment for conducting history’s longest and most flagrant swindle, the exchange of high-ticket manufactured goods, raw materials and hard-labor for slips of green paper with dead presidents on them.
One can only marvel at the genius of the elites who concocted this scam and then imposed it wholesale on the masses without a peep of protest. Of course, the system is accompanied by various enforcement mechanisms that swiftly remove anyone who tries to either break free from the dollar or, God help us, create an alternate system altogether. (Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi come to mind.) But the fact is– aside from the institutional framework and the ruthless extermination of dollar opponents– there’s no reason why humanity should remain yoked to a currency that is buried beneath a mountain of debt and whose real value is virtually unknowable.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when the dollar was the strongest currency in the world and deserved its spot at the top of the heap. Following WW1, the US was “the owner of the majority of the world’s gold” which was why an international delegation “decided that the world’s currencies would no longer be linked to gold but could be pegged to the U.S. dollar, “because the greenback was, itself, linked to gold.” Here’s more from an article at Investopedia:
“The arrangement came to be known as the Bretton Woods Agreement. It established the authority of central banks, which would maintain fixed exchange rates between their currencies and the dollar. In turn, the United States would redeem U.S. dollars for gold on demand….
The U.S dollar was officially crowned the world’s reserve currency and was backed by the world’s largest gold reserves thanks to the Bretton Woods Agreement. Instead of gold reserves, other countries accumulated reserves of U.S. dollars. Needing a place to store their dollars, countries began buying U.S. Treasury securities, which they considered to be a safe store of money.
The demand for Treasury securities, coupled with the deficit spending needed to finance the Vietnam War and the Great Society domestic programs, caused the United States to flood the market with paper money….
The demand for gold was such that President Richard Nixon was forced to intervene and de-link the dollar from gold, which led to the floating exchange rates that exist today. Although there have been periods of stagflation, which is defined as high inflation and high unemployment, the U.S. dollar has remained the world’s reserve currency.” (“How the U.S. Dollar Became the World’s Reserve Currency”, Investopedia)
But now the gold is gone and what’s left is a steaming pile of debt. So, how on earth has the dollar managed to preserve its status as the world’s preeminent currency?
Proponents of the dollar system, will tell you it has something to do with “the size and strength of the U.S. economy and the dominance of the U.S. financial markets.” But that’s nonsense.
The truth is, reserve currency status has nothing to do with “the size and strength” of America’s post-industrial, service-oriented, bubble-driven, third-world-sh**hole economy. Nor does it have anything to do with the alleged safety of US Treasuries” which– next to the dollar– is the biggest Ponzi flim-flam of all time.
The real reason the dollar has remained the world’s premier currency is because of the cartelization of Central Banking.
The Western Central Banks are a de facto monopoly run by a small cabal of inter-breeding bottom-feeders who coordinate and collude on monetary policy in order to preserve their maniacal death-grip on the financial markets and the global economy. It’s a Monetary Mafia and– as George Carlin famously said: “You and I are not in it. You and I are not in the big club.” Bottom line: It is the relentless manipulation of interest rates, forward guidance and Quantitative Easing (QE) that has kept the dollar in its lofty but undeserved spot.

But all that is about to change due entirely to Biden’s reckless foreign policy which is forcing critical players in the global economy to create their own rival system. This is a real tragedy for the West that has enjoyed a century of nonstop wealth extraction from the developing world.
Now– due to the economic sanctions on Russia– an entirely new order is emerging in which the dollar will be substituted for national currencies (processed through an independent financial settlement system) in bilateral trade deals until– later this year– Russia launches an exchange-traded commodities-backed currency that will be used by trading partners in Asia and Africa.
Washington’s theft of Russia’s foreign reserves in April turbo-charged the current process which was further accelerated by banning of Russia from foreign markets. In short, US economic sanctions and boycotts have expanded the non-dollar zone by many orders of magnitude and forced the creation of a new monetary order.
How dumb is that? For decades the US has been running a scam in which it exchanges its fishwrap currency for things of genuine value. (oil, manufactured goods and labor) But now the Biden troupe has scrapped that system altogether and divided the world into warring camps.
But, why?
To punish Russia, is that it?
Yes, that’s it.
But, if that’s the case, then shouldn’t we try to figure out whether the sanctions actually work or not before we recklessly change the system?
Too late for that. The war on Russia has begun and the early results are already pouring in. Just look at the way we’ve destroyed Russia’s currency, the ruble. It’s shocking! Here’s the scoop from an article at CBS:
“The Russian ruble is the best-performing currency in the world this year….
Two months after the ruble’s value fell to less than a U.S. penny amid the swiftest, toughest economic sanctions in modern history, Russia’s currency has mounted a stunning turnaround. The ruble has jumped 40% against the dollar since January.
Normally, a country facing international sanctions and a major military conflict would see investors fleeing and a steady outflow of capital, causing its currency to drop….
The ruble’s resiliency means that Russia is partly insulated from the punishing economic penalties imposed by Western nations after its invasion of Ukraine…” (“Russia’s ruble is the strongest currency in the world this year“, CBS News)
Huh? You mean the attack on the ruble didn’t work after all?
Sure looks that way. But that doesn’t mean the sanctions are a failure. Oh, no. Just at look at the effect they’ve had on Russian commodities. Export receipts are way-down, right? Here’s more from CBS:
“Commodity prices are currently sky-high, and even though there is a drop in the volume of Russian exports due to embargoes and sanctioning, the increase in commodity prices more than compensates for these drops,” said Tatiana Orlova, lead emerging markets economist at Oxford Economics.
Russia is pulling in nearly $20 billion a month from energy exports. Since the end of March, many foreign buyers have complied with a demand to pay for energy in rubles, pushing up the currency’s value.” (“Russia’s ruble is the strongest currency in the world this year“, CBS News)
You’re kidding me? You mean the ruble is surging and Putin is raking in more dough on commodities than ever before?
Yep, and it’s the same deal with Russia’s trade surplus. Take a look at this excerpt from an article in The Economist:
“Russia’s exports… have held up surprisingly well, including those directed to the West. Sanctions permit the sale of oil and gas to most of the world to continue uninterrupted. And a spike in energy prices has boosted revenues further.
As a result, analysts expect Russia’s trade surplus to hit record highs in the coming months. The IIF reckons that in 2022 the current-account surplus, which includes trade and some financial flows, could come in at $250bn (15% of last year’s GDP), more than double the $120bn recorded in 2021. That sanctions have boosted Russia’s trade surplus, and thus helped finance the war, is disappointing, says Mr Vistesen. Ms Ribakova reckons that the efficacy of financial sanctions may have reached its limits. A decision to tighten trade sanctions must come next.
But such measures could take time to take effect. Even if the EU enacts its proposal to ban Russian oil, the embargo would be phased in so slowly that the bloc’s oil imports from Russia would fall by just 19% this year, says Liam Peach of Capital Economics, a consultancy. The full impact of these sanctions would be felt only at the start of 2023—by which point Mr Putin will have amassed billions to fund his war.” ( “Russia is on track for a record trade surplus”, The Economist)
Let me get this straight: The sanctions are actually hurting the US and helping Russia, so the experts think we should impose more sanctions? Is that it?
Precisely. Now that we have shot ourselves in the foot, the experts think it would be wise to shoot the other one too.
Am I the only one who is struck by the insanity of this policy? Check out this clip from an article at RT:
Russia could earn a record $100 billion from gas sales to European countries in 2022 due to the sharp rise in energy prices, French newspaper Les Echos reported this week, citing Citibank analysts.
According to the paper, the projected income from gas sales will be almost twice as much as last year. The analysis does not take into account profits from the sale of other Russian commodities, such as oil, coal, and other minerals.
Les Echos reports that, despite sanctions and warnings of a sweeping embargo on Russian energy, the 27 EU countries continue to send roughly $200 million per day to Gazprom.”(“Russian gas revenues projected to hit new highs”, RT)
So the revenues from gas and oil sales are literally flooding Moscow’s coffers like never before. Meanwhile, energy prices in the EU and America have skyrocketed to 40-year highs.
Can you see how counterproductive this policy is?
The EU is sinking into recession, supply lines have been severely disrupted, food shortages are steadily emerging, and gas and oil prices are through-the-roof. By every objective standard, the sanctions have not only failed, but backfired spectacularly. Can’t the Biden people see the damage they’re doing? Are they completely divorced from reality?
Imagine if the Ukrainians use Biden’s new artillery battery (HIMARS) to shell cities in Russia? Then what?
Then Putin takes off the gloves and shuts off the flow of hydrocarbons to Europe immediately. That’s what’s going to happen if Washington continues to escalate. You can bet on it. If Russia’s “Special Military Operation” suddenly becomes a war, the lights across Europe will go dark, homes will begin to freeze, factories will go silent, and the continent will slide headlong into a protracted and painful depression.
Does anyone in Washington think about these things or are they all so drunk on their own press clippings they’ve completely lost touch with reality?
Here’s more from an article at RT:
“Even as the collective West continues to insist – against all observable reality – that the conflict in Ukraine is going well for Kiev, major media outlets are becoming increasingly uneasy with the situation on the economic front. More and more observers are admitting that the embargoes imposed by the US and its allies aren’t crushing the Russian economy, as originally intended, but rather their own.
“Russia is winning the economic war,” the Guardian’s economics editor Larry Elliott declared on Thursday. “It is now three months since the west launched its economic war against Russia, and it is not going according to plan. On the contrary, things are going very badly indeed,” he wrote…
In a May 30 essay, Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins also said that the embargo had failed…
As Jenkins points out, the sanctions have actually raised the price of Russian exports such as oil and grain – thus enriching, rather than impoverishing, Moscow while leaving Europeans short of gas and Africans running out of food.” (“As sanctions fail to work and Russia’s advance continues, Western media changes its tune on Ukraine”, RT)
Did you catch that part about “Russia winning the economic war”? What do you think that means in practical terms?
Does it mean that Washington’s failed attempt to maintain its global hegemony by “weakening” Russia is actually putting enormous strains on the Transatlantic Alliance and NATO that will trigger a re-calibration of relations leading to a defiant rejection of the “rules-based system.”
Is that what it means? Is Europe going to split with Washington and leave America to sink beneath its $30 trillion ocean of red ink?
Yes, that’s exactly what it means.

Uncle Sam’s 30 Year Bender

Proponents of Washington’s proxy-war have no idea of the magnitude of their mistake or how much damage they are inflicting on their own country. The Ukraine debacle is the culmination of 30 years of bloody interventions that have brought us to a tipping point where the nation’s fortunes are about to take a dramatic turn-for-the-worse. As the dollar-zone shrinks, standards of living will plunge, unemployment will soar, and the economy will go into a downward-death spiral.
Washington has greatly underestimated its vulnerability to catastrophic geopolitical blowback that is about to bring the New American Century to a swift and excruciating end.
A wise leader would do everything in his power to pull us back from the brink.
 

Apollonian

Guest Columnist

The War Should Be Ended With A Negotiated Settlement Now Before More Escalation Leads To Horror​

Link: https://tsarizm.com/analysis/2022/0...ting-russia-america-is-with-a-mercenary-army/


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The Ukraine war is now essentially a stalemate. Yes, Ukrainian forces have had some recent success near Kharkiv, but at a high price. The brutal reality is that Russia has approximately 150M people, Ukraine has 40M. Ukraine is a border region of the Russian Federation, and very important to the Kremlin. Now that he has committed forces, Putin cannot let control of the Donbass region go, no matter the casualties. If he allowed that to happen, he would lose power. So, he will follow the old Russian tactic of throwing bodies at the conflict in a long war of attrition. After all, worked well against Napoleon, Hitler, etc.

Ukraine is not fighting this war against Russia. In reality, it is the United States with a mercenary army. America is supplying the weapons, the logistics, the tactics, and many highly-trained troops.

I have personally spoken to dozens of former U.S. special operators who have been involved in recent months in Ukraine. America is fighting this war alright, just not with uniformed soldiers.

The globalists in control of The White House want nothing less than a continuation of the conflict, so they can sell lots of weapons. The globalists desperately do not want to lose control of the Ukrainian playground, where they can launder money and run ‘bio research facilities’.

So, they are throwing the kitchen sink against Russia, and having some recent success.

However, this strategy will lead to continued escalation. The Ukrainian military leadership recently said the quiet part out loud – this could lead to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons by Russian forces.

Putin will have nothing to lose.

Perhaps this is what the globalists want.
 
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