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Europe’s Metacrisis Just Got Worse

Energy Contrarian Featured Image

The latest conflict between Iran and Israel just made Europe’s already precarious energy and economic situation a lot worse.

Many analysts and politicians are celebrating Europe’s resilience after losing its natural gas supply from Russia.

“Two years on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, trade in energy products between Russia and the European Union has largely disappeared. The EU has adapted remarkably well to a decoupling that many would have considered impossible.”


There is some truth here but it misses the larger picture. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world has witnessed a major shift in its geopolitical, economic, and social order. These changes have had a particularly large effect in Europe. Events in the Middle East make things even worse.

The Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 resulted in a re-arrangement of supply chains and trade dependencies, prompting countries to consider the vulnerabilities inherent in globalized production networks. The era of unipolar dominance by the United States has given way to a more multipolar world. The traditional alliances and partnerships that underpinned the post-World War II order are unraveling.

Just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China and Russia issued a joint statement declaring that their partnership had “no limits” in opposing NATO expansion. They further stated their intention to reshape the global governance system to be more representative of the changing global landscape, challenging the current US-dominated world order.

In early 2024, the BRICS group of emerging-market nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–expanded to include Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Egypt. These countries now hold a dominant position on more than half of the global oil exports, with major implications for oil prices and energy geopolitics…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Expect a Financial Crisis in Europe With France at the Epicenter

The EU never enforced its Growth and Stability Pact or Maastricht Treaty rules. The crisis is coming to a head with France and Italy in the spotlight. The first casualty will be Green policy.

Image composite by Mish from the European Commission Compliance Tracker

Compliance Rules

  1. Deficit rule: a country is compliant if (i) the budget balance of general government is equal or larger than -3% of GDP or, (ii) in case the -3% of GDP threshold is breached, the deviation remains small (max 0.5% of GDP) and limited to one year.
  2. Debt rule: a country is compliant if the general government debt-to-GDP ratio is below 60% of GDP or if the excess above 60% of GDP has been declining by 1/20 on average over the past three years.
  3. Structural balance rule: a country is compliant if (i) the structural budget balance of general government is at or above the medium-term objective (MTO) or, (ii) in case the MTO has not been reached yet, the annual improvement of the structural balance is equal or higher than 0.5% of GDP, or the remaining distance to the MTO is smaller than 0.5% of GDP.
  4. Expenditure rule: a country is complaint if the annual rate of growth of primary government expenditure, net of discretionary revenue measures and one-offs, is at or below the 10-year average of the nominal rate of potential output growth minus the convergence margin necessary to ensure an adjustment of the structural budget deficit in line with the structural balance rule.

Deficit Disaster Zones

France and Italy are major disasters right now on the budget deficit rule. France has a budget deficit of 7 percent and Italy 5 percent.

France needs to reduce its deficit by a whopping 4 percent of GDP!

Neither Italy nor Greece should have been allowed in the EMU (European Monetary Union – Eurozone) in the first place.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Next Ten Years and the Fate of Civilization, Why We’re at a Crossroads in History, Plus, What Broken Ages End In

The Next Ten Years and the Fate of Civilization, Why We’re at a Crossroads in History, Plus, What Broken Ages End In

(Why) We’re at a Crossroads in History

It’s hard to believe, but we’re almost halfway through the 2020s. It’s the year 2024, and…how would you say things are going? For us, whether as societies, the world, a civilization, human beings?

I often say that we’re at a turning point or crossroads in human history. I think that sometimes people imagine I mean this metaphorically. But I don’t. I mean it literally. It’s almost halfway through the 2020s, and we’re at a turning point in human history, right now.

This year, the next one, the rest of this decade. They’ll determine the trajectory we’re all on, collectively, for decades to come, and perhaps longer. Think of the next year, two, five, as a hinge, that’ll determine whether history swings up—or down.

Today we’re going to talk about just how—and why—a little bit.

This year is a crucial one for democracy, if you haven’t heard already. An unusually large number of elections are taking place. But it’s hardly just that. In a very specific context, and not a sunny one. Democracy’s barely hanging on by its fingernails, at just 20% of the world fully so, and dropping like a rock. Meanwhile, these elections are also, therefore, unusually crucial. Like America’s choice in November, between Trump’s overt authoritarianism, and Biden’s nascent path towards, perhaps, modernizing a decrepit America. The EU will vote for its parliament, too, in June, and we’ll see if its rightwards drift continues. And many more.

What does all that mean, though? The central questions are: will history repeat itself? Will growing fissures of collapse become jagged cracks, fragmenting our civilization itself? Are we going to choose implosion or reinvention?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are France & The UK Plotting A Ukrainian Power Play Right Under Germany’s Nose?

Are France & The UK Plotting A Ukrainian Power Play Right Under Germany’s Nose?

There are indeed plans for a conventional Western intervention in Ukraine despite their leaders’ denials over the past two weeks, but they’ve yet to fully form and their execution can’t be taken for granted, but they also can’t be ruled out either.

The debate that French President Macron provoked over whether NATO should conventionally intervene in Ukraine exposed the existence of two distinct schools of thought on this issue inside of Europe. France, the Baltic States, and Poland appear to be in favor of “non-combat deployments” there for demining and training missions, which could be carried out through a “coalition of the willing”, while the rest of the bloc supports Germany’s stance that this shouldn’t happen under any circumstances.

Scholz’s Slip Of The Tongue Spilled The Beans On Ukraine’s Worst-Kept Secret”, however, since he inadvertently revealed that there are already British and French troops there helping Ukraine with “target control”. The subsequently leaked Bundeswehr recording about bombing the Crimean Bridge confirmed that the Americans are there too. Nevertheless, what’s being proposed by Paris is a formalization of these deployments along with their gradual expansion in a “non-combat” capacity.

Nobody should be fooled into thinking that France and the other four that appear to be in favor of this scenario are solely interested in demining and training missions. Rather, their intent seems to be to prepare these on-the-ground forces for surging eastward in the event that the worst-case scenario from Kiev’s perspective materializes whereby the frontline collapses and Russia starts steamrolling westward. These NATO members would then try to draw a red line in the sand as far as possible to save Ukraine.

Germany’s approach is altogether different in that it prefers to formally stay out of the fray in order to focus on building “Fortress Europe”…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

What the Western Press Didn’t Say About the Leaked Luftwaffe Conversation

What if a conversation between Russian officials discussing the explosion of a bridge in Germany had been revealed? Would Western press coverage also treat the leak as something more serious than threats of military attack?

On March 1, the editor-in-chief of the Rossiya Segodnya group, journalist Margarita Simonyan, revealed, on her Telegram channel, a 38-minute audio in which officers from the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) discussed the possibility of sending missiles long-range Taurus to Ukraine and whether they would be able to reach the Crimean bridge in the Kerch Strait, which connects the peninsula to the mainland and is Russian territory.

The Russian press, naturally, made much of the revelation. This forced the mainstream Western media – especially German ones – to report the leak. But whoever thought that a miracle would happen, that is, that the Western press would finally raise the issue of NATO’s military threats against Russia… well, those people are simply very naive.

The Western mass media, as always, tried to manipulate the news and hide the main issue.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, The Guardian, Die Welt and Der Spiegel published 39 articles on the topic on their respective websites between the time the news was revealed and the evening of March 6th (when I write these lines).

The two North American newspapers did not want to highlight the matter. The Post published two reports and the Times only one. The three expressed concern about the fragility of German intelligence security systems in the face of Russian espionage.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Europe Is Wargaming a Food Crisis

(Bloomberg) — The combined forces of El Niño and La Niña have crippled Latin American soy output. Ukrainian and Russian grain farmers have gone to war. Indonesia has banned shipments of palm oil to Europe, while China is hungry for crops. The Mediterranean region is getting more like a desert.

The year is 2024. “Food shortage in Europe? The only question is when, but they don’t listen,” says an unidentified voice in a video broadcast. The audience sits quietly — listening.

The dramatic collision of events, of course, hasn’t yet come to pass. But over two days in central Brussels last month, some 60 European Union and government officials, food security experts, industry representatives and a few journalists gathered to confront the possibility of something barely on the radar a few years ago: a full-blown food crisis.

The group sat down in a refurbished art deco Shell building to simulate what might happen, and help design policies aimed at prevention and response. A few streets away, farmers were stepping up their protests against the EU, disrupting supplies to supermarkets as if to sharpen the focus of the participants.

The plush co-working space was hardly a bunker or secure basement in a warzone. But the video images of drought, floods and civil unrest to the pounding beat of ominous music created a sense of urgency.

“Expect a level of chaos,” warned Piotr Magnuszewski, a systems modeler and game designer who has worked with the United Nations. “You may be confused at times and not have enough information. There will be time travel.”

To watch one of the best-fed regions in the world stress test its food system underscores a growing level of alarm among governments over securing supplies for their populations. In the space of four years, multiple shocks have shaken up the way food is grown, distributed and consumed.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Stragedy Unfolds

Stragedy Unfolds

A bitter rant on Europe’s self-implosion

It is now the second time I’m having afterthoughts upon publishing an article. After writing about how Europe’s well intended but disastrously planned environmental initiative puts us right on track to a permanent deindustrialization, thoughts kept coming up on why is that not seen as a problem by policy wonks. Perhaps understanding the parallels with what is currently unfolding in Eastern Europe could help lift the fog.

There is a looming sense of civilizational decline in Europe, stemming from the loss of cheap condensed energy. Yet, denial and hope, together with its eternal springs, still reign supreme in the higher echelons of power. There seems to be a firm belief, that no matter how unattainable the objectives we set to ourselves are, someone, somewhere will surely come up with something. Intermittent „renewables”? Costly, heavy, material and energy intensive to make batteries? Oh, someone somewhere is surely working on a storage solution (or more) to come around those minor technicalities. Not enough resources to build all that stuff? Oh, someone somewhere will surely open up a new mine… After all, demand and a good deal of subsidies always begets more supply, now isn’t it?

Well, no. That level of magical thinking is an insult on all practitioners of sorcery, and leaves even underpants gnomes’ green with envy. There are no more cheap and easy to get resources to extract, and what’s even more concerning, there are no more habitats left to destroy on this planet. Mining the seabed, and stirring up all the carbon stored in the sediment, is just one of the most disastrous ideas… Oh, and as an aside, there is no more surplus energy from oil left to do all that additional digging, smelting, transportation and manufacturing, but that’s really just me nitpicking on some minor details.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Endgame, Part I

The Endgame, Part I

The Russo-Ukrainian war and geopolitics of Europe

In early February, I posted a poll on X asking whether I should write a geopolitical piece on the Russo-Ukrainian war, adding to my series mapping a worst-case scenario for the war. While the vote count for this particular poll was not very high, an overwhelming majority supported this notion.

Before conducting the poll, developments in Ukraine in December and January had led me to ponder the outcome, or endgame, of the war. In September 2022, I had established an alternative to the western narrative of the war, spewed relentlessly by our media. In it, I argued that

  • Ukrainian losses are massive, passing Russian losses possibly 5-10 times.
  • The Russian army has not collapsed, but it may have become the strongest it has been since WWII.
  • The West (NATO) is fighting a proxy-war in Ukraine with the possible aim of regime change in Russia.
  • Russia is about to create a war-machine not seen in Europe for a very long time, which it could use to unleash a devastating attack against Ukrainian (NATO) forces during the winter.

In late-October 2022, I also noted that:

The massive force Russia is amassing and the all-but-halted progress of Ukrainian forces, tells me that we are most likely approaching a turning point in the war. In the worst case, this implies that Ukraine has already lost. Even in the best case (excluding peace) this means that the war will drag on and become a resource race between NATO and Russia.

Now, essentially all of this, except the Russian winter-offensive (2022/23) have been proven true. Ukraine has effectively lost the war, or a least she cannot win it in any plausible scenario. Just a few days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron attempted a game-changer, by “not ruling out” NATO boots in Ukraine…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Europe Erupts In Widespread Farmer Protests As Revolt Against ‘Green’ Policies Intensifies

Europe Erupts In Widespread Farmer Protests As Revolt Against ‘Green’ Policies Intensifies

Farmers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Romania, and other countries across Europe are protesting radical leftist governments by obstructing major transport networks with tractors. This widespread populist movement is sweeping Europe at a time when over-regulation, taxes, and the climate change agenda threaten the livelihoods of not just farmers but working-class people and comes several months before the European election cycle kicks off in June.

Some countries hit hardest by protests have been Germany, Italy, Belgium, and France. Protests are expected to spread to Spain and Portugal.

On Tuesday, France’s new prime minister, Gabriel Attal, promised farmers emergency funds and stricter trade controls on foreign products to guarantee fair competition.

However, that might not have been enough, as the farmer’s union in France was unimpressed by concessions offered by the French government. They encouraged their members to continue the fight.

“I’m so proud of you,” Serge Bousquet-Cassagne, head of Lot-et-Garonne department’s farmer’s association, told protesters in the south of Paris.

Bousquet-Cassagne said:

“You are fighting this battle because if we don’t fight we die.” 

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told local TV station France 2 that police were preparing to defend strategic areas of larger cities.

“They can’t attack police, they can’t enter Rungis, they can’t enter the Paris airports or the center of Paris,” said Darmanin, adding, “But let me tell you again that if they try, we will be there.”

According to Armstrong Economics:

Farmers throughout the world have been protesting the increasing regulations on agriculture. The media is barely covering the story, and when they do mention it, they say that the farmers are protesting due to Russia blocking supplies from Ukraine. This is simply untrue. The farmers are protesting against over-regulation, taxes, and the climate change agenda that is making it increasingly difficult for them to make a successful living.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Poland’s Obstruction In Nord Stream Pipeline Probe Raises Alarm For Investigators

Poland’s Obstruction In Nord Stream Pipeline Probe Raises Alarm For Investigators

At this point, one might be forgiven for thinking that the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage is already ancient history. After all, mainstream media and prime time TV news coverage has by and large ‘moved on’ as soon as it became clear that Russia had nothing to do with it.

At this point, the consensus even among Moscow’s vehement enemies is that the September 26, 2022 series of blasts which disabled the Russia to Germany NS-1 and NS-2 natural gas pipelines had Ukrainian and/or Western involvement. While MSM sources have favored the theory that it was a mystery group of pro-Ukraine operatives on a small yacht, legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has reported that it was a CIA and US Navy special operation with help from Norwegian intelligence services.

Since then, the ongoing investigation by Germany, Denmark and Sweden into the details of what happened has continued to yield very interesting, incremental developments. The latest was revealed in a Wall Street Journal report this week, and involves apparent Polish obstruction of the probe, which has been deemed by officials to be highly suspicious.

Nord Stream 2/AP

Reports WSJ, “Polish officials have resisted cooperating with an international probe into the sabotage of the Nord Stream natural-gas pipelines and failed to disclose potentially crucial evidence, according to European investigators working on the case.”

Cover-up?… you don’t say:

Those Polish officials have been slow to provide information and withheld key evidence about the alleged saboteurs’ movements on Polish soil, investigators said. They are now hoping the new government in Warsaw, which took office in December, will help shed light on the attack.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Dieseleuro: Europe Is Guzzling Russian Oil In The Form Of Indian Diesel Imports

The Dieseleuro: Europe Is Guzzling Russian Oil In The Form Of Indian Diesel Imports

As western politicians ever so theatrically pretend to sanction Russian oil imports (just so they can signal to their voters just how virtuous they are), especially now that the war in Ukraine is almost over with the US and Germany “pressing Kyiv to end the nearly two-year old conflict”, and have gone so far as to ‘demand’ Greek tankers no longer transport Russian oil (something which most of the Greek dark fleet is and will continue to do), the true comedy is just how hard everyone is working behind the scenes to keep the status quo in place. For a glaring example of western hypocrisy look no further than the Russia-India-Europe petrodollar or rather dieseleuro triangle, where one year after banning most oil shipments from Russia, Europe is now binging on Indian diesel…  that was made from Russian crude.

Europe’s imports of diesel from India, one of the biggest buyers of Russian crude, are on course to soar to 305,000 barrels a day, the most since at least January 2017, the latest data market-intelligence firm Kpler show.

While it’s not possible to say with certainty that the molecules originated in Russia as India also processes oil from elsewhere – although a blockchain lifecycle tracing would be most useful in this regard – Moscow’s soaring (and cheap) oil exports to India have given Indian refineries an ability to produce abundant diesel and boost both profits and exports.

According to Bloomberg, arrivals into Europe in November include a rare shipment from Mumbai-based Nayara Energy, which imported almost 60% of its crude from Russia this year, according to Kpler. Reliance Industries, Europe’s top supplier of Indian diesel, draws more than third of its crude from Russia, the figures show.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Europe Is Burning

Pro-Palestinian demonstration in Paris

The only lessons the Old World offers to America these days are cautionary.

Ever since the earliest days of the Republic, American intellectuals, artists, and statesmen looked to Europe for models. Conservatives felt attracted to the continent’s sense of continuity and tradition, and as the base for Christianity. More recently, progressives saw in European social democracy and globalist pacifism a role model to be embraced.

Yet today Europe seems not much of a model for much of anything outside of museums, charming cathedral towns, and terrific food. The notion that Europe represents the future, nurtured by the likes of Mitterrand advisor Jacques Attali, Jeremy Rifkind’s utopian European Dream, and the American journalist T.R. Reid’s 2005 The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacyseem utterly delusional.

A common theme in the early years of the millennium was that Europe was on the verge of global resurgence while America was in decline. Europe’s eventual stagnation, as many conservatives point out, can be in part traced to an ever expanding high-tax welfare state that generally absorbs roughly ten more percentage points of GDP than in the U.S. But this is not the only explanation. Some of the moderately better off European economies, like Denmark and Sweden, are welfare states but manage to outperform the rest.

The real problem is civilizational. Europeans are unwilling to preserve their industrial base and control their borders, leaving the continent increasingly weak and largely defenseless. The leaderless American empire may be creaking, but Europe is in worse shape, hemmed in by dismal demographics, high taxes, suffocating regulation, and an entrenched bureaucracy that makes California seem like a libertarian paradise.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

German Defense Chief Says Public Must Get Used To Possibility Of ‘War In Europe’

German Defense Chief Says Public Must Get Used To Possibility Of ‘War In Europe’

Starting last month, top Ukrainian officials began pushing an alarmist narrative that “world war 3 has already begun” – as the head Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Aleksey Danilov had claimed in early September. The words were spoken after it became clear that Ukraine’s military was losing, and now Time magazine has confirmed the military doesn’t have the manpower to fight off the Russians. Naturally, Kiev must find new ways to draw in more direct support of key European powers.

“If somebody thinks that World War III hasn’t started then it’s a huge mistake. It has already begun. It had been underway in a hybrid period for some time and has now entered an active phase,” Danilov said before the Kiev Security Forum at the time (early Sept). More than a month later, some European leaders have begun to echo the same warning.

Significantly, this week Germany Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in a media interview that German residents must start getting used to the idea of the specter of war in Europe.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, via dpa/picture alliance

“We have to get used to the idea that there may be a threat of war in Europe,” he said in the national broadcast interview. “Germany must be able to defend itself. We must be prepared for war.”

He was responding to questions related to Germany being slow to rearmament itself in the wake of the Russian war in Ukraine, and now with the prospect of the Gaza-Israel conflict spilling over into broader Mideast regional war:

He believes that the conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s war against Ukraine shall have consequences for German society. In particular, Germany must be able to defend itself, and this applies to both the Bundeswehr and society.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Jeffrey Sachs: NATO Expansion & Ukraine’s Destruction

Jeffrey Sachs: NATO Expansion & Ukraine’s Destruction

Ukraine is being destroyed by U.S. arrogance, proving again Henry Kissinger’s adage that to be America’s enemy is dangerous, while to be its friend is fatal.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the European Parliament on Sept. 7. (NATO, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

During the disastrous Vietnam War, it was said that the U.S. government treated the public like a mushroom farm: keeping it in the dark and feeding it with manure. The heroic Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers documenting the unrelenting U.S. government lying about the war in order to protect politicians who would be embarrassed by the truth. A half century later, during the Ukraine War, the manure is piled even higher.

According to the U.S. government and the ever-obsequious New York Times, the Ukraine war was “unprovoked,” the Times’ favorite adjective to describe the war. Putin, allegedly mistaking himself for Peter the Great, invaded Ukraine to recreate the Russian Empire. Yet last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg committed a Washington gaffe, meaning that he accidentally blurted out the truth.

In testimony to the European Union Parliament, Stoltenberg made clear that it was America’s relentless push to enlarge NATO to Ukraine that was the real cause of the war and why it continues today. Here are Stoltenberg’s revealing words:

“The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition to not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn’t sign that.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Biden Mobilizes 3,000 Reservists To Europe To Augment ‘Operation Atlantic Resolve’

Biden Mobilizes 3,000 Reservists To Europe To Augment ‘Operation Atlantic Resolve’

President Joe Biden today issued an executive order approving the mobilization of select reserve forces with up to 3,000 personnel, augmenting the armed forces in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 121 and 12304 of title 10, United States Code, I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of Operation Atlantic Resolve in and around the United States European Command’s area of responsibility.  

In furtherance of this operation, under the stated authority, I hereby authorize the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, under their respective jurisdictions, to order to active duty any units, and any individual members not assigned to a unit organized to serve as a unit of the Selected Reserve, or any member in the Individual Ready Reserve mobilization category and designated as essential under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned, not to exceed 3,000 total members at any one time, of whom not more than 450 may be members of the Individual Ready Reserve, as they deem necessary, and to terminate the service of those units and members ordered to active duty.

This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Here’s the Atlantic Council’s description of Operation Atlantic Resolve:

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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