Is the world united against Russia?

The media gives the impression that almost the entire world is opposed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But is that true?

The facts are clear:

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Wednesday and called for its troops to immediately and completely withdraw, as Moscow’s military bore down on several Ukrainian cities with airstrikes and troops.

Of the 193 member states, 181 participated in the vote. Of those, 141 countries supported the resolution condemning Moscow and five were against it – including Russia and a tiny group of its allies — Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea. Thirty-five countries abstained, but their numbers do not affect the two-thirds majority needed for adoption.

Unfortunately, only about half of the world’s population live in countries that condemned Russia’s invasion in the recent UN vote (yellow regions).

The media is Eurocentric, which is why it seems like there is overwhelming opposition to Russia. If only that were true.



46 Responses to “Is the world united against Russia?”

  1. Gravatar of Classical Liberal Classical Liberal
    9. March 2022 at 17:36

    If Manmohan Singh were India’s Prime Minister instead of Modi, would India have voted in favour? That would tip the % of world population pretty decisively. Can we expect India to almost always take the anti-Western side (eg. Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba) or is it more dependent on the party in power?

  2. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    9. March 2022 at 18:47

    Repeating: The General Assembly vote against Russia was 141-5.

    And the 5 supporting Russia were Russia, Belarus, a launching pad for the invasion, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria.

    Wow, if I could have only 4 allies in the whole world those are the 4 I’d choose!

    Note that even Russia’s closest neighbors in all the ‘akastans who have the closest ties to it refused to support it. That’s not bad, that’s good.

    Your “population” observation is based largely on China with 1.4 billion people abstaining from the vote.

    And it is true that China landed with both feet on Putin’s (not Russia’s) side yesterday.

    “Supporting the Ukrainian neo-Nazis serves the US’s interests…”

    Well, now it’s clear who we’ll be dealing with there in coming years.

  3. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    9. March 2022 at 19:06

    At the above link you’ll also here quotes from the Chinese Foreign Ministry saying the Russian military has discovered US bio-military laboratories in Ukraine, holding large stocks of dangerous viruses for military purposes.

    Even the Russians haven’t claimed that!

    “Yesterday the tag ‘China urges US to release information about bio-labs in Ukraine’ was the #1 trending search term on WeChat”

    Stephen Kotkin redux: “In the long run 95% of this will be about China.”

  4. Gravatar of Nick S Nick S
    9. March 2022 at 19:47

    If Russia behaved like the USA did in Ukraine… organized a coup to install a Russian friendly government in a neighbor of the USA (let’s say Mexico), dangled billions of dollars in potential aid over Mexico’s head with the condition of firing and replacing high level Mexican officials with pro-Russian substitutes, and also provided Mexico with advanced military weaponry, would the western media narrative be any different if the USA deployed troops into Mexico?

    Was Joe Biden portrayed as an “evil monster” like Putin when he green lit the drone attack on “Taliban Members” in Afghanistan but instead killed 7 children?

    Just today, the demonization of Putin is being escalated further from his alleged air strike of a hospital that injured 17, and killed nine. Why was the Obama/Biden administration not demonized like Putin when an USA “airstrike in October 2015 on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killed 42 people?”

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. March 2022 at 21:55

    Jim, You said:

    “Your “population” observation is based largely on China with 1.4 billion people abstaining from the vote.”

    No, it isn’t.

  6. Gravatar of David S David S
    10. March 2022 at 01:06

    Oh Nick, we did invade Mexico once upon a time. One of the military commanders involved in that war of conquest had these remarks:

    “I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.”

    I suppose that Modi and Xi will be cynical for as long as it suits their purposes. It’s sad, and it points to other moments of reckoning in the future.

  7. Gravatar of postkey postkey
    10. March 2022 at 01:26

    “ . . . President Obama
    51:38 was said to have been an isolationist
    51:41 this is nonsense
    51:42 President Obama upped the ante in
    51:46 Afghanistan yes he was forced out of
    51:49 Iraq but we went back in President Obama
    51:53 is responsible for what happened in
    51:56 Syria because it all started in the
    51:58 summer of 2011 President Obama is
    52:01 responsible for what happened in Libya
    52:04 yeah the guy was infatuated with drones
    52:06 and became the assassin in chief as we
    52:09 went around the greater Middle East
    52:10 killing people from the sky . . . “

    John J Mearsheimer: The Great Delusion – YouTube

  8. Gravatar of raja_r raja_r
    10. March 2022 at 06:39

    “Can we expect India to almost always take the anti-Western side (eg. Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba) or is it more dependent on the party in power?”

    You can expect India to look out for its own interests.

    Europe would not even ban Russian gas imports so as to not inconvenience its citizens. Why would India antagonize its biggest weapons supplier for something that is not very relevant to India?

  9. Gravatar of art andreassen art andreassen
    10. March 2022 at 09:42

    Scott: No big fan of Russia. Do think the most logical pairing is Russia and the West vs China. Her resources for Western protection from China, but the population can’t seem to assert itself. S. Kotkin is a must read.

    Leland Miller, a China specialist, has an interview with Blockworks, 3/9/22, on Youtube. The 30 minute mark is enlightening.

  10. Gravatar of sean sean
    10. March 2022 at 10:06

    Its just because of China and India that the population flips this way. And indias abstain vote was primarily due to its dependence on Russian arms. China for obvious reasons prefers Russia distracting America.

    Weird bedfellows Sumner becoming a Russian apologists.

  11. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    10. March 2022 at 10:24

    Is the world “united” against Russia? It depends on definitions—but the simple answer is “not in the slightest”.

    The world is clearly afraid of Russia. At least those who either live close or fear they might launch nukes. This “united” world against Russia—which I assume you do not really think is true—-just wishes Russia would get this over with.

    Do sanctions work? I have no idea–but my guess is very little. Does Russia collect any money for oil—-say Crypto, Euros or Dollars? I don’t know–although I assume they do. I am amazed at how slow this war is going. Russia does seem militarily incompetent, (unless that is some weird fakeout)—-which makes “fear” counterintuitive–except for Nukes I guess.

    The world is not the slightest bit “united” in any way against Russia. They are, however, united in their hope they would just hurry up and win—-because no one has the least bit of will to “unite” against them to cause then defeat. And since I assume they will win (I have read that some think they will win the war and lose the peace—-now there is a good one for you)—-but it feels they are playing to a draw–on purpose.

    I don’t get this at all.

  12. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    10. March 2022 at 10:46

    To spell it out more clearly—-The West—-who presumably has the biggest stake in this battle—-however small that stake might be—has no intention of stopping Russia—period. The proof? We will not fight them—or even try very hard to permit Ukraine to fight them better. So what are we doing? We won’t even be allowed to send James Taylor to celebrate “we are all Charlie Hebdo”. I feel like we are the British Empire circa 1918. We think we are unbeatable—–but cant see the Black Hole gradually sucking us in.

  13. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    10. March 2022 at 11:18

    The National Review seems to lean toward believing views that Russia could actually lose. They believe it is impossible for them to take over Ukraine—as “every citizen is armed”–“Putin thought they would win in 10 days”. The ChicagoBoyz claim 20% of the Russian attack force is mudded down north of Kyiv and cannot move (sounds like Germany in the Ardennes–May 1940)—so why aren’t they being bombed to Smithereens (French did not bomb the Germans either). Putin is trying to make buddies with the Church (yes, he believes it matters, must think historically).Because the West sends just enough weapons to drag it on but not to win.

    Is any of this true? Ha–who knows—but imagine it is. Then ask your question “Is the world United against Russia”. The question should be the opposite.

  14. Gravatar of MSS1914 MSS1914
    10. March 2022 at 11:23

    The media is pretty Eurocentric, but I’m not sure we can tell how much individuals support or oppose Russia by the UN votes of their governments.

    Does the Chinese government accurately reflect the opinion of the Chinese population? Probably some %, but how much? I don’t know – I suspect no one does.

    For India, since it is a democracy, I would expect their government decisions to better reflect public opinion. But, even so, I think it entirely plausible that it doesn’t. Perhaps it voted as it did due the specific preferences of certain influential, but minority, interests.

    Even in the US, I’m not sure government policies or UN votes reflect the majority of the public’s views.

    I suspect the real answer is that most people not in Eastern Europe don’t support or oppose Russia. They likely don’t care and are just dealing with their own daily problems.

    Perhaps a better measure of how united the world is against Russia is economic power. The economic power of the states that voted against Russia as measured by GDP (PPP) is roughly equal – with a slight advantage in favor of Russia. (China, Russia, India on one side; US, France, Britain, Germany, Japan on the other) Link:

  15. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    10. March 2022 at 11:27

    Okay, because of India and China. We get it, Scott. You must be so much fun at parties.

    These populations have not much to say politically. Especially not in China. Just because the criminal gang around Xi thinks so, we don’t know what the Chinese would think — if they were free and had free information. Not to mention that for Xi’s criminal gang, an abstention is quite astonishing.

    Even the CCP does not follow a 100% Putin-loyal course in the case of Ukraine. On certain days, they stand at attention next to Putin. On other days, they even express something like criticism (by CCP standards).

    It is also odd that there is a focus on populations per capita from an economist when economic strength is arguably more significant in this war. India is big, but India will not be able to compensate for the sanctions of the Western world.

    Russia is already said to be having problems getting rid of its oil at world market prices. They are also said to have been cut off from relevant microchips. There might be sanctions that even China and India cannot circumvent so easily.

    And “Eurocentric”? Really? Are you serious? The war is in Europe. How “Eurocentric” of Putin to attack the European Ukraine. And how “Eurocentric” of the media to take an Eurocentric view about a European war.

    You are right, they should ask: What do Australia, Greenland, Antarctica and the Falkland Islands think about the war in Ukraine.

    Maybe this is the real question: Is Putin not woke enough, why is he so “Eurocentric”?

    Or how about: Why are countries like Cameroon, Ethiopia and Venezuela light blue?

    @Michael Rulle
    Didn’t you say a few days ago that you were so angry and didn’t want to comment anymore?

  16. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    10. March 2022 at 11:34

    “with a slight advantage in favor of Russia.”

    So an abstention is being in favor of Russia now??? This doesn’t make to much sense.

    There are even Chinese banks that, according to the CCP, are no longer allowed to cooperate with Russia and Belarus. It is certainly more the fear of loan defaults, but in any case, this can’t exactly be called “pro Russia” either.

  17. Gravatar of MSS1914 MSS1914
    10. March 2022 at 11:50

    @Christian List

    Fair point. I was considering an absentee vote as a tacit approval of the invasion. That’s too strong an assumption. Also, I only quickly looked at the major countries GDP, so if you include Brazil, Mexico, etc the balance of economic power shifts to condemning crowd.

    My main point was meant to be that a large % of the world’s state economic power does not reside in countries that condemned the invasion.

  18. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. March 2022 at 13:54

    art, Why would Russia need protection from China? They have enough nukes to kill a billion Chinese. Do you think China would invade a worthless bit of Siberia and risk that sort of war?

    You could make a better argument for the US allying with China against Russia (as Nixon did). But then Trump came along with his stupid trade war. . . .

    Sean, You said:

    “Weird bedfellows Sumner becoming a Russian apologists.”

    Maybe I need to require a minimum IQ of 75 to comment here. I’m probably the most anti-Putin blogger on the internet.

    But perhaps it’s a vocabulary problem. Do you know the definition of the word “Unfortunately”? How about “If only”?

  19. Gravatar of rwperu34 rwperu34
    10. March 2022 at 14:22

    How much of the world’s GDP is against Russia?

  20. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    10. March 2022 at 14:23

    Jim, You said: “Your “population” observation is based largely on China with 1.4 billion people abstaining from the vote.”

    No, it isn’t.
    I’ll withdraw my subjective opinion and get empirical.

    The four nations that voted “Go, Russia!’ have populations totaling 58 million — all of 0.7% of the 7.8 billion eligible voters. That makes Putin look pretty lonely to me. (Bill de Blasio got more than that in his run for President!)

    Indulging the fiction that this was a popular election:

    Putin neo-Tsarists, 5 nations, 203,815,404 population, 2.6%
    Liberal Democrats, 141 nations, 3,566,689,580, 45.7%
    Fence Sitters, 35 nations, 4,042,175,711, 51.7%

    Of the latter 35, just China and India together account for 71% of the population, China 36% and India 35%.

    (And I got these numbers off the Internet, so you know they’re true!)

    It seems rather unfair to me for anyone to imply the Fence Sitters are closet pro-Putin. Rather like suggesting the 79 million eligible voters who didn’t show up in our last Presidential election were closet pro-Trump (or pro-Biden).

    Realistically, some had mixed feelings and most didn’t care and were doing something more important like watching America’s Got Talent.

    Even more so, why would most of the people across the distant continents of the world care about Ukraine? I’d bet money that most human beings on this planet don’t even know what a “Ukraine” is, much less where or what’s going on there. (Have we all seen the results when highly educated rich Americans take “map tests”?)

    But then it’s not a popular election, so that’s OK. It’s the opinions of the regimes that govern populations that matter. And by their count, Putin is getting crushed.

    If anyone still wants to insist on a population count, be fair by splitting the 4,000,000 weasel-apathetic fence sitters among two other parties and the neo-Tsarists still lose by more than 3.5 billion.

  21. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    10. March 2022 at 14:24

    And the fourth BRIC, Brazil, voted for it, but you wouldn’t be able to tell they did if you listened to what Bolsonaro has been saying.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the Atlantic Council risk/benefit calculator for next steps in Ukraine, but it’s worth a look:

  22. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    10. March 2022 at 15:49

    It’s a difficult situation.

    Offensive wars are almost never morally justified. In terms of it being the proximate cause of the war via direct invasion, Russia is culpable.

    At the same time, it can’t be denied that continual Western encroachment into Eastern Europe, to include territory which historically was central to Russia, has been antagonizing the Russians for a generation now. Viewing the situation from a Russian perspective, its easy to see how it could have led Russia to think offensive war was necessary.

    Americans, living in the world’s most secure empire of all time, get hysterical over threats from weak nations in far away lands, launching wars against them with significant frequency. Imagine a humbled America, with perhaps half its population and 15 of its states having left the union 30 years ago. After the second great depression in the 1990s, America is now a shell of its former self, surrounded by a Warsaw Pact which now includes much of Latin America, Alaska, Canada and Mexico, led by the overwhelmingly powerful USSR. The Texas government, democratically elected and pro-Washington, is felled by a color revolution, with applause (and according to at least one Soviet think tank, direct material aid) from Moscow. American demands that Texas and Maine not be admitted to the Pact fall on deaf ears. The Warsaw Pact is a DEFENSIVE alliance, we are told, though Warsaw Pact bombing did facilitate the breakup of America’s historic ally, the United Kingdom, in 1999 and led to regime change in Saudi Arabia in 2014.

    Imagine how hysterical Americans got when they learned that Russia had paid trolls on Facebook trying to influence American politics and society. Does anyone really think it is far fetched that America would go to war to keep Texas out of the Warsaw Pact?

    None of this excuses Russia, but it should help us to at least understand Russia.

  23. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    10. March 2022 at 16:01

    Off topic, but has anyone noticed that 5-yr TIPS breakevens are now above 3.4%?

  24. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    10. March 2022 at 16:47

    You actually understate how much support Russia has globally. Tyler Cowen linked today to a piece about how Indonesians mostly support Russia even though their government voted for the resolution. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the world’s population tilts toward supporting Russia, but politicians tend to be heavily influenced by/dependent on the West.

    And arrogant as it may be to make this all about us, I think a driving reason for that support is that anti-American/anti-Western sentiment is ubiquitous in the third wold. Many habitually side with anyone who’s in conflict with the US or the ‘Western world order.’ Russia and China, by portraying their own national pursuits as metonymies for conflict between the rich westerners and everyone else, can gain quite an international following.

  25. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    10. March 2022 at 17:15

    Perspective: GDP rankings…

    California, $3.1 trillion
    Texas, $1.8 trillion
    New York, $1.7 trillion
    Russia, $1.5 trillion

    Russia is not a “power” in any way shape or form (apart from the nukes it inherited). Yet with a GDP less than NY’s, it tries to run a 900,000 man army, air force, navy with nuclear submarines, ICBM nuclear strike force … all spread across 9 time zones and then some.

    And now it is is trying to conquer the largest country in Europe, larger than France, with a population of 40 million people who now all hate it.

    But wait, there’s more! Dictators like Putin never trust the guns to professionals who might turn on them, but instead promote personally loyal corrupt hacks. The Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, got the job having NO military experience (!!) — but does have an $18 million mansion.

    So is it really a surprise that when it actually tries to conquer a real, large country with a real defending army the Russian military performs like the bunglers parade? How could it be otherwise?

    The National Review seems to lean toward believing views that Russia could actually lose.

    Putin’s already been totally defeated in his objectives to (1) put in his own government to run Ukraine, (2) split NATO, and (3) go down in history as the Hero who Reunited the Russias. Epically defeated, as in self-nuked.

    Can the Russian army lose in the field? It went into this with supplies prepped for a two-week clean-up campaign. Now it is burning through its annual military budget in about three weeks. When supplies run out, there’s no magic wand to replace them. Damn right it can lose.

    Putin using the GDP of New Jersey to reconquer the Tsar’s Empire is the greatest example of cognitive dissonance I’ve ever seen in my life.

  26. Gravatar of Sarah Sarah
    10. March 2022 at 20:58

    There is a great deal of anti-russian hatred in America, which is concerning. It reminds me a bit of Nazi, Germany and their bizarre hatred of Jews.

    Opera singers have been asked to “condemn” the president of Russia, or be “canceled” for not doing so.

    A congressmen called for ethnic Russians to be “kicked out of University” and “kicked out of the country”.

    A senator calls for the “assination” of a Russian (Putin).

    Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps who cancel former politicians, scientists who disagree with the CDC, and what they call “hate speech”, seem to be okay with folks running advertisements that call for “death to Russians”.

    People who question why the state department has nine biolabs in Ukraine are called “russian puppets”.

    Anyone who questions the bombings in Donbass are called “putin-lovers”, or “conspiract theorists”.

    Anyone who asks if there is hard evidence of a “false flag operation” — which the administration uses to explain away the bombing in Donbass — are told that they should “just trust the intelligence”. (AP reporter)

    That is not normal behavior.

  27. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    10. March 2022 at 22:44

    Fascinating to me is how this invasion has actually flushed out some actual Russian trolls online. Before this I thought that was mostly a 2016 inspired urban myth…Russian trolls on all the websites spreading FUD! Beware, Russian trolls are all around!

    But seeing some of them go to bat, hard, for Russia during this may mean the myth is real, these really are Russians having to defend the shit sandwich.

    Like Sarah above.

  28. Gravatar of Brian Brian
    11. March 2022 at 07:51

    msgkings, paid trolls are real. Often, YouTube comments are surprisingly one-sided for Trump or Russia.

  29. Gravatar of Tom M Tom M
    11. March 2022 at 08:59

    We have a lot of foreign policy experts in here!

  30. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    11. March 2022 at 11:56

    @Mark Z
    The reputation of Putin (or Russia) and Xi (or China) was already not good in 2017, and now due to the latest developments since 2020 (China) and 2022 (Russia) the values have crashed in most countries even more. So it makes no sense what you write.

    There is for example data from the Pew Research Center: Already in 2017 in only three countries surveyed did majorities express a favorable opinion of Russia: Vietnam (83%), Greece (64%) and the Philippines (55%).

    In 2022, do not expect improved values.

  31. Gravatar of David S David S
    11. March 2022 at 13:49

    Business Insider had a decent article on the tightrope China is trying walk in this war. I wonder if they can get to the end of it without choosing a side.

    I’m also curious how this war is working from a money perspective. The West is effectively putting a financial fence around Putin, but like Trump’s border wall, there are some big gaps. It’s a work in progress, but based on what I’ve read here’s what’s happening:

    -Russia can sell gas and oil on int’l markets and get paid in dollars(?)
    -Russia can’t participate in Western based int’l banking systems, so even though their currency reserves are climbing as a consequence of petro exports, they can’t use the money to buy stuff from the West.
    -Russia has to establish more robust trading relationships with Asian countries, BUT…it’s hard to do cash transactions because of the Western sanctions (for a while).
    -Russia starts to experience massive goods shortages because of the embargo. Even if they can trade more with sympathetic Asian countries they’re going to be paying full price and then some.
    -Russia effectively becomes like North Korea? Or Venezuela? They can nuke us and Europe because we won’t sell them stuff, but that’s not exactly a great solution.

    What options does Putin have? Even if he eats crow and ends his war, I doubt he’s going to be able go back to the good old days with the West.

  32. Gravatar of Mark Z Mark Z
    11. March 2022 at 13:57

    Christian, absolute favorability isn’t the issue, relative favorability is; see:

    Even when comparing 14 countries + Japan and South Korea, the US only slightly edged out Russia in ‘international respect’ rating (34% favorable/64% unfavorable vs. 29% favorable vs. 66% unfavorable). In India, as of 2017 at least, US was only slightly more favorable to the US ( Russia (obviously), China, and Indonesia (25% of the world population together) all have much more favorable views toward Russia than the US. I’d bet the this is also true in most of the middle east.

  33. Gravatar of Justin Justin
    11. March 2022 at 18:13

    Jim Glass,

    Two comments:

    1) Russia’s true GDP is masked due to a low exchange rate for the ruble along with lower living standards. The same money that can pay for a squad of American soldiers can easily fund a platoon or more of Russian soldiers.

    On a purchasing power parity basis, Russia’s economy is closer to Germany’s GDP than it is New York’s.

    2) Russia isn’t spending its military budget in three weeks, that’s probably American propaganda. The US didn’t require dramatically more than Russia’s annual budget (accounting for inflation, perhaps 2x Russia’s current budget) to fund very expensive American soldiers and equipment on the other side of the planet in Iraq for a whole year. Everything in Russia is much cheaper and Ukraine’s on the border. I’d guess something like $20-$40 billion would be accurate for the invasion if it lasts through the rest of the year.

    That all said, I do agree with your general criticism, that Russia was so weak this war was unwise even ignoring the moral and international relations aspects. To me, it’s more evidence that this invasion was caused more by fear/desperation than by Putin being Hitler v2.0.

  34. Gravatar of postkey postkey
    12. March 2022 at 03:16

    Some ‘Russian trolls’?

    ‘George Friedman, head of Stratfor, a US strategic consultancy whose clients include the Pentagon and CIA, as well as Israeli agencies, told the Russian Kommersant in a December interview, the US-organized coup d’etat in Ukraine was “the most blatant coup in history.” ‘

    “07:50 just read the books
    07:51 to see how the the CIA has relationships
    07:55 with the security services in Ukraine
    07:57 and as soon as the coup was launched it
    08:00 took over control of those security
    08:03 services and it started drawing of the
    08:05 hit lists that of targeting people that
    08:08 it could go after and the reason it’s
    08:10 targeting the people that target targets
    08:13 most highly or the people that are
    08:14 sitting on natural resources that
    08:18 American businessmen want . . . “ ?

    “30:33 incapable of putting yourself in their shoes you’re going to get yourself into a heck of
    30:36 a lot of trouble and of course that’s exactly what happened here and then another argument
    30:42 is that putin’s behavior proves that it was wise to expand nato eastward to try to include
    30:50 ukraine and georgia right what’s very interesting is that there is no evidence that we thought
    31:00 putin was aggressive before the crisis there’s no evidence that we thought that there’s no
    31:07 evidence that we were talking about expanding nato because we had to contain the russians”

  35. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    12. March 2022 at 07:01

    Not that much need to paid trolls. Most trolls are just your average bored person who wants to get a rise out of people.

  36. Gravatar of Philip Crawford Philip Crawford
    12. March 2022 at 07:48

    My bet is that as this thing drags out and the economic pain and instability increases, more countries will try to convince Vlad P. to figure out his “win” and stop the nuttiness.

    Xi likes a functioning economy and if the invasion had gone like what Putin probably promised, he wouldn’t have had much trouble with it. But it didn’t, so now Xi does.

    Also interesting that Kazakhstan says nyet to providing troops for Putin, sends aid to Ukraine instead.

  37. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. March 2022 at 09:32

    Justin, You said:

    “its easy to see how it could have led Russia to think offensive war was necessary.”

    Except Russia obviously did not think a war was necessary. Putin thought a war was necessary. That’s all.

    Mark, Yes, the US is very unpopular in much of the world, and it’s getting worse at a rapid rate. Twenty years ago the Chinese people respected the US, now they hate us.

    Sarah, You said:

    “There is a great deal of anti-russian hatred in America, which is concerning. It reminds me a bit of Nazi, Germany and their bizarre hatred of Jews.”

    Yes, when the Jews invaded Ukraine in 1933 the Germans oddly developed a bizarre hatred of the Jews.

    Some of this stuff is so funny a novelist couldn’t even make it up.

  38. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    12. March 2022 at 11:48

    Justin, I will disagree and then agree with you.

    Russia’s true GDP is masked due to a low exchange rate for the ruble … Russia isn’t spending its military budget in three weeks

    Russia’s annual military budget is $60 billion. The exchange rate point is well known. Add a bonus for that. Now minus out relevant discounts for…

    1) Irrelevant spending on nuclear submarines and navy, the Strategic Rocket Force of ICBMs, 6,000 nukes with secure (we hope) infrastructure, development of wonder weapons like nuclear powered torpedoes and hypersonic missiles, etc. How much is left for the conventional army that conducts an invasion? Perhaps 1/3, or 1/2?

    Estimates of Russian spending on the war are all over the place, $1 billion/week is on the lower side. Pick your own numbers and do the arithmetic.

    But it’s not running out of money that matters, its running out of stuff. That can happen a lot faster when you’ve planned for a two-week mop-up operation. Go back pre-war and you can find plenty of analysis documenting, e.g., the Russian army’s shortage of trucks. (It moves domestically all by railroad.) That was before those trucks had to survive fighting through a war zone larger than France. Run out of military trucks, you can’t get more. Shot down Russian army drones, surprise, got their electronics from the EU. There won’t be any more of those. Etc.

    2) Corruption produces junk. E.g., The Russians in 2021 proudly announced their new high-tech “Era” encrypted military communications system. Get this: It relies on local 4G phone service! Bad enough!! But when the army then blows up the local phone towers…

    “Major General Gerasimov, phone call for you, sir!”

    Check out the conversation of these FSB agents in their phone call that was intercepted while they were complaining about Gerasimov getting killed by having his phone call intercepted.

    Radio hobbyists in Australia are listening to Russian military radio conversations being made in the clear in Ukraine.

    This is what happens when a Defense Minister has no military experience and a $18 million mansion. Multiply across the entire military. Is it any wonder they are having “problems” and that the Ukrainian air force is still flying?

    What’s the appropriate discount to apply to the value of this military spending?

    I’ll write my agreement with you in a bit. Right now I’m trying not to think about the security infrastructure of those 6,000 nukes.

  39. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    12. March 2022 at 11:58

    Is the US electorate really all that opposed to Russia? It is very easy to imagine a recession happening in the next two or three years, caused in part by the Russian invasion to Ukraine and the world’s reaction to it. If that happens, Biden’s odds of losing to a Republican in 2024 go way, way up. So it seems that if sanctions contribute to a recession, voters will likely punish Biden for sanctions.

    I am not surprised that liberals, who are dominated by lefty college educated professionals, don’t realize the potential political cost to be paid for overly broad sanction.

  40. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    12. March 2022 at 17:09

    Scott, you said “Twenty years ago the Chinese people respected the US, now they hate us.”

    Why would they hate us now? Because we put some tariffs on some things? The Iraq war? Hong Kong? Maybe it’s a dumb question, but I don’t see how the US has done anything egregiously wrong to China that would make their people hate us.

  41. Gravatar of postkey postkey
    13. March 2022 at 01:20

    ‘“William Burns, the former US Ambassador to Russia and now director of the CIA, captured the Russian sentiment in a February 2009 memorandum: “Nyet means nyet: Russia’s Nato enlargement red lines.” Russia, Burns noted, viewed “farther eastward expansion as a potential military threat,” giving rise to Russian fears that “the issue could potentially split the country [Ukraine] in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.”
    One need only to look at what has transpired in Donetsk and Luhansk, and Russia’s current military operation in Ukraine, to understand how prescient Burns’ cable was.” ‘

    “26:29 one of the members of the first
    26:30 negotiating team that met with the
    26:32 russians i don’t know his name right off
    26:33 the top my back
    26:35 head but he was somebody who said maybe
    26:37 we should think about neutrality to
    26:39 bring it into this war what happened to
    26:41 him when he got back
    26:43 pulled out shot two times the head
    26:44 assassinated take a look at the
    26:46 photographs
    26:47 the nazis killed a negotiator because
    26:49 they didn’t like his negotiating
    26:51 position . . . “

  42. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. March 2022 at 10:33

    Lizard, If there’s a recession, it won’t be due to sanctions, it will be due to bad monetary policy. I don’t know how many Americans oppose Russia. My sense is that most Dems, independents and moderate Republicans oppose Russia, and many Trumpistas love Putin. Are there any polls on that?

    Jerry, The Chinese tend to be sensitive to criticism. In February 2020, Trump lavishly praised China’s response to Covid, on 14 occasions. A month later, Trump started blaming China for the global pandemic. The Chinese people are not stupid, they clearly saw what Trump was doing.

    There’s been a steady drumbeat of anti-China propaganda over the past decade by the US government, much of it lies. We’ve blamed China for everything from unemployment to Covid. The Chinese people deeply resent this criticism. They’ve also lost respect for us due to all the BLM riots, anti-Asian bias in college admissions, the botched handling of Covid, refusal to get vaccinated and wear masks, tariffs, etc., etc.

  43. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    13. March 2022 at 12:05

    Folks in the US oppose Russia, but when they go to vote, will they behave like they are actually willing to bear the costs of doing so? My guess is that the high gasoline prices are going to help Republicans of all stripes, even the non-moderate ones who support Putin or support Trump.

    You have managed to convince me that the Fed won’t cause a recession. I think that high gas prices will spook people in the US, and they will cut back on their overall spending, fearing a recession due to high gas prices. That will actually help the Fed, who seem unwilling to act decisively to bring down NGDP growth, and with it, inflation.

  44. Gravatar of Michae Rulle Michae Rulle
    14. March 2022 at 06:28


    As I mentioned in response to Scott, that was a troll comment in response to Scott’s troll comment. Having said that, I am having trouble taking this site seriously——except for monetary policy——which I can get better ideas at Scott’s good sight.

  45. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. March 2022 at 10:37

    Michael, You said: “You have managed to convince me that the Fed won’t cause a recession.”

    Now if only I could convince myself.

  46. Gravatar of Jim Glass Jim Glass
    17. March 2022 at 18:04

    Scott, you said “Twenty years ago the Chinese people respected the US, now they hate us.” Why would they hate us now?

    There’s been a steady drumbeat of anti-China propaganda over the past decade by the US government

    I prefer not to be the conceited type of American who credits/blames America for everything that happens in the world, and instead allow nations agency in their own behavior. Xi Jinping has been producing a steady drumbeat of ‘wolf warrior’ propaganda against the US for the same decade — for instance right now saying the USA has biological warfare bases in Ukraine, is responsible for Russia’s actions, and is a nation of lying liars. Which has greater impact on Chinese public opinion, US propaganda or Chinese propaganda?

    They’ve also lost respect for us due to all the BLM riots…

    By pure coincidence, just today I watched a Youtube video of street interviews of blacks from around the world living in China. They were asked about this, and said BLM in the USA was barely noticed there, and then only among the 20-somethings.

    the botched handling of Covid…

    Morgan Stanley just forecast 0% growth for China (!!) in the current quarter largely due to the massive total lockdowns that are spreading. Which are forced by China still having only inferior vaccines, refusing to import the effective western vaccines, having many millions of unprotected elderly, and having far fewer hospital facilities than western nations, many of which are already at/over their limit. While the pandemic is over or near over most everywhere else in the world, “China lacks a Covid exit strategy”.

    Who’s botched handling of Covid?

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