Ready to Ride

In the apocalyptic visions of St. John, the third of the four Apocalyptic Horsemen is Famine, the other four being Pestilence, War and Death. Death is always with us, one way or another, and we’ve had pestilence, AKA the Commie Crud for the last two years and counting, and War, in the shape of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine … so why not Famine, just to round out the set? The four horsemen usually go hand in hand anyway. Famine is almost a guarantee, as the Ukraine was a major wheat exporter, and now it seems that chemical fertilizers will be in short supply as well. David Foster has already posted a story about this, and other commenters have chimed in regarding the woes of the supply chain and the potential for famine in places and nations which had been able to move past such misfortunes, because of technological advances … advances now in danger.

The political and economic disaster in Sri Lanka resulted from their president’s ukase that agriculture must go 100 percent all-organic. Which anyone paying attention at all could have and probably did predict would lead to crop failure and poverty for those classes lowest on the economic ladder. This bad example does not bode very well for the fans of organic and sustainable farming here in the United States, but they are probably now on record as insisting that it just wasn’t done right. The power elite in Sri Lanka are in hiding, as justifiably outraged mobs of citizens chase them down in the streets and push their expensive cars into rivers. Not much of this is being shown on our own media, as near as I can see – probably because the media powers-that-be and are in bed (literally) with our own power elite – don’t want to give any of the rest of us ordinary citizens ideas about doing the same.

The feeling that I am getting, reading posts like this, at Bayou Renaissance Man, is that although we in the US won’t see for real Biblical famine, we will for certain see empty shelves at the supermarkets, like we have in a spotty and erratic fashion all during the last year: we have seen empty shelf space for things like dried pasta, for canned hominy, frozen French fries and dozens of other items which formerly would have been available consistently, week to week. It’s not just baby formula being unavailable; just that has been the most notable grocery item unavailable or in such short supply as to have to be rationed. It’s a certainty now that foodstuffs will get more expensive in the near and foreseeable future, if they even are still available. So – tighten the belt as far as grocery-shopping goes, stock up on shelf-stable items and lower your expectations when it comes to menus. And plant a garden, if at all possible.

What are you doing, or suggest that we do, in the event of the third horseman going for a good long ride across the continental US? Discuss as you wish.

65 thoughts on “Ready to Ride”

  1. There is nothing to worry about. Biden*’s teleprompter will issue an Executive Order that everyone in the US is well fed, and that will be the end of it.

    Except for the Biden* Administration requisitioning food from grocery stores to ensure that the latest batch of illegal border crossers are given first dibs on the available supplies. It is only fair, those guys have walked for miles to get here.

  2. India was well known for its periodic famines. The Norman Borlaug taught them, and the rest of the world, how to use fertilizer and created strains by “GMO” which means hybridizing strains to get grain less susceptible to disease and insects. Sri Lanka, under the influence of idiots like Samantha Power, decided to go all organic and are now in desperation. We have a similar class of idiots running our country. What they all have in common is theory untested by experience. We are seeing the early results of this now with gasoline prices and shortages of such products as baby formula.

  3. Gavin, your foray into Babylon Bee territory is going to prove fruitless and will end up as prophecy. It is almost certain that the current regime will do just that, and probably declare that the coming elections have to be postponed or made 100% mail in because of the emergency. The design margin for redress of grievances is pretty much gone.

    Everybody needs a secure and preferably concealed stockpile of storable food. Unless, of course, they are Democrats. They will just steal what they want.

    Subotai Bahadur

  4. Luckily for us, the government doesn’t have much input over the near term. Whatever isn’t planted already will be in a couple of weeks. The seed and fertilizer was bought last fall. There will still be fertilizer to apply as the season progresses, again much has been bought and it will be up to the dealers to have it when needed.

  5. To the powers that be, prepping = hoarding

    I’m trying to see what alternatives there are to everything we use. That’s not so easy for medications.
    We garden, but the lot is so tiny that that won’t make any difference. A lot of it is flowers, and I hope the sharing gardening tips and sharing flowers and the trying to keep in touch with the neighbors can help maintain a little sense of community, and maybe a little bit of a network. In trouble, that can matter.

    FWIW, there’s another aspect not heard from yet. Rev 8:6 says Death gets to kill with sword, famine, pestilence, and _wild beasts_. I don’t know how that would play out in the US, but I could imagine wild dogs becoming an issue in some places. Rome has feral hogs. Thirty years ago I’d have said “we’d never be crazy enough to let things get that bad”, but crazy and stupid seem to be infinite resources.

  6. Walter Scheidel’s book The Great Leveler might be apposite at this point.

    The arrogance and ignorance of our elites are fractal–stupid at every level.

  7. At the risk of seeming paranoid, I see famine on the horizon for the us. It will be artificial, like virtual all famines in the past 100 years. It will be caused be govt through ineptitude or malice and a lot of Americans will die either of starvation or in the breakdown of society.

    It will be blamed on climate change and will be used to justify emergency powers.

    We see it happening this week in Sri Lanka

    Who’s next?

  8. John C Dvorak recommends what he calls “meta-prepping”

    1) stockpile guns and ammo in large quantities

    2) join prepper groups in your area, get to know them. If possible find out what they are hoarding.

    3) when the crunch comes, go take their stuff

    It saves having to spend money and space on your own stockpile.

  9. We’ve never thought of ourselves as peppers but we are. Every spring we start stocking up for hurricane season which starts next month. In our spare bedroom, we have about 400 bottles of water, lots of canned vegetables, chicken, tuna, pasta, 24 pounds of rice. 30 or more cans of beans and more.

    Plus 3 150 gallon water tanks and a bunch of 5 gallon collapsables and 60 gallons of gas cans. The water and gas cans are only filled if a hurricane is coming. The 150s are always full.

    I figure we can get through a month or two. But what happens if our kids & grandkids need food? In-laws? Nieces an nephews? 2nd cousins thrice removed? The elderly lady who lives alone next door?

    Our 30-60 day hoard can quickly become a 1 day hoard unless we are complete hardasses about who we share with.

    We are probably OK in a hurricane. I don’t have a lot of hope for anything more serious.

    I also don’t trust the govt not to go house to house confiscating food from “hoarders” like ourselves “for the good of the community” that’s pretty much the historical norm

  10. James: “I could imagine wild dogs becoming an issue in some places. Rome has feral hogs.”

    We need more of that! Available protein that does not need refrigeration.

  11. Apologies for being completely off topic, but Sarah Hoyt recommended that I reach out to you for help with self-publishing.

    Sgt Mom,

    Sarah Hoyt recommended that I reach out to you with my questions, and even concerns…

    Ok, ok, I have a book coming out from a vanity publisher, and I know it’s money down the drain. But, having written, the moving hand moves on to ask about resources for the next book. Services such as editor, layout, cover art, and publishing. I can write, I can design, I can make the decisions, but I have no expertise or experience in editing anything other than intelligence reports. I shoulda, coulda, woulda reached out before, but now that I have a feel for the process and a well-developed outline in my head and a couple of chapters on digits, I need to start preparing for actual publication, probably, so I can move forward.

    I’m way outside my experience bubble now…

    Rick Hoppe

  12. Mike K: Sri Lanka, under the influence of idiots like Samantha Power, decided to go all organic and are now in desperation.

    Well it’s slightly more complicated than that. Sri Lanka ran out of foreign currency thanks to wuflu and general government incompetence a year and a bit ago. The rulers took a look at the imports and #1 or #2 on the list was fertilizer, so they decided to buff up their wokist credentials and turn a necessity into a virtue. Mind you they also undoubtedly had no clue just how critical artificial modern fertilizer is to their agriculture and they ignored or imprisoned anyone who told them what a disaster it was going to be but the original driver was a mismatch between exports and imports

  13. Rick,

    I’ve published several books. 1 a traditional publisher, several self-pubbed with Amazon and one with a vanity press.

    Amazon is the only way to go, IMHO. Sarah H may differ

    I’ll be happy to help. Drop me a note at

  14. So the top story on the top of the hour radio news this morning was Madison Cawthorn losing his primary. That’s what the national media want you to think was important that happened yesterday–a first term Congressman from North Carolina lost. And we all know why. Because he dared to say what a vile and depraved place DC is. Too bad he didn’t name names.
    Famine, pestilence, war, death? Nah. The greatest plague on the earth is Congress.

  15. Mike K: What they all have in common is theory untested by experience.

    They have experience, but all they care about is whether *they* got more power. God help us, the answer has too-often been “Yessssss!”

    As to the effect of our media: Have a sister-in-law who faithfull worships “The View” and adores all tings Whoopie. Was telling her what is happening in Sri Lanka, about how much food will NOT be produced by the Ukraine & Russia this year, and how India has cut off foreign sales of wheat. She wrinkled her nose and looked at me like I was nuts — Food shortages? Nah! Willful stupidity fed by a powerful evil runs rampant.

    When Biden starts shipping off our wheat to our enemies, that will in no way be related to the sudden price spikes. “Disinformation!”

    Stockpile stables? Good idea. Best add some *nobody-knows-about-it* arms & ammo, too!

  16. My daughter and I wonder now if this farrago of fail on the part of the Biden administration isn’t deliberate; let cities disintegrate, let open racial war bust out, food shortages everywhere and gas and energy prices increase – just so that they can swoop in when things become completely unbearable, and take the credit for “fixing” all these deliberately-caused problems.

    Only, it may very well be that the deliberately-engineered disasters won’t be so readily fixable by the proggie bureaucrats…

  17. Please put me down to contact me about what services you provide RE: self publishing. I am in the final stages with my first novel, have multitudes of questions etc.
    Tim Gilliland
    tim at backuprx dot com

  18. “just so that they can swoop in when things become completely unbearable, and take the credit for “fixing” all these deliberately-caused problems.”
    Well, they clearly try to stoke racial animus, they’re not even subtle about it, and they think it helps them, but I honestly think on the economic front they thought that Brandon would come in, lift lockdowns, spend a ton of money, and the economy would be booming. Because they are morons who know nothing. So there’s not a secret “fix” they’re waiting to unveil–what you see is their plan. It’s legitimately all they’ve got.

  19. Luckily for us, the government doesn’t have much input over the near term.

    Planting is way down this year. About 50% of last year.

    As far as government capability, Read this.

    And that was how I finished up on the TSA side: providing instructions in scanner operation (a skill I learnt as part of a piece of long-ago litigation, but never expected to use again). I retrieved my iPad. The Geordie woman’s son ran to the loo as she collected her laptop and coiled its cable around her forearm. I ducked back under the tape.

    The TSA agent grovelled to me in a way common among Americans but that I’ve always found disconcerting. “He probably wants a tip now” (the Geordie woman, looking thunderous); “no wonder the Yanks can’t win any wars,” she added, before taking her son’s hand and stalking off.

    The TSA is the agency that most Americans encounter. Friends of mine from Australia came to visit about 25 years ago. The lines at LAX are always very long for non-citizens. The woman was asked her occupation. She answered “Retired.” That got her pulled aside and interrogated for a half hour. She was about 40, very attractive and owned something like 100 square miles of Northwest Territory.

  20. Sgt Mom – your sense of their motive is pretty much the only thing that is possibly rational but given the breadth and height of their apparent stupidity, I don’t see how they can actually think they are going to harvest it. In the back of my mind is always the guy who abdicated from the Weather Underground who described a meeting in which (I think it was Ayers) said the revolution would need to cleanse America of a certain (not minute) percentage of its citizens. Of course, he’s still alive and now his adopted son is making a hellhole of another American city.

    I don’t know about how common problems are but feral hogs have been destroying gardens and farming areas for decades here, but the feral dog packs are somewhat new. My daughter and her husband have decided to learn to shoot after a day of listening to the stories in our uncle’s neighborhood. They wanted to put up some bee stands there, and just visit regularly. Dogs attacked three times at his place – one of his workers escaped to his truck where he sat as they clawed at the windows. (Two got good shots and the third was saved when a car came down the road.) The pigs generally stay away, the dogs don’t. The pigs, however, are huge and quite willing to fight if they see it as survival.

  21. Well, California is looking at the possibility of sever water “conservation” (i.e. rationing) in the coming months. Many moron administrations have delivered us here by not completing the California Water Project and leaving us literally high and dry with inadequate water impoundment for our population. Listening to dipwad environmentalist seems to be the root cause. When San Francisco blows up Hetch Hetchy and tries to live off their natural water supply (very little) then I’ll give a thought to environmentalist answers. Till then, build it DAMN it.

  22. Mike K.
    Planting down 50%? I find that highly unlikely. Where did you get that? It means a lot of land and equipment payments not made and isn’t something that will happen from one year to the next. Especially the year after record high commodity prices and lots of reason to believe this year’s will be better. Most of these decisions were made last fall, seed and fertilizer ordered, money borrowed. Mostly too late to make drastic changes for this year.

  23. Looks like corn is 49% planted, and “should” be at about 67% planted, that’s down by ~27%, I think is the proper way to measure the drop. Pretty significant.
    “seed and fertilizer ordered”
    Every story I’ve seen for months now, mostly in random corners of the internet, not in the MSM, is that fertilizer prices and availability have been completely crushing farmers, the effects are definitely going to show up this year, not far off in the future.

  24. Looks like corn is 49% planted, and “should” be at about 67% planted, that’s down by ~27%, I think is the proper way to measure the drop.

    No argument from me but my initial comments was Planting is way down this year. About 50% of last year. We can argue about whether “down” referred to planting or the decrease. Either way, we are in trouble.

  25. “Either way, we are in trouble.”
    We’re sleepwalking off the cliff. No one in government anywhere has a clue. The Dems hope that by some miracle things will just magically turn out ok, and if they can just shout “January 6” and “Roe v Wade” and “white supremacy” enough times that’ll somehow make a difference, and the GOPe thinks they can just do nothing and and get back “in control” and pass some more tax cuts and big military spending increases and we can all pretend it’s the 90s and 2000s again.

  26. Mike K –

    That’s number is a progress report. Here in the upper Midwest, its been a cold, rainy slow start to the season, but we should be able to keep planting corn into June and soybeans into July. The USDA planting intention report shows more soybeans than corn (unusual), but no major loss of acreage.

  27. I continue to be amazed at how some folks can string a few data points together and build a unifying narrative. The video linked below is one such (H/T: comments in American Digest).

    The next big thing is centralized control of all protein production. That’s why everyone’s killing chickens by the millions due to a nebulous avian flu pandemic– kill off the small producers, and Big Agra sweeps in to take over.

    Central to all this is, apparently, Bill Gates’ funding of gain-of-function research into getting avian flu to jump to humans. According to the video, he’s been successful. This is also tied to Russia’s claims as to what the Ukrainian biolabs were doing. Kill off chickens (and pigs), and soon everyone will have to eat that vegetable-based “meat” that Gates has been pushing. Oh, and this avian flu may be the next big pandemic that Gates has dropped hints about.

    It’s an interesting 20 minute video. I hope none of it’s true, but given all the recent insanity, I can’t entirely dismiss things like this anymore.

  28. What Taciturn said.

    I suppose I should have said that planting of the seed and application of starter fertilizer bought last year is well underway and should wind up in a couple of weeks. The exact timing still depends on weather. Too much rain and you’ll have to wait for it to dry out, too dry usually doesn’t delay planting but increases the risk that the rains will come too late and the seeds planted will germinate too late to be fully mature at harvest. Sometimes you’ll change the variety to a shorter season.

    More soybeans makes sense because the price of nitrogen was already climbing last fall and soybeans take a lot less. Every year is different. Still time for fertilizer and fuel shortages to be a problem.

  29. }}} 2) join prepper groups in your area, get to know them. If possible find out what they are hoarding.

    This is a good snarky joke, but, first and foremost, I guarantee you those preppers are already ahead of you at hoarding guns and ammo. Most of them have taken the time to learn to MAKE their own ammo from cans of gunpowder, shells, and lead.

    And yes, they’re hoarding cans of gunpowder… AND the really really serious ones have lead ingots, and small lead smelters to forge their own bullets.

    So, no, “2”, there, it ain’t gonna work. No sirree.

  30. My daughter did a run to the local grocery store today … and found a lot of empty shelves there, shelves that hadn’t been empty since the early weeks of the covidiocy, when – at one point – they had employees posted at either end of the canned-goods aisle.
    Don’t know what this portends … but we are starting to get worried.

  31. No one in government has clue, but they do have a clever plan.

    They’re going to “fundamentally transform “ the United States into their vision of a leftist utopia, and in such a way that it can never be changed back.

    They think.

    So, to pick one item, we get the 7$ a gallon gas that Obama’s energy secretary fantasized about years ago – a fantasy that most voters never even heard about and a price drivers never had to pay.

    Hence the demonrats never had to face the political fallout of their beloved fantasy. Now if you think elections no longer matter or are about to be cancelled, I suppose I’m writing down my own silly fantasy. But my guess is that we’re still going to have elections at least this year.

    Anyway, I think the left has jumped off a cliff and is doing a swan dive into a political wood chipper.

    I’m not making that claim because the gee ohh pee has suddenly stopped being feckless swarm of backstabbing globalists, but because there are obviously a lot of normal non-political people who are not happy about 7$ gas and remember the 2$ gas while Trump was in office.

    I think a lot of those folks are going to defect from the democrats, a lot more than in a usual year. I note that Elon Musk has now come out and announced he will vote gop, and also that Project Veritas seems to have no trouble finding people willing to expose the insanity of the woke.

    We’ll see if I’m correct in a few months.

  32. Xenaddy: “I’m not making that claim because the gee ohh pee has suddenly stopped being feckless swarm of backstabbing globalists”

    Indeed the Institutional Republicans are mostly committed Swamp Creatures. From their perspective, elections are merely about who gets first dibs on the payola. We had that 2 year period when we had a real Republlcan President and Institutional Republicans in control of the House & Senate — and we all know what happened (or, more precisely, what did not happen).

    Sadly, we can’t vote our way out of this mess. The situation will get better eventually, but just like a wino, we have to hit Rock Bottom first.

  33. Sadly, we can’t vote our way out of this mess.

    Point taken. Most days I’d probably just nod my head and make no reply, especially just having read here about another clever scheme to centralize the production of protein and/or force the populace to choose between Bill Gates fake meat or nothing.

    But today I’m feeling contrary, so I’ll argue otherwise.

    It seems to me that the routinely scheduled elections we endure are every bit a part of the American political tradition as the crossing the boundary of the Rubicon river was of Rome.

    It was an act of significance when you-know crossed that river and if elections are canceled or delayed then we will be facing an event of similar importance.

    Maybe the folks who would be canceling the elections think otherwise, but my guess is that when regular elections stop we’re facing imminent and open disintegration of the Union.

    Shrug. I hope we don’t get to find out if I’m right.

  34. Well caesar crossed the rubicon then it became a contest of armys or more properly militias marc anthony and octavian with the latter winning the big prize

  35. Re: Organic famine

    It’s worth noting that ‘organically grown food’ is currently a luxury item in the US. Which means that even fools can notice that it’s more expensive than whatever the ‘normal’ variant is. That should provide some protection from a replay of Sri Lanka locally.

    It also means there are farmers who actually have some expertise in growing ‘organic’ crops commercially, which can only help.

    Mind, you’ve also got the folks who think the meal of the future for the hoi polloi involves algae vats and bugs.

    Also on the downside: with fertilizer more expensive, the price gap between ‘organic’ and non presumably shrinks. A reduced gap means less aversion to demanding ‘organic’ or nothing.

  36. Brian,
    Had to think a minute before I smiled ruefully. All the evidence (SCIENCE) points to these babies being victims of bacteria that they were exposed to in their homes every day. Either something made them especially susceptible or trace amounts of bacteria were allowed to multiply by some mistake in food handling. I don’t know how many babies take manufactured formula every day but the situation is very close to the old saw that 100% of dead people drank water, therefore don’t drink water if you want to live.

    Just another example, probably 1,298,489,931, of government in “an abundance of caution” making things worse. Why go to all the expense of testing if they’re not going to abide by the results? Then they tried to assert that it was too dangerous for people to make it themselves. I suppose the parents were just supposed to let their babies waste away.

    While I was very young, I can remember my mother making formula for my younger brothers as she assured me she did for me. We all survived, that and cloth diapers. She was a nurse and followed a recipe. I’m pretty sure it was based on unsweetened condensed milk with judicious additions of other things like carbohydrates and fat. Oh, and she was scrupulous about pressure sterilizing the bottles. I’ve always wondered if that was really necessary, doesn’t seem to be a current requirement.

    I’m sure there’s someone in the Biden maladministration that sees this:
    and is taking notes.

    They’re trying to reinstate masks, as if there’s evidence that they ever worked, starting in the Northeast.

  37. We had an amazing drop-side crib that my wife made us get rid of after “they” said that they were dangerous and had to be disposed of immediately. The world is so insanely stupid.
    “They’re trying to reinstate masks”
    I never wore a mask this past winter, except into one particular small business that I didn’t want to give the owner a hard time, and was usually the only one, here in Central New York. But I don’t think “they” will have very good compliance if/when they try it again. Though I have been greatly disappointed in the sheep-like nature of people these past two years, so I’ll probably be let down yet again…

  38. Remember all the people who said that Russia was destroyed and completely isolated and China was going to probably look to snap up Siberia for itself when it all fell to pieces?
    (Bloomberg) — China is seeking to replenish its strategic crude stockpiles with cheap Russian oil, a sign Beijing is strengthening its energy ties with Moscow just as Europe works toward banning imports due to the war in Ukraine.

    The invasion was stupid and had no chance to succeed, but good grief the “experts” who run the west are completely ignorant about everything. They’ll have great fun partying in Davos next week though…

  39. Brian: “The invasion was stupid and had no chance to succeed”

    That is one prognostication — but there are others. It all depends on what the definition of
    “succeed” is — the Russian & Chinese definition, not the US, EU, NATO, Ukrainian guess at what we think the Russian/Chinese definition of “succeed” is.

    The Reagan Administration took steps back in the mid-1980s that brought the USSR to its knees by 1991 through economic warfare, not kinetic warfare. Five years to change the world. What if Russia & China are trying to do a Reagan on the US? Taking advantage of the reality that we are a severely mis-managed country in much worse shape than in President Reagan’s day — now largely de-industrialized, with an unrepayable National Debt, unsustainable Federal Budget Deficits and Trade Deficits, and a Dollar kept alive by the printing press.

    Perhaps Russia is deliberately going slow with its “failing” military operations in the Ukraine to induce the US to get over-extended economically. Today’s $40 Billion will not be the last give-away to corrupt Ukrainians if the conflict drags on. Add in the negative blowback effects on US & EU over time from our sanctions, and it is possible that the Dollar will crack and the US will be driven into the functional equivalent of bankruptcy.

    (1) the US stops funding the proxy war in the Ukraine, leading to that country’s partition and neutralization — a win for Russia.
    (2) NATO collapses as an effective organization — a win for Russia & China.
    (3) Taiwan, Japan, South Korea all recognize that the US will not be there to defend them, and cut deals with China — a big win for China, without them ever firing a shot.

  40. :”The Russian Job” by Douglas Smith is a book about one of the greatest stories no one has ever heard; the way Hoover’s American Relief Administration set up thousands of feeding stations in the Soviet Union shortly after the revolution and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. Of course, it doesn’t fit the leftist narrative. The famine there after the war was terrible, and led, among other things, to numerous instances of cannibalism. It wasn’t that long ago in a country with vast agricultural lands. Who knows how far down that path we could go with an imbecile government, global fertilizer shortages, plant diseases, etc. As with nuclear war, people just assume “It can’t happen here.” I hope they’re right.

  41. Gavin,
    Yeah, and Barbarossa was a super clever plan by Hitler to lure Stalin into invading Germany where he was crushed.

    The Russians have lost many of their front line troops and usable weapons. Whatever Xi has planned, it will be years before Russia will be in a position to offer meaningful resistance. There’s no reason for him to hurry. I wonder what he’s using for money.

    I wish I could get worked up about a measly 40 billion. As it is, it’s hardly a drop in the middle of the ocean. If it wasn’t Ukraine, it would be something else except that they aren’t even keeping track closely enough to notice. It’s pretty clear they’re just going to keep writing checks as long as the checkbook has blank checks and then they’re just going to print more.

  42. I think all the evidence points to the Russian Plan A being a lightning strike that captured the Kiev airport and then either captured the Ukraine government, or induced them to flee (as they were encouraged to do by the Americans…), leading to a Russian friendly regime (which the Russians would argue was no less legitimate than the 2014 installed Maidan government), and a population that just shrugged and went on with their lives. And it doesn’t appear that there was a Plan B.
    The sad slog they’re doing right now clearly wasn’t how they wargamed things, unless they’re even more inexplicably stupid. I confess I stopped looking at the “news” from osint sources a month or more ago (of course I never read the MSM news), because it was all transparently obvious propaganda and I don’t appreciate being treated like an idiot.
    (Recall I said that Russia wouldn’t invade because they couldn’t possibly do so successfully, so my insight into their strategic calculations is clearly way off.)
    I then think they figured that they’d face sanctions, but that they could beat them by inducing more pain on the West than the West could impose back, and that Western popular pressure would work in their favor by this coming winter at the latest. That part is still playing out, but so far I don’t see that they’re probably wrong.
    I’m still extremely worried that we face catastrophe in the next year and there’s not nearly enough people taking it seriously.

  43. You know who else didn’t have a plan B?

    NATO. I think plan A was to cancel Russia like a Canadian trucker, leaving that country with no ability to resist western demands, surely then leading to blessed regime change and the death of the Bad Vodka Man. The new compliant puppet government of Russia would be happy to ship gas and more gas for cheap to Yurrop, resulting in high-fives all around and a nice bump in the polls for the demonrats here.

    But that didn’t happen. Instead mean people on the internet described the stages of grief for the EU as denial, anger, bargaining, and paying in rubles. Not a good outcome for the Western political class, I think.

    NATO’s Plan B now is to claim Russia has failed over and over again, while begging for a ceasefire and sending vast sums to Ukraine to be wasted or stolen.

    I just don’t think it’s going to work. Russia always had the option of the slow grinding campaign they’re waging now, while NATO’s real alternative to watching that campaign succeed is to start WWIII.

    I think even Samantha Powers might be smart enough to figure out the downside there.

  44. Xennady: I agree 100%, I think NATO went with a “shock and awe” economic campaign, including seizing their reserve assets, and thought/prayed there’d be some sort oligarch-led movement to depose Putin. Now, I’ve read a bunch of books about Russia, but I don’t have a degree on Russian Studies or whatever that could make me be so blindingly stupid as to think that would work.
    Basically now the contest is whether the Russian people or the Western peoples can endure more pain, and I’m pretty sure where the smart money should be on that wager…

  45. I’m sure Putin is following some masterful strategy far too subtle for me to fathom. I seem to have missed the part of Clausewitz where he recommend feeding your troops piecemeal into the battle, just fast enough to allow your opponent to annihilate them. Lulling him into a sense of complacency until just when, exactly? You carry the attack home with troops and weapons you no longer have?

    Every day Putin looks more like a dead man walking from some undisclosed illness. Assuming that is even true, he has days? Months? Years? And Then?

    Russia is a much bigger country than Ukraine. From all appearances, it is very broken. They can keep grinding for some time but sooner or later, even the dumbest apparatchiks will realize the thing getting ground down fastest is the Russian Army.

  46. “Every day Putin looks more like a dead man walking from some undisclosed illness.”
    You do realize there’s been “rumors” about this for years now, right?

    From October 2014:
    There is an explanation for Vladimir Putin’s hurry to invade Ukraine — it is rumored he has cancer.
    News outlets from Belarus to Poland have reported for months that the Russian strongman has cancer of the spinal cord. But my sources say it’s pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal forms of the disease.

  47. I seem to have missed the part of Clausewitz where he recommend feeding your troops piecemeal into the battle, just fast enough to allow your opponent to annihilate them.

    I’ve seen no evidence the Russian forces are being annihilated and plenty of evidence they’re destroying the Ukrainian army bit by bit.–fighters-will-to-resist-is-deteriorating-fast/

    This is a link to an obviously pro-Russian site. The post claims Ukrainian soldiers are beginning to surrender in dribs and drabs, implying they’re going to collapse soon, at least in the Donbass.

    Every day Putin looks more like a dead man walking from some undisclosed illness.

    Okay. So what? This reminds of the story that a certain dictator of Germany was jubilant because a certain president of the US had died, because he thought it would impact the American war effort. It did not.

    Putin will eventually die and be replaced, likely by another figure at least as pro-Russian as Putin. I don’t think it’s in the cards for a pro-NATO Russian leader.

    Hence, the war will continue until one side is forced to yield, one way or another.

  48. Basically now the contest is whether the Russian people or the Western peoples can endure more pain, and I’m pretty sure where the smart money should be on that wager…


    Also, my bet is that the impact of the various economic dislocations will weaken the Western efforts against Russia as time passes, while the opposite will happen to Russia.

    It isn’t just the potential loss of Russian gas, or the humiliation of having to pay for it in rubles. It’s that many nations aren’t interested in destroying Russia and don’t want to pay higher prices and have lower living standard to achieve that goal, to quote Janet Yellen.

    This a link to Mark Wauck’s substack, abd the quote from Yellen is in today’s post “quick Russia war update.”

    As Wauck says, how many people actually want to destroy Russia? I bet it isn’t that many, and I further bet that even fewer are willing to suffer for that goal.

    Eventually, there will be a tipping point- and the willingness of the public to suffer for Janet Yellen’s project of destroying Russia will cease.

  49. NATO’s Plan B now is to claim Russia has failed over and over again, while begging for a ceasefire and sending vast sums to Ukraine to be wasted or stolen.

    Yup, that is what it looks like. Only 11 Republican Senators opposed this raid on the treasury.

  50. Russian vengeance toward the Cossacks, shorthand for Ukraine has proven vicious, not only in the 20th century but in the liquidation of the Sich in 1709, and another similar exercise a century later, the steppes and the caucasus are a very bloody place indeed,

  51. “Every day Putin looks more like a dead man walking from some undisclosed illness.”

    President Putin looked OK at the May 9 WWII Victory Parade — but maybe he has since come down with some really fast-acting nasty terminal illness; hopefully not Covid!

    It is tough to get glimpses of reality through the Fog of War — and outright lies — coming out from the US/Ukraine. The little I can see on Russian web sites that “Our Guys” have not yet blocked is that President Putin is catching a lot of flak from Russians who want him to stop pussyfooting around and start bombing Kiev flat, and hitting Poland & Germany too if they keep on supplying arms. Putin apparently has the standing & support in Russia to keep those guys under control. If he does indeed drop dead, there is a significant chance that whoever replaces him will hew to a much tougher line.

    Be careful what you wish for — you might get it!

  52. the battle plan was poorly considered, some speculate that he put forth the generals he saw as most of a threat, in the front lines, too many avenues of attack, are not a good thing, choosing this season, is a historically terrible choice to invade, is the most evil person evarr no, Yeltsins general and Putin’s pounded Grozny to the ground almost equally, he had more success with Syria, he brought his field commander Divenikov (sic) to the fore front,

  53. Well, here is an interesting development. As we all know, the Beautiful People look to the New York Times to learn what they should be thinking & saying to keep in step with their peers. So what is the NYT now saying about the conflict in the Ukraine?

    “Biden should also make clear to President Volodymyr Zelensky and his people that there is a limit to how far the United States and NATO will go to confront Russia, and limits to the arms, money and political support they can muster. It is imperative that the Ukrainian government’s decisions be based on a realistic assessment of its means and how much more destruction Ukraine can sustain.

    Confronting this reality may be painful, but it is not appeasement.”

    Poor Nancy Pelosi. She just got through telling Zelensky that the US was with the Ukraine until “victory” and slapping all her brain-dead Congressional Democrats into voting to send money the US does not have to the Ukraine — and now the NYT is telling her she is out of step. Strange days!

  54. Honestly, that NYT piece is grotesque. Accounts have said for months now that US, UK, etc., have told Zelensky that they will not support him if he tries to cut a deal with Russia. This is such a disgusting spectacle.

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