The Trump tariffs are the subject of a lawsuit filed by scores of U.S. companies who’ve asserted the levies are overly broad and were improperly implemented. If the Biden administration can’t defend the Trump tariff regime, it could be compelled to evaluate tens of thousands of public comments about it, or reimburse the plaintiffs for tariffs they’ve paid so far.
Biden’s interest in pandering to labor unions also figures in his slow-walking his tariff-relief decision. Milton Friedman had something to say about that
“The benefits of a tariff are visible. Union workers can see they are ‘protected.’ The harm which a tariff does is invisible. It’s spread widely.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021 the percentage of U.S workers, including public- and private-sector workers, who were members of unions was 10.3 percent—a half point decline from the 10.8 percent unionization rate in 2020. Within the private sector, the unionization rate declined by 0.2 percent in 2021 to 6.1 percent. The degree to which union activity in 2022 with an aggressively labor-friendly NLRB general counsel and a majority Biden appointed Labor Board moves the needle for union membership is yet to be determined.
Hudson noted, however, that “the biggest beneficiary” of Russia having been laden with sanctions is Washington. This is because Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian energy, is faced with simultaneous energy and food crises, thus leaving it with little ability to pay attention to other matters.
“Basically, Washington doesn’t care if Russia wins the war [in Ukraine], because the US has succeeded in eliminating its competition in Europe, especially Germany.”
The agency added that the European Union’s commitment to reduce member states’ gas consumption by 15 percent from August 2022 to March 2023 will continue to increase oil demand by about 300,000 barrels per day for the next six quarters.
The Aframax vessels are optimally-sized to dock at European docks, which often cannot fit supertankers, an analyst from E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers told Bloomberg, and the current sky-high rates should remain heightened in the months ahead so long as sanctions against Russia remain.
“The market consensus was too pessimistic about Russia’s capability to re-route volumes to other buyers,” IEA analysts said. “Russia’s exports adjusted towards other buyers without a serious disruption to its production.”
If the ‘west’ really wants to deprive Russia of money it must immediately lift the sanctions and restart importing oil, gas and coal from Russia at then much lower prices.
Russia will not lack money to finance the rebuilding of Novorossiya’s great industries. Once that is done those areas are evidently able to support themselves and to guarantee a high standard of living. They will also have enough money to militarily defend themselves against anything the poor rest of Ukraine will be able to finance.
At the end of March, after negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey, there was nearly an agreement on a ceasefire and on the end of the war. Joe Biden then tasked Boris Johnson with telling Zelensky to continue the war. The ‘west’ would otherwise stop paying him. Zelensky did as he was told and stopped all negotiations with Russia.
An agreement with Russia at that time would have kept the Ukraine mostly as one state with only minor losses in the Donbas. But the decision to continue the hopeless war also ended all chances for Ukraine to keep its riches.
Blinken also added a second topic he’d like to discuss with Lavrov —implementation of the recent “grain deal”. Washington played no role in negotiating the deal and is presumably hoping to make a lateral entry into the matrix now. Blinken claimed he is “seeing and hearing around the world a desperate need for food, a desperate need for prices to decrease. And if we can help through our direct diplomacy encourage the Russians to make good on the commitments they’ve made, that will help people around the world, and I’m determined to do it.”
Interestingly, in a veiled reference to the US, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavuсoglu stated Wednesday on broadcaster Tv100 that there were countries who “wanted to block” the grain deal between Russia and Turkey, who want the Ukraine conflict “to prolong”, as they think the longer Moscow’s special military operation continues, “the weaker Russia will be.”
Indeed, the war has spun out of US algorithm. As Hungarian PM Orban pointed out last week, anti-Russian sanctions “have not shaken Moscow,” but Europe has already lost four governments and is in an economic and political crisis.
The spectre of the collapse of EU economies is rattling the Biden Administration. A CNN report yesterday was titled US officials say ‘biggest fear’ has come true as Russia cuts gas supplies to Europe. It said the Biden administration “is working furiously behind the scenes to keep European allies united” as the blowback from the sanctions against Russia hits them and the “impact on Europe could boomerang back onto the US, spiking natural gas and electricity prices.”
The report quoted an unnamed US official saying Russia’s retaliation for western sanctions has put the West in “unchartered territory.” Suffice to say, Blinken’s call underscores the desperate urgency in Washington to open a line of communication to Moscow at the political level.
When U.S. president Joe Biden recently held a number of talks in the Middle East, Iran was one point on his agenda. The U.S. has made it clear that it does not want to reenter into the nuclear deal with Iran. It is instead again attempting a ‘maximum pressure’ strategy to pressure Iran into additional concessions.
In his book The Great Chessboard the former National Security Advisor of the United States Zbigniew Brzeziński wrote:
“Potentially, the most dangerous scenario [for America] would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances.”