In the last few weeks, I have shared several ideas about how to profit from the current raging inflation, especially in the energy and agricultural space.
Friday’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed how fast prices are still rising in those two areas, with early June delivering even higher prices. Inflation was rising long before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, but in this edition, I want to address a weekend report published by Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge, corroborated by Associated Press reporting, which shows just how far President Biden will go to pin the blame for inflation on forces outside his control.
Last Friday, Durden’s report began, “President Joe Biden told a donors’ conference in Los Angeles on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brushed aside U.S. warnings saying a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent. He described the situation ahead of the February 24 invasion and his communications with Zelensky, according to The Associated Press:
‘Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating,’ Biden said, according to the outlet. He added the U.S. had data that showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to invade. ‘There was no doubt,’ Biden continued. ‘And Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it.’
Nothing could be further from the truth. Leading up the Russian buildup, and ultimately the invasion into Ukraine, the Biden administration was aggressively pushing the agenda of bringing Ukraine in as a new NATO member, knowing full well it might be perceived as poking the bear (Putin) in the eye with a sharp stick, and stoking the situation.
Throwing Zelensky under the bus at this point is misdirection at best, or cowardice at worst. The greater culprit was Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his office in the orchestrated push for Ukraine’s entry into NATO and providing broad assurances to Zelensky that the United States had his back 100%, regardless of any Russian response.
Here is the agreement that the U.S. signed on November 10, 2021, which started the road to war…
Due to limited space, I will highlight just a few excerpts in the agreement, below, but I highly encourage readers to open the link and read the full agreement signed in November 2021. Upon full examination of this document, I think most would agree that the Biden administration laid the path to the start of this war, not Ukraine.
The following is from the text of the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership signed by U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington, November 10, 2021.
- The United States remains committed to assisting Ukraine with ongoing defense and security reforms and to continue its robust training and exercises. The United States supports Ukraine’s efforts to maximize its status as a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner to promote interoperability.
- Emphasize unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea and extending to its territorial waters in the face of ongoing Russian aggression, which threatens regional peace and stability…
- The United States and Ukraine share a vital national interest in a strong, independent, and democratic Ukraine. Bolstering Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against threats to its territorial integrity and deepening Ukraine’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions are concurrent priorities.
- Guided by the April 3, 2008, Bucharest Summit Declaration of the NATO North Atlantic Council and as reaffirmed in the June 14, 2021, Brussels Summit Communique of the NATO North Atlantic Council, the United States supports Ukraine’s right to decide its own future foreign policy course free from outside interference, including with respect to Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO.
- The United States and Ukraine intend to continue a range of substantive measures to prevent external direct and hybrid aggression against Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for such aggression and violations of international law, including the seizure and attempted annexation of Crimea and the Russia-led armed conflict in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, as well as its continuing malign behavior.
- The United States intends to support Ukraine’s efforts to counter armed aggression, economic and energy disruptions, and malicious cyber activity by Russia, including by maintaining sanctions against or related to Russia and applying other relevant measures until restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
- The United States and Ukraine endorse the 2021 Strategic Defense Framework as the foundation of enhanced Ukraine-U.S. defense and security cooperation and intend to work to advance shared priorities, including implementing defense and defense industry reforms, deepening cooperation in areas such as Black Sea security, cyber defense, and intelligence sharing, and countering Russia’s aggression.
- The United States remains committed to enhancing Ukraine’s ability to secure and police its borders, and to pursuing greater information sharing and law enforcement cooperation to counter international criminal and terrorist activity, including the trafficking of people, weapons, and narcotics.
Despite assurances to the contrary as Russia amassed 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s border leading up to its Feb. 24 invasion, Putin and the Kremlin plotted to attack the neighboring nation, keep it from joining NATO and fight an expansive U.S. military presence and capability along the Russia-Ukraine border. To think for a minute that Russia wouldn’t respond aggressively after dissecting the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership is beyond arrogant.
The Washington Post reported on a spirited debate between Sen. Rand Paul and Secretary Anthony Blinken.
“While there is no justification for Putin’s war on Ukraine, it does not follow that there’s no explanation for the invasion,” Paul said. He added later: “There is no justification to the invasion; I’m not saying that. But there are reasons for the invasion.”
The two reached something of an impasse on this point. Paul pitched it as the U.S. government — and, at present, the Biden administration — having pushed for Ukraine to join NATO, even as Russia threatened to attack. Blinken, in keeping with stated U.S. policy, emphasized that the United States merely supported Ukraine’s own right to pursue the alliance.
As with Rand Paul, I take strong exception with the use of the phrase “merely supported” by Blinken. That’s not how the charter reads. It is provocative and Russia responded militarily. Blame falls squarely on the Biden administration and its foreign policy missteps that have put the United States neck-deep in all the fallout associated with this historic nightmare where there is no end in sight.
I wouldn’t normally write on such topics in a dividend column, but with the market now entering bear market territory, there is just too much finger pointing by those in charge and no acknowledgement that they simply got it wrong and were not prepared for the consequences.