You can tell a lot by looking at a country’s currency. Countries with chronically weak currencies are almost always weak countries. Weak at home, weak abroad. Here is what troubles me.
In recent weeks, the Russian ruble has risen. It can’t be a good sign. Before the invasion, 79 rubles bought a dollar.
During the first two weeks of the invasion, as the United States and NATO developed an action plan to sanction Russia finances, its war machine and its energy economy, the ruble fell back to 139 to the dollar. He crashed.
It looked worthless. The joke was: “what is the difference between a ruble and a dollar?” The answer was: “one dollar”.
So now I’m troubled that the ruble is back to 85 rubles to the dollar – was even stronger yesterday, about 40% appreciation in the last two weeks.
This tells me that the United States and NATO are not doing their economic job of succeeding in sanctioning Russia and destroying funding for their war machine.
The Ukrainians are doing their job, exceeding all expectations on the battlefield, fighting Russia to a stalemate, perhaps even pushing Russia back in parts of the country.
Despite Vladimir Putin’s crimes against humanity, a brave President Zelenskyy, a tough Ukrainian army and the remarkable courage of the Ukrainian people have shown the world that they are doing their part to defeat Russia, but are we doing our part?
Does the US government want Ukraine to win this war? Joe Biden never said that. Neither did his minions.
President Biden has yet to say yes to Polish MiGs or Slovak S-300s. We have not sanctioned their energy companies. By all accounts, Russia still sells the same amount of oil.
The US has said no to Russian oil imports, but that doesn’t officially happen until the end of June – months away! We have never sanctioned the main lenders of Russian energy banks. The White House opposes Senator Toomey’s idea of secondary banking sanctions. No one is yet seriously talking about putting European energy payments in an escrow account, denying the funds to Putin.
The US Treasury authorizes US banks to make interest payments on Russian sovereign debt. Half of Russia’s 20 richest billionaires are unsanctioned, including the Russian oligarch who paid $3.5 million to Hunter Biden. She is not sanctioned. Putin has been sanctioned, but he still has his $700 million yacht moored off the coast of Italy. Why didn’t we take his yacht? He’s a war criminal, but he’s also a major league crook.
In fact, he and his cronies basically live to rob Russian workers. This is why Putin must continue to be re-elected, because probably the minute he is removed from office, he will be imprisoned in Siberia forever.
Does America want Ukraine to win? The rise of the ruble indicates that the White House does not want Ukraine to win. You know the old phrase, “Half measures won’t get you anything?” Well, these half measures play into Vladimir Putin’s hands and that’s a bad thing.
Penalties need to be toughened. We must provide more military assistance and we must openly support a Ukrainian victory. In his most waking cognitive moments, Joe Biden called Putin a war criminal and said he couldn’t stay in power. So prove it, Joe.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the April 1, 2022 edition of “Kudlow”.