Israel and Russia Fall Out + Kindle Deal of the Day

KINDLE DEAL OF THE DAY

On March 10, you can get The Accidental Superpower: Ten Years On eBook for only $3.99!

If you haven’t purchased the The Accidental Superpower: Ten Years On yet, March 10 is the time to buy! Kindle has selected the eBook version as the Deal of the Day for March 10! We’ll be sending out another email as we get closer to the date.

Back to Israel and Russia Falling Out…

In a marked shift away from the historical relationship between Israel and Moscow, Israel plans to send early warning radar to Ukraine. The details of this plan are still unconfirmed, but let’s break it down.

Israel has developed some of the most advanced missile and drone detection and defense systems, known as the Iron Dome System. What’s being sent to Ukraine will likely be a much more basic version; regardless, it will be an invaluable piece of tech for the Ukrainian’s defense capabilities.

This move by Israel could also signify the beginning of increased cooperation with Western allies – most notably the US. Once the flood gates open, intelligence sharing, some Western funding, and enhancements to military capabilities shouldn’t be too far behind.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

Russian Opposition Leader, Alexei Navalny, Dies in Prison

Alexei Navalny, a prominent political prisoner and Putin critic, died in a harsh Siberian prison. This prison was a former Soviet-era gulag, so no real surprise there…

The Biden administration previously said that the death of Navalny would strain international relations, but when put into the context of the Ukraine War, international relations aren’t exactly pristine. So, its unlikely we’ll see much arise from the death of Alexei Navalny.

We need to remember that Russia is not a democracy and Navalny’s political influence was limited. Sure, he opposed Putin, but he was still extremely nationalistic. Its likely that we wouldn’t have been able to differentiate between Russia’s current situation and a world where things worked out differently for Navalny.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

Putin’s Puppet Show feat. Tucker “The Propagandist” Carlson

At this point you’ve all seen or heard about Tucker Carlson’s interview with Putin (if you haven’t…you didn’t miss much). This was the first time Putin has spoken to an American “journalist” since his military invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

As we enter the third year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I think this is as good a time as ever to step back and take inventory of the situation. Since the beginning, we have known that the longer the war drags on, the harder it will be for Ukraine to mount a definitive counter-offensive. One reason for this has to do with differences in command structures; Russia follows a strict top-down delegation of authority, while Ukraine delegates relatively more local authority to lower-level officers.

While this strategy has paid off for Ukraine so far, the Russian military apparatus is slowly learning to adapt. To compete, Ukraine will need to take a chapter out of the Russian military school of thought and assert a more dominant command structure, one that allows for military-wide policy implementation.

Apart from strategy, Ukraine also needs more and better weaponry from its western allies. This will only get harder as time goes on. Putin knows this, and perhaps that is why he chose this moment, as Congress struggles to pass a military aid package for Ukraine and Israel, to stir the pot. Add to the mix the fact that this is an election year…

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

US Congress Dysfunction: Blocking Aid to Ukraine

We are taking a question from the ‘Ask Peter’ forum today – am I worried about Ukraine’s dwindling weapon’s supplies in light of what’s going on with the US Congress? Yes, yes I am.

Ukraine’s supplies are running out and there’s a dozen or so Republican’s blocking anything from being passed in Congress, so that means no more ammo for Ukraine. However, this isn’t isolated to things involving Ukraine, these Republicans are blocking everything they disagree with. So, this is a problem for everything and everyone.

Sure, we’ve seen unproductive Congresses before, but in case you haven’t flipped on the news in a while – there’s plenty going on. The real kicker is that I don’t see this resolving itself anytime soon. I’m sure people will try to step across the aisle and work something out, but the extremes from both sides will be sure to stomp that out ASAP.

Unless we see some true bipartisan cooperation, the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress will only get worse. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait for the November elections to sort this out, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Hey everyone. Peter Zeihan here. Coming to you from Calais at the southern point of the island of Hawaii. Got the slopes up on a lower behind me, the larger volcano here. I am going to take something from our Ask Peter Forum. We’re going to put that link here at the end of the video too, in case you are sending your own questions.

And it’s am I worried about Ukraine in the light of what has become an American boycott on weapons supplies? Yes. Yes, I am. The Ukrainians are running out of ammo. There’s no way they could produce enough to support the war themselves. And the Russians are mustered. A fresh human wave. And, you know, human waves are very vulnerable to mass fire, but you have to have ammo for that to work.

So there are some concerns. We might be seeing a turning point in the war here in the next few weeks if something doesn’t change. But what is going on is we’ve got a dozen roughly Republicans on the right who are blocking anything from happening in Congress that they don’t agree with. And so this is not a Ukraine problem.

This is an everything problem. These few reps are blocking anything on any issue. So we’ve got programs that need to be addressed, not just Ukraine, but aid for Taiwan against China, aid for Israel, against Hamas, others issues with health care and business reform and criminal justice before the Senate, the defense system and the budget, every single thing has been dropped.

It’s not that these folks oppose Ukraine per se. It’s they oppose anything that isn’t exactly their way. So I call them the Greenpeace faction of the Republican Party because they just hate everyone. This means that this Congress has been the least productive in American history at this stage. And Congress a little bit more than halfway through their session.

We’ve only passed about 20% of the bills that the second the least productive Congress in history has passed. So this is an issue of big government versus small government. This is just an issue of dysfunction and it’s a problem for everybody. Now, I don’t think it’s going to get any better any soon. When the Republic ends didn’t do very well.

And last midterms, the hope of getting a big majority vanishes. They had a very slim minority beginning, and they have seen that minority shrink down in part, it’s because they’ve cannibalize their own. This faction of Republicans forced out the former Speaker McCarthy from California. And so he just quit. He left the House altogether, leaving that seat open. We’ve had another couple of resignations since.

And then the Republicans purged one of their own, a Republican, Santos of New York four. Let me make sure I get this right. Using campaign finance to purchase gay fetish foot Port Arthur can’t make a shit on any hill. What it means is not just that the margin that the Republicans have in the majority has gotten smaller and smaller.

Worse than it sounds. Because to pass something in Congress, you don’t need a majority of the votes. You need a majority of the seats. And so every empty seat kind of acts as a quasi vote against the majority. So they only have a Republican that only have a margin of two. They can only lose one vote if they still want to get things passed.

That makes each individual faction, including the Greenpeace faction, more powerful. So this is going to go one of two ways. Number one, they’re going to continue to stall everything. And this Congress will go down in history as the most pathetic ever until we have general elections a year from now, November and the new Congress would set in January, or the bulk of the Republicans reach across the aisle and start cutting deals with centrist Democrats.

Now, that’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of minutia, there’s a lot of politics, there’s a lot of noise. And in the environment that we’re in right now, anyone who reaches across the aisle is inviting a primary challenge from the freak wings of their parties, whether it’s the Greenpeace faction of the Republicans or the squad version of the Democrats.

So none of these are easy decisions, but they do suggest that drama in Congress is going to increase or rather than decrease in the months ahead. And that’s not just bad for Ukraine, that’s bad for everyone except for the Chinese who think this is fair test. All right. That’s it for me. Take care.

Finnish Presidential Elections and Anti-Russian Sentiment

Finnish politics are not something that often make the headlines, but with a marked shift away from “Finlandization” (when a smaller country remains neutral to appease a larger and more powerful neighboring country) comes some unfamiliar coverage.

Finland has become one of the largest and most assertive supporters of Ukraine, both materially and diplomatically. The most recent presidential elections reflect these anti-Russian sentiments, with candidates competing to take the strongest stance on large ticket items like security issues and more nuanced issues like revoking Finnish citizenship for Russian-Finnish citizens.

This election is just a glimpse at the complexities of Russian relations within Eastern European countries and a signal of what might be coming…

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Hey everybody. Peter Zeihan here. Coming to you from the slopes of Mount Lower with Mauna Kea there in the background, surrounded by volcanic, you was going to go all the way up to the top, but apparently the volcano decided to destroy the road. So whatever. Anyway, that means you get a bonus video. The big news, it’s happening today. We were seeing this on Sunday, the 28th, is that there are presidential elections in Finland and for the first time ever, they matter.

So since the Ukraine war, we haven’t had a lot of electoral contests in Europe in the context of the change security environment. This is really the first one that matters. It matters for more than one reason. Finland. Well, there’s a term for it familiarization. The idea that you’re scared of your bigger neighbor. So you plot a neutral policy in order to make sure that they’re not aggravated.

And this is the position that Stalin forced upon the Finns back at the end of World War Two. And so presidential elections have always been about that debate of just how friendly can we be to the Russians so that they don’t decide to invade us. And that has been the case now for over a half century. And the outgoing president was known as the the Putin whisperer because she had a tight personal relationship.

But with the Ukraine war that has changed. And Finland is arguably of the of the real countries, the sizable countries that are assisting the Ukrainians, the one who has provided the most material support per person as well as leading the charge in terms of diplomatic efforts, and has also jumped on board NAITO, which is something that they assiduously avoided for the last 70 years in order to not aggravate the Russians.

Now, the presidential contest is a beauty contest about who can be the most anti-Russian, who will take the strongest position on any type of security issue. And so we’re kind of seeing the debate take place in three general arenas. The first is the Ukraine, where proper who’s going to promise more aid, who’s going to be more of a hawk?

The second one has to do with citizenship. There are a substantial number of dual citizens who are Russian and Finnish citizenship. And the debate at the presidential level now is whether or not to revoke their Finnish citizenship if they do not surrender their Russian citizenship. And that’s important enough as it is, but it also is carrying out into European foreign policy because Finland is not the country in Europe that has the largest percentage of ethnic Russians among its population.

That would be Latvia, with Estonia and Lithuania coming up in second and third place. So there’s always been a little bit of a quiet human rights debate within Europe about the position of the ethnic Russians in those countries. With Finland trying to take the position of the ethnic Russians in order to mollify Moscow. Well, that is not the case anymore.

The debate is whether or not these people should be kicked out, whether they should be forced to change languages, whether they should lose their European Union citizenship. The fact that the Finns have changed so much in two years is just a testament to just how brutal war in Ukraine is and how close it hits to home to countries in these regions.

Something to consider if you don’t live in Eastern Europe for anyone else in the world, the countries from Finland to Estonia to Latvia to Poland, to Romania and Bulgaria. Now these are the countries who have the most experience of living under Russian rule or fighting the Russians, and they’re the ones who have been basically training their military in order to support the Ukrainians in the conflict because they know what happens if they don’t.

Anyway, by the time you view this, the polls will have opened in Finland and we should have results in the not too distant future as Europe’s most neutral country becomes its most aggressive. A One more thing for those of you who are not fueled by issues of democracy versus repression and mass rapes and or how about illegal migrants?

Yeah, so the Russians have been flying people in from South Asia and the Middle East and herding them through the force of northern Russia and forcing them through the Finnish border. So that really has the Finns all cheesed off to.

Ukraine Attacks Russian Energy Terminal

Ukraine managed to sneak some drones by Russian air defenses and hit the Ust-Luga oil refinery and loading facility. The attack didn’t cause significant damage, but it disrupted production and shipping operations.

The successful attack has given us a glimpse at Ukraine’s capabilities and what might be in store for the future. The Russian’s response to the drone strike pokes glaring holes in the Russian system, specifically the lack of qualified workers and immense strain placed on the limited skilled personnel actively working.

This attack is a reminder of how the Russian oil industry can impact global oil supplies and the massive vulnerabilities within the system. Sanctions have also intensified in a weird sort of way following the attack, which has further impacted the flow of oil to Europe.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Everybody. Peter Zine here coming to you from above the very active Kilauea volcano. That’s the crater that kicked off last year. Today we’re going to talk about an assault that happened last week. The Ukrainian sent a squad of drones north out of Ukraine over Russian airspace into the gulf of finland to attack the Ust-Luga…hope i pronounce that right.

Oil refinery and loading facility now north mali, this wouldn’t really matter because normally drones, as we’ve seen, can’t get through any sort of meaningful air defense. But the Russian air defense in this area appears to be just as crappy as it is everywhere else in the country. So a bunch of them got through. The other reason I would normally care about this is most refineries.

Everyone gets all you want on. They expect Hollywood explosions when a bomb goes off in a refinery, you know? Yeah. Keep in mind scale here, most refineries are over a square mile and this one’s no exception. There’s a lot of standoff distance among the different facilities. So if something does blow, it doesn’t blow up the whole thing. And crude oil at room temperature isn’t even flammable.

So the warheads that these bombs can carry, which are less than £100, probably with the models that were used probably under £20, it’s not that you can’t do damage, but you can’t do real damage. But this is not just a refinery. This is also a loading facility. And in a refinery, once you’ve made your fuels, fuel’s being more flammable than raw crude.

You then put them into a truck or a pipe and send it away With a port facility you put into a big giant tank and then a large vessel comes by and sucks off what it needs and goes on its merry way. And so the tanks themselves are the vulnerable points here. Now, judging from the size of the explosions and the fires that were started, the tanks were not hit.

That’s just something that you should have in the back of your mind when you evaluating. When somebody says a refinery, a certain piece of energy infrastructure was hit, you know what to look for. What’s interesting here are two things. Number one, it took the Russians more than three days to put out the fire and they put it out the wrong way, using water in, you know, the near Arctic winter, which caused a lot of water to freeze and then expand and break more infrastructure damage assessments are still underway.

We don’t know how bad it was. And it had this been a normal attack, we would have known within 24 hours whether or not anything substantial had been done. But here we are nearly a week out and we still really don’t have any more but the vaguest ideas and the facility is shut down. Now, there’s a lot of reasons why this matters.

Number one, while the Europeans have put sanctions on seaborne crude, seaborne oil product is in a loophole. So they were still taking stuff from this facility. And with its shut down, all of a sudden sanctions have gone up to a whole new level. And we’re going to have a very good idea of how the Europeans can absorb or not.

This newest change. Quick add on the Ukrainian attack on US. Luger was on Sunday, the 21st in less than 72 hours later. The Russians were able to begin shipping out again. However, what is being shipped out is primarily oil, almost exclusively oil and something called condensate, which is kind of a raw product somewhere between natural gas and oil.

The actual refining complex remains completely offline. There’s no naphtha, there’s no fuel, there’s no intermediate products that are coming out at all. And at present, the Russians are still completing their damage assessments. And at the pace they’re going, we probably won’t have any information on the level of damage until probably March. And then with their very, very thin remaining skin of skilled labor, they can start talking about repairs.

Second, this is the first significant Ukrainian attack against a significant economic asset of the Russian Federation. And at least on the surface, it looks like it was much more successful than they ever thought was possible. That means that the northern parts of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland are suddenly in a danger zone that is well within the Ukrainians proven range of operation.

Now, the Ukrainians and the Russians haven’t really gone against civilian shipping right now, but I can’t think of a better target than an oil loading and refining platform such as what we’ve got. And it was ooyala. Again, apologies for the inaction. We’re just going to put the spelling right here so you can see what I’m having the trouble with.

Okay, So this is the sort of thing we should now watch for in the future, because this is not the only facility of this type which is within the Ukrainians reach. There are a number of facilities that no virus sees on the Black Sea and two ops on the Black Sea and closer to St Petersburg, also on the Gulf of Finland.

And now that the Ukrainians are proving that a few things can slip through, you can bet that they’re going to target all of them and all told, if you look at all of the infrastructure combined, it’s combined export and throughput capacity is in the vicinity of three and a half million barrels a day, which is about three and a half percent of global output.

So if you put a meaningful dent in the export infrastructure, it’s impossible for the Russians to shunt this stuff somewhere else. There’s nowhere else to go. And so it just backs up through the system. There’s also one other thing to look at the fact that the damage control crews proved to be so incompetent is something that we’re starting to see at the edges as the Russian economic system frays.

The Soviet educational system collapsed back in 1986, which means that the youngest people who are worthy of terms like engineer, turned 64 this year. And so when I think of fire suppression, I think of something that normally I could not just pick up the hose and go do it. You want someone with specialized training, and especially if you’re talking about petroleum, natural gas or refined product fires, you definitely want someone has some idea what they’re doing.

Russia is running out of those people. It’s not just that a million people have fled the country and a half a million have been drafted and committed to the war being killed. They don’t have much of a skilled labor pool left. And what they do have is being dedicated to the war itself. Air defense in the vicinity of the war, or the military industrial complex to keep the war going.

So we’re seeing some very serious phrase with the system. This this is not the sort of thing that they should have gotten wrong. That fire should have been put out very quickly with things like foam, and it wasn’t. And that suggests the Russians ability to maintain their overall system is starting to feel the strain of all of this.

And they don’t have a backup plan. There isn’t enough labor in the country to redirect from somewhere else, especially skilled labor. All right. That’s it for me. Take care.

 

North Korean Missiles Heading to Russia, Part Two

We’re back with part two of Russia’s missile-sourcing escapade. Today we’re looking at the specifics of these North Korean missiles and their significance.

The North Korean’s are sending the Russians some of their KN-23 and 25 missiles, which are limited range (max. 400 miles) and low accuracy models. This means that each of these missiles is a war crime waiting to happen, but what’s another drop in that bucket? Unfortunately, this has just dumped a new load of gasoline onto the fire that is the Ukraine War.

The Russians will be able to use these missiles in conjunction with satellite guidance to close in that accuracy ring a bit. In the meantime, they’ll be gathering insights on the technological capabilities of the North Korean and Iranian missile systems.

Once the Russians mesh the missile and satellite tech together, the Ukrainians will be facing a much more intimidating Russia than before.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Hey everybody. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from? Well, there’s no other word for it. It’s a frigid Colorado this morning. We’re right at two degrees Fahrenheit. Anyway, I want to do a follow on to a little bit. We we talked yesterday on the transfer of North Korean missiles to Russia. The models in question are called KN-23 and 25.

They have a very limited range and they’re not particularly accurate when the North Koreans use them. The accuracy range is typically 100 to 200 meters. So they’re not much. Well, they’re just not smart. There are most artillery actually hits more reliably than they do with the add on of satellite guidance. And a little bit of extra hardware. You could probably get them into the 50 to 100 meter range.

Now, this is important for two reasons. Number one, it means that every missile that the Russians fire in the general direction of a population center, which is where most of these things are being used in Ukraine, is almost by definition a war crime. So, you know, we’re we’re now getting half of we’re past 150,000 documented incidents. So if the war crimes tribunals ever do happen to happen at the end of this war, who is to be a lot to do?

But the second and slightly more important in the long range point of view is the assistance, the military assistance, the supply assistance that the North Koreans and to a lesser degree the Iranians are providing the Russians. Is it just important for the war or to get an intelligence look at what the North Korean and the Iranian systems can do technologically?

And from a production point of view, the Russians are also promising that both countries are satellite tech, or at least the ability of the Russians to launch a satellite for them. And so if you marry Russian satellite tech, which doesn’t have to be top notch to provide guidance to C weapon systems, and you apply it to these two laggard countries, you can actually make a fairly significant improvement in their capacity to target going from a 200 meter range to a 100 meter range, obviously is a significant step up.

So I don’t mean to belittle any part of this transfer system that is going on. It’s just a question of time. Okay. That’s all I got for now.

Why Are the Russians Shopping for Missiles?

The Russian military industrial complex can’t keep up with the demands of the Ukraine War, so the Russians are sourcing large quantities of short-range ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran.

This reveals, or confirms suspicions, that Russia’s production capacity for certain weapons systems has collapsed. Specifically, the Russians are sticking with their Soviet roots and purchasing Scud-like missiles for their outdated systems from the 60s and 70s. As the faux Scuds make their way to the front lines, Western intelligence will get a glimpse at North Korean and Iranian military capabilities.

Of course the Russians will deny this, but when you see some gold-heavy planes trickling over to Iran and North Korea…don’t be surprised. However, the Russians aren’t the only ones getting prepared. A number of European countries have ordered Patriot missiles and Germany has reversed its plan to decommission its military.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Hey everybody. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Colorado. One of the bits of news that came across my screen as I was flat on my back with a thrown muscle is that the Russians have started to contact the North Koreans and the Iranians about purchasing large numbers of short range ballistic missiles. Now, the concept of the Russians shopping around for weapons systems for the Ukraine war, that’s not new.

And the two systems that have seen the most activity of the Shaheed drones, which are those moped drones, really loud ones, the fly in a straight line, those are from Iran. The Russians have been launching those at Ukraine for months and then artillery from North Korea because the burn rate for Russian artillery is an order of magnitude or more than what they can produce for themselves.

But this time they’re going for short range ballistic missiles. Now, this tells us a series of things. First of all, it gives us a really good peek into just how horrible the Russian military industrial complex is. The Russians had stopped or at least slowed the making of most of these things. If you remember back to the Gulf War of 1991, the Scuds, that’s the class of missile that we’re talking about.

They’re not advanced. They were developed in the sixties, in the seventies. They’re so basic that even the Iraqis had their own weapons program where they would make their own. They’re not particularly accurate. They don’t have much of a range. And the Russians had intended to replace all of their Scuds with Iskander, which are a weapon system that is more accurate with a little bit longer range.

But it’s turned out that the Russians can’t produce those in any meaningful number. And since they have already scaled back their ability to produce the older weapons in the first place, they’ve got to go somewhere else. They don’t have a significant skill set in military technologies anymore to speed everything up at the same time. And so this is something where they simply have to shop around to find it.

Okay. So that’s number one. And number two, we’re going to get a really good look at the inside of the military industrial complex in the military capabilities of both North Korea and Iran here. We think of these countries as being, you know, warlike, but they haven’t actually been involved in a major war for quite some time in the case of the Iranians, it was in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution that brought the mullahs to power.

That was the Iran-Iraq war. So in 1998, it was the last time we saw the Iranians actually going at it. And in the case of the Koreans, you know, we got third hand reports from countries that have bought a few of their missiles here and there. But for the most part, you’ve got to go back to the 1950s for the Korean War, which ended in 1953 when these weapon systems didn’t even exist.

So if you’re in Western intelligence or Western militaries, you’re going to be really curious to see how these things look. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it sucks to be Ukraine in this situation. But in terms of kind of lifting up the skirt and being able to see what’s going on, this is going to be a really robust intelligence gathering operation.

Then we’ve got the third thing. What are the North Koreans and the Iranians getting for this? There were some reports early on that the North Koreans were going to get some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile technology from the Russians in exchange for artillery shells. And there may indeed be some of that. But it appears that the Russians are giving the North Koreans the runaround like they did to the Indians.

The Indians spent billions of dollars in years giving money to the Russians in order to develop a joint cruise missile called the Brahmos. And the Indians are now not in public, but behind closed doors, admitting that all the money was just stolen and that they’re never going to get that weapons system and it’s time for them to move on.

And it seems that some version of that is going on with the North Koreans as well, though the Russians have talked a big talk, but the number of people that they have that can actually do the work is so small and they’re all working on weapons projects within Russia. There isn’t a lot to spare in terms of sending it to the North Koreans, which leads us to what the Russians do have.

And that’s a goal. The Russians are under any number of sanctions. They can’t use the U.S. dollar in international markets. The Chinese aren’t really even interested in having their own yuan. So bilateral trade there has proceeded, but not by the volume that the Russians would like. And nobody wants the ruble. In fact, some governments have made it very publicly to how little they think of the Russian currency.

And so the solution is gold. Russia is arguably the the world’s largest second largest, the third largest gold producer here. And then their gold reserves, both in terms of bullion and partially processed gold, are completely off the books. And they’ve got a stockpile that they don’t admit to. So probably they’re the world’s largest producer, the world’s largest processor and the world’s largest holder of gold bullion.

In addition to having a massive stockpile of stuff that they could process into finish bullion if they wanted to. And so it appears what they’re doing is when they have a lot of stuff that they want to buy and they’ve got a long list of these days because there are so many tech sanctions, is they simply load up a plane with gold bullion and fly it to the country or the entity that they’re buying stuff from.

So expect to see some version. So Marine jets weighed down by gold flying across the Caspian to get to Iran or flying across Siberia to get to North Korea to pay for this stuff. I may be laughing because it’s so weird, but. But it works. It’s un trackable. And once the gold gets into the Iranian, another country in systems, it’s a fairly straightforward process to get it laundered through a place like Switzerland or especially the United Arab Emirates.

Those are the places that do the gold certification. So this is the path we’re on right now. It’s a little nonstandard, but it is definitely showing a lot of light on a lot of things that we haven’t had good information on for a very long time. And Russia’s propensity to throw the kitchen sink and everything that’s not nailed down in the Ukraine war necessity, need to, you know, do this.

Massive arms shopping has encouraged other countries to alter their defense systems. And we now have a coalition of European countries that have placed an order for over 1000 Patriot missiles so they can shoot down all of this stuff that the Russians are now buying up so that they can throw. And the country that has placed the largest order is a country that just two years ago was quiet.

Lee in the midst of its plans to decommission its entire military because it was so committed to global peace, and that would be Germany. They’ve now come full circle and now they’re arming up as quickly as they possibly can manage, which in German terms is still not all that fast because there’s a lot of paperwork, but still.

The Ukraine War & the Battle of Avdiivka

The Accidental Superpower: Ten Years On

With a new “10 years later” epilogue for every chapter, comes an eye-opening assessment of American power and deglobalization in the bestselling tradition of The World is Flat and The Next 100 Years.

Arguably the most brutal battle of the Ukraine War is now in its fourth month: the battle of Avdiivka. Let’s take a deep look at its strategic importance for both sides.

Avdiivka is located in southeastern Ukraine and offers access to vital Ukrainian logistical hubs – so both sides are intent on having control. The Russians have sent waves of troops, tanks and everything else they have into the meatgrinder of Avdiivka, suffering some 40,0000 battle casualties – a ratio of around 5 to 1 compared to the Ukrainian defenders.  

As bad as that sounds (and it is, indeed, very bad), in terms of equipment, the Russians are suffering loss ratios twice that. And yet, for the Russians, this isn’t even remotely perceived as a defeat. Russia has always fought its wars as ones of attrition. For Moscow, there’s nothing new here. Russia has more men and gear than Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s bet is that even horrific loss ratios like what’s happening at Avdiivka are still a recipe for ultimate victory.  

The Ukrainians need to shift the war to a style that suits their hand – one of movement and logistics, as opposed to sheer volume and numbers. To do this, NATO countries must ramp up materiel production, both for the Ukrainian front as well as for their own needs; otherwise, flows will stop and/or NATO’s capacity to defend itself will thin.

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Hey everybody. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Colorado. I’ve had a lot of people write in with questions about what’s going on in the Ukraine front, specifically what’s going on, and the battle of DPKO. This is a battle that’s been churning for a few months already, and it’s happened in a series of very discrete phases. Basically, this is a spot in southeastern Ukraine that the Russians are trying to capture from Ukraine, and it has some significant strategic implications.

If the if the Russians were able to capture it, they would be able to target a number of logistical hubs that the Ukrainians have been using very heavily in their counter offensives. So it’s not a nothing battle. It’s not an ego battle like we saw in Borehamwood last year with Russian mercenaries. This is this is a real fight.

And it’s it’s a bloody one. It’s happened in a number of phases. First, the Russians tried to use tanks to capture it. Then they sent human waves in which, you know, did as well against in place machine guns as it did back in World War One. In World War two. When that didn’t work, they sent hundreds of drones.

And now they’re trying these kind of combined armored infantry thrusts, lots of bodies. It has been the only place that the Russians have been attacking and reading between the lines of both Russian and government statements and private statements on both sides, as well as third party estimates, whether it’s from Turkey, China or Britain. It looks like the Ukrainians have been inflicting a 5 to 1 casualty ratio upon the Russians, which is just, you know, horrific.

But in terms of equipment, in terms of like tanks and APCs, it’s more like 10 to 1. Now, from the Russian point of view, this is not necessarily a disaster. This is kind of par for the course, not in terms of the numbers, but just kind of the impact of it. Ever since the Russians failed with that initial thunder run to Kiev at the beginning of the war.

The Russians have always known that this was going to be a battle of attrition for public support, for numbers of troops, for amount of equipment, and in that they definitely have the advantage, even giving the Ukrainians the most positive spin. Ukraine has less than one third the population of Russia and less than one eighth of the industrial plant.

And in terms of the order of battle that was inherited from the Soviet Union, it’s more like a 30 to 1 ratio. Russia was the primary successor state, and they got all the good stuff, so to speak. And so in any battle of numbers, the Ukrainians are going to have a very, very steep road to hoe here. But from the Russian point of view, this is kind of built in Russia is in control of information space.

So you don’t necessarily have to worry about public uprisings until you know, until you do. But we’re not there yet. And that means they can just keep pulling tanks out to refurbish them and sending them to the front without having to necessarily spin up their own military industrial plant to make new tanks. And they’re doing that, too. Now, there’s certainly burning through them five, ten times as fast as they can bring them online.

But they’re starting from a deep well of something like 16, 18,000 tanks at the beginning of the war. They’ve lost less than 2000 at this point. So they can keep this going for a very long time. In addition, the Russians have never, ever, ever claim to be the technological superpower in any age. They have always fought on the numbers and it has done them well against the against the Nazis.

There were oftentimes battles where they suffered four and five times as many casualties that they still won in the end, because they ultimately just had a much deeper bench of people. And so they’ve never focused on quality over quantity, because, as Stalin said, quantity is a quality all its own. And they’ve known this from the beginning. So when they see the bad numbers rolling in from places like a DEFCON, it’s kind of a shrug and they’re just, you know, throw in some more meat to the grinder.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, it doesn’t mean there aren’t complications. And this is absolutely why the Ukrainians are trying to turn this into a war of movement. In a war of logistics. But from the Russians point of view, this is a very comfortable place to fight a war, even with these sort of horrific numbers. The difference this time around, of course, is that this is the last time they can do this.

The bottom fell out of the Russian birthrate back in the 1990s, which means it’s already been 25 years since a large crop of people were born. And so they’re running out of people in their twenties. They started this war without 8 million men in the Russian started this war was about 8 million men in their twenties. 1 million have already been killed or removed from active combat roles because of injuries and another million have fled the country.

So at current pace, the Russians can maintain this for another four or five years, both in terms of equipment and manpower. And that’s when things get sketchy, whether or not Ukraine can last that long. You know, we’ll see. It does mean, however, that this is the last war that the Russians can fight of this scale. There’s just isn’t a replacement generation.

Now, whether this is good or bad for the Ukrainians, of course, depends upon how you want to look at the situation. The Ukrainians certainly don’t have as many men. They absolutely don’t have as much equipment. They’re absolutely dependent upon third countries, like most of the NATO forces, to supply them with the hardware that they need in a war of attrition.

That’s kind of a problem because NATO’s wasn’t designed to fight a war of attrition. It was designed to hold the line against the Soviets for just long enough for the Americans with their technological superiority to cross the Atlantic in force. Well, Ukraine’s not a NATO country, and so we’re nearing the bottom of the barrel for a lot of the tertiary countries across the Native Alliance.

And the Germans never had anything. So we’re starting to get into the stuff that really, really matters in a lot of these secondary countries like Poland or France and very soon, if NATO’s doesn’t like massively spin up their military industrial complex themselves, they’re going to have a choice between denuding their own stockpiles or supplying the Ukrainians, but probably settle for some version of both.

But again, as long as the Russians are fighting a war of attrition that they’re comfortable with, that’s a bit of a problem. But the real issue is the numbers. We talk about the thunder runs of the Russians going down to Kiev fairly, but what we’ve forgotten is that after a couple of amazing successes that Ukrainians had last year, the Ukrainians have not been able to return the favor.

If the Ukrainians cannot turn this into a war of movement and logistics, then it is by default a war of attrition. And if this is a war of attrition, that of DPKO is about the minimum level of success that the Ukrainians need to achieve. Five times as many men, ten times as much equipment they need to do that a hundred more times to defeat the Russians in a war of attrition.

And that is a extremely tall order.

Ukraine, MedShare, Cindy Crawford, and a New Book

We’re checking in on Ukraine today, and it appears that Mother Nature is keeping temps cold, the ground frozen, and enabling operations to continue. This means the Ukraine War will shift towards a war of logistics – which the Russians are notoriously bad at. As for the Ukrainians, it means support from outside countries will be even more critical in the coming months.

With that in mind, on behalf of the entire Zeihan on Geopolitics team and everyone at MedShare International,  thank you to those who participated in our November fundraiser. ZoG subscribers – and especially those who offered matching donations of their own – were able to raise over $500,000. With this infusion of cash, MedShare will be able to deliver nearly $25,000,000 worth of life-saving medical supplies and equipment, including spinal surgical kits, directly to healthcare providers in Ukraine before the end of the year.

This is because of all of you – whether you subscribed, helped share the word, or were able to donate – we helped MedShare do what they do best: partner with organizations in the US and abroad to maximize our donations by a couple orders of magnitude and deliver vital equipment where it’s needed most. And while our November campaign is over, the people of Ukraine will continue to need our help. We will continue to have a link posted if any of you want to donate to MedShare in the future.

And our last order of business today, Cindy Crawford is a fan of my books (see the clip attached in today’s video)!!! Now that I know she’s a reader, I wanted to remind her (and everyone else) that the updated version of my first book – The Accidental Superpower – will be released on December 26th. You can preorder it using the link below!

Here at Zeihan On Geopolitics we select a single charity to sponsor. We have two criteria:

First, we look across the world and use our skill sets to identify where the needs are most acute. Second, we look for an institution with preexisting networks for both materials gathering and aid distribution. That way we know every cent of our donation is not simply going directly to where help is needed most, but our donations serve as a force multiplier for a system already in existence. Then we give what we can.

Today, our chosen charity is a group called Medshare, which provides emergency medical services to communities in need, with a very heavy emphasis on locations facing acute crises. Medshare operates right in the thick of it. Until future notice, every cent we earn from every book we sell in every format through every retailer is going to Medshare’s Ukraine fund.

And then there’s you.

Our newsletters and videologues are not only free, they will always be free. We also will never share your contact information with anyone. All we ask is that if you find one of our releases in any way useful, that you make a donation to Medshare. Over one third of Ukraine’s pre-war population has either been forced from their homes, kidnapped and shipped to Russia, or is trying to survive in occupied lands. This is our way to help who we can. Please, join us.

TranscripT

Hey, everybody. Peter Zeihan here coming to you from the Chicago River Walk. I figured I owed you an update on what’s going on in Ukraine. Really? This is a weather thing. So normally, what happens when it turns from summer and fall to winter is you get a six week period kind of mud season where everything gets all gooey.

Well, it looks like that’s not really happening this year. It’s been much colder and as a result, operations can continue. But if there’s going to be a limiting factor in the war, it’s probably going to be equipment. Most of the Western countries have already provided the Ukrainians with all of the spare gear that they have and anything they provide at this point, they have to dig into their stocks of what is actually operational equipment.

And that’s a very different decision making process. So we’re probably not going to see the sort of big camera fences that we’ve seen of the attempts this year in the Big Apple operations we saw last year. Instead, this is likely to turn into a war logistics. Now, the Russians are have never been very good at that. And the Ukrainians have proven that they’re able to take basically garage project missiles and take out Russian flagships.

So expect the Ukrainians to be going after rail nodes, especially in the areas of Crimea and southwestern Russia. There was this massive storm in the Black Sea last month that did a lot of damage in those areas that the Russians are still cleaning up, which makes it’s kind of a perfect time for the Ukrainians to snarl things as much as possible.

And if you consider how poorly the Russian soldiers have fought and how badly they’ve been equipped to all of a sudden lose access to resupply is something that can really hit them where it hurts. The Russians have made it very clear what sort of targets they go after. Their guidance isn’t nearly as good as what the weapon systems are that the U.S. has provided to the Russians.

So they go after static emplacements, specifically power nodes and rail junctions. So you should expect large scale brown and black outs to be carpeting Ukraine over and over and over again. Which brings me to you. In the month of November, we had a matching program for donations to Medicare, which is a charity that provides medical assistance to communities who are under threat in some way.

Specifically, we were giving to the Ukraine fund and a number of people wrote in to help us with our matching. And ultimately we matched the first $100,000 of donations. Well, including that 100,000 donations from all of you hit us up to 500,000, which just blows my mind so much. Has it been given millions, $25 million in surgical kits and they now have the cash necessary to get these into the hands of doctors and provide training to save God knows how many lives.

So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now, do have one other announcement. There was a book fair in New York recently and it came to my attention that Cindy Crawford, of all people, has read my book. I’m Cindy Crawford. And the most recent best book I read was called The End of the World Is Just the Beginning by Peter Zeihan.

I believe, and it’s fascinating, but a little depressing. Cindy Crawford knows what I mean. So two things. Number one, call me. And second, if you like books, if you like my book personally, Crawford likes my book. There’s this bad boy. About ten years ago, Accidental Superpower, my first book was published, and we have been working in the last few months on an updated version that kind of fills the gap in those ten years and give you an idea of where it was right, where I was wrong and why and what is next.

And it publishes and it is available for you the day after Christmas. So, you know, everyone by 14 copies, that would be great. But mostly I want to make sure is Crawford gets one.