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"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

Since when did recession get in the way of war?

In response to an FT article by Kathrin Hille on 25th October 2015, entitled 'Russia defies recession to fund Syria conflict'.

"Any western leader who launched a military operation abroad in the middle of a stinging recession would have a hard time convincing the nation to pay for it"

Paying for something is when a) the price of something is transparent, which requires the seller to be honest, b) you decide that the benefits outweigh the costs, and then c) put your hand in your pocket and hand over the money.

Since when has any Western government 'paid' for a war? The one that immediately springs to mind is when William Pitt the Younger introduced a temporary measure known as 'income tax', to pay for the Napoleonic Wars.

Our government's overseas adventures are 'paid for' with debt. No debt - no Vietnam, no debt - no Iraq, etc etc etc.

So FT - by all means have a go at Russia if you must. No doubt Russian governments are as riddled with lies and underhand agendas as ours are.  But please be honest about it and stop dressing it up in rationalisation that can best be described as 'crass reporting and politics' (C.R.A.P.)


A fellow reader asked: "If Ukraine is so important to Russia, why is it now focussing on Syria?"

MarkGB responded:

Here's my take on it:

1. The Russians have been an ally and supporter of Syria for twenty years, there's nothing new here

2. They have their mediterranean naval base in Tartus

3. Assad has refused to allow the Qatari pipeline to pass through Syria. The Qatari pipeline would facilitate increased competition for Russia in European energy markets. This factor gets hardly any mainstream press. Why not I wonder? Because when oil is involved, 'human lives' suddenly become more important to the foreign policy of both Russia and the US, but governments and the media don't like to talk about that because they reckon, so far correctly, that it's easier to sell war to the masses if you talk about 'values' and 'saving lives'

4. The US has been pursuing a totally botched policy of regime change in Syria for the past 5 years - a policy that has produced an alphabet soup of Jihadi terrorist groups not far from Russian borders 

Latest excuse for the delay in Chilcott - allow me to translate

Lunch with the FT: Martin Wolf is joined by Ben Bernanke