Russian consumers flocked to stores to buy what they could before the value of their money dropped further. The ruble is crashing. The Associated Press says that “Russian authorities announced a series of measures to ease the pressure on the ruble, which slid 15 percent in the previous two days and raised fears of a bank run, many Russians were buying cars and home appliances — in some cases in record numbers — before prices for these imported goods shoot higher.”
Apple has stopped online sales. Ikea stores have been overrun with frenzied buyers. A run on banks could be just a few days away. The big time guys are panicked too. The Daily Mail says Russian oligarchs are converting away from the ruble like it was going out of style. “‘I’ve got £100m to spend, what can I get in Mayfair?’ … Russia’s oligarchs have started a new stampede for high-end London property to protect their wealth from country’s collapsing economy”
Walter Russell Mead, writing in the American Interest says that with Putin’s back up against the wall he may be as dangerous as the proverbial wounded bear.
Will Putin surrender to the West or double down, Mead asks? If he doubles down, Mead suggests two ways Putin can run. First, he could pawn the country to Beijing. China would bail him out — for a price. Second, Putin could attempt to boost the price of oil by stirring up trouble in the Middle East.
For the Democratic party it’s like finding a pot of foreign policy gold in its backyard that they don’t know what to do with. The Washington Post reports that “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) administration said Wednesday that it will block gas development by hydraulic fracturing, bringing to an end a six-year study process and kicking off what could be years of lawsuits from developers who want to tap rich Marcellus shale deposits.”
Too late Andrew. America became the world’s biggest producer of oil in July, 2014, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia according to Bloomberg. “Oil extraction is soaring at shale formations in Texas and North Dakota as companies split rocks using high-pressure liquid, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.” Not even the New York Democratic party can stop them now.