Until Joe Biden took office I thought that George W Bush had dibs on the “stupidest foreign policy blunder in history” award. His decision to invade Iraq rather than eliminate Al Qaeda hurt the United States and fueled international terrorism. But leave it to Joe Biden to one-up W by imposing sanctions on Russia that are inflicting an economic holocaust on the United States and Europe. Heck of a job, Joe.
The ostensible reason for “punishing” Russia with sanctions that actually pummel the west was Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Now we all know that Ukraine was/is the poorest nation in Europe. Right?
Ukraine is one of the worst off countries after the collapse of the USSR. It is the poorest country in Europe despite having a huge aerospace industry, natural resources and some of the most fertile land for agriculture. During the communist era, Ukraine was the breadbasket of the Soviet Union. Despite all this, Ukrainians have experienced terrible famines such as the Stalinist Holodomor.
Today, the situation is not much better. Apart from enduring a war with Russia, its political system is particularly corrupt. Almost the entire economy is in the hands of big oligarchs: millionaires who amass fortunes thanks to their connections with political power.
Let me share with you some critical facts about Ukraine and its economic potential. When you consider these facts you will likely wonder why Ukraine is not one of the richest nations in Europe.
1st in Europe in proven recoverable uranium ore reserves;
2nd place in Europe and 10th place in the world in titanium ore reserves;
2nd place in the world in terms of explored reserves of manganese ores (2.3 billion tons, or 12% of world reserves);
The 2nd largest iron ore reserves in the world (30 billion tons);
2nd place in Europe in mercury ore reserves;
3rd place in Europe (13th place in the world) in terms of shale gas reserves (22 trillion cubic meters)
4th place in the world in terms of the total value of natural resources;
7th place in the world in coal reserves (33.9 billion tons)
Ukraine is an important agricultural country:
1st in Europe in terms of arable land area;
3rd place in the world by the area of chernozem (25% of the world volume);
1st place in the world in the export of sunflower and sunflower oil;
2nd place in the world in barley production and 4th place in barley export;
3rd largest producer and 4th largest exporter of corn in the world;
The 4th largest potato producer in the world;
The 5th largest rye producer in the world;
5th place in the world for honey production (75,000 tons);
8th place in the world in wheat exports;
9th place in the world in the production of chicken eggs;
16th place in the world in cheese exports.
Ukraine can meet the food needs of 600 million people.
Ukraine was an important industrially developed country:
1st in Europe in ammonia production;
The 2nd and 4th largest natural gas pipeline systems in the world;
3rd largest in Europe and 8th in the world in terms of installed capacity of nuclear power plants;
3rd place in Europe and 11th in the world in terms of the length of the railway network (21,700 km);
3rd place in the world (after the USA and France) in the production of locators and navigation equipment;
3rd largest iron exporter in the world;
The 4th largest exporter of turbines for nuclear power plants in the world;
The world’s 4th largest manufacturer of rocket launchers;
4th place in the world in clay exports;
4th place in the world in titanium exports;
8th place in the world in the export of ores and concentrates;
9th place in the world in the export of defense industry products;
The 10th largest steel producer in the world (32.4 million tons).
I found this list stunning. A country with these natural riches should be on top of the world economically. But Ukraine lags the rest of Europe. The explanation is simple–western politicians and businessmen, such as Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain and a legion of others, have their hooks in Ukraine and are expropriating Ukrainian wealth for their own enrichment.
Consider the fact that Ukraine is the 4th largest exporter of titanium. What are the major products that rely on titanium?
Aerospace industry–In western countries, such as the United States, 60% of titanium materials are used in the aerospace field. However, with the rapid development of Asian aerospace in recent years, the consumption of titanium in the aerospace field will increase accordingly.
Automobile industry–The preferred way to reduce the weight of automobiles is to replace traditional automotive materials such as steel with high-strength lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium.
Medical industry—Titanium has a wide range of applications in the medical field. Titanium is close to human bones, has good biocompatibility to human tissues, and has no toxic side effects. Human implants are special functional materials that are closely related to human life and health. Compared with other metal materials, the advantages of using titanium and titanium alloys are mainly the following: lightweight, low elastic modulus, non-magnetic, non-toxic, corrosion resistance, high strength, and good toughness.
Chemical industry–Titanium has become one of the main anti-corrosive materials in chemical equipment and has established his corrosion resistance status in chemical equipment. As an ideal material in chemical equipment, titanium has also attracted more and more attention from engineering technicians.
Marine engineering—Titanium has excellent corrosion resistance to seawater and is widely used in seawater desalination, ships, marine thermal energy development, and subsea resource extraction.
Sports industry–Titanium is used in sporting goods because of its lightweight and high strength. The use of titanium has gradually expanded from the earliest tennis rackets and badminton rackets to golf heads, clubs, and racing cars.
With this bounty of natural resources Ukraine, in theory, should have been in the catbird’s seat and surpassed Germany as an economic powerhouse. But corruption and insider dealing took precedence and the Ukrainian people suffered while the Biden, Clinton, Kerry and Romney families enriched themselves.
I have not yet done the deep dive on the portions of Ukraine that produce these various minerals and chemicals, but I suspect much of the territory Russia is occupying in Ukraine is where many of these riches are located. Given what Putin has accomplished in Russia during the last 20 years in wresting monopoly control from the hands of insatiable oligarchs and well-connected western politicians and corporations, I am betting that those portions of Ukraine that are now positioned to become part of Russia will have a brighter, richer future.
This will only make Russia stronger economically. Matt Bowen and Paul Babbar, writing in The Hill, identify a potentially dire challenge the west faces on the nuclear power front:
Western leaders need to immediately consider their exposure to Russian nuclear exports and take steps to reduce it or face another energy shock at the hands of Putin.
There are several segments of the commercial nuclear value chain where a Russian supplier could impact the availability of a reactor in the West to provide power. For nuclear fuel, these include uranium mining and milling, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication. For existing Russian-designed reactors, they include providing unique original equipment manufacturer spare parts and services.
Russia has a significant market share in many of those pieces of the nuclear supply chain through its state-owned nuclear company Rosatom. For that reason, various countries around the world are caught in a challenging situation, including the U.S. They may want to extricate themselves from buying nuclear energy supplies from Rosatom to reduce supply chain risk and to stop sending money to Russia, but at the same time, they currently rely on Russian services and materials to run their reactors.
If you have labored under the false narrative that Russia is an economic midget trying to play with the so-called “first world big boys”, these facts show that you have been fed a massive, false narrative. Russia’s natural resources exceed those of Ukraine. A united Russia and Ukraine represents a true economic powerhouse. Those two countries actually make things and have the internal resources necessary to produce them. The United States and Europe do not. And there are no stashes of alternative supplies in other countries capable of replacing what Russia and Ukraine mine and harvest. This is why the United States and Europe are desperate to weaken Russia. The writing is on the wall for all to read.