New Law of Nature.
The future is Pix.
President Biden, stepping back from a campaign vow, has embraced a longstanding U.S. approach of using the threat of a potential nuclear response to deter conventional and other nonnuclear dangers in addition to nuclear ones, U.S. officials said Thursday.
During the 2020 campaign Mr. Biden promised to work toward a policy in which the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would be to deter or respond to an enemy nuclear attack.
Mr. Biden’s new decision, made earlier this week under pressure from allies, holds that the “fundamental role” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal will be to deter nuclear attacks. That carefully worded formulation, however, leaves open the possibility that nuclear weapons could also be used in “extreme circumstances” to deter enemy conventional, biological, chemical and possibly cyberattacks, said the officials. (Source: wsj.com)
2. U.S., EU reach LNG supply deal.
The U.S. and European Union announced an agreement to try and boost the supply of liquefied natural gas to European countries by the end of 2022 with at least 15 billion cubic meters.
The aim is to work with international partners to help the continent wean itself off Russian fuel imports. Under the agreement, EU member states will work to ensure demand for 50 billion cubic meters of U.S. liquefied natural gas until at least 2030. LNG imports from Russia stood at around 14 billion to 18 billion cubic meters annually in the past years. More here. (Sources: whitehouse.gov, bloomberg.com, wsj.com)
3. Oleg Ustenko, chief economic adviser to the president of Ukraine, writing in The New York Times:
Oil and petroleum products are Russia’s most important exports by far. Gas is the third most valuable export and is worth more than all other exports combined. Revenue from the export of energy finances over 40 percent of the Russian budget.
Russia’s most important customer is the European Union, which buys about 60 percent of the country’s gas exports, 50 percent of its oil exports and 50 percent of its petroleum product exports. Europe has paid more than $19 billion to Mr. Putin since Feb. 24 for these products.
Even more egregiously, since the invasion, Russian oil exports have not fallen, in part because the E.U. has not cut back on imports. At the same time, oil and gas prices have increased. From Mr. Putin’s perspective, his war is paying for itself. (Source: twitter.com, nytimes.com)
A month into a war that began with widespread expectations of a quick Russian rout, Ukraine’s military is undertaking a counteroffensive that has altered the central dynamic of the fighting: The question is no longer how far Russian forces have advanced, but whether the Ukrainians are now pushing them back.
Ukraine has blown up parked Russian helicopters in the south, and on Thursday claimed to have destroyed a naval ship in the Sea of Azov. Its forces struck a Russian resupply convoy in the Northeast.
Western and Ukrainian officials also have claimed progress in fierce fighting around the capital, Kyiv.
The asserted gains in territory are hard to quantify, or verify. In at least one crucial battle in a suburb of Kyiv, where Russian troops had made their closest approach to the capital, brutal street fighting still raged on Thursday and it was not clear that Ukraine had regained any ground.
But even this muddied picture of Ukrainian progress is helpful for the country’s messaging to its citizens, and to the world — that it is taking the fight to a foe with superior numbers and weaponry, and not just hunkering down to play defense. (Source: nytimes.com)
5. Antony Beevor: Putin doesn’t realize how much warfare has changed.
Vladimir Putin’s “distorted obsession with history, especially with the ‘Great Patriotic War’ against Germany, has skewed his political rhetoric with bizarre self-contradictions. It has clearly affected his military approach. Tanks were a great symbol of strength during the Second World War. That Putin can still see them that way defies belief. The vehicles have proved to be profoundly vulnerable to drones and anti-tank weapons in recent conflicts in Libya and elsewhere; Azerbaijan’s ability to destroy Armenian tanks easily was essential to its 2020 victory in the Nagorno-Karabakh region…..
His treatment of his own people is as pitiless as his treatment of his enemies. The army even brought a mobile crematorium to Ukraine to dispose of Russian casualties in order to reduce the body-bag count going home. Putin’s Soviet predecessors had a similar disregard for their troops’ feelings. In 1945, the Red Army faced a number of mutinies. Frequently treated with contempt by officers and political departments, soldiers were ordered out at night into no-man’s-land not to retrieve the bodies of fallen comrades, but to strip them of their uniforms for reuse by replacement troops.” Read the rest. (Source: theatlantic.com)
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