The war has created 7.5 million refugees that are now in other countries. There are approximately the same 7.5 million refugees within Ukraine itself. This comes with unimaginable human costs. Families are being broken apart, kids are growing up without a family unit to help, and on and on. Being raised in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language has got to be very tough. The wrecking of Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure, and not to mention the horrible human costs and deaths attributed to this war will end somehow one day.
Most of the western world has and is trying to help the Ukrainians fight this war. They are assisting with war materials, money, and sanctions against Russia. It has been almost a year and the Russian economy is doing fine considering. Sanctions did not keep North Korea from getting a nuclear bomb. Sanctions have not kept Iran from producing rockets and shipping them off to be fired on Israel. North Korea and Iran have not been brought to their knees economically. Sanctions sound good and have some effect. However, they do not keep determined leaders with bad intentions from surviving and moving forward.
Putin does not care about Ukraine’s suffering. The Russian GDP contracted 3.3% to 3.4% last year. Not great; but hardly a collapse. He has called up all the young men he can get to bulk up his military. He started this war and aims to finish off Ukraine for good.
Putin knows that the longer he can keep this war going the western world will soon tire of the expense and turmoil and seek negotiations. We in the U.S. do not hate Russians; we hate countries where freedom is a bad word. We especially hate evil leaders and make no mistake Putin is evil. We are so darned lucky to have the freedoms we have. Yes, we have paid the price for our freedoms, and it does not come cheap.
Putin has locked down political protests to the point that a regime change in Russia is basically not going to happen barring some sort of miracle.
The only way to stop the war is to get rid of Putin and his elitist run country. The only way to do that, is to win the war. What can our country do to help make this happen?
Sanctions can help, make them tougher and that comes with political pain. Every sanction steps on some business’ toes. We need to be more forceful.
Give the Ukrainians what they need militarily. Fighter Jets and longer-range missiles. It is almost impossible to win a war when your adversary can run around with impunity past a certain mile marker. The nuclear threat is real and scary. Russia has as much to lose as we do when it comes to the use of atomic bombs.
Winning the war needs to be our goal and we need to do whatever we can now. One thing Putin is right about: western countries will run out of patience.
The current administration talks about the existential threat of climate change. Right now, we should be more worried about the threat to our freedoms caused by totalitarian regimes spreading worldwide. Make no mistake, Putin’s Russia is determined to spread its influence.
War is all out, not some peace mil use of money and political capital.
The markets have rallied so far this year. My hope is that inflation comes down to the point that the Fed will ease off tightening. It looks like the market believes inflation will ease and rate increases will stop later in the year. That is really the basis of this rally. One issue I see is the Fed may overdo rate hikes because it is easier to bring down inflation at first; but to bring it down to their target 3 to 4% will be tougher than the stock market thinks. Soft landings are hard to manage, but I hope the Fed can do that this time around. I also hope somehow this war will end this year.
Thanks, Andy McClung CFP TM
RE: Patty Hirsch NPR; Oleg Sukhov Kyiv Independent; CSIS Yaboke/Edwards;
2023 Market Results
S&P 500 +7.7%
NASDAQ Composite +14.7%
Dow Industrials +7.3%
Russell 2000 +12.7%
World ACWI +8.4%
Source Wall Street Journal 02/06/23