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Volatile Vladimir - MMM #8

Thomas Konings
Thomas Konings
Hi all,
When I said “what a week” last week I had not anticipated what would happen this week. With Russia “intervening” in Ukraine, the already volatile political & financial climate coming out of the pandemic is put on steroids. Western countries seem more united than ever, willing to do literally anything short of sending the army.
Vladimir Putin is already threatening NATO countries. The best-case conceivable outcome right now would be that the Russian invasion stays limited to regime change in Ukraine. All others outcomes are unthinkable. Ukraine will likely put up long-term (underground) resistance when Kyiv falls, a conflict that may take years.
With Putin already threatening the use of nuclear weapons, the only hope for the West to avoid military confrontation is a Russian revolution or military coup. Under nuclear threat, Putin may find an incursion into Lithuania feasible. 69 years old Vladimir seems all too determined to leave his mark on history.
📃 To take your mind off things this week:
  • ⭐Highlight: sanctions and their implications, in-depth articles.
  • 🔍Valuation: Buffett complains about the lack of value investing opportunities.
  • 🚀Space: diplomacy in space or the ISS as leverage?
  • 🎁Extra: 12ft ladder - paywalls-be-gone.
  • ⏭️Next
Have a great week!

⭐Highlight: double edged sword
Sanctions are a great way to pressure a rogue nation into complying with international law and order but they come at a cost. After years of pan-European and global supply chain integration, we’ve become reliant on each other for crucial commodities. Russia stands to control a large part of the food supply chain, meaning it can weaponize it at any time.
If you read any article from this week’s newsletter, read this opinion published in POLITICO. It gives an in-depth look into the (possible) weaponization of food supply chains, and likely next steps for Russia.
Opinion | Why the U.S. Needs to Act Fast to Prevent Russia from Weaponizing Food Supply Chains - POLITICO
Automakers idle production following Russia's invasion, other firms also scramble | Reuters
🔍Valuation: where'd the value go?
The “sage of Omaha” Warren Buffet, complains about the impact of low interest rates on value investing deals. Essentially: the lower the interest rate, the more expensive any investment becomes. Not just because you discount future cashflows by a lower rate, but demand also increases. Any productive investment is suddenly more attractive than saving (which is the point of the policy).
🚀Space: "I drop space station on your head"
In perhaps the most ridiculous threat so far, Russia’s space chief literally threatened to drop the International Space Station (ISS) into the atmosphere.
When the director-general tweeted that without the Russians nobody could save the station, Elon Musk replied “SpaceX”. It must have triggered something with Elon, as he proceeded by activating SpaceX’s Starlink internet service in Ukraine and donating Starlink terminals, guaranteeing uncensored internet.
Russia's space chief responds to new sanctions by suggesting that the ISS could crash into the US or Europe
🎁Extra: climb over the paywall
Although I do not endorse piracy, there are times when an easier way to access your subscriptions is desirable. I can’t count how many times I’ve struggled to access a Financial Times article even though I have a subscription. If you’re like me, this is a great website that gives you instant access to those articles. Obviously, you should only use this with websites you can legally access.
Unfortunately no blog article this week, but I hope to make up for it next week! Stay tuned :)
Have a great week!
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Thomas Konings
Thomas Konings @tkon99

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