"Useful idiot" is not a personal insult, but an historical term coined by Lenin and defined by the KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov. It refers to those like Lincoln Steffens ("I have seen the future and it works"), the British Socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webbs and George Bernard Shaw, who served to cover up the genocidal nature of the Bolshevik regime. My maternal grandparents were two such misguided idealists, so you're in good company. But this movie is an old rerun begging to be cancelled. That you were unaware of the shoes you're filling and the impersonal nature and context of my use of this term tells readers what they need to know about your argument.
My agenda, from a previous response: As a permanent resident of Latvia, my mission is simple: Putin started a war on my birthday, February 24, and I declared war on him with the only tools I have: words and money--donating and raising four figures in February and March for Ukrainian territorial defense and refugees. Using evidence-based argument to refute evidence-free whataboutist nonsense is part of that mission. Since I live in a beachfront forest in Jurmala which still has Soviet pillboxes, this is also simply a matter of self-defense. We have three grandchildren growing up here, one born only 17 months ago.
Payoff: With Russian bear right next door, self-defense to demolish all disinformation that might weaken Article 5.
Monopolist: I operate no businesses. None I invest in have monopolies, except, maybe, Apple. Ask the FTC. If you denounce me to the FTC as a monopolist, don't expect them to return your call.
"Natural resources": The US and Russia rank #1 and #3 in the world in energy production. Neither needs Ukraine's natural gas fields. Sanctions and the exit of western oil majors from Russia cost Gazprom and Rosneft far more than they could ever gain from taking over Ukraine's gas assets. Just as a racialist ideology drove Hitler to invade the natural resources he was already peacefully buying from the USSR, Putin's imperial Russification ideology drove him to launch a war of choice contrary to his country's economic interests. The US did the same in Iraq.
"strong dollar, move jobs overseas": Offshoring didn't slow down when the euro was $1.59/$ in 2008. A strong $ is lethal for American exports, which is why there was so much pressure to label the Japanese in the 1980s and the Chinese more recently as currency manipulators. The September 1985 Plaza Agreement to tame the super dollar of the high real interest rates of the Reagan era, didn't slow down offshoring either.
"You helped to facilitate that for Americans."--I shorted the Reagan era super $ in 1985-86. I went long the $ against the super Yen in 2012-14. How two opposing forex bets helped facilitate the same offshoring process is beyond my comprehension. But please explain. But I guess you view all forex trading as malevolent. But without it you won't have convertible currencies, which would make international trade and travel rather inconvenient and much more costly. The Italy I visited in the 1970s and 80s had capital controls. Customs would check that you weren't taking more than the regulated amount of $, CHF, GBP out of the country. Is that the regime you'd prefer?
Before you write about macroeconomics and forex study George Soros' Quantum Fund, Jeremy Grantham (GMO), Stanley Druckenmiller, Howard Marks, Ray Dalio (Bridgewater), Mark Mobius, Soros' ex-partner Jimmy Rogers, Ken Fisher, David Rosenberg (in Canada's Financial Post).....I'll stop here.
I taught a behavioral investing course to undergraduates called "The History of Human Financial Stupidity--Including Mine" (I have lots of cases) that could give you a basic macroeconomic and financial markets education.
"America is a better hegemon than Russia": I agree. In one previous article, you did too, finally acknowledging that "none of the above" is not on the geopolitics ballot. In a room full of blind men, the one-eyed guy looks like a genius. Of the three empires left on our planet, the American one has the smallest gap between its ambition and capacity. Decaying empires and states that misunderstand their real capacity, like the UK and France in Suez in 1956, Russia in 1855, 1905 and 1914, the Axis powers from 1937-45, the Confederacy in 1861-65, the US in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, create their own catastrophes through hubris. Reread Thucydides.
The decaying American empire is a serial war criminal. It is the worst form of geopolitical hegemony, except for all the others available. I'd be happy to outsource hegemony to Finland, Norway and Iceland. But they're not applying for the job.
"Lester = escalation": If 100 HIMARS are needed to secure Ukrainian victory and a collapse of Russia's incompetent serf army similar to 1917, I'm all for it. The indispensable endgame to avoid having to do this again, as we had to with 20th century Germany: the breakup of Russia's resource-cursed land-based colonial empire. Read Immanual Wallerstein to understand why (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Wallerstein)
"What do you want from me?": If you write about the Russia-Ukraine War, write nothing unsupported by evidence researched with scholarly and journalistic integrity. I'd be happy to help you with sources. Then I'll click clap on the results.