Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Free vs Regulated Banking: The First Bank of the United States and the Revolutionary War Debt (Part 2 of 4)

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6 MIN READ - The Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Economic Affairs and Other Egghead Stuff pivots slightly from financial instability to discuss Alexander Hamilton’s first foray into managing America’s national debt. Even readers with little interest in banking may be surprised at the level of political corruption endemic within U.S. government in 1791.

A depreciated Massachusetts Revolutionary War bond like those
Alexander Hamilton's insiders bought for mere shillings on the pound
To read Part 1—the philosophical debate that ultimately led to the establishment of America’s first central bank, the First Bank of the United States (BUS)—visit:


In 1791 Alexander Hamilton directed his new central bank, the Bank of the United States (BUS), to invest heavily in U.S. Treasury debt, uncoincidentally since he was also the Secretary of the Treasury. The story surrounding Hamilton and the debt question is a fascinating one that we will examine here.

The Revolutionary War was funded partially from debts issued by the colonial state governments. At war’s end, it was clear that many states were struggling to fully repay their ballooning war debts and their bond prices fell dramatically.

Hamilton famously convinced President George Washington to use the powers of the U.S. Treasury to assume the states’ debts and consolidate them into a single federal debt, again over the objections of Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton believed that taking on a large national debt would establish the new government’s credit in world markets and welcomed the resulting transfer of power from the states to the central government. 

Furthermore he is known for calling the public debt “a national blessing.”

In a 1781 letter to his financial colleague and mentor Robert Morris, the wealthiest man in America at the time, Hamilton had already laid his plans to establish a national debt for the new United States:

“A national debt if it is not excessive will be to us a national blessing; it will be powerful cement of our union. It will also create a necessity for keeping up taxation to a degree which without being oppressive, will be a spur to industry.”

-April 30, 1781

More controversially, Hamilton convinced Washington to not only assume all state war debts, but to buy the bonds at par—full face value—even though many of the bonds traded at only 20 cents or even pennies on the dollar.

But where would the federal government find the money to buy up all these state bonds? 

It would issue new federal bonds (ie. a national debt) and Hamilton would ensure there was always a willing market to buy them using a two-pronged strategy.

1) Although the BUS was legally prohibited from buying government debt directly, Hamilton’s IPO terms required subscribers to buy their shares using only 25% in gold/silver specie payments and the other 75% with federal government bonds in three one-year installments, thus creating an instant demand for U.S. Treasuries. 

This share subscription rolled an enormous hoard of government bonds into the bank's coffers with interest payments profiting the BUS and its shareholders handsomely.

2) Once Hamilton’s central bank opened for business it would lend generously to his finance contacts in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston who in turn agreed to use the proceeds to buy more U.S. government bonds, pushing up securities prices and growing the large public debt Hamilton had coveted. The hapless U.S. taxpayer would then repay the government’s debt plus interest.

It was precisely the arrangement Jefferson had warned about: the BUS acting as an instrument to enrich the moneyed classes at the expense of the general public.


Once Washington agreed to the assumption of state debts, Hamilton’s mentor Robert Morris and other political and finance associates got wind of the arrangement and immediately sent their agents up and down the Atlantic seaboard to buy up as many of the depressed state bonds as they could find. 

Since word travelled very slowly using 1790’s technology Morris and Hamilton’s other colleagues were effectively armed with insider knowledge. Fully aware that the federal government was going to pay one hundred cents on the dollar, they bought up near-worthless state war bonds from anyone they could find including widows and war veterans, many of whom were permanently wounded or maimed, missing eyes, arms or legs.

As Claude Bowers’ 1925 book “Jefferson and Hamilton” describes:

“Expresses with very large sums of money on their way to North Carolina for purposes of speculation in certificates splashed and bumped over the wretched winter roads… Two fast sailing vessels, chartered by a member of Congress who had been an officer in the war, were ploughing the waters southward on a similar mission.”

“[War bonds] were coaxed from them [veterans] for five and even as low as two, shillings on the pound by speculators, including the leading members of Congress, who knew that provision for the redemption of the paper [at full value] had been made.”

“Everywhere men with capital…  were feverishly pushing their advantage by preying on the ignorance of the poor.”

To pay off the federal bonds that financed the entire scheme Hamilton’s first target was a tax on whiskey and distilled spirits which instigated the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. 

Most students of U.S. history are aware that Hamilton advised military force and arrests against angry corn and grain farmers and personally accompanied the militia army to western Pennsylvania.

Not only did the farmers feel singled out, but Pennsylvania was one of the few states that had successfully paid off its war debts and its citizens and government believed it was unfair that they were now being taxed to subsidize heavily indebted states like Massachusetts and South Carolina.

Hamilton also famously argued for the execution of rebelling farmers for treason but could only secure two hangings which Washington eventually canceled by presidential pardon.

Once Hamilton’s Treasury Department purchased the depreciated state bonds at par, Morris and Hamilton’s other friends made a fortune.

John Quincy Adams wrote to his father Vice President John Adams that “Christopher Gore, the richest lawyer in Massachusetts, and one of the strongest Bay State members of Hamilton’s machine, had made an independent fortune in speculation in public funds.” (Bowers)

And according to DiLorenzo (2009):

“New York newspapers speculated that Robert Morris stood to make $18 million (more than $300 million in 2009 dollars), while Governor George Clinton of New York would pocket $5 million. Hamilton himself purchased some of the old bonds through his buying agents in Philadelphia and New York but insisted they were ‘for his brother-in-law.’”

The Economics Correspondent is a bit skeptical of the $18 million that New York newspapers speculated Robert Morris gained. Analyzing the total federal debt and federal revenues at the time, $18 million is barely mathematically possible, but as America’s richest man Robert Morris undoubtedly profited to the tune of many millions of dollars. And there is no question that many of Hamilton’s associates also made fortunes from the insider trading scheme.

Yet today Hamilton's assumption of the states' debts is lauded by liberal pundits as an unequivocal success, especially whenever the suggestion of the federal government bailing out bankrupt states and municipalities is floated (such as Detroit in 2013 and several financially distressed state governments in the post-2008 recession). No mention, of course, of the political corruption and profiteering that encompassed the bailout or the financial crisis it directly fostered.

More about that financial crisis in the next chapter.

It's no wonder the Broadway play “Hamilton” is such a success in large cities like New York and Los Angeles while Alexander Hamilton has recently become the favorite Founding Father among urban elites.

But what about banking panics? After all crisis and instability is the theme of the Economics Correspondent’s series is it not? Aside from facilitating debt, inflation, cronyism, and corruption didn’t the BUS also incite financial crises?

Absolutely. Stay tuned for the next column where we’ll return to the subject of financial instability and review how Hamilton’s dealings at the BUS precipitated America’s first financial crisis: the Panic of 1792.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Free vs Regulated Banking: The First Bank of the United States (Part 1 of 4)

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5 MIN READ - The Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Economic Affairs and Other Egghead Stuff had originally suspended his American banking history entries until news from Ukraine wound down, but given the continuing conflict after three weeks has decided to resume the series. Perhaps a little American history will be a welcome diversion from the constant barrage of Ukraine coverage.

Last month the Economics Correspondent reported on the two-hundred year history of “unit banking” laws that destabilized America’s banking industry and precipitated multiple financial crises.

So unit bank laws were pretty much the extent of government’s regulatory interference in our nation’s banking system, right?

No way. We haven’t even gotten warmed up.

Not only was the early U.S. banking system not “deregulated”—as current day bureaucrats, journalists, and academics claim—it was also dominated by two government-connected central banks during forty of its first fifty years: the Bank of the United States (1791-1811) and Second Bank of the United States (1816-1836). 

These two powerful institutions were themselves directly responsible for precipitating multiple financial crises.


(Note: The Economics Correspondent is aware of Robert Morris’ short-lived Bank of North America that operated under a privileged federal charter from 1782-1785 and which some consider to be the USA’s first central bank. However, this series of articles considers the question of central banking only once the United States established itself as a constitutional republic after the Constitution’s ratification in 1788)

George Washington had barely begun his job as America’s first president when a controversy erupted within his new cabinet. In a now-infamous debate Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson clashed over the question of establishing a government-connected central bank.

Alexander Hamilton, a brilliant polymath who was excellent on the issue of slavery (he was one of America’s first abolitionists), and correctly foresaw that America’s future lay in industry—not agriculture as Jefferson had predicted—had somewhat more dubious views on the subjects of government power and economics. 

Hamilton was long an admirer of the English mercantilist system and wished to effectively recreate England’s economy in America, including the Bank of England, only without a king. 

In lieu of a monarch Hamilton proposed that presidents and senators should serve for life at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. His motion obviously failed the ratification vote.

Hamilton’s economic outline proposed a large permanent national debt, a centralized federal taxing authority, and large government subsidies and protective tariffs for business, all based on the English system the colonies had just broken away from.

But the linchpin of his economic plan for America was the establishment of a national bank to act as the government’s banker and lender, and which would create credit for the new republic in the name of promoting commerce and industry. 

It was nearly a mirror image of the Bank of England.

A historical anecdote sheds some light on the thinking behind Hamilton’s designs for the new country’s economy:

In a 1791 dinner attended by Hamilton, Vice President John Adams, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson the discussion moved, as was usually the case, to the proper roles and functions of government. 

Adams opined: 

“Purge the British Constitution of its corruption, and give to its popular branch equality of representation, and it would be the most perfect constitution ever devised by the wit of man.”

Hamilton paused for a moment and then, to Jefferson’s shock, responded:

“Purge it of its corruption, and give to its popular branch equality of representation, and it would become an impracticable government. As it stands at present, with all its supposed defects, it is the most perfect government that ever existed.”

Now before we portray Hamilton as a sleazy champion of blatant corruption, let’s make his more nuanced meaning clear. 

Hamilton wanted the new, fledgling United States to succeed, and he believed the support of the elite aristocracy and moneyed classes was crucial for its survival.

Thus in Hamilton’s opinion the glue that would hold the fragile federation of states together was mercantilist self-interest. If the elites partnered with government and became conditioned to rely on state authority to further their economic interests then they were more likely to throw support behind the new republic.

In Hamilton’s own words, the national bank was “a political machine, of the greatest importance to the state.”

Thomas Jefferson, a prodigious polymath in his own right, couldn’t have disagreed more. 

As an intellectual product of the Scottish Enlightenment and reader of economists such as Adam Smith, Montesquieu, and Turgot, Jefferson was suspicious of centralized power and particularly central banks. 

Jefferson viewed Hamilton’s proposal as a dangerous financial tool of centralized government and a paper-money machine that would more easily enable war and enrich the connected moneyed classes at the expense of the general population.

He also believed a central bank would breed wanton corruption and financial instability, just as he already knew the French Banque Royale and Bank of England had induced crises and depressions during the notorious Mississippi Bubble of 1719 and South Sea Bubble of 1720.

Yet despite their sharp philosophical differences, the final debate over the bank ultimately boiled down to legalities. 

Jefferson urged Washington not to support a charter, arguing the Constitution provided no explicit authority for the federal government to charter banks let alone establish a “national bank.” 

Hamilton argued that the Constitution gave Congress the right to “coin money” (note: not to “print" money), regulate its value, and regulate commerce between the states, and that the authorization for a national bank also existed under the Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause:

“The Congress shall have Power… …To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

-Article 1, Section 8

Washington, never comfortable with matters of economics and finance, resolved the quarrel in his familiar fashion: a compromise. He would support the establishment of a national bank, but its charter would only last twenty years after which a Congressional vote and presidential signing would be required for renewal.

Thus the Bank of the United States (BUS) opened in Philadelphia—uncoincidentally the U.S. capital at the time—on December 12, 1791. Although Alexander Hamilton was officially Treasury Secretary, he unofficially ran the BUS as his personal project, making him the combined Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell of his day.


The Bank of the United States was given an exclusive federal charter, the exclusive right to branch across state lines, and became the exclusive steward of the federal government’s deposits.

As Hamilton admired the Bank of England, he used the same method to raise startup capital that the English bank directors had employed nearly a century earlier: a joint-stock share offering; in this case $10 million or five times the capitalization of every other U.S. bank combined and over double the federal government’s annual revenues.

After the successful share offering the BUS immediately loaned $2 million of its paid-in capital to the federal government which the Treasury returned to purchase a 20% stake back in the BUS. The government would then repay its loan to the BUS from future bank dividends.

As Hamilton had intended, partial ownership in the BUS quickly aligned the government’s interests with the bank’s.

Foreign investors also comprised a large share of the bank’s equity ownership but were denied voting rights.

As soon as the BUS opened its doors, Hamilton went to work inflating credit and the money supply by aggressively extending loans in the form of new notes and deposits. 

BUS notes were payable on demand in silver and gold specie, and the federal government’s announcement that they were the only banknotes acceptable for payment of excise taxes (the government’s primary source of revenue as there was no income tax at the time) gave them a quasi-legal tender status that guaranteed their acceptance and circulation.

Within just months of its opening the BUS had created over 2.5 million new dollars of money, a vast sum at the time, and price inflation was already taking hold in the young country. By Friedman and Schwartz’s estimates (1968) the equivalent of U.S. M1 rose by nearly 20% from 1791 to 1792. Rousseau and Sylla (2004) estimate closer to 33%. 

This inflation is an important development and will be revisited in upcoming chapters.

We can see even early in George Washington’s first term American banking was already far from laissez-faire.

In Part 2 we’ll discuss Hamilton’s success in using the BUS’s power to finance the federal government’s assumption of the states’ Revolutionary War debts.

ps. The HBO Series “John Adams” does a fairly good job of portraying the Hamilton-Jefferson disagreement in a short two-minute dialogue (0:45-2:45) at:

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Left Coast Correspondent: Vladimir Putin's Red Herring. An Inventory of Nuclear Weapons in Europe.

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3 MIN READ - The Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Left Coast Affairs and Other Inexplicable Phenomena would like to provide an updated count of nuclear missiles and warheads in Europe.

The Correspondent has seen a great deal of “Putin invaded Ukraine because he doesn’t want nuclear missiles on his doorstep" commentary on TV and online the last two weeks. "How would America feel if Russia placed nuclear missiles on the Mexican border?” they ask.

The Correspondent generally believes it’s a good thing to take an occasional breath and make sure American foreign policy is not hypocritical or about to drag us all into a direct shooting war between two nuclear superpowers. To both ends he thinks such NATO and U.S. critics mean well and can make a good contribution to political dialogue.

But a word of caution: If you’re going to lay blame for Putin's order to invade and bomb a peaceful country (that his country previously committed formal genocide against during the Soviet era) at the feet of NATO then please check the premises are based in real equivalency.

According to multiple sources including the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Arms Control Center, Federation of American Scientists, Washington Post, etc... there are no ground-based nuclear missiles anywhere in Europe. 


None in any European NATO member countries. Haven’t been for years.

And certainly not in new Eastern European NATO member states. Never have been. In fact there have never been any nuclear assets at all in Eastern Europe under NATO.

And these sources, many being anti-nuclear proliferation, have every incentive to inflate the count of nuclear weapons in Europe and the world. But they have all consistently reported the same inventories for years (some source links below).

No nuclear missile launch sites in Europe might come as a surprise to people, especially those who lived through the Cold War, but the perception that the continent plays host to countless launching pads with missiles aimed at Russia is a relic leftover from Cold War thinking.

The only nuclear assets in Europe are:

-“Approximately 150 U.S. non-strategic gravity B-61 warheads” locked in underground vaults in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Turkey. 

None of those countries borders Russia. B-61’s are tactical weapons, not the strategic kind meant for population centers, and they are gravity weapons meaning they must be dropped from aircraft.

-French nuclear assets are today all submarine launched or placed on aircraft-launched cruise missiles.

-UK nuclear assets are today all sea-based.

And to repeat, there are no nuclear warheads anywhere in Eastern Europe and haven’t been since they were freed from the Soviet Union.

This arrangement is perfectly consistent with NATO’s defensive alliance posture. 

Were a very large unidentified country to actually consider a nuclear first strike on Europe, they would first be deterred by submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles, an air-based counterstrike from carriers, ship or air-launched cruise missiles, nuclear-capable fighters or scrambled strategic bombers, or a host of highly capable American ICBM’s based in the continental United States.

It's also consistent with former Soviet bloc countries wanting NATO membership for protection, but not wanting to single themselves out as targets by permitting NATO nuclear assets on their territory.

This is all a testament to the nuclear treaty drawdowns signed by successive Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations with their Gorbachev and Yeltsin counterparts. Since the signing of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the two sides have destroyed literally thousands of nuclear missiles previously based in Europe and Russia.

Meanwhile Vladimir Putin is more aware than anyone of the absence of ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe, and he knows there is no “threat,” current or potential, of nuclear missiles in Ukraine. And any conventional invasion of Russia would be suicidal as Russia has a large nuclear deterrent of its own.

Yet many who are in a rush to blame NATO and the United States for Putin’s war in Ukraine by claiming nuclear missiles on his doorstep have failed to realize what Moscow has long-since known. 

Perhaps they feel there's too big a rush of patriotism clouding people's heads. Perhaps they want the West to treat Russia the way we'd like to be treated, or both.

Those are laudable goals. But like those who marched for unilateral disarmament in the 1980’s their good intentions, absent sufficient facts, risk unwittingly carrying water for dictators.

Selected inventories of European nuclear weapons dated 2015 to 2021:

Monday, March 7, 2022

UK's Boris Johnson Announces North Sea Production Expansion to Replace Russian Supply, U.S. Still Stalling

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From the Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Economic Affairs and Other Egghead Stuff: Britain first to employ common sense.

"Prime minister prepares new UK energy strategy, seeking self-sufficiency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Boris Johnson is preparing to unveil a new UK “energy supply strategy” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that could involve more North Sea oil and gas production."

Is the United States capable of mimicking now that we've seen somebody else announce a logical plan?

And for the progressive Democrats I've seen the last week on television complaining "We need to pressure Putin out of Ukraine now. Building more pipelines and fossil fuels capacity takes too much time."

Sanctions take time too. It took years of sanctions to force South Africa and Myanmar to change course. Sanctions were placed on Iran and Iraq for years with no effect on their governments' policies. Why then are woke activists all for slow-drip sanctions but complaining our own oil and natural gas resources take too long?

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and AOC have also said the invasion of Ukraine underscores why we need to free America from fossil fuels with renewables.

Well running America on windmills and solar panels is going to take even longer, a lot longer, than ramping up new oil and gas production since renewables remain prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Why are they promoting snail's pace Green New Deal utopias and not American oil to replace Russian oil?

Incidentally if they ever worked a day in the energy business they'd know ramping up onshore drilling and production rigs is a very fast, and flexible process—faster than employing floating offshore rigs in the harsh North Sea environment—especially when unburdened by additional federal regulations and red tape.

Read details at:

Friday, March 4, 2022

Left Coast Correspondent: "Putin Puppet" Trump Sold Javelin Antitank Missiles to Ukraine After Obama Sent Blankets

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The Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Left Coast Affairs and Other Inexplicable Phenomena has discovered evidence that former President Trump was a “puppet of Putin” who handed Ukraine to Moscow on a silver platter and weakened the beleaguered country's ability to defend itself. 

Moreover the Correspondent has unearthed proof supporting recent theories that Putin invaded the Crimea and Ukraine because he feared the resoluteness of former President Barack Obama and current President Joe Biden to strengthen Ukraine’s military capacity.

(sarcasm off)

Thank goodness for the overseas press.

From this week’s Nikkei Asia, a subsidiary of Nikkei Inc, owner of the Financial Times:

“During President Barack Obama's term in office, the U.S. did not supply Ukraine with Javelins when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. But under President Donald Trump, Washington reversed course and decided to equip Ukraine with the weapons…”

“…Despite fielding a smaller army, Ukrainian forces have put up a tougher response than anticipated to Russia's invasion thanks in no small part to the multitude of Javelin missiles provided by Western nations.”

“Measuring 1.2 meters in length, the Javelin can be transported and fired by a single soldier. Yet the weapon, made by American contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, has enough firepower to pierce tank armor from 2.5 km away.”

“The traits have made the Javelin the weapon of choice for repelling tank invasions in urban settings. A Javelin operator can covertly approach and engage a target in that setting. The weapons could prove even more crucial as a 65 km long tank convoy moved its way toward Kyiv on Tuesday…”

“…In Ukraine, an image of a religious icon holding a Javelin launcher -- dubbed "St. Javelin" -- is circulating on social media. The depiction has come to symbolize the resistance.”

For more details read Nikkei Asia's "Secret to Ukraine's fierce resistance? Javelin antitank missiles" at:

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Europe Turns its Back on its Own Natural Gas Resources, Volunteers to be Held Captive to Russia

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2 MIN READ - Europe's dependence on Russian oil and particularly natural gas has been discussed repeatedly on CO the last week or two, and Cautious Rockers have understandably questioned why European nations like Germany haven't turned to more reliable allies like the United States for their energy needs instead of Vladimir Putin's pipelines.

However the Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Economic Affairs and Other Egghead Stuff would like to add some value and take the question even further: why has Europe turned its back on its own energy resources?

Yep, you read that right. Europe has vast energy assets in the underwater oil and natural gas fields of the North Sea, with the region split into four particularly abundant zones: the British, Norwegian, Dutch, and Danish sectors (see map).

However, in what will be little surprise to CO readers the Netherlands, which has surprisingly large natural gas reserves both on and offshore and has traditionally been Europe's second largest natural gas producer, has gone woke the last few years and decided to shut down production at their Groningen field, the largest onshore natural gas resource in Europe. However offshore production continues albeit at a slowing pace as the government focuses on renewables for its green future (see articles).

Articles: "Netherlands to halt Groningen gas production by 2022" (9/2019)

"Towards Net Zero: How the Netherlands is turning its back on natural gas" (10/2021)

Denmark, which was energy independent and the world's 32nd largest energy exporter in 2008 (for a country of only 5.5 million) has also gone green, canceled all new oil and gas permits, and plowed boatloads of government money into windmills and solar panels while boasting about its wokeness. 

Fourteen years later Denmark has reversed to net energy importer status.

Article: "Denmark cancels new oil and gas permits and sets date to end existing production" (12/2020)

The only two major energy players remaining, Norway and the UK, continue to draw primarily oil from their North Sea fields. Norway's left-center government has stated it plans no change in policy as the country is highly dependent on oil revenues to finance its modern welfare state. 

Britain also continues to produce but has been facing far more internal political pressure and activism to abandon fossil fuels.

The recent British energy shortage, skyrocketing prices even before the invasion of Ukraine, and dozens of utility bankruptcies this winter may have put a damper on the energy scarcity movement since then.

Now the Economics Correspondent is not saying the entire European continent could be oil and natural gas independent on its own, but two of its four largest energy producers shutting down most natural gas production has put an already vulnerable continent into an even more compromised position with Russia.

Just as the Biden administration's continued cancelation of oil and gas permits (even just last week!)...

....and pipeline projects is creating energy scarcity that makes it difficult to impossible to sanction Russian oil/natural gas as they invade Ukraine, Europe has placed itself in the same predicament for pretty much the same reasons.

So it isn't just the USA that's shooting itself in the foot. Europe has made itself that much more captive to Russia with the same politics.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Left Coast Correspondent: Yes, Russia has Invaded Literally Every Country on its Border in the Last 150 Years

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1 MIN READ - The Cautious Optimism Correspondent for Left Coast Affairs and Other Inexplicable Phenomena has confirmed that Russia has invaded literally every country on its border--the longest in the world--during the last 150 years, plus a few more beyond its border.

Norway (1944)

Finland (1920, 1939-1944)

Estonia (1940)

Latvia (1940)

Lithuania (1940)

Poland (1921, 1939, 1944)

Czechoslovakia (1948, 1968)

Hungary (1944, 1956)

Romania (1939)

Bulgaria (1946)

Moldova (1939)

Ukraine (1917-1921, 2014, 2022)

Georgia (1921, 2008)

Armenia (1920)

Azerbaijan (1920)

Kazakhstan (1919)

Turkmenistan (1880)

Tajikistan (1885)

Uzbekistan (1885, 1920)

Kyrgyzstan (1876)

Afghanistan (1979)

China (1934)

Mongolia (1921)

Korea (1945)

Germany (1945)***

Sakhalin and Kuril Islands, Japan (1945)

***Countries that attempted to invade Russia first

You literally cannot find a gap anywhere on a map of Russia's border that its armies have not crossed.

According to some critics, Russia’s security concerns have been neglected by the West. 

Yet the Correspondent has not heard Ukraine's security concerns-- having a multiple-offense invader on its border that wiped out over 6 million Ukrainian civilians and committed the Holodomor genocide during the Soviet era--mentioned by them.