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Russia oil production

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Russian oil production considered to be at "over peak" stage with increases mainly due to offshore drilling. In 2014 total petroleum and other liquids production in 2014 were 10.8 Mb/d  (EIA). Russia crude oil production in late 2015 was around 10.20M, up from  10.08Mb/done year ago. That's was an unanticipated, even by Russian Ministry of Energy result of activities of small companies. which managed to increase of  production by  1.12% from one year ago, when most analysts expected a slight decline (Russia Crude Oil Production (Monthly, Barrels per Day).

Despite severe depreciation of ruble and sanctions, in 2015 Russia managed to reach the level of production that exceed the level of former USSR period. At the same time most of Russia's fields are mature fields and the production from them is declining for long time,  offset only by new more expensive projects with less total volume. Unless Arctic oil and other expensive oil are economical to produce (which requires over $100 bbl price) the national path for Russian production is iether long plato fed by projects coming online, which were started during "good times" (and now face losses, not profits)  or straight down as capital expenses were slashed in 2015 tot he bones.  

Russian oil extraction (red) and oil exports (green) in metric tons

 

In 2015 Russia managed to increase exports the first time in six years, but that does not change general situation: internal consumption is growing pretty robustly with growth of car fleet and decline of production due to national depletion of  conventional oil wells. The latter became more and more difficult to compensate with new discoveries. And new fields, even if such exist, can't be now tapped because capital expenditures by most Russian oil companies now are slashed to the bone (Russia is more like the USA in this respect with over dozen of major oil companies producing  oil).

At current oil prices Arctic oil now is out of reach and only existing platforms will remain in production. All of them are losing money. conventional wells are still profitable with same remaining profitable up to $20 per barrel. Still for the next several years Russia probably will be able to keep the current level of production due to huge previous investments dome in 2010-2014 in a few new fields (Bloomberg Business, December 20, 2015):

The other big boosts to Russian production this year have come from a few mid-sized new fields like those of Severenergia in the Arctic Yamal region. Co-owners Novatek OJSC and Gazpromneft PJSC invested in the $9.2 billion project back when oil prices were high. With most of the capital already committed, operating costs now are relatively low and output of gas condensate, a light and especially valuable form of crude, is up five-fold this year.

One side effect of falling oil prices -- the 52 percent plunge in the ruble over the last two years -- has helped Russian oil producers, chopping their costs in dollar terms since between 80 and 90 percent of their spending comes in rubles.

... ... ...

To be sure, few in the industry expect Russia to be able to sustain the current performance for more than a few years. Tax hikes and lack of financing have cut deeply into exploration drilling, which is down 21 percent this year, and handicap the larger new projects that are needed to replace the country’s older fields as they run dry.

... ... ...

In some parts of the Russian oil patch, low prices are already causing pain. At $40 a barrel, “half of our fields could be stopped. Heavy oil, low horizons, mature horizons are all unprofitable at a price of $40-45. We are waiting for better times,” Russneft OJSC Board Chairman Mikhail Gutseriev said in an interview on state television early this month.

Unfortunately just before the oil prices crush Russia was engaged in several high cost drilling projects in Arctic and was caught naked when oil price dropped. ( see Petroleum industry in Russia - Wikipedia).  Timing can't be more bad as this is a really expensive oil, probably around $60 per barrel or higher at wellhead.  Which are now sold at a huge discount.  Igor Sechin proved to be a weak leader of the Russia major state owned oil company Rosneft.  Government refused to bail out the company which faces large external debt and it was saved by some "white knife" billionaire.

Moscow Exile, December 19, 2015 at 11:19 am

Undeterred by OPEC’s decision to keep pumping and drive out U.S. shale rivals, Russian oil output continued to grow, in October setting a new monthly record for the post-Soviet era. Explorers have remained profitable under a friendly tax system and low production costs.

Mystery Benefactor

Rosneft assuaged concerns over the sustainability of Russia’s biggest corporate debt load after the company received a $15 billion advance payment for oil supplies from a source the company didn’t identify, according to quarterly reports published Nov. 13. The inflow of cash will help Rosneft meet $2.5 billion in debt due in the fourth quarter, $13.7 billion in 2016 and $11.3 billion in 2017, according to a presentation on its website.

See: One Year Into New OPEC Era, You Made 12% Buying These Oil Bonds

It looks like the board is in denial of the blunder with overinvest they made:

18 December 2015
Rosneft Holds Board of Directors Meeting

On December 18, Rosneft Board of Directors considered in Vladivostok interim results of its 2015 operations, the business-plan for 2016-2017, the Long-term development program and the energy efficiency program of the Company.

The following decisions were taken:

1. The Board of Directors considered and acknowledged 2015 Rosneft interim results and the intermediate results of the implementation of the long-term development program of the Company. The Board of Directors welcomed the results of the implementation of programs aimed at raising efficiency in challenging economic environment: the Company maintained low levels of OPEX and eased its debt burden.

2. The Board of Directors considered and acknowledged the business-plan for 2016-2017, structured in accordance with a conservative macroeconomic scenario and focused on the implementation of the Long-term development program of the Company, approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.

Within the ambit of delivering strategic goals of boosting production, securing deliveries of oil and oil products, maintaining a market share (both in Russia and abroad), the Company plans to increase capital expenditures by a third (compared to 2015 levels). The investment development program envisages the achievement of strategic goals of hydrocarbon production growth by means of accelerated commencement of oil and gas greenfields whilst exercising a balanced external financing program. After the completion of transition to Euro-5 motor fuels production in December 2015, refineries’ modernization program will be focused on increasing processing depth. Also, the program of cutting operating costs and enhancing operating and financial efficiency will be continued. Hence the leadership in the industry by the operating costs and capital costs will be guaranteed.

... .... ...

Commenting on the results of the Board meeting, Rosneft Chairman of the Management Board Igor Sechin said: “Measures taken by the Company for strengthening its oilfield services business dimension in 2015 enabled Rosneft to increase production in order to guarantee supplies to its traditional markets while keeping operating and capital expenditures at the record-low levels. The Company consistently generates free cash flow, providing funding sources for its investment decisions in accordance with 2015-2016 business plan approved by the Board of Directors and the Long-term Development Program”.

In August 2014, it was announced that preparations by the Russian government to sell a 19.5 percent stake in the company were underway and would most likely be sold in two tranches. So far this chunk of the company was not sold, probably because of low oil prices. 

Russia oil internal consumption is generally more or less stable and growling at a very slow page outside several 'abnormal" years. In 2016 it will not probably grow much as the economy remain is conditions close to recession. Lukoil chairman has said that he  expects Russia to produce less oil  in 2016 than in 2015

Russia internal oil consumption is currently around 3.3 Mb/d, up from 3.2 Mb/d one year ago. This is a change of 3.15% from one year ago.

2005 2,785.14 1.25 %
2006 2,803.47 0.66 %
2007 2,885.10 2.91 %
2008 2,981.92 3.36 %
2009 2,888.53 -3.13 %
2010 3,081.82 6.69 %
2011 3,352.11 8.77 %
2012 3,395.11 1.28 %
2013 3,320.00 -2.21 %

It is expected that it will continue to grow by around 0.1 Mb/d per year as car fleet is rapidly growing.. Also Russia will process more raw oil in 2016 then in 2015 which also negatively influence export of raw oil. Russia oil consumption per capita is still four times less then in the USA (15 vs 60 bbl/day per 1000 people)

Russian leadership have found itself unprepared to the dramatic drop of oil prices and now will take moves to refine more oil at home, and selling less raw oil. The fact that Russia sells mostly unprocessed oil was a blunder that costs Russia billions and Putin had shown ability to learn from mistakes. 

Russia's Key Energy Statistics world rank
Total Primary Energy Production
2012
55.296
Quadrillion Btu
3
Total Primary Energy Consumption
2012
31.522
Quadrillion Btu
3
Dry Natural Gas Production
2011
22,213
Billion Cubic Feet
2
Total Petroleum and Other Liquids Production
2014
10,853
Thousand Barrels Per Day
3
Total Primary Coal Production
2013
388,013
Thousand Short Tons
6

Compare that with the USA

United States' Key Energy Statistics world rank
Total Primary Energy Production
2012
79.212
Quadrillion Btu
2
Total Primary Energy Consumption
2012
95.058
Quadrillion Btu
2
Dry Natural Gas Production
2011
22,902
Billion Cubic Feet
1
Total Petroleum and Other Liquids Production
2014
13,973
Thousand Barrels Per Day
1
Total Primary Coal Production
2013
984,842
Thousand Short Tons
2

 


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jul 20, 2019] Western Interests Aim To Flummox Russia

Notable quotes:
"... One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. ..."
"... We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. ..."
"... It is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries. Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists. ..."
"... Neoliberals argue that Russia needs privatization in order to cover its budget deficit. Russia's government debt is only 17 percent of Russian GDP. According to official measures, US federal debt is 104 percent of GDP, 6.1 times higher than in Russia. If US federal debt is measured in real corrected terms, US federal debt is 185 percent of US GDP. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/ ..."
"... Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists. ..."
"... Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it. ..."
"... This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is ... Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia. ..."
"... Trump is an ultra-zionist for Sheldon Adelson and prolongs & creates wars for the Goldman banking crimesyndicat. ..."
"... Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." ..."
"... You write about Russia but have not done your homework. Russia is very dependent on Western technology and its entire high-tech industry depends on the import of Western machinery. Without such machinery many Russian factories, including military ones, would stall. Very important oil industry is particularly vulnerable. ..."
Mar 03, 2017 | www.unz.com
An article by Robert Berke in oilprice.com, which describes itself as "The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News," illustrates how interest groups control outcomes by how they shape policy choices.

Berke's article reveals how the US intends to maintain and extend its hegemony by breaking up the alliance between Russia, Iran, and China, and by oil privatizations that result in countries losing control over their sovereignty to private oil companies that work closely with the US government. As Trump has neutered his presidency by gratuitously accepting Gen. Flynn's resignation as National Security Advisor, this scheme is likely to be Trump's approach to "better relations" with Russia.

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China. Should Putin fall for such a scheme, it would be a fatal strategic blunder from which Russia could not recover. Yet, Putin will be pressured to make this blunder.

One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. Moreover, the West with its hegemonic impulses uses economic relationships for control purposes. Trade with China and Asia does not pose the same threat to Russian independence.

Berke says that part of the deal being offered to Putin is "increased access to the huge European energy market, restored western financial credit, access to Western technology, and a seat at the global decision-making table, all of which Russia badly needs and wants." Sweetening the honey trap is official recognization of "Crimea as part of Russia."

Russia might want all of this, but it is nonsense that Russia needs any of it.

Crimea is part of Russia, as it has been for 300 years, and no one can do anything about it. What would it mean if Mexico did not recognize that Texas and California were part of the US? Nothing.

Europe has scant alternatives to Russian energy. Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West. And Russia most certainly does not need Western loans. Indeed, it would be an act of insanity to accept them.

It is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries. Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.

The Russian central bank has convinced the Russian government that it would be inflationary to finance Russian development projects with the issuance of central bank credit. Foreign loans are essential, claims the central bank.

Someone needs to teach the Russian central bank basic economics before Russia is turned into another Western vassal. Here is the lesson: When central bank credit is used to finance development projects, the supply of rubles increases but so does output from the projects. Thus, goods and services rise with the supply of rubles. When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt. Russia does not spend the foreign currencies on the project but puts them into its foreign exchange reserves. The central bank issues the same amount of rubles to pay the project's bills as it would in the absence of the foreign loan. All the foreign loan does is to present Russia with an interest payment to a foreign creditor.

Foreign capital is not important to countries such as Russia and China. Both countries are perfectly capable of financing their own development. Indeed, China is the world's largest creditor nation. Foreign loans are only important to countries that lack the internal resources for development and have to purchase the business know-how, techlology, and resources abroad with foreign currencies that their exports are insufficient to bring in.

This is not the case with Russia, which has large endowments of resources and a trade surplus. China's development was given a boost by US corporations that moved their production for the US market offshore in order to pocket the difference in labor and regulatory costs.

Neoliberals argue that Russia needs privatization in order to cover its budget deficit. Russia's government debt is only 17 percent of Russian GDP. According to official measures, US federal debt is 104 percent of GDP, 6.1 times higher than in Russia. If US federal debt is measured in real corrected terms, US federal debt is 185 percent of US GDP. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/

Clearly, if the massive debt of the US government is not a problem, the tiny debt of Russia is not a problem.

Berke's article is part of the effort to scam Russia by convincing the Russian government that its prosperity depends on unfavorable deals with the West. As Russia's neoliberal economists believe this, the scam has a chance of success.

Another delusion affecting the Russian government is the belief that privatization brings in capital. This delusion caused the Russian government to turn over 20 percent of its oil company to foreign ownership. The only thing Russia achieved by this strategic blunder was to deliver 20 percent of its oil profits into foreign hands. For a one-time payment, Russia gave away 20 percent of its oil profits in perpetuity.

To repeat outselves, the greatest threat that Russia faces is not sanctions but the incompetence of its neoliberal economists who have been throughly brainwashed to serve US interests.

Mao Cheng Ji , February 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT \n

When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt. Russia does not spend the foreign currencies on the project but puts them into its foreign exchange reserves. The central bank issues the same amount of rubles to pay the project's bills as it would in the absence of the foreign loan. All the foreign loan does is to present Russia with an interest payment to a foreign creditor.

Yes, correct. But this is an IMF rule, and Russia is an IMF member. To control its monetary policy it would have to get out.

Lyttenburgh , February 14, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT \n

Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

Oh dear, neolibs at their "finest"!

This "theory" is simply not true. If anything, Russians don't want the sanctions to be lifted, because this will also force us to scrap our counter-sanctions against the EU. The agro-business in Russia had been expanding by leaps and bounds for the last two years. This persistent myth that "the Russians" (who exactly, I wonder – 2-3% of the pro-Western urbanites in Moscow and St. Pete?) are desperate to have the sanctons lifted is a self-deception of the West, who IS desparate of the fact that the sanctions didn't work.

Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.

Yes! Ulyukayev is, probably, feeling lonely in his prison. I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

WorkingClass , February 14, 2017 at 7:59 pm GMT \n

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.

Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm GMT \n
@WorkingClass
Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.
Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

LOL! True. You forgot McCain, though.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Lyttenburgh
Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.
Oh dear, neolibs at their "finest"! This "theory" is simply not true. If anything, Russians don't want the sanctions to be lifted, because this will also force us to scrap our counter-sanctions against the EU. The agro-business in Russia had been expanding by leaps and bounds for the last two years. This persistent myth that "the Russians" (who exactly, I wonder - 2-3% of the pro-Western urbanites in Moscow and St. Pete?) are desperate to have the sanctons lifted is a self-deception of the West, who IS desparate of the fact that the sanctions didn't work.
Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.
Yes! Ulyukayev is, probably, feeling lonely in his prison. I say - why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up? ;)

I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it.

Priss Factor , February 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm GMT \n
100 Words

A silver-lining to this.

If the US continues to antagonize Russia, Russia will have to grow even more independent, nationalist, and sovereign. At any rate, this issue cannot be addressed until we face that the fact that globalism is essentially Jewish Supremacism that fears gentile nationalism as a barrier to its penetration and domination.

This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is ... Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia.

Same thing with this crap about 'white privilege'. It is a misleading concept to fool Americans into thinking that the main conflict is between 'privileged whites' and 'people of color'. It is really to hide the fact that Jewish power and privilege really rules the US. It is a means to hoodwink people from noticing that the real divide is between Jews and Gentiles, not between 'privileged whites' and 'non-white victims'. After all, too many whites lack privilege, and too many non-whites do very well in America.

Seamus Padraig , February 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm GMT \n
@SmoothieX12
I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it.

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

Seamus Padraig , February 14, 2017 at 11:34 pm GMT \n

Does PCR really think that Putin is stupid enough to fall for Kissinger's hair-brained scheme? I mean, give Putin a little bit of credit. He has so far completely outmaneuvered Washington on virtually ever subject. I'm sure he's clever enough to see through such a crude divide-and-rule strategy.

anonymous , February 15, 2017 at 4:17 am GMT

The Russians can't be flummoxed, they aren't children. Russia and China border each other so they have a natural mutual interest in having their east-west areas be stable and safe, particularly when the US threatens both of them. This geography isn't going to change. Abandoning clients such as Syria and Iran would irreversibly damage the Russian brand as being unreliable therefore they'd find it impossible to attract any others in the future. They know this so it's unlikely they would be so rash as to snap at any bait dangled in front of them. And, as pointed out, the bait really isn't all that irresistible. It's always best to negotiate from a position of strength and they realize that. American policy deep thinkers are often fantasists who bank upon their chess opponents making hoped-for predictable moves. That doesn't happen in real life.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

Partially, because Putin himself is an economic liberal and, to a degree, monetarist, albeit less rigid than his economic block. The good choices he made often were opposite to his views. As he himself admitted that Russia's geopolitical vector changed with NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia–a strengthening of Russia has become an imperative. This comeback was impossible within the largely "Western" monetarist economic model. Russia's comeback happened not thanks but despite Putin's economic views, Putin adjusted his views in the process, his economic block didn't. But many of them still remain his friends, despite the fact that many of them are de facto fifth column and work against Russia, intentionally and other wise. Eventually Putin will be forced to get down from his fence and take the position of industrialists and siloviki. Putin's present for Medvedev's birthday was a good hint on where he is standing economically today and I am beginning to like that but still–I personally am not convinced yet. We'll see. In many respects Putin was lucky and specifically because of the namely Soviet military and industry captains still being around–people who, unlike Putin, knew exactly what constituted Russia's strength. Enough to mention late Evgeny Primakov. Let's not forget that despite Putin's meteoric rise through the top levels of Russia's state bureaucracy, including his tenure as a Director of FSB, Putin's background is not really military-industrial. He is a lawyer, even if uniformed (KGB) part of his career. I know for a fact that initially (early 2000s) he was overwhelmed with the complexity of Russia's military and industry. Enough to mention his creature Serdyukov who almost destroyed Command and Control structure of Russia's Armed Forces and main ideologue behind Russia's military "reform", late Vitaly Shlykov who might have been a great GRU spy (and economist by trade) but who never served a day in combat units. Thankfully, the "reforms" have been stopped and Russian Armed Forces are still dealing with the consequences. This whole clusterfvck was of Putin's own creation–hardly a good record on his resume. Hopefully, he learned.

Vlad , February 17, 2017 at 8:44 am GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

He has not done it already because he just cannot let go of his dream to have it as he did in 2003, when Russia Germany and France together blocked legality of US war in Iraq. Putin still hopes for a good working relationship with major West European powers. Italy France and even Germany.

He still hopes to draw them away from the US. However the obvious gains from Import substitution campaign make it apparent that Russia does benefit from sanctions, that Russia can get anything it wants in technology from the East rather than the West. So the break with Western orientation is in the making. Hopefully.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT \n

You forgot to mention the "moderate" jihadis, including the operatives from NATO, Israel, and US. (It seems that the Ukrainian "patriots" that have been bombing the civilians in East Ukraine, also include special "patriots" from the same unholy trinity: https://www.roguemoney.net/stories/2016/12/6/there-are-troops-jack-us-army-donbass ). There has been also a certain asymmetry in means: look at the map for the number and location of the US/NATO military bases. At least we can see that RF has been trying to avoid the hot phase of WWIII. http://russia-insider.com/sites/insider/files/NATO-vs-Russia640.jpg

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm GMT \n
200 Words @Priss Factor A silver-lining to this.

If the US continues to antagonize Russia, Russia will have to grow even more independent, nationalist, and sovereign.

At any rate, this issue cannot be addressed until we face that the fact that globalism is essentially Jewish Supremacism that fears gentile nationalism as a barrier to its penetration and domination.

This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is Jewish Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia.

Same thing with this crap about 'white privilege'. It is a misleading concept to fool Americans into thinking that the main conflict is between 'privileged whites' and 'people of color'. It is really to hide the fact that Jewish power and privilege really rules the US. It is a means to hoodwink people from noticing that the real divide is between Jews and Gentiles, not between 'privileged whites' and 'non-white victims'. After all, too many whites lack privilege, and too many non-whites do very well in America.

On the power and privilege that really rule the US:
"Sanctions – economic sanctions, as most of them are, can only stand and 'succeed', as long as countries, who oppose Washington's dictate remain bound into the western, dollar-based, fraudulent monetary scheme. The system is entirely privatized by a small Zionist-led elite. FED, Wall Street, Bank for International Settlement (BIS), are all private institutions, largely controlled by the Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan et al clans. They are also supported by the Breton Woods Organizations, IMF and World Bank, conveniently created under the Charter of the UN.
Few progressive economists understand how this debt-based pyramid scam is manipulating the entire western economic system. When in a just world, it should be just the contrary, the economy that shapes, designs and decides the functioning of the monetary system and policy.
Even Russia, with Atlantists still largely commanding the central bank and much of the financial system, isn't fully detached from the dollar dominion – yet."

http://thesaker.is/venezuela-washingtons-latest-defamation-to-bring-nato-to-south-america/

Anon , February 17, 2017 at 4:55 pm GMT \n
100 Words

"I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this (nationalize the "central bank) already".

I read about a rumor a few years ago that Putin has been warned that nationalizing the now private Russian central bank will bring absolutely dire consequences to both him and Russia. It is simply a step he cannot take.

How dire are the potential consequences? Consider that the refusal of the American government to reauthorize the private central bank in the US brought about the War of 1812. The Americans learned their lesson and quickly reauthorized the private bank after the war had ended.

Numerous attempts were made to assassinate President Andrew Jacksons specifically because of his refusal to reauthorize the private central bank.

JFK anyone?

Agent76 , February 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Here it is in audio form so you can just relax and just listen at your leisure.

*ALL WARS ARE BANKERS' WARS* By Michael Rivero https://youtu.be/WN0Y3HRiuxo

I know many people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending just how many wars are started for no other purpose than to force private central banks onto nations, so let me share a few examples, so that you understand why the US Government is mired in so many wars against so many foreign nations. There is ample precedent for this.

Priss Factor , February 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm GMT \n
1,000 Words

Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

If the Left really rules America, how come it is fair game to criticize, condemn, mock, and vilify Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman & anarchists, Castro, Che(even though he is revered by many, one's career isn't damaged by attacking him), Tito, Ceucescu, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gramsci, Eurgene Debs, Pete Seeger, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and etc.

You can say whatever you want about such people. Some will agree, some will disagree, but you will not be fired, blacklisted, or destroyed.

If the Left really rules, why would this be?

Now, what would happen if you name the Jewish Capitalists as the real holders of power?
What would happen if you name the Jewish oligarchic corporatists who control most of media?
What would happen if you said Jews are prominent in the vice industry of gambling?
What would happen if you named the Jewish capitalists in music industry that made so much money by spreading garbage?
What would happen if you said Jewish warhawks were largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
And what would happen if you were question the MLK mythology and cult?
What would happen if you were to make fun of homos and trannies?
Now, keep in mind that blacks and homos are favored by Jews as their main allies.
(Some say the US is not a pro-minority nation, but it's still permissible to criticize, impugn, and vilify Chinese, Iranians, Muslims, Mexicans, Hindus, and etc. Trump was hard on China, Iran, Muslims, and Mexicans, and he got some flak over it but not enough to destroy him. Now, imagine what would have happened if he'd said such things about blacks, Africa, homos, Jews, and Israel? American politics isn't necessarily pro-minority. If it is, it should favor Palestinian-Americans just as much as Jewish-Americans. Actually, since there are fewer Palestinian-Americans than Jewish-Americans, the US, being pro-minority, should favor Palestinians over Jews in America. In reality, it is AIPAC that draws all the politicians. America is about Pro-Power, and since Jews have the Power and since Jews are a minority, it creates the false impression that the US is a minority-supremacist nation. But WHICH minority? Jews would like for us think that all minorities are represented equally in the US, but do Eskimos, Hawaiians, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, and etc. have the kind of power & protection that the Jewish minority has? Do we see politicians and powerbrokers flock to such minorities for funds and favors?)

So, what does it about the real power in America? So many 'conservatives' say the Left controls America. But in fact, an American can badmouth all true bonafide leftist leaders and thinkers(everyone from Lenin to Sartre). However, if an American were to badmouth Sheldon Adelson as a sick demented Zionist capitalist oligarch who wants to nuke Iran, he would be blacklisted by the most of the media. (If one must criticize Adelson, it has to be in generic terms of him a top donor to the likes of Romney. One mustn't discuss his zealous and maniacal views rooted in Zionist-supremacism. You can criticize his money but not the mentality that determines the use of that money.) Isn't it rather amusing how the so-called Liberals denounce the GOP for being 'extreme' but overlook the main reason for such extremism? It's because the GOP relies on Zionist lunatics like Adelson who thinks Iran should be nuked to be taught a lesson. Even Liberal Media overlook this fact. Also, it's interesting that the Liberal Media are more outraged by Trump's peace offer to Russia than Trump's hawkish rhetoric toward Iran. I thought Liberals were the Doves.

We know why politics and media work like this. It's not about 'left' vs 'right' or 'liberal' vs 'conservative'. It is really about Jewish Globalist Dominance. Jews, neocon 'right' or globo-'left', hate Russia because its brand of white gentile nationalism is an obstacle to Jewish supremacist domination. Now, Current Russia is nice to Jews, and Jews can make all the money they want. But that isn't enough for Jews. Jews want total control of media, government, narrative, everything. If Jews say Russia must have homo parades and 'gay marriage', Russia better bend over because its saying NO means that it is defiant to the Jewish supremacist agenda of using homomania as proxy to undermine and destroy all gentile nationalism rooted in identity and moral righteousness.
Russia doesn't allow that, and that is what pisses off Jews. For Jews, the New Antisemitism is defined as denying them the supremacist 'right' to control other nations. Classic antisemitism used to mean denying Jews equal rights under the law. The New Antisemitism means Jews are denied the right to gain dominance over others and dictate terms.
So, that is why Jews hate any idea of good relations with Russia. But Jews don't mind Trump's irresponsible anti-Iran rhetoric since it serves Zionist interest. So, if Trump were to say, "We shouldn't go to war with Russia; we should be friends" and "We should get ready to bomb, destroy, and even nuke Iran", the 'liberal' media would be more alarmed by the Peace-with-Russia statement. Which groups controls the media? 'Liberals', really? Do Muslim 'liberals' agree with Jewish 'liberals'?

Anyway, we need to do away with the fiction that Left rules anything. They don't. We have Jewish Supremacist rule hiding behind the label of the 'Left'. But the US is a nation where it's totally permissible to attack real leftist ideas and leaders but suicidal if anyone dares to discuss the power of super-capitalist Jewish oligarchs. Some 'leftism'!

We need to discuss the power of the Glob.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 9:42 pm GMT \n
300 Words @Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

This is rich from a Ukrainian nationalist ruled by Groysman/Kagans.
First, figure out who is your saint, a collaborationist Bandera (Babiy Yar and such) or a triple-sitizenship Kolomojski (auto-da-fe of civilians in Odessa). If you still want to bring Holodomor to a discussion, then you need to be reminded that 80% of Ukrainian Cheka at that time were Jewish. If you still think that Russians are the root of all evil, then try to ask the US for more money for pensions, education, and healthcare – instead of weaponry. Here are the glorious results of the US-approved governance from Kiev: http://gnnliberia.com/2017/02/17/liberia-ahead-ukraine-index-economic-freedom-2017/ "Liberia, Chad, Afghanistan, Sudan and Angola are ahead of Ukraine. All these countries are in the group of repressed economies (49.9-40 scores). Ukraine's economy has contracted deeply and remains very fragile."

Here are your relationships with your neighbors on the other side – Poland and Romania:
"The right-winged conservative orientation of Warsaw makes it remember old Polish-Ukrainian arguments and scores, and claim its rights on the historically Polish lands of Western Ukraine" http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/01/17/poland-will-begin-dividing-ukraine/
" the "Assembly of Bukovina Romanians" has recently applied to Petro Poroshenko demanding a territorial autonomy to the Chernivtsi region densely populated by Romanians. The "Assembly" motivated its demand with the Ukrainian president's abovementioned statement urging territorial autonomy for the Crimean Tatars." https://eadaily.com/en/news/2016/06/30/what-is-behind-romanias-activity-in-ukraine
And please read some history books about Crimea. Or at least Wikipedia:
"In 1783, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Nikita Khrushchev (a Soviet dictator). In 2014, a 96.77 percent of Crimeans voted for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout." You see, the Crimeans do not like Nuland-Kagan and Pravyj Sector. Do you know why?

Astuteobservor II , February 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Seamus Padraig Does PCR really think that Putin is stupid enough to fall for Kissinger's hair-brained scheme? I mean, give Putin a little bit of credit. He has so far completely outmaneuvered Washington on virtually ever subject. I'm sure he's clever enough to see through such a crude divide-and-rule strategy.

well it depends. if putin is just out for himself, I can see him getting in bed with kissinger and co. if he is about russia, he would not. that is how I see it. it isn't about if putin is smart or stupid. just a choice and where his royalty lies.

Lyttenburgh , February 17, 2017 at 9:58 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine.

How so? #Krymnash

Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves.

If by "decline" you mean "expects this year a modest growth as opposed to previous years" then you might be right.

I've been reading about Russia's imminent collapse and the annihilation of the economy since forever. Some no-names like you (or some Big Names with agenda) had been predicting it every year. Still didn't happen.

Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

Can I see a source for that?

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

False equivalence.

P.S. Hey, Quart – how is Bezviz? Also – are you not cold here? Or are you one of the most racally pure Ukrs, currently residing in Ontario province (Canada), from whence you teach your less lucky raguls in Nizalezhnaya how to be more racially pure? Well, SUGS to be you!

bluedog , February 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm GMT \n
@Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

Do you have any links to verify this that Russia is down to bedrock,from everything I read and have read Russia's do pretty damn good, or is this just some more of your endless antiRussian propaganda,,

Philip Owen , February 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm GMT \n

The US needed huge amounts of British and French capital to develop. Russia has the same requirement otherwise it will be another Argentina.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT \n
500 Words

A scandal of a EU member Poland: http://thesaker.is/zmiana-piskorski-and-the-case-for-polish-liberation/
Two days after he [Piskorski] publicly warned that US-NATO troops now have a mandate to suppress Polish dissent on the grounds of combatting "Russian hybrid war," he was snatched up by armed agents of Poland's Internal Security Agency while taking his children to school on May 18th, 2016. He was promptly imprisoned in Warsaw, where he remains with no formal charges to this day."

With the Poland's entry into EU, "Poland did not "regain" sovereignty, much less justice, but forfeited such to the Atlanticist project Poland has been de-industrialized, and thus deprived of the capacity to pursue independent and effective social and economic policies Now, with the deployment of thousands of US-NATO troops, tanks, and missile systems on its soil and the Polish government's relinquishment of jurisdiction over foreign armed forces on its territory, Poland is de facto under occupation. This occupation is not a mere taxation on Poland's national budget – it is an undeniable liquidation of sovereignty and inevitably turns the country into a direct target and battlefield in the US' provocative war on Russia."

" it's not the Russians who are going to occupy us now – they left here voluntarily 24 years ago. It's not the Russians that have ravaged Polish industry since 1989. It's not the Russians that have stifled Poles with usurious debt. Finally, it's not the Russians that are responsible for the fact that we have become the easternmost aircraft carrier of the United States anchored in Europe. We ourselves, who failed by allowing such traitors into power, are to blame for this."

More from a comment section: "Donald Tusk, who is now President of the European Council, whose grandfather, Josef Tusk, served in Hitler's Wehrmacht, has consistently demanded that the Kiev regime imposed by the US and EU deal with the Donbass people brutally, "as with terrorists". While the Polish special services were training the future participants of the Maidan operations and the ethnic cleansing of the Donbass, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this official statement (02-02-2014): "We support the hard line taken by the Right Sector The radical actions of the Right Sector and other militant groups of demonstrators and the use of force by protesters are justified The Right Sector has taken full responsibility for all the acts of violence during the recent protests. This is an honest position, and we respect it. The politicians have failed at their peacekeeping function. This means that the only acceptable option is the radical actions of the Right Sector. There is no other alternative".

In short, the US has been the most active enabler of the neo-Nazi movement in Europe. Mrs. Clinton seemingly did not get a memo about who is "new Hitler."

Chuck Orloski , February 17, 2017 at 11:17 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Scranton calling Mssrs. Roberts and Hudson:

Do you happen to know anything about western financial giants' influence upon Russia's "Atlanticist Integrationists"?

It's low hanging fruit for me to take a pick, but I am thinking The Goldman Sachs Group is well ensconced among Russian "Atlanticist Integrationists."

You guys are top seeded pros at uncovering Deep State-banker secrets. In contrast, I drive school bus and I struggle to even balance the family Wells Fargo debit card!

However, since our US Congress has anointed a seasoned G.S.G. veteran, Steve Mnuchin, as the administration's Treasury Secretary, he has become my favorite "Person of Interest" who I suspect spouts a Ural Mountain-level say as to how "Atlanticist Integrationists" operate.

Speaking very respectfully, I hope my question does not get "flummoxed" into resource rich Siberia.

Thank you very much!

Bobzilla , February 17, 2017 at 11:46 pm GMT \n
@WorkingClass

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.
Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead

.

Most likely the Spirit of Anti-Christ keeping them alive to do his bidding.

Bill Jones , February 18, 2017 at 12:39 am GMT \n
@Priss Factor Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

If the Left really rules America, how come it is fair game to criticize, condemn, mock, and vilify Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman & anarchists, Castro, Che(even though he is revered by many, one's career isn't damaged by attacking him), Tito, Ceucescu, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gramsci, Eurgene Debs, Pete Seeger, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and etc.

You can say whatever you want about such people. Some will agree, some will disagree, but you will not be fired, blacklisted, or destroyed.

If the Left really rules, why would this be?

Now, what would happen if you name the Jewish Capitalists as the real holders of power?
What would happen if you name the Jewish oligarchic corporatists who control most of media?
What would happen if you said Jews are prominent in the vice industry of gambling?
What would happen if you named the Jewish capitalists in music industry that made so much money by spreading garbage?
What would happen if you said Jewish warhawks were largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
And what would happen if you were question the MLK mythology and cult?
What would happen if you were to make fun of homos and trannies?
Now, keep in mind that blacks and homos are favored by Jews as their main allies.
(Some say the US is not a pro-minority nation, but it's still permissible to criticize, impugn, and vilify Chinese, Iranians, Muslims, Mexicans, Hindus, and etc. Trump was hard on China, Iran, Muslims, and Mexicans, and he got some flak over it but not enough to destroy him. Now, imagine what would have happened if he'd said such things about blacks, Africa, homos, Jews, and Israel? American politics isn't necessarily pro-minority. If it is, it should favor Palestinian-Americans just as much as Jewish-Americans. Actually, since there are fewer Palestinian-Americans than Jewish-Americans, the US, being pro-minority, should favor Palestinians over Jews in America. In reality, it is AIPAC that draws all the politicians. America is about Pro-Power, and since Jews have the Power and since Jews are a minority, it creates the false impression that the US is a minority-supremacist nation. But WHICH minority? Jews would like for us think that all minorities are represented equally in the US, but do Eskimos, Hawaiians, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, and etc. have the kind of power & protection that the Jewish minority has? Do we see politicians and powerbrokers flock to such minorities for funds and favors?)

So, what does it about the real power in America? So many 'conservatives' say the Left controls America. But in fact, an American can badmouth all true bonafide leftist leaders and thinkers(everyone from Lenin to Sartre). However, if an American were to badmouth Sheldon Adelson as a sick demented Zionist capitalist oligarch who wants to nuke Iran, he would be blacklisted by the most of the media. (If one must criticize Adelson, it has to be in generic terms of him a top donor to the likes of Romney. One mustn't discuss his zealous and maniacal views rooted in Zionist-supremacism. You can criticize his money but not the mentality that determines the use of that money.) Isn't it rather amusing how the so-called Liberals denounce the GOP for being 'extreme' but overlook the main reason for such extremism? It's because the GOP relies on Zionist lunatics like Adelson who thinks Iran should be nuked to be taught a lesson. Even Liberal Media overlook this fact. Also, it's interesting that the Liberal Media are more outraged by Trump's peace offer to Russia than Trump's hawkish rhetoric toward Iran. I thought Liberals were the Doves.

We know why politics and media work like this. It's not about 'left' vs 'right' or 'liberal' vs 'conservative'. It is really about Jewish Globalist Dominance. Jews, neocon 'right' or globo-'left', hate Russia because its brand of white gentile nationalism is an obstacle to Jewish supremacist domination. Now, Current Russia is nice to Jews, and Jews can make all the money they want. But that isn't enough for Jews. Jews want total control of media, government, narrative, everything. If Jews say Russia must have homo parades and 'gay marriage', Russia better bend over because its saying NO means that it is defiant to the Jewish supremacist agenda of using homomania as proxy to undermine and destroy all gentile nationalism rooted in identity and moral righteousness.
Russia doesn't allow that, and that is what pisses off Jews. For Jews, the New Antisemitism is defined as denying them the supremacist 'right' to control other nations. Classic antisemitism used to mean denying Jews equal rights under the law. The New Antisemitism means Jews are denied the right to gain dominance over others and dictate terms.
So, that is why Jews hate any idea of good relations with Russia. But Jews don't mind Trump's irresponsible anti-Iran rhetoric since it serves Zionist interest. So, if Trump were to say, "We shouldn't go to war with Russia; we should be friends" and "We should get ready to bomb, destroy, and even nuke Iran", the 'liberal' media would be more alarmed by the Peace-with-Russia statement. Which groups controls the media? 'Liberals', really? Do Muslim 'liberals' agree with Jewish 'liberals'?

Anyway, we need to do away with the fiction that Left rules anything. They don't. We have Jewish Supremacist rule hiding behind the label of the 'Left'. But the US is a nation where it's totally permissible to attack real leftist ideas and leaders but suicidal if anyone dares to discuss the power of super-capitalist Jewish oligarchs. Some 'leftism'!

We need to discuss the power of the Glob.

Thanks for the digest of hasbarist crap.

Useful to have it all in one place..

annamaria , February 18, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT \n
100 Words

War profiteers (both of a dishonest character) have found each other: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-17/mccain-tells-europe-trump-administration-disarray http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-17/germany-issues-stark-warning-trump-stop-threatening-eu-favoring-russia
" Trump's administration was in "disarray," McCain told the Munich Security Conference, where earlier in the day Germany defense minister Ursula von der Leyen warned Trump to stop threatening the EU, abandoning Western values and seeking close ties with Russia, that the resignation of the new president's security adviser Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russia reflected deep problems in Washington."

What an amazing whoring performance for the war-manufacturers! And here is an interesting morsel of information about the belligerent Frau der Leyen: http://www.dw.com/en/stanford-accuses-von-der-leyen-of-misrepresentation/a-18775432
"Stanford university has said Ursula von der Leyen is misrepresenting her affiliation with the school. The German defense minister's academic career is already under scrutiny after accusations of plagiarism." No kidding. Some "Ursula von der Leyen' values" indeed.

Anonymous IX , February 18, 2017 at 2:42 am GMT \n
200 Words

I doubt we'll see little change from the Trump administration toward Russia.

From SOTT:

Predictable news coming out of Yemen: Saudi-backed "Southern Resistance" forces and Hadi loyalists, alongside al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), launched a new offensive against the Houthis in western Yemen on Wednesday.

This is not the first time Saudi-backed (and by extension, Washington-backed) forces have teamed up with al-Qaeda in Yemen .

Yemen is quickly becoming the "spark that lights the powder keg". The conflict has already killed, maimed and displaced countless thousands (thanks to the stellar lack of reporting from trustworthy western news sources, we can only estimate the scale of Saudi/U.S. crimes in Yemen), but now it seems that elements of the Trump administration are keen on escalation, likely in hopes of giving Washington an excuse to carpet bomb Tehran.

Apparently, we feel satisfied fighting with our old allies, al-Qaeda and Saudis.

I had hoped for much better from Trump.

Kiza , February 18, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT \n
200 Words

I think that the authors may be underestimating Putin in his determination to keep Russia and the Russian economy independent. For example, I find this rumoured offer of "increased access to the huge European energy market" very funny, for at least two reasons:
1) US wants to sell hydrocarbons (LPG) to the European market at significantly higher prices than the Russian prices, and
2) the current dependence of EU countries on the Russian energy would have never happened if there were better alternatives.

In other words, any detente offer that the West would make to Russia would last, as usual, not even until the signature ink dries on the new cooperation agreements. Putin does not look to me like someone who suffers much from wishful thinking.

The Russian relationship with China is not a bed of roses, but it is not China which is increasing military activity all around Russia, it is the West. Also, so far China has shown no interest in regime-changing Russia and dividing it into pieces. Would you rather believe in the reform capability of an addict in violence or someone who does not need to reform? Would the West self-reform and sincerely renounce violence just by signing a new agreement with Russia?

The new faux detente will never happen, as long as Putin is alive.

Max Havelaar , February 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm GMT \n
200 Words

Trump is an ultra-zionist for Sheldon Adelson and prolongs & creates wars for the Goldman banking crimesyndicat.

The only one stopping Trump is Putin or Russia's missile defenses.

Indeed, Putin's main inside enemy is Russia's central bank, or the Jewish oligarchs in Russia (Atlanticists). Also Russia needs to foster and encourage small&medium enterprises, that need cheap credit, to create competitive markets, where no prices are fixed and market shares change. These are most efficient resource users.

In the US, Wallstreet controls government = fascism = the IG Farben- Auschwitz concentration camps to maximize profits. This is the direction for the US economy.

Meanwhile in the EU, the former Auschwitz owners IG Farben (Bayer(Monsanto), Hoechst, BASF) the EU chemical giants, who have patented all natures molecules, are in controll again over EU. Deutsche bank et allies is eating Greece, Italy, Spain's working classes, using AUSTERITY as their creed.

So what is new? Nothing, the supercorporate-fascist elites are the same families, who 's morality is unchanged in a 100 years.

Anon , February 20, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT \n
@Priss Factor

Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

... ... ...

Sergey Krieger , February 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

I would really love to like Putin and I am trying but him protecting all those criminals and not reversing the history greatest heist of 90′s makes it impossible. While I am behind all his moves to restore Russian military and foreign policy, I am still waiting for more on home front. Note, not only the Bank must be nationalized. Everything, all industries, factories and other assets privatized by now must be returned to rightful owner. Public which over 70 years through great sacrifice built all of it.

Sergey Krieger , February 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT \n
300 Words @SmoothieX12
I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.
Partially, because Putin himself is an economic liberal and, to a degree, monetarist, albeit less rigid than his economic block. The good choices he made often were opposite to his views. As he himself admitted that Russia's geopolitical vector changed with NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia--a strengthening of Russia has become an imperative. This comeback was impossible within the largely "Western" monetarist economic model. Russia's comeback happened not thanks but despite Putin's economic views, Putin adjusted his views in the process, his economic block didn't. But many of them still remain his friends, despite the fact that many of them are de facto fifth column and work against Russia, intentionally and other wise. Eventually Putin will be forced to get down from his fence and take the position of industrialists and siloviki. Putin's present for Medvedev's birthday was a good hint on where he is standing economically today and I am beginning to like that but still--I personally am not convinced yet. We'll see. In many respects Putin was lucky and specifically because of the namely Soviet military and industry captains still being around--people who, unlike Putin, knew exactly what constituted Russia's strength. Enough to mention late Evgeny Primakov. Let's not forget that despite Putin's meteoric rise through the top levels of Russia's state bureaucracy, including his tenure as a Director of FSB, Putin's background is not really military-industrial. He is a lawyer, even if uniformed (KGB) part of his career. I know for a fact that initially (early 2000s) he was overwhelmed with the complexity of Russia's military and industry. Enough to mention his creature Serdyukov who almost destroyed Command and Control structure of Russia's Armed Forces and main ideologue behind Russia's military "reform", late Vitaly Shlykov who might have been a great GRU spy (and economist by trade) but who never served a day in combat units. Thankfully, the "reforms" have been stopped and Russian Armed Forces are still dealing with the consequences. This whole clusterfvck was of Putin's own creation--hardly a good record on his resume. Hopefully, he learned.

Smoothie, you seem to have natural aversion towards lawyers
Albeit, the first Vladimir, I mean Lenin also was a lawyers by education still he was a rather quick study. Remember that military communism and Lenin after one year after Bolsheviks took power telling that state capitalism would be great step forward for Russia whcih obviously was backward and ruined by wars at the time and he proceeded with New Economic Policy and Lenin despite not being industry captain realized pretty well what constituted state power hence GOELRO plans and electrification of all Russia plans and so forth which was later turned by Stalin and his team into reality.

Now, Lenin was ideologically motivated and so is Putin. But he clearly has been trying to achieve different results by keeping same people around him and doing same things. Hopefully it is changing now, but it is so much wasted time when old Vladimir was always repeating that time is of essence and delay is like death knell. Putin imho is away too relax and even vain in some way, hence those shirtless pictures and those on the bike. And the way he walks a la "Я Московский озорной гуляка". As you said it looks like he is protecting those criminals who must be prosecuted and yes, many executed for what they caused.

I suspect in cases when it comes to economical development he is not picking right people for those jobs and it is his major responsibility to assign right people and delegate power properly, not to be forgotten to reverse what constitutes the history greatest heist and crime so called "privatization". Basically returning to more communal society minus Politburo.

There is a huge elephant in the room too. Russia demographic situation which I doubt can be addressed under current liberal order. all states which are in liberal state of affairs fail to basically procreate hence these waves of immigrants brought into all Western Nations. Russia cannot do it. It would be suicide which is what all Western countries are doing right now.

Boris N , February 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT \n

Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West.

You write about Russia but have not done your homework. Russia is very dependent on Western technology and its entire high-tech industry depends on the import of Western machinery. Without such machinery many Russian factories, including military ones, would stall. Very important oil industry is particularly vulnerable.

Some home reading (sorry, they are in Russian, but one ought to know the language if one writes about the country).

http://www.fa.ru/fil/orel/science/Documents/ISA%2014644146.pdf

http://rusrand.ru/analytics/stanki-stanki-stanki

[Jul 05, 2019] Who are the arsonists of the petrol tankers in the Gulf, by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo). ..."
"... Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy. ..."
"... In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine. ..."
"... Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas ..."
"... So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs " ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.voltairenet.org

Manlio Dinucci invites us to take a step back. He replaces the sabotage of these petrol tankers, for which Washington accuses Teheran, in the context of the global energy policy of the United States. By doing so, he demonstrates that, contrary to appearances, Mike Pompeo is not targeting Iran, but Europe.

While the United States prepared a new escalation of tension in the Middle East by accusing Iran of attacking petrol tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Italian vice-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with one of the artisans of this strategy in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, assuring him that " Italy wants to regain its place as the major partner on the European continent of the greatest Western democracy ". Thereby he has allied Italy with the operation launched by Washington.

The " Gulf of Oman affair " , a casus belli against Iran, is a carbon copy of the " Gulf of Tonkin affair " of 4 August 1964, itself used as a casus belli to bomb North Vietnam, which was accused of having attacked a US torpedo boat (an accusation which was later proved to be false).

Today, a video released by Washington shows the crew of an alleged Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the hull of a petrol tanker in order to conceal its origin (because the mine would allegedly have borne the inscription " Made in Iran ").

With this " proof " - a veritable insult to our intelligence - Washington is attempting to camouflage the goal of the operation. It is part of the strategy aimed at controlling the world reserves of oil and natural gas and their energy corridors [ 1 ]. It is no coincidence that Iran and Iraq are in US crosshairs. Their total oil reserves are greater than those of Saudi Arabia, and five times greater than those of the United States. Iranian reserves of natural gas are approximately 2.5 times those of the USA. Venezuela finds itself targeted by the USA for the same reason, since it is the country which owns the greatest oil reserves in the world.

The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo).

Low-cost Iranian natural gas might also have reached Europe by way of a pipeline crossing Iraq and Syria. But the project, launched in 2011, was destroyed by the USA/NATO operation to demolish the Syrian state.

Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy.

In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine.

Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas. But we have no guarantees, neither on the price, nor on the time-scale for US gas extracted from the bituminous shale by the technique known as fracking (hydraulic fracturation), which is disastrous for the environment.

So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs ". Manlio Dinucci

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Source
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[Jul 01, 2019] Russia Says It Is Overcomplying With OPEC Production Quota OilPrice.com

Jul 01, 2019 | oilprice.com

https://cdn.districtm.io/ids/index.html Russia's oil production in June was 50,000 bpd below the level Moscow had pledged under the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday, as carried by Russian news agency Interfax .

As part of the OPEC+ production cuts between January and June, Russia is taking the lion's share of the non-OPEC cuts and pledged to reduce production by 230,000 bpd from October's post-Soviet record level of 11.421 million bpd, to 11.191 million bpd.

[Jun 29, 2019] John Bolton is that you? on ZH? cooool, maybe pompeo will show up later?

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

LaugherNYC , 2 hours ago link

You gotta love the SCI. This shallowly-disguised Russian propaganda arm writes in the most charming awkward idiomatic English, bouncing from a "false neutral" tone to a jingoistic Amercia-phobic argot to produce its hit pieces.

Russian propaganda acts like Claude Raines in "Casablanca" : "i am shocked, shocked to discover (geopolitics) going on here!" Geeeee, Europe and the US are in a struggle to avoid Europe relying on Russia for strategic necessities like fuel, even if it imposes costs on European consumers. If you have a dangerous disease, and your pharmacist is known for cutting off their customers' vital drugs to extort them, you might consider using another provider who not only doesn't cut off supplies, but also provides the police department that protects you from your pharmacist's thugs who are known to invade customers' homes using the profits from their own business.

The US provides the protective umbrella that limits Putin's adventurism. Russia cuts of Ukraine's gas supplies in winter to force them into submission. Gasprom is effectively an arm of the Russian military, weaponizing Russia's only product as a geopolitical taser. Sure, it costs more to transport LNG across the Atlantic and convert it back to gas, but the profits from that business are routinely funneled back to Europe in the form of US trade, contributions to NATO, and the provision of the nuclear umbrella that protects Europeans from the man who has publicly lamented the fall of the Soviet Union, called for the return of the former SSRs, and violated the IRM treaty to place nuclear capable intermediate-range missiles and cruise missiles within range of Europe and boasted about his new hypersonic weapons' theoretic capability to decapitate NATO and American decision-making within a few minutes of launch.

... ... ...

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Oh, for pity's sake, Laugher. Everything...absolutely everything you attribute to Russia in your post can be said of the U.S. I'm not much of a Wiki fan, but for expediency, here's their view on military bases.

The establishment of military bases abroad enables a country to project power , e.g. to conduct expeditionary warfare , and thereby influence events abroad. Depending on their size and infrastructure, they can be used as staging areas or for logistical, communications and intelligence support. Many conflicts throughout modern history have resulted in overseas military bases being established in large numbers by world powers and the existence of bases abroad has served countries having them in achieving political and military goals.

And this link will provide you with countries worldwide and their bases.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_overseas_military_bases

Note that Russia, in this particular list, has eight bases all contiguous to Russia. The U.S. has 36 listed here with none of them contiguous to the U.S.' borders.

[Jun 29, 2019] Latest Weapon Of US Imperialism Liquified Natural Gas

Highly recommended!
See better discussion at platts.com "But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016." So $2 price at Henry Hub should rise to at least $4 for companies to stay in business.
Notable quotes:
"... Less than half of the gas necessary for Europe is produced domestically, the rest being imported from Russia (39%), Norway (30%) and Algeria (13%). In 2017, gas imports from outside of the EU reached 14%. Spain led with imports of 31%, followed by France with 20% and Italy with 15%. ..."
"... The South Stream project, led by Eni, Gazprom, EDF and Wintershall, should have increased the capacity of the Russian Federation to supply Europe with 63 billion cubic meters annually, positively impacting the economy with cheap supplies of gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. Due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russian companies like Gazprom, and the continuing pressure from Washington to abandon the project and embrace imports from the US, the construction of the pipeline have slowed down and generated tensions between Europe and the US. Washington is piling on pressure on Germany to derail Nord Stream 2 and stop the construction of this important energy linkage. ..."
"... Further tension has been added since ENI, an Italian company that is a leader in the LNG sector, recently discovered off-shore in Egypt one of the largest gas fields in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 850 billion cubic meters. To put this in perspective, all EU countries demand is about 470 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017. ..."
"... s mentioned, LNG imported to Europe from the US costs about 20% more than gas traditionally received through pipelines. This is without including all the investment necessary to build regasification plants in countries destined to receive this ship-borne gas. Europe currently does not have the necessary facilities on its Atlantic coast to receive LNG from the US, introduce it into its energy networks, and simultaneously decrease demand from traditional sources. ..."
"... This situation could change in the future, with LNG from the US seeing a sharp increase recently. In 2010, American LNG exports to Europe were at 10%; the following year they rose to 11%; and in the first few months of 2019, they jumped to 35%. A significant decrease in LNG exports to Asian countries, which are less profitable, offers an explanation for this corresponding increase in Europe. ..."
"... Washington, with its LNG ships, has no capacity to compete in Asia against Qatar and Australia, who have the lion's share of the market, with Moscow's pipelines taking up the rest. The only large remaining market lies in Europe, so it is therefore not surprising that Donald Trump has decided to weaponize LNG, a bit as he has the US dollar . This has only driven EU countries to seek energy diversification in the interests of security. ..."
"... The European countries do not appear to be dragging their feet at the prospect of swapping to US LNG, even though there is no economic advantage to doing so. As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?" ..."
"... The generalized hysteria against the Russian Federation, together with the cutting off of Iranian oil imports at Washington's behest, limit the room for maneuver of European countries, in addition to costing European taxpayers a lot. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One of the most important energy battles of the future will be fought in the field of liquid natural gas (LNG). Suggested as one of the main solutions to pollution , LNG offers the possibility of still managing to meet a country's industrial needs while ameliorating environmental concerns caused by other energy sources. At the same time, a little like the US dollar, LNG is becoming a tool Washington intends to use against Moscow at the expense of Washington's European allies.

To understand the rise of LNG in global strategies, it is wise to look at a graph (page 7) produced by the International Gas Union (IGU) where the following four key indicators are highlighted: global regasification capacities; total volumes of LNG exchanged; exporting countries; and importing countries.

From 1990 to today, the world has grown from 220 million tons per annum (MTPA) to around 850 MTPA of regasification capacity. The volume of trade increased from 20-30 MTPA to around 300 MTPA. Likewise, the number of LNG-importing countries has increased from just over a dozen to almost 40 over the course of 15 years, while the number of producers has remained almost unchanged, except for a few exceptions like the US entering the LNG market in 2016.

There are two methods used to transport gas.

The first is through pipelines, which reduce costs and facilitate interconnection between countries, an important example of this being seen in Europe's importation of gas. The four main pipelines for Europe come from four distinct geographical regions: the Middle East, Africa, Northern Europe and Russia.

The second method of transporting gas is by sea in the form of LNG, which in the short term is more expensive, complex and difficult to implement on a large scale. Gas transported by sea is processed to be cooled so as to reduce its volume, and then liquified again to allow storage and transport by ship. This process adds 20% to costs when compared to gas transported through pipelines.

Less than half of the gas necessary for Europe is produced domestically, the rest being imported from Russia (39%), Norway (30%) and Algeria (13%). In 2017, gas imports from outside of the EU reached 14%. Spain led with imports of 31%, followed by France with 20% and Italy with 15%.

The construction of infrastructure to accommodate LNG ships is ongoing in Europe, and some European countries already have a limited capacity to accommodate LNG and direct it to the national and European network or act as an energy hub to ship LNG to other ports using smaller ships.

According to King & Spalding :

"All of Europe's LNG terminals are import facilities, with the exception of (non-EU) Norway and Russia which export LNG. There are currently 28 large-scale LNG import terminals in Europe (including non-EU Turkey). There are also 8 small-scale LNG facilities in Europe (in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Norway and Gibraltar). Of the 28 large-scale LNG import terminals, 24 are in EU countries (and therefore subject to EU regulation) and 4 are in Turkey, 23 are land-based import terminals, and 4 are floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs), and the one import facility in Malta comprises a Floating Storage Unit (FSU) and onshore regasification facilities."

The countries currently most involved in the export of LNG are Qatar (24.9%), Australia (21.7%), Malaysia (7.7%), the US (6.7%), Nigeria (6.5%) and Russia (6%).

Europe is one of the main markets for gas, given its strong demand for clean energy for domestic and industrial needs. For this reason, Germany has for years been engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project, which aims to double the transport capacity of gas from Russia to Germany. Currently the flow of the Nord Stream is 55 billion cubic meters of gas. With the new Nord Stream 2, the capacity will double to 110 billion cubic meters per year.

The South Stream project, led by Eni, Gazprom, EDF and Wintershall, should have increased the capacity of the Russian Federation to supply Europe with 63 billion cubic meters annually, positively impacting the economy with cheap supplies of gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. Due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russian companies like Gazprom, and the continuing pressure from Washington to abandon the project and embrace imports from the US, the construction of the pipeline have slowed down and generated tensions between Europe and the US. Washington is piling on pressure on Germany to derail Nord Stream 2 and stop the construction of this important energy linkage.

Further tension has been added since ENI, an Italian company that is a leader in the LNG sector, recently discovered off-shore in Egypt one of the largest gas fields in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 850 billion cubic meters. To put this in perspective, all EU countries demand is about 470 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017.

ENI's discovery has generated important planning for the future of LNG in Europe and in Italy.

Problems have arisen ever since Donald Trump sought to oblige Europeans to purchase LNG from the US in order to reduce the trade deficit and benefit US companies at the expense of other gas-exporting countries like Algeria, Russia and Norway. As mentioned, LNG imported to Europe from the US costs about 20% more than gas traditionally received through pipelines. This is without including all the investment necessary to build regasification plants in countries destined to receive this ship-borne gas. Europe currently does not have the necessary facilities on its Atlantic coast to receive LNG from the US, introduce it into its energy networks, and simultaneously decrease demand from traditional sources.

This situation could change in the future, with LNG from the US seeing a sharp increase recently. In 2010, American LNG exports to Europe were at 10%; the following year they rose to 11%; and in the first few months of 2019, they jumped to 35%. A significant decrease in LNG exports to Asian countries, which are less profitable, offers an explanation for this corresponding increase in Europe.

But Europe finds itself in a decidedly uncomfortable situation that cannot be easily resolved. The anti-Russia hysteria drummed up by the Euro-Atlantic globalist establishment aides Donald Trump's efforts to economically squeeze as much as possible out of European allies, hurting European citizens in the process who will have to pay more for American LNG, which costs about a fifth more than gas from Russian, Norwegian or Algerian sources.

Projects to build offshore regasifiers in Europe appear to have begun and seem unlikely to be affected by future political vagaries, given the investment committed and planning times involved:

"There are currently in the region of 22 large-scale LNG import terminals considered as planned in Europe, except for the planned terminals in Ukraine (Odessa FSRU LNG), Russia (Kaliningrad LNG), Albania (Eagle LNG) – Albania being a candidate for EU membership – and Turkey (FSRU Iskenderun and FSRU Gulf of Saros).

Many ofthese planned terminals, including Greece (where one additional import terminal is planned – Alexandroupolis), Italy (which is considering or planning two additional terminals – Porto Empedocle in Sicily and Gioia Tauro LNG in Calabria) , Poland (FSRU Polish Baltic Sea Coast), Turkey (two FSRUs) and the UK (which is planning the Port Meridian FSRU LNG project and UK Trafigura Teesside LNG). LNG import terminal for Albania (Eagle LNG), Croatia (Krk Island), Cyprus (Vassiliko FSRU), Estonia (Muuga (Tallinn) LNG and Padalski LNG), Germany ( Brunsbüttel LNG), Ireland (Shannon LNG and Cork LNG), Latvia (Riga LNG), Romania (Constanta LNG), Russia (Kaliningrad LNG) and Ukraine (Odessa).

Nine of the planned terminals are FSRUs: Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the UK. "In addition, there are numerous plans for expansion of existing terminals, including in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK."

Washington, with its LNG ships, has no capacity to compete in Asia against Qatar and Australia, who have the lion's share of the market, with Moscow's pipelines taking up the rest. The only large remaining market lies in Europe, so it is therefore not surprising that Donald Trump has decided to weaponize LNG, a bit as he has the US dollar . This has only driven EU countries to seek energy diversification in the interests of security.

The European countries do not appear to be dragging their feet at the prospect of swapping to US LNG, even though there is no economic advantage to doing so. As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?" This, however, is not the case with all allies. Germany is not economically able to interrupt Nord Stream 2. And even though the project has many high-level sponsors, including former chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the project constantly seems to be on the verge of being stopped – at least in Washington's delusions.

Even Eni's discovery of the gas field in Egypt has annoyed the US, which wants less competition (even when illegal, as in the case of Huawei) and wants to be able to force its exports onto Europeans while maintaining the price of the LNG in dollars, thereby further supporting the US dollar as the world's reserve currency in the same manner as the petrodollar .

The generalized hysteria against the Russian Federation, together with the cutting off of Iranian oil imports at Washington's behest, limit the room for maneuver of European countries, in addition to costing European taxpayers a lot. The Europeans appear prepared to set whatever course the US has charted them, one away from cheaper gas sources to the more expensive LNG supplied from across the Atlantic. Given the investments already committed to receive this LNG, it seems unlikely that the course set for the Europeans will be changed.


Sputternik , 1 hour ago link

I live in Europe. I can honestly say that the people I know here prefer Russian gas. People are very ticked off about how the US meddled in their gas supply and the structuring of the pipelines. Most feel that even if US LNG WAS competitive with Russian gas price for now, that the US would in some way either increase prices or use it in some other way to control or manipulate the EU. And sentiment towards USA tends toward resentment and distrust. That's not to say they are necessarily pro-Russia, but definitely a wave of anti US is present.

phaedrus1952 , 46 minutes ago link

US LNG pricing is based on Henry Hub which today is under $2.30/mmbtu.

Even adding in liquefaction and shipping costs, the price to the end user is extremely low.

Henry hub is projected to be sub $3 for DECADES!

Combine the low price with spot deliveries (pipe usually demands long term contracting commitments), and US LNG actually has strong rationale for being accepted.

The statement above that US LNG cannot compete against Australia in Asia is preposterously false due to the VERY high buildout costs of the Aussie LNG infrastructure.

Next year, Oz's first LNG IMPORT terminal at Port Kembla may well be supplied with US LNG.

jaxville , 44 minutes ago link

The US has shown itself to be unreliable as a supplier of anything. Political posturing will always take precedence over any international transaction.

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Oh, for pity's sake, Laugher. Everything...absolutely everything you attribute to Russia in your post can be said of the U.S. I'm not much of a Wiki fan, but for expediency, here's their view on military bases.

The establishment of military bases abroad enables a country to project power , e.g. to conduct expeditionary warfare , and thereby influence events abroad. Depending on their size and infrastructure, they can be used as staging areas or for logistical, communications and intelligence support. Many conflicts throughout modern history have resulted in overseas military bases being established in large numbers by world powers and the existence of bases abroad has served countries having them in achieving political and military goals.

And this link will provide you with countries worldwide and their bases.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_overseas_military_bases

Note that Russia, in this particular list, has eight bases all contiguous to Russia. The U.S. has 36 listed here with none of them contiguous to the U.S.' borders.

FormerTurbineGuy , 2 hours ago link

Whilst the left wants to go full throttle towards Wind and Solar, no one knows that the natural gas lobby is behind these sources because both sources need a backup. While everyone talks "carbon footprint" they never discusses plant efficiency ( or in the terms of engines brake specific fuel consumption and turbine specific fuel consumption ) in terms of thermal efficiency. You know the boring stuff that plant operators stress over to make sure when your wife wakes up @ 3 in the morning to feed the baby, the lights do go on, and they are creating that wattage in an cost affective manner. With that said, the king of thermal efficiency i.e. burning a fuel to create electricity, is the Combined Cycle Natural Gas Power Plant. These plants combines a stationary gas turbine buring natural gas to spin a generator and a boiler on the back side capture the waste heat to create steam to spin a turbine to again add an input to the generator for a current state of the art of 61% efficiency . That means only 39% going up the stack or for steam cooling to get your "Delta T" for the steam cycle to work. This 61% is vs maybe in the mid 40's for a coal, oil plant or in the case of Nuclear just waste heat with nothing going out a stack. The greater wattage per fuel burned, and the modularization of these Combined Cycle Plants aka have a series of 100mw turbines and bring them on line as needed, make this a win-win IMHO for a massive refurbishing of our Utility base, with a host of benefits, before Gen 3 & Gen 4 Nuclear truly take off again. These plants could be a great stop gap before Gen 3 & 4 are a reality. All the macinations towards wind and solar and their disavantages aka being bird vegamatics, vistas being spoiled and huge swaths of land being used for panels make no sense vs energy density of efficient plants. We are the Natural Gas King, lets not flare it anymore, and really, really leverage it here, help allies, and use it for bringing bad behaving children of the world to the table ifyou will, if you want the candy, behave....

Anonymous IX , 1 hour ago link

Why do we have to treat other countries like we're the parent? We aren't. They are equal and fully functioning countries quite capable of determining their own political and economic future...which may involve not trading or interacting with the U.S. Particularly if we demand of them conditions we ourselves would never accede.

JeanTrejean , 3 hours ago link

To get cheap energy, is an advantage for the European Industry.

Why should we use expensiver energy ?

And, as I read ZH, the future of the US shale gas is far to be assured.

SoDamnMad , 3 hours ago link

The Lithuanian FSRU "Independence" which was delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2014 to the port of Klaipeda drove energy costs for heating through the roof and perhaps is one of the reasons the Prime Minister at the time only came in third in the latest presidential elections. You can stay reasonably warm, eat or have money for medicine and other necessities. Pick 2 ONLY. Thank you USSA

tuetenueggel , 3 hours ago link

Brainsick as Pompeo the US Pork without character.

As Long as Russia dlivery theier gas constantly and for a much better price then Us-Shale idiots, the ziocons only can lose. We Europeans are not very impressed.

Arising , 3 hours ago link

The biggest Capitalist economy on the planet needs to use mob tactics to push its over priced wares- seems 'long term' is not part of their hit-and-run operation.

Call me Al , 3 hours ago link

LNG = Liquefied natural gas, not liquid.

Now as for the article; apart from a few Eastern European Countries (The Ukraine, Poland etc.), I have seen no proof whatsoever, that Europe is shifting to US LNG.

As for "As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?""; I am sorry, but I think those days are over..... this can be seen in our Iranian stance, the 2 Russian pipelines - 1 being Nordstream II and the other Turk-stream, increased trade with Russia, joining the the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and so on and so on......

Kirk2NCC1701 , 3 hours ago link

Call me AI, both terms are acceptable.

Liquified refers to the processing.

Liquid refers to the state of the gas after processing.

earleflorida , 2 hours ago link

thankyou :)

tuetenueggel , 3 hours ago link

yeah, vasalls are not jumping any longer.

libfrog88 , 3 hours ago link

Slowly but surely the anti-Russia propaganda is dying. You can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some people all of the time (libtards), but you can't fool all the people all of the time. Europeans (the citizens) will question why they should pay 20-30% more for their natural gas just to please America. Politicians better have an answer or change of policy if they want to be reelected.

[Jun 27, 2019] Who are the arsonists of the petrol tankers in the Gulf by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo). ..."
"... Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.voltairenet.org

While the United States prepared a new escalation of tension in the Middle East by accusing Iran of attacking petrol tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Italian vice-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with one of the artisans of this strategy in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, assuring him that " Italy wants to regain its place as the major partner on the European continent of the greatest Western democracy ". Thereby he has allied Italy with the operation launched by Washington.

The " Gulf of Oman affair " , a casus belli against Iran, is a carbon copy of the " Gulf of Tonkin affair " of 4 August 1964, itself used as a casus belli to bomb North Vietnam, which was accused of having attacked a US torpedo boat (an accusation which was later proved to be false).

Today, a video released by Washington shows the crew of an alleged Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the hull of a petrol tanker in order to conceal its origin (because the mine would allegedly have borne the inscription " Made in Iran ").

With this " proof " - a veritable insult to our intelligence - Washington is attempting to camouflage the goal of the operation. It is part of the strategy aimed at controlling the world reserves of oil and natural gas and their energy corridors [ 1 ]. It is no coincidence if Iran and Iraq are in US crosshairs. Their total oil reserves are greater than those of Saudi Arabia, and five times greater than those of the United States. Iranian reserves of natural gas are approximately 2.5 times those of the USA. Venezuela finds itself targeted by the USA for the same reason, since it is the country which owns the greatest oil reserves in the world.

The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo).

Low-cost Iranian natural gas might also have reached Europe by way of a pipeline crossing Iraq and Syria. But the project, launched in 2011, was destroyed by the USA/NATO operation to demolish the Syrian state.

Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy.

In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine.

Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas. But we have no guarantees, neither on the price, nor on the time-scale for US gas extracted from the bituminous shale by the technique known as fracking (hydraulic fracturation), which is disastrous for the environment.

So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs ".

[Jun 13, 2019] For those who still look in occasionally on what is happening with Nord Stream II, the Americans are still blustering about killing it with new sanctions targeted against pipelaying vessels and those who finance them, insure them, and so on. Its typical dog-in-the-manger pressure is applied with a view to supplying Europe itself, with 'freedom gas'.

Jun 13, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman June 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm

For those who still look in occasionally on what is happening with Nord Stream II, the Americans are still blustering about killing it with new sanctions targeted against pipelaying vessels and those who finance them, insure them, and so on. Its typical dog-in-the-manger pressure is applied with a view to supplying Europe itself, with 'freedom gas'. That, of course, is not using energy as a weapon – just so we're clear. It's trying to force Europe to buy higher-priced American gas by using economics as a weapon.

Anyway, Germany is getting pretty fed up with it. Mutti Merkel has let the Americans know that they are not going to be able to stop the project. She has let it be known that the project already has European approval 'in principle', and that she is aware this is all about Ukraine and forcing Russia to continue gas transit through it and supplement its budget with transit fees. Germany's Ambassador to the United States, Emily Haber, has allegedly been even more pointed than that.

"In particular, according to Bild, the German Ambassador to the United States, Emily Haber, has sent a letter to the US Congress urging them to stop threatening Russian companies PJSC NOVATEK and PJSC Gazprom, operating in Germany, with new sanctions. In her words, such actions jeopardize the energy security of Germany and of the entire European Union.

In her letter, Emily Haber points out that since countries of the European Union have adopted amendments to the Gas Directive, the issue of blocking the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is closed for Europe: "All countries that criticized the Nord Stream-2 approved this document " . Given the situation, the German diplomat described any further steps that Washington might take in order to hinder the development of the project as counterproductive and potentially threatening the energy security of the EU."

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/05/26/us-strives-to-supply-europe-with-its-own-gas/

Gosh; that reminds me – Chinese tariffs on American LNG more than doubled a couple of weeks ago. As of June 1st, the tariff went from 10% to 25%. Not having much of an effect, though – Chinese imports of American LNG have only dropped from 1.4 million tons during the first 4 months of last year to .3 million tons over the same period this year. The unclaimed LNG must be sold on the open market, and that drives the price down. Price has a direct effect on American production, and if it goes too low production must be reined in.

You're doing a great job, Mr. Trump – keep it up! Make America great again!

[Jun 12, 2019] Trump Threatens Merkel With Pipeline Sanctions, US Troop Cut by Josh Wingrove

This is a typical Trump. He understands that "protection of Germany" is a profitable "protection racket" for the USA, but still lies.
Notable quotes:
"... U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said during a visit to Ukraine in May that he expected Congress to prepare legislation to sanction companies involved in the pipeline's construction. ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Trump Threatens Merkel With Pipeline Sanctions, U.S. Troop Cut - Bloomberg ‎June‎ ‎12‎, ‎2019‎ ‎12‎:‎34‎ ‎PM

'Germany Is Making a Tremendous Mistake by Relying on Pipeline,' says Trump 'Germany Is Making a Tremendous Mistake by Relying on Pipeline,' says Trump Close Share

Donald Trump upped his criticism of Germany on Wednesday as he threatened sanctions over Angela Merkel's continued support for a gas pipeline from Russia and warned that he could shift troops away from the NATO ally over its defense spending.

Echoing previous threats about German support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Trump said he's looking at sanctions to block the project he's warned would leave Berlin "captive" to Moscow. The U.S. also hopes to export its own liquefied natural gas to Germany.

"We're protecting Germany from Russia, and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars in money from Germany" for its gas, Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The comments were the latest sign of how U.S.-German ties have eroded in recent years. The U.S. president has repeatedly rebuked Merkel's government over the pipeline project, trade policies and defense spending. Germany, in turn, has criticized Trump's moves to abandon international agreements, including on climate change and Iran.

Though he didn't say which companies or governments could potentially face sanctions, Trump's comments about the pipeline generated a swift response from Moscow, which said the American president was engaging in "nothing other than blackmail and a form of unfair competition," according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Merkel and Trump met most recently last week during anniversary celebrations of the 1944 D-Day invasion. That gathering came days after the EU's longest-serving leader took Trump to task at a commencement address at Harvard University, urging students to "tear down walls" and not to treat "lies as truth." Without naming the U.S. leader, Merkel left little doubt as to whom she might mean to a crowd who cheered her on.

QuickTake: Why World Worries About Russia's Natural Gas Pipeline

U.S. opposition to the gas pipeline is bipartisan, out of concern that Russia could use its supplies of natural gas to exert pressure on Western European nations dependent on the fuel. U.S. lawmakers also fear that with an added northern pipeline for its gas, Russia could more easily cut off fuel to Ukraine, which is now a key transit country to Europe.

"Germany is making a tremendous mistake" by relying on the pipeline from Russia, Trump said during a joint news conference with Duda.

Regardless of the political controversy, the Nord Stream 2 project has faced delays and may not be ready to transport gas until the second half of 2020, according to a report made public by Denmark's Energy Agency.

Nord Stream 2 organizers argue a new pipeline is needed to guarantee supplies will continue to flow in the coming decades as EU domestic reserves shrink and import needs rise. Opponents of the project say it hurts the bloc's cohesion and weakens its Energy Union strategy aimed at integrating the region's gas and power markets, diversifying energy supplies and improving security.

Uniper SE, Engie SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, OMV AG and BASF SE's Wintershall are European partners of Russia's Gazprom PJSC in financing the project to expand Nord Stream by 55 billion cubic meters a year. Russia supplies a third of Europe's gas and has no plans to give up its share to the expanding list of competitors from Norway to the U.S.

Trump, speaking during the news conference Wednesday, said that Poland signed a contract to purchase an additional $8 billion of liquefied natural gas from U.S. companies, on top of $25 billion already under contract.

Trump said he'll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Japan at the end of the month, though its not clear the pipeline project will be on their agenda.

Who's Dependent on Russian Gas?

About a third of Europe's gas comes from Russia

https://www.bloomberg.com/toaster/v2/charts/17e9f70fa0444d53a0445e199c57eb22.html?brand=politics&webTheme=politics&web=true&hideTitles=true

2016 data. Source: Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said during a visit to Ukraine in May that he expected Congress to prepare legislation to sanction companies involved in the pipeline's construction.

Senators Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, have drafted a bill that would target U.S. sanctions at vessels laying the pipeline and deny U.S. visas to executives from companies linked to the ships. The legislation would also block transactions in U.S.-based property or interests belonging to those individuals and would penalize entities that provide insurance to the project.

In the latest sign of Trump's frustration over German defense spending, the president said he's discussed sending as many as 2,000 more U.S. troops to Poland -- and might take them from Germany since he believes Berlin isn't spending enough on defense as a partner in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There are more than 30,000 U.S. troops in Germany.

Under an agreement reached during the Obama administration, NATO members committed to spending 2% of GDP on defense by the mid-2020s, a level only seven nations were estimated to have reached in 2018.

"Germany's at 1%, they should be at 2%," Trump said. According to NATO documents, spent about 1.2 percent of GDP on defense in 2018.

The U.S. already has a few thousand troops in Poland as part of its role in NATO. Trump's move, if carried out, would add to that, but it wasn't clear if the forces would be permanently based there or just rotated through.

-- With assistance by Daryna Krasnolutska, Nick Wadhams, Daniel Flatley, Stepan Kravchenko, Ewa Krukowska, and Vanessa Dezem

[May 28, 2019] Russia does not want to "control" Germany with Nord Stream, it wants to make money. And Germany wants cheap gas. Strictly business

Notable quotes:
"... They will be the ones to blackmail Europe and Germany if Europe becomes dependent on LNG from the U.S. So everything U.S. administrations are yelling at others is just projection, one knows immediately that it is in fact what the U.S. is doing under the veil or will be doing when the need/opportunity will arise. ..."
"... Trump is not an aberration, it is just how the U.S. always behaved, but now it is in the open, for all to see, the crassness and the bullying. ..."
"... Germany is the linchpin of the world and the U.S. (and others) is becoming hysterical at the possibility of not keeping the Germans down any longer… ..."
"... American Jewish intellectuals have really jumped the shark since the Iraq War. The most outlandish, slandering statements are stuffed into their essays and they trash whole peoples at the slightest “offence” to their worldview. ..."
May 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

GaryH May 23, 2019 at 9:32 am

If Daenerys Targaryen had announced her desire to use her last dragon to torch Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the Neocons would have lionized her as the womanly exemplar of democracy and wise foreign policy that produces peace and justice for all.

Neocons are very much the evil they call us to battle.

SteveM , , May 23, 2019 at 10:54 am

Re: MarkVA comment

I had to rub my eyes with incredulity when I read that.

If Russia wants to weaken Ukraine, why did it ever build a pipeline through it in the first place? Russia didn't stop using the Ukraine pipeline intially for political reasons. It was because Ukraine was stealing gas meant for pass-through to other European countries and it wasn't paying its bills. Don't pay your utility bills and see what happens.

Russia does not want to "control" Germany with Nord Stream, it wants to make money. And Germany wants cheap gas. Strictly business.

And how can Russia control Germany with Nord Stream when it knows that the first time it shuts off gas for political reasons would be the last. Because Russia knows that Germany will find alternative suppliers and never come back. The Russians ain't stupid.

Russia wants bilateral trade with Europe without the Global Cop Gorilla perpetually in the background arrogant calling the shots.

The final reconciliation of Europe and Russia should have occurred 25 years but didn't because the ham-fisted United States threw up the fear-monger barriers. And that was because its National Security States wants an existential "enemy" to justify its massive costs.

The sooner Europe ejects the U.S. War Machine from its territories the better. Better for Europe, better for Russia and better for the American taxpayers.

Kouros , says: May 23, 2019 at 11:32 am

I am with SteveM here. And I was shocked to see MarkVA’s comment. Mark has proved to be a respectable commentator, especially on Rod’s Blog, with very astute and sensible observations. It seems that tribalism is clouding his judgment when observing the world outside the U.S.

It is well known that the Soviets and the Russians always keep their end of the bargain and they know if they don’t do so they will end up loosing and being vilified. Whereas the U.S. always breaks its agreements, it is not thrust worthy (not agreement capable). Imagine depending on such an economic partner?!

They will be the ones to blackmail Europe and Germany if Europe becomes dependent on LNG from the U.S. So everything U.S. administrations are yelling at others is just projection, one knows immediately that it is in fact what the U.S. is doing under the veil or will be doing when the need/opportunity will arise.

Trump is not an aberration, it is just how the U.S. always behaved, but now it is in the open, for all to see, the crassness and the bullying.

Germany is the linchpin of the world and the U.S. (and others) is becoming hysterical at the possibility of not keeping the Germans down any longer… And Germany is moving ahead. It just sacrificed West Bank, and declared the BDS movement illegal as a soap to Israelis, to burnish its credentials with those blackmailers, so that it will become free to re-orient its politics and strategic configuration as it needs and wants.

fabian, May 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Gas? Where is the problem? Russian gas is cheaper that’s it. Furthermore, there is another pipeline that’s going to bring gas from the Mediterranean to Europe and another from Qatar.

And if all else fails and Russia flexes its muscles (which ones by the way) do you think that the over-indebted America will not sell its gas to the Germans?

And yes, it’s not a good strategy to be too dependent on America. It quickly takes the goods away when its interests are at stake.

Tiktaalik, May 24, 2019 at 5:14 pm

@MarkVA

>>The Nord Stream I and II gas pipe lines (aka Molotov-Ribbentrop Gas Lines), a Gazprom initiative, has everything to do with weakening Ukraine and increasing German energy dependence on Russia;

How could NS increase German energy dependence on Russia? It will be the very same gas which at the moment flows through the Ukraine.

Surely, NS would decrease anybody’s dependence from the Ukraine. So what?

Tiktaalik, May 24, 2019 at 5:18 pm

@MarkVA

>>Oh, and some lesser European countries were partitioned by the important European countries. So yes, Europe was quite busy spreading joy and happiness all around:

It’s a bit rich when it’s coming from an American. You’re still in Plymouth, right?

Kouros, May 24, 2019 at 11:35 pm

@MarkVA (May 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm )

That was a hit with the posting on Ukraine…

To bad it wasn’t accompanied by the Recognition of the US administration that the Golan Heights, taken from Syria by Israel after a war, against all worlds dictum, now belongs to Israel.

At least in Crimea, which by administrative fiat was moved within USSR from Russia to Ukraine in the 1950s, there was a referendum.

And for me, US is Devil Incarnate since it put a target of nuclear missiles on my mother country. May the curse of a 1000 hells be upon it.

Josep, May 25, 2019 at 5:05 am

Reading sites like Russia Insider gave me the notion that Germany would be better off as allies with Russia than with the USA. After all, Russia and Germany:

* are on the metric system
* have languages that use grammatical gender
* share the same 220-volt “Schuko” power plugs and sockets
* implement Civil Law, and most importantly
* aren’t separated by a whole ocean.

American Jewish intellectuals have really jumped the shark since the Iraq War. The most outlandish, slandering statements are stuffed into their essays and they trash whole peoples at the slightest “offence” to their worldview.

There are strong anti-German currents in American culture and politics, going back to at least WW1 and also manifest today (no other treaty ally is treated with such dismissive hostility by the Trump administration as Germany). But they are regarded as completely normal and rarely get critical attention, whereas German anti-Americanism is treated as a pathology or some kind of sacrilege…the German-American relationship (calling it “friendship” is a lie) is profoundly asymmetrical.

Agreed in both counts. The casual anti-white racism thrown about by the likes of such people (let’s not forget Davids Medienkritik, Little Green Footballs, Grouchy Old Cripple and Dissident Frogman) is a lot scarier than any jumpscare I’ve encountered. And in the case of German_reader’s comment, It’d be interesting to consider how Trump reconciles his hostility towards Germany with his own German heritage.

At one point in the Iraq War, the German news outlet Der Spiegel had readers rate their opinion of president Bush on their website on a scale of 1 (most favorable) to, if I recall correctly, 6 (least favorable). After seeing public opinion of Bush in Germany overwhelmingly “least favorable”, users of FreeRepublic went to this poll and attempted to gerrymander the results by selecting “most favorable”, deleting their site cookies, and repeating so as to make it look like more people in Germany supported Bush than opposed. This was called “freeping”.

[Apr 28, 2019] US Sanctions Got India to Ditch Iran, Will Washington Get It to Ditch Russia Too - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for by Andrew Korybko

So oil prices with rise which threaten Trump bid in 2020. Interesting times.
Notable quotes:
"... As is now known, however, appearances can be very misleading, and in actuality the same country that was vowing to "defy" the US actually ended up quietly implementing its new patron's will. ..."
Apr 24, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

The announcement by India's Oil Minister that his country will replace US-sanctioned Iranian oil imports with those from "major oil-producing countries" despite the dramatic Bollywood show that New Delhi has made up until this point out of "defying" US sanctions makes one seriously wonder whether India's preparing to ditch Russia next if the US imposes CAATSA sanctions against it over the S-400s.

Shattering The "Indian Illusion"

The " Indian Illusion " has been shattered after India's Oil Minister tweeted that his country will replace US-sanctioned Iranian oil imports with those from "major oil-producing countries" such as the Islamic Republic's hated GCC foes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE that America said will step up their exports in order to stabilize global prices after Washington announced that it won't renew its anti-Iranian oil sanction waivers. New Delhi made a dramatic Bollywood-like show over the past year out of "defying" US sanctions, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announcing last May that India will only obey UNSC sanctions and not those unilaterally imposed by the US in contravention of international law.

The Oil Minister himself said back in October before the waivers were issued that India will continue buying Iranian oil in spite of the US sanctions, later crediting Prime Minister Modi a month later when the US eventually granted it the waiver. Adding "credibility" to the illusion that India's perception managers were masterfully creating, it was then reported that the country will use rupees instead of dollars when trading with Iran, a bold move that even fooled an RT columnist who headlined his op-ed on this development as a " response to US global bullying ".

As is now known, however, appearances can be very misleading, and in actuality the same country that was vowing to "defy" the US actually ended up quietly implementing its new patron's will.

[Apr 28, 2019] Rand think tank study suggest that the USA should flood the world with oil in order to overextend and unbalance Russia

Some pretty strange ideas if we are taking about oil. What they are smiling at RAND?
Notable quotes:
"... That evaluation is quite strange. The U.S. government does not produce oil. Private companies do so but only if they can make a profit. Increasing production beyond the global demand will decrease the oil price for all producers. All recent new U.S. production comes from shale oil. Optimistic estimates put the break even point for good shale oil fields at around $50 per barrel. Few fields can produce at lower costs. Most shale oil fields have a higher break even point. There is also a danger in suppressing oil prices. Many oil producing countries have U.S. friendly regimes. They need high oil prices to survive. Ruining them will not come cheap for the U.S. in geopolitical terms. ..."
"... of the 8 most promising suggestions - 6 of them are military... it seems to me these think tanks are great pr tools for the military industrial complex... who cares if the usa continues to move into 3rd world status as a nation, so long as more money for weapons can be acquired?? that is what these think tanks - rand and etc seem to want to foist on the public... it is all so very sad.. ..."
"... No, I think most US weapons procurement gives weapons that don't work as advertised, and wouldn't win wars anyway. I think it's one reason why the US military is largely only capable of spoiler wars, not actually conquering any place. (The other is the general unreliability of mercenary forces, which the US army basically is, however much they try to cultivate a militant Christian ethos.) ..."
"... I also do not believe spoiler wars help the country as a whole (as opposed to some of the owners) I think pretty much all a burden, immoral to boot and should be massively reduced. ..."
"... Even if you’re sure those companies are entirely private, if you print the current global reserve currency, can you not give “free” money to frackers and thereby make them more competitive than global peers? Sure, that’s flooding the market with an illegal subsidy. But, who can conduct proper accounting in opaque markets? ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
According to RAND the best option to overextend and unbalance is to produce more oil:
Expanding U.S. energy production would stress Russia's economy, potentially constraining its government budget and, by extension, its defense spending. By adopting policies that expand world supply and depress global prices, the United States can limit Russian revenue. Doing so entails little cost or risk, produces second-order benefits for the U.S. economy, and does not need multilateral endorsement.

That evaluation is quite strange. The U.S. government does not produce oil. Private companies do so but only if they can make a profit. Increasing production beyond the global demand will decrease the oil price for all producers. All recent new U.S. production comes from shale oil. Optimistic estimates put the break even point for good shale oil fields at around $50 per barrel. Few fields can produce at lower costs. Most shale oil fields have a higher break even point. There is also a danger in suppressing oil prices. Many oil producing countries have U.S. friendly regimes. They need high oil prices to survive. Ruining them will not come cheap for the U.S. in geopolitical terms.

The second best option says RAND is to increase sanctions of Russia. This also doesn't make much sense. Russia can produce everything it needs and it has free access to the world's largest markets, China and India.

The best military options listed by RAND are all useless. All the new weapon systems Russia has revealed over the last two years are way more capable than anything the U.S. is able to field. If the U.S., as RAND advocates, invest more in certain fields, it will only be to catch up. That does not impose any new costs on Russia.

... ... ...

In all I find it a bit impertinent to publicly argue for "overextending and unbalancing Russia". Where is the need to do such?

The study demonstrates again that strategic analysis by U.S. think tanks is woefully shallow-minded. The "experts" writing these have no deep understanding of Russia, or even of the economic-political complexity of the real world.

Four of the eight best options the RAND study found start with the words "Invest more in ...". It is a sign that the foremost motive its writers had in mind is to grab more taxpayer money. Fine. Give it to them already. Overextending and unbalancing the U.S. by more abstruse expenditure for weapon systems that do not work will neither hurt me nor Russia.

james | Apr 27, 2019 2:34:51 PM | 2

thanks b.. of the 8 most promising suggestions - 6 of them are military... it seems to me these think tanks are great pr tools for the military industrial complex... who cares if the usa continues to move into 3rd world status as a nation, so long as more money for weapons can be acquired?? that is what these think tanks - rand and etc seem to want to foist on the public... it is all so very sad..

@1 steven.. well, as i read you, you are essentially supporting a continuation of the usa pouring endless money into the military then, regardless the accuracy of the accounts on the new Russian weapons.. do i have that right?

psychohistorian | Apr 27, 2019 2:42:19 PM | 3

@ b who wrote

"In all I find it a bit impertinent to publicly argue for "overextending and unbalancing Russia". Where is the need to do such?"

Russia is not beholden to the God of Mammon/global private finance world and the need to do such is to affect that position

The West is ruled by those that own private finance and all major conflict is predicated on the forceful, if necessary, maintenance of that control.

Steven T Johnson | Apr 27, 2019 2:47:15 PM | 4

james@2

No, I think most US weapons procurement gives weapons that don't work as advertised, and wouldn't win wars anyway. I think it's one reason why the US military is largely only capable of spoiler wars, not actually conquering any place. (The other is the general unreliability of mercenary forces, which the US army basically is, however much they try to cultivate a militant Christian ethos.)

However, since I also do not believe spoiler wars help the country as a whole (as opposed to some of the owners) I think pretty much all a burden, immoral to boot and should be massively reduced.

... ... ...

oglalla | Apr 27, 2019 5:34:07 PM | 18

>> The U.S. government does not produce oil. Private companies do so but only if they can make a profit. Increasing production beyond the global demand will decrease the oil price for all producers.

Even if you’re sure those companies are entirely private, if you print the current global reserve currency, can you not give “free” money to frackers and thereby make them more competitive than global peers? Sure, that’s flooding the market with an illegal subsidy. But, who can conduct proper accounting in opaque markets?

Of course, the money is not “free”. Depreciating the currency, an inflation tax, shows up in lower-quality goods (like frankenfood— we cannot afford healthy food any more) and higher prices in everything. But, again, who’s counting? The BLS and the media? Yep.

[Apr 22, 2019] Current Neo-McCarthyism hysteria as a smoke screen of the UK and the USA intent to dominate European geopolitics and weaken Russia and Germany

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine. ..."
"... But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , July 24, 2018 12:23 am

@run75441 July 23, 2018 2:02 pm

Best bet is for Russia to want to trade with the US and Europe. The gas pipeline will not be enough leverage on Germany as it provides 9% of their needs.

Yes. And that's against the USA interests (or more correctly the US-led neoliberal empire interests). North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine.

As you know, nothing was proven yet in Russiagate (and DNC hacks looks more and more like a false flag operation, especially this Guccifer 2.0 personality ), but sanctions were already imposed. And when the US government speaks "Russia" in most cases they mean "China+Russia" ;-). Russia is just a weaker link in this alliance and, as such, it is attacked first. Russiagate is just yet another pretext after MH17, Magnitsky and such.

To me the current Anti-Russian hysteria is mainly a smokescreen to hide attempt to cement cracks in the façade of the USA neoliberal society that Trump election revealed (including apparent legitimization of ruling neoliberal elite represented by Hillary).

And a desperate attempt to unite the society using (false) war propaganda which requires demonization of the "enemy of the people" and neo-McCarthyism.

But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad (for example, military alliance means the end of the USA global military domination; energy alliance means that is now impossible to impose a blockade on China energy supplies from Middle East even if Iran is occupied)

In this sense the recent descent into a prolonged fit of vintage Cold War jingoistic paranoia is quite understandable. While, at the same time, totally abhorrent. My feeling is that unless Russia folds, which is unlikely, the side effects/externalities of this posture can be very bad for the USA. In any case, the alliance of Russia and China which Obama administration policies forged spells troubles to the global neoliberal empire dominated by the USA.

Trump rejection of existing forms of neoliberal globalization is one sign that this process already started and some politicians already are trying to catch the wind and adapt to a "new brave world" by using preemptive adjustments.

Which is why all this Trump-Putin summit hysteria is about.

Neither hard, nor soft neoliberals want any adjustments. They are ready to fight for the US-led neoliberal empire till the last American (excluding, of course, themselves and their families)

[Apr 18, 2019] What will happen once Nord Stream II is finished? Where is Europe heading next, especially in its relationship with the USA and Russia?

Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

The Saker: What will happen once Nord Stream II is finished? Where is Europe heading next, especially in its relationship with the USA and Russia?

Dmitry Orlov: The new pipelines under the Baltic and the Black Sea will be completed, along with the second LNG installation at Sabetta, and Russia will go on supplying natural gas to Europe and Asia. I suspect that the fracking extravaganza in the US is entering its end game and that the dream of large-scale LNG exports to Europe will never materialize.

The nations of Europe will gradually realize that its relationship with Russia is mostly beneficial while its relationship with the US is mostly harmful, and will make certain adjustments. The Ukraine, its natural gas pipeline system decrepit and beyond repair, will continue to import natural gas from Europe, only now the methane molecules will actually flow to it from the west rather from the east.

[Mar 18, 2019] The U.S. Shouldn t Seek New Ideological Confrontations Abroad by Daniel Larison

This MIC prostitute Karan, like his wife Nuland are un-reformable. They just earn their living ing by warmongering. And they will screem like pigs if they are deprived from those money, and do not care one bit how many people will be killed as the result of their policies.
There is no war that those neocon chickenhawks do not like. It's their family racket.
Notable quotes:
"... Kagan's preferred foreign policy requires that there is some global "ideological confrontation" for the U.S. to be engaged in. If there isn't one, it has to be invented. ..."
"... Kagan isn't all that interested in details or accuracy. Those are "beside the point." ..."
"... Kagan doesn't make it explicit in this essay, but his larger goal in all of this is to advocate for a more confrontational foreign policy mobilized against the authoritarian enemies that he has described. He hints at this when he disparages contemporary "realists" ..."
"... realists, non-interventionists, and progressives that see no compelling reason for the U.S. to engage in destructive rivalries with major authoritarian powers in their own backyards. Except for a lame, overused comparison to the 1930s, Kagan doesn't even try to explain why we are wrong to think this. Kagan assumes that such destructive rivalries are both necessary and desirable, and this essay is the latest part of his effort to lay the groundwork for the ideological justification for those rivalries. ..."
"... A recent WSJ article (03/11/19) titled "Russian Gas Plan Divides U.S., Allies" with the subtitle "Washington fears undersea project would make Germany too reliant on Moscow" tells the tale of what the real reasons for America to demonize Russia and Putin. The U.S. leaders fear that the German-Russian pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, will make Europe reliant on Russian energy instead of Europe purchasing it energy from the United States. What gives the U.S. the right to stop one nation from doing commerce with other nations? The answer is "Greed." ..."
"... Kagan is and will until the bitter end defend American hegemony and the ideological mantle will be used as a cover ..."
"... People also forget that US is not a democracy, but a managed Republic, and according to all indicators, it is not even that liberal ..."
"... The fallout from the actions of these "interventionists" is millions are dead in a number of countries. Millions are refugees and thousands of soldiers are dead or maimed. More facts on these war criminals at link below. https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-facts-on-crimes-of-war-criminals.html ..."
"... This Kagan family, with Robert now the lead figure, has done a great deal towards furthering conflicts and violence in the world. It is long past time that they be put in their place, whatever that is, but it will not happen because their Zionist mindset is very well funded. ..."
"... "The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed. We shouldn't make the same mistake again when the stakes are even higher." We ought to do more than that. He should be muzzled and sent to live in a cave somewhere to repent the consequences of the terrible damage he and other incompetents have done to America. That people like this still have access to the media is almost beyond belief. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Brookings Senior Fellow and author Robert Kagan in March 2018. (Brookings Institution/Paul Morigi) Robert Kagan warns us about global authoritarianism:

Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days, the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism. We are not used to thinking of authoritarianism as a distinct worldview that offers a real alternative to liberalism.

We are not used to thinking of authoritarianism as a distinct worldview because it isn't one. All authoritarian states share certain things in common, and they may see some of the same things as threats, but there isn't a single worldview that all authoritarian governments subscribe to. There is no one ideology that binds them together. Most of them are nationalistic to one degree or another, but because of that they usually have competing and opposing goals. Treating all authoritarian regimes as part of the same global threat lumps illiberal and majoritarian democracies together with kleptocracies, communist dictatorships, and absolute monarchies. That exaggerates the danger that these regimes pose, and it tries to invent a Cold War-like division between rival camps that doesn't really exist. If the U.S. treats these states as if they are all in league with one another, it will tend to drive together states that would otherwise remain at odds and keep each other at arm's length.

Kagan's preferred foreign policy requires that there is some global "ideological confrontation" for the U.S. to be engaged in. If there isn't one, it has to be invented. His account of the history of the 20th century shows how determined he is to see international politics in terms of grand ideological battles even when there wasn't one. He takes seriously the idea that WWI is one of these struggles: "But for those who fought it, on both sides, it was very much a war between liberalism and authoritarianism." Kagan makes the mistake of treating wartime propaganda descriptions of the war as the real motivation for the war, and he relies on stereotypes of the nations on the other side of the war as well. The world's largest colonial empires were not fighting for "the liberties of Europe" and they certainly weren't fighting for the rights of small nations, as wartime British propaganda would have it, and that became abundantly clear in the post-war settlement. It was primarily a war among empires for supremacy in Europe, and the surviving Allied empires consolidated their hold on their own colonial possessions and gained more. To the extent that Americans genuinely believed that joining the war had something to do with vindicating the cause of democracy, they were quickly disabused of that notion when they saw the fruits of the vindictive settlement that their allies imposed on the losing side.

Kagan admits that there are many differences of regime type that he is trying to collapse into one group:

We have become lost in endless categorizations, viewing each type of non-liberal government as unique and unrelated to the others -- the illiberal democracy, the "liberal" or "liberalizing" autocracy, the "competitive" and "hybrid" authoritarianism. These different categories certainly describe the myriad ways non-liberal societies may be governed. But in the most fundamental way, all of this is beside the point.

In other words, Kagan isn't all that interested in details or accuracy. Those are "beside the point." What matters is dividing up the world into two opposing camps: "Nations are either liberal, meaning that there are permanent institutions and unchanging norms that protect the "unalienable" rights of individuals against all who would infringe on those rights, whether the state or the majority; or they are not liberal." The criteria for qualifying as a liberal nation are extremely demanding. What institutions can honestly be called "permanent" and what norms are ever truly "unchanging"? Judged against this extreme and unreasonable standard, there won't ever be many nations that qualify as liberal, including quite a few that we would normally consider liberal democracies in good standing. That makes it a lot easier for Kagan to exaggerate the power of "resurgent authoritarianism."

Kagan doesn't make it explicit in this essay, but his larger goal in all of this is to advocate for a more confrontational foreign policy mobilized against the authoritarian enemies that he has described. He hints at this when he disparages contemporary "realists" whom he doesn't name or cite:

Just as during the 1930s, when realists such as Robert Taft assured Americans that their lives would be undisturbed by the collapse of democracy in Europe and the triumph of authoritarianism in Asia, so we have realists today insisting that we pull back from confronting the great authoritarian powers rising in Eurasia.

To be much more accurate, there are realists, non-interventionists, and progressives that see no compelling reason for the U.S. to engage in destructive rivalries with major authoritarian powers in their own backyards. Except for a lame, overused comparison to the 1930s, Kagan doesn't even try to explain why we are wrong to think this. Kagan assumes that such destructive rivalries are both necessary and desirable, and this essay is the latest part of his effort to lay the groundwork for the ideological justification for those rivalries.

Kagan's analysis suffers from the problem of mirror-imaging that always plagues ideologues. He assumes that everyone sees the world in starkly ideological categories just as he does, and he thinks that other actors are just as determined to export their ideology as he is. His entire worldview depends on linking great power competition with larger ideological causes, and for almost thirty years there has been no such "ideological confrontation" for Kagan to theorize about. Despite Kagan's insistence to the contrary, there still isn't. He wants the U.S. to take a more confrontational approach to dealing with Russia and China, and in order to sell that today he has to dress it up as something more than the destructive and costly pursuit of hegemony that he has been pushing for decades. The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed. We shouldn't make the same mistake again when the stakes are even higher.


Minnesota Mary March 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm

A recent WSJ article (03/11/19) titled "Russian Gas Plan Divides U.S., Allies" with the subtitle "Washington fears undersea project would make Germany too reliant on Moscow" tells the tale of what the real reasons for America to demonize Russia and Putin. The U.S. leaders fear that the German-Russian pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, will make Europe reliant on Russian energy instead of Europe purchasing it energy from the United States. What gives the U.S. the right to stop one nation from doing commerce with other nations? The answer is "Greed."

All wars are predicated on lies, and all wars are fought for economic reasons and not the so called humanitarian reasons that are fed to the people.

Kouros , says: March 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm
Always insightful indeed: Kagan is and will until the bitter end defend American hegemony and the ideological mantle will be used as a cover (Mel Gibson screaming "Freedom!" in Bravehart; killing the babies and stealing the incubators!).

People also forget that US is not a democracy, but a managed Republic, and according to all indicators, it is not even that liberal

So better save this post because you are still young and in 30 years from now you will be able to re-post it and just change a couple of names

JR , says: March 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm
Ironically he seems in the same (lack of) weight class (intellectually) as Pompeo.
Stephen J. , says: March 17, 2019 at 5:22 pm
You write:

"The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed."

--

Right on the mark. The fallout from the actions of these "interventionists" is millions are dead in a number of countries. Millions are refugees and thousands of soldiers are dead or maimed. More facts on these war criminals at link below.
https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-facts-on-crimes-of-war-criminals.html

Taras 77 , says: March 17, 2019 at 7:15 pm
Thanks much for this, Mr Larison.

Anytime, anywhere, anyone comes out and destroys kagan's Zionist globalist babble as you have done, it is a very commendable exercise for the good of mankind and America.

This Kagan family, with Robert now the lead figure, has done a great deal towards furthering conflicts and violence in the world. It is long past time that they be put in their place, whatever that is, but it will not happen because their Zionist mindset is very well funded.

Your article does a public service.

prolegomenon to any future foreign policy , says: March 18, 2019 at 2:27 am
"The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed. We shouldn't make the same mistake again when the stakes are even higher."

We ought to do more than that. He should be muzzled and sent to live in a cave somewhere to repent the consequences of the terrible damage he and other incompetents have done to America. That people like this still have access to the media is almost beyond belief.

[Mar 13, 2019] Protests sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions

Notable quotes:
"... Everything I understand about German behavior in regards to 3rd parties is totally in lockstep with the US - never mind that Germany has been occupied by the US since WW2 - so why not a scheme to build more Russian dependency on the West? ..."
"... The people who destroyed the USSR are still in power; their whole existence depends on whoring out Russia to the West because that is all they have ever done. They can't not stop because to stop would be an act of self-annihilation. Russian elites, at least a large faction of them, desperately want back into the clubhouse, if they cant get in they will find something else to do until the moment the clubhouse door is opened to them again, and then they will fall all over themselves to get in. ..."
Mar 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Only a few weeks ago, German politicians and media were up in arms protesting to the Trump administration for interfering in Berlin's internal affairs. There were even outraged complaints that Washington was seeking "regime change" against Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

Those protests were sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions if they go ahead with the Baltic seabed project.

Earlier, Grenell provoked fury among Berlin's political establishment when he openly gave his backing to opposition party Alternative for Germany. That led to consternation and denunciations of Washington's perceived backing for regime change in Berlin. They were public calls for Grenell to be expelled over his apparent breach of diplomatic protocols.

Now, however, Germany is shamelessly kowtowing to an even more outrageous American regime-change plot against Venezuela.

... ... ...

Perhaps this policy of appeasement is also motivated by Berlin's concern to spare the Nord Stream 2 project from American sanctions. When NS2 is completed later this year, it is reckoned to double the capacity of natural gas consumption by Germany from Russia. That will be crucial for Germany's economic growth.

Another factor is possible blackmail of Berlin by Washington. Recall the earth-shattering revelations made by American whistleblower Edward Snowden a few years back when he disclosed that US intelligence agencies were tapping the personal phone communications of Chancellor Merkel and other senior Berlin politicians. Recall, too, how the German state remarkably acquiesced over what should have been seen as a devastating infringement by Washington.

The weird lack of action by Berlin over that huge violation of its sovereignty by the Americans makes one wonder if the US spies uncovered a treasure trove of blackmail material on German politicians.

Berlin's pathetic kowtowing to Washington's interference in Venezuela begs an ulterior explanation. No self-respecting government could be so hypocritical and duplicitous.

Whatever Berlin may calculate to gain from its unscrupulous bending over for Washington, one thing seems clear, as Russian envoy Nebenzia warned: "One day you are next" for American hegemonic shafting.


Cast Iron Skillet , 6 hours ago link

Well, Merkel is doing a good job of protecting Germany's interests by opposing the U.S. regarding North Stream 2.

The German stand on Venezuela is disappointing, but they might be figuring no skin off their back, since Venezuela is not in Europe, so might as well appease cheeto head.

ComradePuff , 7 hours ago link

I am personally suspicious of Nord Stream 2 and think Russia is making a HUGE mistake. Everything I understand about German behavior in regards to 3rd parties is totally in lockstep with the US - never mind that Germany has been occupied by the US since WW2 - so why not a scheme to build more Russian dependency on the West? The Russians are fools to have built this pipeline - they should be moving away from Europe, not foolishly trying to sew themselves onto it as an appendage. This will come back to bite them on the ***, mark my words.

And this, in a nutshell, is why Russia is always taking one step forward and two back. The people who destroyed the USSR are still in power; their whole existence depends on whoring out Russia to the West because that is all they have ever done. They can't not stop because to stop would be an act of self-annihilation. Russian elites, at least a large faction of them, desperately want back into the clubhouse, if they cant get in they will find something else to do until the moment the clubhouse door is opened to them again, and then they will fall all over themselves to get in.

[Mar 04, 2019] The USA pressure Germany to abandon North Stream II

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Warren March 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

The Duran

Published on 1 Mar 2019

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 185.

The Duran's Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the Munich Security Conference, and Angela Merkel's stunning defiance of Mike Pence, after the United States Vice President urged Germany to cease its economic activities with Russia and China, starting with Nord Stream 2 and the deepening energy links to Russia.

See: Merkel Draws the Line Against Trump

https://tomluongo.me/2019/02/21/merkel-draws-the-line-against-trump/

[Feb 26, 2019] EIA's Data for World and Non-OPEC Oil Production " Peak Oil Barrel

Feb 26, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

nikbez x Ignored says: 02/25/2019 at 11:40 pm

Ron,

> It is very likely that Russia+ Canada will peak within the next two years.

I agree that Russia is close to its peak. But, at the same time, Russia has a huge Arctic territory with a very low density of population (due to harsh conditions), which probably is not explored that well. Also with their gas reserves, they might be able to increase the condensate production considerably, repeating the USA path.

The other possibility is Russia sliding in chaos after Putin retirement, as there is no any politician of equal caliber able to pick up the helm among the current elite. And there will be "external helpers" like after Brezhnev's death who will try to get some comprador at the top. Also, the leadership change historically is a huge problem in Russia.

See https://www.quora.com/What-will-happen-after-Vladimir-Putin-steps-down-or-passes-away . This Igor Markov sounds like a typical neoliberal propagandist salivating to plunder Russia the second time as Harvard mafia did in the past, but the problem does exist.

Russia is a kind of 'A riddle wrapped up in an enigma.' Everybody wrote Russia off in late 90th. It is difficult to make predictions about Russia.

If I remember correctly, Fernando Leanme used to work at Russia in the past, and he might share his thoughts about this issue.

What is interesting is that due to the use of natural gas in transport, Russia does not consume that much oil internally, which makes an important difference with KSA.

Fernando Leanme x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 7:26 am
Increasing Russia's Arctic production is feasible, but this will take many years, and I don't think it can offset decline to make much of a difference. Yamal has huge gas condensate reservoirs located under the Cenomanian, but they need many more wells. I believe they can produce 1 mmbopd of condensate, but that would take 15 to 20 years.

I believe Putin is smart enough to set up a successful replacement, and the Russian elite will also be keen on a smooth transition because they think they are under attack (yes, they are convinced the USA, Germany, France and others are very keen on making them submit).

Opritov Alexander x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 4:25 pm
1.Russians are not very happy with Putin
2. Most Russians will support him in any circumstances. This is a principle. Otherwise, chaos.
3.95% Rosiyan has a negative attitude towards liberals, as well as to "democratic values" (this is a declaration that has no common with reality)
4.Most Russians dissatisfied with property inequality that appeared in the last 25 years
5. The greatest dissatisfaction is the destruction of industry. The lack of productive labor. (We live with the income of hydrocarbons, the country-gas station). The consequence of globalism.
ProPoly x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 8:52 am
Russia would have declined by now without huge, fracking like CapEx in existing fields. This was from one year ago.

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2017/12/19/rosneft-board-agrees-on-samotlor-development-program

>>>
During 2016-2017 Rosneft and the Russian government have been elaborating in details additional options for the development of unique Samotlor field. As a result a joint decision was made for an investment incentive in the form of an annual mineral extraction tax reduction of RUB 35 billion during 10 years.

The Board has confirmed the Company's obligations to drill over 2,400 wells during 2018-2027 that would provide additional output in the amount of more than 50 mtoe. The extended Samotlor development program would result in an increase of tax liabilities to budgets of all administrative levels to RUB 1.7 trln. The investment incentives should give new momentum to the development of one of the largest fields in the country and bring significant multiplicative effect for Russian economy.
<<<

2,400 wells in a decade is 240 a year. This article is discussing just Samotlor.

A conventional field drilling a well more often than once every two days. Quite a bit more than that I imagine in the good time of the year with the swings in Siberian weather conditions.

That's nuts. It's also going to shark fin at some point.

Baggen x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 10:32 am
Interesting, Schlumberger said during q&a in their q3 they they had a contract for 400 wells 2019-2021 for the saudis, it was ghawar and one neighbouring field to the west that i cant remember name of that all 400 wells were going into. They were also quite honest about its purpose that it was to mitigate declines.

So that makes it pretty much exactly 50% of the russian drill rate per day in samotlor you mention abowe.

I asked in previous thread why that many wells were needed if we are to believe saudis 200gb+ of world class reserves remaining. In my opinion i didn't get any answer to that question.

Watcher x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 1:26 pm
Somebody way up above said because Russia uses natgas for transport they don't consume much oil.

Gas consumption growth last year was 1.3% Oil consumption growth was 1%.

Russian car sales grew 18% last year after a double digit gain the previous year. Lada dominates their sales, and as best I can see they are all petrol fueled. Hyundai and Kia are a substantial presence as well, but I see no evidence in general of natgas dominating transport.

American model sales seem at best obscure. It's Lada, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, VW.

ProPoly x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 2:52 pm
The statement about Russia using natural gas heavily for transport is simply inaccurate. Russia "only" consumes 3.2 million barrels per day of oil. But that's more because the country does not have anywhere near the continent-wide car infrastructure and other wealthy sprawl the United States built out.
Watcher x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 3:36 pm
Russia per capita oil consumption is 0.0229 barrels/person/day. This is about 1/3 US consumption rate. It's higher than most countries.

[Feb 03, 2019] As US Freezes, This Is Where Europeans Can't Afford To Heat Their Homes

Feb 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

radbug , 2 hours ago link

How come Poland's at 6% & Lithuania is at 29%? Don't they both import American LNG? And how come Estonia is at 3%? Sounds like the Estonians import Russian gas. Bulgaria's at 37%. Now what were the assurances John McCain gave Sofia regarding alternative gas options to Southstream? Please spell them out for me again, I'm pretty slow, you know!

Banjo , 2 hours ago link

Where is Ukraine since the friendly western backed guys moved in?

Probably less than 1% now that but you're off Putin and Russia and the. US had your back.

Moribundus , 7 hours ago link

Bulgarians are happi like that so they rejected South Stream. They jumped into american trap, idiots.

Mustahattu , 7 hours ago link

There's many stupid countries in Europe falling into the US LNG trap. The americunts are laughing.

zeroboris , 7 hours ago link

They also rejected a nuclear power plant, which Russians were building for them, after a call from American embassy. They're hopeless.

IronForge , 8 hours ago link

What is so ridiculously ClusterFrack-Failed about this, is that BGR nixed a CNG Pipeline Deal with RUS under pressure from the EU_EXECUTIVES.

Instead of Jobs and Transit Fee Income, BGR will have to stand in line and pay more for CNG since TRK picked up the Pipeline. The Southeastern EUROZONE are STILL going to Import that same RUS_CNG.

The Stupidity and RUSSIA_HATE have no bounds...

10LBS_SHIT_5LB_BAG , 8 hours ago link

Among member states , the largest share of people who could not afford to properly heat their home was recorded in Bulgaria at 36.5 percent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Stream

South Stream was a pipeline project to transport natural gas of the Russian Federation through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and through Serbia , Hungary and Slovenia further to Austria .

The project created controversy due to non-compliance with European Union competition and energy legislation, in particular the Third Energy Package , which stipulates the separation of companies' generation and sale operations from their transmission networks.

It was seen as rival to the Nabucco pipeline project. Construction of the Russian onshore facilities for the pipeline started in December 2012. The project was cancelled by Russia in December 2014 following obstacles from Bulgaria and the EU, the 2014 Crimean crisis , and the imposition of European sanctions on Russia. The project has been replaced by proposals of Turkish Stream and Tesla pipeline .

I wonder if they ever regretted that decision?

Volkodav , 7 hours ago link

Decision was Bulgarian govt, not the people.

Most Euro leaders are compromised.

Since the govt has crawled back beg Russia,

as strength shifts East.

[Feb 03, 2019] I guess when you really can't compete because you subsidize the military and FIRE sectors and don't invest in your society, you resort to government interference in the market or "regime change", and then criticize anyone for doing the same thing. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Feb 03, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Steve , , February 1, 2019 at 10:24 am

Its interesting that in Asia, the USG also says it wants to help build infrastructure for LNG use (as an element of its anti China strategy) but then also wants Asian nations like Vietnam to buy American LNG (to reduce America's trade deficits, etc.) once the infrastructure is in place.

Except it would be economically stupid for anyone in Asia to buy more expensive US LNG, when adequate supplies of LNG at lower costs are available from nations like Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia and of course Qatar.

I guess when you really can't compete because you subsidize the military and FIRE sectors and don't invest in your society, you resort to government interference in the market or "regime change", and then criticize anyone for doing the same thing. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Oregoncharles , , February 1, 2019 at 2:07 pm

" it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required)." -- facilities that are themselves dangerous and highly controversial. Oregon is in the midst of one of those controversies, trying to stop construction of an LNG export "facility" at Coos Bay, a scenic but impoverished port on the southern Oregon coast. It would come with a pipeline across the state, which is also highly unwelcome. LNG facilities are a fuel-air bomb waiting to happen, if it should leak -- the Oregon coast is subject to Magnitude 9 subduction quakes and tsunamis. The project would also involve massive dredging that would threaten the local seafood industry. And gas pipelines are subject to their own threats, doubly so in earthquake country. Maybe they can be built uncontested in Europe -- but I doubt it.

[Feb 02, 2019] Looks like the USA want to create conditions for Russi nuking its best gas customer

Feb 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Everything you wanted to know about scuttling an INF Treaty but were afraid to ask ( https://www.rt.com/business/450123-nord-stream-2-ready/ )

Cause when it gets completed without sabotage along the way... Those LNG delivery projects will see lots and lots of $USD heading home "FOR GOOD"!...

Which means "other arrangements" will be necessary in order to make certain that another "hostage" crisis ( https://southfront.org/u-s-opted-to-leave-inf-few-years-ago-spent-this-time-developing-forbidden-missiles/ ) "doesn't go to waste"!!!

[Jan 14, 2019] US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who just sent a letter to both Uniper and BASF to stop work on the Nordstream 2 pipeline or else face further U.S. sanctions

Notable quotes:
"... Good article. It accurately spells it out about the contempt and disrespect that America has of other countries, and the coercive tactics that America often applies to them. ..."
"... It really goes back to what Marine corps Major General Smedley Butler once reflected on, in 1933, about the U.S.,. He said: "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism". Apparently, that is how other countries see us operating as too. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

For another example I turn to U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who just sent a letter to both Uniper and BASF to stop work on the Nordstream 2 pipeline or else face further U.S. sanctions.

The Bild report raised the ire of some German politicians in Berlin. Fabio De Masi, a top Left Party MP, demanded that the government reprimand Grenell, saying : "The US Ambassador seems to make an impression that he is a viceroy of the Washington emperor.

This is the real face of Trumpian diplomacy. Stop acting in your own best interest or we'll bankrupt you.

The situation at this point is pretty clear. While our military strength is formidable it is not, however, a blank check to enforce political edicts anymore.

In a world where U.S. prosperity is dependent on the prosperity of the entire world, threatening financial ruin is just as much of a bluff as threatening physical ruin.

And we're seeing that bluff being called a lot. Country after country are now simply showing U.S. strongmen like Pompeo, Bolton, Mattis and even Trump himself, the door and there is little to no real response from them.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 47 minutes ago link

Good article. It accurately spells it out about the contempt and disrespect that America has of other countries, and the coercive tactics that America often applies to them.

It really goes back to what Marine corps Major General Smedley Butler once reflected on, in 1933, about the U.S.,. He said: "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism". Apparently, that is how other countries see us operating as too.

[Jan 03, 2019] The Mediterranean Pipeline Wars Are Heating Up by Viktor Katona

It remain to be seen if the deposit of gat discovered justify the construction of the pipeline.
Jan 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com,

Things have been quite active in the Eastern Mediterranean lately, with Israel, Cyprus and Greece pushing forward for the realization of the EastMed pipeline, a new gas conduit destined to diversify Europe's natural gas sources and find a long-term reliable market outlet for all the recent Mediterranean gas discoveries. The three sides have reached an agreement in late November (roughly a year after signing the MoU) to lay the pipeline, the estimated cost of which hovers around $7 billion (roughly the same as rival TurkStream's construction cost). Yet behind the brave facade, it is still very early to talk about EastMed as a viable and profitable project as it faces an uphill battle with traditionally difficult Levantine geopolitics, as well as field geology.

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland. Since most of its subsea section is projected to be laid at depths of 3-3.5 kilometer, in case it is built it would become the deepest subsea gas pipeline, most probably the longest, too, with an estimated length of 1900km. The countries involved proceed from the premise that the pipeline's throughput capacity would be 20 BCM per year (706 BCf), although previous estimates were within the 12-16 BCm per year interval. According to Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Energy Minister, the stakeholders would need a year to iron out all the remaining administrative issues and 4-5 years to build the pipeline, meaning it could come onstream not before 2025.


SpanishGoop , 3 hours ago link

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland.

Cyprus,Crete,Greece, Italy....

Yes, very stable EU supply line going through the most stable countries in the EU.

Samual Vimes , 3 hours ago link

Yeah, I'm having trouble with the sub sea depth numbers too, despite the route cuts the conflicts to a half a dozen from an infinite number.

Intuitively, shipping LNG offers comparable delivery price albeit at lower volumes,and can be done off shore.

Even here in bucolic Pensyltucky, delivery of natty to market is limited by a lack of piping infrastructure, limiting the gas boom. It gives the tree huggers time to throttle the business. Figuring that the political climate and costs are going to get better with time passing is foolish.

Also considered is price, still cheap, cheap, cheap.

Our local natty supplier just applied for, and received a price reduction, effective next fall.

Heavenstorm , 3 hours ago link

Zzzzzz, nothing to do with US, let the EU slave fight over them.

kellys_eye , 3 hours ago link

The only thing gas pipelines mean to the average person is that there will be a war over them. Again.

buzzsaw99 , 3 hours ago link

Since most of its subsea section is projected to be laid at depths of 3-3.5 kilometer, in case it is built it would become the deepest subsea gas pipeline, most probably the longest, too...

oh yeah bitchez. nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan. /s

Pandelis , 2 hours ago link

(((PIPELINES))) wars ... lol

none has even discovered the goods yet ... and we are told we have to go to war about building some (((PIPELINES))) on something to be discovered in the future ... if ever ....

as Abba Waterloo song said the history books on the shelf just keeps repeating itself ... that is why is not that difficult to see through the BS ...

World War I we are told was over some archiduke being killed by some extremist ...as a result 1/3 of the Serb nation was killed ...

[Jan 02, 2019] Viable Opposition How the U.S. Senate is Instigating a Hot War With Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Senate Resolution on December 19, 2019 which calls for "a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline ..."
"... Calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

Senator Ron Johnson (R- Wis) and Richard Durban (D-Ill) and 39 of their colleagues introduced a Senate Resolution on December 19, 2019 which calls for "a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline" as shown here :

Here is a list of co-sponsors of the resolution:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation; and Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
Here is the resolution (currently unnumbered) in its entirety:

Calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

... ... ...

... ... ...

(9) applauds and concurs with the European 2 Parliament's December 12, 2018, resolution condemning Russian aggression in the Kerch Strait and
the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, calling for the pipeline's cancellation due to its threat to European energy security, and calling on the Russian Federation to
7 guarantee freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait;

and

(10) urges the President to continue working with Congress and our allies to ensure the appropriate policies to deter the Russian Federation from further aggression.

Anonymous December 26, 2018 at 4:47 PM

Fortunately, these two neocons can make all the proclamations they want but without President Trump's support it's all just words; neocon virtue signalling. And of course President Trump won't support what they're doing because he campaigned on and governs as an anti-war president.

Ron Johnson is a Bushie neocon who actively supported the neocon ¡Jebe! (Please Clap) Bush while Durbin is a Hillary Clinton neocon who actively supported that drunken, corrupt, warmongering shrew.

Thank all that's holy that we have a genuine anti-war POTUS in office and not either of those two neocons, both of whom were utterly in the pockets of defense contractors.

Unknown January 1, 2019 at 10:02 PM

Thanks for your research on relevant naval law. The Ukrainian vessel is reported to have violated the ongoing protocol by failing to take on a Russian pilot as it transited the strait and an important bridge could potentially have been attacked by those vessels. This was a provocation by Ukraine that seems to have its desired effect on the U.S. Senate. For essential background on the Ukrainian civil war, I recommend reading Stephen F. Cohen's article in the Nation in 2014, titled "Kiev's atrocities and the Silence of the Hawks." https://www.thenation.com/article/kievs-atrocities-and-silence-hawks/

[Dec 29, 2018] Why Russia Isn't Worried About Lower Oil Prices

The big unknown is whether the USA entering the recession or not?
Dec 29, 2018 | oilprice.com

Russia is not as desperate for higher oil prices as is Saudi Arabia. There are a few reasons for this. One of the key reasons is that the Russian currency is flexible, so it weakens when oil prices fall. That cushions the blow during a downturn, allowing Russian oil companies to pay expenses in weaker rubles while still taking in U.S. dollars for oil sales. Second, tax payments for Russian oil companies are structured in such a way that their tax burden is lighter with lower oil prices.

Saudi Arabia needs oil prices at roughly $84 per barrel for its budget to breakeven.

... ... ...

Igor Sechin, the head of Russia's state-owned Rosneft, said that oil prices "should have stabilized, because everyone was supposed to be scared" by the enormous OPEC+ production cuts. "But nobody was scared," he said, according to Bloomberg. He blamed the Federal Reserve's rate tightening for injecting volatility into the oil market, because traders have sold off speculative positions in the face of higher interest rates.

...

Novak offered the market some assurances that the OPEC+ coalition would step in to stabilize the market if the situation deteriorates, suggesting that OPEC+ has the ability to call an extraordinary meeting. He told reporters on Thursday that the market still faces a lot of unknowns. "All these uncertainties, which are now on the market: how China will behave, how India will behave... trade wars and unpredictability on the part of the U.S. administration... those are defining factors for price volatility," Novak said.

Nevertheless, Novak predicted the 1.2 mb/d cuts announced in Vienna would be sufficient.

Some analysts echo Novak's sentiment that, despite the current panic in the market, the cuts should be sufficient. "We are looking at oil prices heading towards $70 to $80 quite a recovery in 2019. That's really predicated on the thought that first of all, OPEC still is here. And I think that the market is underestimating that they are going to cut supply by 1.2 mb/d," Dominic Schnider of UBS Wealth Management told CNBC . "And demand looks healthy so we might find ourselves into 2019 in a situation where the market is actually tight."

[Dec 24, 2018] Don't ,forget John Bolton's late October visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia where he pragmatically refined US priorities for each country including the indication for sanction waving in respect of South Stream energy.

Dec 24, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Lincolnite , a day ago

Don't ,forget John Bolton's late October visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia where he pragmatically refined US priorities for each country including the indication for sanction waving in respect of South Stream energy. Bolton's tour followed on from a visit to Moscow. DJT had a 50 minute private meeting with Erdogan at the G20 followed by a further extended phone call on the 14th December and the final call on the 21st immediately prior to the Policy announcement. This marks considered policy and unfortunately for the Rojave Kurds their interest were found wanting in the balance. There will be complementary side deals involving Iran, Assad, Putin and Netanyahu. There then remains Idlib.
https://www.dailysabah.com/...
https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/...
https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/...

[Nov 25, 2018] A Gamechanger In European Gas Markets by Irina Slav

Notable quotes:
"... "The 10 Bcm/year into Europe is not a game-changer from a volume point of view, but it is a game-changer from a new source of product into mainland Europe perspective and it can be expanded." ..."
"... Meanwhile, however, Russia and Turkey are building another pipeline, Turkish Stream, that will supply gas to Turkey and Eastern Europe, as well as possibly Hungary. The two recently marked the completion of its subsea section. Turkish Stream will have two lines, each able to carry up to 15.75 billion cubic meters. One will supply the Turkish market and the other European countries. ..."
"... In this context, the Southern Gas Corridor seems to have more of a political rather than practical significance for the time being , giving Europe the confidence that it could at some future point import a lot more Caspian gas because the infrastructure is there. ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

The Southern Gas Corridor on which the European Union is pinning most of its hopes for natural gas supply diversification away from Russia is coming along nicely and will not just be on schedule, but it will come with a price tag that is US$5-billion lower than the original budget , BP's vice president in charge of the project told S&P Global Platts this week.

"Often these kinds of mega-projects fall behind schedule. But the way the projects have maintained the schedule has meant that your traditional overspend, or utilization of contingency, has not occurred," Joseph Murphy said, adding that savings had been the top priority for the supermajor.

The Southern Gas Corridor will carry natural gas from the Azeri Shah Deniz 2 field in the Caspian Sea to Europe via a network of three pipelines : the Georgia South Caucasus Pipeline, which was recently expanded and can carry 23 billion cubic meters of gas; the TANAP pipeline via Turkey, with a peak capacity of 31 billion cubic meters annually; and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, or TAP, which will link with TANAP at the Turkish-Greek border and carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually to Italy.

TANAP was commissioned in July this year and the first phase of TAP is expected to be completed in two years, so Europe will hopefully have more non-Russian gas at the start of the new decade. But not that much, at least initially: TANAP will operate at an initial capacity of 16 billion cubic meters annually, of which 6 billion cubic meters will be supplied to Turkey and the remainder will go to Europe. In the context of total natural gas demand of 564 billion cubic meters in 2020, according to a forecast from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies released earlier this year, this is not a lot.

Yet at some point the TANAP will reach its full capacity and hopefully by that time, TAP will be completed. Surprisingly, it was the branch to Italy that proved the most challenging, and BP's Murphy acknowledged that. While Turkey built TANAP on time to the surprise of the project operator, TAP has been struggling because of legal issues and uncertainty after the new Italian government entered office earlier this year.

At the time, the government of Giuseppe Conte said the pipeline was pointless but, said Murphy, since then he has accepted the benefits the infrastructure would offer, such as transit fees. And yet local opposition in southern Italy remains strong but BP still sees first deliveries of gas through Italy in 2020.

The BP executive admitted that at first the Southern Gas Corridor wouldn't make a splash.

"The 10 Bcm/year into Europe is not a game-changer from a volume point of view, but it is a game-changer from a new source of product into mainland Europe perspective and it can be expanded."

Meanwhile, however, Russia and Turkey are building another pipeline, Turkish Stream, that will supply gas to Turkey and Eastern Europe, as well as possibly Hungary. The two recently marked the completion of its subsea section. Turkish Stream will have two lines, each able to carry up to 15.75 billion cubic meters. One will supply the Turkish market and the other European countries.

In this context, the Southern Gas Corridor seems to have more of a political rather than practical significance for the time being , giving Europe the confidence that it could at some future point import a lot more Caspian gas because the infrastructure is there.

[Nov 24, 2018] Forget Nordstream 2, Turkstream Is The Prize by Tom Luongo,

Comments while mostly naive, are indicative for the part of the US society that elected Trump and that Trump betrayed.
But the fact that gas went not to Europe, but to Turkey is pretty indicative. And even larger volume with go to China. At some point Europe might lose part or all Russia gas supply as Russian gas reserved are not infinite. That the perspective EU leaders are afraid of.
US shale gas is OK as long as the USA is supplied from Canada, Russia and other places as well. Some quantity can be exported. But the USA can't be a large and stable gas supplier to Europe as shale gas is capital intensive and sweet spots are limited.
Notable quotes:
"... Some worthy observations, especially with all the US "Think Tanks." But I would include the number of non-Jewish elites who have banded together with the Jewish elite and who have greatly aided in eating out the very heart of America. ..."
"... History also shows that ANY smaller entity (Israel) that depends on a larger entity (America) for its survival becomes a failed entity in the long run. Just saying. ..."
"... The American Empire is all cost and no benefit to the great majority of Americans. The MIC and that's it. Politicians on the right wave the flag and politicians on the left describe a politically correct future. All on our dime. ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Luongo,

While the Trump Administration still thinks it can play enough games to derail the Nordstream 2 pipeline via sanctions and threats, the impotence of its position geopolitically was on display the other day as the final pipe of the first train of the Turkstream pipeline entered the waters of the Black Sea.

The pipe was sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shared a public stage and held bilateral talks afterwards. I think it is important for everyone to watch the response to Putin's speech in its entirety. Because it highlights just how far Russian/Turkish relations have come since the November 24th, 2015 incident where Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 over Syria.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TkFR25SArYM

When you contrast this event with the strained and uninspired interactions between Erdogan and President Trump you realize that the world is moving forward despite the seeming power of the United States to derail events.

And Turkey is the key player in the region, geographically, culturally and politically. Erdogan and Putin know this. And they also know that Turkey being the transit corridor of energy for Eastern Europe opens those countries up to economic and political power they haven't enjoyed in a long time.

The first train of Turkstream will serve Turkey directly. Over the next couple of years the second train will be built which will serve as a jumping off point for bringing gas to Eastern and Southern Europe.

Countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Slovakia are lining up for access to Turkstream's energy. This, again, is in stark contrast to the insanely expensive Southern Transport Corridor (STC) pipeline set to bring one-third the amount of gas to Italy at five times the initial cost .

Turkstream will bring 15.75 bcm annually to Turkey and the second train that same amount to Europe. The TAP – Trans Adriatic Pipeline -- will bring just 10 bcm annually and won't do so before 2020, a project more than six years in the making.

Political Realities

The real story behind Turkstream, however, is, despite Putin's protestations to the contrary, political. No project of this size is purely economic, even if it makes immense economic sense. If that were the case then the STC wouldn't exist because it makes zero economic sense but some, if not much, political sense.

No, this pipeline along with the other major energy projects between Russia and Turkey have massive long-term political implications for the Middle East. Erdogan wants to re-take control of the Islamic world from the Saudis.

This is why they have the Saudis on a residual-poison-type drip feed of information relating to the death of Jamal Khashoggi to extract maximal value from the situation as Erdogan plays the U.S. deep state against the Trump/Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) alliance.

The U.S. deep state wants Trump weakened and MbS removed from power. Trump needs MbS to advance his plans for securing Israel's future and prolong the dollar's long-term health. Erdogan is using this rift to extract concessions left and right while continuing to do whatever he wants to do vis a vis Syria, Iran and his growing partnership with Russia.

Erdogan is in a position now to drive a very hard bargain over U.S. involvement in Syria, which neither faction in the U.S. government (Trump and the deep state) wants to give up on.

By controlling the oil fields in the eastern part of Syria and blocking the roads leading from Iraq the U.S. is playing a game it can't win because ultimately the Kurds will either have to be betrayed by the U.S. to keep Erdogan happy or cut a deal with the Syrian government for their future alienating the U.S.

This has been the ultimate end-game of the occupation of eastern Syria for months now and time is on both Putin's and Erdogan's side. Because the U.S. can't pressure Turkey to stop growing closer to Russia and Iran.

Eventually the U.S. troops in Syria will be nothing more than an albatross around Trump's neck politically and he'll have to announce a pull out, which will be popular back home helping his re-election campaign for 2020.

The big loser in this is Israel who is now having to circle the wagons politically since Putin put the screws to Benjamin Netanyahu for his part in the deaths of 15 Russian airmen back in September by closing the Syrian airspace and allowing mostly free movement of materiel to Lebanon.

Netanyahu, as I talked about last week, is now in a very precarious position after Israel was forced to sue for peace thanks to the unprecedentedly strong response by the Palestinians in Gaza.

Elijah Magnier commented recently that it this was the net result of Trump's unconditional support of Israel which united the Arab resistance rather than dividing and conquering it.

But the US establishment decided to distance itself from the Palestinian cause and embraced unconditionally the Israeli apartheid policy towards Palestine: the US supports Israel blindly. It has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, suspended financial aid to UN institutions supporting Palestinian refugees (schools, medical care, homes), and rejected the right of return of Palestinians. All this has pushed various Palestinian groups, including the Palestinian Authority, to acknowledge that any negotiation with Israel is useless and that also the US can no longer be considered a reliable partner. Moreover, the failed regime-change in Syria and the humiliating conditions place on Arab financial support were in a way the last straws that convinced Hamas to change its position, giving up on the Oslo agreement and joining the Axis of the Resistance.

Project Netanyahu, as Alistair Crooke termed it , was predicated on keeping the support of the Palestinians split with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority at odds and then grinding out the resistance in Gaza over time.

Trump's plans also involved the formation of the so-called "Arab NATO" the summit for which has been put off until next year thanks to Erdogan's deft handling of the Saudi hit on Khashoggi. There are still a number of issues outstanding -- the financial blockade of Qatar, the war in Yemen, etc. -- that need to be resolved as well before any of this is even remotely possible.

At this point that plan has failed and the clash with Israel last week proved it is unworkable without tacit approval of Turkey who is gunning for the Saudis as the leaders of the Sunni world.

Show me the Money

But, more importantly, over time, a Turkey that can ween itself off the U.S. dollar over the next decade is a Turkey that can survive politically the upheaval to the post-WWII institutional order coming over the next few years.

Remember, all of this is happening against the backdrop of a U.S. and European political order that is failing to maintain the confidence of the people it governs.

The road to dollar independence will be long and hard but it will be possible. Russia is the model for this having successfully removed the dollar from a great deal of its trade and is now reaping the benefits of that stability.

And projects like Turkstream and the soon to be completed Power of Siberia Pipeline to China will see the gas from both trade without the dollar as the intermediary.

If you don't think this de-dollarization of the Russian economy is happening or significant, take one look at the Russian ruble versus the price of Brent crude in recent weeks. We've had another historic collapse in oil prices and yet the ruble versus the dollar hasn't really moved at all.

The upward move from earlier this year in the ruble (not shown) came from disruptions in the Aluminum market and the threat of further sanctions. But, as the U.S. puts the screws even tighter to Russia's finances by forcing the price of oil down, the effect on the ruble has been minimal.

With today's move Brent is off nearly $30 from its October high ( a massive 35% drop in prices) just seven weeks ago and the Ruble hasn't budged. The Bank of Russia hasn't been in there propping up its price. Normally this would send the ruble into a tailspin but it hasn't.

The other so-called 'commodity currencies' like the Canadian and Australian dollars have been hit hard but not the ruble.

Set the Way Back Machine to 2014 when oil prices cratered and you'll see a ruble in free fall which culminated in a massive blow-off top that required a fundamental shift in both fiscal and monetary policy for Russia.

This had to do with the massive dollar-denominated debt of its, you guessed it, oil and gas sector. Today that is not a point of leverage.

Today lower oil prices will be a forward headwind for Russian oil companies but a boon to the Russian economy that won't experience massive inflation thanks to the ruble being sold to cover U.S. dollar liabilities.

Those days are over.

And so too will those days come for Turkey which is now in the process of doing what Russia did in 2015, divest itself of future dollar obligations while diversifying the currencies it trades in.

Stability, transparency and solvency are the things that increase the demand for a currency as not only a medium of exchange but also as a reserve asset. Russia announced the latest figures of bilateral trade with China bypassing the dollar and RT had a very interesting quote from Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

No one currency should dominate the market, because this makes all of us dependent on the economic situation in the country that issues this reserve currency, even when we are talking about a strong economy such as the United States," Medvedev said.

He added that US sanctions have pushed Moscow and Beijing to think about the use of their domestic currencies in settlements, something that "we should have done ten years ago."

" Trading for rubles is our absolute priority, which, by the way, should eventually turn the ruble from a convertible currency into a reserve currency, " the Russian prime minister said.

That is the first statement by a major Russian figure about seeing the ruble rise to reserve status, but it's something that many, like myself, have speculated about for years now.

Tying together major economies like Turkey, Iran, China and eventually the EU via energy projects which settle the trade in local currencies is the big threat to the current political and economic program of the U.S. It is something the EU will only embrace reluctantly.

It is something the U.S. will oppose vehemently.

And it is something that no one will stop if it makes sense for the people on each side of the transaction. This is why Turkstream and Nordstream 2 are such important projects they change the entire dynamic of the flow of global capital.

* * *

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RioGrandeImports , 21 seconds ago link

Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system. The book, "The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century" by James R. Norman details the use of oil futures as a geopolitical tool. Pipelines change the calculus quite a bit.

Jack Oliver , 3 hours ago link

De - Dollarisation is sweeping the world !!

Soros funded 'migration' to Europe has also failed and created a massive cultural and economic burden on Europe.

The Soros/Rothschild plan to destroy Middle Eastern countries and displace the people was - of course - motivated by the Rothschilds 'bread and butter ' - OIL ( the worlds largest traded commodity ) !!

... ... ...

Fantome , 4 hours ago link

...Where ever they go, they [neoliberals] get organised, identify the institutions/establishments/courts to infiltrate and then use that influence to -

* Hijack the economy.

* Corrupt the society.

As the current trend shows, the nexus of the international economic activity is shifting east. Turkey is not making a mistake aligning itself with the goals of Russia, Iran and China. Although there is still a huge debt of the previous deeds that has to be paid.

... ... ...

Rubicon727 , 1 hour ago link

"Half of the US billionaires are Jews while only being less then 3% of the population. And it doesn't stop there. They work collectively to hijack the institutions critical for the operations of the democracy."

Some worthy observations, especially with all the US "Think Tanks." But I would include the number of non-Jewish elites who have banded together with the Jewish elite and who have greatly aided in eating out the very heart of America.

Joiningupthedots , 4 hours ago link

I read on here previously some dimwit comment about "America prints a bill for 2 cents while other countries have to earn a dollars worth of equity to buy it and we can do this forever" kind of thing. Not if other countries don't supply the demand you can't :)

History also shows that ANY smaller entity (Israel) that depends on a larger entity (America) for its survival becomes a failed entity in the long run. Just saying.

Consuelo , 4 hours ago link

I think you could quite reasonably replace the term 'depends on a larger entity', with a term that better describes a (smaller) ' parasite ' on a (larger) host...

DEDA CVETKO , 4 hours ago link

US Guvmint to the World: My way or the highway. The World to the US Guvmint: HIGHWAY!!!!!

scraping_by , 2 hours ago link

From your lips to God's ear. The American Empire is all cost and no benefit to the great majority of Americans. The MIC and that's it. Politicians on the right wave the flag and politicians on the left describe a politically correct future. All on our dime.

CatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link

Israhell is losing its status via Putins peaceful diplomacy and trade with ME countries who are not onboard with the Yinon plan. This is why RUSSIAGATE, led by dual Israhelli democrats in Congress. There is always a foreign policy issue attached to their demonizing of other countries. This is also why the UK just sent UK soldiers to Ukraine declaring war on Russia for "invading Ukraine" and not telling parliament or the UK people.

UK/US blind support for Israhell will get us all killed.

adonisdemilo , 4 hours ago link

We do know that UK soldiers have been sent to the Ukraine. We also know that, according to elements in the Government and the Civil Service, Russia invaded and annexed the Ukraine, which is just another reason to not trust the Government--any Government.

max_is_leering , 2 hours ago link

it's Crimea by the way, and it wasn't annexed... Crimeans voted to re-unite with Russia after they saw the NAZI hell breaking loose in Ukieville

IronForge , 4 hours ago link

WRONG!!!!! NordStream Eins und Zwei are the Prizes, because DEU, Scandinavia, CHE, and FRA will Benefit. TRK Wins 2nd Prize with TRKStream and SouthStream Pipelines. Losers are BGR and EU_PARAGOV, since BGR went from Prime Partner to Trickledown Transiteer.

The Terrible Sweal , 4 hours ago link

The US has ripped open its own ballsack through arrogance and beligerence.

Bingo Hammer , 1 hour ago link

Actually it was a little country in the ME that owns the US that ripped open the US ballsack

opport.knocks , 4 hours ago link

The other so-called 'commodity currencies' like the Canadian and Australian dollars have been hit hard but not the ruble.

The Canadian dollar is only down $0.025 from its October 1st high, and still has not touched the June low.

https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=CAD&to=USD&view=1Y

DEDA CVETKO , 5 hours ago link

Ultimately, along with Nordstream and Turkstream, there will also be a Polarstream (leading to UK and Iceland) and Southstream (which was already begun but temporarily suspended after Obama threatened Bulgaria via Angela Merkel).

And, oh...I am sure there will also be a Ukrostream (also known as Mainstream) unfortunately the Ukronazi government of Ukrainistan doesn't know this just yet. They will find out in due course, I am sure.

JohninMK , 3 hours ago link

Well, that's some confused comments.

First PolarStream is highly unlikely both because laying it would be extremely difficult and expensive and because Iceland has no need for gas as it is sitting on thermal reserves and the UK won't deal with Russia.

You are correct on SouthStream.

As to UkroStream (I assume you mean Ukraine) it is already in existence and has been for 50 plus years. Given the bad history between the parties the Russians will want to stop that route asap, hence the timing of NordStream 2 and TurkStream. So in the future UkroSream is going to end, not start.

raalon , 4 hours ago link

The US and Israel are the threats to world Peace. Just how many countries has Russia attacked lately

21st.century , 5 hours ago link

long-term political implications for the Middle East. Erdogan wants to re-take control of the Islamic world from the Saudis.

SA still has control of the Hajj -- religious tourism - command by the Magic Book that even Turkish mohammadist must complete. +/- 18% of SA GDP-- and SA isn't sharing any of that loot.

Ticip is required to go and throw rocks at the black orb -- and do the Muslim Hokey Pokey along with all the rest.. oh, and pay the SA kings for the privilege !

the war's are about religious tourism

Mr. Kwikky , 5 hours ago link

..What about "The Grand Chessboard", Zbigniew hello where are you? /s

InsaneBane , 5 hours ago link

..Rotting in hell /s

Winston Churchill , 5 hours ago link

Zbigniew plagarized MacKinder, who plagarized someone else. The playbook is that old.

JohninMK , 3 hours ago link

The new 3D Grand Chessboard is being played very quietly out of Moscow.

The article is a wee bit deceptive. Whilst this was indeed the last bit of under sea pipe they were celebrating, it should be pointed out the stunning speed that they achieved, about a mile a day some to a depth of over 1000 feet, quite an achievement on land, let alone at sea. This is quite interesting, especially the map

https://www.rt.com/business/444344-russia-turkish-stream-opening/

Also, as its landfall in Turkey is west of the Bosphorus, that is west of Istanbul, maybe that 'for Turkish use' is a cover for its primary purpose, supplying the Balkans as well as Turkey from January 2020.

Note the significance of the start to pump date, December 2019, the same as NordStream 2. What else happens then? Oh yes, the gas transit contract with Ukraine ends. The combination of these two new pipelines to a very great extent replace that agreement. Even though politically everyone is saying Ukraine ($4B p.a. transit fees) should be protected.

Take another look at the map, note that it takes a dogleg south to Turkey. If at that point it had gone straight ahead it would have gone to Bulgaria as SouthStream. But the US and its EU vassal stopped that. Maybe the second pipeline the Russians are now discussing will resurrect that route.

[Nov 22, 2018] America had a net export capacity of 5 bcm in 2017 because it imported about 87 bcm from Canada

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

kirill November 14, 2018 at 6:35 am

These American fucktards actually think they can replace Russian gas supply to the EU. With what you utter void heads? America had a net export capacity of 5 bcm in 2017 because it imported about 87 bcm from Canada. When you fuckwad, douchebags get 150 bcm export capacity, then start yapping. Until then, STFU.

Of course, it is clear to anyone with a functional brain that the US is totally dishonest on claiming to want to supply the EU. In fact, it wants to saddle the EU with onerous LNG contracts to third parties (e.g. Qatar) who can currently and for the near term supply the volumes of LNG needed. At the same time the US damages the Asian tigers by increasing LNG prices.

It is time for all the US bootlicks (Japan, the EU) to tell Uncle Scumbag to shove himself in his own ass. The US is not even pretending to treat these countries with respect.

[Nov 22, 2018] US warns Hungary and neighbours against Turkish Stream

Nov 22, 2018 | www.euractiv.com

The US has repeatedly taken position against Nord Stream 2, a Russia-sponsored pipeline planned to bring gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. But this time Washington warned against another such pipeline, bringing Russian gas under the Black Sea.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry called on Hungary and its neighbors to reject Russian gas pipelines which Washington says are being used to cement Moscow's grip on central and eastern Europe.

Energy diversification would be crucial for the region, as Russia has used energy as a weapon in the past, he said, as quoted by Reuters.

"Russia is using a pipeline project Nord stream 2 and a multi-line Turkish stream to try to solidify its control over the security and the stability of Central and eastern Europe," Perry added during a visit to Budapest.

Last July, Hungary signed a deal with Russia's Gazprom to link the country with the Turkish Stream pipeline by end-2019.

true 14/11/2018 at 09:46

Rick Perry is a salesman. He wants us Europeans to buy USA gas. Which is why he is against North Stream 2 and Turkish Stream. Not because Russia may use gas to blackmail Europe -- unlike the USA, which blackmails Europe to sanction Iran and Russia –. No, he just wants us to buy America.

Despite the fact that gas produced in the USA is far more expensive than Russia's. Well, what can you expect from a minister in the government of a tycoon? What else can you expect from today's USA?

[Nov 22, 2018] Swiss court has ordered all Nord Stream partners to not make any payments to Gazprom, instead to pay all monies owed to Gazprom to Swedish bailiffs

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

One way or another, Gazprom is going to have to pay Ukraine $2.6 Billion, so they might as well just do it and have it over with. Of course the Ukies will prance and jump up and down in the streets and yell 'Slava Ukrainy' – and hasten off to prepare new lawsuits in search of more money from the Russian state. But a Swiss court has ordered all Nord Stream partners to not make any payments to Gazprom, instead to pay all monies owed to Gazprom to Swedish bailiffs, who will redistribute it to Ukraine until they recover all their money.

https://www.naturalgasworld.com/ns2-in-trouble-gazprom-hopeful-65959

[Nov 10, 2018] Russian State-Owned Bank VTB Funded Rosneft Stake Sale To Qatari Fund

Notable quotes:
"... Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

Russian VTB, a state-owned bank, funded a significant portion of the Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of a stake in oil giant Rosneft , Reuters reports , quoting nine unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

VTB, however, has denied to Reuters taking any part in the deal.

"VTB has not issued and is not planning to issue a loan to QIA to finance the acquisition," the bank said in response for a request for comment.

The Reuters sources, however, claim VTB provided a US$6 billion loan to the Qatar sovereign wealth fund that teamed up with Swiss Glencore to acquire 19.5 percent in Rosneft last year. Reuters cites data regarding VTB's activity issued by the Russian central bank that shows VTB lent US$6.7 billion (434 billion rubles) to unnamed foreign entities and the loan followed another loan of US$5.20 billion (350 billion rubles) from the same central bank.

The news first made headlines in December, taking markets by surprise, as Rosneft's partial privatization was expected by most to be limited to Russian investors. The price tag on the stake was around US$11.57 billion (692 billion rubles), of which Glencore agreed to contribute US$324 million. The remainder was forked over by the Qatar Investment Authority, as well as non-recourse bank financing.

Russia's budget received about US$10.55 billion ( 710.8 billion rubles ) from the deal, including US$ 270 million (18 billion rubles) in extra dividends. Rosneft, for its part, got an indirect stake in Glencore of 0.54 percent.

Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing.

solidtare , 30 minutes ago link

Took z/h almost 2 years, and of course from a tertiary source - Reuters

John Helmer nailed this scam 2 years ago, and got hammered for it

[Nov 09, 2018] Russia will see oil only is euro by Yoel Minkof

Nov 09, 2018 | seekingalpha.com

Seeking protection against possible new U.S. sanctions, Russian energy majors are heaping pressure on Western oil buyers to use euros instead of dollars for payments, as well as penalty clauses in contracts.

Russia supplies over 10% of global oil, so severe sanctions could affect crude prices.

Global oil majors further rely on Russia to feed their refineries, especially in Europe and Asia, so they cannot just walk away from annual contract negotiations.

[Nov 03, 2018] NatGasDude

Nov 03, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

+ 45 DR Members + 45 28 posts Posted Wednesday at 03:48 AM

On ‎10‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 11:38 PM, Jan van Eck said: The problem that Qatar faces is one of population and geography. Qatar is dominantly Sunni, but not the really severe branch that envelops KSA. And it sits next door to Bahrain, which is apparently about 70% Shia. Qatar also juts way out into the Gulf, and is thus a convenient sea-land bridge from Iran. Were Iran to go for a land invasion of KSA, then crossing into Qatar with landing craft, or seizing a Qatari airport, is logical. To prevent this, the USA has built a major air base in Qatar, specifically to cut off this route. That big US base is a natural (and juicy) target for Iran should a shooting war break out, and the USA join in against Iran (and that would be logical).

Meanwhile Qatar has this bizarre and unfathomable dysfunctional relationship with MbS, and a very difficult relationship with Bahrain, which has cut off diplomatic relations and sent the Qatari diplomats packing, in 2017. Now Iran is under sanctions, which is stressing their cash receipts. Iran pushes back, against their ideological and religious rivals and enemies the Sunnis, by threatening to either invade or to sink tankers with gas coming out of Qatar. The problem for gas LNG tankers is that the stuff is kept docile by bringing the temp down to minus 176 degrees. If you whack an LNG tanker with a torpedo and breach the container spheres, easy enough to do, then that ship is likely to blow up; one little spark and all that gas will be a salient lesson for all the others.

The deterrent effect of this will be that nobody will dare to tempt fate by sending in an LNG tanker. So Iran can shut down LNG traffic without firing a shot, all they have to do is go crazy and start threatening. Iran has these subs that can go sit on the bottom of the Gulf and pop up to launch a torpedo, and everyone knows it. That is one heck of a deterrent.

Meanwhile you have Europe now heavily dependent on gas. Either the Europeans continue to genuflect to the Russians, which some Europeans at least find unpalatable, or they have to find an alternative source. That is likely going to be the USA. I predict that the aggressions of the Russians, and the problems of Qatar in any real ability to fill long-term contracts, and the threat of force-majeure hovering in the background, brings Europe to buy US LNG.

Qatar delivered 80 million tons last year, as number 1 LNG exporter by a long shot. Australia trailed behind at 56 million, followed by Malaysia 26M, Nigeria 21M, Indonesia 16M, USA 13M, Algeria 12M.

Qatar was responsible for 17M tons exported to EU, followed by Algeria at 10.4M. US Liquefaction capacity is estimated to match the whole Middle East by 2025 with Calcasieu, LA at 4 bcf/day, Brownsville, TX at 3.6 bcf/day; Plaquemines at 3.4 bcf/day; and Nikiski Alaska at 2.6 Bcf/day for the Asian market.

BP has its new 'Partnership Fleet', Shell is chartering heavily and owns a large fleet as well. Gaslog has over 25 modern large capacity vessels on the water, and the order book for 2019-2020 deliveries is extensive, and they will be available for US to EU transport (Tellurian and Cheniere have already chartered Gaslog ships for their exclusive use)

The catch here is that Russia is delivering 10.8 million tons per year via Yamal, and their upcoming Arctic 2LNG that will be on the ice in the Arctic circle adding even more to that production. They have a fleet delivering year round of Teekay and Dynagas ice breaker LNG carriers, and their primary clients have been Belgium, France and Spain during their debut ice breaking season. They are centrally located to maximize deliveries to Asia and Europe.

I doubt that Russia will cut off Europe after spending all that money to secure liquefaction and transport capabilities in the Arctic, but who knows. They are geared up to deliver to Asia, but could only do so in the Summer months, or during the Winter months with the assistance of a Nuclear Icebreaker to lead the ships.

Honestly, I hope that Germany completes the Hamburg LNG Terminal quickly and begins buying US LNG so that we can diversify from our usual Mexico, S Korea, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Egypt, Jordan clientele. Germany consumed over 90 million CBM of natural gas last year (controversial because they stopped 'officially' disclosing the numbers after 2016, these are OECD estimates from the IEA), and are getting close to Japan's 120 million CBM.

Qatar/Iran tensions could be the perfect storm for a US to EU energy boom.

[Oct 25, 2018] Europe's Gas Game Just Took A Wild Twist

Oct 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tim Daiss via Oilprice.com,

Despite the almost unprecedented divisive nature of Donald J. Trump's presidency, he is chalking up some impressive foreign policy victories, including finally bringing Beijing to task over its decades long unfair trade practices, stealing of intellectual property rights, and rampant mercantilism that has given its state-run companies unfair trade advantages and as a result seen Western funds transform China to an emerging world power alongside the U.S.

Now, it looks as if Trump's recent tirade against America's European allies over its geopolitically troubling reliance on Russian gas supply may also be bearing fruit. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that earlier this month German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered government support to efforts to open up Germany to U.S. gas, in what the report called "a key concession to President Trump as he tries to loosen Russia's grip on Europe's largest energy market."

German concession

Over breakfast earlier this month, Merkel told a small group of German lawmakers that the government had made a decision to co-finance the construction of a $576 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in northern Germany, people familiar with the development said.

The project had been postponed for at least a decade due to lack of government support, according to reports, but is now being thrust to the center of European-U.S. geopolitics. Though media outlets will mostly spin the development, this is nonetheless a geopolitical and diplomatic win for Trump who lambasted Germany in June over its Nordstream 2 pipeline deal with Russia.

In a televised meeting with reporters and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before a NATO summit in Brussels, Trump said at the time it was "very inappropriate" that the U.S. was paying for European defense against Russia while Germany, the biggest European economy, was supporting gas deals with Moscow.

Both the tone and openness of Trumps' remarks brought scathing rebukes both at home and among EU allies, including most media outlets. However, at the end of the day, it appears that the president made a fair assessment of the situation. Russia, for its part, vehemently denies any nefarious motives over its gas supply contacts with its European customers, though Moscow's actions in the past dictate otherwise.

Moscow also claims that the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline is a purely commercial venture. The $11 billion gas pipeline will stretch some 759 miles (1,222 km), running on the bed of the Baltic Sea from Russian gas fields to Germany, bypassing existing land routes over Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. It would double the existing Nord Stream pipeline's current annual capacity of 55 bcm and is expected to become operational by the end of next year.

Russia, who stands the most to lose not only in terms of regional hegemony, but economically as well, if Germany pushes through with plans to now build as many as three LNG terminals, always points out that Russian pipeline gas is cheaper and will remain cheaper for decades compared to U.S. LNG imports.

While that assessment is correct, what Moscow is missing, or at least not admitting, is a necessary German acquiescence to Washington. Not only does the EU's largest economy need to stay out of Trump's anti-trade cross hairs, it still needs American leadership in both NATO and in Europe as well.

Russian advantages

Without U.S. leadership in Europe, a vacuum would open that Moscow would try to fill, most likely by more gas supply agreements. However, Russia's gas monopoly in both Germany and in Europe will largely remain intact for several reasons.

First, Russian energy giant Gazprom, which has control over Russia's network of pipelines to Europe, supplies close to 40 percent of Europe's gas needs.

Second, Russia's gas exports to Europe rose 8.1 percent last year to a record level of 193.9 bcm, even amid concerns over Russia's cyber espionage allegations, and its activities in Syria, the Ukraine and other places.

Moreover, Russian gas is indeed as cheap as the country claims and will remain that way for decades. Using a Henry Hub gas price of $2.85/MMBtu as a base, Gazprom recently estimated that adding processing and transportation costs, the price of U.S.-sourced LNG in Europe would reach $6/MMBtu or higher – a steep markup.

Henry Hub gas prices are currently trading at $3.151/MMBtu. Over the last 52-week period U.S. gas has traded between $2.64/MMBtu and $3.82/MMBtu. Russian gas sells for around $5/MMBtu in European markets and could even trade at lower prices in the future as Gazprom removes the commodity's oil price indexation.

[Oct 21, 2018] Naftogaz has now begun to help itself to money from Russia's gas-transit payments, arguing that it is owed money from the Stockholm Arbitration ruling which Gazprom has refused to pay

Oct 21, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 13, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Naftogaz has now begun to help itself to money from Russia's gas-transit payments, arguing that it is owed money from the Stockholm Arbitration ruling which Gazprom has refused to pay.

https://www.naturalgasworld.com/ukraine-takes-9mn-from-gazprom-penalty-payment-65062

Apparently Russia is still paying the old rate, from before the ruling (because to do otherwise would be to recognize the debt and accept responsibility for it), which results in an overpayment since it is higher than Naftogaz would charge, if I understand correctly. So Naftogaz has decided to confiscate it as owing.

This, obviously, sets the stage for another shutdown of European gas supplies, just as winter is coming on. Perhaps Ukraine has realized that nothing it can do or say is going to stop Nord Stream II from going ahead, and so it might as well recover what it can, and who cares if it results in a shutdown of Europe's gas, regardless where the blame ends up? Once again Ukraine's maneuvering puts Russia in a difficult spot – it can recognize the Stockholm award and pay Ukraine $2.6 Billion or whatever it was. Or it can accept that Ukraine will keep part of its transit payments against the debt until it can shut down gas transit across Ukraine altogether. Or it can shut off the gas now.

If it were up to me, I would take the middle option. Let Ukraine congratulate itself on one-upping me with its native cleverness (assuming here that I am Russia), and let them keep $9 or $10 million of the transit fees each month; that would probably be a lot cheaper than acknowledging the Stockholm award and paying Ukraine billions, in view of the fact that Ukraine never paid back the money it was lent by Russia; Stockholm neatly solved that for them, by awarding them huge damages, part of which was understood to be the amount Ukraine owed. Okay, that goes toward Ukraine's debt to Russia, and now you owe Ukraine $2.6 Billion more.

I would just focus on getting Nord Stream II completed. Then I would not only stop gas transit through Ukraine, I would tell them to kiss my ass if they wanted to buy gas for themselves. You were so pleased with yourselves for not buying any gas from Russia last year – obviously you can get along fine without it. But I sure hope Europe is going to keep giving you money to buy European gas forever.

[Oct 12, 2018] If the gas pipeline project is indeed implemented, then Kiev will demand that a penalty against against Russia be awarded the Ukraine for the loss it will suffer because of the redundancy of its gas transport system.

Oct 12, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile October 5, 2018 at 12:58 am

... .. ...

Ukraine Naftogaz Commercial Director Yuriy Vitrenko, in an interview with "The Fifth Channel" has spoken of a plan that has been prepared in order to protect Naftogaz interests in the event of the launch of "Nord Stream-2".

According to him, if the gas pipeline project is indeed implemented, then Kiev will demand that a penalty against against Russia be awarded the Ukraine for the loss it will suffer because of the redundancy of its gas transport system.

The loss incured has been estimated by the Ukraine to be $12 billion. A lawsuit has already been filed by Naftogaz for international arbitration.

https://www.rbc.ru/politics/05/10/2018/5bb704ec9a7947bd43fa167c?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop

Right!

So for several years I have been shopping at a Pyatyorochka supermarket around the corner from our house. Now there's a new Billa supermarket around the other corner. It has a wider range of goods and is very competitive as regards its Pyatorocka prices, so I now do most of my shopping at Billa.

Does this mean Pyatyorachka can sue me for damages because of the loss of income it is suffering because of my choice to use another retail outlet?

I shall check with the Swedish court of arbitration.

Stay tuned!

Mark Chapman October 5, 2018 at 8:30 am
Perhaps they would get further by suing the US Department of State. I'm pretty sure that if it were not for them, Ukraine's gas transit system would still be in use. Ukraine could at least make a sensible case, which they cannot do against Russia. Mind you, a UK judge would probably rule in their favour, because simply wanting to get at Russia seems to be good enough these days – making a sensible case is not required.

[Oct 11, 2018] Most American LNG cargoes thus far to Europe are promptly sold on to someplace else where the Europeans can get more for it.

Oct 11, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

In another stellar example of simply making up an optimistic headline that makes readers feel good – those readers who only read headlines, for example – a French analyst is apparently willing to go out on a limb and say that Nord Stream II 'won't be built as planned'. That's already a little hedgy, but if you read the article itself, he doesn't say anything remotely like that. In fact, he says Russian gas is the cheapest option, and most American LNG cargoes thus far to Europe are promptly sold on to someplace else where the Europeans can get more for it.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/interview/french-analyst-nord-stream-2-wont-be-built-as-planned/

The major issue is that US LNG may come if we have higher prices. But why would we need them? They are quite high already. If China is prepared to overbid us, we don't need the American gas. We can ask for more Russian gas

Mark Chapman October 8, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Russia's Energy Minister sees the potential to double Russian gas exports by 2035. Russia's gas exports are growing by 6-7%/yr while global gas demand growth is at 2.6%/yr until 2035.

https://www.naturalgasworld.com/russian-producers-eye-doubling-exports-64936?#signin

Probably not the greatest news for the environment, as most analysts agree we need to start immediately moving away from a petroleum-based energy policy. But getting rid of all use of coal would be a good start for the present; gas is relatively clean, although I don't know if that makes any real difference to greenhouse-gas emissions.

[Oct 05, 2018] Putin on Trump push of the USA LNG to EU

Oct 05, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Ryan Chilcote : Let's return to energy, or at least more directly to energy, President Putin, and talk about Nord Stream 2. That's the pipeline that Gazprom wants to build between Russia and Germany. Again, the President of the United States has said his opinion about this. He says that Germany is effectively a hostage already of Russia, because it depends on Russia for so much of its energy and gas supplies, and that it's vulnerable to "extortion and intimidation" from Russia. What do you make of that?

Vladimir Putin : My response is very simple. Donald and I talked about this very briefly in Helsinki. In any sale, including the sale of our gas to Europe, we are traditionally the supplier, of pipeline gas I mean. We have been doing this since the 1960s. We are known for doing it in a highly responsible and professional manner, and at competitive prices for the European market. In general, if you look at the characteristics of the entire gas market, the price depends on the quantity and on sales volumes. The distance between Russia and Europe is such that pipeline gas is optimal. And the price will always be competitive, always. This is something all experts understand.

We have a lot of people here in this room, in the first row, who could easily be seated next to me, and I would gladly listen to them, because each one is an expert, so each of them can tell you that. And so Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project, I want to emphasise this, warranted by rising energy consumption, including in Europe, and falling domestic production in European countries. They have to get it from somewhere.

Russian gas accounts for around 34 percent of the European market. Is this a lot or a little? It is not insubstantial, but not a monopoly either. Europe certainly can and does actually buy gas from other suppliers, but American liquefied gas is about 30 percent more expensive than our pipeline gas on the European market. If you were buying products of the same quality and you were offered the same product for 30 percent more , what would you choose? So, what are we talking about?

If Europe starts buying American gas for 30 percent more than ours, the entire economy of Germany, in this case, would quickly become dramatically less competitive. Everyone understands this; it is an obvious fact.

But business is business, and we are ready to work with all partners. As you know, our German partners have already begun offshore construction. We are ready to begin as well. We have no problems with obtaining any permits. Finland agreed, and so did Sweden, Germany, and the Russian Federation. This is quite enough for us. The project will be implemented.

< >

Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, did you want to jump in here?

Vladimir Putin: (following up on the remarks by CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden) We understand the realities and treat all our partners with respect. We have very good, amiable long-term relations with all our partners, including the company represented by my neighbour on the left. This company is working in the Russian market and working with great success, but we understand everything very well and understand the realities. We are carrying out the project ourselves. We do not and will not have any problems here. That is to say, they may arise, of course, but we will resolve them.

Some things are beyond the realm of political intrigue. Take supplies to the Federal Republic of Germany. Not everyone knows that the decision was made there to shut down the nuclear power industry. But that is 34 percent of its total energy balance. We are proud of the development of the nuclear power industry in the Russian Federation, although the figure for us is just 16 percent. We are still thinking about how to raise it to 25 percent and are making plans. Theirs is 34 percent and everything will be closed down. What will this vacuum be filled with? What?

Look at LNG [liquefied natural gas ] which is sold by our various competitors and partners. Yes, LNG can and should be in the common basket of Europe and Germany. Do you know how many ports built in Europe are used for LNG transfer? Just 25 percent. Why? Because it is unprofitable.

There are companies and regions for which it is profitable to supply LNG and this is being done. The LNG market is growing very fast. But as for Europe, it is not very profitable, or unprofitable altogether.

Therefore, in one way or another we have already seen Nord Stream 1 through and its performance is excellent. Incidentally, our gas supplies to Europe are continuously growing. Last year, I believe, they amounted to 194 billion cubic metres and this year they will add up to 200 billion cubic metres or maybe even more.

We have loaded practically all our infrastructure facilities: Blue Stream to Turkey, Nord Stream 1 is fully loaded. Yamal-Europe is fully loaded – it is almost approaching 100 percent, while the demand is going up. Life itself dictates that we carry out such projects.

Ryan Chilcote : President Trump's position on American LNG exports is perhaps a little bit more nuanced. His point is that instead of buying Russian gas, even perhaps if it's a bit more expensive, the Germans and other European allies of the United States, because the United States is paying for their defence, should be buying American gas even if there is, I guess the argument suggests, a little bit of a higher price for that

Vladimir Putin : You know, this argument doesn't really work, in my opinion. I understand Donald. He is fighting for the interests of his country and his business. He is doing the right thing and I would do the same in his place.

As for LNG, as I have already said, it is not just a little more expensive in the European market but 30 percent more. This is not a little bit more, it is a lot more, beyond all reason, and is basically unworkable.

But there are markets where LNG will be adopted, where it is efficient, for instance in the Asia-Pacific region. By the way, where did the first shipment of LNG from our new company Yamal-LNG go? Where did the first tanker go? To the United States, because it was profitable. The United States fought this project but ended up buying the first tanker. It was profitable to buy it in this market, at this place and time, and it was purchased.

LNG is still being shipped to the American continent. It's profitable.

It makes no sense to fight against what life brings. We simply need to look for common approaches in order to create favourable market conditions, including, for example, conditions conducive to the production and consumption of LNG in the United States itself and securing the best prices for producers and consumers. This could be achieved by coordinating policy, rather than just imposing decisions on partners.

As for the argument, "We defend you, so buy this from us even if it makes you worse off", I don't think it is very convincing either. Where does it lead? It has led to the Europeans starting to talk about the need to have a more independent defence capability, as well as the need to create a defence alliance of their own that allegedly will not undermine NATO while allowing the Europeans to pursue a real defence policy. This is what, in my view, such steps are leading to.

This is why I am sure that a great many things will be revised. Life will see to that.

[Sep 28, 2018] Trump Folds on Nordstream 2 Because ... Logic - Gold Goats 'n Guns

Notable quotes:
"... The Davos Crowd, ..."
"... So, Donald Trump finally folding on stopping Nordstream 2 is yet another example of the limits of what power the U.S. has and of its threats. When he denounced the project he said, ..."
"... "I never thought it was appropriate. I think it's ridiculous. And I think it's certainly a very bad thing for the people of Germany. And I've said it very loud and clear." ..."
"... But notice that he never said why. Because there is no downside for Germany. That's the point. Russian piped gas is simply cheaper and more reliable than LNG produced more than 3000 miles away. The downside is for the U.S. ..."
"... It begins the process of Germany and Russia re-establishing stronger economic ties cut in half by the 2014 sanctions over Crimea. It keeps Merkel in power a little while longer having stood up to the bully Trump and showing some German independence. ..."
"... Most importantly, this gas will be paid for in euros, not dollars. And this further undermines the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions as Gazprom will have a steady supply of euros to pay back its investors and diversify Russia's currency reserves. ..."
"... We saw this last winter when vicious cold snaps forced a hostile Britain to buy a few tankers of Yamal LNG from Novatek to keep its citizens from freezing. With the planet cooling rapidly, expect this source of spot demand to Europe to increase. ..."
"... But, for Germany, and the EU as a whole, more cheap energy is the path to remaining somewhat relevant in the global economy. With Germany ending the use of nuclear power it needs the type of energy Nordstream 2 supplies. In fact, Germany will eventually need Nordstream 3. ..."
"... talking their book. ..."
Sep 28, 2018 | tomluongo.me

Since its first announcement I have been convinced the Nordstream 2 pipeline would be built. I have followed every twist of this story from my days writing for Newsmax.

And the reason for my confidence can be summed up in one word. Money.

Nordstream 2 simply makes too much economic sense for any amount of political whining from the U.S. and Poland to stop it. Poland has no power within the European Union.

Germany does. And while I'm no fan of Angela Merkel getting another political weapon to hold over the heads of the Poles, their attempts to derail the project were always going to end in tears for them.

And so now Poland and the U.S. cried a lot of crocodile tears recently when President Trump finally acceded to reality and ended the threat of sanctioning five of the biggest oil majors in the world over doing business with Gazprom over Nordstream 2.

Nordstream 2's investors are Uniper, OMV, Wintershall, Royal Dutch Shell and Engie. After all the permits were issued and construction begun the only thing that could stop Nordstream from happening was these five companies folding to U.S. pressure and backing out of the project by calling in their loans to Gazprom.

And when they were unwilling to do that, Trump had to fold because you can't cut these companies out of the western banking system and starve them of dollars and euros without an extreme dislocation in oil prices and global trade.

Bluff called. Nordstream 2? Holding Aces.

Trump? Holding two-seven offsuit.

Lack of Polish

The big loser here is Poland unless they come down off their Russophobic high horse.

Why is Nordstream 2 so important to Poland? Because it forces Poland into choosing between two things the current ruling Law and Justice Party doesn't like.

  1. Renegotiating a gas transit deal with Gazprom through Ukrainian pipelines without as much leverage. Because the current agreement expires at the end of 2019.
  2. If they reject this first option then they are at the mercy of buying gas from Nordstream 2 putting them politically in the hands of Germany.

Merkel is angry with Poland for trying to assert its sovereignty having begun Article 7 proceedings over their law putting Supreme Court justices under review from the legislature, which the EU has termed a violation of its pledge to protect 'human rights.'

And so, expect Poland to now open up talks with Gazprom to negotiate a new deal or be stupid and buy LNG from the U.S. at two to three times the price they can get it from Gazprom.

Keeping Them Distant

From the U.S. side of the equation there are few things in this life that Donald Trump and Barack Obama agree upon, and stopping Nordstream 2 was one of them. This, of course, tells you that this opposition is coming from somewhere a lot higher than the Presidency.

U.S. and British foreign policy has been obsessed for more than a hundred years with stopping the natural alliance between Germany's industrial base and Russia's vast tracts of natural resources as well as Russia's own science and engineering prowess.

These two countries cannot, in any version of a unipolar world dominated by The Davos Crowd, be allowed to form an economic no less political alliance because the level of coordination and economic prosperity works directly against their goals of lowering everyone's expectations for what humans can accomplish.

That is their greatest source of power. The complacency of our accepting low expectations.

So, Donald Trump finally folding on stopping Nordstream 2 is yet another example of the limits of what power the U.S. has and of its threats. When he denounced the project he said,

"I never thought it was appropriate. I think it's ridiculous. And I think it's certainly a very bad thing for the people of Germany. And I've said it very loud and clear."

But notice that he never said why. Because there is no downside for Germany. That's the point. Russian piped gas is simply cheaper and more reliable than LNG produced more than 3000 miles away. The downside is for the U.S.

It begins the process of Germany and Russia re-establishing stronger economic ties cut in half by the 2014 sanctions over Crimea. It keeps Merkel in power a little while longer having stood up to the bully Trump and showing some German independence.

This is something she sorely needs right now coming into regional elections in October.

Most importantly, this gas will be paid for in euros, not dollars. And this further undermines the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions as Gazprom will have a steady supply of euros to pay back its investors and diversify Russia's currency reserves.

The Flow of Money

There is no way for U.S. LNG supplies to be competitive in Europe without massive artificial barriers-to-entry for Russian gas. And even if Nordstream 2 was somehow stopped by the U.S., Russia's massive Yamal LNG facility on the Baltic Sea would still out compete U.S LNG from Cheniere's terminal in Louisiana.

Location. Location. Location.

We saw this last winter when vicious cold snaps forced a hostile Britain to buy a few tankers of Yamal LNG from Novatek to keep its citizens from freezing. With the planet cooling rapidly, expect this source of spot demand to Europe to increase.

And this is why Russia also benefits from Poland building an LNG terminal. Because don't for a second think Poles will suffer extreme cold because Andrej Duda hates Russians.

That's just funny, right thar!

But, for Germany, and the EU as a whole, more cheap energy is the path to remaining somewhat relevant in the global economy. With Germany ending the use of nuclear power it needs the type of energy Nordstream 2 supplies. In fact, Germany will eventually need Nordstream 3.

Each intervention by the U.S. or one of its satraps (and Poland's leadership certainly fills that bill) to block any further business between Russia and Europe, but especially Germany, keeps the world on edge and inches us closer to a military confrontation while open trade and travel moves us farther from that outcome.

And anyone who argues otherwise is simply talking their book. They profit from war and tension. They profit from manipulating markets and, in effect, stealing the wealth someone else created.

So, this is not to say that Nordstream 2 is some kind of messianic gift from the gods or anything. It is the result of massive interventions into the free market for energy born of necessity in a world governed by nation-states for more powerful than they have any right to be because of control of the issuance of money and the rent-seeking behavior of the people who most benefit from the creation of endless supplies of that money.

But, that said, in the current state of things, rapprochement between Germany and Russia via projects like the Nordstream 2 points us towards a future without such nonsense.

I said points, not achieves. It's a beginning not an end. Lost in all of this discussion of European energy security is the fact that even at the height of the Cold War the U.S.S.R. never once shut off gas supplies to its enemies. And under Putin that fact remains.

And how's that for an inconvenient truth.


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[Sep 23, 2018] Poroshenko has told Germans that the construction of "North Stream 2" makes no sense.

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Reply


Moscow Exile September 23, 2018 at 7:59 am

Today at 02:24

Порошенко заявил немцам, что строительство "Северного потока – 2" не имеет никакого смысла Poroshenko has told Germans that the construction of "North Stream 2" makes no sense.
По его словам, российский газ европейцам гораздо выгоднее получать через Украину, а новый газопровод – лишь "инструмент давления" на Европу
According to him, it is much more profitable to send Russian gas to Europe through the Ukraine, and the new pipeline is just a "tool to pressurize" on Europe


Please help me get even more wealthier, I beg you!

The leader of "Independent" Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has once again tried to convince Europeans that they do not need the "North Stream 2", pipeline, which is being constructed on the bed of the Baltic sea, bypassing the Ukraine

"This pipeline makes no sense from an economic point of view. This is a Russian attempt to weaken the Ukraine, which previously received about three billion dollars annually for transit", he said in an interview with German newspaper "Rheinische Post".

According to Poroshenko, "Why spend $20 billion on a pipeline", if his country "has more than sufficient logistical capacity for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe". He stressed that "the facts speak against" this project.

The President of the Ukraine has decided to warn his "European friends" that the gas pipeline "North Stream 2" is "a geopolitical instrument of pressure on Western Europe, and that the dependence of European countries on gas supplies from Russia is opening up a wide area for their blackmailing".

Recall, as reported by the website kp.ru previously, the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, speaking at a joint press conference with the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, and the Prime Ministers of the three Baltic State countries, stated the importance of the "North Stream 2" project for Germany, noting that the need of her contry for natural gas supplies will only grow.

kirill September 23, 2018 at 8:08 am
Put a sock in it, Banderatard. Nord Stream II makes sense merely because it removes the $3 billion per year of transit fees you parasites charge. The Banderatard thinks that everyone is an innumerate moron.
Mark Chapman September 23, 2018 at 11:24 am
I notice the estimated transit fees have gone up by almost a billion dollars. I wonder if they have budgeted in planned increases if they are successful at getting Nord Stream II shut down. Or were they just low-balling the figures before, like when they were joking about the planned pipeline and how it would make no difference to Ukraine?
Patient Observer September 23, 2018 at 9:02 am
Ignoring reality and focusing just on a comparison of a $3 billion recurring expense versus a $20 billion CAPEX, a ROI of less than 7 years is quite respectable for a major project.
kirill September 23, 2018 at 11:06 am
They charge 3 billion today but may well want 6 billion tomorrow. This Banderite mafioso is basically trying to sell his protection racket.

[Sep 19, 2018] Washington's goal is to reduce Russia's gas market share in Eastern Europe by 20% by 2020

Sep 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com


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Russia and the West are facing the worst crisis since the Cold War. According to US Special Envoy Amos Hochstein, Washington's goal is to reduce Russia's gas market share in Eastern Europe by 20% by 2020.

Russia cannot be allowed to build a gas pipeline that would bypass Ukraine, as it would pose a threat to Europe's energy security


kirill September 16, 2018 at 4:43 am

Pipeline bypassing Ukraine = threat to Europe's energy security

That is a total non sequitur. Also, Russia is part of Europe. The EU is not the whole of "Europe". In fact, the EU is not even the EU as evidenced by Hungary and Italy.

Mark Chapman September 16, 2018 at 11:17 am
And Washington can have Eastern Europe. Go ahead – take them as customers, and sell them expensive LNG they can't afford. Russia would probably be glad to be shut of Poland and the Baltics. And having to pay way more for their gas would teach them a lesson. Win/win.
kirill September 16, 2018 at 4:43 am
Pipeline bypassing Ukraine = threat to Europe's energy security

That is a total non sequitur. Also, Russia is part of Europe. The EU is not the whole of "Europe". In fact, the EU is not even the EU as evidenced by Hungary and Italy.

Mark Chapman September 16, 2018 at 11:17 am
And Washington can have Eastern Europe. Go ahead – take them as customers, and sell them expensive LNG they can't afford. Russia would probably be glad to be shut of Poland and the Baltics. And having to pay way more for their gas would teach them a lesson. Win/win.
et Al September 17, 2018 at 4:57 am
Doesn't the pipeline via the lo-land of Po-land go via Belarus? Warsaw buying gas from elsewhere would starve Minsk of transit fees, no? Maybe the idea is similarly to undermine Belarus and thus impose further costs/indirect sanctions on Russia?

[Sep 15, 2018] The problem there is that the USA cannot sell LNG at a competitive price against pipeline gas and still make money

Another problem is how much gas for sale the USA actually has? Or they want to resell gas they buy for Russia Sakhalin? They already did a couple of times.
Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 10, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Oh, please, God, let the USA impose sanctions on European companies in an attempt to stop the building of Nord Stream II (which, incidentally, has begun and is already underwater).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2018/09/10/trumps-energy-secretary-heading-to-moscow-to-discuss-more-energy-sanctions/#2ea293071b80

I can't think of anything more likely to incite European fury against America, and while we're on the subject, under what authority would the USA fine European companies for not obeying sanctions imposed by the USA? I can see how they could get away with further penalizing Russia – they are piggybacking on the Skripal affair, that's why they pretend so fervently to believe Britain's accusations even though it has offered no proof at all, just more accusations. The legal instrument it is using is a national-security clause (big surprise) meant to stop the spread of chemical-warfare threats. But how is it going to justify imposing a big fine on BASF-Wintershall, for example, and what would it do if the latter simply said, "Cram it up your chuff!" and refused to pay?

Anyway, the calling-out of Britain's 'evidence' in front of the UN is going to be extra-special, in that light. Because the Skripal thing is the USA's whole basis for further sanctions. Without it – if the case is demolished, and I frankly can't see how the UK government could sensibly respond to all the discrepancies picked up at sites like Slane's 'Blogmire' – they've got nothing; no grounds for further sanctions.

James lake September 10, 2018 at 9:27 pm
Russia invited American energy secretary to Moscow to discuss the USA sanctions on Russian energy markets.

They say hope dies last!

Patient Observer September 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm
Is that your interpretation? Defeat, doom?
James lake September 12, 2018 at 11:30 pm
The Americans thinking they can talk or bully Russia into Submitting by sanctions.

The USA energy policy needed a cheap product, Infrastructure across Europe, and of course investment to make this all happen beginning years ago.

Mark Chapman September 13, 2018 at 8:20 am
And that was perfectly possible, had it been started years ago, and had the USA come to Europe with a business plan which answered the question, "What's in it for me?" Everybody in business likes to make money; it's kind of what keeps business going. And if the USA could still sell to Europe under those circumstances – because it has a lot of a product it can sell at a competitive price and still make money – it would still be possible to do it. The problem there is that the USA cannot sell LNG at a competitive price against pipeline gas and still make money. A further problem is that in business dynamics, the guy who has control in a business relationship is the guy who supplies you with a product you can't get anywhere else at the same or a lower price.

The USA wants the profits realized by selling gas to Europe, and right away, that's not going to work, because shipborne LNG cannot compete with pipeline gas for price. The USA would have to sell it for a lot less than it takes to recover and ship it, and it's not willing to do that because it is contrary to every principle of business. But that's a big problem, because the profit is actually secondary. What Washington really wants is the power conveyed by being Europe's main supplier – then it can play energy politics like it constantly accuses Russia of doing, although actual evidence of Russia threatening to cut off Europe's gas if it does not, let's say, drop sanctions against Russia, is zip, Nada. No evidence. But Washington would do it, and you know they would, and so does Brussels. So it is trying to muscle Europe's main supplier out of the market by coercion, because it can't do it simply by offering a better price.

Which leaves it in the ridiculous position of arguing, "We should be your supplier instead of Russia, because ain't we the bestest of friends and allies?", at the same time it is conducting a trade war for American business advantage and threatening to impose sanctions against European companies who participate in the pipeline project as investors.

[Sep 15, 2018] Ukraine attacks Russia on legal field and score points against Gasprom

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 14, 2018 at 10:24 am

Here we go again with reliable pot-stirrer the UK, in the form of a ruling by the UK Court of Appeals that Ukraine does have a valid case, after all, of grieving the ordered repayment of $3 Billion it was lent by Moscow after Yanukovych decided to reject the European Association Agreement, and petitioned Russia for assistance.

Some facts that should be recalled here; Ukraine has to the very best of my knowledge never paid this debt, although the IMF grudgingly backed Russia's claim that it was a bilateral loan . Then Ukraine imposed a moratorium on further payments, trying to squeeze Russia into accepting a 'restructuring' of the debt, a colourful euphemism for 'write off some of it and give us until forever to pay the rest', allowing Ukraine to simply roll over its outstanding debt each year and put off payment until the promised western flood of incredible prosperity finally arrives.

The ever-helpful IMF then rewrote its own laws so that it could continue lending to Ukraine although it exhibited all the classic symptoms of a bad debtor. Most of us said it would all end in tears for the IMF, and where is it now, again? How much of that $17 Billion aid package has been disbursed?

Georgetown University Professor Anna Gelpern offered Ukraine an out , stating that in her legal opinion, the obligation amounted to 'odious debt', which consequently did not have to be repaid. Longtime kook Anders Aslund enthusiastically embraced that view, bleating that really Russia should be repaying Ukraine, for invading and plundering it.

Let me give you my not-legal opinion; Ukraine does not have a hope of winning this case. The UK is just trying to help it kick the can a little further down the road, and put off repayment for another year or two while the courts wrangle the issue out all over again, and lawyers pocket hefty fees. It also serves the British hobby of sticking its thumb in Russia's eye every chance it gets to do it. The money is probably not a big issue to Russia; it's the principle, and it would probably suit the Kremlin to duke it out in court again just on the probability that Ukraine will suffer another humiliating defeat, although that will make no difference at all to its willingness to pay. I propose, though, another option; one to be exercised immediately, and one down the road a bit. First, communicate to Kuh-yiv that if it goes ahead with this, Russia will pull out all foreign investment in Ukraine, immediately and finally. I personally do not think the economy could sustain that kind of hit, since it is on life support now. Second, Russia should communicate to Britain that once Brexit becomes operative, the UK will have to negotiate with Europe for energy supplies and pay their asking price, since there will be no direct transfers of energy to the UK. That might have been the case anyway, since to the best of my knowledge no systems serve the UK directly from Russia except LNG cargoes. But it would not hurt to remind them.

It occurs to me that the west has only itself to blame for Ukraine's current and ongoing dysfunction and 'cutie-pie' criminality, since the west keeps encouraging it to greater heights of irresponsibility, covering for it and then rewriting its own rules so that behaviour previously illegal is magically permissible.

Moscow Exile September 14, 2018 at 10:41 am
THE COURT OF SWEDEN HAS OVERTURNED A DECISION BLOCKING THE COLLECTION OF "NAFTOGAZ" ASSETS OF "GAZPROM"
September 13, 2018

Ukraine's Naftogaz to proceed with Gazprom asset seizures after court ruling
14 Sep 2018 |

Court overturns order to freeze Gazprom assets in England, Wales
14.09.2018

Funny how these things seem to happen all at once, innit?

Moscow Exile September 14, 2018 at 11:16 am
Russia to challenge decision of English Court of Appeal on Ukraine's debt
September 14, 18:48 UTC+3

Russia bought Ukrainian Eurobonds worth $3 bln in December 2013

and now, in line with the "Western Values" that they have embraced, the Yukie toe-rags do not want to pay up.

Mark Chapman September 14, 2018 at 11:41 am
The London High Court is not going to like being reversed; such reversals often do not look good for the judges, although there certainly cannot be any murmuring of 'political motivation' here, since the court was most decidedly motivated to rule for Ukraine in the original judgment if it could. As I said, this is just kicking the can down the road a piece, and buying time for Kuh-yiv. And that might be a valid strategy, if a burgeoning economy was about to break free in Ukraine. Is that the case? I'm afraid I don't think so. In fact, Ukraine is broke and living on handouts, its reserves down to record lows; it doesn't have the money, so the UK is trying to rig the judgment so as to head off its having to pay, at least temporarily. More short-term thinking, such as is characteristic of crisis management.

The Appeals Court is likely ruling on a technicality because it believes (or has been encouraged to believe) it deserves further examination. But, again, I have to believe that in such a politically-charged case, the court which rendered the original verdict would have carefully picked over every argument which might have worked in Ukraine's favour, since the UK was highly motivated to support Ukraine if there were any way it could legally do so. The efficacy, reliability and non-volatility of Eurobonds is at stake here, and a ruling now for Ukraine is likely to provoke a drawback from Eurobonds and European financial instruments by every nation that perceives it is or might one day be perceived as a foe of a Europe still in thrall to the United States. Russia chose such an instrument precisely because of the high risk of a Ukrainian default even if Yanukovych had remained in power, and that was a wise decision to the extent that the west has had to completely rewrite the book in order to challenge the stratagem. That, too, will play to its great disadvantage down the road, as every debtor nation has the right of precedent to exercise such options.

The funny thing is that if Europe simply laid out the situation bluntly to Moscow, as an equal and a respected partner to the deal, and asked for mercy for Ukraine, there is every chance Moscow would find a way to accommodate, provided it was given due credit for its magnanimity. Instead, as usual, Europe has gone with a strategy of creating the appearance that Moscow fucked Ukraine, breaking the law in the process. It will be interesting to see what Alexander Mercouris has to say about this, and I am sure he will offer an opinion, but I'm afraid I haven't time now as I have to get ready for work. But I should like to once more point out that all the advantage lies with Russia here, if it only remains patient and keeps its temper; it is Russia which is keeping Ukraine alive now, through transit fees and significant FDI. It can choose to withdraw one at any time it pleases, and the other as soon as Nord Stream II is completed. The west's attempts to change the beloved 'facts on the ground' amount to no more than scrabbling at the noose that is tightening around Ukraine's throat.

[Sep 09, 2018] The centrepiece of Trump's economic policy is weapons, oil and LNG exports

Aug 24, 2018 | www.newsilkstrategies.com

Below is a New Silk Strategies translation from the Russian site teknoblog.ru .

It is clear from Trump's enthusiastic sales talk to the Polish authorities on July 6, 2017 (as we reported here ) that the centrepiece of Trump's economic policy is LNG exports. The US has no major economic projects even remotely comparable to China's One Belt One Road initiative, the biggest infrastructure project in history. But worse, all of the energy companies involved in fracking are running in the red with no prospects of ever making profits unless oil prices skyrocket to new highs and stay there. The wells are short-lived and by the time they are producing steadily, they are already drying up, necessitating new drilling and more borrowing. Worse, that big deal with China to sujpply a major portion of their gas needs may be about to fizzle, thanks to Trump's tough guy act.

In 2016, Henry Kissinger floated the idea of using Russia to oppose China and shared the idea with an enthusiastic Donald Trump. Kissinger had entertained this idea in the 1970s as Nixon's national security adviser. The problem is, the whole notion of granting China "most-favoured nation" status, ie, doing essentially free trade with it, was based on just the opposite mission of opposing Russia using China as a club, and both ideas have their die-hard supporters in Washington. Keen observers know neither approach will succeed. In fact, recently the National Interest reported that China and Russia are planning joint military drills.

[Sep 08, 2018] Russia, the West, and Recent Geoeconomics in Europe's Gas Wars by Gordon M. Hahn

Notable quotes:
"... In return for the EU dropping billions of dollars in penalty fees, GazProm agreed to end limitations on the use of gas purchased by EU members, allow them to re-sell the gas ..."
"... About the Author ..."
"... Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War ..."
"... Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 ..."
"... Russia's Islamic Threat ..."
"... The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond ..."
Jun 25, 2018 | gordonhahn.com

Russia has advanced forward in something of a tactical and potential strategic victory in the Russo-Western gas war. This is a three-party war, with the US, EU, and Russia each promoting separate interests. It is one sphere where a united West has failed to 'isolate Russia.' The US seeks move in on the European energy market with LNG supplies and replace Russian pipeline-delivered natural gas supplies to Europe. Washington is using the risks of dependence on Russian gas and Russia's 'bad behavior' as leverage in attempting to convince Europeans to reject Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia is said to be unreliable and prone to shut off gas supplies to Europe.

Due to past Russian-Ukrainian gas crises, the Ukrainian crisis, and general Russian-Western tensions, Europe has decided on a gas diversification policy in which each EU member should have at least three sources of natural gas supply. One additional option that could facilitate this diversification policy is US liquified natural gas (LNG), but the US is still unable to supply enough LNG to offset Russian gas supplies that might be rejected by Europe. In the process, Washington is looking less like a 'team West' player and more like a solely self-interested power maximizer in European eyes and therefore no more reliable than Moscow. As a result, Europeans are deciding to stick with the Russians while finding new options in the east, such as Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is creating competition if not tensions in present and potential gas transit countries in southeastern and eastern Europe, for example.

The Battle Over Re-Sale: No Victors

One recent battle was largely inconclusive, but if a victor has to be designated it may be Moscow. In May, the European Commssion concluded a settlement with Russia's Gazprom in May ending a seven-year anti-trust dispute. In return for the EU dropping billions of dollars in penalty fees, GazProm agreed to end limitations on the use of gas purchased by EU members, allow them to re-sell the gas. Some EU members, such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have re-sold or wanted to re-sell gas. Moscow frowned, for example, on Slovakia's resale of natural gas to Ukraine at cheaper prices than Moscow sought to charge Kiev.

The agreement will also restrict Moscow's ability to charge different countries different prices. So EU members in central and eastern Europe can get a price close to that paid by Germany and appeal to an arbitration court in case of a dispute. The agreement guarantees Russia's presence on the European gas market at a time when the latter's reliance on the former has peaked.

The Northern Front: Nord Stream 2

At the same time, the battle over Russia' Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline has heated up. When it comes on line in 2019, the 759-mile pipeline will carry GazProm natural gas along the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany and double the supply Nord Stream pipeline's current annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm). The Trump administration has threatened yet more sanctions on third-party companies, this time with those that work on the pipeline. The US sanctions threat is an attempt to promote American LNG interests as well as to protect Ukrainian interests, though it contradicts the view that Ukraine should eschew its dependence on Russian gas.

US officials have been hammering home to Europeans the 'Russian threat' in tandem with the risk of reliance on Russian gas may pose, which will increase with Nord tream 2, but to no avail. Public opinion is not working in the US favor, with Germans trusting Moscow more than Washington, despite all the crimes laid at the Kremlin's door by the West. A recent ZDF Television opinion survey found that only 14 percent of Germans regard the U.S. as a reliable partner, while 36 percent view Russia as reliable ( www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-17/trump-s-global-disruption-pushes-merkel-closer-to-putin-s-orbit ). Thus, notwithstanding Ukraine, Syria and alleged chemical attacks, Russiagate, and the Skrypals, GazProm's supplies to Europe have risen to hold nearly 40 percent of its gas market, growing last year by 8.1 percent last year to a record level of 193.9 billion cubic metres (bcm).

Nevertheless, with the EU decision, the U.S., Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and others have stepped up their pressure on Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and other western Eureopean EU members to abandon the Nord Stream 2 project. Germans and other western Europeans are unlikely to give up the short-term gain of energy security for the US LNG given the higher price and unproven nature of Washington's numerous allegations against the Kremlin. German officials say they still have no proof from 10 Downing on Russia's culpability for the Skrypal poisoning so loudly trumpeted by British PM Theresa May.

One motivation for the Russians in building Nord Stream 2 is to obviate the need to transport gas through Ukraine, which will hurt Ukraine's own energy supply – given Ukrainian skimming -- and overall economy beyond the present non-sale of Russian gas to Ukraine. Another Russian motivation is to avert the unreliable Ukrainians, who have failed to make payments according to contract in the past causing Russian gas cutoffs to Ukraine and thus Europe with the resulting crises blamed solely on Moscow. The Trump sanctions threat has put Germany and the other Nord Stream 2 supporting countries between a rock and a hard place, between Russia and the US. Therefore, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while supporting Nord Stream 2, has called for guarantees from Russia that Ukraine will remain a gas transit country. Ukraine's current contract with Russia ends in 2019 at the very time Nord Stream 2 is to go on line and the EU has urged re-starting EU-mediated negotiatons now in order to avoid another gas crisis. Putin agreed to do this at his meeting with Germany's merkel in late May. Nord Stream 2 significantly strengthens Putin's hand in any such talks.

The Southern Front: Turkish Stream, SGC and the Azeri and Bulgarian Factors

Russia is strengtheining its position on the European gas war's southern front by building the Turkish Stream (TS) gas pipeline to Europe. TS consists of a sea and a land leg. The former runs under the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and is built, with Russo-Turkish talks on the land leg ongoing.

Russia's Turkish Stream is being challenged by the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) backed by Western powers, including the EU (along with Turkey and Azerbaijan), which sees the SGC as a means of diversifying from dependence on Russia. Not just Turkey, but Azerbaijan is emerging as a major player on the EU gas market, with a shift in policy accenting gas supplies to Europe as well as oil supplies as in the past. The SGC consists of three components: an expanded South Caucasus Pipeline and the to be constructed Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). TANAP is 51 percent Azerbaijani owned, 37 percent Turkish, and 12 percent belonging to British Petroleum. The SGC will carry Azerbaijani gas through Turkey to Europe and will be able to supply up to one-third of the gas consumed by Bulgaria, Greece and Italy ( https://en.trend.az/business/energy/2910573.html ). However, the source of the gas supplying the pipeline demonstrates the limits of Western attempts to isolate Russia (and Iran). Azerbaijan's Shah-Deniz gas field is co-owned by British Petroleum (29 percent), Turkey's Turkish Petroleum (19 percent), Azerbaijan's SOCAR (17 percent), Malaysia's Petronas (15 percent), Russia's LukOil (10 percent), and Iran's NICO (10 percent). Moreover, Russia's LukOil is negotiating with SOCAR a stake in Azerbaijan's second-largest gas field, Umid-Babek, which also includes Britain's Nobel Upstream ( https://newsbase.com/topstories/lukoil-talks-join-umid-babek-project ).

Again the Ukrainian issue is part of the picture here, as a good portion of GasProm supplies to Bulgaria go through Ukraine. Turkish Stream can replace at least some of that supply should Moscow decide to entirely avert Ukraine's pipeline system. It is of interest that no one in the West has offered to include in any of these projects or attempted to fashion a pipeline or pipeline extension that could link up with the Ukrainian network.

During Bulgarian President Rumen Radev's late may visit to Moscow, Putin reported to Radev that during his meetings with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, the latter said he would pose no oppsotion to extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to Bulgaria. In response, Radev seemed to suggest making Bulgaria a "a gas redistribution center, a hub" for the Turkish Stream's supplies further into Europe ( http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57608 ).

Moreover, one gets the impression that Bulgaria is wary more about its dependence on Turkey and Ankara's new offensive energy policy in Europe than on Russia and might help Moscow detour Ukraine.

In 2015, Erdogan declared a major policy initiative of making Turkey a, if not the major energy transit hub for supplies heading from the east to Europe.

Russia's annexation of Crimea could help Russia in its talks both with Erdogan over the Turkish Stream and pose the threat of undermining the SGC. It may also help Putin deal with Merkel, Kiev and the EU over the Ukraine pipeline system's future role. Bulgarian President Radev also said in Moscow that Sofia supports building a direct gas pipeline under the Black Sea to bring Russian gas to Bulgaria ( https://echo.msk.ru/news/2206394-echo.html ).

The Bulgarian option could be used by Putin to threaten Erdogan with reducing the Turkish Stream's supplies or abandoning it altogether in favor of a Black Sea Russian-Bulgarian Stream and to reduce Russia's dependence on Ukraine as well.

Implications

Thus, EU energy diversification policies are transforming Turkey, Azerbaijan and perhaps even Bulgaria into key players on the southern gas transit front, while Ukraine falters to Germany, and eastern Europe to Western Europe on the northern front.

Tensions between Ankara and Sofia on these grounds cannot be excluded, and they could draw in Turkey's semi-ally Azerbaijan. US, EU, Russian and Ukrainian energy diplomacy is likely not only to be focused on each other, therefore, but also on Ankara, Baku, and Sofia over the next year.

Unless, the US can rapidly reduce the cost of extracting and shipping LNG to Europe, it is unlikely to be able to become a major alternative to these players, and Russia will continue to dominate the European gas market, with a balance of competition and cooperation with Azerbaijan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .

Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.

Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

[Sep 06, 2018] Paradise Papers Reveal US Selling Russian LNG In Europe by Irina Slav

Notable quotes:
"... If the reports are true, the situation is an ironic one for Europe: while trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas it is inadvertently increasing it and is even paying more for it than it would if it bought the extra loads directly from Gazprom. ..."
Nov 10, 2017 | oilprice.com

The documents suggest that a company with US ownership is buying Russian gas from petrochemical giant Sibur, and then selling it -- at a profit, of course -- to the European Union, which is in a rush to build as many LNG terminals as it can in a bid to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

If the reports are true, the situation is an ironic one for Europe: while trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas it is inadvertently increasing it and is even paying more for it than it would if it bought the extra loads directly from Gazprom.

One might wonder how a U.S. company is able to do business with a Russian one. It's simple: Wilbur Ross himself said earlier this week that Sibur is not a subject to sanctions, so for Navigator Holdings and the petrochemical giant, everything is business as usual.

[Sep 05, 2018] Melting Arctic Creates New Opportunities For LNG

Sep 05, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 2, 2018 at 11:36 pm

OilPrice.com : Melting Arctic Creates New Opportunities For LNG
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Melting-Arctic-Creates-New-Opportunities-For-LNG.html

According to Balmasov, while the number of voyages via the Northern Sea Route so far this year has been roughly the same as last year, the main difference compared to 2017 is LNG traffic out of the port of Sabetta, the port that Russia's gas producer Novatek uses to ship the Yamal LNG cargoes to Europe and to Asia.

Arctic Logistics data compiled by Bloomberg shows that by early July, a total of 34 tankers made the voyage from Sabetta to Europe, and one to the east. Since early July, another two LNG tankers have shipped the fuel to Asia

In mid-July, Novatek said that it had shipped its first LNG cargoes from Yamal LNG to China via the Northern Sea Route, with the voyage from Sabetta completed in 19 days, compared to 35 days for the traditional eastern route via the Suez Canal and the Strait of Malacca
####

Tut tut! Cannot have LNG going via Russia's northern passage (fnar! fnar!).

Vis ship pollution, why simply hold LNG carriers up to much higher environmental standards? After all most of them are much newer and are specialist vessels. Or are they already? Indeed they are, the use of duel-fuel engines that can make use of boil-off:

https://www.brighthubengineering.com/naval-architecture/111619-propulsion-methods-for-modern-lng-tankers/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LNG_carrier

As of 2005, a total of 203 vessels had been built, of which 193 were still in service. At the end of 2016, the global LNG shipping fleet consisted of 439 vessels.[3] In 2017, an estimated 170 vessels are in use at any one time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LNG_carrier#Reliquefaction_and_boil-off
According to WGI, on a typical voyage an estimated 0.1–0.25% of the cargo converts to gas each day, depending on the efficiency of the insulation and the roughness of the voyage.[16] In a typical 20-day voyage, anywhere from 2–6% of the total volume of LNG originally loaded may be lost.[16]

Normally an LNG tanker is powered by steam turbines with boilers. These boilers are dual fuel and can run on either methane or oil or a combination of both. ..

Mark Chapman September 3, 2018 at 10:16 am

I love how an eventuality we were all raised to dread – the melting of the polar ice caps – is now spun as a net positive. Make hay while the sun shines! When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Pick your metaphor. We are destroying the planet we live on, inch by irrecoverable inch, but the merchants of Stay-Positive maintain it is AWESOME.

I don't know if you heard – probably not, since it was never much of an international story – but the Canadian Federal Court of Appeals, in a surprise decision, overturned the government's commitment to the Trans-Mountain pipeline.

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2018/08/trans-mountain-court-quashes-approval-contentious-pipeline-180830180555077.html

Alberta's Rachel Notley reportedly bent spoons with her teeth, since she had just jubilantly reported that the court challenge by the city of Burnaby (British Columbia) was defeated. "To date, Alberta has won every case brought against Trans Mountain. Your Alberta government will not back down until this pipeline is built and the national interest is secured", she crowed on Twitter; the modern equivalent of a legislature, I guess, since all politicians who are anybody turn first to Twitter to get their message out.

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/977566130351960064

That one, of course, was "a victory for all Canadians". Except for British Columbia's crybabies, of course, who did not want to play host to Alberta's tanker armada, considering Alberta has no seacoast. So you would think she would quietly accept this later decision by the legal system she purports to revere. Not a bit of it. She immediately withdrew Alberta from the national climate-change plan, and restarted her rhetoric about cutting off BC's gas supply.

https://calgaryherald.com/news/ready-and-prepared-to-turn-off-the-taps-notley-issues-stark-warning-to-b-c-as-pipeline-fight-escalates/wcm/59f845c2-b13e-46f5-bb08-15e0fb37ec84

Get it? When the court rules in Alberta's favour, it is just – the solemn power of the law makes you want to weep with awe. When it rules against Alberta, it is a clown show of unevolved primates. That's modern politics.

All this theatre when the completion of the pipeline is inevitable – the very day, almost to the hour that the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the shareholders of Kinder-Morgan Canada voted 99% in favour of selling the pipeline to the government of Canada. So now the government owns it, and although it may be delayed a couple of years, it's down but not out. Now the government has to re-do its consultations with all the native bands, this time selling the impression that it is actually listening and the consultative process is real, and it has to conduct a review of the environmental impact of increased tanker traffic (which it formerly declaimed as outside its purview). I'd say if there is agreement on changing some routes and perhaps permissible speed until well offshore, it will almost certainly pass next time.

[Sep 02, 2018] The countries that are truly dependent on Russia are in ex-communist Eastern Europe. They still rely on a network of pipelines built by USSR, and would go into energy crisis if Russia suddenly ended supply.

Sep 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

Felix Keverich , says: September 1, 2018 at 10:48 pm GMT

@AquariusAnon

You seem ignorant about economic issues. For example, when it comes to natural gas market, European countries are not in the same boat. Britain and Spain import virtually no gas from Russia. These countries built lots LNG terminals and import from Qatar.

Germany, Italy and France have a well-diversified supply from multiple sources. The countries that are truly dependent on Russia are in ex-communist Eastern Europe. They still rely on a network of pipelines built by USSR, and would go into energy crisis if Russia suddenly ended supply.

There is no Chinese FDI in Belarus, and in Russia it accounts for 1% of the total FDI. Nobody is learning Chinese in Russia or Belarus. I don't know what you're smoking.

[Aug 31, 2018] US is an oligarchy not a democracy

Aug 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Circe , Aug 30, 2018 9:06:13 PM | 54

Somebody @40:

Your comment implies that people should continue to bang their heads against a wall.

In fact, no one has said NOT to participate in politics. To be effective, it's important to understand the reality of politics and the power structure.

Landmark Princeton University Study: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens demonstrates that US is an oligarchy not a democracy:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination ...

That's why candidates like Ron Paul on the Republican side and Denis Kucinich on the Democratic side never stood a chance. They made way too much sense; they dared speak truth to power so they had to be marginalized by their respective parties so no one would take them seriously. They were literally swallowed up by the duopoly and relegated to quasi-obscurity.

[Aug 31, 2018] Let us not forget, that under the mighty and loved O-bomber, a group of US Senators back in 2014 made Bulgaria drop South Stream with god knows what threats, whereas Brussels had previously failed (intentionally?) to do so. Guess who was the lead Senator?

Aug 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 30, 2018 3:50:33 PM | 29

I would say 'contra-Russia'. Trump is just the current vessel.

Let us not forget, that under the mighty and loved O-bomber, a group of US Senators back in 2014 made Bulgaria drop South Stream with god knows what threats, whereas Brussels had previously failed (intentionally?) to do so. Guess who was the lead Senator?

RT.com: Bulgaria halts Russia's South Stream gas pipeline project after visit by US senators
https://www.rt.com/business/164588-brussels-bulgaria-halts-south-stream/

At this time there is a request from the European Commission, after which we've suspended the current works, I ordered it," Oresharski told journalists after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday. "Further proceedings will be decided after additional consultations with Brussels."

McCain, commenting on the situation, said that "Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues," adding that in the current situation they would want "less Russian involvement" in the project.

"America has decided that it wants to put itself in a position where it excludes anybody it doesn't like from countries where it thinks it might have an interest, and there is no economic rationality in this at all. Europeans are very pragmatic, they are looking for cheap energy resources – clean energy resources, and Russia can supply that. But the thing with the South Stream is that it doesn't fit with the politics of the situation," Ben Aris, editor of Business New Europe told RT .
####


See, nothing has changed. At least it looks like U-rope has learned its lesson. Not so the US. Russia hatin' is a too good 'dead cat on the table' to give up.

Posted by: et Al | Aug 30, 2018 1:55:58 PM | 8

Underneath everyone's observations/comments lurks the basic question: Why?

Enter the Big Picture provided yesterday by Pepe Escobar who also links to and cites the controversial Alastair Crooke ideological essay I linked to last week. Part of the Big Picture is the #1 policy goal of the Outlaw US Empire--Full Spectrum Dominance of the Planet--and its recently published National Defense Strategy(NDS) related to that goal:

"The central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by what the National Security Strategy classifies as revisionist powers. It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model -- gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions."

Do please note the combination of prevarication with ideology in the above as it's reflective of the point Crooke tried to make in his piece. A strategy based upon lies to oneself is a sure recipe for defeat as you're deceiving yourself which violates the first law of war as pronounced by so many: "All war is based on deception." But then given the political-economic nature of the USA's Keynesian Militarism, perhaps this deception is aimed domestically so as to transfer even more tax dollars upwards to the 1%. So, actions must be closely observed even more than usual.

During the election campaign, it was speculated that Trump's desire to ease tensions with Russia was a last-ditch gambit suggested by Kissinger to split the Chinese-Russian alliance. So, Russiagate served to defeat that gambit while pushing China and Russia even closer together. With the Syrian regime change ploy rapidly being defeated and Ukraine going nowhere, Deep State planners were left without an oar, so the reversion to Cold War Russophobia with an occasional bout of Sinophobia thrown in for good measure--neither of which is any sort of strategy.

Another quote from the NDS:

"Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military
advantage has been eroding."

That was realized before Putin's display of highly advanced Russian weaponry, which was announced in March, the NDS was released in January. What's amazing is "strategic atrophy" with budgets beyond $600 billion must mean a massive portion's being wasted--delivered to the 1%--such that it's corruption that's caused the erosion of "our competitive advantage." I'd opine much of the chaos we see being played-up is done to obscure interpretations like mine so that even more $$$ can be wasted, although lip service is given to improvements.

So, who/what's really in charge? Big Money rules as it has since the Civil War within the USA and much earlier when we include London and Amsterdam. Big Money's angry because it's locked out of BRI, BRICS, EAEU, and developing nations are mostly on to IMF's and World Bank's disingenuous "development" plans because it abhors the notion that it's not Top Dog. So, the dollar got weaponized and the Trade and Financial War--the Hybrid Third World War--was finally begun in earnest after earlier fits and starts. Yet it appears that the effort will fail since Big Money is finding itself trapped inside a web of its own making that's based on a fiat currency supported by Junk Economics.

[Aug 31, 2018] It is reported that the German company and partner in Nord Stream II, Uniper, may pull out of the project due to the risk of US sanctions

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL August 30, 2018 at 9:29 am

It is reported that the German company and partner in Nord Stream II, Uniper, may pull out of the project due to the risk of US sanctions (previously it said Uniper will pull out sic see link.).* In related news, construction has been started in German waters. Still silence from Denmark as to whether they will block it or not.

If I were Moscow, I would announce that the pipeline's route will avoid Danish waters and sit back to see the reaction. Why? Coz you can bet that some will claim it is punishment/bribe/threat/anti-competitive to Denmark, to whit, Russia can simply reply that Denmark has XXX days to provide the permits before it is no longer economically feasible for the route to go through its waters.

* https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/german-company-fully-committed-to-nord-stream-2-despite-fear-of-us-sanctions/

Euractiv: With attacks on Nord Stream 2, Washington ignores collateral damage
https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/opinion/with-attacks-on-nord-stream-2-washington-ignores-collateral-damage/

####

What p* me off about the reported 'threat from NSII' and even in articles like the one above that point out it is in Europe's interest, none of them mention the preceding sabotage of South Stream II under the mighty Obama and the impact from that led directly to Nord Stream II.

A blast from the past:
Bulgaria halts Russia's South Stream gas pipeline project after visit by US senators
https://www.rt.com/business/164588-brussels-bulgaria-halts-south-stream/

At this time there is a request from the European Commission, after which we've suspended the current works, I ordered it," Oresharski told journalists after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday. "Further proceedings will be decided after additional consultations with Brussels."

McCain, commenting on the situation, said that "Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues," adding that in the current situation they would want "less Russian involvement" in the project.

"America has decided that it wants to put itself in a position where it excludes anybody it doesn't like from countries where it thinks it might have an interest, and there is no economic rationality in this at all. Europeans are very pragmatic, they are looking for cheap energy resources – clean energy resources, and Russia can supply that. But the thing with the South Stream is that it doesn't fit with the politics of the situation," Ben Aris, editor of Business New Europe told RT .
####

Yes kids. Warmonger McCain was at the forefront of getting it killed after interference from Brussels failed to shift the asshole Borissov's government. So when a European asks "What has John McCain done for us? , he's already f*ed you over for the benefit of the US and U-ropean poodle Krazy K**t Klan.

[Aug 31, 2018] Bulgaria stepped up when the European Commission called and got absolutely no compensation for cancelling the South stream to the contrary, the decision cost Bulgaria a great deal of money

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 12:06 pm

And let's remember what a hard lesson Bulgaria learned from its leap of faith into Brussels' arms.

On May 30, Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the joint press conference, Borisov apologized to Putin for the failure of South Stream and for his responsibility in causing the deterioration of relations between the two countries. Borisov said: "We know about the difficult relations in the past and are grateful to our colleagues for not being vindictive and the fact that Russian-Bulgarian relations do not depend on the extent of guilt of some politicians

"I would like to thank President Putin for his attitude once again. I am to blame for creating certain tensions When it came to the worst and I wanted to talk, my calls were always answered. And I really accept part of the guilt for those developments."

Putin then added that he regrets that the South Stream project has not been implemented, since it would have "greatly benefited" Bulgaria.

In response, Borisov blamed the EU of having imposed Bulgaria diktats that other countries do not respect anyway. Borisov said: "We are the most loyal and the most disciplined country in the European Union. This is the reason why all the pipelines bypassed our territory. We hope that today we have redressed an injustice.

https://www.memri.org/reports/russia-world-%E2%80%93-russia-bulgaria-reconciliation-%E2%80%93-bulgarias-president-radev-no-sanctions-are

Bulgaria stepped up when the European Commission called and got absolutely fuck-all in the way of thanks or compensation – to the contrary, the decision cost Bulgaria a great deal of money. Let that be a lesson to other EU countries; Brussels is big on ideas, but it does not have your back and if your stepping-up causes your country grief and it turns out you made a terrible mistake, and want to talk about it

ET AL August 31, 2018 at 2:58 am

There is absolutely nobody else to blame but Borissov himself, a third rate playa . The position of neither Brussels nor Washington was a surprise at all. They are very well known quantities. Big surprise. Not.

Borissov vacillated and played the same failed and weak gambit we have seen for years in the Ukraine. That he is still around as the biggest fish in the local fish shop is that he is the biggest spineless shit that floats to the surface while the opposition is little more than useless. That is repeated elsewhere in the neighborhood to various degrees and where it is not, it's a choice between two sides of the same gangster/clan coin. To misquote Douglas Adams, So long, and thanks for none of the fish.

KIRILL August 30, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Denmark has already been bypassed. And Gazprom said it could finish the project without any partners.

Like

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Well, I don't think a decision has been made yet. But the consortium has 'applied to Denmark for an alternate route' – which, since the alternate route would not go through Danish territorial waters, implies Denmark does not really have any say over it, and is essentially a challenge to Denmark to either veto the original route on security grounds (you never know, Putin might hide submarines in it, or Novichok or something) or get on with it. But Denmark is presented with more or less the Bulgarian Alternative: do Washington's bidding and get a pat on the head, or defy it and get transit fees.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/91657/nord-stream-2-will-bypass-danish-waters

All the news on the subject that I saw announced that the consortium is 'exploring' an alternate route. It seems they are still hopeful the original route will be cleared, but are getting it on the table that denying it will not stop the project.

But of course western 'analysts' continue to squeal that Putin and the Kremlin are using the Nord Stream II pipeline to 'invade Europe'. Curiously, the same people who once smirked scornfully that Nord Stream II was not needed because the current pipeline is only running at half-capacity now claim "even with Nord Stream 2 on line Russia would still need to send substantial amounts of gas through Ukraine – at least until the upcoming TurkStream pipeline is also finished." Whoa – wut? Even both legs of Nord Stream running at full capacity will not be enough? You don't say.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/with-nord-stream-2-pipeline-putin-waltzes-into-the-heart-of-europe-20180821-p4zyod.html

Once again, nobody is forcing Europe to take more Russian gas than it needs, although the draw-down of domestic supplies suggest it will need more all the time unless 'green energy' becomes more commercially viable and reliable. Certain players want Europe's gas to go through Ukraine for two reasons – one, Ukraine badly needs the money from transit fees to prop up its calamitous economy. Two, it is a ready tickle-trunk of conflict whenever the west wants to make problems for Russia; presto! Ukraine is in a new fight with Russia over gas prices, and Europe is trembling with fear that its gas supplies will be shut off.

Here, you numpties – let me solve the problem for you. Soon there is going to be a perfectly good (according to Ukraine and the west) pipeline network idling without much to do. Why not let all those competitors Europe is always gibbering about use Ukraine's pipeline network to send their gas to Europe? They could have the whole thing all to themselves, completely cutting Gazprom out of Ukraine! What a victory that would be! And they could pay Ukraine transit fees, saving the day there and bringing enormous comfort to Ukrainian economists! It's win/win!

No charge for my consulting.

[Aug 31, 2018] It occurs to me that if Russia were really as malignant and evil as Washington pretends it is, Russia would be first to take that step, booting American companies out of Russia, perhaps giving them 72 hours to clear out their desks and get out.

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 8:49 am

See, this is why I enjoy Leonid Bershidsky's writing . Despite his idealistic prattling that Russia is actually guilty of all the things America says it is – his ultimate loyalty is still to his adopted homeland, the land of milk and honey – he remains essentially a realist. And his take on the economic dynamics is brutally realistic; the United States cannot 'bring the Russian economy to its knees'. Once again, America's ridiculously-high opinion of itself and its power fail to take account of consequences.

Oh, it could, I suppose, in a way. A way that would see the world's largest economy – arguably, and certainly in its last days if it is actually still the world's largest economy – wreck the global economy and its own trade relationship with the world in order to damage Russia. Is it willing to go that far? You just never know, as decades of feeding itself exceptionalism have addled its thinking.

Bershidsky points out – correctly, I think – that Russia has held off on punishing American companies in Russia just as the USA has not dared to sanction the energy industry in Russia. Neither wants to take that step, although one will certainly provoke the other.

In fact, it occurs to me that if Russia were really as malignant and evil as Washington pretends it is, Russia would be first to take that step, booting American companies out of Russia, perhaps giving them 72 hours to clear out their desks and get out. What would happen then? America would be bound to drop the sanctions hammer on oil and gas. And what would happen then? Europe would say, it's been a lovely party, but I must be going. I give that an 8 of 10 chance of happening, and solely because of the stupid actions heretofore by the Trump government. Had America been reasonable, it would have stood a chance of carrying Europe with it to a war against Russia. But Trump and his blowhard bullying have hardened European resolve against the USA.

[Aug 25, 2018] Is Trump Pushing Germany And Russia Together by Tom Luongo

This "Trump vs Davos globalists" theme is unconvincing. Trump actions are ruthless globalist actions, who wnat to preverse the US status of superpower at all costs, even by abrogating important treaties. He might be not a neoliberal globalist thouth -- he does not offere equl seats on the table to vassals.
Trumpo statement that if Germany buy Russian gas it does not need NATO is very shroud indeed.
Notable quotes:
"... Optics are important and this image captures what both parties wanted to convey. This meeting is the beginning of a shift in the relationship between Germany and Russia for the better. ..."
"... The obvious answer is necessity brought about by pressure being placed on both countries by Donald Trump through sanctions and tariffs and their shared interests represented by the Nordstream 2 pipeline. ..."
"... But, this meeting went far deeper than that, especially since Merkel's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas boldly proclaimed that Europe needs an alternative to the SWIFT system of international electronic payments so as to keep global trade alive while the U.S. further weaponizes the U.S. dollar ..."
"... Why would Merkel allow Maas to state this publicly and why was it picked up by that establishment stenographer The Financial Times ? ..."
"... If Trump's goal, as presented by much of the European press (as presented here by Gilbert Doctorow), is to regain complete subjugation of Europe to American dominance, then this seems counter-productive. ..."
"... SWIFT is the main lever on which much of the U.S.'s sanctions power rests. Because it is through SWIFT that transactions can be tracked, payments halted and fines imposed. That none of this is strictly legal is irrelevant in the game of power-politics. ..."
"... This undermines the EU's credibility at a foundational level. It shows them to be the toothless and, in EU President Donald Tusk's case, witless when faced with opposition to their rule that isn't supported by The Davos Crowd, which Trump most definitely doesn't represent. ..."
"... And I've talked about these in the past. His real goal is the destruction of that post WWII institutional order which in his mind bankrupts the U.S. treasury through massive trade deficits. ..."
"... I said back in June that Trump's leaving the JCPOA was all part of his strategy to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Germany. The Davos Crowd needs that deal to keep the dream of transferring the power of the world back to Europe from the U.S. via cheap, Iranian energy and keep the conflict between Israel/Saudi Arabia and Iran front and center to foment global chaos awhile keeping Russia from getting rich again. ..."
"... It needs that to support the narrative we need NATO to protect us from the inevitable Russian attack after we provoke them into it. This keeps the money flowing through the banks and lobbyists while draining the U.S. dry through the military/industrial complex. ..."
"... And despite relentless Russia bashing since before Trump was elected, the American people overwhelmingly want peace with Russia, not war. ..."
"... By driving a wedge between Germany and the US over NATO and attacking the foundations of the German economy Trump is ensuring the current rapprochement between Germany and Russia? ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Vladimir Putin's charm tour of Germany and Austria last weekend is a significant sign of change to come.

To the U.S. and European press Putin is only a step or two away from Hitler reincarnated (thanks chiefly to Bill Browder). It serves the purpose of maintaining the post WWII institutional order.

But, Putin is always nothing but relentlessly patient in his diplomatic efforts, even when European leaders, like Merkel, treat him and Russia poorly. She is, after all, the leading mouthpiece and political ally of The Davos Crowd that believes they run the world.

The conduct of his Foreign Ministry under Sergei Lavrov always strikes the perfect balance between bluntness and diplo-speak.

So, color me surprised when I see the official photos of his meeting with Merkel carefully framed to paint him in a positive light.

Putin in light blues and grays, Merkel in green, the fountain in the background, leaning in looking directly at each other and a simple Sunday morning chat.

If I didn't know better I'd be expecting them to share photos of their grandkids, well, Putin's grandkids anyway.

Optics are important and this image captures what both parties wanted to convey. This meeting is the beginning of a shift in the relationship between Germany and Russia for the better.

And the question is why?

The obvious answer is necessity brought about by pressure being placed on both countries by Donald Trump through sanctions and tariffs and their shared interests represented by the Nordstream 2 pipeline.

But, this meeting went far deeper than that, especially since Merkel's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas boldly proclaimed that Europe needs an alternative to the SWIFT system of international electronic payments so as to keep global trade alive while the U.S. further weaponizes the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. just seized another $5 billion of Russian 'oligarch' money using Credit Suisse as its enforcement arm.

Again, the question is why?

Why would Merkel allow Maas to state this publicly and why was it picked up by that establishment stenographer The Financial Times ?

Why is Merkel, their main mouthpiece, making googly eyes with Putin who, like Trump, represents an existential threat to their continued rule and is the leader of the pendulum swing away from globalism?

If Trump's goal, as presented by much of the European press (as presented here by Gilbert Doctorow), is to regain complete subjugation of Europe to American dominance, then this seems counter-productive.

SWIFT Justice?

SWIFT is the main lever on which much of the U.S.'s sanctions power rests. Because it is through SWIFT that transactions can be tracked, payments halted and fines imposed. That none of this is strictly legal is irrelevant in the game of power-politics.

Banks like Credit Suisse can't function without access to SWIFT.

So they will roll over to the pressure. That's why the response from EU leadership to Trump's abandoning the JCPOA has been far more bark than bite. Because the measures implemented to protect European businesses from U.S. retaliation against them hold no weight with the companies staring at billions in losses.

Case in point: France's Total pulling out of a multi-billion exploration deal with Iran.

Merkel's response? $18 million in aid to Tehran for their troubles. Hardly seems fair does it?

This undermines the EU's credibility at a foundational level. It shows them to be the toothless and, in EU President Donald Tusk's case, witless when faced with opposition to their rule that isn't supported by The Davos Crowd, which Trump most definitely doesn't represent.

So, again, the question is why?

All of this seems incredibly contradictory, at times even to a jaded and cynical observer like me. Until you step back for a second and think bigger picture and ask the most important question of all.

What are Trump's real goals?

It's Good to Have Goals

And I've talked about these in the past. His real goal is the destruction of that post WWII institutional order which in his mind bankrupts the U.S. treasury through massive trade deficits.

And in a word that means . NATO.

Trump goal is the dissolution of NATO. He wants it dismantled because it is a massive drain on our capital base. Building weapons and maintaining bases in Europe is expensive and that money is needed here. He knows this.

Even the mere hint of this has The Davos Crowd in apoplexy. Hence, the post-Helsinki freak out. Hence, the drive to impeach him over Stormy Freaking Daniels. It's pathetic.

I said back in June that Trump's leaving the JCPOA was all part of his strategy to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Germany. The Davos Crowd needs that deal to keep the dream of transferring the power of the world back to Europe from the U.S. via cheap, Iranian energy and keep the conflict between Israel/Saudi Arabia and Iran front and center to foment global chaos awhile keeping Russia from getting rich again.

It needs that to support the narrative we need NATO to protect us from the inevitable Russian attack after we provoke them into it. This keeps the money flowing through the banks and lobbyists while draining the U.S. dry through the military/industrial complex.

The problem is that that narrative is garbage. And despite relentless Russia bashing since before Trump was elected, the American people overwhelmingly want peace with Russia, not war.

Poland and the Baltics sound like Democrats unhinged hysterical children over the 'threat of Russian aggression.'

This is why Trump is also pressuring Turkey at the same time. He knows Europe is vulnerable to Turkey's implosion. Turkey and Germany are major trading partners and the vast bulk of Turkey's foreign currency exposure is owned by European banks, making them, as I've said previously, Ground Zero for the debt bomb.

So the final question then is this.

Has this been Trump's goal the entire time? Is this what Trump and Putin discussed behind closed doors in Helsinki?

The NATO Wedge

By driving a wedge between Germany and the US over NATO and attacking the foundations of the German economy Trump is ensuring the current rapprochement between Germany and Russia?

Merkel, for her part, has been so terminally weakened by her immigration policy and strong-armed approach to dissent that this whirlwind weekender by Putin was as much for her benefit, politically, as his.

The implication being that if Merkel wants to stay in power with her weakening coalition and poll numbers it's time for her to reverse course. And if that means cozying up to Russia then so be it.

Merkel will continue to talk a good game about Crimea and Ukraine while Putin will speak directly to the German people about ending the humanitarian crisis in Syria as a proxy for ending the threat of further immigration.

This outflanks Merkel's position and undermines George Soros' goals of the cultural destruction of Europe. At this point, politically, how can Merkel even argue against that without betraying her true loyalties?

And that's what makes the implications of this Summit-That-Wasn't so interesting.

If this is indeed the case then the future of the world rests on the mid-term elections and whether Trump is not indicted for having sex with a couple of porn stars.

I almost feel dirty writing that.

* * *

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[Aug 25, 2018] Trump is deliberately pushing Germany and Russia to make deals in order to shuffle the deck by Gilbert Docotrow

Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile, what is surely the single most urgent issue for both sides was not mentioned at all in their opening statements: namely how to respond to US President Donald Trump's new sanctions on Russia and on participants in the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project that both countries support. ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... New York Times' ..."
"... I close out this little survey of English-speaking media by pointing to an article in The Guardian ..."
"... Both Merkel and Putin are now facing the same challenge: US foreign policy has become unpredictable, both for its allies and for rivals like Moscow. Notwithstanding the warm discussions Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the American administration has just announced a new wave of sanctions on Russia relating to the Skripal affair. ..."
"... La Libre Belgique ..."
"... "Germany is not the only 'Western' nation to return to the Kremlin. Putin is taking full advantage of the boomerang effect caused by the policies of Donald Trump, who, by hammering away at his customary allies is pushing them to other interlocutors. By looking for confrontations, imposing taxes and sanctions while thinking that this rampant isolationism will make the United States 'great again,' Trump is helping to build a wall that he no doubt did not imagine, that of the anti-Trump people." ..."
"... Frankfurter Allgemeine ..."
"... Putin is under economic pressure to find closer ties with Europe. In Austria, which now chairs the European Council, he has allies in the government, namely the extreme right populists of the Freedom Party which installed Kneissl. But the way to Europe passes by way of Merkel and Putin knows that. ..."
"... Vremya Pokazhet ..."
"... Frankfurter Allgemeine ..."
"... In my view, Trump's use of sanctions and tariffs here, there, everywhere has a totally different logic from what is adduced in the writings of my peers in the analyst community. He invokes them because 1. they are within his sole power as Chief Executive and 2. they are in principle as American as apple pie and do not require grand explanations in Congress or before the public. As to why he invokes them, there you have to look at Trump's foreign policy from a 360 degree perspective and not merely as it relates to Putin or to Erdogan or to any of the small slices we see discussed in the news. ..."
"... When viewed in the round, it is obvious that Trump is reshuffling the deck. He is doing what he can to break up NATO and the other military alliances around the world which are consuming more than half of the U.S. defense budget and do not arguably provide greater security to the American homeland than the country can do for itself without fixed alliances and overseas bases. ..."
"... By contrast, what Trump is now doing is not a blunder or a bit of bluster. Even if he is not conversant with the whole of the Realist School of international relations, as surely he is not, he does grasp the fundamentals, namely the centrality of the sovereign nation-state and of the balance of power mechanism by which these states are constantly changing alignments of these nation-states to ensure no one enjoys hegemony . ..."
"... Accordingly, I insist that the possible rapprochement of Russia and Germany will be in line with Trump's reshuffling of the deck not in spite of it. ..."
Aug 23, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Reading the tea leaves of the Putin-Merkel meeting

During this past Saturday, 18 August, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a brief visit to Austria to attend the wedding of the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl. Per the Kremlin, this stop of several hours in the Styrian wine country not far from the border with Slovenia was a "purely private" side excursion "on the road to Germany" for the state visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel starting later in the day at the Meseberg Palace, the federal guest house 60 km north of Berlin.

Journalists were admitted to film the wedding party, including Putin's dance with the 53 year old bride. No questions were taken and no statements were issued by the President's Press Secretary, who also was present. We know only that on the return journey to Graz airport, Putin was accompanied by Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Presumably they had some issues to discuss that may be characterized as official talks.

Prior to their meeting both Putin and Angela Merkel made statements to the press listing the topics they intended to discuss. We may assume that these lists were not exhaustive. Comparing their lists, we find that the respective priorities of the parties were in inverted order, with economic cooperation at the head of Putin's list while regulating the Donbass crisis in Ukraine was the top concern of Merkel. Moreover, the content of issues bearing the same heading was very different. Both sides spoke of Syria, but whereas for Putin the issue for discussion is the humanitarian crisis of refugees, ensuring their return to their homes from camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey by raising funds to repair and replace fundamental infrastructure destroyed in the war. For Merkel, the number one issue in Syria is to prevent the Russian-backed Syrian armed forces from creating a new humanitarian disaster by their ongoing campaign to retake Idlib province from the militants opposed to Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, what is surely the single most urgent issue for both sides was not mentioned at all in their opening statements: namely how to respond to US President Donald Trump's new sanctions on Russia and on participants in the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project that both countries support.

As was explained at the outset, there was to be no press conference or joint statement issued at the conclusion of the talks. The only information we have is that Merkel and Putin conferred for more than three hours, which is in itself quite extraordinary and suggests that some understandings may have been achieved.

In a word, the potentially very important diplomatic developments of Saturday remain, for once, a state secret of the parties, with no leaks for the press to parse. And yet there is material here worthy of our consideration. I have in mind the interpretations of what might transpire before, during and after the events of Saturday in the news and commentary reportage of various countries having greater or lesser interest in Russian affairs. Indeed, my perusal of French, Belgian, German, British, American and Russian news media shows great diversity of opinion and some penetrating and highly pertinent remarks based on different information bases. This material is all essential if we are to make sense of the behavior of the parties on the international stage in the coming weeks.

In this essay, I will set out what I have found per country, starting with the least attentive to detail - the United States - and ending with those who offered the best informed and most interested reportage, Germany and Russia. I will conclude with my own reading of the tea leaves.

* * * *

Let us take The Washington Post and The New York Times as our markers for how US mainstream media reported on Putin's meetings this past Saturday.

On the 18th, The Washington Post carried in its online edition two articles dealing with the Putin diplomatic doings. "At Austrian foreign minister's wedding, Putin brings the music, the flowers and the controversy" was written by the newspaper's bureau chief in Berlin, Griff Witte. It is accompanied by video clips of Vladimir Putin dancing with the bride and speaking, in German, to the wedding party seated at their banquet table. The journalist touches very briefly on the main political dimensions of Putin's visit to Austria, including the party relations between United Russia and the far right Freedom Party in Austria's ruling coalition which nominated Kneissl for her post, the criticism of Putin's participation in the wedding coming from the Opposition parties in Austria who see it as a violation of the government's own ambition to be a neutral bridge between East and West, and the issue of Putin's sowing division on the continent. The only criticism one might offer is that the article is superficial, that each of the issues raised deserves in-depth analysis separately.

The newspaper's second article online, which spread its net more broadly and covered the meeting with Merkel in Germany as well as the visit in Austria, came from an Associated Press reporter, not its own staff. Here again, the problem is that issues surrounding the meetings are not more than bullet points, and the reader is given no basis for reaching an independent finding on what has happened..

The New York Times' feature article "Merkel and Putin Sound Pragmatic Notes After Years of Tension," also published on the 18th and datelined Berlin was cited by Russian television news for a seemingly positive valuation of the talks in Meseberg Palace. However, the content of the article by reporter Melissa Eddy is more cautious, highlighting the pattern of "conflicts and reconciliations" that have marked German-Russian relations over the centuries and seeing the present stage not as a warming of relations but instead as reaching for compromises "on Syria, energy and other key issues while maintaining their differences over Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine." She sees the Syrian issue as one where German and Russian interests may be closest given that refugees from the Middle East are now a German preoccupation with political weight. The reporter cites several experts attached to well-known institutes in Germany that are generally skeptical about Russia's intentions. But the end result is better informed than most NYT reporting on Russia even if it leaves us wondering what will result from the Saturday diplomacy.

In both mainstream papers there is no attempt to find a link between Putin's two visits on Saturday.

I close out this little survey of English-speaking media by pointing to an article in The Guardian from the 18th entitled "Putin urges Europe to help rebuild Syria so refugees can return." This piece comes from the Agence France-Presse in Berlin. It is not much more than a recitation of the lists of topics for discussion that Putin and Merkel issued before their talks. But the reporter has made his choice for the most important of them, Syria and refugees.

The French-language press does not seem to have been very interested in Putin's "private" trip to the wedding of the Austrian foreign minister, but was definitely keen to discuss Putin's trip to Berlin. On the day preceding the Putin-Merkel meeting, the French press offered a clear concept of where things were headed. We read in Figaro , "Merkel receives Putin Saturday to renew a difficult dialogue." A caption in bold just below is more eye-catching: "While the German Chancellor has become the main opponent to the Russian President within the EU, the policy of sanctions conducted by Washington has led to a rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow with regard to numerous issues."

The reporter notes that following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, relations between the two heads of state had become quite bad and in four years they met only when obliged to do so during international summits.

"But starting three months ago, their diplomatic exchanges have intensified: in May Angela Merkel met the chief of the Kremlin in Sochi, Russia. In July, she met the head of the Russian diplomatic corps, Sergei Lavrov, in Berlin. By inviting Vladimir Putin this time, the German Chancellor has promised 'in-depth discussions.' "She is pursuing a pragmatic attempt at normalization of German-Russian relations, because the international realities have changed,' explains Stefan Meister, director of the Robert Bosch Center for Russia."

And how has the calculus of international relations changed? Both Merkel and Putin are now facing the same challenge: US foreign policy has become unpredictable, both for its allies and for rivals like Moscow. Notwithstanding the warm discussions Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the American administration has just announced a new wave of sanctions on Russia relating to the Skripal affair.

"The American policy represents a danger for the Russian economy and a threat to German interests."

A spokesperson from Merkel's CDU party responsible for foreign policy is quoted on the possible dangers of secondary sanctions being directed at Germany through the application of US extraterritoriality against those failing to respect the new sanctions on Russia.

The article explains the issues surrounding the Nord Steam 2 pipeline, and in particular Trump's hostility to the project for its locking in German dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

And the author points to the common interests of Germany and Russia over maintenance of the Iranian nuclear deal as a factor powering the rapprochement of the two countries. Here again the common threat is Donald Trump and American sanctions against those companies which continue to trade with Iran.

The article concludes that divergent views of Russia and Germany over Ukraine and Syria exclude any breakthrough at the meeting on Saturday. But nonetheless the dialogue that was lacking these several past years is being recreated.

In its weekend edition issued on 18 August, the Belgian mainstream daily La Libre Belgique was even more insistent on interpreting the Merkel-Putin meeting as a consequence of the policies of Donald Trump. Their editorial captures the sense very nicely in its tongue-in-cheek headline: "Trump is the best 'ally' of Putin."

La Libre sees Vladimir Putin's latest diplomatic initiatives as directly resulting from the way his host at the White House has annoyed everyone. Moreover, his outreach is welcomed:

"Germany is not the only 'Western' nation to return to the Kremlin. Putin is taking full advantage of the boomerang effect caused by the policies of Donald Trump, who, by hammering away at his customary allies is pushing them to other interlocutors. By looking for confrontations, imposing taxes and sanctions while thinking that this rampant isolationism will make the United States 'great again,' Trump is helping to build a wall that he no doubt did not imagine, that of the anti-Trump people."
The editors point to Turkish President Erdogan's clear signal that he is now looking for other allies. He has done his calculations and has said he has more to gain with Moscow than with Washington.'

The editorial concludes that a summit on reconstruction of Syria might even take place at the start of September between Moscow, Ankara, Paris and Berlin. The conclusion? "Putin has taken center stage on the chessboard. Thank you, Mr. Trump."

The article filed by La Libre 's correspondent in Berlin, Sebastien Millard, bears a heading that matches the editorial view of the newspaper: "Merkel and Putin - allies of convenience facing Trump." The author credits Donald Trump with being the catalyst for the resumption of dialogue between Germany and Russia; they are telling Washington that they do not accept its blackmail. He notes that we should not expect any reversal of alliances. There are too many differences of view between Berlin and Moscow on a variety of issues.

* * * *

The German press paid a good deal of attention to Vladimir Putin's visit to Austria for the wedding of Foreign Minister Karin Kreissl.

In an article posted on the 16th entitled "Suspicion that Austria is a Trojan horse," Die Welt highlighted the negatives of Putin's presence. Quoting an "expert from the University of Innsbruck" this does not cast a good light on the country. They anticipate political fall-out. This will impair Austria's ability as chair of the European Council to play a role of intermediary in the Ukraine conflict. The only beneficiary of the visit will be the the Russia-friendly be the Russia-friendly Freedom Party. For Putin, being a guest provides him with the opportunity to demonstrate that he is not isolated but is instead highly welcome in society of an EU country.

As for the coming meeting with Merkel on Saturday evening, Die Welt in a related article of the same day lists the issues for discussion. Without taking a position, it cites experts for and against the Nord Stream II pipeline and other issues on the list.

Welt's report from the wedding party on the 18th was gossipy and unfriendly, comparing it to a wedding of some European royal family because of the extraordinary guest list that included the country's chancellor, vice chancellor, and defense minister as well as the head of OPEC and...Vladimir Putin. With typical German petty financial accounting, they reckon that the 500 police and other security measures needed for the safety of the highly placed guests cost the Austrian tax payers 250,000 euros.

A separate article in Die Welt deals with Putin's meeting with Merkel at the Meseberg Palace. The emphasis here is on Merkel's remarks during the Statement prior to the talks that cooperation with Russia is "vital" to deal with many conflicts globally and that both sides bear responsibility to find solutions.

The article quotes from the opening statements of the leaders on all the issues in their list for discussion - Syria, Ukraine, Nord Stream II. We are given bare facts without any analysis to speak of.

The other major mainstream daily Frankfurter Allgemeine in its Saturday, 18 August edition offered separate articles on Putin's visits to Austria and Germany.

The article on Karin Kneissl's wedding heads off in a very different direction from the reporting in other media that I have summarized above. FAZ notes that Kneissl is rarely in the headlines and it asks: who is she? They answer the question with some curious details. We learn that Kneissl was once active in competitive sports and even now swims a kilometer every day. For many years she has lived on a small farmstead with a couple of boxers, two ponies, hens and cats. Each morning her chauffeur takes her and the dogs to her office in Vienna, to return in the evening. Regrettably, FAZ does not take this curious biographical sketch further. No connection is drawn between her personality and the Russian President's acceptance of her invitation to her wedding.

FAZ similarly has chosen to amuse rather than inform in its coverage of the meeting in Berlin entitled "Sparkling wine in Austria, sparkling water in Meseberg." They comment on how Putin arrived half an hour late, on how it is hard to see how the meeting could be characterized as a success. They stress that we know nothing about the content of the consultations. Then they tick off the opening positions of the sides as set out in their statements before the talks.

Spiegel online risks more by giving more interpretation and less bare facts. Its article entitled "Something of a new start" suggests that a rapprochement is underway and that both Merkel and Putin have a lot in play. Unlike the other German press we have mentioned, Spiegel sees a direct link between Putin's attending the wedding in Styria and his visit to Merkel.

Putin is under economic pressure to find closer ties with Europe. In Austria, which now chairs the European Council, he has allies in the government, namely the extreme right populists of the Freedom Party which installed Kneissl. But the way to Europe passes by way of Merkel and Putin knows that.

Meanwhile, says Spiegel , Germany also is interested in improving relations with Russia despite all the controversy, namely due to the growing conflicts with US President Donald Trump. We don't know the exact content of the talks which were confidential, but there is some movement now between Germany and Russia.

Spiegel remains cautious. Cordiality does not enter into the relationship. The parties keep their distance. There is no laughter to lighten the atmosphere. Yet, it concludes: "The talks have prospects and we can see the wish to make progress through common positions, and without being silent about contradictions. Diplomatic normality, as it were. A step forward."

* * * *

If the great bulk of commentary in the West about Putin's diplomatic weekend was reserved and stayed by the bare facts without speculation, Russian television more than made up for dryness. I point in particular to two political talk shows which invited a mixture of experts from different backgrounds.

Let us begin with the show Vremya Pokazhet (Time will tell) on state television's Pervy Kanal . Their Friday, 17 August program focused on Putin's forthcoming visit to the wedding 'on the road to Berlin,' which several panelists saw as a strong signal to Germany that Russ1+
ia had other channels to the EU if Germany refuses to be its intercessor.

The visit was said to be breaking new ground in diplomatic practice. According to panelist Andrei Baklanov, deputy chair of the association of Russian diplomats, this kind of positive, human diplomacy is Russia's answer to the negative behavior in international affairs that has occupied center stage in the recent past - sanctions, fake news, etc. As another panelist interjected, this is the first time that a Russian head of state attended a wedding abroad since Tsar Nicholas did so in Germany in 1913.

Baklanov proceeded to provide details about the bride, however, bringing out aspects of her career that are far more relevant to her attracting the attention of Putin than the Frankfurter Allgemeine produced. We learn that she grew up in Amman, Jordan, that she speaks 8 languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Magyar, French, Spanish, Italian, English as well as her native German. She studied Near Eastern languages in Vienna University, in the Jewish University of Jerusalem, in the University of Jordan and also graduated from the National School of Administration in France. She holds a doctorate in law. She is a non-party minister, which also attests to her generally recognized professionalism. For all of these reasons, she is a good fit with Putin's determination to find supporters in Europe for investments to restore Syrian infrastructure and enable the return of refugees.

The country's most prestigious talk show, "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov," had a couple of Duma members and a well-known politician from Liberal circles comment on the diplomacy of the day before.

Sergey Mironov, leader of the socialist party Fair Russia said that despite Merkel's warning in advance not to expect breakthroughs it is likely progress was made in agreeing how to deal with US sanctions. This would be tested in the coming days.

As for the link between the visits to Austria and Germany, the representative of a pro-business party Sergey Stankevich reminded viewers that Germany and Austria are the market makers in Europe for Russian gas. Nord Stream II gas may land in Germany but a large part of it will be pumped further to Austria's hub for distribution elsewhere in Europe. Whatever may have been said publicly, Stankevich believes that Merkel and Putin did agree on many if not all the subjects named before the start: Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Nord Stream.

Russian media coverage of the Saturday travels of their President continued on Russian news programs into Monday, with video clips of Putin dancing at the wedding and speaking alongside Merkel before entering into their talks at Meseberg Palace.

* * * *

Looking back at the media coverage of Putin's visits to Austria and Germany on 18 August, and with all due respect to those who opinions are different from mine, I find that the most helpful for our understanding of the present day international situation were the report and editorial in Belgium's Libre Belgique and the unruly, risky but at times brilliant insights on Russian television.

What comes out of this is the understanding that the visits to a wedding in Austria and to the federal Chancellor outside Berlin were directly linked in Russian diplomatic strategy, that Russia is playing the Austrian card during the country's six months at the helm of the European Council in Brussels, that Russia is pushing for a multi-party relief effort for Syria to facilitate the return of refugees to their home and pacification of the war-torn country. The web of common interests that Russia is pursuing has at its core the fragility of the current world order and generalized anxiety of leading countries due to America's aggressive pursuit of narrow national interest under Donald Trump as seen in his tariff wars and sanctions directed at friends and foes alike.

Where I differ from the interpretations set out in the foregoing press reports is in my understanding of what Trump is doing and why.

The nearly universal assumption of commentators is that Trump's policies known as "Make America Great" are ignorant and doomed to fail. They are assumed to be isolationist, withdrawing America from the world community.

However, Trump did not invent bullying of US allies. That was going strong under George W. Bush, with his challenge "you are either with us or against us" when he sought to align the West behind his invasion of Iraq in 2003 without authorization of the UN Security Council. His more urbane successor Barack Obama was no kinder to U.S. allies, who were slapped with crushing fines for violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, just to mention one way in which they were kept in line. And the U.S. Congress today is no more reasonable and diplomatic than the President in the brutal unilateral sanctions it has on its own initiative advocated against not just Russia but also against Turkey and other states which are not snapping to attention with respect to purchases of military materiel from Russia.

What made U.S. bullying tolerable before Trump was the ideological smokescreen of "shared values," namely democracy promotion, human rights and rule of law, that all members of the alliances could swear to and which set them apart from the still unenlightened parts of the globe where autocrats hold sway.

In my view, Trump's use of sanctions and tariffs here, there, everywhere has a totally different logic from what is adduced in the writings of my peers in the analyst community. He invokes them because 1. they are within his sole power as Chief Executive and 2. they are in principle as American as apple pie and do not require grand explanations in Congress or before the public. As to why he invokes them, there you have to look at Trump's foreign policy from a 360 degree perspective and not merely as it relates to Putin or to Erdogan or to any of the small slices we see discussed in the news.

When viewed in the round, it is obvious that Trump is reshuffling the deck. He is doing what he can to break up NATO and the other military alliances around the world which are consuming more than half of the U.S. defense budget and do not arguably provide greater security to the American homeland than the country can do for itself without fixed alliances and overseas bases.

The first two presidencies of this millennium undid the country's greatest geopolitical achievement of the second half of the 20th century: the informal alliance with China against Russia that put Washington at the center of all global politics. Bush and Obama did that by inattention and incomprehension of what was at stake. That inattention was an expression of American hubris in the unipolar world which, it was assumed, was the new normal, not a blip.

By contrast, what Trump is now doing is not a blunder or a bit of bluster. Even if he is not conversant with the whole of the Realist School of international relations, as surely he is not, he does grasp the fundamentals, namely the centrality of the sovereign nation-state and of the balance of power mechanism by which these states are constantly changing alignments of these nation-states to ensure no one enjoys hegemony . We see this understanding when he speaks about looking out for American interests while the heads of state whom he meets are looking out for the interests of theirs.

In his tweets we find that our allies are ripping us off, that they are unfair competitors. His most admiring remark about Russia is that it is a strong competitor. The consistent element in Trump's thinking is ignored or willfully misunderstood in the press.

Accordingly, I insist that the possible rapprochement of Russia and Germany will be in line with Trump's reshuffling of the deck not in spite of it.

Good Optics · about 3 hours ago

This nuanced analysis rings true and speaks to the fact that - though Trump may not exactly be playing 47D chess - he certainly does have some good intentions that, left to follow their course, would have a chance of making the world a better place. But that will not be allowed to happen by those in the US with firm commitments to pursue the world's subjugation through any means possible.

The Cs did tell us that Trump's heart is in the right place, unlikely though that does appear a lot of the time . . .

[Aug 24, 2018] Gazprom leads the world in capital expenditure (capex) on global energy projects, by a wide, wide margin $160 Billion to be spent on 84 projects worldwide, including Nord Stream II and Turkish Stream.

Aug 24, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 23, 2018 at 9:05 pm

Gazprom leads the world in capital expenditure (capex) on global energy projects, by a wide, wide margin – $160 Billion to be spent on 84 projects worldwide, including Nord Stream II and Turkish Stream. That's nearly double the spending of its next-closest competitor, Sinopec, at $87 Billion. Royal Dutch Shell is third, and Exxon a distant fourth.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2018/08/22/russias-gazprom-is-worlds-biggest-energy-investor/#5a7465fb3553

If you add Rosneft, that's another $50 Billion in capex for Russia. Odd behaviour for an isolated country whose economy is in tatters. One whose government debt is 12.6 % of GDP and declining.

https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/government-debt-to-gdp

Speaking of government debt, how's that parameter looking for The Exceptional Nation? Whoa: that's exceptional. Not even much point in expressing it as a percentage of GDP, I guess.

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/government-debt

Just to drive the point home for any who might not have gotten it, Russia – friendless, alone against the world, and reeling from the bite of American sanctions – is outspending the USA nearly three to one on global energy investments, although its debt is a tiny fraction of America's out-of-control spending on other important things, like its bloated defense budget.

Oh, that's right – Vladimir Putin is a tyrant and a dictator, squeezing the country dry in neverending pursuit of self-enrichment. I almost forgot.

[Aug 19, 2018] Fate Of Key Gas Pipeline In The Balance As Putin, Merkel Begin Meeting

Aug 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"Russian influence will flow through that pipeline right into Europe, and that is what we are going to prevent," an unnamed U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal just as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel meet outside of Berlin on Saturday centered on the two countries moving forward with the controversial Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but also involving issues from the Iran nuclear deal to ending the war in Syria.

Intense pressure from Washington is overshadowing the project, construction of which is already in advanced stages, as the WSJ cites current and former US officials who say sanctions are under discussion and could be mobilized in a mere matter of weeks .

These potential sanctions, ostensibly being discussed in response to US intelligence claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, could target companies and financial firms involved in the massive pipeline's construction . This comes after comments from President Trump at the opening of a NATO summit in July made things uncomfortable for his German counterpart when he said that Germany is so dependent on Russia for energy that it's essentially being "held captive" by Vladimir Putin and his government.

"Germany is captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia. They pay billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia," Trump told NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg at a televised opening breakfast.

The pipeline has been opposed by multiple US administrations, who have long accuse the Kremlin of seeking to accrue political leverage over Europe given the latter's already high dependence on Russian natural gas. The pipeline has been a frequent talking point and target of attacks by Trump, who has threatened to escalate the trade war against Germany going back months if it supported the construction of the pipeline. US officials have also expressed concern that Russia will pull pack significantly from delivering natural gas via Ukraine when its Gazprom tranit contract expires by the close of 2019. Ukraine is currently the chief Russian natural-gas export point to the EU and depends heavily on levying fees on this trade.

Both Russia and Germany have sought to calm US concerns over the Ukraine issue, with Putin himself reportedly telling both Merkel and Trump that he is "ready to preserve" gas transit through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 was completed.

US officials speaking to the WSJ , however, downplayed the Ukraine issue, instead focusing on the urgency of allowing such significant and irreversible Russian economic, political, and infrastructural inroads into the heart of Europe .

Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, told the WSJ , "We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export-pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk," -- something which he's repeatedly emphasized with officials in Berlin. President Trump himself has also reportedly raised the issue directly with Chancellor Merkel on multiple occasions. But for all the shrill US media claims that Trump is somehow doing Putin's bidding, the WSJ has this illuminating line : "Officially, the European Commission, the EU's executive body, is coordinating the gas-transit talks, but Ms. Merkel also has played a leading role because of her regular contacts and longstanding relationship with Mr. Putin, European officials say ."

Meanwhile, it appears that Washington has a losing hand even while making threats of sanctions in an attempt to block the pipeline project.

Crucially, the WSJ report provides further confirmation of the following previously known but hugely significant detail :

A European energy executive familiar with the discussions said company representatives had told John McCarrick, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources, that the five European companies and Gazprom had already provided €5.5 billion ($6.3 billion) in financing and that the project wouldn't be stopped even if the U.S. were to impose sanctions .

The Nord Stream 2 project was started in 2015 and is a major joint venture between Russia's Gazprom and European partners, including German Uniper, Austria's OMV, France's Engie, Wintershall and the British-Dutch multinational Royal Dutch Shell.

The pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea - doubling the existing pipeline's capacity of 55 cubic meters per year, and is therefore critical for Europe's future energy needs.

Currently, the second phase involves utilizing an existing pipeline already channelling smaller amount of gas from Russia to Germany. Construction for the second phase started in May of this year.

GlassHouse101 -> Winston Churchill Sat, 08/18/2018 - 13:29 Permalink

More Sanctions!! Sanction all of the countries!

07564111 -> GlassHouse101 Sat, 08/18/2018 - 13:35 Permalink

will lead only to war with Russia..take that as fact.

[Aug 19, 2018] Ukraine prepares to sever all remaining public-transit links with Russia but expects that Russia will transport gas via its territory

Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 17, 2018 at 3:39 pm

With much joviality and humour, Ukraine prepares to sever all remaining public-transit links with Russia. I suppose there are still roads, and if you have a car and can afford gas, you can still drive there.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/no-more-trains-or-buses-to-russia-only-bears-says-ukraine-transport-minister-2wvj9xzgz

This, according to the transport minister, is 'like the good old days'. I'll tell you something else that's like the good old days, Mr. Minister – the living wage in Ukraine.

And yet Ukraine still seems to think Europe must force Russia to continue transiting Russian gas through Ukraine, and paying Kuh-yiv for the privilege.

[Aug 19, 2018] Guess who invested in Naftogaz?

Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 16, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Well, well; guess who has money in Naftogaz?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-08/how-george-soros-singlehandedly-created-european-refugee-crisis-and-why

[Aug 15, 2018] Deciphering The New Caspian Agreemen

Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com,

It took more than 20 years for littoral states of the Caspian Sea to reach an agreement that would lay the legal foundations for the full utilization of the region's resources. The Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan, brought the long-sought breakthrough after leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea – a remarkable feat considering that heretofore, barring bilateral deals, the Caspian has been governed by an obsolete 1940 convention between the Soviet Union (of which four current littoral states were a part) and Iran.

As the current Convention incorporates a plethora of tradeoffs between countries, let's look at them in greater detail so as to grasp the implications of the deal.

The Convention stipulates that relations between littoral states shall be based on principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality among members, non-use of threat of force (it was only 17 years ago that Azerbaijan and Iran almost started a full-blown naval war over contested fields) and non-intervention.

The military-related clauses of the document can be considered a net diplomatic success for the Russian Federation as it prohibits the physical presence of any third-party armed forces, along with banning the provision of a member state's territory to acts of aggression against any other littoral state. Since Russia is by far the most power nation in terms of both general military clout and military presence around the Caspian, this will placate Russian fears about any potential US (or other) encroachment in the area.

Then there's energy... Although the Convention establishes a general legal framework for territorial disputes to be solved, it refrains from any particularities. Therefore prolonged negotiations are to be expected with regard to many disputed oilfields, stemming predominantly from Irani and Azerbaijani claims . Iran advocated throughout the entire negotiation process an egalitarian approach to delimiting the seabed (each nation would get 20% of the coast), running counter the other countries' aspirations. The things is that when Russia concluded its seabed delimitation agreements with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the parties split their parts using the median line. Point 8.1. effectively keeps the delimitation task in the hands of relevant governments, thereby providing a very modest boost to the demarcation of the Southern Caspian (the Northern part is fully delimited).

There are two main territorial conflicts to be settled – the Irani-Azerbaijani and the Azerbaijani-Turkmen disputes. The row between Baku and Teheran revolves around the Araz-Alov-Sharg field (discovered in 1985-1987 by Soviet geologists), the reserves of which are estimated at 300 million tons of oil and 395 BCm of natural gas. Even though the field is only 90 kilometers away from Baku and should seemingly be under Azerbaijan's grip, if one is to draw a straight line from the Azerbaijani-Irani border most of the field ought to be allotted to Iran (the median would keep most of it in Azerbaijan). As those old enough to remember the 2001 naval ship hostilities would attest, it does matter at what angle the final line is drawn.

The Serdar/Kapaz field (estimated to contain 50 million tons of oil) is the bone of contention between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Considered to be an extension of Azerbaijan's main oil-producing unit, the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field, Baku sees it as an indispensable element in its quest to mitigate decreasing oil output numbers. Geographically, Serdar/Kapaz is closer to Turkmenistan, yet here too Azerbaijan might come out the ultimate winner. The Apsheron peninsula stretches out some 60km into the Caspian Sea, in effect extending Azerbaijan's geographical reach. Absent previous demarcation agreements between Baku and Ashgabat, the settlement will once again boil down to getting the angles right, as in the case of Araz-Alov-Sharg. However, it must be said that a resolution might come about as a by-product of new gas endeavors.

Clause 14, dealing with laying subsea pipelines and cables, is the one most coveted by energy analysts , since it has the potential to significantly alter Europe's gas supply options.

According to point 14.2., all parties have the right to construct subsea pipelines given that they comply with environmental standards (which are particularly strict in the Caspian Sea). With no further caveat included, some analysts might be tempted to think that Russia will inevitably use the "environmental protection" card when trying to stop the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline (TCP) from Turkmenistan, a pipeline it spent many years to halt . Under current circumstances, when US-Russian relations falling ever deeper into an insurmountable ditch, Moscow's decision to allow for the construction of the mightily Washington-backed TCP to take place might be perceived as a massive omission.

Since the Turkmen gas is unlikely to find demand in Azerbaijan or Turkey, it would need to take the whole route via the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and TAP. Merely the transportation tariffs from these pipelines would render any transportation economically unviable unless European gas prices rise substantially to levels above $300/MCm. Moreover, the estimated cost of building the subsea TCP of $2 billion is a disabling burden for either Türkmengaz or SOCAR. Thus, allowing the construction of Trans Caspian gas pipelines might be a brilliant ruse from the Russians – cognizant of all the deficiencies above, they can wield it as a sign of good will in their never-ending negotiations with the European the economics for supplying gas to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor are far from being Union.

This being said, there are natural impediments to see the TCP implemented anytime soon. Azerbaijan might be interested in getting transit fees for Turkmen natural gas, yet it lacks the required infrastructure to include the above volumes in its traditional conduit via Turkey.

All in all, the Caspian convention is a good basis for further negotiations, even though it falls short of being an all-encompassing legal framework. Territorial disputes will most likely remain frozen for quite some time and no new gas pipeline projects will see the light of day unless market conditions change.

[Aug 15, 2018] Imperial brainwashing works very well: Many US citizents were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to save 20,000 U.S. soldiers.

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star says: August 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3wxWNAM8Cso?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/8/6/17655256/hiroshima-anniversary-73-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-arms-control

Like Like Reply

  1. Patient Observer says: August 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm Public opinion polling suggests that many Americans would not think twice if there were a great many casualties against evildoers. For example, a 2017 survey found that 60 percent of Americans would support a nuclear attack on Iran that would kill 20 million civilians, to prevent an invasion that might kill 20,000 American soldiers.

    Yup, exceptional people of an exceptional nation.

    Like Like Reply

    1. Northern Star says: August 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm Yes the psychos were planning mass murder a decade ago under Bush.

      https://original.antiwar.com/jorge-hirsch/2006/07/06/nuking-iran-is-not-off-the-table/

      https://original.antiwar.com/jorge-hirsch/2006/10/16/nuclear-strike-on-iran-is-still-on-the-agenda/

      A more detailed analysis of some of the background material relating to your comment:
      https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00284

      "We were not surprised by the finding that most Americans place a higher
      value on the life of an American soldier than the life of a foreign noncombatant.
      What was surprising, however, was the radical extent of that preference.
      Our experiments suggest that the majority of Americans find a 1:100 risk ratio
      to be morally acceptable. They were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to
      save 20,000 U.S. soldiers. One respondent who approved of the conventional
      air strike that killed 100,000 Iranian civilians candidly expressed even more extreme
      preferences regarding proportionality and risk ratios, while displacing
      U.S. responsibility for the attack onto the Iranian people: "I would sacrifice
      1 million enemies versus 1 of our military. Their choice, their death."

[Aug 15, 2018] China's retaliation will hit America's energy industry particularly hard

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

But the state of American 'journalism' is such that the media must portray America as winning, and will not acknowledge catastrophe until major damage has already been done, because it is patriotic to report on American success.

Patient Observer August 6, 2018 at 12:22 pm

FYI
Officials from three leading US groups that support increased exports of US LNG separately addressed concerns on Aug. 3 over the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's announcement that tariffs ranging 5-25% will be imposed on US LNG.

"China's retaliation will hit America's energy industry particularly hard," said American Petroleum Institute Vice-Pres. for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. "American oil and gas already hit by US tariffs on industrial products and specialty steel essential to our industry will now be faced with Chinese tariffs on critical US exports, affecting American jobs that rely directly and indirectly on the energy industry."

https://www.ogj.com/articles/2018/08/us-groups-express-concerns-about-china-plans-to-impose-lng-tariffs.html?cmpid=enl_ogj_ogj_daily_update_2018-08-06&pwhid=893d521578abd67c7c1f2e0a59badfa53c05bf4701daba6f7a15095c797ff1cfb5e197eb4a367ebf6d74c0bead3e4836e2e5763a138164741673f9a08d508cc3&eid=397564233&bid=2197384

[Aug 15, 2018] Mark Chapman

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

August 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm Oh, look; Ukraine already is down to about half the gas in storage that it will need for winter. Turning to the west certainly made it 'energy-independent' at least to the extent that the west must 'lend' it money to buy gas which is reverse-flowed from eastern-European countries so that all the Russian is squeezed out of it, and it becomes European freedom gas. Nice work if you can get it, and since Ukraine will not be able to pay it back, it becomes a gift! Why worry, as long as Uncle Sugar is paying the bills?

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSL5N1US27X

Speaking of gas, once-bitten-twice-shy Bulgaria is eager to get a piece of the action, signifying up front its willingness to tap into Turkish Stream for transit to Europe.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-6023431/Bulgaria-expands-pipeline-Turkey-bid-Russian-gas.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

And that's another route through Ukraine which is pretty likely to go dry next year.

[Aug 15, 2018] US production of natural gas for export might well be a wishful thinking

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 1, 2018 at 9:14 am

There seems to be a tremendously broad American – and western – assumption that US production is going to 'soar' and continue to ramp ever upward. Is it? Bear in mind that the USA's own consumption of natural gas is growing steadily, at least partly based on this assumption that natural-gas bounty will just continue to increase. What if it doesn't? Then America will have refashioned itself as another huge natural-gas market which has insufficient domestic supply to sustain itself.

[Aug 15, 2018] Dezinformation from Euractive intended to block North Stream II

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Two pieces by Euractive with Neuters, though curiously no byline or attribution is given . Why so shy?

BS1: Friendship no more: How Russian gas is a problem for Germany
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/friendship-no-more-how-russian-gas-is-a-problem-for-germany/

####

The headline is pure tabloid and not supported in the body of the article apart from 'opinions' by certain people or through use of qualifiers. This is not journalism . Only further proof in my opinion that Euractiv has become part of the EU's unofficial channels of hybrid warfare . Euractiv/Neuters has also expanded in to the Balkans to provide 'services' in Croatia/Serbia etc. which just so happens to coincide with all the shrill headlines about Russia 'influencing the Balkans' – which are of course BS. Just look at the map. Short of Macedonia (not for long) and Serbia, they are all NATO states . Russia only helps states who want to help themselves (Syria/Serbia – more or less).

Not a shred of proof, nay evidence, that Germany is shifting away from NordStream II. FAKE NUDES!

bs2 with Neuters & crAP: https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/
https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/

Languages: Slovak

Ten years ago, in August 2008, Russia and Georgia went to war over South Ossetia, a small separatist Georgian region which Moscow would later controversially recognise as independent, in the face of international criticism.

Ten years later, Moscow has still not softened its position towards its neighbours and its rift with the West has only deepened.

Russia launched armed action against Georgia to come to the rescue of South Ossetia, a small pro-Russian separatist region where Tbilisi had begun a military operation. The Russian army rapidly outnumbered the Georgian forces and threatened to take the country's capital.

A peace treaty was finally hammered out by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy that led to the withdrawal of Russian forces. But Moscow recognised as independent the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where it has stationed a large military presence ever since.

Russia demonstrated its military might over the five days and showed its readiness to defend – by force, if necessary – its interests in the region it considers its sphere of influence .
####

Well shove that in your pipe and smoke it!

Yet again, no attribution, no name. It smacks of a thinktank piece peddled through their Slovak branch.

But this is how things work in the West. No-on is ordered on pain of death to produce certain items, but is is made very clear that it is in their interests to do so, from without & from within, but remember kids, it is voluntary ! Neither self-censorship exists. Those in positions of influence may convince themselves, but for the rest of the great unwashed, no so much. We've already seen the system fail and produce not only BREXIT, but other referendums contrary to EU dogma. The evidence is all around us and plain to see, but still the structures persist in the same old ways, which only bodes ill. Apparently they still think the sheeple are too stupid to notice let alone act.

[Aug 15, 2018] Countermove in Caspian see: no NATO allowed

Notable quotes:
"... It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.' ..."
"... Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox. ..."
"... Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:06 am

Apologies if somebody already posted, the legal partitioning of the Caspian Sea is finally complete and constitutes good news for Russia:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-says-deal-to-settle-status-of-caspian-sea-reached-a8486311.html

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:10 am
The other backstory being that NATO wanted to stick its nose in the Caspian Sea, but has been pushed out. Not sure exactly what the pretext was. I have a piece in VZGLIAD that explains the whole thing, but I haven't worked through it yet, will probably do a piece on my own blog in the near future. But I have a couple of other projects in the queue first.
Mark Chapman August 13, 2018 at 8:39 am
Dick Cheney, among others, was convinced that the Caspian Basin holds massive deposits of oil and gas and is strategically significant for that reason.

http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue46/articles/real_reasons_quotes.htm

"Central Asian resources may revert back to the control of Russia or to a Russian led alliance. This would be a nightmare situation. We had better wake up to the dangers or one day the certainties on which we base our prosperity will be certainties no more. The potential prize in oil and gas riches in the Caspian sea, valued up to $4 trillion, would give Russia both wealth and strategic dominance. The potential economic rewards of Caspian energy will draw in their train Western military forces to protect our investment if necessary."

Mortimer Zuckerman
Editor, U.S. News and World Report

"This is about America's energy security. Its also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We are trying to move these newly independent countries toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political interests. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian and it's important that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

Bill Richardson
Then-U.S. Secretary Energy (1998-2000)

It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.'

Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox.

Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. A pipeline network would have carried Caspian oil and gas to Europe. Agreement among the Caspian nations was most definitely not in American interests, and if you dig you will probably find American interventions to prevent that from coming about.

[Aug 07, 2018] Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics by Rob Urie

Notable quotes:
"... The Great Satin (sic) ..."
"... Source: gulfbusiness.com ..."
"... Chart: Demonization of Russia centers on competition for oil and gas revenues. Pipelines to deliver oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe run through North Africa (Libya) and Syria and / or Turkey. These pipelines are substantially controlled by Western interests with imperial / colonial ties to the U.S., Britain and 'developed' Europe. Russian oil and gas did run through Ukraine, which is now negotiating to join NATO, or otherwise hits a NATO wall before entering Europe. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The indictments are a major political story, but not for the reasons given in mainstream press coverage. Once Mr. Mueller's indictment is understood to charge the exploitation of existing social tensions (read it and decide for yourself), the FBI, which Mr. Mueller directed from 2001 – 2013, is precisely the wrong entity to be rendering judgment. The FBI has been America's political police since its founding in 1908. Early on former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover led legally dubious mass arrests of American dissidents. He practically invented the slander of conflating legitimate dissent with foreign agency. This is the institutional backdrop from which Mr. Mueller proceeds.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the FBI's targets included the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Black Panther Party and any other political organization Mr. Hoover deemed a threat. The secret (hidden) FBI program COINTELPRO was intended to subvert political outcomes outside of allegations of criminal wrongdoing and with no regard for the lives of its targets . Throughout its history the FBI has sided with the powerful against the powerless to maintain an unjust social order.

Robert Mueller became FBI Director only days before the attacks of September 11, 2001. One of his first acts as Director was to arrest 1,000 persons without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. None of those arrested were ever charged in association with the attacks. The frame in which the FBI acted -- to maintain political stability threatened by 'external' forces, was ultimately chosen by the George W. Bush administration to justify its aggressive war against Iraq.

It is the FBI's legacy of conflating dissent with being an agent of a foreign power that Mr. Mueller's indictment most insidiously perpetuates. Russians are 'sowing discord,' and they are using Americans to do so, goes the allegation. Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders are listed in the indictment as roadblocks to the unfettered ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. Russians are sowing discord, therefore discord is both suspect in itself and evidence of being a foreign agent.

The posture of simple reporting at work in the indictment -- that it isn't the FBI's fault that the Russians (allegedly) inserted themselves into the electoral process, runs against the history of the FBI's political role, the tilt used to craft criminal charges and the facts put forward versus those put to the side. Given the political agendas of the other agencies that the FBI joined through the charges, they are most certainly but a small piece of a larger story.

In the aftermath of the indictments it's easy to forget that the Pentagon created the internet , that the NSA has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, that the CIA has been heavily involved in funding and 'using' social media toward its own ends and that the FBI is only reputable in the present because of Americans' near-heroic ignorance of history. The claim that the Russian operation was sophisticated because it had corporate form and function is countered by the fact that it was, by the various agencies' own claims, ineffectual in changing the outcome of the election.

I Have a List

While Robert Mueller was busy charging never-to-be-tried Russians with past crimes, Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, declared that future Russian meddling has already cast a shadow over the integrity of the 2018 election. Why the Pentagon that created the internet, the NSA that has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, the CIA that has been heavily involved in funding and 'using' social media toward its own ends and the FBI that just landed such a glorious victory of good over evil would be quivering puddles when it comes to precluding said meddling is a question that needs to be asked.

The political frame being put forward is that only these agencies know if particular elections and candidates have been tainted by meddling, therefore we need to trust them to tell us which candidates were legitimately elected and which weren't. As generous as this offer seems, wouldn't the creation of free and fair elections be a more direct route to achieving this end? Put differently, who among those making the offer, whether personally or as functionaries of their respective agencies, has a demonstrated history of supporting democratic institutions?

The 2016 election was apparently a test case for posing these agencies as the meddling police. By getting the bourgeois electocracy -- liberal Democrats, to agree that the loathsome Trump is illegitimate, future candidates will be vetted by the CIA, NSA and FBI with impunity. It's apparently only the pre-'discord, ' the social angst that the decade of the Great Recession left as its residual, that shifts this generous offer from the deterministic to the realm of the probable. The social conditions that led to the Great Recession and its aftermath are entirely home grown.

More broadly, how do the government agencies and people that spent the better part of the last century undermining democracy at home and abroad intend to stop 'Russian meddling?' If the FBI couldn't disentangle home grown 'discord' from that allegedly exploited and exacerbated by the Russians, isn't the likely intention to edit out all discord? And if fake news is a problem in need of addressing, wouldn't the New York Times and the Washington Post have been shut down years ago?

The Great Satin (sic)

While Russia is the villain of the day, week and year due to alleged election 'meddling,' the process of demonization that Russia has undergone has shown little variation from (alleged) villain to villain. It is thanks to cable news and the 'newspaper of record' that the true villainy of Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, Nicolas Maduro and the political leadership of Iran has been revealed. In the face of such monsters, questions of motivation are moot. Why wouldn't Mr. Putin 'sow discord?'

The question as yet unasked, and therefore unanswered is: is there something besides base villainy that brought these national leaders, and the nations they lead, into the crosshairs of America's fair and wise leadership? This question might forever go unanswered were it not for the secret list from which their names were apparently drawn. No, not that secret list. This one is publicly available -- hiding in plain sight, as it were. It is the list of proven oil reserves by country (below). This is no doubt unduly reductive -- evil is as evil does, but read on.

The question of how such a list could divide so evenly between heroes and villains I leave to the philosophers. On second thought, no I won't. The heroes are allies of a small cadre of America's political and economic elite who have made themselves fabulously rich through the alliances. The villains have oil, gas, pipelines and other resources that this elite wants. Reductive, yes. But this simple list certainly appears to explain American foreign policy over the last half-century quite well.

Source: gulfbusiness.com

It's almost as if America's love for humanity, as demonstrated through humanitarian interventions, is determined by imperial competition for natural resources -- in this case oil and gas. Amongst these countries, only one (Canada) is 'democratic' in the American sense of being run by a small cadre of plutocrats who use the state to further their own interests. Two -- Iraq and Libya, were recently reduced to rubble (for the sake of humanity) by the U.S. Nigeria is being 'brought' under the control of AFRICOM. What remains are various and sundry petro-states plus Venezuela and Russia.

Following the untimely death of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the horrible tyrant kept in office via free and fair elections , who used Venezuela's petro-dollars to feed, clothe and educate his people and was in the process of creating a regional Left alliance to counter American abuse of power, the CIA joined with local plutocrats to overthrow his successor, Nicolas Maduro. The goal: to 'liberate' Venezuela's oil revenues in their own pockets. At the moment Mr. Maduro is down the list of villains, not nearly the stature of a 'new Hitler' like Vladimir Putin. But where he ends up will depend on how successfully the CIA (with Robert Mueller's help) can drum up a war against nuclear armed Russia.

What separates Russia from the other heroes and villains on the list is its history as a competing empire as well as the manner in which Russian oil and gas is distributed. Geography placed it closer to the population centers of Europe than to Southeastern China where Chinese economic development has been concentrated. This makes Europe a 'natural' market for Russian oil and gas.

The former Soviet state of Ukraine did stand between, or rather under, Russian pipelines and Europe until Hillary Clinton had her lieutenants engineer a coup there in 2014. In contrast to the 'new Hitler' of Mr. Putin (or was that Trump?) Mrs. Clinton and her comrades demonstrated a preference for the old Hitler in the form of Ukrainian fascists who were the ideological descendants of 'authentic' WWII Nazis. But rest assured, not all of the U.S.'s allies in this affair were ideological Nazis .

Chart: Demonization of Russia centers on competition for oil and gas revenues. Pipelines to deliver oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe run through North Africa (Libya) and Syria and / or Turkey. These pipelines are substantially controlled by Western interests with imperial / colonial ties to the U.S., Britain and 'developed' Europe. Russian oil and gas did run through Ukraine, which is now negotiating to join NATO, or otherwise hits a NATO wall before entering Europe.

In contrast to the alternative hypotheses given in the American press, NATO, the geopolitical extension of the U.S. military in Europe, admits that the U.S. engineered coup in Ukraine was 'about' oil geopolitics with Russia. The American storyline that Crimea was seized by Russia ignores that the Russian navy has had a Black Sea port in Crimea for decades. How amenable, precisely, might Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and his friends be if Russia seized a major U.S. naval port given their generous offer to take over the U.S. electoral system because of a few Russian trolls?

Although Russia is toward the bottom of the top ten countries in terms of oil reserves, it faces a problem of distribution that the others don't. Imperial ties and recent military incursions have left the distribution of oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe largely under Western control. Syria, Turkey and North Africa are necessary to moving this oil and gas through pipelines to Europe. That Syria, Libya and Turkey are now, or recently have been, militarily contested adds credence to the contention that the 'international community's' heroes and villains are largely determined by whose hands their oil and gas resources are currently in.

Democratic Party loyalists who see Putin, Maduro et al as the problem first need to answer for the candidate they put forward in 2016. Hillary Clinton led the carnage in Libya that murdered 30,000 – 50,000 innocents for Western oil and gas interests. Russia didn't force the U.S. into its calamitous invasion of Iraq. Russia didn't take Americans' jobs, houses and pensions in the Great Recession. Russia didn't reward Wall Street for causing it. Democrats need to take responsibility for their failed candidates and their failed Party.

Part of the point in relating oil reserves to American foreign entanglements is that the countries and leaders involved are incidental. Vladimir Putin certainly seems smarter than the American leadership. But this has no bearing on whether or not his leadership of Russia is broadly socially beneficial. The only possible resolution of climate crisis requires both Russia and the U.S. to greatly reduce their use of fossil fuels. Reports have it that Mr. Putin has no interest in doing so. And once the marketing chatter is set to the side, neither do the Americans.

By placing themselves as arbiters of the electoral process, the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the CIA, NSA and FBI can effectively control it. Is it accidental that the candidate of liberal Democrats in the 2016 election was the insiders' -- the intelligence agencies' and military contractors,' candidate as well? Implied is that these agencies and contractors are now 'liberal.' Good luck with that program if you value peace and prosperity.

There are lots of ways to create free and fair elections if that is the goal. Use paper ballots that are counted in public, automatically register all eligible voters, make election days national holidays and eliminate 'private' funding of electoral campaigns. But why make elections free and fair when fanciful nonsense about 'meddling' will convince the liberal class to deliver power to grey corpses in the CIA, NSA and FBI for the benefit of a tiny cabal of stupendously rich plutocrats. Who says America isn't already great?

[Jul 29, 2018] Russia, the West, and Recent Geoeconomics in Europe's Gas Wars by Gordon M. Hahn

The USA can't compete on price and volume. But dir to dvassal status of EU can still force "diversification"
Notable quotes:
"... As a result, Europeans are deciding to stick with the Russians while finding new options in the east, such as Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is creating competition if not tensions in present and potential gas transit countries in southeastern and eastern Europe, for example. ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | gordonhahn.com

Russia has advanced forward in something of a tactical and potential strategic victory in the Russo-Western gas war. This is a three-party war, with the US, EU, and Russia each promoting separate interests. It is one sphere where a united West has failed to 'isolate Russia.' The US seeks move in on the European energy market with LNG supplies and replace Russian pipeline-delivered natural gas supplies to Europe. Washington is using the risks of dependence on Russian gas and Russia's 'bad behavior' as leverage in attempting to convince Europeans to reject Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia is said to be unreliable and prone to shut off gas supplies to Europe.

Due to past Russian-Ukrainian gas crises, the Ukrainian crisis, and general Russian-Western tensions, Europe has decided on a gas diversification policy in which each EU member should have at least three sources of natural gas supply. One additional option that could facilitate this diversification policy is US liquified natural gas (LNG), but the US is still unable to supply enough LNG to offset Russian gas supplies that might be rejected by Europe. In the process, Washington is looking less like a 'team West' player and more like a solely self-interested power maximizer in European eyes and therefore no more reliable than Moscow. As a result, Europeans are deciding to stick with the Russians while finding new options in the east, such as Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is creating competition if not tensions in present and potential gas transit countries in southeastern and eastern Europe, for example.

The Battle Over Re-Sale: No Victors

One recent battle was largely inconclusive, but if a victor has to be designated it may be Moscow. In May, the European Commssion concluded a settlement with Russia's Gazprom in May ending a seven-year anti-trust dispute. In return for the EU dropping billions of dollars in penalty fees, GazProm agreed to end limitations on the use of gas purchased by EU members, allow them to re-sell the gas. Some EU members, such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have re-sold or wanted to re-sell gas. Moscow frowned, for example, on Slovakia's resale of natural gas to Ukraine at cheaper prices than Moscow sought to charge Kiev. The agreement will also restrict Moscow's ability to charge different countries different prices. So EU members in central and eastern Europe can get a price close to that paid by Germany and appeal to an arbitration court in case of a dispute. The agreement guarantees Russia's presence on the European gas market at a time when the latter's reliance on the former has peaked.

The Northern Front: Nord Stream 2

At the same time, the battle over Russia' Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline has heated up. When it comes on line in 2019, the 759-mile pipeline will carry GazProm natural gas along the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany and double the supply Nord Stream pipeline's current annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm). The Trump administration has threatened yet more sanctions on third-party companies, this time with those that work on the pipeline. The US sanctions threat is an attempt to promote American LNG interests as well as to protect Ukrainian interests, though it contradicts the view that Ukraine should eschew its dependence on Russian gas.

US officials have been hammering home to Europeans the 'Russian threat' in tandem with the risk of reliance on Russian gas may pose, which will increase with Nord tream 2, but to no avail. Public opinion is not working in the US favor, with Germans trusting Moscow more than Washington, despite all the crimes laid at the Kremlin's door by the West. A recent ZDF Television opinion survey found that only 14 percent of Germans regard the U.S. as a reliable partner, while 36 percent view Russia as reliable ( www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-17/trump-s-global-disruption-pushes-merkel-closer-to-putin-s-orbit ). Thus, notwithstanding Ukraine, Syria and alleged chemical attacks, Russiagate, and the Skrypals, GazProm's supplies to Europe have risen to hold nearly 40 percent of its gas market, growing last year by 8.1 percent last year to a record level of 193.9 billion cubic metres (bcm).

Nevertheless, with the EU decision, the U.S., Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and others have stepped up their pressure on Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and other western Eureopean EU members to abandon the Nord Stream 2 project. Germans and other western Europeans are unlikely to give up the short-term gain of energy security for the US LNG given the higher price and unproven nature of Washington's numerous allegations against the Kremlin. German officials say they still have no proof from 10 Downing on Russia's culpability for the Skrypal poisoning so loudly trumpeted by British PM Theresa May.

One motivation for the Russians in building Nord Stream 2 is to obviate the need to transport gas through Ukraine, which will hurt Ukraine's own energy supply – given Ukrainian skimming -- and overall economy beyond the present non-sale of Russian gas to Ukraine. Another Russian motivation is to avert the unreliable Ukrainians, who have failed to make payments according to contract in the past causing Russian gas cutoffs to Ukraine and thus Europe with the resulting crises blamed solely on Moscow. The Trump sanctions threat has put Germany and the other Nord Stream 2 supporting countries between a rock and a hard place, between Russia and the US. Therefore, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while supporting Nord Stream 2, has called for guarantees from Russia that Ukraine will remain a gas transit country. Ukraine's current contract with Russia ends in 2019 at the very time Nord Stream 2 is to go on line and the EU has urged re-starting EU-mediated negotiatons now in order to avoid another gas crisis. Putin agreed to do this at his meeting with Germany's merkel in late May. Nord Stream 2 significantly strengthens Putin's hand in any such talks.

The Southern Front: Turkish Stream, SGC and the Azeri and Bulgarian Factors

Russia is strengtheining its position on the European gas war's southern front by building the Turkish Stream (TS) gas pipeline to Europe. TS consists of a sea and a land leg. The former runs under the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and is built, with Russo-Turkish talks on the land leg ongoing.

Russia's Turkish Stream is being challenged by the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) backed by Western powers, including the EU (along with Turkey and Azerbaijan), which sees the SGC as a means of diversifying from dependence on Russia. Not just Turkey, but Azerbaijan is emerging as a major player on the EU gas market, with a shift in policy accenting gas supplies to Europe as well as oil supplies as in the past. The SGC consists of three components: an expanded South Caucasus Pipeline and the to be constructed Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). TANAP is 51 percent Azerbaijani owned, 37 percent Turkish, and 12 percent belonging to British Petroleum. The SGC will carry Azerbaijani gas through Turkey to Europe and will be able to supply up to one-third of the gas consumed by Bulgaria, Greece and Italy ( https://en.trend.az/business/energy/2910573.html ). However, the source of the gas supplying the pipeline demonstrates the limits of Western attempts to isolate Russia (and Iran). Azerbaijan's Shah-Deniz gas field is co-owned by British Petroleum (29 percent), Turkey's Turkish Petroleum (19 percent), Azerbaijan's SOCAR (17 percent), Malaysia's Petronas (15 percent), Russia's LukOil (10 percent), and Iran's NICO (10 percent). Moreover, Russia's LukOil is negotiating with SOCAR a stake in Azerbaijan's second-largest gas field, Umid-Babek, which also includes Britain's Nobel Upstream ( https://newsbase.com/topstories/lukoil-talks-join-umid-babek-project?utm_campaign=466286_GERD%2031%20May%202018&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NewsBase%20LTD&dm_i=4NTN,9ZSE,2Q5R2D,13DVS,1 ).

Again the Ukrainian issue is part of the picture here, as a good portion of GasProm supplies to Bulgaria go through Ukraine. Turkish Stream can replace at least some of that supply should Moscow decide to entirely avert Ukraine's pipeline system. It is of interest that no one in the West has offered to include in any of these projects or attempted to fashion a pipeline or pipeline extension that could link up with the Ukrainian network.

During Bulgarian President Rumen Radev's late may visit to Moscow, Putin reported to Radev that during his meetings with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, the latter said he would pose no oppsotion to extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to Bulgaria. In response, Radev seemed to suggest making Bulgaria a "a gas redistribution center, a hub" for the Turkish Stream's supplies further into Europe ( http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57608 ). Moreover, one gets the impression that Bulgaria is wary more about its dependence on Turkey and Ankara's new offensive energy policy in Europe than on Russia and might help Moscow detour Ukraine. In 2015, Erdogan declared a major policy initiative of making Turkey a, if not the major energy transit hub for supplies heading from the east to Europe. Russia's annexation of Crimea could help Russia in its talks both with Erdogan over the Turkish Stream and pose the threat of undermining the SGC. It may also help Putin deal with Merkel, Kiev and the EU over the Ukraine pipeline system's future role. Bulgarian President Radev also said in Moscow that Sofia supports building a direct gas pipeline under the Black Sea to bring Russian gas to Bulgaria ( https://echo.msk.ru/news/2206394-echo.html ). The Bulgarian option could be used by Putin to threaten Erdogan with reducing the Turkish Stream's supplies or abandoning it altogether in favor of a Black Sea Russian-Bulgarian Stream and to reduce Russia's dependence on Ukraine as well.

... ... ...

[Jul 27, 2018] Transformed Gas Markets Fuel US-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too by Morena Skalamera

US wants to leverage his dominance in Europe into gas market. That's can work as long as gas is plentiful. As soon as it became a scarcity the situation will radically change.
May 30, 2018 | www.russiamatters.org
This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid a trade war with Washington, while a senior U.S. diplomat warned that the project could be hit with U.S. sanctions; Russian President Vladimir Putin responded defiantly . This development, sadly, fuels the further politicization of the European gas market -- a space that, in many ways, has reflected the triumphs of a depoliticized, pro-market technocracy, which has managed to stimulate competition and lower prices irrespective of changing political trends. Just last year, Trump called on European countries to buy American liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which, for now, remains more expensive than Russia's pipeline gas. Certainly, the U.S. has much to gain on the global gas market, which has changed drastically over the past decade, as America rapidly transformed from an importer to an exporter. Europe's gas market, meanwhile, has much to gain from additional supply. But Trump's approach, especially if the latest reports are true, both alienates Western European partners and feeds into a sensationalist, simplistic portrayal of the new U.S. role's effect on Russia -- as a zero-sum game, in which these new, plentiful U.S. gas supplies serve as an antidote to Russia's "gas dominance" in Europe and hence to Moscow's political leverage.

In fact, even if Russia remains Europe's dominant gas supplier in the coming years -- as is likely -- it now has to play by EU rules and vie hard for market share, ultimately benefiting European consumers. America's gas boom has catalyzed this thriving competition, but an equally important factor has been a massive, long-term investment in infrastructure and regulation by Brussels. These EU efforts have done a great deal to weaken Moscow's geopolitical "gas power," which has never been uniform across the continent. Today, gas is a prized commodity but not a major weapon in East-West relations: Russia's gas leverage cannot harm the West, and neither does competition with U.S. gas pose a major threat to Russia as a state or, for now, to its gas behemoth, Gazprom. Moreover, in the near to medium term, Russian and U.S. gas companies may face many challenges in common : Both will be competing against new, price-lowering producers and grappling with ever "greener" regulations on the European market, while also trying to profit from Asia's thirst for energy.

[Jul 27, 2018] 3rd Russian LNG shipment to USA to arrive 26th July

Jul 27, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

Simon Hauser said:

How cheap could Russia produce to compete with growing US LNG exports?

Gazprom needs price around 4 $ per mmbtu in Europe to be profitable. Today in Europe are close to 8 $. US LNG long term imho need about 8 to 9 $ per mbbtu.

[Jul 25, 2018] Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!

Jul 25, 2018 | twitter.com

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Twitter

Donald J. Trump ‏ Verified account @ realDonaldTrump 1h 1 hour ago

European Union representatives told me that they would start buying soybeans from our great farmers immediately. Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!

[Jul 16, 2018] Trump Is Right - NATO Is Obsolete, and if Europe Wants to Fight Imaginary Enemies, It Should Pay Its Own Way

Jul 16, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Hysteria is at fever pitch. After the NATO summit in Brussels, the definitive Decline of the West has been declared a done deal as President Trump gets ready to meet President Putin in Helsinki.

It was Trump himself who stipulated that he wants to talk to Putin behind closed doors, face-to-face, without any aides and, in theory, spontaneously, after the preparatory meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was canceled. The summit will take place at the early 19 th century Presidential Palace in Helsinki, a former residence of Russian emperors.

As a preamble to Helsinki, Trump's spectacular NATO blitzkrieg was a show for the ages; assorted "leaders" in Brussels simply didn't know what hit them. Trump didn't even bother to arrive on time for morning sessions dealing with the possible accession of Ukraine and Georgia. Diplomats confirmed to Asia Times that after Trump's stinging "pay up or else" tirade, Ukraine and Georgia were asked to leave the room because what would be discussed was strictly an internal NATO issue.

Previewing the summit, Eurocrats indulged in interminable carping about "illiberalism" taking over, from Viktor Orban in Hungary to Sultan Erdogan in Turkey, as well as mourning the "destruction of European unity" (yes, it's always Putin's fault). Trump though would have none of it. The US President conflates the EU with NATO, interpreting the EU as a rival, just like China, but much weaker. As for the US "deal" with NATO, just like NAFTA, that's a bad deal.

NATO is 'obsolete'

Trump is correct that without the US, NATO is "obsolete" – as in non-existent. So essentially what he did in Brussels laid bare the case for NATO as a protection racket, with Washington fully entitled to up the stakes for the "protection".

But "protection" against what?

Since the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, when NATO was repositioned in its new role as humanitarian imperialist global Robocop, the alliance's record is absolutely dismal.

That features miserably losing an endless war in Afghanistan against a bunch of Pashtun warriors armed with Kalashnikov replicas; turning functional Libya into a militia wasteland and headquarters for Europe-bound refugees; and having the NATO-Gulf Cooperation Council lose its bet on a galaxy of jihadis and crypto-jihadis in Syria spun as "moderate rebels".

NATO has launched a new training, non-combat mission in Iraq; 15 years after Shock and Awe, Sunnis, Shi'ites, Yazidis and even Kurdish factions are not impressed.

Then there's the NATO Readiness Initiative; the capacity of deploying 30 battalions, 30 battleships and 30 aircraft squadrons within 30 days (or less) by 2020. If not to wreak selected havoc across the Global South, this initiative is supposedly set up to deter "Russian aggression".

So after dabbling with the Global War on Terror, NATO is essentially back to the original "threat"; the imminent Russian invasion of Western Europe – a ludicrous notion if there ever was one. The final statement in Brussels spells it out, with special emphasis on item 6 and item 7.

The combined GDP of all NATO members is 12 times that of Russia. And NATO's defense spending is six times larger than Russia's. Contrary to non-stop Polish and Baltic hysteria, Russia does not need to "invade" anything; what worries the Kremlin, in the long term, is the well being of ethnic Russians living in former Soviet republics.

Russia can't be both threat and an energy partner

Then there's Europe's energy policy – and that's a completely different story.

Trump has described the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as "inappropriate", but his claim that Germany gets 70% of its energy (via natural gas imports) from Russia may be easily debunked. Germany gets at best 9% of its energy from Russia. In terms of Germany's sources of energy , only 20% is natural gas. And less than 40% of natural gas in Germany comes from Russia. Germany is fast transitioning towards wind, solar, biomass and hydro energy, which made up 41% of the total in 2018. And the target is 50% by 2030.

Yet Trump does have a sterling point when, stressing that "Germany is a rich country", he wants to know why America should "protect you against Russia" when energy deals are on the table. "Explain that! It can't be explained!" as he reportedly said to Nato Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

In the end, of course, it's all about business. What Trump is really aiming at is for Germany to import US shale gas, three times more expensive than pipeline-delivered Russian gas.

The energy angle is directly linked to the never-ending 2% defense spending soap opera. Germany currently spends 1.2% of GDP on NATO. by 2024, it's supposed to reach at best 1.5%. And that's it. The majority of German voters, in fact, want US troops out .

So Trump's demand for 4% of GDP on defense spending for all NATO members will never fly. The sales pitch should be seen for what it is: a tentative "invitation" for an increased EU and NATO shopping spree on US military hardware.

In a nutshell, the key factor remains that Trump's Brussels blitzkrieg did make his case. Russia cannot be a "threat" and a reliable energy partner at the same time. As much as NATO poodles may be terrified of "Russian aggression", the facts spell out they won't put their money where their rhetorical hysteria is.

Foreign ministers attend a working dinner during the NATO Summit in Brussels on July 11, 2018. They gathered to discuss Russia, Iraq and their mission in Afghanistan. Photo: AFP/ pool/ Yves Herman

Are you listening now?

"Russian aggression" should be one of the top items discussed in Helsinki. In the – remote – possibility that Trump will strike a deal with Putin, NATO's absurd raison d'etre would be even more exposed.

That's not the US "deep-state" agenda, of course, thus the 24/7 demonization of the summit even before it happens. Moreover, for Trump, the transactional gambling man's Make-America-Great-Again point of view, the ideal outcome would always be to get even more European weapons deals for the US industrial-military-intelligence complex.

Terrified by Trump, diplomats in Brussels over these past few days have conveyed to Asia Times fears about the end of NATO, the end of the World Trade Organization, even the end of the EU. But the fact remains that Europe is absolutely peripheral to the Big Picture.

In Losing Military Supremacy , his latest, groundbreaking book, crack Russian military-naval analyst Andrei Martyanov deconstructs in detail how, "the United States faces two nuclear and industrial superpowers, one of which fields a world-class armed forces. If the military-political, as opposed to merely economic, alliance between Russia and China is ever formalized – this will spell the final doom for the United States as a global power."

The US deep state (its influential bureaucrats) may be wallowing in perpetual denial, but Trump – after many a closed-door meeting with Henry Kissinger – may have understood the suicidal "strategy" of Washington simultaneously antagonizing Russia and China.

Putin's landmark March 1 speech , as Martyanov stresses, was an effort to "coerce America's elites, if not into peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of the newly emerging power configurations of the world". These elites may not be listening, but Trump seems to indicate he is.

As for the NATO poodles, all they can do is watch.

[Jul 15, 2018] Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy. Although not labeled as global, when reading through the energy dominance section of the NSS, it can clearly been seen to be global. This is not just about sell oil produced in the US. Trump is going for the Achilles heel of Eurasia - energy. ..."
"... Rather than a creative accounting scam that simply racks up huge amounts of debt, Trump is looking for a monopoly or near monopoly business to take over and rake in the profits. ..."
"... As for oil supremacy. This has been an Anglo-american joint venture for over a century and was one reason for WWI being fought as well as the Balfour Declaration to give the Brits a future pro-British state in the region at some point. ..."
"... As for Saudi oil, this was lockef up well before 1945. It was left untouched by the British after WWI and King Saud handed the concessions to the Americans in 1933 because he felt they had no imperialist designs like the British. He was not a fan of the British due to various skirmishes before he solidified power and Saudi borders. . ..."
Jul 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 4:55:33 PM | 101

The latest article at the Saker site by Rostislav Ishchenko - Trump's Geopolitical Cruise - I think is the best take on Trump's and his backers mindset. Worth a read and covers what I think was the cause of the split in the US elite.

The petro dollar, kicking off in the late 70s was a piece of creative accounting to give unlimited credit. This should have been ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but greed got the better of most. Trump and the people backing him could see that this was now in its terminal stages and US close to collapse itself.

Rostislav Ishchenko, like many thinks that Trump is pulling the US back to a form of isolation from the world, but I don't think this is the case.

Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy. Although not labeled as global, when reading through the energy dominance section of the NSS, it can clearly been seen to be global. This is not just about sell oil produced in the US. Trump is going for the Achilles heel of Eurasia - energy.

Rather than a creative accounting scam that simply racks up huge amounts of debt, Trump is looking for a monopoly or near monopoly business to take over and rake in the profits.

Russia supply energy to Eurasia from the North. The opening for the Trump mob is in the south. The meet with Putin may well be to sound out the possibilities of forming a cartel. Putin/Russia is also the only entity that can prevent Trump's US from simply walking in and taking over the rich energy hub (Mafia style) to the south of Eurasia.

Daniel , Jul 14, 2018 5:35:42 PM | 104
Peter @101

"Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy."

Yes, it absolutely is. But this is not a new "Trump policy." Certainly Zbiginew Brzezenski laid this out quite clearly in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives." It's really all in there, just as you're now identifying. If you can't take the time to read it, please consider at least reading some book reviews. As I've noted before, Ziggy apparently didn't foresee Putin rising to power and restoring the Russian state, which threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the globalists' plans, but really, US foreign policy has continued to follow his plans otherwise.

Kissinger has written much the same, though I don't recall in which books/articles. This page from the US Navy seems a fine reading list, designed as it appears to indoctrinate officers in AZ Empire geopolitics.

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/CNO-ReadingProgram/partnernetwork.html#!

IMO, the US took the lead in the Empire's Global Energy Dominance quest when FDR met with King Saud on Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal in 1945 (swinging by after the final post-war world planning meeting with Churchill and Stalin at Yalta). This was when the US largely replaced Great Britain in primacy over Asian/Middle Eastern energy dominance.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 5:42:51 PM | 105
Daniel, I will read through the Grand Chessboard again.
Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 5:49:29 PM | 106
US setting up more bases. A base in Iraq, and a large airfreight logistics base in Kuwait.
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201807141066354147-new-us-bases-iraq/

The US is in the Persian Gulf to stay. Trumps face face meet with Putin will be so Trump can try and gauge what Putin will do - if he will run any blocking moves, his reaction to a fait accompli ect. Most likely a few more face to face meetings before any move on Iran.

Daniel , Jul 14, 2018 6:52:45 PM | 108
Peter, thanks for pointing out the new and unwanted US base in Iraq. I just read that the US was building the world's largest Embassy Compound in "Iraqi Kurdistan." I wonder it they're the same thing?

In a quick web search, failing to find an answer, I noticed that besides the "Green Zone" compound we built in Baghdad at the start of the current military occupation, the record holder was the US Embassy Compound in Pakistan.

James and I have discoursed here a bit on the history of US military occupations since WW II. Boils down to the US has never removed its military from any country it's occupied with the exception of Vietnam.

veritas semper vincit @103 linked blogpost notes that the US has 40,000 troops still occupying Germany. His (I presume) post is quite entertaining considering the severe seriousness of the topic.

Dis is a nice little country ya gotz heyah. Id be a shame if sumpin' bad was ta happen to it.

Pft , Jul 14, 2018 7:14:55 PM | 111
Daniel@104

Have to disagree on the impact of FDR meeting with Saudi Arabias King Saud. That was more about feeling him out on a future Israeli state in Palestine. His death a couple of months later may have been related because King Saud made an impression on FDR as to what an Israeli state would mean for peace in the region. Also, FDR was close to Uncle Joe and unlikely to back the planned Cold War supported by some of the same folks wanting a destabilized Middle East and preventing a rebirth of the Ottoman Empire which would control much of the worlds oil reserves.

As for oil supremacy. This has been an Anglo-american joint venture for over a century and was one reason for WWI being fought as well as the Balfour Declaration to give the Brits a future pro-British state in the region at some point.

As for Saudi oil, this was lockef up well before 1945. It was left untouched by the British after WWI and King Saud handed the concessions to the Americans in 1933 because he felt they had no imperialist designs like the British. He was not a fan of the British due to various skirmishes before he solidified power and Saudi borders. .

"The 1933 concession agreement between Saudi Arabia and Standard Oil of California (SOCAL) went like this: SOCAL could search for and produce oil in eastern Saudi Arabia -- a region 20 percent larger than the state of Texas -- for 60 years; it also received preferential rights to explore elsewhere in the future. The kingdom received an immediate loan of £30,000 in gold and, 18 months later, another loan of £20,000 in gold -- an amount equivalent to about $250,000 today -- plus yearly rentals of £5000 and royalties of four shillings in gold -- about $1 -- per ton of oil produced. (Only later would oil be measured in barrels.)"

[Jul 15, 2018] Russia studying possible oil-for-goods deal with Iran - Novak

Jul 15, 2018 | uk.reuters.com

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that a deal under which Russia would provide goods to Iran in exchange for oil is still possible.

Russia is studying all legal issues related to the possible deal, he said.

[Jul 14, 2018] Today orange fatty called out Germany for being captive to Russia.

The USA is "captive" of Canada (to use the terminology of trump), but don't seem to have much appreciation or respect for their position.
Jul 14, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Hickory

x Ignored says: 07/11/2018 at 11:20 am
Looks like OPEC 14 peaked two years. Can they beat it?, perhaps by a small amount in a world without chaos.

Today orange fatty called out Germany for being captive to Russia. I'm pretty sure he was referring to German dependence on imported fossil energy from Russia.

As of 2015 Germany net energy imports are 64% of total [USA 12% for comparison]. If this means 'captive', then perhaps we should acknowledge that 11 of our top 13 trading partners are highly dependent on imported energy from either Russia or the big OPEC producers.

'Captives' so to speak. Better get used to that idea, and learn how to get along with others. Only Canada and Mexico aren't 'captives', but we don't look to good at being friends with them either.

[Jul 13, 2018] Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump seems to enjoy antagonizing the Europeans one way or the other. As to NATO, Trump made the same complaints during his campaign while calling it "obsolete." Sometimes it sounds like he would rather have the US out of NATO. One theory I have is that he is limited in what he can do so he works around TPTBs to get closer to his goals. So he antagonizes and threatens Europe on NATO. The same goes for Syria. He talked about wanting to pull out but kept being drawn back in by the usual suspects. So he's pulled monetary support in certain cases and refused to dig the US in any deeper than it is. And it will be interesting to see what happens with his upcoming meeting with Putin considering how much he had to backtrack on his talk of better relations during his campaign. Those who've wanted him to join the "hate Russia" team may get frustrated. ..."
"... Within this new "mulit-polar" world, only Russia is cutting its military budge. And they still seem to have at least one of the most effective conventional war-fighting capability, and their next generation nuclear deterrence looks nothing short of awesome. They have pipelines to build, and like China, long-term economic contracts to sign. ..."
"... I'm no fan of Angela, but she/Germany have been trying to tamp down this AZ Empire New Cold War against Russia since at least 2013. When she, Putin, Yanukovych (elected President of Ukraine) and the leaders of the Maidan protests got together and signed an agreement in which Yanukovych acquiesced to essentially all of the "peaceful, pro-democracy protesters'" demands, it was the Asst. Secretary of the US State (Vickie Nuland) who said, "F*ck the EU" "We can midwife this thing" and even appointed the new PM "Yats is the guy." ..."
"... The US can't keep funding your crappy little joke of a disintegrating "European Union" for ever. Sooner or later you'll have to put on big-boy pants. ..."
"... USA govt's assessment of China and Russia as "revisionist" should be understood as a determination to remain the hegemonic power. Thus, we have Cold War II. From that perspective, European objections to more "defense" spending are considered naive (or worse) as Europe's fate is views as tied to that of the Empire. ..."
"... I think European elites are much more likely to side with USA than European people. If the Trump's talk with Putin doesn't go well, we are likely to see increased scaremongering to rectify public opinion. ..."
"... Chaos can make doing business harder, but that can also increase profits. As the posters said in the '60s, "War Is Not Good For Children And Other Living Things." But it's great for the psychopaths. ..."
"... Here is an article that explains the relationship between Russian pipelines, USA sanctions on Russia, MH17, Crimea, and Syria. It is an excellent background to comprehend Trump's accusations about Germany's purchase of gas from Russia. Patrick Armstrong and Pat Lang seem to think that Trump is about to cut NATO support, reduce/eliminate sanctions against Russia, and redirect relations with Israel, but I am not persuaded. https://www.unz.com/article/why-was-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh17-shot-down/ by Kees van der Pijl He also wrote a book on this topic. ..."
"... Everything the US does works to undermine its old power in the new world. We see this continually. Trump is an accelerator. But whether any of this is intentional and actually desired by a part of US vested interests, is still an open question. ..."
"... Nevertheless, as we watch, we see every action of the US working to cement the bonds of its opposition in the rest of the world. From the Escobar article linked by karlof1 above, we see the pressure on the Middle East to reject the US and turn for safety to the Eurasian institutions of commerce, finance and national security. The same thing is happening to Europe. ..."
"... he equation as it stands now is this: A muscle-bound USA + an anaemic Europe "deterring" a Russian Federation that has no intention of invading. ..."
"... Since Russia is no threat either way then there is no need - none whatsoever - for the Europeans to increase their military expenditure to "defend themselves" against a non-existent Russian threat. ..."
"... Indeed, the only reason the Europeans would feel that they might have to prepare to "defend themselves" would be because that muscle-bound US military is now outside the tent pissing in, not inside the tent pissing out. ..."
"... Since whenever, America has been the proxy front for the current instantiation of empire with the core of control being ongoing private finance with global tools like BIS, IMF, World Bank, etc. Since WWII and even before the goal of empire is to have all of the world under its control. Since the engine of empire is a supra-national matrix of private finance control, the enemy becomes any nations who do not want to be impregnated with the Western model of private Central Bank, an oligarchy , inheritance, private property, etc. ..."
"... The empire model of growth through wars and boom/bust expansion has reached its "logical" limits and the the existential question has become, blow everything all up or agree to a multipolar world. I think that the elite hope Trump's bluster will make it so they do not have to answer that existential question.....yet ..."
"... If Trump's fake argument gambit was intended to inspire people inside and outside the EU to think outside the box then it seems to have worked. ..."
"... I LUV how Trump stomped on all those preaning European elite scumbags. ..."
"... Agree with Patrick. It is surprising to still see so much animosity towards a president who has done more to combat the absurdity of NATO and globalism than I can remember any other President doing. The ball is in the EU elites court, now. Put up or shut up and I believe it makes no difference to Trump. We are about to find out who is REALLY to blame for marching lockstep with the current of hypercentralization (globalism): the Trump admin or the EU elitez. ..."
"... The US has been manipulating NATO ever since it was formed. Most NATO officials are vetted by the US. Trump is an idiot, like the bulk of US politicians. ..."
"... Trump's "reasoning" makes sense in an infantile sort of way, but there's more too it than meets the eye, is there not? Trump doesn't just want to Europe to "pay their fair share" for NATO, which we all know is code for buying more US mil.gear but also to buy their LNG from US too. It's like NATO is some sort of grotesque, evil franchise where the franchisees can only buy goods/services from that single source, even though it's crap & inordinately expensive, and even if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, i.e Russia. ..."
"... Wow! You don't feel that Trump has, by his mere existence and by winning the presidency, been given a platform of which to decry the myriad injustices of globalization and to utter things unspeakable by any Prez in the last fifty years? ..."
"... Europe has an arms industry of their own. I doubt European countries invest their money into US stuff - they buy their own. Most of the money does not go into weapons anyway, but personel and administration. Germany contributes to the maintenance and infrastructure of US bases, but those bases are business, too. This is not Saudi Arabia buying protection. The real news is that Trump has started a trade war negotiating by tantrum. ..."
Jul 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

kgw , Jul 11, 2018 7:37:47 PM | 35

You are agreeing with an idiot, no matter what...Europe has nothing to worry about with regards to Russia. Unless they threaten Russia. 'Love this exchange at breakfast;

You'd have to be an idiot not to agree with Trump here.


Curtis , Jul 11, 2018 7:42:06 PM | 36

Trump seems to enjoy antagonizing the Europeans one way or the other. As to NATO, Trump made the same complaints during his campaign while calling it "obsolete." Sometimes it sounds like he would rather have the US out of NATO. One theory I have is that he is limited in what he can do so he works around TPTBs to get closer to his goals. So he antagonizes and threatens Europe on NATO. The same goes for Syria. He talked about wanting to pull out but kept being drawn back in by the usual suspects. So he's pulled monetary support in certain cases and refused to dig the US in any deeper than it is. And it will be interesting to see what happens with his upcoming meeting with Putin considering how much he had to backtrack on his talk of better relations during his campaign. Those who've wanted him to join the "hate Russia" team may get frustrated.

Will he take direct action on any of these things? I doubt it. The indirect route seems to go in the right direction.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 7:50:36 PM | 38
karlof!. Good to "see" you back. The following is specifically to you, but it does continue from your first comment. [I couldn't get some links to embed, sorry]

My best short term hope is that all this war-blustering is just to convince we commoners to bend over so the military/industrial contractors can make lots of gelt. The Global War OF Terror has been terrific for their bank accounts, but with SAA and the MoD of the RF beating the snot out of terrorists wherever they go to such an extent that the Pentagon is considering ISIS essentially defeated.

Besides, the really "big ticket products" are things like aircraft carriers, "upgraded" nuclear weapons, 5th Generation fighters, etc. etc. etc., that are harder to excuse when their targets are guys in sandals with AK47s and IEDs. That could be why the 2018 National Defense Strategy plan has shifted from fighting "terrorism" back to " the long-term, strategic competition between nations." https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf

Same with our "adversary" across the big pond in China. Just the other day, the CPC warned of "China's army infiltrated by 'peace disease' requiring a major new "defense posture" just like the US and NATO.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2153579/chinas-army-infiltrated-peace-disease-after-years

China's Central Military Commission specified that much of this "posturing" will be "military reforms are aimed at expanding its military might from the traditional focus on land territories to maritime influence to protect the nation's strategic interests in a new era. "

Within this new "mulit-polar" world, only Russia is cutting its military budge. And they still seem to have at least one of the most effective conventional war-fighting capability, and their next generation nuclear deterrence looks nothing short of awesome. They have pipelines to build, and like China, long-term economic contracts to sign.

Patrick Armstrong , Jul 11, 2018 7:52:25 PM | 39
No dear b, for once I think you've got it wrong. I see Trump asking three question for all of which there is one answer.
1. Angela. You tell us that NATO ought to concentrate on the Russian threat. If Russia is a threat, why are you buying gas from it?
2. Angela, You tell us that Russia is a reliable energy supplier. If Russia is a reliable supplier, why are you telling us it's a threat?
3. Angela. I hope you're not saying Russia is a threat and its gas is cheap but the USA will save us.

The answer to all 3 questions is: we're out of here, defend yourselves. It's Trump cutting the Gordian Knot of obligations.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 7:54:11 PM | 40
Aarrgghh! Besides some continuity problems when I recut and pasted the above since the links weren't working, I also left out the following completely.

That could be why, even though the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review observes we are changing from: "For decades, the United States led the world in efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons." To " the current, pragmatic assessment of the threats we face and the uncertainties regarding the future security environment." Which conveniently can use up, or more likely go over budget on former President CareBear's additional $10 Billion in nuclear weapons development over the succeeding 10 years.

https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 8:12:45 PM | 42
Patrick Armstrong @38.

I'm no fan of Angela, but she/Germany have been trying to tamp down this AZ Empire New Cold War against Russia since at least 2013. When she, Putin, Yanukovych (elected President of Ukraine) and the leaders of the Maidan protests got together and signed an agreement in which Yanukovych acquiesced to essentially all of the "peaceful, pro-democracy protesters'" demands, it was the Asst. Secretary of the US State (Vickie Nuland) who said, "F*ck the EU" "We can midwife this thing" and even appointed the new PM "Yats is the guy."

She was then an active participant in the Minsk Agreement to end the "anti-terrorism action" Which our gal Vickie shredded publicly the next day because the AZ Empire thought the Uki-Nazis would finish off those Muscovite, Colorado hicks and (can I post the Ukie terms for Jews?) in the east like they'd done in the south.

Then, Angela was involved in the Minsk II cease-fire/road to peace (when the Uki-Nazis were being driven out of the east, and were about to lose Mariupol).

I know there are others in addition to b here who know this stuff better than I. Isn't this about right?

Piotr Berman , Jul 11, 2018 8:19:07 PM | 43
"It is extremely hypocritical for Poland to lobby against Nord Stream when it significantly contributes to Poland's energy security."

There are other explanations that could be better documented, like stupidity and insanity. BTW, Poland has big pollution problem, and a major part is that many older multifamily buildings and new single family building has polluting heating with coal furnaces and stoves. Natural gas does not generate pollutants except for CO2 which is not affecting health, plus it uses less than half of carbon than coal.

On the other note, merely to get enough gas for internal needs, Poland could get enough through Belorus. But if you need to add re-export to Ukraine, that is not enough. So Poles can pride themselves of not being as stupid and insane as their southeastern neighbors.

james , Jul 11, 2018 8:24:21 PM | 44
publius tacitus at sst take on this..
james , Jul 11, 2018 8:26:42 PM | 45
@41 daniel.. patrick has quite a good handle on this topic... https://patrickarmstrong.ca/
financial matters , Jul 11, 2018 8:27:15 PM | 46
Patrick Armstrong@38

Well stated. There are many gordian knots. The BIS should be dissolved ""Responsible fiscal practice requires a government to fill spending gaps left by fluctuations in non-government spending patterns. In that way, the government takes responsibility for maintaining full employment. What the Troika did in Greece was the exemplar of irresponsible fiscal practice.""

Tannenhouser , Jul 11, 2018 8:28:19 PM | 47
I really really like the way you include a 'solution' to a global problem in this analysis b. To many times we just speak to the choir and rarely are solutions presented regardless where they lie on the possible/probable line. Did I mention I really like this SA. Thanks.
Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 8:28:38 PM | 48
karlof1 @7. In graph 1, of actual dollar expenditure, NATO spending was going down until 2012, then it started to rise again, and has been a net increase every year since 2015.

In graph 4, per nation spending relative to GDP went up from 2014 to 2017 in almost all member states notably, except the US and UK, but even then, US went from 3.58% to slightly over 3.5% and UK from 2.14% to a touch over 2.1%, so both are above the 2% "minimum."

Graphs 5, 6, 7 all show actual dollar expenditures dropping from 1010 to 2014, but then increasing every year since then.

Perhaps I misunderstood your point. But it sure looks like NATO spending has been rising since this "New Cold War" really kicked into gear in 3024/2015.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 8:54:30 PM | 49
Pft @ 27

"One big reason they deposed the Shah who was planning to go big with nuclear power with orders for about 20 French and /or German reactors"

Another hat in the ring for CIA/MI6/Mossad helping to install the Islamic part of the Iranian Revolution? WooHoo!

"China basically has a monopoly on these metals"

Yes. Bear in mind though that "discovered" after the US invasion/occupation is that Afghanistan has perhaps the world's largest reserves of lithium. And the "Democratic Republic" of Congo also has much rare earth wealth. As in fact do other parts of central Africa. Hence, the AZ Empire's new "AfriCom" military classification and the reinstallation of French Colonialism.

I'm not so up on this whole tariff thing. Hasn't Germany had substantial tariffs on automobiles for years now? Do those tariffs apply to other EU states?

Peter AU 1 , Jul 11, 2018 9:02:50 PM | 50
Daniel
I have read in the past that Afghan is very rich in a number of minerals and China was looking at development there as part of it road belt intuitive. Going by the state Afghanistan is in I can't see the US extracting minerals there. US squatting in Afghanistan may be simply to deny Chinese access to the mineral deposits.
/div
/div
Chipnik , Jul 11, 2018 9:07:45 PM | 52
10

If NS2 goes online and EU goes dark to Qatar, especially if Iran corks Qatar with a South pipeline, the Middle East economies will collapse into chaos, and nobody will be buying either US guns or butter.

US'own economy is going down the crapper with No Taxes for the Rich running an $800B Deficit, and private Fed Bank ratcheting up $50B at a gulp in interest-only Debt financing ...forever. Collapse of MediCare and MediCaid will bleed even more out of the retsil economy, which will increase the Deficit, into a National Debt death spiral, and collapse of the public pensiin systems.

If you project MIC arms spendung and Fed interest-only bleed out, Trump's illegal 25% Fed VAT sales tax (aka 'tariffs) and EU/RU/CH counter-tariffs, all US health and human services will be insolvent by 2025.

When that happens, and could happen much sooner, the world we knew in 20C will be inverted, upended, chaos, albeit, only chaos for the Lower Classes, Workers and Private Pensioners/401Ks. The Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty will...uhh...find a way!

gda , Jul 11, 2018 9:10:23 PM | 53
@kgw
"You are agreeing with an idiot, no matter what...Europe has nothing to worry about with regards to Russia. Unless they threaten Russia."

Well shit or get off the pot why don't you - "idiot" Trump is calling your bluff - stop freeloading off a (by your assessment) non-existent threat, or he'll stop it for you. Can't have it both ways. The US can't keep funding your crappy little joke of a disintegrating "European Union" for ever. Sooner or later you'll have to put on big-boy pants.

Methinks this guy has a good take on this. "Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run."
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/nato-a-naked-emperor-by-publius-tacitus.html/

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 9:23:02 PM | 54
James, @44. I largely agree with (and have called for) Patrick's recommendations for what Ukraine should do now. I don't see anything in there that contravenes what I wrote about Germany's role in the AZ Empire's coup and resulting war, though.

Do you remember those events, or should I dig out citations? I was following it pretty closely from mid/late 2013 until it quieted down in 2015. Since then, I just pick up articles here and there.

like, did you see that Israel is providing assault rifles and ammo to the Azov Battalion (the naziest of the neo-nazis)? And then, of course, the Zoo-nazis whine about a couple of Jewish journalists reporting on it.

Chipnik , Jul 11, 2018 9:23:59 PM | 55
34

When you'd have to be an idiot to agree with Trump ($1 TRILLION MIC arms profiteering slash National Police State slash MIC Indefinite Detention Gulags), but now you'd have to be an idiot NOT to agree with Trump (drag EU into the funeral pyre)m then you know it must be the Red Army v Blue Army media spewfest and the National Novitiate in November is near. Rahhh.

E pluribus now get back to work. Your 2Q ONE TRILLION Deep Purple State tithe-tibute is due in 3 more days, ONE TRILKION that you and your hiers will never see again.

Jackrabbit , Jul 11, 2018 9:29:23 PM | 56
USA govt's assessment of China and Russia as "revisionist" should be understood as a determination to remain the hegemonic power. Thus, we have Cold War II. From that perspective, European objections to more "defense" spending are considered naive (or worse) as Europe's fate is views as tied to that of the Empire.

I think European elites are much more likely to side with USA than European people. If the Trump's talk with Putin doesn't go well, we are likely to see increased scaremongering to rectify public opinion.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 9:31:41 PM | 57
Peter AU 1 @49

Well, the opium is sure getting out ok. ;-)

Not to mention those same rare earth metals are getting out of DRC despite millions of murderous deaths and disease.

And the oil started flowing out of Libya before Gaddafi was even lynched. Oil's been flowing out of "Kurdish" Iraq into Israel come hell or high water. And of course, ISIL was shipping Syrian oil through Turkey and Jordan (if not Israel) throughout.

Chaos can make doing business harder, but that can also increase profits. As the posters said in the '60s, "War Is Not Good For Children And Other Living Things." But it's great for the psychopaths.

Guerrero , Jul 11, 2018 9:35:30 PM | 58
Trump's native approach I suspect may be something like that of fellow-New Yorker and great American chess player Bobby Fischer who famously said: "Try something!"
Jackrabbit , Jul 11, 2018 9:46:02 PM | 60
Daniel @41

That sounds about right. I would only add that Minsk Accord is another example of a non-agreement. Ukraine never signed yet Russia is accused of not implementing this non-agreement whenever people feel the need for some more Russia-bashing.

mauisurfer , Jul 11, 2018 10:31:07 PM | 61
Here is an article that explains the relationship between Russian pipelines, USA sanctions on Russia, MH17, Crimea, and Syria. It is an excellent background to comprehend Trump's accusations about Germany's purchase of gas from Russia. Patrick Armstrong and Pat Lang seem to think that Trump is about to cut NATO support, reduce/eliminate sanctions against Russia, and redirect relations with Israel, but I am not persuaded. https://www.unz.com/article/why-was-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh17-shot-down/ by Kees van der Pijl He also wrote a book on this topic.
Guerrero , Jul 11, 2018 10:40:00 PM | 62
I'm not so up on this whole tariff thing.

Trump follows the footsprints of the post-USA Civil War Republican Party policy. From Chapter 1 of The Politicos 1865-1896 by Matthew Josephson (published in 1938)

"The new industrialist and financial class and the farmers of the North emerged the greatest gainers by far among the mixed coalition of classes which fought to win the social revolution underlying the War Between the States. But no less triumphant and dominent was the war party itself, the youthful organization of professional politicians and officeholders known as the Republican Party. A minority party in 1860, and victor in a three-cornered electoral contest, it knew during the war the intoxication of unchallenged power and fortune beyond calculation, leaving it in command of all the offices of the Federal Government!"

From Beard, Contemporary American History, p.91

It had the management of the gigantic war finances, through which it attached to itself the interests ... of the great capitalists and bankers throughout the North. It raised revenues by a high tariff which placed thousands of manufacturers under debt to it and linked their fortunes also with its fate ... Railway financiers and promoters of all kinds had to turn to it for privileges and protection...

mauisurfer , Jul 11, 2018 10:48:49 PM | 63
jackrabbit@59
surprised to hear you say Ukraine did not sign MinskII. On the contrary, I read that it was signed by LD Kuchma, Second President of Ukraine. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Signatories

The document was signed by:[23]

Swiss diplomat and OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini
Former president of Ukraine and Ukrainian representative Leonid Kuchma
Russian Ambassador to Ukraine and Russian representative Mikhail Zurabov
Separatist's leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk_II#Signatories

All-night negotiations on Wednesday ended with the signing of the Declaration of Minsk in support of the "Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements" by Angela Merkel of Germany, Francois Hollande of France, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin of Russia and release of the full agreement. The talks, according to some reports, almost collapsed near the end as Ukraine and rebel leaders balked at signing.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2015/02/13/putin-comes-out-on-top-in-new-minsk-agreement/#21ffe18f4ede

Guerrero , Jul 11, 2018 11:34:57 PM | 64
From Chapter 1 of The Politicos 1865-1896 by Matthew Josephson (published in 1938):

"The prosecution of the war against rebellion had been associated with a protective tariff levied against a hated England. which profited and sought to profit further from our disaster. With the close of the war, a cry arose from the Northeastern region that high tariffs were needed to pay the war debt. and an outburst of high Protectionism followed in 1866."

V , Jul 11, 2018 11:44:37 PM | 65
# 20

Trump is factually correct; but it doesn't make him right.

Grieved , Jul 11, 2018 11:51:06 PM | 66
Everything the US does works to undermine its old power in the new world. We see this continually. Trump is an accelerator. But whether any of this is intentional and actually desired by a part of US vested interests, is still an open question.

Nevertheless, as we watch, we see every action of the US working to cement the bonds of its opposition in the rest of the world. From the Escobar article linked by karlof1 above, we see the pressure on the Middle East to reject the US and turn for safety to the Eurasian institutions of commerce, finance and national security. The same thing is happening to Europe.

Some days I think that Trump was a brilliantly inspired choice of some deep state players to further their agenda of fragmenting the old arrangements to allow new alignments to come into place - to modernize the elite control of the world. But most days I just don't know. What can one say about a force this magisterial and still this enigmatic?

I was talking with a friend today about Trump. She said she sees his approach as quite typical of US business style. You come out with the big stick, knowing it will get chopped in half by the time you get to agreement. But at least you end up with half a stick. Gotta start big. You don't ask, you don't get.

This style worked perfectly with North Korea, which was a standout among the nations of the world, in my opinion, for understanding superbly well how Trump played the game, and played it right back. The result was a meeting of equals, where something could actually get done. But NK worked hard to develop the bargaining chip to put on the table too. Words without substance don't work.

I'm not seeing many other countries responding with this same kind of exaggerated bravado - it is a very US way of doing business. Most countries are simply working to go around the US. Europe seems to be doing the same thing, simply rejecting and turning away. But the European countries could certainly create bargaining chips if they wanted to play the Trump game of negotiation. I truly suspect his style is something they're still getting to grips with. Perhaps they should call Kim for pointers.

I think ultimately we are seeing two things at work, and in tandem: the natural style of Trump, and the very real and unstoppable current of history. Whether either force is aware of the other, I can't say. Like the success or failure of the French Revolution, it's too soon to tell.

dh , Jul 11, 2018 11:56:34 PM | 67
@65 Good summary. I think the Europeans simply don't know what to make of him. The look on Stoltenberg's face said it all. They just don't know how to respond to someone so direct. Maybe Putin is the only one who can talk his language....but not in public.
karlof1 , Jul 11, 2018 11:57:58 PM | 68
Daniel--

China's taking a page from Mahan regarding sea power. NATO graphs: I mentioned Obama ordered an increase in spending and the chart shows the compliance. The ups and downs correlate well with wars and major recessions.

james , Jul 12, 2018 12:07:22 AM | 69
@53 daniel... what you said earlier - i think much the same way... i would be curious to know more of how patrick armstrong sees all that, but i think it is much the same as us too.. those links @53 reflect how messed up ukraine is at present.. having a failed state on your doorstep doesn't sound like fun and that works both ways for europe and russia.. i guess that was the usa ( and israels?) plan... screw up countries so they don't function properly, so you have to spend a lot of imf money to fix them.. works for wall st, lol..
Yeah, Right , Jul 12, 2018 12:07:56 AM | 70
@38 "The answer to all 3 questions is: we're out of here, defend yourselves"

Patrick, I'm confused: they are meant to defend themselves against whom, exactly? T he equation as it stands now is this: A muscle-bound USA + an anaemic Europe "deterring" a Russian Federation that has no intention of invading.

Remove the muscle-bound Americans from the equation and this is what remains: An anaemic Europe "deterring" a Russian Federation that has no intention of invading.

Since Russia is no threat either way then there is no need - none whatsoever - for the Europeans to increase their military expenditure to "defend themselves" against a non-existent Russian threat.

Indeed, the only reason the Europeans would feel that they might have to prepare to "defend themselves" would be because that muscle-bound US military is now outside the tent pissing in, not inside the tent pissing out.

dh , Jul 12, 2018 12:17:13 AM | 71
@68 Maybe they thought Ukraine would join the EU at some point but Crimea was the prize. The plan was to turn Crimea into a NATO base. Putin spoiled everything.
Jackrabbit , Jul 12, 2018 12:19:28 AM | 72
mauisurfer @62

Wikipedia also says (as part Leonid Kuchma's bio):

Since July 2014, Kuchma has been Ukraine's representative at the semi-official peace talks regarding the ongoing War in Donbass.
Why are they "semi-official"? Because Ukraine would not talk to the rebels directly. They believe that the rebels are sponsored by Russia so the dispute is between Russia and Ukraine. They would not talk to the rebels as that might convey legitimacy to the rebels. That's why the Trialteral Contact Group was set up. The signers of Minsk II (Russia, Germany, France, Kuchma/Ukraine) are merely "guarantors" of an agreement between Ukraine and the Donbas rebels - neither of which has actually signed.

Kuchma "represents" Ukraine but can't bind Ukraine. Although Poroschenko attended some of the talks, he never signed the agreement.

Minsk and Minsk II have reduced conflict somewhat but Ukraine has dragged its feet every step of the way. For example: they were slow to pull back heavy artillery as called for under the accord, then they wouldn't pass laws that were necessary for other provisions of the accord.

Recently, Ukraine has passed a law that essentially negates Minsk/Minsk II and treats the rebels as terrorists (as Ukraine has always claimed them to be) .

The Minsk accords outlined a detailed procedure through which Donetsk and Luhansk would receive "special status," hold internationally-recognized elections, and then negotiate their reintegration into Ukraine directly with Kiev, including basic constitutional reforms to federalize the country. No substantive steps have ever been undertaken by either side to implement these terms, and the new "Donbass Integration Law" now makes clear that Kiev expects the country to be re-united on its terms alone, though probably not anytime soon.

Ukrainian lawmakers, who overwhelmingly passed the bill on Jan. 19, argue that it simply normalizes a situation that has long existed but was clouded by misleading jargon and official fealty to the non-functioning Minsk accords .

Poroschenko signed the bill into law in February 2018.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 12, 2018 12:22:41 AM | 73
@dh "Maybe Putin is the only one who can talk his language"

Going by what Putin said of Trump after their 2 1/2 hour meeting in Vietnam, it seems more likely Trump talks in Putin's language when meeting actual leaders. Same would go for his meeting with KJU, and I would guess Xi.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 12, 2018 12:25:05 AM | 74
Within the US west, there would be no one Trump could meet as a leader and equal. They are all hired help.
psychohistorian , Jul 12, 2018 12:52:59 AM | 75
@ Grieved with his observations

Since whenever, America has been the proxy front for the current instantiation of empire with the core of control being ongoing private finance with global tools like BIS, IMF, World Bank, etc. Since WWII and even before the goal of empire is to have all of the world under its control. Since the engine of empire is a supra-national matrix of private finance control, the enemy becomes any nations who do not want to be impregnated with the Western model of private Central Bank, an oligarchy , inheritance, private property, etc.

The empire model of growth through wars and boom/bust expansion has reached its "logical" limits and the the existential question has become, blow everything all up or agree to a multipolar world. I think that the elite hope Trump's bluster will make it so they do not have to answer that existential question.....yet

The EU has always been a bastard child with little chance of growing up because there was no finance core agreements to manage the national variations within. I am surprised it has lasted as long as it has given the historical tension between the nations. The US has similar social tensions but our structure has homoginized the economy enough that we haven't imploded...yet

The key to this process which I believe is being managed by the elite is at what point are the big decisions made and by whom. Given the accelerated nature of the managed deconstruction, I suspect the elite believe they will retain their mystique of power long enough to not lose grip on private finance running the Western world. The EU countries will have to come to terms with their oligarchs and determine what path forward works for all of eurasia. I don't see the current leadership of any EU countries as having the public's best interest in mind or action.

Are we seeing Western plutocracy fail of its own "weight"? Perhaps so.....nice

Hoarsewhisperer , Jul 12, 2018 1:03:22 AM | 76
If Trump's fake argument gambit was intended to inspire people inside and outside the EU to think outside the box then it seems to have worked.
Fernando Arauxo , Jul 12, 2018 1:05:36 AM | 77
I LUV how Trump stomped on all those preaning European elite scumbags. He's my hero for pooping all over their little pride parade. Tell em like it is Donald they call you stupid and all those other useless names. Your stinking GENIUS. MORE and an ENCORE!!!!
NemesisCalling , Jul 12, 2018 1:25:27 AM | 78
@39 Patrick

Agree with Patrick. It is surprising to still see so much animosity towards a president who has done more to combat the absurdity of NATO and globalism than I can remember any other President doing. The ball is in the EU elites court, now. Put up or shut up and I believe it makes no difference to Trump. We are about to find out who is REALLY to blame for marching lockstep with the current of hypercentralization (globalism): the Trump admin or the EU elitez.

Sorry for the break in the Trump-bashing. Let's all get back to that good ol' America-hatin' catharsis.

Den Lille Abe , Jul 12, 2018 1:55:52 AM | 79
So nothing is really new, sigh!

Since the start of the 70ties I have heard exactly the same tune from the US and the blathering idiot in charge now has not changed the tune; ever since have I had to listen to this "The Russians are coming" tune, with the rhetoric getting ever more shrill and false, 1989 brought a brief and marvelous, albeit very short pause to this tune, and for a few years the US Kleptocracy was happy plundering the former USSR. When Russia resisted the plunder i. e. Putin was elected, the tune started over again from where it was paused, disregarding the fact that Russia does not in any way compare to the former USSR.

N, noooe , it is still "The Russians are coming" playing, but with a new beat, pepped up, but same substance. But we are not listening anymore, the disgraceful actions and evil behavior of The United States of Mordor, have come into the open (The internet, appreciate it, we will not for long have it in its present form), even the most daft of us quietly starts wondering.

Well I am not daft, and the questioning ended 4 decades ago, The US must be resisted. Our politicians here on the continent must wake up and reject US imperialism and militarism, and devise our own defenses if deemed necessary, many European nations are not at the living standards we enjoy in Scandinavia, surely the money were better spent on that.

If the Poles and Baltic's want American troops on their soil, withdraw EU spending, we do not need their insane sabre rattling. (Especially the Poles are vile, they forget that when Hitler invaded, they had been a fascist dictatorship for years).

V , Jul 12, 2018 2:36:38 AM | 80
Den Lille Abe # 79
N, noooe , it is still "The Russians are coming" playing, but with a new beat, pepped up, but same substance.

Two things; a total lack of imagination combined with a failure to apply intelligence; the I.Q. kind.

Pft , Jul 12, 2018 2:54:07 AM | 81
Nemesisiscalling@78

What exactly has Trump done to combat the absurdity of globalization and NATO besides talk? While he stopped TPP and TIPP he is negotiating similar agreements bilaterally. Also his Personal Empire benefits from globalization.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/28/five-ways-donald-trump-benefits-from-the-globalization-he-says-he-hates/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.daf25165315b

US only contributes 1% of their defense budget to NATO's direct costs so pulling out of NATO would make hardly a dent in the budget except to increase costs to relocate all the personnel and hardware. Those bases are invaluableHis calling for NATO countries to increase defense spending benefits US and Israeli companies who make up the military and security industrial complex and wont do squat to lower the defense budget

kgw , Jul 12, 2018 3:05:25 AM | 82

Born and raised in Southern California, been here 70 years... The US has been manipulating NATO ever since it was formed. Most NATO officials are vetted by the US. Trump is an idiot, like the bulk of US politicians.

@kgw
"You are agreeing with an idiot, no matter what...Europe has nothing to worry about with regards to Russia. Unless they threaten Russia."

Well shit or get off the pot why don't you - "idiot" Trump is calling your bluff - stop freeloading off a (by your assessment) non-existent threat, or he'll stop it for you. Can't have it both ways. The US can't keep funding your crappy little joke of a disintegrating "European Union" for ever. Sooner or later you'll have to put on big-boy pants. Methinks this guy has a good take on this.

"Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run."
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/nato-a-naked-emperor-by-publius-tacitus.html/

rcentros , Jul 12, 2018 4:42:16 AM | 83
You're assuming Europe's leaders aren't bought and paid for by Wall Bank Street Banksters. The system is rigged. I wouldn't doubt that they go into lapdog mode and bow to blowhard Trump.
somebody , Jul 12, 2018 5:58:30 AM | 84
83 Trump has just offically blown up NATO.

This was worked out before - there will be a " European Defense Union " including Britain.

Mrs Merkel emphasised that the German armed forces would remain commanded by parliament and not the government, and "would not take part in every mission".

This is theater.

somebody , Jul 12, 2018 6:18:14 AM | 85
add to 84

This here is a clear description of the issues involved . Of course, in the rivalry between the US and Russia, Europe's interest is best served playing the two off each other united. It is no surprise both - the US and Russia - have a strategic interest to split Europe. You don't believe Russia doing this, too? This here is from Greece . No, their government is not anti-Russian.

Macedonia is expecting an invitation at the NATO summit in Brussels this week to join following its landmark deal with Greece whereby it will change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. Moscow strongly opposes NATO expansion.

...

The Greek diplomatic source told Reuters Athens would expel two diplomats and bar two other Russians from entering the country due to concerns that they were involved in rallies in Greece against the deal with Macedonia and that they had attempted to offer money to Greek state officials.

Becoming a "neutral" military force would end this type of nonsense. Trump acting like mafia is another strong incentive.

ralphieboy , Jul 12, 2018 6:20:14 AM | 86
@AH #37:

"The U.S. military is the biggest socialist organization of the world. It is egalitarian and its citizens, i.e. the soldiers, are extremely well cared for. It runs its own healthcare system through the Veterans Health Administration."

A wonderful conclusion b.

Does anyone know of any in-depth economic analysis of the U.S. military as a state welfare system for its members, as well as the impact of aggregate military spending on the general purchasing power of citizens within the society at large?

And US military spending is also an enormous job-creation and wealth-redistribution program in the form of defense contractors spread all over the nation, where they are especially vital for areas with weak employment.

The US winds up with a lot of projects it does not need because Congresspeople are not about to kill a program that employs thousands in their districts.

Zanon , Jul 12, 2018 6:43:32 AM | 87
Why should Germany spend 4% on its military? Didnt see that coming from this blog. Are germany facing an enemy? If not, its a waste of more money. All this useless money could be spend to actually strenghten the welfare state. Something that actually matters and are much needed. So which enemy is Germany facing? Either Trump is right that Russia is a threat to Germany or hes not. What is it?
V , Jul 12, 2018 6:54:14 AM | 88
#87
So which enemy is Germany facing?

The U.S., of course...

Zanon , Jul 12, 2018 7:18:45 AM | 89
This is absurd, Nato leader kick out EU leader during talks with Trump...
https://www.rt.com/usa/432844-trump-nato-leave-congress/
somebody , Jul 12, 2018 7:31:37 AM | 91
Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 12, 2018 6:20:14 AM | 86

Therefore Trump needs NATO more than Europe needs NATO. How else defend the defense spending?

Senate votes to support NATO ahead of Trump summit

The nonbinding motion, which came as the Senate voted to reconcile its version of the annual defense policy bill with that of the House, expresses the Senate's support for NATO and calls on negotiators to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to it. The 97-2 vote in the Senate comes as Trump heads to Brussels.

That is bi-partisanship.

Zanon , Jul 12, 2018 7:34:27 AM | 92
Lol watching Trump asking questions, pretty only fanatical eastern-European journalists pretty much urging war with Russia,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb9Snz6ivdY
Mark2 , Jul 12, 2018 7:34:59 AM | 93
The last time they debated a missing 21 trillion defense money at the pentagon, they got a cruse missile through the door! Figure that out! 911
somebody , Jul 12, 2018 8:12:36 AM | 95
It looks like Germany caved on the Iran deal

Helaba is a state bank.

xLemming , Jul 12, 2018 8:27:20 AM | 96
@21 gda

Trump's "reasoning" makes sense in an infantile sort of way, but there's more too it than meets the eye, is there not? Trump doesn't just want to Europe to "pay their fair share" for NATO, which we all know is code for buying more US mil.gear but also to buy their LNG from US too. It's like NATO is some sort of grotesque, evil franchise where the franchisees can only buy goods/services from that single source, even though it's crap & inordinately expensive, and even if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, i.e Russia.

I would love to see those fence-sitting NATO countries tell the US "sure, we'll increase our mil. spending, but after what we saw in Syria, we'll be buying our gear from Russia" (more bang for the buck too!) - that would be game, set & match right there!

LeaNder , Jul 12, 2018 8:33:38 AM | 97
I think you are wrong, Bernard. It will sell well in Europe too. To what extend were the themes of the Brexit campaign based on Germany as the slave master of Europe, to exaggerate slightly? It will also sell well in the US.
NemesisCalling , Jul 12, 2018 8:40:01 AM | 98
@81 pft

Wow! You don't feel that Trump has, by his mere existence and by winning the presidency, been given a platform of which to decry the myriad injustices of globalization and to utter things unspeakable by any Prez in the last fifty years?

I don't think you've been paying attention. The proof is in the pudding but what will be the benefit of raising the spectre of doubt over bad deals like NATO, the current iteration of world trade, and for animosity towards Russia? Evidently, it ain't worth shit to predictable TDS-sufferers that hang around here.

Circe , Jul 12, 2018 9:01:34 AM | 99
So much for those who projected that Trump's demands for an increase in the defense spending of other members and his scolding of Germany would lead to a weaker Nato! Nato members just caved to Trump and are increasing their spending and Trump is touting that Nato is stronger and everyone's doing the kumbaya.

When I say that Trump is establishment on steroids; it's an understatement. Trump is doing the kissy, kissy with Putin because the plan is to pull Russia away from collaborating with China. Zionist oligarchs are in league with Trump and Russia will eventually be under their complete control.

@98 You just don't get it. Trump is fascist establishment. Trump is separating kids from their mothers. Who does that??? He's a sick sadist.

somebody , Jul 12, 2018 9:14:59 AM | 100
Posted by: xLemming | Jul 12, 2018 8:27:20 AM | 96

Europe has an arms industry of their own. I doubt European countries invest their money into US stuff - they buy their own. Most of the money does not go into weapons anyway, but personel and administration. Germany contributes to the maintenance and infrastructure of US bases, but those bases are business, too. This is not Saudi Arabia buying protection. The real news is that Trump has started a trade war negotiating by tantrum.

[Jul 13, 2018] Trump's False Arguments about Russian gas will not sell well in Europe

But Trump has a great point: if you claim that Russia is ready to invade you, why you are buying gas from potential occupier?
Notable quotes:
"... Russia is a near neighbor to Germany. Commerce between relatively close countries is the normal course of events, so what is Trump suggesting, a 1970's style energy embargo on Russia? Depriving Russia the opportunity all trade with her neighbors 'because we said so' is no better than a blockade. ..."
Jul 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Donald Trump, the 'America First' salesman, came to Brussels today to demand more tribute to the empire. He wants Europe to buy more U.S. made weapons and to use U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). But his arguments are all wrong. The people in Europe are not impressed by them and they will reject his appeals.

His first talk in Brussels was a profoundly wrong bashing of Germany to push it into buying very expensive LNG from U.S. fracking producers. Trump, Putin's puppet according to the 'resistance', used the Russian bogeyman to set the scene:

Well, I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.
...
So we're protect you against Russia, but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that's very inappropriate. And the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas. Ultimately, Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas.

So you tell me, is that appropriate? I mean, I've been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should have never been allowed to have happened. But Germany is totally controlled by Russia , because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.
...
Now, if you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply. They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia.
...
I think trade is wonderful. I think energy is a whole different story. I think energy is a much different story than normal trade. And you have a country like Poland that won't accept the gas . You take a look at some of the countries -- they won't accept it, because they don't want to be captive to Russia. But Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia, because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia. So we're supposed to protect Germany, but they're getting their energy from Russia. Explain that. And it can't be explained -- you know that.

Trump was talking about the Nordstream II pipeline which will supply Germany and other European countries with natural gas from Russia.


bigger

Nord Stream I has been operating for a while. Nord Stream II is currently being build by private Austrian and German companies.

Cont. reading:

Posted by b at 02:50 PM | Comments (161)

bevin , Jul 11, 2018 3:41:00 PM | 3

It is indeed hard to believe that western european governments would agree to what Christopher Black calls a "US shakedown". Except that they have been doing so since 1949.

It is important to remember that the US Embassy exerts at least as much influence on the government as Parliament does. And that Parliaments are full of agents of the the US empire, in some cases they are actually on the payroll, many more are either US educated, marinated in the imperialist ideology or in the service of corporations which know that the Empire is the final guarantor of their survival and capable of crushing them with ease.

That having been said, things are changing, The imperialists cling to power only by exerting the most extraordinary, and unsustainable, pressure. An example of which is the ludicrously over-wrought campaign against the left in the UK being waged by the Israeli Embassy, with the assistance of the entire MSM.

B's arguments are correct but it will take a mobilised and politically conscious public opinion to impose them on governments full of people who see themselves as Washington's servants and expect to be rewarded one day for being loyal to the US and for betraying their countrymen and, of course, women.

SomeGuy , Jul 11, 2018 3:41:41 PM | 4

The question is if Europe will truly continue to bark and bite at the deep state or if this is all just for show and they'll eventually capitulate. I'm worried that this is nothing more than political theatre. I'm not expecting much from the Europeans. But we'll see.
karlof1 , Jul 11, 2018 6:45:07 PM | 25
Europe buying LNG from the US just makes no sense at all. Aside from the cost, LNG is difficult to transport and work with; the whole idea is just nuts, especially considering the quantities involved. In addition, Russian gas is plentiful and cheap, so to expect Europe not to use it is also nuts.

Could it be that Trump fully understands this and the hidden agenda is to get out of NATO and bring home the troops?

jack Leavitt | Jul 11, 2018 3:53:59 PM | 5

An Act of War against Russia

Russia is a near neighbor to Germany. Commerce between relatively close countries is the normal course of events, so what is Trump suggesting, a 1970's style energy embargo on Russia? Depriving Russia the opportunity all trade with her neighbors 'because we said so' is no better than a blockade.

One of these days, my country is going to get a taste of, 'no soup for you' and we will be screaming like stuck pigs.

Yes, I am obsessed w/Sean Hannity

It's his earnest, self-righteous, mind numbingly idiotic voice, I'm hypnotized. Ollie North was on his show and they were going on about 'Iran's' saber rattling by threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz. Sean rattled off how the EU would wake up and it would be the end of Iran's belligerence.

He neglected to mention that this 'threat' is only coming after our act of war by actively trying to cut off all of Iran's oil exports which is no better than a naval blockade.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jul 11, 2018 4:25:37 PM | 6

Much can be gleaned from this NATO Defence Expenditure pdf with special attention given to graphs 5, 6 & 7. Since the dissolution of the USSR, military spending as share of GDP by EU & Canada decreased about 50% as shown in Graph 5. It should also be noted that the demand made by the Outlaw US Empire for EU NATO members to increase their wastage of monies on military equipment began with Obama in 2015, with compliance noted by the graphs in 2016. When Obama gave his orders, very little squawking was heard from EU/Canada governments, although it was quite different from the public. Of course, EU/Canada are caught in a trap of their own design--Russia's quite obviously not the "aggressive" nation that must be defended against using all necessary means as promoted by Russophobic Media Propaganda as they all trade and benefit from commercial interactions; thus, bean counters see NATO as a wastage of vital, finite monies that ought to be spent on productive endeavors advancing the human condition. In national legislatures: "Russia's a growing threat to humanity!!--BUT--No, I'm voting against any increase in military spending as there's no need for it."

European members of NATO don't need such an organization. If they were to join the Russian and Chinese enterprises to unite Eurasia into a common economic zone, then the need for NATO would become indefensible. And their finally becoming independent of the Outlaw US Empire's diktats would provide the impetus required to finally solve the status of Palestine and reaffirmation of the paramountcy of International Law as a greatly expanded Multipolar Order would be established. The United Nations might actually begin to function as designed.

Is Trump trying to push NATO apart by injecting it with a dose of American Chaos? Force EU/Canada to declare their independence from the Outlaw US Empire for numerous reasons? All of which would force the contraction of the Overseas element of the Empire and install an actual defense policy, not one aiming to control the world? Is this Trump's way to force a Neocon retreat?

Meanwhile, China charms Arabia "Under the radar,..., the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), established in 2004, sailed on in Beijing, hosted by President Xi Jinping." Please note the article's citing of new demands made to Iraq by the Outlaw US Empire, which has their roots in Trump's appraisal of the situation.

karlof1 | Jul 11, 2018 4:36:16 PM | 8

I'd say this is why you do not mix a military alliance with politics. Nor allow federal presidents to command and represent an army. Trump's retarded bullshit aside the USA shouldn't be holding committee meetings with allies without an war. An alliance shouldn't be considered active during peacetime. An ally is a figment of political imagination until military necessity requires it in actuality. Historically and currently a military alliance is treated as a contract for warmongering against an outnumbered enemy while at peace or at war. Which is why honorable people (currently very few) eschew alliances or non-aggression agreements until they become a defensive requirement. If President Trump want's to crash NATO with no survivor's, more power to him.

Posted by: anon | Jul 11, 2018 4:44:41 PM | 9

How could a deal like nordstream happen anyway? Are puppets now allowed to make high-level strategic contracts on their own?

Posted by: radiator | Jul 11, 2018 6:10:23 PM | 18

We should also recognize that to some degree Trump is posturing before meeting Putin.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 11, 2018 6:15:11 PM | 19

The bright side of Trump bullying is revealing NATO astronomical hypocrisy as they join psychotic delusions about Russian menace they refuse to put money where their mouth is and shamelessly disclose their vassal status begging for American military support for free.

All that knowing well that there is no threat from Russia that cannot be eliminated simply by good neighborly relation with Russia not by spending $billions on otherwise useless fraudulent US MIC junk.

Is that nor reverse psychology that is in play here, put up or shut up, let me make deal with Russia so you do not have to spend on military rediculous sums to match your delusional rhetorics about Russian threat.

Trump is s gambling man, wants to make money for US MIC on anti Russian lies or make money for US industry on Russia peace and cooperation truths.

Posted by: Kalen | Jul 11, 2018 6:31:42 PM | 20

Love this exchange at breakfast;

"Stoltenberg: [ ] I think that two World Wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart.

Trump: But how can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection?

Stoltenberg: Because we understand that when we stand together, also in dealing with Russia, we are stronger. I think what we have seen is that --

Trump: No, you're just making Russia richer. You're not dealing with Russia. You're making Russia richer."

You'd have to be an idiot not to agree with Trump here.

Posted by: gda | Jul 11, 2018 6:34:15 PM | 21

A notable difference between the way Trump treats the likes of Putin, Xi, and Kim Jong Un - all leaders in their own right - to the way he treats the EU poodles. Zero respect for the poodles.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 11, 2018 6:40:20 PM | 22

"... The big advantage for Germany is that (Nordstream I and Nordstream II] pipelines do not run through any other country ..."

That's because idiot EU / NATO countries like Denmark, who would gladly accept having the pipelines pass through their land and maritime territories (and the transit fees that go with them) if Russian gas were not flowing through them, prefer to support the Nazi whacko Banderites ruling Ukraine who whine that all Russian gas should transit Ukrainian territory in deteriorating pipelines. So Denmark and others refuse to host any part of the pipelines at all.

When Gazprom starts sending all gas through Nordstream I and II and pipelines through the Black Sea, completely bypassing Ukraine, then that country will be close to bankruptcy. Denmark and everyone else in the EU and NATO had better be ready to rescue the Banderites.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 11, 2018 6:43:45 PM | 23

Der Speigel 's fact-checking article of Trump's assertions provides some interesting facts, all in German, which I used Yandex to translate. To counterargue Trump's most pointed assertion that Germany's a captive of Russia, the author provides this rebuke: "Russland ist auf den Abnehmer Deutschland angewiesen. Die Deutschen benötigten die Russen vor allem als Lieferanten für Erdgas." (Russia is dependent on the customer Germany. The Germans needed the Russians mainly as suppliers of natural gas.) Overall: "Für Russland ist Deutschland als Handelspartner wichtiger als andersherum. Von allen deutschen Importen kamen 2017 nur drei Prozent aus Russland - und lediglich zwei Prozent der Exporte gehen in Putins Reich. Für die Russen war die Bundesrepublik mit einem Anteil von 8,6 Prozent ihres gesamten Außenhandels der zweitwichtigste Partner hinter China. Und mehr als zwei Drittel der russischen Exporte nach Deutschland waren Erdgas, Öl und Steinkohle." (For Russia, Germany is more important as a trading partner than elsewhere. Of all German imports, only three percent came from Russia in 2017 - and only two percent of exports go to Putin's Reich. For the Russians, Germany was the second most important Partner behind China, accounting for 8.6 percent of its total foreign trade. And more than two-thirds of Russian exports to Germany were natural gas, Oil and coal.)

Clearly, the total trade turnover between Russia and Germany represents just a small fraction of their totals, and both nations would likely find a replacement if a total embargo was to ensue.

Pft , Jul 11, 2018 7:03:43 PM | 28
The US began pressuring countries to forego nuclear power to support the Petro Dollar in 1978. One big reason they deposed the Shah who was planning to go big with nuclear power with orders for about 20 French and /or German reactors

The TMI accident was likely a false flag run by the newly established FEMA.

If the restrictions on recycling nuclear fuel rods were eliminated there would not be a disposal problem.

Germanys decision to phase out nuclear makes US happy. Germany will only accept Nord Stream 2 if it does not bypass Ukraine. This also makes US happy although they would prefer no Nord Stream 2. As said up thread this is as much about posturing before the Putin meeting and gaining leverage.

A bit O/T but it appears rare metals needed by US military and tech industries are on the list of products subject to tarrifs. China basically has a monopoly on these metals so the only short term purpose is to drive up prices for weapons and tech gadgets which get passed onto the taxpayer/consumer. In effect the tarrifs are just another revenue source to finance tax cuts to corporations and the rich.

Longer term of course the tarrifs make mining some of these metals in the US more feasible, at some cost to the environment , seeing as EPA has been gutted. But for that to happen the tarrifs need to be more or less a permanent thing. Its not like they dont have tarrifs on food and clothes from China. Just expanding the revenue base. The middle class takes the hit in the end, whats left of it anyways

Den Lille Abe , Jul 11, 2018 7:12:41 PM | 29
Trump as a used car salesman does not make much sense either. In fact I don't think he can spell to sense. It telling that he is impervious to the mood in both NATO and the EU.

His middle name should be clueless. He is truly clueless, he will not get an increase in defense expenditure, it would be political self goal (Hello Engeland, no not football, that's more like clueless) for any major political party to demand that, the electorate across Europe are firmly against it. Ohh and who cares about Perfidious Albion, they are not part of Europe anymore, they are some Islands with bad weather in the North Sea.

Seabird sanctuary ?

Europe hopefully comes to its senses and casts of the American yoke, and fashion its own defences, based on ITS needs.

BTW: F the Poles and the Baltics!

dh , Jul 11, 2018 7:37:45 PM | 34
thanks b.. informative and interesting comments from everyone too.. thanks..

trump is a hard guy to read in some respects... he is like a blunt object on the one hand, but he might have some alternative purpose in mind, which would include the meet with trump in 5 days..

if he wants to get rid of nato, i think he is going about it the right way.. i can't see why he would though as that wouldn't benefit the mil complex...i can't see the purpose of nato either way and perhaps it would be best if the poodles let go of having the usa as it's leader in the 21st century.. consider a different approach... i am not sure what canada and other western type poodles can do with all this..

@7 karlof1.. thanks for the pepe link... i just don't see the approach - bullying - taken by the usa to iraq, as working out.. i am listing the demands for others to see firsthand..
"
1. 30% of all the oil in Iraq should be American-controlled – and it's up to the US do what it wants with it.

2. Washington must have full access and control of Iraqi banks.

3. All business and trade with Iran must cease right now.

4. The Hashd al-Shaabi, known as People Mobilization Units (PMUs), instrumental in the victorious fight against Daesh (Islamic State),

must be immediately disbanded."

the usa takes this approach based on weakness, not strength... in fact - if one was to read trumps comments on the surface here - it is the same thing that b has highlighted in this post.. again - the usa is not working from a place of strength.. it is like a wild animal in the last phase of it's life - not good..

Posted by: james | Jul 11, 2018 7:21:18 PM | 30

Lost in the story is fact it is not new supply of natural gas to Europe. It is new pipe lines including two others with the sole intent of bypassing Ukraine. Presently near all Russian natural gas passes through Ukraine on its way to Western Europe and particularly .. Germany. The Ukraine regime has been reaping the benefit of transmission fees and stealing billions of cubic meters of gas, on which they also charged transmission fees. This was the basis behind a recent dispute panel finding in favor of Ukraine and the gas theft. The Americans and willing European Poodles would very much like to keep the gas flowing through Naziville where they would maintain a strangle hold. Gazprom, the principle Russian supplier, more or less said f**K you and formed consortiums to build new pipe lines

Posted by: ger | Jul 11, 2018 7:23:58 PM | 33

@32 So if Germany gets gas through Nordstream they are 'controlled by Russia' but if they get it via Ukraine they aren't. Seems Nordstream would be good insurance against Ukrainian meddling. Cheaper too, a very sound business strategy that Trump should appreciate.

[Jul 06, 2018] The possibility of Seneca cliff: Russia is certainly being creamed. The massive infill is visible from satellites and they haven't found/opened anything new of size

Jul 06, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

ProPoly 07/04/2018 at 10:28 am

More money now.

Russia is certainly being creamed. The massive infill is visible from satellites and they haven't found/opened anything new of size, yet have outlasted what everyone (including them) calculated would be the start of their decline.

Russia needs the oil revenue badly. But is their ultimate decline going to look like China? Very likely.

Hightrekker 07/04/2018 at 2:20 pm
Only Russia has more resources, a much smaller population, imports little, and is better educated.

Plus (not a given), global warming will ring some benefit. China doesn't have a chance (if one is biologist looking at it).

[Jul 03, 2018] No one actually has to act against US shale - it s something of a pretender in the real oil world anyway, and this has long been commented upon

Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Jul 1, 2018 11:31:44 PM | 30

@24 Peter AU 1

I encourage you to give the Escobar article a second reading. I just did to make sure I knew what it was saying. I think karlof1 is making the right points from it.

The collaboration between Saudia Arabia and Russia is a very small part of the article, and no one disputes that this collaboration is occurring. Russia may even be part of OPEC soon, if it chooses. The relationship works against the US but it's not specifically made for this reason. Read Adam Garrie's take on this to see that the moves into OPEC by Russia in recent years are clearly from its own interest as a hugely major supplier, and that Saudi Arabia needs Russia: The New Russia-Saudi Partnership Has Riyadh's US Ally Over a Barrel

I just skimmed it a third time and I don't see Escobar saying anywhere that the Saudi-Russia relationship is to kill US shale. He does say that both Russia and Iran are interested in countering it. I think the point here is that all serious oil producers with profitable reserves take alarm at the US shale oil because it's hard to say that it's a real commodity with an inbuilt profitability. It's a short-term entry into the market that can serve to disrupt the market temporarily, but it has no staying power. I suspect most nations would prefer it simply not intrude.

No one actually has to act against US shale - it's something of a pretender in the real oil world anyway, and this has long been commented upon. Escobar's point that the US shale is largely a myth is not a new concept. At best the reserve will deplete within 15 years, and that's at best - along the way it will destroy the US potable water table. And its intrinsic value is far from clear, since the entire industry is dubiously financed using relatively free Federal Reserve money. As Escobar points out, many call $100 per barrel the profit threshold for shale - that's a ludicrously high bar for profitability in the oil world.

Much of Escobar's article was about the relationship between Russia and Iran, and it served also as a very good primer in world oil and petro-currency numbers. I found it pretty sound.

In fact, I recommend it to those who may be interested: How the Iran sanctions drama intersects with OPEC-plus

[Jul 03, 2018] Clearly the reason for the Trump-Putin summit should be obvious to all by now

Notable quotes:
"... You don't need to give use Northstream 2. We will build it ourselves. ..."
"... Nordstream II only blocking party is Denmark, and they can and will bypass it at some price, if need be. ..."
"... Almost all of the countries that Nord Stream 2 passes through have signed on to its construction. The only holdout is Denmark. In response Gazprom has said it will reroute the pipeline through international waters. There is nothing the US can do about that and Denmark can say goodbye to its share of transit fees. ..."
"... A lot of that sort of crap was being pumped out by trolls and regulars alike a few weeks back on Putin, Nutty and SW Syria. Putin had done a deal and was giving SW Syria to nutty cetra cetra. Like Putin and Xi, Iran and others are too stupid to realize they have to work together against US attacks. ..."
"... Russia has to defend Iran. There is no chance that Putin will sell it to Trump. Once again we see the dreaded "US can do anything" disease arising. In fact US options are limited and evaporating. ..."
"... The most likely outcome of the 'summit'is a renewal or strengthening of old agreements on arms control and much high sounding chatter: in geopolitics the die is cast. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Julian , Jul 1, 2018 1:02:37 PM | 4

Clearly the reason for the Trump-Putin summit should be obvious to all by now

Trump to Putin: We will give you Syria & NordStream II. And in return all we ask is that you stand aside from Iran.

What will Putin do?

And what about the Ukrainian Elections coming up???

Surely Putin has to demand more to stand aside from Iran. Crimea for starters.

PutinToTrump , Jul 1, 2018 1:32:09 PM | 6

We already have Syria and the Crimea.
You don't need to give use Northstream 2. We will build it ourselves.
Šabaniri , Jul 1, 2018 2:02:23 PM | 7
@4, Syria is not Trump's to give. They already lost it.

Nordstream II only blocking party is Denmark, and they can and will bypass it at some price, if need be.

So - Trump has nothing and you think he will be given head of a Russian neigboor, SCO ally, fellow Empire target?
No way.

Yonatan , Jul 1, 2018 4:33:10 PM | 11
Julian @4

Almost all of the countries that Nord Stream 2 passes through have signed on to its construction. The only holdout is Denmark. In response Gazprom has said it will reroute the pipeline through international waters. There is nothing the US can do about that and Denmark can say goodbye to its share of transit fees.

Also Crimea is non-negotiable for Russia. It is Russian territory irrespective of what happens.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 1, 2018 11:14:41 PM | 27
Julian 26

A lot of that sort of crap was being pumped out by trolls and regulars alike a few weeks back on Putin, Nutty and SW Syria. Putin had done a deal and was giving SW Syria to nutty cetra cetra. Like Putin and Xi, Iran and others are too stupid to realize they have to work together against US attacks.

bevin , Jul 1, 2018 11:22:39 PM | 28
Russia has to defend Iran. There is no chance that Putin will sell it to Trump. Once again we see the dreaded "US can do anything" disease arising. In fact US options are limited and evaporating.

Incidentally it is very easy and probably wise to promise the US, in June, not to buy oil in November. It costs nothing and fits into bazaar bargaining strategies.

The most likely outcome of the 'summit'is a renewal or strengthening of old agreements on arms control and much high sounding chatter: in geopolitics the die is cast.

[Jun 27, 2018] jilles dykstra

Jun 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

Antony C. Sutton, ´Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution', 1974 New Rochelle, N.Y.
describes how Wall Street supported bolsjewism in order to prevent that German, suppose also Dutch and other, trade, with Russia was resumed.
WII and the aftermath created the Atlantic alliance.

Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders.

The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold:

Beckow , June 5, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT

more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

Precisely. US could eventually (20-30 years from now) turn into a country similar to many Latin American countries: rich in resources, demographically messy and ungovernable, weak infrastructure, but above all remote and quasi-provincial.

The 'Atlanticist' project is meant to forestall the provincial Latin American future. Washington does have some tools: dollar domination, military force, Hollywood, technology. But none of those are necessarily sustainable without also actively messing up Euro-Russia-China economic convergence. It might require a war to delay the inevitable slow descend into a backwater across the Atlantic.

[Jun 20, 2018] Best Russian oil is going to china; Europe gets only whatg is left

Jun 20, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

alimbiquated x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 6:30 pm

Anyone careto comment on the quality of Russianoil?

http://uawire.org/europe-cuts-back-on-russian-oil-purchases-by-20-due-to-poor-quality

Watcher x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 9:39 pm
read deep into the article -- the best oil goes to China. Europe gets only what is left. Haven't needed it, but the North Sea is dying. Iran is the next supplier but if sanctions eliminate them, Russian oil of whatever quality will be the only choice.

Or Europe could ignore sanctions, if they have the courage.

[Jun 20, 2018] The only four countries that have any ability to increase production -- Russia, Saudis, UAE and Kuwait

Jun 20, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Don, 06/20/2018 at 11:16 am

I wanted to make a comment about the OPEC(and Russia) meeting coming up and a possible production increase. The speculation going around is that OPEC and Russia might increase production up to 1.80 mbpd. The minimum production increase would be around 500kbpd. What is the most likely production increase based on past production?

The only four countries that have any ability to increase production are

1) Russia: Current production 10.9mbpd. High production 11.3mbpd Difference -400kbpd
2) Saudi Arabia: Current production 10.0mbpd. High production 10.6mbpd Difference -600kbpd
3) UAE: Current production 2.9mbpd. High production 3.10mbpd Difference -200kbpd
4) Kuwait: Current production 2.70mbpd. High production 2.8mbpd Difference -100kbpd

The high watermark in production for these countries happened from Mid 2016 to Mid 2017. Currently these four countries are producing about 1.3mbpd below their all-time high production limits. Ask yourself what is the likelihood that these four countries will increase production to all-time highs and potentially surpass their highs which would be required to increase production to 1.80mbpd? When OPEC did announce production cuts at the end of 2016 many believe they had increased production to unsustainable levels to give each country a higher quota from the production cuts. The guys a Core Labs believed they had to cut because it would have threaten the long term integrality of their fields.

My guess is that the most OPEC and Russia can bring back for a sustainable period is about half of the 1.30mbpd they reduced from their production highs .maybe about 600kbpd

[Jun 05, 2018] The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

Notable quotes:
"... Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders. ..."
"... The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , June 5, 2018 at 7:42 am GMT

Antony C. Sutton, ´Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution', 1974 New Rochelle, N.Y. describes how Wall Street supported bolshevism in order to prevent that German, suppose also Dutch and other, trade, with Russia was resumed.

WWII and the aftermath created the Atlantic alliance.

Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders.

The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

[May 27, 2018] Russia And Turkey Reach Deal On Southern Stream Gas Pipeline, Infuriate Washington Zero Hedge

May 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Russia And Turkey Reach Deal On "Southern Stream" Gas Pipeline, Infuriate Washington

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/27/2018 - 11:00 26 SHARES

One and a half years after Russia and Turkey signed a deal to build the strategic "Turkish Stream" gas pipeline in October 2016 , putting an end to a highly contentious period in Russia-Turkish relation which in late 2015 hit rock bottom after the NATO-member state shot down a Russian jet over Syria, on Saturday Russian state energy giant Gazprom and the Turkish government reached a deal on the construction of the land-based part of the Turkish Stream branch that will bring Russian gas to European consumers.

According to Reuters , the two counterparts signed a protocol that would allow the construction, which was stalled by a legal rift over gas prices, to go forward. Gazprom and Turkey's state-owned BOTAS agreed on the terms and conditions of the project, Gazprom said in a statement , adding that the deal "allows to move to practical steps for the implementation of the project." The actual construction would be carried out by a joint venture called TurkAkim Gaz Tasima which will be owned by Gazprom and BOTAS in equal shares, Gazprom said.

Earlier on Saturday, Turkish president Erdogan said that Gazprom and BOTAS resolved a long-running legal dispute over import prices in 2015-2016, and as a result Turkey would gain $1 billion as part of the gas-price settlement reached with Gazprom, in which Turkey and the Russian natgas giant agreed on a 10.25% price discount for gas supplied by Russia in 2015 and 2016.

"We agreed on a 10.25% reduction in the price of natural gas in 2015-2016," Erdogan announced while speaking at a rally on Saturday. "We got our discount. We get about $ 1 billion worth of our rights before the election," the Turkish President said, as cited by Anadolu Agency.

BOTAS had refused to approve the building of the land-based part of the pipeline until the import price issue was resolved. Until now, it only permitted Gazprom to construct the undersea part of the line. The construction is currently underway.

Russia and Turkey officially agreed on the project, which consists of two branches, in October 2016. The first branch will deliver gas to Turkish consumers, while the second one will bring it to the countries in southern and south-western Europe. The European leg is expected to decrease Russia's dependence on transit through Ukraine. Each of the lines has a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters a year.

Gazprom finished the construction of the deep-water part of the first line of the Turkish Stream in April. The first Russian gas could start flowing through both legs of the Turkish Stream by December 2019.

The greenlighting of the Turkish Stream project is sure to infuriate the US which previously announced it was considering sanctions of European firms that would participate in the Nothern Stream Russian gas pipeline.

President Trump went as far as to threaten Angela Merkel two weeks ago , telling her to either drop the Russian gas pipeline or the trade war with the US was set to begin.

How Europe reacts to US threats involving the Northern Stream and, soon, the Turkish Stream, will determine whether Europe will once again find itself a subservient vassal state to US military and energy lobbying powers, or if Brussels will side with Putin in this growing conflict, resulting in an unprecedented breach within the so-called " democratic west. "

[May 27, 2018] Turning on Russia by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Notable quotes:
"... By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould ..."
"... Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History. ..."
"... Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia ..."
"... * Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com ..."
May 27, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Turning on Russia 11/05/2018

In this first of a two-part series, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould trace the origins of the neoconservative targeting of Russia.

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
April 29.2018

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel last September reported that, "Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world's rich. He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction "

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world's first and only. Unipower with the intention of crushing any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order, foreseen just a few short years ago, becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.

As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America's claim to leadership, by the time Fischer's interview appeared in the online version of the Der Spiegel , he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve -- eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the "globalist" and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he directly assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.

As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Fischer not just empire's Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.

Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffry Sachs, in the "Harvard Project," plus Anatoly Chubais, the chief Russian economic adviser, Fischer helped throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end.

As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite: "Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament."

Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues "The outcome rendered privatization 'a de facto fraud,' as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to 'offer fertile ground for criminal activity' was proven right."

If Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role he played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Little known to Americans is the blunt force trauma Fischer and the "prestigious" Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative's James Carden "As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011 'the IMF's intervention in Russia during Fischer's tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.' Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF's intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack."

Neither do most Americans know that it was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged to terrorize Europe and America in the 21 st century. Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President's top national security officer was that he couldn't find Nicaragua on a map.

If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union's collapse it was Brzezinski. And if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America's post-Vietnam Imperialism, it's Fischer. His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative's spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.

Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. From the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists, but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives' goal, working with their Chicago School neoliberal partners, was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural co-optation and financial subversion and to project American power abroad. So far they have been overwhelmingly successful to the detriment of much of the world.

From the end of the Second World War through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.

Pentagon Capitalism

Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA's founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987's Hot Money and the Politics of Debt , described how "Pentagon Capitalism" had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon's debt to the rest of the world.

"In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky's couriers , and the European central banks arranged the 'loan-back,'" Naylor writes. "When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era's chief 'think tank' and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, 'We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We've run rings around the British Empire.'" In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brzezinski himself.

From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could imperil democracy in America and yet Washington's more moderate gatekeepers allowed them in without much of a fight.

Peter Steinfels' 1979 classic The Neoconservatives: The men who are changing America's politics begins with these fateful words. "THE PREMISES OF THIS BOOK are simple. First, that a distinct and powerful political outlook has recently emerged in the United States. Second, that this outlook, preoccupied with certain aspects of American life and blind or complacent towards others, justifies a politics which, should it prevail, threatens to attenuate and diminish the promise of American democracy."

But long before Steinfels' 1979 account, the neoconservative's agenda of inserting their own interests ahead of America's was well underway, attenuating U.S. democracy, undermining détente and angering America's NATO partners that supported it. According to the distinguished State Department Soviet specialist Raymond Garthoff, détente had been under attack by right-wing and military-industrial forces ( led by Senator "Scoop" Jackson ) from its inception. But America's ownership of that policy underwent a shift following U.S. intervention on behalf of Israel during the 1973 October war. Garthoff writes in his detailed volume on American-Soviet relations Détente and Confrontation , "To the allies the threat [to Israel] did not come from the Soviet Union, but from unwise actions by the United States, taken unilaterally and without consultation. The airlift [of arms] had been bad enough. The U.S. military alert of its forces in Europe was too much."

In addition to the crippling Arab oil embargo that followed, the crisis of confidence in U.S. decision-making nearly produced a mutiny within NATO. Garthoff continues, "The United States had used the alert to convert an Arab-Israeli conflict, into which the United States had plunged, into a matter of East-West confrontation. Then it had used that tension as an excuse to demand that Europe subordinate its own policies to a manipulative American diplomatic gamble over which they had no control and to which they had not even been privy, all in the name of alliance unity."

In the end the U.S. found common cause with its Cold War Soviet enemy by imposing a cease-fire accepted by both Egypt and Israel thereby confirming the usefulness of détente. But as related by Garthoff this success triggered an even greater effort by Israel's "politically significant supporters" in the U.S. to begin opposing any cooperation with the Soviet Union, at all.

Garthoff writes, "The United States had pressed Israel into doing precisely what the Soviet Union (as well as the United States) had wanted: to halt its advance short of complete encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army east of Suez Thus they [Israel's politically significant supporters] saw the convergence of American-Soviet interests and effective cooperation in imposing a cease-fire as a harbinger of greater future cooperation by the two superpowers in working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian problem."

Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History.

Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia

* Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com

Published at consortiumnews.com

[May 23, 2018] the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens What happens when a country decides to decouple itself from the US-Saudi axis of evil

May 23, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

What happens when a country decides to decouple itself from the US/Saudi axis of evil globinfo freexchange
T he role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East chaos is quite well known . Recall that in a letter of the Podesta email series, John Podesta admitted that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia we re helping ISIS. Podesta also mentioned that the US should exercise pressure to these countries in order to stop doing it: " ... we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. "
Of course Hillary Clinton wouldn't do anything about this problem too, as in another letter of the Podesta email series, it was revealed that Bill Clinton was receiving "expensive gifts" from the Qataris!
As reported by Antimedia , in 2009 Qatar proposed a pipeline to run through Syria and Turkey to export Saudi gas. Assad rejected the proposal and instead formed an agreement with Iran and Iraq to construct a pipeline to the European market that would cut Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar out of the route entirely. Since, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have been staunch backers of the opposition seeking to topple Assad. Collectively, they have invested billions of dollars, lent weapons, encouraged the spread of fanatical ideology, and helped smuggle fighters across their borders.
The Iran-Iraq pipeline will strengthen Iranian influence in the region and undermine their rival, Saudi Arabia -- the other main OPEC producer. Given the ability to transport gas to Europe without going through Washington's allies, Iran will hold the upper-hand and will be able to negotiate agreements that exclude the U.S. dollar completely.
Yet, less than a year ago, a crisis erupted between 'unholy' allies, apparently because Qatar has chosen to change camp and proceed into a deeper approach with Iran.
As reported by Guardian , Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf's worst diplomatic dispute in decades. The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran , remove Turkish troops from Qatar's soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qj7RXa9bXPM


Then, apparently, Rex Tillerson tried to persuade Qatar to stay in the unholy alliance and move away from Iran a day after wrapping up discussions with the king of Saudi Arabia and other officials from Arab countries lined up against Qatar.
We can tell now that Qatar has not changed stance and chosen to continue its approach with the winning alliance in the Syrian battlefield. We have the first signs showing that the US empire and its allies in the Middle East will move against Qatar, beginning with a typical first step: propaganda war.
A Pentagon "propagandist," who previously headed a company that was paid half a billion dollars to produce fake terrorist videos in Iraq, was hired by a Dubai based company to create a film accusing Qatar of links to terrorism , the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed.
Charles Andreae, the CEO of Andreae & Associates which was contracted to produce the film, used to work for PR firm Bell Pottinger, the UK PR firm that was payed $540 million dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq.
The firm was employed to produce the anti-Qatari film amidst a diplomatic row in which the Saudi and UAE governments cut ties with Doha, which it accused of supporting terrorism. Qatar has strongly denied the accusation and accused its neighbours of fabricating stories. US intelligence agencies have since confirmed that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites to justify its unprecedented attack against Qatar.
According to the Bureau, Andreae was given over $500,000 to produce a six-part film linking Qatar with global terrorism. The film, entitled "Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance," features a number of neo-conservative pundits making the UAE and Saudi case against Qatar in a 37-minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UeUMmpYZJtQ


Washington's double standards and hypocrisy are quite evident in this case too. After this crisis between allies erupted, a number of US officials immediately launched a series of statements through which they depicted Qatar as the sole supporter of terrorist groups in the Middle East. Again, Saudi Arabia, the most authoritarian regime in the region and probably the biggest supporter of jihadist extremists, was miraculously vanished from their radar and, naturally, the radar of the Western corporate media.
In case Qatar will not compromise and keep walking the path towards decoupling itself from the US/Saudi axis of evil, the next steps will be a new series of upgraded, Iranian-type sanctions, or even a military invasion as the last option. The only thing that can save Qatar for now is the fact that it hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East .

[May 20, 2018] Germany responds to USA's ultimatum about Nord Stream 2 project

May 20, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com

https://us-u.openx.net/w/1.0/pd?plm=6&ph=2857f3e0-a998-4d70-b5c1-b19a3d6766a1

"The US is looking for sales markets. We can understand this, and we are prepared to take effort to ensure this gas reaches Germany easier. Presently, however, it remains much more expensive than the gas delivered via the pipeline," the minister told ARD.

In addition, if the US does not change its tactics of behaviour and continues thinking only of its economic interests, then Europe will act similarly, the minister added.

Earlier, Us officials said that the United Stats may impose sanctions on the companies involved in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project. US Assistant Secretary of State Sandra Oudkirk said that Washington could consider retaliatory measures within the framework of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. She explained the US position as follows: the construction of the gas pipeline will strengthen Europe's dependence on the Russian natural gas.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany regards the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a safe economic project for Europe.

Nord Stream is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation to Greifswald in Germany that is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG. The project includes two parallel lines. The first line was laid by May 2011 and was inaugurated on 8 November 2011. The second line was laid in 2011-2012 and was inaugurated on 8 October 2012. At 1,222 kilometres (759 mi) in length, it is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline. It has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet), but its capacity is planned to be doubled to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet) by 2019, by laying two additional lines.

Source: Pravda Report