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USA-Russia Gas War

Hat tip to John Helmer

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A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass - at the expense of the United States.

Pepe Escobar


Introduction

The USA proxy gas war with Russia is directly on limiting economic ties between EU and Russia and  uses Ukraine as cannon fodder. Today Ukraine is much like Spain in 1936. Split nation, civil war, the arena of collision of interests of foreign powers (with old players known from Spain war -- the USA, GB, Germany and Russia, but this time USA and GB are on German side of the conflict; Poland is playing the role of Italy), betrayal of national elite, spies, foreign volunteers, mercenaries ... But there is one important difference -- all this events are happening on the background of the US gas war with Russia. The strategic goal in this war is to isolate Russia from EU, and first of all Germany.

A starting point, kind of 101 for the topic might be nakedcapitalism.com Ukraine: The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June, BBC report Ukraine-Russia gas row: Red bills and red rags by Alix Kroeger and Russell Hotten, and The Russian Gas Carousel: Who Wants Off, and Who Wants On (May 21, 2014)

BBC report is pretty biased (as it should be in government controlled MSM) but it provides some discussion of key problems with the exception of one -- chronic, systemic inability of Ukraine to pay for Russia gas due to low competitiveness of the industries which are major consumers or it. For that nakedcapitalism.com article is a better source information. Here is the map of EU countries dependence of Russian supplies:

The nightmare of having a "partner" that is insolvent and steals the gas

For Russia Ukraine is a huge chronic pain, the partner that they iether need to subsidize or to cut the flow of gas. Ukraine is insolvent and can't pay market price for Russian gas. So it simply steals it. This nightmare of subsiding Ukraine lasted since the independence.

“We cannot deliver gas for free, so they need to pay off the debt,” said Aleksey Miller, Gazprom chief executive has said. The fact that junta came to power in Kiev in February, 2014 was the last drop that broke the camel back.

Russia understands that junta enjoys full support of the US government and that further complicates the situation, probably to the great delight of the USA energy companies brass:

Russia has threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine because of the dispute over prices. That could also affect EU countries, as much Russian gas is delivered to the West through Ukraine.

We examine what's behind the row, and its potential impact on Europe and its gas supplies.

What is the row about?

The immediate dispute is about Ukraine's very large unpaid gas bill: $2.2bn (£1.2bn; 1.4bn Euros), according to the Russian state-controlled utility Gazprom.

If Ukraine does not settle its bill, Gazprom will in effect install the world's largest pre-pay meter, and Ukraine will be obliged to pay for its gas in advance. If it fails to pay, Gazprom says it will restrict or suspend delivery.

But lurking behind this is the power struggle between the interim Ukrainian government, which leans towards the EU, and Russia, which wants to keep Ukraine firmly within its sphere of influence.

In February, months of street protests culminated in the removal from power of Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich. He had decided not to sign an association agreement with the EU, opting instead to join Russia's customs union.

But the interim government has reversed course. In return, the EU is providing development assistance, a loan of 1.6bn Euros (£1.3bn; $2.2bn), the temporary removal of customs duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU, and a programme to lessen Ukraine's energy dependence on Russia.

That has angered the Kremlin. Gazprom has raised the price Ukraine will have to pay for its gas in future by 81%: up to $485.50 (£293; 354 Euros) from $268.50 for 1,000 cubic metres.

Previously, Ukraine's gas imports were subsidised in return for Russia's lease of the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet. But since Russia annexed Crimea last month, that agreement is no longer valid.

Will anyone outside Ukraine be affected?

Quite possibly - the EU gets about a third of its gas from Russia, with some 50% of this flowing through Ukraine.

Outside Ukraine, two other pipelines link Russia to the EU: the North Stream (under the Baltic) and the Yamal, which flows through Belarus and Poland.

Germany and Italy are the two biggest customers for Russian gas. However, Germany is building more coal-fired power plants and renewable energy installations, including offshore wind farms.

Countries most reliant on Russian gas flows via Ukraine (cubic metres, billion)
Source: Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
2013 2012
Italy 25.33 15.08
Turkey 13 14.02
Germany 11.71 21
Czech Republic 7.32 7.28
Hungary 6 5.29
Slovakia 5.42 4.19

Another pipeline, the South Stream, is under construction, running from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then splitting into two branches, north through Hungary to Austria, and south to Italy.

The project website says the South Stream is scheduled to begin supplying gas late next year and be completed in 2018-19.

However, the EU could decide to freeze construction as part of a further round of sanctions on Russia.

Interconnectors between different pipelines could also help. South-eastern EU countries such as Austria and the Czech Republic receive their supplies via Ukraine and are most at risk if Russia turns off the taps. However, they could receive relief supplies via the interconnectors flowing down from Germany.

Other countries, such as Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, are looking to diversify their energy supplies, for example by bringing in more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from non-European countries, such as Qatar, or shale gas from North America.

One factor working in the favor of EU consumers is the weather: energy use falls in summer, reducing dependence on imports.

Looks like Ukrainian events are used by the USA and its proxies and clients in Europe as a pretext for launched a campaign directed on undermining Russia’s strategic economic position in energy exports through a variety of means.

Geopolitical games about Ukrainian pipeline and Southern Stream project

From derailing negotiations over pipeline construction to using puppet governments as a wedge between Moscow and Europe, the US and its allies want to weaken Russia strategic position vis-à-vis gas delivery infrastructure, while simultaneously strengthening their own.

See also IEA Publication Energy Policies beyond IEA Countries - Ukraine 2012 - Ukrainian Version

Ukraine’s energy sector faces unprecedented challenges, from a heavy reliance on expensive fossil-fuel imports to inefficient infrastructure and markets. Yet there is also potential for Ukraine to experience an energy revolution, one that could boost employment, lift economic growth and enhance energy security. Modernisation of Ukraine’s energy-supply sectors has only begun and will require investment on a huge scale, complemented by a fundamental reform of the business environment.

A strong dependency on oil and gas imports and often-inefficient energy production, transportation and supply sectors means that reducing energy demand must be a greater priority. The potential for energy efficiency gains in the residential, district heating and industrial sectors is large. Endowed with large conventional energy reserves, alongside sizeable renewable potential, Ukraine can build the capacity to significantly increase its resource production.

Releasing this potential will require deep regulatory reform and full implementation of international treaty provisions. Effective competition, alongside a progressive move towards market prices, will also help Ukraine attract investment to develop the sector. A draft energy strategy, which sets out a series of supply-side measures, was published in 2012. Broadening and implementing a comprehensive energy strategy, one that takes greater account of demand-side policies, could significantly improve progress in the medium term.

This review analyses the large energy-policy challenges facing Ukraine and provides recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to help guide policy makers in the country towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.

Related link:

Putin's failed "Turkish Gambit"

As EU blocked Putin's attempt to bypass Ukraine via Back Sea route to Bulgaria, Putin decided to solve the problem via Turkey, despite the fact htat it more legthy path and turkey is not among Russia friends and is a member of NATO.

This "Turkish Gambit" was a very dangerous play. This idea of "sacrificing" the "South stream" to induce some sense of reality into EU and get some leverage is both very bold and very risky play. At the end it failed. But it instantly demonstrated astonished EU brass that Russia can search and find other markets for its gas. And no less profitable then German market. That raises for EU the spectre of redirection of Russia energy flows away from Europe, the last thing the EU wants as alternatives are more expensive and need additional infrastructure to be built. .

Southern European countries, especially Serbia and Bulgaria, which also were keen to blackmail Russian over this project, but which were already counting rent from running the pipeline, now look like a bride for which the groom left just before the wedding.

Of cause the perspective of subsidizing Ukraine which will steal gar from the pipeline in any case is even worse then running pipeline via Turkey which is on its way of transformation from secular into moderate Islamist state and as such is a threat to Russia (if this is a real plan; that is just the first move; Putin might have in mind something else) but here dangers are also clearly visible. Among them alienation of Greece and Armenia, as well as additional costs of running the pipeline for a longer distance.

One think is clear -- EU bureaucrats and Angela Merkel did shoot itself in the foot.

The greatest winner in this Turkish gambit play is the USA. For them this is a real and huge diplomatic victory. and it opens the path of supplying US LNG to Europe, if (big if) they can pay the price. While this is called energy diversification by US politicians in reality this is a power play to capture new markets.

Turkey politicians were not too exited with this perspective. They viewed it as mainly a good possibility to extract huge concession from Russia as for price  of the gas sold to turkey. Here is Turkish view on the problem from Batı’ya karşı Rusya kozunu kullanmak (Dec 4, 2014):

The visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey caused serious debate not only about energy, but also about policy in energy shere.

The issues on which the parties have significant differences of opinion (especially Syria and Ukraine), were not mentioned at all during the visit. Instead, priority in these discussions (and, in my opinion, somewhat exaggerated form) was given to Russia's decision to cancel the project pipeline in Europe and lay it in Turkey.

As in the case of accidents in coal mines, one can observe that the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz (Taner Yıldız) demonstrates good communication skills. One of the first order, award-active discussion, it was Putin's statement about a 6% discount on natural gas, which Moscow supplies to Turkey. According to unofficial sources, the ministry has requested to reduce the price by 15%, while in the energy department requested the exact figure is not announced prices. Therefore, it is likely that once the discount exceeds 6%, to be made a statement saying that "this is the desired amount." But other countries Russia really sells gas is cheaper, so reducing the price of gas supplied to Turkey, was widely anticipated move.

The main surprise, in my view, was the statement of Vladimir Putin's rejection of the project "South Stream" and a willingness to build a pipeline to Turkey. In our country, the news is presented as a success for Turkey, however much it would be better to consider it as part of the game Putin against the West. In other words, we use Russia, and Russia uses us in your game.

This new project Russia is quite complicated to implement. First of all, we should recognize that in this form it is not profitable for either Turkey or Russia. Russia is seeking to sell gas directly to Europe. Over the past few years Russia invested large sums in Europe, wanting to fully capture the western energy market. But Russia is unlikely to increase their bets in this market through Turkey, despite the position of the EU and the failure of Bulgaria. Moreover, if Turkey by giving permission for the use of its territory and will only receive payment for transit, then it's better not to build this pipeline at all. But if Turkey will buy gas from Russia, mix it with the gas purchased in other countries, and sell it to yourself to Europe, then the project will be really beneficial for Turkey. But in this case, the question arises: "Why Russia to invest that amount of money if it will not be aboee to determine the price of the resold gas "

So, Russia is choking under pressure from the West, trying to find some way out. Initiating a similar project, Russia is trying to use it as a bargaining chip against Europe. However, anyone who has jurisdiction in this matter, understand that to realize these plans will not be easy.

It is in the interests of Turkey to pursue the gas deal from Northern Iraq.

A further increase Turkey's dependence on Russia - is, from all points of view, the risk. It is important to remember that for the last two years, Turkey has been successful in politics in Northern Iraq. Drawing their attention to the region and getting a direct license to extract gas Ankara actually can get a profitable business. Furthermore, Turkey does not need to turn away from this path in the future, for example, to conclude an agreement with the Northern Iraq like those that have been signed with Iran. Turkey should get gas from Southern Mediterranean thanks to the center created in Ceyhan. In this case Turkey, on the one hand, acquire a strategic force, on the other - guarantee the security of supplies and price advantages.

If we decide to go this path, it becomes obvious that buying the old volumes of gas in Russia in not rational. Of course, Russia is great player in energy sphere, but there are too many unknowns in this game. If Turkey agrees to this game, knowing that it is contrary to its interests, it can be explained only one reason - the desire to set the tone in the resistance to the West because of the growing contradictions with it.

Obviously, due to pressure from the West, Russia is left without countervailing forces on which it rely in pursuing its policy. And this sense Turkey rude "demonstration of power ansd independence" is just playing into another dangerous game.


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[Jul 30, 2020] USA threatens German Nord Stream 2 contractors

Jul 30, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 2:17 am

USA drohen deutschen Auftragnehmern von Nord Stream 2
Stand: 08:32 Uhr

USA threatens German Nord Stream 2 contractors
Status: 08:32 a.m.

https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/plus212234259/Nord-Stream-2-USA-drohen-deutschen-Auftragnehmern.html?cid=onsite.onsitesearch

Die Welt: США угрожают европейским подрядчикам "Северного потока -- 2"
26 июля 2020

https://yandex.ru/turbo/s/ria.ru/20200726/1574926306.html?promo=navbar&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com

MOSCOW, July 26 – RIA Novosti. The US authorities are increasing pressure on German and European companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2, Die Welt newspaper writes, citing sources.

The newspaper notes that the American side has held two videoconferences with gas pipeline contractors from Germany and other European countries to "indicate the far-reaching consequences of their further participation in the project". The conferences were attended by representatives of the US Department of State, Treasury and Department of Energy.

Sources told the newspaper that American officials "have made it very clear that they want to prevent the completion of Nord Stream 2".

The Empire hath spoken!

MARK CHAPMAN July 27, 2020 at 1:35 pm

I suppose the Germans could crumble like cheese, but I personally think it is very unlikely, since doing so would mean total dependence on the United States, with its whims and its 'loyalty tests'. Not necessarily in energy, because Europe would still have to rely heavily on Russia; the United States would be satisfied – for the moment – with Russia continuing to supply its present amounts, provided they went through Ukraine as they do now, so that Russia has to help finance Ukraine's slow development as a US project dedicated to Russia's undoing. But America knows it cannot ever replace Russian supply, although it would ideally like to take more and more market share as its own production (theoretically) continues to increase. It just adamantly does not want Ukraine taken out of the equation, because Ukraine is like a rheostat that Washington can turn up or down as necessary.

No, the USA cannot replace Russian gas, but if Germany gives in now, Washington will run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary for as far as the eye can see. And I believe Germany knows it.

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 11:46 pm

The German foreign minister was making suitable noises for the USA yesterday, saying that in order to rejoin G7, Russia must firstly clean up its relations with Banderastan -- read: stop its "aggression" towards the Ukraine and return the Crimea to its rightful "owner".

The Kremlin responded that it has no intention of rejoining G7.

No mention off the German minister about the Ukraine not complying with the Minsk agreement, about the Ukraine government waging war against its citizens, its stopping the water supply to the Crimea etc., etc. just Big Bad Russia the "Aggressor State" that must learn how to behave itself according "International Law".

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 3:34 am

RT

Russia beating United States in battle for China's huge energy market
July 27, 2020, 11:12 GMT

https://www.rt.com/business/495949-russia-outpaces-us-lng-china/

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 3:36 am

Unbelievable!

They're turning down "Freedom Molecules"?

MARK CHAPMAN July 27, 2020 at 3:37 pm

So it would appear. But it should not be at all surprising – except maybe to Washington – that you cannot shit on China day and night and call it all sorts of unpleasant names, and then expect the sun to come up on happy business partners China and the USA next day. China shares with Russia an imperative that it be respected; you don't have to like it, but you must speak respectfully and politely about it, and limit your accusations to what you can prove.

Washington likes to unload the mockery by the truckload, and then, when it's time to do business, say "Aw, shucks – I were just funnin'", and have business go forward as if the insults had never been voiced. Or, worse yet, insist that it is sticking to its positions, but you must do business with it anyway because it is the world leader and there is nowhere else to turn.

Natural Gas in the USA is at what is referred to as a 'messy bottom', and both production and sales are below year-over-year average. Yet it is plain – they say so, in so many words – that America expects sales growth to come from China and India.

"The International Energy Agency expects LNG, the main driver of international gas trade, to expand by 21% in 2019-2025, reaching 585 billion cubic meters annually. The growth will come from China and India, the IEA said in its Gas 2020 report published Wednesday. Trade will increase at a slower pace than liquefaction capacity additions, limiting the prospects of a tighter market, it said in the report."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/shell-ceo-says-lng-market-will-recover-to-pre-virus-levels/ar-BB15imQu

I think he's probably right that the natural gas market will expand by a significant number. I'm just not sure the USA will play much of a part in it. And China is on solid ground, no matter how much America screams and roars; Russian gas is cheaper, and the logistics chain is short and reliable.

WARREN July 28, 2020 at 5:31 pm

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1288112640493928449&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com%2F2020%2F07%2F05%2Fhow-to-make-a-brick-from-straw-and-bullshit%2F&siteScreenName=wordpressdotcom&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px


MARK CHAPMAN July 28, 2020 at 6:06 pm

Obviously, for this group, 'bridging the gap' in 'threat perception' does NOT mean coaxing Poland and Lithuania to realize that Nord Stream II is just a commercial venture. It means coaxing France and Germany to accept and amplify Poland and Lithuania's paranoia and loathing of Russia. Equally obviously, America's determination to be Europe's Daddy with the LNG is just a commercial venture. Nothing political about it, and if the USA ever found itself in the position where it could leverage its energy sales to Europe to make Europe do things it otherwise would not do willingly, why, it would never use that power. Only the Russians weaponize energy.

The 'panel' is simply a parade of Atlanticists, a neoconservative wet dream. There are no realists there. Fortunately, US approval of the project is not required.


[Jul 26, 2020] 'Very serious threats'- US reportedly ramps up pressure on Nord Stream 2 contractors -- RT Business News

Jul 26, 2020 | www.rt.com

'Very serious threats': US reportedly ramps up pressure on Nord Stream 2 contractors 26 Jul, 2020 08:12 Get short URL © Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt 123 Follow RT on RT The US government has made further attempts to force European firms to ditch the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing people familiar with talks on the issue.

According to the newspaper, officials from US Department of State, the Treasury Department, as well as the Department of Energy approached European contractors to make sure they fully understand the consequences of staying in the project. Up to a dozen officials reportedly held at least two online conferences with representatives of the firms in recent days.

ALSO ON RT.COM Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline will significantly cut gas prices in Europe, energy consultancy says

Speaking in a "friendly" manner, the US side stressed that it wanted to prevent completion of Nord Stream 2, observers of the online talks said. "I believe the threat is very, very serious," one of them revealed to the German outlet.

Those threats are consistent with comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, in which he warned that companies involved in the project had better "get out now" or risk facing penalties under Section 232 of the notorious Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

READ MORE 'Attempted extortion': Germany reaffirms commitment to Russian gas project despite US threats

Apart from Russia's energy major Gazprom, which is developing the project, five European companies have joined. Those are France's Engie, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Wintershall and Germany's Uniper.

Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, the latter called US attempts to undermine the "important infrastructure project" a clear intervention into European sovereignty.

Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, meant to expand US sanctions on companies involved in installing Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. According to one of the sponsors of the bill, the measures can target companies facilitating or providing vessels, insurance, port facilities, or tethering services for those vessels, as well as to those providing certification for Nord Stream 2.

Both European businesses and government officials have repeatedly decried US attempts to meddle in European energy policy by sanctioning Nord Stream 2, with some even calling on Brussels to work on countermeasures.

Moscow has also lambasted Washington's move, calling it unfair competition. Earlier this week, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will develop a new strategy for completion of the project if Washington proceeds with new punitive measures.

[Jul 16, 2020] The Danes have set August 3rd as the restart date

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 3:38 am

Дания разрешила использовать новые суда для прокладки "Северного потока – 2"

STOCKHOLM, July 6. / TASS /. At the request of Nord Stream 2 AG, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has given permission that vessels with anchor positioning be used on an unfinished section of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline southeast of Bornholm Island. This was announced on Monday in a departmental press release.

https://tass.ru/ekonomika/8893439
https://yandex.ru/turbo/s/tass.ru/ekonomika/8893439?promo=navbar&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.c

MARK CHAPMAN July 6, 2020 at 8:41 am

Ha, ha! I expect the Danes had their wetted finger to the wind, and were reasonably quick to observe Merkel's kiss-off of the United States when it did the inadvisable, and went ahead with more sanctions to try to prevent completion of the pipeline. Might be too late to start construction this summer, though – we're into the cod-spawning season now. Maybe they could do part of it at the other end, or something.

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

The Danes have set August 3rd as the restart date because that's when the Baltic cod stop doing their thing.

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

No, not after the spawning season has stopped -- I think that must have just been a load of bollocks of an excuse for blocking further work -- but when the time allowed for an appeal against the Danish govt decision has elapsed:

К достройке газопровода приступят после истечения срока обжалования обновленного разрешения Дании -- 3 августа.

The completion of the gas pipeline will begin after the expiration of the appeal period for the renewed Denmark permit -- August 3./

https://m.gazeta.ru/business/2020/07/06/13142635.shtml

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 3:41 am

Send in the a United States Navy!!!

Europe must be saved from Russian gas weaponization!

Let the US freedom gas molecules ring!

[Jul 16, 2020] If Pompeo has a functioning brain, he should realize that all these blatant efforts to reserve markets for America by sanctioning all its competitors out of the picture is having the opposite effect, and frightening customers away from becoming dependent on American products

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOWEXILE July 15, 2020 at 7:58 am

Fat bully boy speaks for Bully Boy state:

"Today the Department of State is updating the public guidance for CAATSA authorities to include Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream 2. This action puts investments or other activities that are related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of US sanctions. It's a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia's malign influence projects and will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences".

Pompeo speaking at a press conference today.

CAATSA -- Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

So Russia and Turkey are "adversaries" of the USA?

In what way?

Do these states wish to wage war against the USA?

Is it adversarial to United States interest to compete economically with the hegemon?

MOSCOWEXILE July 15, 2020 at 7:59 am

Link to above:

https://sputniknews.com/world/202007151079893067-us-plans-to-add-nord-stream-2-turkstream-to-list-of-projects-to-be-sanctioned/

MARK CHAPMAN July 15, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Who cares? Really, is Pompeo still scary? If he has a functioning brain, he should realize that all these blatant efforts to reserve markets for America by sanctioning all its competitors out of the picture is having the opposite effect, and frightening customers away from becoming dependent on American products which might be withheld on a whim when America wants political concessions. 'Will not be tolerated' – what a pompous ass. Sanction away. The consequence is well-known to be seizure of assets held in the United States or an inability to do business in the United States. That will frighten some into submission – like the UK, which was threatened with the cessation of intelligence-sharing with the USA (sure you can spare it?) if it did not drop Huawei from its 5G networks. But others will take prudent steps to limit their exposure to such threats, in the certain knowledge that if they work, they will encourage the USA to use the technique again.

[Jul 13, 2020] The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has announced a deadline after which it will be possible to begin work on completing the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas export pipeline

Jul 13, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 8:05 am

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has announced a deadline after which it will be possible to begin work on completing the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas export pipeline, RIA Novosti reported with reference to the regulator's statement.

https://yandex.ru/turbo/s/lenta.ru/news/2020/07/06/restart/?promo=navbar&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.c

Over to you Uncle Sam!

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 10:52 pm

Apart from this below, I have found nothing in the UK and German media about Denmark's giving the go-ahead for the final stage of NS2 construction:

NATURAL GAS 06 Jul 2020 | 09:44 UTC London
Denmark approves use of ships with anchors to lay Nord Stream 2 gas link

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/natural-gas/070620-denmark-approves-use-of-ships-with-anchors-to-lay-nord-stream-2-gas-link

I wonder why?

If you search through the web, you find reports in the Western media about Denmark giving its approval in 2019. It reneged on that decision. . But nothing on the Danish decision the other day.

Because the USA must never appear as a "loser".?

[May 15, 2020] NATO v. Nord Stream 2 caucus99percent

May 15, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

NATO v. Nord Stream 2

gjohnsit on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 3:54pm After a five month delay, Russia is ready to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline .

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built to increase the flow of Russian gas into Europe's biggest economy, was thwarted five months ago after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions that forced workers to retreat. Now, after a three-month voyage circumnavigating the globe, the Akademik Cherskiy, the Russian pipe-laying vessel that's a prime candidate to finish the project, has anchored off the German port where the remaining pipeline sections are waiting to be installed...
Satellite images captured by Planet Labs inc. on May 10 show that sections of pipeline have been moved to a jetty equipped with a crane for loading. Ship-tracking data shows that a dredging vessel operated by a Nord Stream 2 contractor, as well as a Russian pipe-laying-crane ship are also in the vicinity and that the Akademik Cherskiy had moved as of Wednesday next to the jetty loaded with pipes.

In order to complete the final 100-mile stretch of Nord Stream 2, Russia effectively needs to use its own vessels due to U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. still thinks that it can stop Gazprom from finishing the pipeline, but that's insane.

Tens of billions of dollars, along with Putin's reputation as a savvy geopolitical chess master, have been invested in the pipeline project. However, Moscow is now running out of viable options. The only move left is to proceed in defiance of sanctions that will adversely affect many in the higher echelons of the Russian establishment.

This is checkmate.

Yes, this is checkmate...for Putin.
After investing billions of dollars, Gazprom would go bust if they don't finish this pipeline. So do you really think that more U.S. sanctions will give them even a moment's pause?
Sanctions are pointless now.

The question here is, why was this pipeline such a big deal?
To give you an idea, consider the recently completed Turkstream pipeline .
The Turkstream pipeline network isn't even fully integrated yet, and it's already having an impact. Who it's impacting is the key.

Although Ukraine has not been importing any Russian gas for its domestic needs since November 2015, it has signed a five-year transit contract with Gazprom for a minimum 65bcm in 2020 and 40bcm/year from 2021.

However, transit volumes have fallen 47% year on year in the first four months of 2020, amounting to 15.5bcm. The steep drop has been linked to European oversupply and low demand, but also to the lack of transit to the Balkan region after Russian exports to Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece were diverted to the new TurkStream pipeline from January 2020.

"Our transmission system can transit 110bcm of gas [annually] but this year we expect only 50-55bcm of transit," Makogon added, pointing out that volumes would drop even lower if Russia commissions Nord Stream 2 , a 55bcm/year subsea pipeline designed to link Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Ukraine stands to lose $3 Billion a year in transit fees from Russia once Nord Stream 2 is completed this year. This will devastate Ukraine's budget and economy.
Before you feel any sympathy for Ukraine, consider the situation that Ukraine put Russia in.

Ukraine's NATO membership ambitions were written into the Ukrainian Constitution in February 2019 via an amendment that also confirmed the goal of eventually joining the European Union.

NATO integration has remained official Ukrainian policy following the April 2019 election of President Zelenskyy. In early 2020, the country was said to be on track to secure NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status later in the year if the pace of reforms was maintained.

NATO's mission continues to be "destroy Russia". So you can see why Russia would feel the need to, at the very least, not help fund an enemy nation.
Plus the potential consequences of Ukraine entering NATO are terrible.

There are ongoing concerns that membership would allow Ukraine to immediately invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the stipulation that an armed attack against one member state is an attack against them all.

Fortunately, the new Ukraine government of President Zelensky doesn't appear nearly so eager for a military confrontation with Russia. Plus public support for joining NATO is dropping.

If I was to make a prediction, I would say that NATO was about to experience a political setback.

[May 05, 2020] German Regulator Plans to Deny Nord Stream 2 Waiver from New Gas Directive

May 05, 2020 | sputniknews.com

javascript:void(0)

Handelsblatt newspaper reported, citing the draft decision of the Federal Network Agency of Germany (BNA), that the BNA intends to reject an application filed by Nord Stream 2 for an exemption of the pipeline project from the requirements of the updated EU gas directive.

The agency announced in mid-January that it had accepted applications from the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 operators to exempt the gas pipelines from the requirements of the EU gas directive. According to Handelsblatt, the agency earlier on Friday sent a draft decision to the parties involved in the process. The newspaper added that the BNA will accept replies from them until 8 May, after which it will "promptly" make a final decision .

The reason for the rejection of the Nord Stream 2 application was the fact that in order to exempt the gas pipeline from the updated directive, the pipeline must have been completed before May 2019. Nord Stream 2 insisted that it was necessary to not proceed from the "construction" point of this requirement, but to take into account the fact that "billions of investments had already been made in accordance with the previous legal regime by the time the new directives of the domestic gas market came into force".

The spokesman for Nord Stream 2, Jens Mueller, said in January that the project meets all the requirements for its exemption from the rules of the updated EU gas directive in Germany and that this also applies to the completion date of the project.

[May 02, 2020] Gazprom ramps up its export capacity to China via the Power of Siberia line, plans to add a second compressor station this year

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman April 27, 2020 at 3:59 pm

Gazprom ramps up its export capacity to China via the Power of Siberia line, plans to add a second compressor station this year. Drill rigs at the Kovykta Field are expected to go from 7 this year to 18 next year, and the extraction flows added to the Power of Siberia capacity.

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/natural-gas/041420-russias-gazprom-eyes-capacity-increase-on-china-gas-export-link

[May 02, 2020] The servants of Washington in the EU will try to extract every last concession they can before the pipeline is completed, but they absolutely want it and will back down if they think Russia would actually give up on completing it

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman May 1, 2020 at 1:41 pm

The servants of Washington in the EU will try to extract every last concession they can before the pipeline is completed, but they absolutely want it and will back down if they think Russia would actually give up on completing it. Their strategy all along was to let Russia build it, but ensure its operation fell under the control of EU regulators so that they could get plenty of gas when they needed it, but use it as a negotiating tool when they had lots in reserve, start complaining about the price and try to get more pipeline volume for competitors, variations on the ideal where the Russians would absorb all the costs of building it, but would yield all advantages of the completed pipeline to the EU. Right up until the moment the first volumes go through the pipeline, the EU is going to act as a spoiler on a project they absolutely want to be completed.

If Russia said, all right then, fuck you; Get your gas from the Americans, if that's what you want, two things would happen – one, The Donald would come in his pants, and two, Brussels would go wait wait wait wait hold on. No need to be hasty.

But they think they are in a super-strong position now, because their American pals stopped it when it was just a whisker away from completion, and gave them breathing space to renegotiate a deal that was already set, and make up a bunch of new rules using that was then, this is now for a rationale. I hope Russia does the same to them once it's complete, and says yeah, you THOUGHT that was the price, but that was then, and charges them just enough under the American price that dropping them in favour of the Americans is not feasible, but still much more than they thought they would pay.

karl1haushofer May 1, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Another setback for Nord Stream 2: https://sputniknews.com/europe/202005011079159594-german-regulator-plans-to-deny-nord-stream-2-waiver-from-new-gas-directive -- reports/

[May 02, 2020] It'd be nice to think Russia is going to complete Nord Stream II right away just to spite Washington and its endless meddling, but as we have discussed before, there really is no hurry

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman April 27, 2020 at 9:27 am

That's funny; I just checked her position last night, and it said she was bound for Nakhodka, due early in July.

Yeah; making 10 knots for Nakhodka, due there July 1st. That's where she left from originally, but so far as I could make out there is nothing in Nakhodka which might lead to the belief she will be there undergoing updates and tweaks for her employment finishing Nord Stream II.

https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/AKADEMIK-CHERSKIY-IMO-8770261-MMSI-273399760

It'd be nice to think Russia is going to complete Nord Stream II right away just to spite Washington and its endless meddling, but as we have discussed before, there really is no hurry. Russia is locked into a new medium-term transit contract with Ukraine, the Russian state has reduced income available due to the oil-price mess and low demand owing to the 'pandemic', and would be forging ahead with work that would cost it just as much money to do now as it would later, when it likely will have more cash available. I've read the AKADEMIK CHERKSIY needs a short refit and a little updating to ready her for Nord Stream work, since being principal pipelayer for that line possibly requires some different equipment or at least some adjustments. It likely would require crewing by some more specialists, as well, and there's no reason to believe they have been aboard all this time. I suppose they could meet the ship in Nakhodka, but there is nothing at this point to suggest that.

The only thing that argues for Russia pressing ahead now is the weather, which should be entering the season when it would be best for that kind of work. Otherwise, nothing suggests Russia is in a tearing rush to get on with it. Certainly the partners have not been told anything, and they don't appear to be unduly alarmed at the lack of immediate progress.

https://neftegaz.ru/en/news/companies/523680-no-plan-b-presented-to-austria-s-omv-on-nord-stream-2-gas-link-ceo/

[Feb 10, 2020] Location, location, location Why Russian LNG can beat competition from US Australia

Feb 10, 2020 | www.rt.com

Russia's geographical position makes its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) more profitable and competitive with American and Australian supplies, according to Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Russia ships most of its LNG (around 69 percent) to Asian markets, where the bulk of global LNG supplies are sent. The country could also export its LNG via traditional Russian pipeline gas European routes, due to low cost and short transportation distance, the minister wrote, in an article for the Energy Policy journal.

Also on rt.com Trump urges Europe to buy American natural gas to ensure their energy security

"Russia's convenient geographical position between Europe and Asia allows our LNG to be profitable at current prices and to win competition from the US and Australia," Novak said. "If necessary, we can deliver liquefied gas to any European country, and it will be faster and cheaper than many other suppliers."

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) could be a key transport link to connect massive Arctic energy projects Russia is currently developing with target markets. The route, which lies in Arctic waters and within Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone, could cut the transportation time by a third, compared to shipments via the Suez Canal.

Also on rt.com India could become first non‑Arctic state to develop Russia's Arctic resources

Russia is one of the world's leading exporters of natural gas. Last year, it produced more than 40 billion cubic meters of LNG – a nearly 50 percent increase from 27 billion cubic meters it had in 2018. By 2035, Novak expects the country to boost production to 120 million tons, amounting to around a fifth of the forecasted global LNG production.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

[Feb 08, 2020] 'Gas Wars' In The Mediterranean by Mike Whitney

Feb 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

The unexpected alliance between Turkey and Libya is a geopolitical earthquake that changes the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean and across the Middle East.

Turkey's audacious move has enraged its rivals in the region and cleared the way for a dramatic escalation in the 9 year-long Libyan civil war. It has also forced leaders in Europe and Washington to decide how they will counter Turkey's plan to defend the U.N-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) , and to extend its maritime borders from Europe to Africa basically creating "a water corridor through the eastern Mediterranean linking the coasts of Turkey and Libya."

Leaders in Ankara believe that the agreement "is a major coup in energy geopolitics" that helps defend Turkey's "sovereign rights against the gatekeepers of the regional status quo." But Turkey's rivals strongly disagree. They see the deal as a naked power grab that undermines their ability to transport natural gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe without crossing Turkish waters. In any event, the Turkey-Libya agreement has set the stage for a broader conflict that will unavoidably involve Egypt, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Russia and the United States. All parties appear to have abandoned diplomatic channels altogether and are, instead, preparing for war.

On November 27, Turkey and Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that commits Turkey to providing military assistance to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA). The MoU also redraws Turkey's maritime boundaries in a way that dramatically impacts the transport of gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe. Israel is particularly worried that this new deal will undermine its plans for a 1,900-kilometer EastMed pipeline connecting the Leviathan gas field, off the coast of Israel, to the EU. YNET News summarized Israel's concerns in an ominously titled article: "Turkey's maneuver could block Israel's access to the sea". Here's an excerpt:

"Two of Israel's wars (1956 Sinai campaign and 1967 Six-Day War) broke out over navigation rights. Israel must take note of a new reality taking hold in the Mediterranean. It must regard Turkey's actions as a substantial strategic threat and consider what it may do to respond to it

This EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones) designation essentially carved up much of the energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Libya, prompting a wave of international condemnations first and foremost from Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus, who may be directly or indirectly affected ..Turkey's disregard for the economic waters of Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt.

Ankara is in effect annexing those areas pending an appeal to international tribunals, which can take many years to resolve. In practical terms, Turkey created a sea border the width of the entire Mediterranean ." ( "Turkey's maneuver could block Israel's access to the sea" , ynet news )

The analysis from America's premier Foreign Policy magazine was no less foreboding. Check it out:

"Turkey is meshing together two Mediterranean crises in a desperate bid to reshape the region in its own favor, with potentially nasty implications both for the ongoing civil war in Libya and future energy development in the eastern Mediterranean.

This month, Turkey's unusual outreach to the internationally recognized government of Libya has resulted in a formal agreement for Ankara to provide military support, including arms and possibly troops, in its bid to hold off an offensive from Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country. The military agreement came just weeks after Turkey and that same Government of National Accord reached an unusual agreement to essentially carve up much of the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean between them -- threatening to cut out Greece and Cyprus from the coming bonanza ." ("Newly Aggressive Turkey Forges Alliance With Libya", Foreign Policy )

While these new developments are likely to intensify the fighting on the ground in Libya, they also portend a deepening of divisions within the region itself where new coalitions are forming and battle-lines are being drawn. On the one side is the Turkey-Libya Axis, while on the other is Greece, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, France, Germany, UK and probably the United States although the Trump administration has not yet clarified its position. In any event, the war between Libya's internationally-recognized government and Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) is just a small part of a much larger struggle over vital hydrocarbons in a strategically-located area of the Mediterranean. Here's a clip from an article at War On The Rocks that helps to underscore the stakes involved:

"The discovery of significant deposits of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean beginning in 2009 was a game-changer that upended regional geopolitics. It prompted new and unexpected alliances between Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt to maximize their chances of energy self-sufficiency. The bulk of the gas lies in Egypt's Zohr field, the Leviathan and Tamar fields in Israeli waters, and the Aphrodite near the island of Cyprus. With recoverable natural gas reserves in the region estimated at upward of 120 trillion cubic feet, the strategic implications could not be bigge r. This is about the same amount as the proven gas in the whole of Iraq, the 12th largest reserve globally .(Israel's gas field) Leviathan is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil." ("Hydrocarbon Diplomacy: Turkey's Gambit Might Yet Pay a Peace Dividend", warontherocks.com)

Turkey's ambitious gambit makes it more likely that its rivals will increase their support for the Libyan warlord, Haftar, who is, by-most-accounts, a CIA asset that was sent to Libya in 2014 to topple the government in Tripoli and unify the country under a US puppet. Haftar's forces currently control more than 70% of the Libyan territory while almost 60% of the population is under the control of the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. According to Turkish news: "More than half of Haftar's troops are mercenaries from Russia and Sudan, who are mainly paid by the Gulf states."

In April, 2019, Haftar launched an offensive on the government in Tripoli but was easily repelled. In recent days, however, Haftar has resumed his attacks on the city of Misrata and on the Tripoli airport in clear violation of the Berlin ceasefire agreement. He has also received shipments of weapons from the UAE despite an arms embargo that was unanimously approved two weeks ago at the same Berlin Conference. We expect that support for Haftar will continue to grow in the months ahead as Berlin, Paris and particularly Washington settle on a plan for reinforcing proxies to prosecute the ground war and for blunting Turkey's power projection in the Mediterranean.

The Turkey-Libya agreement is a clumsy attempt to impose Turkey's preferred maritime boundaries on the other countries bordering the Mediterranean. Naturally, Washington will not allow this unilateral assertion of power to go unchallenged.

And while Washington's strategy has not yet been announced, that merely indicates that the foreign policy establishment was caught off-guard by Turkey's November 27 announcement . It does not mean that Washington will accept the status quo. To the contrary, US war-planners are undoubtedly putting the finishing touches on a new strategy aimed at achieving their objectives in Libya while at the same time dealing a stinging blow to a NATO ally that has grown closer to Russia, caused endless headaches in Syria, and is now disrupting Washington's plans for controlling vital resources in the East Mediterranean.

Washington sees Turkey's assertive foreign policy as a sign of "defiance" which requires a iron-fisted response. But any attack on Turkey or Turkish interests will only intensify the bad blood between Ankara and Washington, it will only put more pressure on the threadbare NATO alliance, and it will only push Turkish president Erdogan further into Moscow's corner. Indeed, the Trump team should realize that an overreaction on their part could trigger a fateful realignment that could reshape the region while hastening the emergence of a new order.

[Jan 29, 2020] The New Kremlin Stooge

Jan 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile January 25, 2020 at 12:15 pm

На форуме в Давосе заявили об остановке "Северного потока-2" минимум на 2 года
Лилия Караева, 24 января 2020

At the Davos forum an at least 2-year long shutdown of Nord Stream-2 has been announced
Liliya Karayeva, January 24, 2020

The launch of the Russian gas pipeline "Nord Stream-2", which is needed to supply Europe with gas that bypasses the Ukraine, will take place not earlier than after 2 years. It is not ruled out that the project will cease to exist if Western sanctions continue.

Former US ambassador to the Ukraine John Herbst said this at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He noted that there is no possibility of Russia completing the gas pipeline.

For the construction, it is necessary to have a company that will ensure the laying of pipes on the sea bed. However, US sanctions do not allow foreign firms to do this, Eadaily reports.

Herbst stressed that the Russians "can beat themselves on the chest," but under current conditions the project may not be completed.

Earlier the pipe-layers of the Swiss company Allseas left the Baltic Sea because of US sanctions. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia can complete the gas pipeline, but it will take more time.

Cue you know who.

That former US ambassador to Banderastan certainly knows a lot about the technological incapabilities of the gas station with missiles, doesn't he?

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Mark Chapman January 25, 2020 at 4:26 pm
Amazing; at the time sanctions were applied, the Russian Energy Minister claimed that the Russian Federation had the ships and the capability to complete the pipeline in only two months. Therefore it would have opened only a month late.

https://www.financial-world.org/news/news/economy/4427/kremlin-has-ships-to-finish-nord-stream-2-in-two-months-says-energy-minister-novak/

Was he lying? Jeez; no wonder the government was dissolved. Similar claims were made in Deutche Welle.

https://www.dw.com/en/russia-can-complete-nord-stream-2-pipeline-by-itself-kremlin/a-51800591

In fact, a joint statement just after the sanctions were announced to great fanfare said that the remainder of the pipeline could be completed using divers, although it would be slow. But Russia is known to have pipe-laying vessels in its inventory which would surely require little modification to finish the remaining work. Russia simply does not seem to be in any hurry to complete the project.

I personally think Russia is just approaching completion of the pipeline in a leisurely fashion, now that there is a new gas-transit agreement with Ukraine and there is no particular rush to get it done. Russia is committed to transit 60 BCm through Ukraine this year, so what's the hurry to get a pipeline done which bypasses Ukraine? According to the Energy Minister – who must be speaking under advisement from field professionals – Russia could finish it in about 2 months. It would not be in Ukraine's interests to provoke a transit crisis now, the winter is over and demand will slacken, and there just is no compelling reason to hurry. But if there were, it would not take long to finish.

The current cocky attitude which assumes the project has been stopped cold with a wave of Washington's mighty hand and now may never be completed is, however, pure and classic Ukie nationalist. The Ukrainians seem fated to slobber lovingly all over America whenever it makes a gesture, and start up again with the tough talk toward Russia. Nord Stream II is dead in the water, and now it might never be completed – Russia might have to transit gas through Ukraine until the infants of today are grandparents! It is so much more pleasant to put your faith in something which sounds like you are going to have an easy life without doing much of anything; just loll in bed all day on cushions of goose-down, and let the Russians pay to use your pipes to transit their gas – so easy! It's a wonder there are any realists left. Keep in mind that those are the same people who will scream that they were betrayed when the pipeline is completed, and that the dirty Russians took advantage of Ukraine's frank and open nature.

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Moscow Exile January 25, 2020 at 11:35 pm
This US sanctions business often confuses me. I work at ExxonMobil twice a week -- right next to the Exceptional Nation's embassy are the Exxon offices situated -- and they tell me there that the project they were undertaking in the Barents Sea, I think, was stopped and is now on hold because of sanctions, whereas the Exxon activity in Sakhalin is still in operation. The reason why? Sakhalin is on dry land, the Russian woman whom I teach there told me. "So?" I asked. She reckons it's because at Sakhalin they use Russian gear and technology, whereas the offshore Barents Sea rig is US operated.
Mark Chapman January 26, 2020 at 9:16 am
For Russia, at least, it will serve as an object lesson to not ever again be reliant on US technology for anything, and be to the least extent possible reliant on technology of its close allies. That would likely mean Asian drilling technology. Despite what American media would have you believe, Americans are not the only people on earth capable of developing and using extraction technology. Russia is also perfectly capable of engineering its own production methods and equipment. Sanctions are only effective, to the limited degree they are effective at all, where you as the sanctioner can get all available sources to deny their use. Arm-twisting to go along with the American sanctions has cost European business billions, but the important thing to remember about employment of sanctions and successful work-arounds is that business will not bounce back to its previous arrangements once sanctions are lifted unless their duration is very short. The sanctions against Russia, quite apart from the Americans having supplied their own justification for employing them in the first place (so that the Russians as a whole have a sense of having been unjustly punished, which taints the American brand), have had the effect of forcing Russia to seek other suppliers and to develop domestic industry. It has survived the sanctions regime quite well, and is much stronger for it. It also serves as a reminder to other countries which are not ideologically aligned with the United States that a dependence on American products could constitute an unacceptable vulnerability for them as well.

China is the biggest producer in Asia, with an output of nearly 4 million barrels per day. Although its production has been stagnant or even declining in recent years, that is about to change; the national government announced last year a 20% increase in capital investment in production, with the goal of increasing its output by 50% to 6 million BPD by 2025. I think it would be safe to bet that none of that technology will be American or owned by its closest allies, since a key platform of the increased expenditure is energy independence.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/100515/biggest-oil-producers-asia.asp

Jen January 25, 2020 at 8:21 pm
Looks like two former ministers in the previous Medvedev government got bumped upstairs: Vladimir Medinsky (Culture Minister) and Maxim Oreshkin (Economic Development Minister) have become Presidential aides.
http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news

Alexander Novak is back in as Minister of Energy so he must have been telling the truth back in December about Russia being able to finish the Nordstream II pipeline construction in two months.
http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/62625

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Mark Chapman January 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm
Either that or his lies are so reliable that the Kremlin knows immediately to believe the opposite of what he says. But that's not likely, because an Energy Minister who started a massive project like that and had no prospects at all of completing it would not likely be reappointed.

Another potential reason for Russian relaxation toward pipeline completion might well be the global collapse of LNG prices due to overproduction: according to the new (ish) CEO of Gunvor Group (remember them? The energy company that Putin owned 75% of its shares?), US LNG exporters are 50 cents away from shutdowns.

"LNG prices are on track to hit an all-time low in Asia later this summer. Gas is also at its weakest seasonally in the U.S. and Europe since the late 1990s. "There's a surplus already in the U.S. and Europe. And the mild winter in Asia means another surplus is building up there," Marco Dunand, chief executive officer of trading house Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., told Bloomberg. Torbjorn Tornqvist, chief executive officer of Gunvor Group Ltd., said U.S. LNG exporters are 50 cents away from shutdowns."

https://news.yahoo.com/oil-bears-back-demand-fears-200000056.html

Under such conditions, it's unlikely the Kremlin is overly concerned at the thought of American LNG carriers steaming into European ports and snatching the energy rug from underneath them. Think what a great time this would be to have an energy-extraction empire in which – thanks to western sanctions – your production costs were in rubles and your selling price was in Euros. Why, you'd still be able to take a profit no matter how low prices went!

Oh wait

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[Jan 19, 2020] US strategy and what the gas pipeline war is costing us by Manlio Dinucci

Jan 19, 2020 | www.voltairenet.org

30 December 2019

After having forbidden the Chinese company Huawei to compete in the calls for tender for the 5G network, the United States are now forbidding the Europeans to increase their supplies of Russian gas. While the first decision was aimed at maintaining the coherence of NATO, the second is not a result of Russophobia, but of the 1992 " Wolfowitz doctrine " - preventing the EU from becoming a competitor of the " American Empire ". In both cases, the point is to infantilise the EU and keep it in a situation of dependence.

Although they were locked in a convoluted struggle concerning the impeachment of President Trump, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate laid down their arms in order to vote, in quasi-unanimity, for the imposition of heavy sanctions on the companies participating in the construction of North Stream 2, the doubling of the gas pipeline which delivers Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The main victims were the European companies which had helped finance the 11 billion dollar project with the Russian company Gazprom. The project is now 80 % finished. The Austrian company Omy, British/Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, French Engie, German companies Uniper and Wintershall, Italian Saipem and Swiss Allseas are also taking part in the laying of the pipeline.

The doubling of North Stream increases Europe's dependence on Russian gas, warn the United States. Above all, they are preoccupied by the fact that the gas pipeline – by crossing the Baltic in waters belonging to Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany – thus avoids the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary), the Baltic States and Ukraine. In other words, the European countries which have the closest ties to Washington through NATO (to which we must add Italy).

Rather than being economic, the goal for the USA is strategic. This is confirmed by the fact that the sanctions on North Stream 2 are included in the National Defense Authorization Act , the legislative act which, for fiscal year 2020, hands the Pentagon the colossal sum of 738 billion dollars for new wars and new weapons (including space weapons), to which must be added other posts which bring the US military expenditure to approximately 1,000 billion dollars. The economic sanctions on North Stream 2 are part of a politico-military escalation against Russia.

An ulterior confirmation can be found in the fact that the US Congress has established sanctions not only against North Stream 2, but also against the Turk-Stream, which, in its final phase of realisation, will bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Eastern Thrace,the small European area of Turkey. From there, by another pipeline, Russian gas should be delivered to Bulgaria, Serbia and other European countries. This is the Russian riposte to the US action which managed to block the South Stream pipeline in 2014. South Stream was intended to link Russia to Italy across the Black Sea and by land to Tarvisio (Udine). Italy would therefore have become a switch platform for gas in the EU, with notable economic advantages. The Obama administration was able to scuttle the project, with the collaboration of the European Union.

The company Saipem (Italian Eni Group), once again affected by the US sanctions against North Stream 2, was severely hit by the blockage of South Stream – in 2014, it lost contracts to the value of 2.4 billion Euros, to which other contracts would have been added if the project had continued. But at the time, no-one in Italy or in the EU protested against the burial of the project which was being organised by the USA. Now German interests are in play, and critical voices are being raised in Germany and in the EU against US sanctions against North Stream 2.

Nothing is being said about the fact that the European Union has agreed to import liquified natural gas (LNG) from the USA, an extract from bituminous shale by the destructive technique of hydraulic fracturation (fracking). In order to damage Russia, Washington is attempting to reduce its gas exports to the EU, obliging European consumers to foot the bill. Since President Donald Trump and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, signed in Washington in July 2018 the Joint Statement of 25 July: European Union imports of U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , the EU has doubled its importation of LNG from the USA, co-financing the infrastructures via an initial expenditure of 656 million Euros. However, this did not save European companies from US sanctions. Manlio Dinucci

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Source
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[Jan 18, 2020] Importance of Cyprus is gas wars

Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jon_in_AU , Jan 18 2020 15:35 utc | 140

Hausmeiseter@121

I can't say that I've dug into that in detail, although I do recall reading the post.

What I would like to say, however, is that the Cyprus question is one of the pivotal pieces in the current geopolitical situation.

A few points warranting further investigation to try and tie into a coherent whole:

1) The Cyprus banking crisis c. 2012-2013. This includes Russian oligarch/mafia money, and whether it was squirreled out of there before the buy-in orchestrated collapse of Laiki Bank of Cyprus as well as who was behind this push (IMF/NATO/GER/etc)

2) The Turkstream (1 & 2) gas projects (from which Turkey will extract considerable transit fees for decades to come). This also supports one of the main pillars of the Russian Federations' economy. Links also to US hegemon trying to kill off Nordstream 2.

3) The plans/MOU for Israel, Cyprus and Greece to build an undersea gas pipe network. This will effectively by-pass Turkstream, and is probably behind the push to have Israeli claims over the Golan Heights crystallise (along with the US staying put in Syria and Iraq). I also recall reading about ISIS shipments of stolen Syrian oil taking a cross-country route through Turkey to end up being refined in Israel, and on-sold to Greece (and others). This points at another whole behind-the-scenes dynamic.

4) Recent attempts by Turkey to get involved in Libya, create a new exclusive maritime zone, develop gas of the coast of Cyprus, and now military involvement. This is drawing rebuke from Israel, as it will scupper their planned pipe network. Greece likewise is now trying to send in troops (as observers/peace-keepers, LOL).
Cyprus is also rallying around to try and stop the Turkish plan from going ahead.

5) Recent arrests of Israeli intel assets in Cyprus of late also adds further heat to the situation.

I would really need to dedicate months of my life to try and untangle all of this, and by the time I did the situation would have moved on. (reminds me of the quote from Wagelaborers' blog: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Karl Rove)

[Jan 18, 2020] Lukashenko wants the prices for oil and natural gas for Belarus to be the same as for Russian regions, but refuses to behave like a Russian region.

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: January 15, 2020 at 6:42 pm GMT

@Shitposter him some fighter planes for free and he will build an airbase of the Belarus army.
6. Belarus makes gasoline and other products from Russian oils and resells them at a huge profit. Besides, he wants to export it all via Baltic statelets, providing their ports business that Putin is taking away from them by building Russian deep-sea ports, like Ust-Luga.
7. Not to mention that he talks about 10 times more than is wise, saying mostly BS (the latter is natural for a moron).
There are many more, but these are enough to explain how most Russians feel about him. Belarus either gets rid of that idiot, or suffers because of his stupidity.

[Jan 18, 2020] Germany behaviour in Naftogas-Gasprom conflict makes zero sense unless you believe that Germany was acting as a proxy on behalf of a greater power

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

,

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment December 23, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
About this whole Ukraine-Russia gas transit thing that Felix is panicking about. It seems Germany had a key role in facilitating the deal.

However, that risk receded this week after Moscow and Kyiv concluded a landmark agreement that will ensure Russian gas continues to transit through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 is completed. Germany played a critical role in brokering the agreement and pressuring Russia to maintain Ukraine's transit status.

Why would Germany spend all this time and resources to construct these pipelines and then suddenly pressure Russia to maintain the transit fees? That makes zero sense unless you believe that Germany was acting as a proxy on behalf of a greater power. My pet theory: Germany most likely caved to US pressure and tried to triangulate at the last minute in a bid to stave off a larger German-US conflict.

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment December 24, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT
@Swedish Family

What Germany wants, it seems to me, is (1) cheap energy for German industry, (2) a maximally weak Russian hand visavi Ukraine (which is now in effect a NATO/EU dependency), and (3) good enough relations with the Kremlin for Russia not to go rogue. Goals (1) and (3) obviously sit uneasily with goal (2), which is why we see so much back and forth.

I agree with (1) and (3) but I'd disagree over (2). I am not convinced Germany cares much about Ukraine's well-being. It is a very small economy (barely over 100 billion USD) and Germany's trade exposure to Ukraine is minimal. It isn't part of NATO, EU or any other major Western framework.

If Ukraine collapsed it would create significant refugee streams but Ukrainians are very easily assimilated into Western European countries, unlike Syrians or Turks, so even in a worse-case scenario the fallout would not be a major problem. If Croats or Serbs can mix into Germany easily, I don't see why Ukrainians would be a problem. Germany's shrinking work force would in fact even need such an influx. The only kink would be Russia's expanding borders if both Belarus+Ukraine was swallowed up but Germany probably would calculate that Russia wouldn't attack a NATO ally (and they wouldn't be wrong). I'm not saying Germany would want such an outcome, only that the worst-case scenario wouldn't be a big problem for them.

I think this has the fingerprints of the US all over it. Trump personally hates Ukraine, which has been documented in leaked documents during the impeachment process and major personalities of the Trumpist movement like Tucker Carlson openly cheers for Russia. So it wasn't Trump or his people who pushed for this but rather the permanent national-security state that was behind it and they are obsessed with keeping Russia down, or inventing fake Russiagate hoaxes to justify their paranoia. Germany made a 180 and suddenly pressured Russia to do something which Germany itself had no interest in keeping for the longest time. That suggests Germany caved to US pressure and tried to do a compromise. The US interest would be for NS2 to be scrapped completely. This was a German attempt at triangulating.

Either way, Ukraine got a big win purely because of Great Power politics over which they had no direct control.

[Jan 10, 2020] Turkey discovered how dependent its economy had become on Russia including Russian gas during the trade embargo that ensued upon the shootdown of SU-24

Jan 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 8 2020 20:09 utc | 228

Walter @215--

Thanks for your reply! Some years ago prior to Russia's Syrian intervention, I examined where genuine Turkish national interests lay and concluded they weren't in the EU given the numerous repulses when attempting membership but rather they lay to the North and East in rekindling relations with longtime rivals Russia and Iran. Putin noted this rekindling's been ongoing for awhile:

"I would like to note that Russia has been exporting gas to Turkey for 30 years, even though not everyone knows about it. It was initially shipped through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline, then through the direct, transit-free Blue Stream pipeline. Last year alone, 24 billion cubic metres of fuel was delivered to our Turkish partners."

Turkey discovered how dependent its economy had become on Russia during the trade embargo that ensued upon the shootdown of the Mig, which IMO is the main reason a spiteful Erdogan released the torrent of refugees into the EU as he finally realized Turkey's been used for decades by the West with no real tangible benefits to show. And yes, IMO he was returning to sender Terrorists to Libya, and it was no small number as it was several thousand.

IMO, Qatar and Turkey have Seen the Light when it comes to sponsoring terrorist affiliated organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood; That all they've done is contribute to the Evil Outlaw US Empire's plan for continuous destabilization of the Persian Gulf region as part of its strategy to interdict Eurasian Integration, the latter of which is in both Qatar's and Turkey's genuine national interest.

[Jan 09, 2020] And for $5 trillion spent bombing unoffending MENA countries the US has gotten what?

Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Savvy , 1 hour ago link

Nordstream II cost $12 billion. Russia is selling 55 billion M3 of LNG to Europe. Add Nordstream I, another 55 billion, Power of Siberia to China and Turkstream just opened.

And for $5 trillion spent bombing unoffending MENA countries the US has gotten what? Moar war. That's it.

Russia is building infrastructure while the US destroys.

[Jan 08, 2020] US strategy and what the gas pipeline war is costing us by Manlio Dinucci

Jan 08, 2020 | www.voltairenet.org

After having forbidden the Chinese company Huawei to compete in the calls for tender for the 5G network, the United States are now forbidding the Europeans to increase their supplies of Russian gas. While the first decision was aimed at maintaining the coherence of NATO, the second is not a result of Russophobia, but of the 1992 " Wolfowitz doctrine " - preventing the EU from becoming a competitor of the " American Empire ". In both cases, the point is to infantilise the EU and keep it in a situation of dependence. Voltaire Network | Rome (Italy) | 30 December 2019 français italiano Español Português Türkçe română Deutsch norsk + -

JPEG - 25 kb
German chancellorAngela Merkel and her Minister of the Economy, Olaf Scholz, immediately denounced US interference.

Although they were locked in a convoluted struggle concerning the impeachment of President Trump, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate laid down their arms in order to vote, in quasi-unanimity, for the imposition of heavy sanctions on the companies participating in the construction of North Stream 2, the doubling of the gas pipeline which delivers Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The main victims were the European companies which had helped finance the 11 billion dollar project with the Russian company Gazprom. The project is now 80 % finished. The Austrian company Omy, British/Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, French Engie, German companies Uniper and Wintershall, Italian Saipem and Swiss Allseas are also taking part in the laying of the pipeline.

The doubling of North Stream increases Europe's dependence on Russian gas, warn the United States. Above all, they are preoccupied by the fact that the gas pipeline – by crossing the Baltic in waters belonging to Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany – thus avoids the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary), the Baltic States and Ukraine. In other words, the European countries which have the closest ties to Washington through NATO (to which we must add Italy).

Rather than being economic, the goal for the USA is strategic. This is confirmed by the fact that the sanctions on North Stream 2 are included in the National Defense Authorization Act , the legislative act which, for fiscal year 2020, hands the Pentagon the colossal sum of 738 billion dollars for new wars and new weapons (including space weapons), to which must be added other posts which bring the US military expenditure to approximately 1,000 billion dollars. The economic sanctions on North Stream 2 are part of a politico-military escalation against Russia.

An ulterior confirmation can be found in the fact that the US Congress has established sanctions not only against North Stream 2, but also against the Turk-Stream, which, in its final phase of realisation, will bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Eastern Thrace,the small European area of Turkey. From there, by another pipeline, Russian gas should be delivered to Bulgaria, Serbia and other European countries. This is the Russian riposte to the US action which managed to block the South Stream pipeline in 2014. South Stream was intended to link Russia to Italy across the Black Sea and by land to Tarvisio (Udine). Italy would therefore have become a switch platform for gas in the EU, with notable economic advantages. The Obama administration was able to scuttle the project, with the collaboration of the European Union.

The company Saipem (Italian Eni Group), once again affected by the US sanctions against North Stream 2, was severely hit by the blockage of South Stream – in 2014, it lost contracts to the value of 2.4 billion Euros, to which other contracts would have been added if the project had continued. But at the time, no-one in Italy or in the EU protested against the burial of the project which was being organised by the USA. Now German interests are in play, and critical voices are being raised in Germany and in the EU against US sanctions against North Stream 2.

Nothing is being said about the fact that the European Union has agreed to import liquified natural gas (LNG) from the USA, an extract from bituminous shale by the destructive technique of hydraulic fracturation (fracking). In order to damage Russia, Washington is attempting to reduce its gas exports to the EU, obliging European consumers to foot the bill. Since President Donald Trump and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, signed in Washington in July 2018 the Joint Statement of 25 July: European Union imports of U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , the EU has doubled its importation of LNG from the USA, co-financing the infrastructures via an initial expenditure of 656 million Euros. However, this did not save European companies from US sanctions. Manlio Dinucci

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[Jan 08, 2020] Without a steady supply of gas and oil from the Saudis and Emirates it will very quickly get cold and dark in Europe this winter and they'll soon regret allowing Uncle Sammmy to put a kink in Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.

Jan 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

CB on Wed, 01/08/2020 - 1:26am

Can you please explain further?

@Situational Lefty
...The world is not dependent on Iranian oil. But it is dependent on Gulf oil and gas. A few missiles fired into a Q-Max will cause a real problem - mainly in Europe. Without a steady supply of gas and oil from the Saudis and Emirates it will very quickly get cold and dark in Europe this winter and they'll soon regret allowing Uncle Sammmy to put a kink in Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.

Speaking of TurkStream, Putin will be going to Turkey to attend the official launching with Erdogan right after his pleasant visit with Assad . I wonder what in the world Putin and Erdogan are going to do with those extra 31.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas?

Russia and China are relatively isolated. American actions in the last 2 decades have caused the two to elope and their love affair is going strong. Putin and Xi have already had 30 intimate dates discussing just this very scenario.

Of course, the extra transport costs to ship America's shoes, underwear and pots to piss in is going to be a bitch for the now burgeoning poor class.

[Jan 08, 2020] A bit weird how Danes oscillate between obstructing and just harrassing. Both USA and Germany seem to have influence.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Jan 8 2020 14:55 utc | 55

Today Tass (or Tacc) gave a big update on Nord Stream-2.

Number one, Academic Cherskiy will remain in the Far East, because it is essential in completion of far more important projects than Nord Stream. Pipes from Sakhalin (and through Amur river? I am not sure on that) together have to deliver 80 [huge units] per year, and they will be laid by Tschersky (Nord Stream 2 has capacity 55 HU)

Number two. Danes softened their requirements. Concerning the specs for a pipe laying vessel, they can be satisfied by Fortuna that is finishing some bits in the German sector. Danes added requirement that the sea has to be sufficiently calm during the work, seems like weather when swimming is forbidden on Baltic beaches, but on summer usually it is permitted. So Fortuna will finish the job on the Baltic.

A bit weird how Danes oscillate between obstructing and just harrassing. Both USA and Germany seem to have influence.

Piotr Berman , Jan 8 2020 15:31 utc | 70

mk | Jan 8 2020 15:23 utc

So new progressive Danish government issued the permission in November, after full three months. And now they still make a gesture as if the wanted to inflict huge extra cost. That said, they were perhaps a bit slow in correcting disinformation.

[Jan 07, 2020] US strategy and what the gas pipeline war is costing us by Manlio Dinucci

Jan 07, 2020 | www.voltairenet.org

After having forbidden the Chinese company Huawei to compete in the calls for tender for the 5G network, the United States are now forbidding the Europeans to increase their supplies of Russian gas.

While the first decision was aimed at maintaining the coherence of NATO, the second is not a result of Russophobia, but of the 1992 " Wolfowitz doctrine " - preventing the EU from becoming a competitor of the " American Empire ". In both cases, the point is to infantilise the EU and keep it in a situation of dependence.

lthough they were locked in a convoluted struggle concerning the impeachment of President Trump, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate laid down their arms in order to vote, in quasi-unanimity, for the imposition of heavy sanctions on the companies participating in the construction of North Stream 2, the doubling of the gas pipeline which delivers Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The main victims were the European companies which had helped finance the 11 billion dollar project with the Russian company Gazprom. The project is now 80 % finished. The Austrian company Omy, British/Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, French Engie, German companies Uniper and Wintershall, Italian Saipem and Swiss Allseas are also taking part in the laying of the pipeline.

The doubling of North Stream increases Europe's dependence on Russian gas, warn the United States. Above all, they are preoccupied by the fact that the gas pipeline – by crossing the Baltic in waters belonging to Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany – thus avoids the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary), the Baltic States and Ukraine. In other words, the European countries which have the closest ties to Washington through NATO (to which we must add Italy).

Rather than being economic, the goal for the USA is strategic. This is confirmed by the fact that the sanctions on North Stream 2 are included in the National Defense Authorization Act , the legislative act which, for fiscal year 2020, hands the Pentagon the colossal sum of 738 billion dollars for new wars and new weapons (including space weapons), to which must be added other posts which bring the US military expenditure to approximately 1,000 billion dollars. The economic sanctions on North Stream 2 are part of a politico-military escalation against Russia.

An ulterior confirmation can be found in the fact that the US Congress has established sanctions not only against North Stream 2, but also against the Turk-Stream, which, in its final phase of realisation, will bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Eastern Thrace,the small European area of Turkey. From there, by another pipeline, Russian gas should be delivered to Bulgaria, Serbia and other European countries. This is the Russian riposte to the US action which managed to block the South Stream pipeline in 2014. South Stream was intended to link Russia to Italy across the Black Sea and by land to Tarvisio (Udine). Italy would therefore have become a switch platform for gas in the EU, with notable economic advantages. The Obama administration was able to scuttle the project, with the collaboration of the European Union.

The company Saipem (Italian Eni Group), once again affected by the US sanctions against North Stream 2, was severely hit by the blockage of South Stream – in 2014, it lost contracts to the value of 2.4 billion Euros, to which other contracts would have been added if the project had continued. But at the time, no-one in Italy or in the EU protested against the burial of the project which was being organised by the USA. Now German interests are in play, and critical voices are being raised in Germany and in the EU against US sanctions against North Stream 2.

Nothing is being said about the fact that the European Union has agreed to import liquified natural gas (LNG) from the USA, an extract from bituminous shale by the destructive technique of hydraulic fracturation (fracking). In order to damage Russia, Washington is attempting to reduce its gas exports to the EU, obliging European consumers to foot the bill. Since President Donald Trump and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, signed in Washington in July 2018 the Joint Statement of 25 July: European Union imports of U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , the EU has doubled its importation of LNG from the USA, co-financing the infrastructures via an initial expenditure of 656 million Euros. However, this did not save European companies from US sanctions. Manlio Dinucci

[Jan 03, 2020] Secondary sanctions are evil because they prevent minor transactions because banks don't think it is worth the severe penalties.

Jan 03, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

cartman January 2, 2020 at 4:54 pm

How Our Economic Warfare Brings the World to Heel

Nothing untrue in this article. Secondary sanctions are evil because they prevent minor transactions because banks don't think it is worth the severe penalties. So Iranian cancer patients aren't allowed to buy chemotherapy medications. Trump has gone overboard because he has learned that there is no political cost to doling these out.

I think this is how US dominance will end. No challengers will end it, although some may rise in the vacuum. The internal changes the US needs to make to come back are politically impossible. Sanctions are big government on steroids, and having the US Government sitting atop the global economy will cause it to seize up. The question is how long commerce will be able to continue under these conditions.

[Jan 03, 2020] The USA have an upper hand in the current scirmish of the gas war with Russia. But that does not guarantee the final victory as Ukraine might switch sides by victor Kaminenvv

With the USA help Ukraine got three billions from Russia. But that might mean that if Ukraine does not switch sides the Ukrainian transit will became minuscule and unable to help Ukraine to survive financially. Then what ?
Jan 02, 2020 | topwar.ru

The introduction of us sanctions against Nord stream 2, immediately signed by President trump, created a new situation in Europe at the request of the Congress.

The Stockholm verdict

Gazprom retreated from its positions and agreed to an agreement with Naftogaz on transit, including the payment of 2.9 billion dollars to Kiev according to the verdict of the Stockholm arbitration, this is a difficult compromise for Moscow and a consequence of American sanctions that actually suspended the construction of the SP-2 for at least six months.

I can't help remembering how President Yanukovych received three billion dollars of credit from Moscow, and now President Zelensky also received almost three billion, although on other grounds, according to the decision of the Stockholm arbitration.

But Moscow gave money, and immediately, although it could stretch these payments with gas supplies, which Naftogaz agreed to. Moscow seems to be banking on Zelensky in his projected clash with the nationalists behind Poroshenko. As a lesser evil.

Big European game

The Stockholm billions and Ukrainian transit are also a big European policy. For the first time, us sanctions hit Germany and Europe as a whole: all energy and construction companies related to the SP-2. Germany's energy supply was under threat.

In this situation, Russia is making compromises and concessions on Ukrainian transit, and Ukraine is also making compromises on its part, apparently under pressure from Germany and the European Union. As a result, Russia and Germany with their friends and the SP-2 are situationally in the same boat against US sanctions. This is an important episode in the unfolding Great European game for gas and its delivery routes.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov makes a sharp statement: "Russia will definitely respond to the sanctions against the SP-2." So as not to"shoot yourself in the foot." Almost simultaneously, the US intelligence agencies are giving Moscow information about the upcoming terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg -- an incredible fact, given the current relations between Washington and Moscow, unless President trump wants to soften Moscow's reaction to the sanctions against SP-2, hinting that he was forced to sign them.

By the sum of circumstances

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak called the payment of $ 2.9 billion to Kiev "a difficult decision, a choice between bad and very bad." What is the difference between " bad " and "very bad"?

Here are the congressional sanctions that really slowed down the construction of the SP-2, and the judicial burden in the international courts under the influence of the United States, and the situation in Ukraine. And soon there will be a trial in London on a three-billion-dollar loan from Russia to Ukraine during the time of President Yanukovych -- this seems to be another reason why we had to pay for the Stockholm gas verdict.

If Russia refused to pay the debt awarded in Stockholm, the London court could on this basis refuse to consider the claim of Russia. And so, too, Moscow paid 2.9 billion dollars to Kiev immediately in money. Of course, the London court may follow the Stockholm path, but then the West and its financial system will lose their reputation in the non-Western world, and Russia may declare the West a non-legal community.

Victory as treason (Peremoga as zrada)

In General the Ukrainian "Naftogaz" behaves very recklessly and boldly with "Gazprom", flooding it with lawsuits. His" victory " is undoubtedly Pyrrhic, since Gazprom, as an energy supplier, will be able to recoup its Stockholm losses.

"Naftogaz" as if Ukrainian, because it is really run by American managers, for them "Naftogaz – - only a tool to counter Russia, and what will happen then, it does not matter. What could it be? There may not be a discount of 25 percent, which was in the rejected package of "Gazprom". New agreements – new discounts.

On the other hand, Gazprom's concessions are due to the entire sum of the political and economic circumstances of the great European game: Moscow is still trying to create a Moscow-Berlin axis against us sanctions pressure.

[Jan 02, 2020] The EU's LNG imports jumped by 102 percent on the year, with Russia accounting for 19 percent of LNG imports, second only to Qatar with 30 percent, and ahead of the U.S. with 12 percent

Jan 02, 2020 | oilprice.com

In Q2 2019, thanks to the LNG supply glut and converging prices, the EU's LNG imports jumped by 102 percent on the year, with Russia accounting for 19 percent of LNG imports, second only to Qatar with 30 percent, and ahead of the U.S. with 12 percent, the European Commission's Quarterly Report on European Gas Markets shows .

Between January and November, LNG imports into Europe including Turkey hit a record high, beating the previous record from 2011, the EIA said in its latest natural gas update. The U.S., Russia, and Qatar boosted their LNG supplies to Europe this year, and the U.S. beat Russia in volumes supplied to Europe in the latter part of the year, EIA data shows.

While Russia and the U.S. compete for gas market share in Europe, the U.S. hit Russia's Nord Stream 2 project with sanctions this month, delaying the completion of the project with at least several months.

Following the announcement of the sanctions, Switzerland-based offshore pipelay and subsea construction company Allseas immediately suspended Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities.

Also

The agreement between Gazprom and Naftogaz provides for the rejection of new claims, withdrawal of claims, payment by the decision of the Stockholm arbitration-Miller

MOSCOW, Dec 21-RIA Novosti. Gas transit through Ukraine in 2020 will be 65 billion cubic meters, and 40 billion in 2021-2024, said the Head of "Gazprom" Alexey Miller.

In turn, the Minister of energy of Ukraine Oleksiy Orzhel noted that the tariff will increase due to a decrease in pumping volumes.

The agreement provides for the rejection of new claims, the withdrawal of claims and the payment of about 2.9 billion dollars on the decisions of the Stockholm arbitration court.

In addition, Gazprom and Naftogaz will sign an agreement to settle mutual claims under existing contracts. With Kiev, the Russian company will sign a settlement agreement to withdraw the claim of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine.

The European Commission in the framework of the new agreement on gas cooperation guarantees the compliance of transit with EU standards, the Ukrainian side-the independence of the regulator, protection of the interests of the transit customer, predictability and economic feasibility of tariff formation.

MOSCOW, Dec 21-RIA Novosti. "Gazprom" and "Operator of GTS of Ukraine" on Saturday are preparing in Vienna inter-operator agreement signed on Friday between Russia and Ukraine Protocol of the contract on gas transit and settlement of mutual claims is already working, told reporters the representative of "Gazprom".

[Jan 02, 2020] The end of Ukranian gas rent, which is due to the fact that USSR lay piplenes via its terroty is near

Notable quotes:
"... With Nordstream II becoming operational, Russia can bypass Ukraine completely in supplying gas to EU countries and Ukraine will only receive enough gas for its own needs. Ukraine becomes a liability to the West as that country continues its slow and agonising collapse. Perhaps in 2020 the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts may officially declare their independence and apply for inclusion into the Russian Federation, or combine into a new nation. Other adjoining oblasts (Kharkiv?) may follow suit. Transcarpathia oblast in the far west of Ukraine may declare independence and then apply to join Hungary. ..."
Jan 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Dec 31 2019 19:49 utc | 37

Dear B,

Nordstream II should be completed in 2020 in spite of the many handicaps and threats of sanctions the US has applied against Germany if the pipeline project continues. Its completion is bound to change the geopolitical landscape in central and eastern Europe considerably.

With Nordstream II becoming operational, Russia can bypass Ukraine completely in supplying gas to EU countries and Ukraine will only receive enough gas for its own needs. Ukraine becomes a liability to the West as that country continues its slow and agonising collapse. Perhaps in 2020 the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts may officially declare their independence and apply for inclusion into the Russian Federation, or combine into a new nation. Other adjoining oblasts (Kharkiv?) may follow suit. Transcarpathia oblast in the far west of Ukraine may declare independence and then apply to join Hungary.

Volodymyr Zelensky may not last long as President and is likely to be turfed out in a coup. Civil war will come again to Ukraine but not in its Russian-speaking east.

Belarus should be monitoring its own southern borders. Maybe crunch-time is coming for President Lukashenko there as to whether he should align Belarus more closely with Russia or with the EU instead of trying to get the best of both worlds by playing one against the other.

My predictions for 2020 are that Ukraine's final collapse and fragmentation will start, that the use of threats and sanctions continues to isolate the US to its detriment, and that (maybe, just maybe) the collapse of Ukraine will lead to some of the truth of what actually happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 becoming public with whistleblowers in the investigation finally coming forward.


Lydia , Dec 31 2019 19:57 utc | 39

To prevent the truth about MH17 becoming common knowledge, the powers that be will really crack down on the Internet.
Perimetr , Jan 1 2020 16:42 utc | 93
Re Jen @37 "With Nordstream II becoming operational, Russia can bypass Ukraine completely in supplying gas to EU countries and Ukraine will only receive enough gas for its own needs."

Zerohedge reports Ukraine & Russia Ink Landmark Gas Transit Deal Hammering European Gas Prices

I am hoping this is a bad joke, but perhaps not. I suppose, if true, it will prevent a lot of Ukrainians from freezing to death this winter. But considering the benefits it will provide to the Ukro-nazis who hate Russia, I have to wonder about the decision-making process in Moscow.

[Jan 01, 2020] "Freedom gas" named Worst Words of the Year

Jan 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Dec 30 2019 9:03 utc | 48

"Freedom gas" named Worst Words of the Year

Plain English Foundation has voted freedom gas as the worst word or phrase of 2019.

The term comes from the United States Department of Energy, which rebranded natural gas as "freedom gas" and boasted about bringing molecules of US freedom to the world.

"When a simple product like natural gas starts being named through partisan politics, we are entering dangerous terrain," said the Foundation's Executive Director, Dr Neil James. "Why can't natural gas just remain natural gas?"

Each year, Plain English Foundation gathers dozens of examples of the worst words to highlight the importance of clear and ethical public language.

The full list of 2019's worst words and phrases follows.

https://www.plainenglishfoundation.com/documents/10179/636280/2019_Worst_Words_media_release

[Dec 31, 2019] The US is now openly dismissive as a matter of law any ally or partner who engages in economic activity it disapproves by Tom Luongo

Dec 26, 2019 | astutenews.com

Europe is willing to defy the U.S. on Nordstream to the point of forcing the U.S. to openly and nakedly destroy its reputation with European contractors and governments to stop one pipeline in a place where multiple gas pipelines will be needed for future growth.

This is the diplomatic equivalent of the nuclear option. And the neocons in the Senate just pushed the button. Europe understands what this is really about, the U.S. retaining its imperial position as the policy setter for all the world. If it can set energy policy for Europe then it can set everything else.

And it's clear that the leadership in Europe is done with that status quo. The Trump administration from the beginning has used NATO as an excuse to mask its real intentions towards Europe, which is continued domination of its policies. Trump complains that the U.S. pays into NATO to protect Europe from Russia but then Europe buys its energy from Russia. That's unfair, Donald complains, like a little bitch, frankly, even though he right on the surface. But if the recent NATO summit is any indication, Europe is no longer interested in NATO performing that function. French President Emmanuel Macron wants NATO re-purposed to fight global terror, a terrible idea. NATO should just be ended.

But you'll notice how Trump doesn't talk about that anymore. He wants more billions pumped into NATO while the U.S. still sets its policies. This is not a boondoggle for the MIC as much as it's a Sword of Damocles to hold over Europe's head. The U.S.'s involvement in should be ended immediately, the troops brought home and the billions of dollars spent here as opposed to occupying most of Europe to point missiles at a Russia wholly uninterested in imperial ambitions no less harboring any of them.

And Trump also knows this but thinks stopping Nordstream 2 is the price Europe has to pay him for this privilege. It's insane. The time has come for Europe to act independently from the U.S. As much as I despise the EU, to untangle it from the U.S. on energy policy is the means by which for it to then deal with its problems internally. It can't do that while the U.S. is threatening it. Circling the wagons against the immediate threat, as it were.

And that means protecting its companies and citizens from the economic depredations of power-mad neoconservatives in the U.S. Senate like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

Allseas, the Swiss company laying the pipe for Nordstream 2, has halted construction for now , awaiting instructions from the U.S. Gazprom will likely step in to finish the job and Germany will green light any of the necessary permits to get the pipeline done. Those people will be put out of work just in time for Christmas, turning thousands of people against the U.S. Commerce drives people together, politics drives them apart.

But, at the same time, the urgency to finish Nordstream 2 on time is wholly irrelevant now because Ukraine and Russia came to terms on a new five-year gas transit contract. This ensures Gazprom can meet its contractual deliveries to Europe that no one thought could be done on time. But when the Nazi threat to Zelensky meeting with Merkel, Macron and Putin in Paris failed to materialize, a gas deal was on the horizon.

And, guess what? U.S. LNG will still not have the marginal lever over Europe's energy policy because of that. Putin and Zelensky outmaneuvered Cruz, Graham and Trump on this. Because that's what this boils down to. By keeping Russian gas out of Europe, it was supposed to constrain not only Russia's growth but also Europe's. Because then the U.S. government can control who and how much energy can make it into European markets at critical junctures politically.

That was the Bolton Doctrine to National Security. And that doctrine brought nothing but misery to millions.

And if you look back over the past five years of U.S./EU relations you will see this gambit clearly for what it was, a way to continue European vassalage at the hands of the U.S. by forcing market share of U.S. providers into European markets.

Again, it gets back to Trump's ideas about Emergy Dominance and becoming the supplier of the marginal erg of energy to important economies around the world.

The smart play for the EU now that the gas transit deal is in place is to threaten counter-sanctions against the U.S. and bar all LNG shipments into Europe. Gas prices are at historic lows, gas supplies are overflowing thanks to fears of a deal not being in place.

So, a three to six month embargo of U.S. LNG into Europe to bleed off excess supply while Nordstream 2 is completed would be the right play politically.

But, in reality, they won't need to, because the U.S. won't be able to import much into Europe under current prices and market conditions. And once Nordstream 2 is complete, LNG sales to Europe should crater.

In the end, I guess it's too bad for Ted Cruz that economics and basic human ingenuity are more powerful than legislatures. Because Nordstream 2 will be completed. Turkstream's other trains into Europe will be built. Venezuela will continue rebuilding its energy sector with Russian and Chinese help.

There is no place for U.S. LNG in Europe outside of the Poles literally burning money virtue signaling their Russophobia. Nordstream 2 was a response to the revolt in Ukraine, to replace any potential losses in market share to Europe. Now Russia will have what it had before passing through Ukraine along with Nordstream 2. By 2024 there will be at least two trains from Turkstream coming into Europe.

Iran will keep expanding exports, settling its oil and gas trade through Russian banks. And the U.S. will continue to fulminate and make itself even more irrelevant over time. What men like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump refuse to understand is that when you go nuclear you can't ever go back. If you threaten the nuclear option, there's no fall back position.

And when those that you threaten with annihilation survive they are made all the stronger for passing through the eye of the needle. Looking at Gazprom's balance sheet right now, that's my take.


By Tom Luongo. Source: Gold Goats 'n Guns

[Dec 31, 2019] Israel will not be supplying Germany gas any time soon.

Dec 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bianca , Dec 30 2019 19:48 utc | 54

FYI

Being almost 100% sure that Israeli cornering East Mediterranean gas reserves was a done deal
and after Cyprus gerrymandered its EEZ under UNCLOS -- and Greece signing up
as pipeline terminus in Europe -- Trump put this cart before horse -- and sanctioned
Nord Stream. Europe was to get Israeli gas. Then Turkey and Libya declared EZZ,
and pipeline cannot go!
Also. there will be other claimants to reserves -- Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza.

Nice try -- but Israel will not be supplying Germany gas any time soon.

[Dec 29, 2019] Last Week's Russian-Ukrainian Gas Deal Took the World by Surprise by Andrew Korybko

Dec 29, 2019 | astutenews.com

Like it was earlier noted, the "New Detente" isn't perfect, as seen most recently by the US' decision to impose sanctions on the companies involved in Nord Stream II's construction, but once again, the state of relations in general are still comparatively better than their nadir in mid-2014 immediately after the EuroMaidan coup and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The US is still trying to "contain" Russia with mixed success, while Russia is undertaking its best efforts to break out of this "containment" noose and even "flip" some of the US' traditional partners such as Turkey, so the New Cold War probably won't end anytime soon. Nor, for that matter, did anybody reasonably expect that it would, but just like during the Old Cold War, there comes a time when the involved parties believe that it's in their best interests to proverbially take a break and enter into a period of detente. It seems as though that phase is only now just beginning but which has finally borne some fruit after Trump promised to pursue this outcome all throughout the 2016 campaign.

One can argue over why that hasn't already happened to the extent that he promised (or even if he was fully sincere in the first place), but the point to focus on in the here and now is that some tangible progress has finally been made concerning the future of Russia's trans-Ukrainian gas supplies to the EU. From the looks of it, all the relevant players -- Russia, Ukraine, the EU, and the US -- have concrete interests in seeing that this agreement is upheld. It's convenient for Russia to continue using existing pipelines, Ukraine wants to get paid for its transit role, the EU desires reliable but cheap gas imports, and the US recognizes that this outcome perpetuates the geostrategic role of its Ukrainian proxy that it could then leverage as a "bargaining chip" for reaching a more substantive "New Detente" with Russia sometime next year or the one afterwards. That said, while each player has their interests, they don't exactly trust one another for different reasons, which means that the "New Detente" might still be offset if any of them decides to play the spoiler or is undermined by their "deep states".

[Dec 28, 2019] Washington's Unmasked Imperialism Towards Europe And Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Sorry to burst your bubble, but since the end of the Soviet System (with Western criminal thieving BILLIONAIRES who rushed in to plunder Russia (Yeltsin Years) ---- Russians now live longer than the degraded, and impoverished Americans with what the Junk Food Nation serves in the US of A. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4777 Washington's Unmasked Imperialism Towards Europe And Russia by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/28/2019 - 07:00 0 SHARES

Via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Washington must think the rest of the world is as stupid as many of its own politicians are. Its passing into law – signed by President Trump this week – of sanctions to halt the Nord Stream-2 and Turk Stream gas supply projects is a naked imperialist move to bludgeon the European energy market for its own economic advantage.

US sanctions are planned to hit European companies involved with Russia's Gazprom in the construction of the 1,225-kilometer pipeline under the Baltic Sea which will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany and elsewhere across the European Union. The €9.5 billion ($11bn) project is 80 per cent complete and is due to be finished early next year.

It is quite clear – because US politicians have openly acknowledged it – that Washington's aim is to oust Russia as the main natural gas exporter to the giant EU market, and to replace with more expensive American-produced gas.

What's hilarious is the way American politicians, diplomats and news media are portraying this US assault on market principles and the sovereignty of nations as an act of chivalry.

Washington claims that the sanctions are "pro-European" because they are "saving Europe from dependency on Russia for its energy". The American hypocrisy crescendoes with the further claim that by stopping Russia earning lucrative export revenues, then Moscow will be constrained from "interfering" in European nations. As if Washington's own actions are not interference on a massive scale.

European politicians and businesses are not buying this American claptrap. The vast overstepping by Washington into European affairs has prompted EU governments to question the nature of the trans-Atlantic relation. About time too. Thus, Washington's hubris and bullying are undermining its objective of dominating Europe for its own selfish interests.

Russia, Germany and others have defiantly told Washington its weaponizing of economic sanctions will not halt the Nord Stream nor the Turk Stream projects.

As German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said earlier this month, "it is unacceptable" for the US to brazenly interfere in European and Russian energy trade. The American pretext of supposedly "protecting" the national security of its purported European allies is frankly laughable.

The American agenda is a blatantly imperialistic reordering of the energy market to benefit US economic interests. To pull off this audacious scam, Washington, by necessity, has to demonize and isolate Russia, while also trampling roughshod over its European allies. Europe has partly aided this American stitch-up of its own interests because it has foolishly indulged in the US antagonism towards Russia with sanctions due to the Ukraine conflict, Crimea and other anti-Russia smears.

The legislation being whistled through the American Congress by both Republicans and Democrats (collectively dubbed the War Party) is recklessly fueling tensions between the US and Russia. In trying to gain economic advantages over Europe's energy, Washington is wantonly ramping up animus towards Moscow.

Apart from the sanctions against Russian and European companies partnering on Nord Stream, the US Congress passed separate legislation which seeks to boost American oil and gas production in the East Mediterranean.

A Radio Free Europe report this week was headlined: 'Congress Passes More Legislation Aimed At Curbing Russia's Energy Grip On Europe'.

The headline should more accurately have been worded: 'Congress Passes More Legislation Aimed At Bolstering America's Energy Grip On Europe'.

The RFE report states: "The bipartisan Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, which was approved on December 19, is the latest piece of US legislation passed this year that aims to diversify [sic] Europe's energy sources away from Kremlin-controlled companies."

Again, the American double-think is jaw-dropping. Such is the arrogance of a flailing, delusional empire when it can publicly justify with a straight face an energy-market-grab with a veneer of virtue.

US oil and gas giants are moving into the East Mediterranean. Exxon Mobil announced the discovery of a major natural gas field off Cyprus in February this year. American firms are also partnering with Israeli companies to begin gas production in the Leviathan Field located off the coast at Haifa.

There is no doubt that the US sanctions targeting Nord Stream and Turk Stream are part of a bigger concerted pincer movement by Washington to corner the EU energy market of 500 million consumers (more than double the US population).

Colin Cavell, a US professor of political science, commented to Strategic Culture Foundation: "What should be hammered down in this continuing debate over which country will be able to deliver oil and natural gas to Europe is the fact that neither the United States nor, and especially, the Republican Party, stand for so-called free trade."

Free-trade capitalism is supposed to be an ideological pillar of the US. In this ideology, governments should not interfere with market supply and demand. But paradoxically as far as US-imposed sanctions on Russian-European energy companies are concerned the American Congress is "quintessentially anti-free market", notes Cavell.

In its shameless profiteering, Washington is acting aggressively towards Russia and Europe while flouting its own supposed economic principles and relying on brute force to win its arguments. America's imperialist agenda towards Europe and Russia is how world wars are instigated.


radbug , 51 minutes ago link

In passing this legislation, the Washington elite have crossed a Rubicon. They can't go back. WW2 in Europe has finally ended.

Scipio Africanuz , 2 hours ago link

The Teutons, the critical component in Europe, have begun grafting titanium onto their spine..

Once the grafting is complete, GOLD ascends, and takes its rightful place, along with plentiful, accessible, and friendly energy..

The focus is now fully East and Central, and why?

Because as always, the rising of the sun starts in the East..

Cheers...

hayits grass , 2 hours ago link

Pretty good. Europe is a great continent. No more sucking the teat of USA.

cheoll , 2 hours ago link

Every EMPIRE has its Achilles's heel.

America is NO different.

ReturnOfDaMac , 2 hours ago link

"You will buy our more expensive, less efficient, non-market solution, you will pay for it with King Dollars, and by gawd, YOU WILL LIKE IT, now shuddup, Vassals!" -- Uncle Scam and the Reloonicans

CrazzeTimes4all , 3 hours ago link

If the US is seeking another world war, then they can host this one.

KingFiat , 3 hours ago link

I live in Denmark, a country Nord Stream 2 is going through. We are (used to be?) one of the strongest allies to the US. But recent developments have alienated a lot of danes to the US.

First Trump publicly announced he wanted to buy the isle of Greenland from Denmark. Greenland is the largest isle in the world and of strategic importance. But you don't just buy a part of another country, and this offer was firmly refused. As response to the refusal Trump cancelled a previously planned official visit to Denmark. This was seen by most danes as an insult.

Denmark was the last country holding out on permissions needed to build Nord Stream 2, but after this incident we allowed the project to go forward. I believe the Greenland incident caused the change making Denmark approve Nord Stream 2.

After this we have had other incidents. One is on the Faroe Islands (a part of Denmark), where both US and Chinese ambassadors interfered in our internal affairs trying to influence if Huawei could be used for 5G in this self-governing part of our country. Another is a follow-up to the Greenland incident mentioned, where the US now wants to open a diplomatic mission on the island, probably in an attempt to influence the local government to accept that the US buys the island.

During the last year I have seen sentiment among my fellow citizens going from "the US is great, let us support and follow them" to "we have to be careful of these guys, they interfere in our internal affairs and try to break up our country".

I believe the US government is underestimating how much they are alienating the Europeans with this line of foreing policy.

Versengetorix , 2 hours ago link

You are correct, but please understand that this is not our foreign policy. It is Israel's and they run America- have for several decades now.

CogitoMan , 1 hour ago link

Its a guess but I think there are other hidden issues here nobody wants to talk about. Of course, Trump idea of buying the island was stupid but I believe it arouse out of frustration. You see, US wants to build huge military base there. Danes won't permit that. The reason US wants to do it is because sea between Iceland and England/Norway is a chokepoint aimed against Russian subs. This is the only place where they can be reasonably stopped. It is nothing new, the same thing happened during WWII war at so called "war of Atlantic" where the most of the fighting happened between German U-boats and alliance marines.

NickelthroweR , 44 minutes ago link

You most certainly can buy land from other countries. Thomas Jefferson purchased the entire center of N. America from the French and for pennies. We also purchased Alaska from the Russians for next to nothing as well. Both land masses are much larger than all of Europe.

You guys don't need Greenland so give it to us for pennies.

Aussiestirrer , 3 hours ago link

USA = World's Terrorist Superpower....nothing more

RDouglas , 4 hours ago link

Russia has the largest proven reserves of easily recoverable oil and natural gas on Earth. The US has about a decade to choke Russia to death. Economic sanctions, regime change, cyber attacks...whatever it takes. If the US doesn't utterly break Russia soon, Russia will become the next, (and last) empire on Earth. NeoConThink.

CogitoMan , 2 hours ago link

Quote...

"The US has about a decade to choke Russia to death. "

Actually you are absolutely wrong on this. It is the other way around. Russia has to get out of US chokefold NOW or it will likely disintegrate.

Why? In short, economy, geogaphy and even more importantly demographics.

Today there are about 110 million native Russians there. Next to them are about 40 million muslims living there. Muslims have about twice as big reproduction rate as Russians do. It is estimated that in 30 years if current trends stand it will be 50/50. Worse, in ten years there will be only about 90 million Russians living there.

There are other issues as well. About 25 percent of Russian men die before the age of 55. The reason? Alcoholism and drug abuse. Have you ever heard about cheap Rusian drug called Krokodil?

It kills you slowly first then fast. Your body just ROTS AWAY and falls off. Literally! Like you have bare bones instead of feet. No kidding. Just check on you tube.

Another problem is soldier materiel. It is estimated that only about 30 percent of males between the age of 18-25 are healthy enough to join military. As of today it is barely sufficient to fill the ranks. In 10 years Russian military will have to shrink by 20 percent. From that perspective it is do or die for Russia right now. This is most likely the peak of their military power, then it will slowly deteriorate. Putin knows that, hence he lashes out at its neighbours, most notably Poland. Economy shrinks, military is on vane, hence he needs an enemy to rally his people around. Or else!

Then there is China. Make your best bet what they will do in the far east when Russia lies prostate.Remember, Russia took over a lot of Chinese territory in late XIX century there. Yep, the area around Vladivostok and other nearby territories, the size close to that of today's France..There are millions of Chinese already living there.In the Asian south Chinese already took controll of the former Russian stans. They rule there, not Putin. You didn't know that?

Makes me wonder why....

Rubicon727 , 1 hour ago link

"There are other issues as well. About 25 percent of Russian men die before the age of 55. The reason? Alcoholism and drug abuse. Have you ever heard about cheap Rusian drug called Krokodil?

It kills you slowly first then fast. Your body just ROTS AWAY and falls off. Literally! Like you have bare bones instead of feet. No kidding. Just check on you tube."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry to burst your bubble, but since the end of the Soviet System (with Western criminal thieving BILLIONAIRES who rushed in to plunder Russia (Yeltsin Years) ---- Russians now live longer than the degraded, and impoverished Americans with what the Junk Food Nation serves in the US of A.

Gonzogal , 47 minutes ago link

here is some news for you.... Russians' Alcohol Consumption Drops 80% in 7 Years

Mustafa Kemal , 4 hours ago link

" Washington must think the rest of the world is as stupid as many of its own politicians are"

No, washington thinks no such thing. It doesnt really understand how stupid its own politicians are. Nor DOES IT CARE!.

Did anyone watch the impeachment proceedings? Now, THAT was stupid, stupid for the whole world to watch. And then there is the chocoate cake diplomacy of Trump, the elegance and sophistication of Pompeo, Bolton, and the digniity of Nikki Haley. Putting Raytheon to run our Pentagon is a magical touch.

LOL, the US clownshow is way past stupid.

vasilievich , 4 hours ago link

Comment from a friend of mine concerning the statement below. He has excellent security credentials:

"Our President has made the world far more dangerous by withdrawing from treaties without attempting to negotiate new ones. No country is well served by this. The situation is very destabilizing."

vasilievich , 4 hours ago link

September 22 of this year :

The Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu:

- I hope that a full-scale war is not a question today. And all the risks and consequences that such a full-scale war entails are obvious to everyone.

Regarding the third world war, there are a very large number of different statements. The most accurate and adequate of them seems to me: "I do not know exactly what the third world war will be. But I know for sure that she will be the last. "

However, if we talk about the number of threats to our country, then they do not become less. The United States has already withdrawn from two important nuclear arms control treaties. So far, the START-3 treaty remains, which is also under discussion in the USA: to renew it or not to renew it?

As a result of this approach, the world is becoming more unpredictable and less secure. At the current level of informatization and automation, there is a high probability of errors in the weapons control system.

That is why recently issues of ensuring information security have come to the fore. When you are aware of your vulnerability and are interested in maintaining balance and universal equal security, it makes you turn on your head.

And when you think how the United States continues to believe by inertia that a balance of power has developed in your favor, a variety of ideas may come to your head, including not the most reasonable ones. It is in this situation that I see the main threat now, and not only for Russia, "the minister replied.

Obamaroid Ointment , 4 hours ago link

U.N. Approves China-Backed Internet Convention, Alarming Rights Advocates

Josef Stalin , 5 hours ago link

Washington must think the rest of the world is as stupid as many of its own politicians are

CDN_Rebel , 5 hours ago link

It's good cop/bad cop nonsense. Europe is occupied territory, and American huffing and puffing at Russia is just meant to get Europe "better deals" for their projects with Russia. The only ones who don't get it are spooks and Neo-Libs/Cons

What is not expected is rational discussion on what I have described here. But since facts contrary to my expose here are missing I doubt it will happen.

Mustafa Kemal , 4 hours ago link

" But remember also that todays Russia is ruled by a Tsar named Putin"

Im amazed at how long this silly meme can be maintained.

Putin is NOT and autocrat, he has to struggle with a delicate balance. between the Atlantic integrationists and Eurasiaon soveriigntists. The oligarchy installed by the US is still strong in Russian. They have not won their soveriignty yet.

IronForge , 6 hours ago link

Because Oligopoly, Economic Slavery, and Vassaldom is Freedom!

BlueLightning , 6 hours ago link

When your only industry left is the MIC what else can you do but sanctions or war.

[Dec 25, 2019] Washington s sanctions are own goal

Notable quotes:
"... Time and time again Washington has tightened Russian sanctions in an effort to crush the Russian economy. When virtually every legal outlet had been sanctioned, Washington has turned to sanctioning third parties that cooperate with Russia. ..."
"... North American investors, led fully by Wall Street, account for over half of the foreign capital flowing into Russian stocks, according to the Moscow Exchange. By comparison, Russia's next door neighbors in Europe account for only 26%. ..."
"... Speaking on German TV, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the sanctions were an infringement of sovereignty... The US sanctions have also angered Russia and the European Union, which says it should be able to decide its own energy policies. ..."
"... "As a matter of principle, the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business," a spokesman for the trading bloc told AFP news agency on Saturday. ..."
"... According to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the American sanctions amount to "interference in autonomous decisions taken in Europe." ..."
"... Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar are considering trading among themselves in gold and through a barter system as a hedge against any future economic sanctions on them, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday. ..."
"... They have their own undersea pipe-laying equipment and experience. These sanctions will only delay the completion date for a few more months. Russia under Putin is very patient, resolute and not prone to rash decisions. They play the long game and will win out in the end. ..."
"... The Great Gas Game: Vesti Presents a New Documentary Film About Pipelines and Power youtube.com ..."
"... Nord Stream 2 is financed by leading energy companies from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Austria, ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall Dea. A multi-billion Euro investment in European industry and services, the project involves more than 200 companies from 17 countries worldwide. ..."
"... Well, congratulations Congress and Trump. This will drive a wedge between the US and Europe. Can you just imagine how those investing in NS2 feel about the US. The US is saying in effect - lose all of your investment because we have determined that the project is against our geopolitical/economic interests. And to make matters worse the pipeline will be completed, probably only 2 months behind schedule. So the financial backers will get hit, but will eventually see returns due to Russian efforts. Russia could have built the entire pipeline themselves, but preferred to have European partners. ..."
"... to Europe at the start of the 1980's, the US had just gone through the Oil Shock of 1978–79 . The US has not been a net exporter of oil for well over 75 years. It is only this year that this has changed through the extensive use of fracking. ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:18pm

own goal noun: (in soccer) a goal scored inadvertently when the ball is struck into the goal by a player on the defensive team.

Time and time again Washington has tightened Russian sanctions in an effort to crush the Russian economy. When virtually every legal outlet had been sanctioned, Washington has turned to sanctioning third parties that cooperate with Russia.

So what is the net effect of all of these sanctions?

The Russian stock market has reached record highs this year but still has room to climb further in coming months before paring gains towards the end of 2020, a Reuters poll of market experts found...
The rouble-based MOEX index has reached an all-time high of 3,009.1 in November, taking its year-to-date gain to over 25%, and is seen finishing this year at 3,000.

That's not exactly what Washington had in mind. However the real kicker is this .

North American investors, led fully by Wall Street, account for over half of the foreign capital flowing into Russian stocks, according to the Moscow Exchange. By comparison, Russia's next door neighbors in Europe account for only 26%.

So what is happening is that Washington is punishing Europe for cooperating with Russia, while turning a blind eye to when their Wall Street donors cooperate with Russia. As you may have guessed, this has created some hard feelings .

Speaking on German TV, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the sanctions were an infringement of sovereignty... The US sanctions have also angered Russia and the European Union, which says it should be able to decide its own energy policies.

"As a matter of principle, the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business," a spokesman for the trading bloc told AFP news agency on Saturday.

Imagine that: countries making their own policy decisions that don't align with Washington's interests? What's the world coming to?

Allseas, a Dutch-Swiss private company, is going to be significantly harmed by the newest sanctions, and it will delay the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (but it will only delay it). However, there is a bright side to all of this.

While it costs Moscow hundreds of millions in lost income and additional investments, the country is benefitting on a geostrategic and political level.

For a mere $9.5 billion, NS2's price tag, Moscow has unintentionally managed to drive another wedge between key Western allies. Berlin is furious about the sanctions and its already fraught relations with Washington are set to escalate even further. According to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the American sanctions amount to "interference in autonomous decisions taken in Europe."

What is certain is that NS2 will be completed eventually. Most of the work on the 1,230 kilometer or 765 mile long pipeline has already been finished. Also, the vast majority of the $9.5 billion in investments have already been spent.

Much like our GWOT, we've reached a point in sanctions where staying the course just makes things worse. It isn't just Russia. The Muslim world is looking for an alternative trading system to avoid sanctions that Washington hasn't even threatened yet.

Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar are considering trading among themselves in gold and through a barter system as a hedge against any future economic sanctions on them, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday.

..."I have suggested that we re-visit the idea of trading using the gold dinar and barter trade among us," Mahathir said, referring to the Islamic medieval gold coin.

"We are seriously looking into this and we hope that we will be able to find a mechanism to put it into effect."
The leaders agreed they needed do more business among themselves and trade in each other's currencies.

You know that you are using sanctions too much when other nations expect to be sanctioned by you before you even consider doing it.
As for the gold dinar, this is what was proposed by Libya's former leader Gaddafi, and also what got him eventually killed .

The most recent batch of Clinton emails reveals perhaps the most bizarre morsel of Blumenthal-baked intelligence to date. An April 2, 2011 memo titled "France's client/Q's gold" quotes "knowledgeable individuals" with insider information about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's motivation for bombing Libya. The military campaign, the anonymous sources say, was designed to quash plans by Gaddafi to use $7 billion in secret gold and silver to prop up a new African currency. The French worried the move would undercut the currency guaranteed by the French treasury, known as CFA franc, that's widely used in West Africa and acts as a strong link between France and many of its former African colonies. After French intelligence officials got wind of this secret plan, the Blumenthal memo reports, Sarkozy freaked out: "This was one of the factors that influenced [his] decision to commit France to the attack on Libya."
The Voice In th... on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:52pm
Kruschev Many remember the quote "We will bury you". I think he was quoting someone else. Lenin? But they forget the second sentence. "And the capitalists will sell us the shovel."

Greed is indeed a sickness, a mental illness. Not ordinary greed, but Scrooge McDuck greed. The need to have more more more, when it cannot possibly make any difference in your life.

Not like the guys I worked with that volunteered for every Holiday, every overtime opportunity. The money did make a difference there, although one can question whether it is worth it. But pursuing an extra billion when you already have tens of billions? How much is enough? How high is up.

EDIT:

I'm reminded of the old sitcom "Mama's Family". Dim bulb son, Vinton, hears of a new larger lottery jackpot and says, "Wow! Imagine how many lottery tickets you could buy with that much money!"

EDIT2:

Like an alcoholic that just drinks more and more until he passes out.

Roy Blakeley on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 9:08pm
Yes but the real problem is...

@entrepreneur that capitalism selects for people with this mental illness. A person with a healthy view of life will never be selected as fortune 500 CEO.

excessive are the mountains of paper they accumulate are still stimulated by acquiring more.
#1
And whether it be newspapers solidly packing every room in their homes to a depth of 6 feet, leaving barely a 12" crawl space between the top of the stacks and the ceiling, or be it a pile of money, more than they and their extended family and descendants can spend in 100 years, it is hoarding, a mental illness.

CB on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 12:55pm
The US will not stop Nord Stream 2

They have their own undersea pipe-laying equipment and experience. These sanctions will only delay the completion date for a few more months. Russia under Putin is very patient, resolute and not prone to rash decisions. They play the long game and will win out in the end.

//www.youtube.com/embed/jiGh1wSIt5c?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

gjohnsit on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 2:20pm
Worth 10 minutes of your time

https://www.youtube.com/embed/w1TYkGq0BM4

CB on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 4:46pm
The US has been playing at this game for over 5 decades, originally with US supplied coal but recently revived with US LNG. Fascinating historical backgrounder to the current US sanctions against Russian gas pipelines.

The Great Gas Game: Vesti Presents a New Documentary Film About Pipelines and Power youtube.com

The Wizard on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 5:33pm
Yes, own goal

Nord Stream 2 is financed by leading energy companies from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Austria, ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall Dea. A multi-billion Euro investment in European industry and services, the project involves more than 200 companies from 17 countries worldwide.

Well, congratulations Congress and Trump. This will drive a wedge between the US and Europe. Can you just imagine how those investing in NS2 feel about the US. The US is saying in effect - lose all of your investment because we have determined that the project is against our geopolitical/economic interests. And to make matters worse the pipeline will be completed, probably only 2 months behind schedule. So the financial backers will get hit, but will eventually see returns due to Russian efforts. Russia could have built the entire pipeline themselves, but preferred to have European partners.

At the end of WWII most of Europe used coal for energy. The US had a goal to convert Europe to oil, since the US was the major world exporter of oil. One of the stated reasons was to make Europe dependent on US oil and give the US political leverage over European countries. So this whole thing is about the US projecting their geopolitical dominance schemes to Russia. As it has turned out, for more than 70 years Russia and previously the USSR has never done that as a policy. The reason being that once you do that you lose trust as a trade partner. But this is even worse as the US is interfering in trading among European partners that has nothing to do directly with the US.

CB on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 6:31pm
When the USSR started building gas pipelines

@The Wizard

to Europe at the start of the 1980's, the US had just gone through the Oil Shock of 1978–79 . The US has not been a net exporter of oil for well over 75 years. It is only this year that this has changed through the extensive use of fracking.

The oil shortage of the 1970's brought about the end of power generation using oil. The US, a major exporter of coal, was pushing the use of American coal for energy security in Europe since WWII.

CB on Tue, 12/24/2019 - 8:47pm
Just came across this report on US coal

@CB

Trump Makes American Coal Great Again -- Overseas
U.S. coal exports have exploded. Can that continue?
April 4, 2018
...
The export boom is the one part of Trump's pledge to help the coal sector that is coming true.

Production ticked up a bit last year after a disastrous 2016 but is still at the lowest level since 1978. And despite plenty of promises to bring back jobs to coal country, coal mining employment only grew by some 1,100 jobs last year; mining employment is down about 40 percent since 2012. Meanwhile, closures of coal-fired power plants continue apace, with more than two dozen plants shutting down early last year alone, which means less domestic demand for coal.
...
And the Trump administration's other policies don't look like they'll end up helping coal much either. The push to increase exports of natural gas to Europe, Asia, and Latin America undermines the overseas market for U.S. coal, since both can be used to generate electricity. And as U.S. coal is shipped abroad, its price at home tends to rise slightly -- making coal even less attractive as a power source there.

"Unfortunately, most of the policies the Trump administration is pursuing inside and outside of energy do not help domestic coal production," Book says.

[Dec 25, 2019] Freedom gas

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al December 24, 2019 at 2:35 am

Euractiv: How a EURACTIV journalist inadvertently coined the 'Worst Phrase of the Year' 2019
https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/how-a-euractiv-journalist-inadvertently-coined-the-worst-phrase-of-the-year-2019/

It's official: "Freedom gas" is the Worst Phrase of the Year, according to the Plain English Foundation. But where does the expression come from? EURACTIV did not have to look far to get the answer

So where does the whole story come from?

On 1 May, EURACTIV's energy and climate reporter Frédéric Simon attended a briefing with US energy secretary Rick Perry in Brussels. He recalls the events below.

The four journalists in the room had spent about an hour asking Perry a basic question: why would Europeans choose to pay for expensive LNG imported from the US when they have access to cheap Russian gas?

"But my surprise soon turned to dismay when Perry suddenly took a grave face and started talking about the Normandy landings during WWII for which commemorations were planned days after."

Here's what Perry went on to say: Seventy-five years after liberating Europe from Nazi Germany occupation, "the United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent," the US energy secretary told reporters that day.

"And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it's in the form of liquefied natural gas," he added. "So yes, I think you may be correct in your observation," he said in reference to Fred's suggestion about 'Freedom gas' .
####

Quite instructive about the mindset (f/king nuts) they are over in the States. They really do live in their own universe where no-one picks up their dogs' (and their own) crap. They neither notice the smell nor link to the slipperyness underfoot to their own actions. They don't care either.

Moscow Exile December 24, 2019 at 4:35 am
They like to talk about the European "blood-debt" to the USA.

I don't know what they think a large number of unfortunate young men were doing on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches in June, 1944, or indeed that there were such beaches. Even moreso, they are apparently unaware of the over 22 million Soviet citizens who died 1941-1945 during what is known as "The Great Patriotic War for the Fatherland, 1941-1945"..

The what???

[Dec 25, 2019] Analysts have identified a way to increase the export of Gazprom to bypass the Ukraine The Eugal pipeline built to deliver gas from "Nord Stream-2 " to end users, will be operating in 2020, despite US sanctions

Dec 24, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile December 24, 2019 at 10:47 am Аналитики назвали способ нарастить экспорт "Газпрома" в обход Украины

Analysts have identified a way to increase the export of Gazprom to bypass the Ukraine The Eugal pipeline built to deliver gas from "Nord Stream-2 " to end users, will be operating in 2020, despite US sanctions. "Gazprom" will redirect gas to this pipeline from "Northern stream-1", experts say

The capacity of the Eugal onshore gas pipeline, built specifically for delivering gas from the Nord Stream-2 offshore gas pipeline to end users, may allow Gazprom to increase supplies to Europe bypassing the Ukraine, despite the fact that the United States has imposed sanctions against laying the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. , said experts interviewed by RBC.

The Gascade Gastransport operator, controlled by Gazprom and the German Wintershall Dea , will commission the first of two Eugal pipelines with a capacity of 30.9 billion cubic metres per year from January 1, 2020 (total pipe capacity should be 55 billion cubic metres), which will go from German Greifswald on the Baltic Sea to the south to the border with the Czech Republic, the Eugal press service said on December 20. And the next day it became known that the European pipe-laying company Allseas had suspended the construction of Nord Stream-2 (which should pump 55 billion cubic meters per year) in the Baltic Sea.

Eugal will lay another 36 billion cubic metre capacity OPAL landline, built to pump gas from the first Baltic gas pipeline of Gazprom and partners, Nord Stream-1, which achieved at full capacity 55 billion cubic metres per year back in October 2012. Since 2013, Gazprom could only use 50% of OPAL capacity because of restrictions, and in 2016, the company received permission to connect to 90% of the pipeline capacity. However, in September 2019, Gazprom was forced to reduce gas pumping through OPAL, and then through Nord Stream-1, because of a decision of the European Court of Justice, which, in lawsuit filed by Poland, limited supply by almost half – from 90 to 50% of capacity , or up to 18 billion cubic metres per year.

"The launch of Eugal will ensure a full load of Nord Stream-1. About 20 billion cubic metres of gas per year can be delivered via a new land gas pipeline, which volume was lost because of restrictions imposed as a result of Poland's victory in court", said Mikhail Korchemkin, director of East European Gas Analysis, to RBC. The remaining 17–20 billion cubic metre Gazprom can pump through a second branch from the offshore gas pipeline NEL , which runs only through Germany to the west of Greifswald, so Poland could not achieve restrictions on its capacity.

At the peak of capacity, OPAL pumped up to 103 million cubic metres of gas per day owing to a decision of the European Court to decrease transit to 50 million cubic metre. Last week, it fell to 12 million cubic metres per day. This is due to an increase of 115 million cubic metres per day in supplies to the NEL gas pipeline, as well as an increase in transit to Europe through the territory of the Ukraine, Korchemkin points out.

"Now most of the gas from Nord Stream-1, which continues to operate at its design capacity, is sent to the markets of northwestern Europe through NEL, that is, the limitation of the use of OPAL by the decision of the European Court has practically had no affect on the load of Nord Stream", added Deputy General Director of the National Energy Policy Fund, Alexey Grivach. According to him, after the introduction of Eugal, part of the gas can go to Central Europe through a new onshore gas pipeline, depending on the current market needs and the optimization of Gazprom's export portfolio.

Despite the impending U.S. sanctions, the possibility of using Eugal to pump Gazprom's gas was recognized in November by Arno Bux, chief commercial officer of gas transmission operator Fluxys, which is a minority shareholder in Gascade. According to him, since 2020, from 80 to 90% of the Eugal capacity has already been booked for 20 years at auctions. "Since the transportation facilities are reserved on a ship-or-pay basis (" transport or pay "), the potential delays of the Nord Stream-2 project do not affect Eugal's revenues", he told Interfax, noting that the flows from the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 can be routed through Eugal.

"We cannot predict the volumes that will be transported through Eugal, because it depends on requests from transport customers", Gascade spokesman Georg Wustner told RBC on December 23, declining to specify whether gas supplies from Nord Stream-1 will begin on January 1 through a new onshore pipeline. A representative of Gazprom Export declined to comment; the press service of Nord Stream AG (operator of the Nord Stream-1 project) did not respond to a request from RBC.

[Dec 25, 2019] US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo want to expand trade with Russia, but the US Congress continues sanctions

Dec 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Dec 24 2019 18:12 utc | 106

Lavrov on the 22nd appeared on what looks to be an interesting program on Russia's Channel One-- "The Great Game Show" with a transcript at the link. Most of the questions deal with Lavrov's recent trip to the Outlaw US Empire and his meetings with Trump and Pompeo. I found Lavrov's remarks about Congress most revealing as they're very similar to what he says about the tiny Russophobic nations other NATO nations seem to feel they can't break with the overall consensus despite its being idiotic. His response is related to the illegal sanctions laid against the construction of Nord Stream 2:

"They are threatening it. I said it will be built, no matter what, despite all these threats. First, I am convinced that the Europeans understand their commercial interest. Second, this implies an interest in the context of maintaining long-term energy security. Third, they were, of course, humiliated. The statements were, nevertheless, made, including those from Berlin which shows that our European partners still retain a sense of dignity.

"I am confident that, just like the TurkStream project, Nord Stream 2 will be implemented, and TurkStream will start operating some two or three weeks from now.

"US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo want to expand trade, but the US Congress continues to bombard our relations with sanctions. A situation that has now shaped up in the United States shows that, in their striving to revise election results and the will of the American people, these Congressmen are ready to do anything, including absolutely reckless things that, I would say, are not worthy of serious politicians."

As you read the transcript, you'll realize that this is a very serious program where the truth of the overall situation is being revealed and remarked upon in a manner that would be unimaginable here within the Outlaw US Empire, and I presume the program is viewed by a majority of Russians. It should certainly be read in relation to what Putin said at his presser on the topics covered and at the Informal CIS Summit .

Many are busy with their plans for the holidays, and the combined transcripts will take 4-6 hours to read, so perhaps bookmark them to read before New Year when more time's available.

[Dec 25, 2019] https://off-guardian.org/2019/12/24/sanctions-security-and-the-nord-stream-2-pipeline/

Notable quotes:
"... It would have been simpler and much cheaper to supply the gas through land pipelines via Ukraine, the Baltics and Poland. But the undersea pipelines had to be built because the Levantine dual nationals parachuted in by the State Department to rule over Ukraine and the Baltics on Washington's behalf have shown themselves to be totally unreliable economic partners. Ukraine refused to pay for gas that was supplied and stole gas intended for European countries. The rabid Levantines in the Baltics and Poland were equally hostile. They could have made billions in transit fees, but they always insisted on cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Bulgaria blocked South Stream on Washington's instructions and lost a reliable source of cheap gas and $400 million a year in transit fees. A lot of money and a lot of jobs for a poor country. US satellites pay a high price to kowtow to Uncle Sam. Russia developed its own port facilities in the Baltic and Riga is now a ghost town. ..."
"... Its surprising how history repeats itself. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, Napoleon achieved dominance over continental Europe. Only Britain stood against him. Napoleon tried to bring Britain to heel through economic warfare, the Continental System, ordering European countries not to trade with his sole remaining enemy. His orders were ignored all the way from Spain to Russia, and this lucrative trade continued. The invasion of Russia and the debacle at Moscow were an attempt to enforce the Continental System. In a similar fashion, Washington's hubris and unbridled arrogance are now alienating even its most abject, cringing, servile satraps like Macron, Merkel, and Erdogan. With the same result. ..."
"... Uncle Sam sees Nord-2 as an energy superpower challenge to energy supremacy which equates to American supremacy & hegemonic supremacy writ large across the world. If the pinko commie bastards in the Russian Federation make inroads by unilaterally making massive energy deals with the entire EU we will see American interests clamoring for market inroads & market share so that the pinko commie bastards in the Russian Federation don't make a dime. ..."
"... Uncle Sam is in actuality a waning ex-superpower thug that is yesterday's man but can't stand being taken out of the limelight being the narcissist nation it is. ..."
"... Zackarova is bang on in that the USA is wholly incompetent to govern their own business interests let alone other sovereign interests. Nord-2 is necessary infrastructure that the USA wants to thwart for their own monetary benefit. ..."
"... Stepping aside from the geopolitics for a moment. In terms of economics the US is attempting to push Russia out of natural gas markets. ..."
"... Greenpeace is yet another "NGO" that is heavily influenced by the National Endowment for Democracy a CIA front that supports US Imperialism. ..."
"... One wonders if the invertebrates of the EU will ever tire of being bullied by the Global Bullying Thug in Chief? The clerico-fascists of priest-ridden Poland one can understand, and the phony 'greens' of Greenpeace the sell-out specialists, but the others are just like mongrel dogs-the more you kick them, the more they lick your boots. ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Jen ,

What would Dr Kampmark consider to be an ecologically cleaner alternative to Nordstream I and 2? The US proposal to supply LNG via an endless conga line of tankers across the North Atlantic would be an ecological nightmare, to say nothing of the specialised port facilities that need to be built to accommodate the tankers, the extra pipelines needed to pipe the gas to areas of Europe away from the Atlantic and the potential for accidents and disasters during annual hurricane season. Europe needs the best energy supply solution possible from a sustainability POV and other POVs and while Nordstream I and 2 may not be perfect, other solutions are either worse, more expensive or less certain and stable in the long term.

RobG ,

Shale gas is also poop. Only someone totally corrupt or totally insane would buy such junk from the USA.

The collapse of an empire brings up such interesting stuff.

I am of course a Russian troll for stating the obvious, so a merry Christmas from the Kremlin.

Let nuclear bombers fly, baby. Who wants another Christmas. The majority of the present American government (including Trump) are evangelical Christians who believe in the Rapture . You wouldn't put such people in charge of a car park, let alone put them in charge of the biggest nuclear weapons arsenal on the planet.

But that's where we are at the moment.

The Presstitutes will never tell you any of this.

RobG ,

I find this a bit of a strange piece, for reasons that many others have pointed out here in the comments. With regard to the environmental angle, I should perhaps point out that by far the biggest polluter on the planet is the US military.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The US Military pollutes everything under the sun far past Internet & the over 900 worldwide bases it occupies. Heck, the US MIC pollutes all sports venues with their propagandistic parades of adherence to state & flag military shows.

In the USA they make you stand in honour of the military at sports events.

I'm glad I don't go down to the USA for the USA Grand National Drag Racing events just because of the MIC pollution at events. Their propaganda pollution is all over the Internet and that is toxic waste that we all have to sift through on our way to real news aside from institutional American killing of the third world.

GI-Joe turned out to be anything but a good hippie in my book.

MOU

ttshasta ,

The article mentions Rex Tillerson, yet fails to mention Qatar. Exxon Mobil & Exxon Mobil Qatar, that Tillerson worked for, want to run an LP pipeline from the Norths Pars gas field, the worlds largest, and Qatar owns 2/3 of,through Saudi Arabia, through Jordan, Syria, through Alleppo then through Turkey on to Europe. Thus Qatar, S.A. and Turkey have sponsored the foreign invasion of Syria that the the dolts at NPR to this day call a civil war. The US's Al Udeid air base in Qatar is the largest in the region, Cheney has been to Qatar many times as have Barack and Michele Obama, John Ashcroft was paid $2.5 million to defend Qatar from post 911 terrorism charges.

Does it seem the article misses the elephant in the room? US Qatari investments must profit?

Never forget the Clintons, Qatar donates to Clinton Foundation, State Dpt. sells weapons to Qatar (diverted to Syria?), candidate Clinton to declare no fly zone over Syria as POTUS.

In 2016 Thierry Messan's Voltairenet dot org translated an article from Petra the official Jordanian press paper that S.A. financed 20% of Clinton's campaign, which is illegal under US law. Subsequently, and conveniently, Saudi Prince M.B.S. declared Petra had been hacked and the report was false. I rely on Thierry's translations, and his voluminous site.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article193378.html

Jen ,

Excellent comment. As always, one should follow the money trail.

paul ,

I've never understood the argument that buying Russian gas is a threat to the security of European countries. Russia doesn't supply the gas out of altruism, it does so because it wants their money. They are dependent on Russian gas. Russia is dependent on their money. Mutual dependence, mutual gain.

During the Cold War, Russia always supplied every last gallon of oil and every cubic foot of gas that contracts obliged it to deliver. It did so, again because it wanted their money. Simple as that.

It would have been simpler and much cheaper to supply the gas through land pipelines via Ukraine, the Baltics and Poland. But the undersea pipelines had to be built because the Levantine dual nationals parachuted in by the State Department to rule over Ukraine and the Baltics on Washington's behalf have shown themselves to be totally unreliable economic partners. Ukraine refused to pay for gas that was supplied and stole gas intended for European countries. The rabid Levantines in the Baltics and Poland were equally hostile. They could have made billions in transit fees, but they always insisted on cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Bulgaria blocked South Stream on Washington's instructions and lost a reliable source of cheap gas and $400 million a year in transit fees. A lot of money and a lot of jobs for a poor country. US satellites pay a high price to kowtow to Uncle Sam. Russia developed its own port facilities in the Baltic and Riga is now a ghost town.

Uncle Sam is now waging economic warfare and imposing sanctions on its previously most loyal and obedient satellites, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Turkey.

Its surprising how history repeats itself. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, Napoleon achieved dominance over continental Europe. Only Britain stood against him. Napoleon tried to bring Britain to heel through economic warfare, the Continental System, ordering European countries not to trade with his sole remaining enemy. His orders were ignored all the way from Spain to Russia, and this lucrative trade continued. The invasion of Russia and the debacle at Moscow were an attempt to enforce the Continental System. In a similar fashion, Washington's hubris and unbridled arrogance are now alienating even its most abject, cringing, servile satraps like Macron, Merkel, and Erdogan. With the same result.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

Uncle Sam sees Nord-2 as an energy superpower challenge to energy supremacy which equates to American supremacy & hegemonic supremacy writ large across the world. If the pinko commie bastards in the Russian Federation make inroads by unilaterally making massive energy deals with the entire EU we will see American interests clamoring for market inroads & market share so that the pinko commie bastards in the Russian Federation don't make a dime.

Uncle Sam is in actuality a waning ex-superpower thug that is yesterday's man but can't stand being taken out of the limelight being the narcissist nation it is.

MOU

john ward ,

So many sources one cannot trust ..Russian Greenpeace, NATO, the Merkel Bundesrepublik, the European Commission, the Texan oil business, the Saudis and the Pentagon. How on Earth is anyone on Earth supposed to make an informed decision based on such a truth-strangulating tangle of hegemonic propaganda? From The Slog archives:
https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/analysis-the-factors-that-make-pompeo-russiaphobia-oil-pipelines-water-supply-and-brexit-inseparable/

pàul_m ,

Can you imagine being dependent on the usa for anything never mind fracked gas at twice the price.no doubt brave new worlder boris will go for it.gb inc looks over and done with.

Guy ,

"Can you imagine being dependent on the usa for anything" Yes I can .I live in Canada and they basically own our country, for all intent and purposes .
They did not conquer us militarily but they so corporately.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

Zackarova is bang on in that the USA is wholly incompetent to govern their own business interests let alone other sovereign interests. Nord-2 is necessary infrastructure that the USA wants to thwart for their own monetary benefit.

The USA is anachronism, insolvent, and lacks common sense as well as entrepreneurial spirit & business acumen.

MOU

padre ,

How very concerned about environment we are, when somebody else is "destroying" it!

paul ,

The US certainly showed how concerned it was about the environment with the North Dakota pipeline.

Francis Lee ,

Stepping aside from the geopolitics for a moment. In terms of economics the US is attempting to push Russia out of natural gas markets. If a company did this it would be attempting to construct a monopoly and be subject to anti-competitive laws. If the US becomes the sole supplier in Europe then it has a stranglehold, both economic and political, on Europe. That's the strategy, and it seems blatantly obvious.

But the construction being put on this sordid little play by the Anglo-American MSM is that the US frackers – who never make a profit – are doing Europe a really big favour by enabling them not to become dependent on Russian gas. The Europeans should there for be grateful for US LNG since it will enable to diversify away from Russian gas.

The reality is, however, that once you become dependent on a single overseas crucial energy source you have been unceremoniously grabbed by the short and curlies.

Antonym ,

Simply connect more European harbors to the existing gas pipeline network and choose the LNG supplier you want. Not rocket science but Dutch PM Rutte was sold on abolishing natural gas because of CO2, while trees from North America for burning in power plants was fine.

Neighbour PM Merkel Germany wants gas but not nuclear (a scientist!). France wants nuclear but rely on a new unproven expensive design.
Political inmates are running the EU madhouse.

John Deehan ,

In this article, it misses the whole point of why the USA wants to impose sanctions, rather late in the day, on companies involved in its construction. Namely, the continued attempts by it to isolate The Russian Federation and its its long term strategy of preparations for war. Moreover, the omission of the reasons why Russia built the gas pipeline could not be more striking. The coup in the Ukraine made the transit of Russian gas to western Europe via its territory open to pressure from the USA. Hence why the Russians built the pipeline in the first place. It's the same reasons why the USA is attempting to prevent other Russian gas/oil pipelines in other parts of the world.

Francis Lee ,

If anything illustrates the reality of the EU-NATO 'alliance' it is this. The US to Germany – and by extension the rest of the EU – 'You will take expensive US LNG gas and like it' Me Tarzan you Jane. This brazen realpolitik illustrates the true nature of the vassalised EU. And of course Poland, Romania – please station your inter-mediate range missiles here – and the Baltic uber-Petainist elites come chiming in 'America the Beautiful.' More than anything this explodes the idea of the EU as a third geopolitical bloc. It is an occupied region always has been and is composed of countries which can't actually defend their own interests whilst privileging the US.

Gutless and spineless!

George Cornell ,

Indeed. And as reluctant as I am to entertain it, the Brutish ( spellcheck wants it to be British, no irony there) US is forcing any vertebrate in the EU to crave armed forces. Why poor EU countries buy the bollocks that is the relentless pressure or requirement from NATO to buy American and Israeli arms is beyond me. They should be much more frightened of the Americans than the imaginary bogeymen to the East.

Gezzah Potts ,

You mean like the Azov Battalion, Right Sector and C-14? Those bogeymen Tim? Some of whom are now in Hong Kong helping Joseph Wong and his mates fight for 'freedom and democracy' with some help from people in, er, Langley Virginia. Oh, and Nancy Pelosi.

Tim Drayton ,

Well, I support the right of all peoples to self-determination as a universal right and oppose imperialism/neo-imperialism regardless of who does it, so your false dichotomy does not apply to me.

Gezzah Potts ,

I thought you were referring to the neo nazi thugs in Ukraine that sprung up like weeds after rain following the overthrow of Yanukovych by you know who. No, it wasn't Putin. And no, I'm not a fan either. All bullshit pushed by Mr Hopey Changey that has put the world in grave peril.

In fact the changes of nuclear war are greater than any time in history. And what happened when the Berlin Wall came down Tim? Bush solemnly promised Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch eastward. And where are NATO now?

paul ,

Then no doubt you support the right of the Crimea and Donbas to self determination from the CIA installed Fascist Coup Regime.

George Cornell ,

Oh for Chrissake! And where were you about Gitmo? And Iraq, and Yemen, and Syria, and Libya? And the lithium in Afghanistan makes it morally justified? Put the photo of Kissinger on a bearskin rug in your drawer and tell me about how the 95% of Crimeans who wanted to be part of Russia invalidates what happened there.

Come back to me about the sandbars in the South China Sea. Now there's a place to increase your debt.!

lundiel ,

Russia isn't occupying any of Ukraine. There are Russian volunteers and Russia is giving them some weapons and no doubt finance but the Russian army isn't at war with Ukraine.

Jay ,

If they were, the war would have been on Kiev's doorstep.

Francis Lee ,

The only people 'taking' seven percent of the Ukraine are those who already live in the Donbass and Crimea are the Russian-speaking inhabitants who have lived there for generations and who are defending their homeland against the Ukie Army and its Waffen SS look-alikes in the Azov Battalion and various other neo-nazi outfits like Praviy Sektor, and the Tornado Battalion and Dnipro1 and other charming little outfits such as 'Patriots of the Ukraine' – backed by right-wing fanatics in the Ukrainian Rada namely Biletsky and Parubiy.

These people are the direct descendants of the scum of the murderous Banderist pro-Nazis who were responsible for mass extermination of Russians, Jew, and above all, Poles in Volhynia in the far west of the Ukraine between 1943-45. The Ukrainian Insurgent army (UPA – led by Shukeviych) was the military wing of Bandera's OUN-B (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists). Unfortunately for for Mr B, he had an unfortunate rendezvous with a KGB hit-man in Munich in 1955. RIP.

Long live the heroic resistance of the Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Frank Speaker ,

Exactly Francis. Some of my family were massacred by these bastard who were their neighbours: a woman cut upon at the front, a woman with a wooden stake driven through her head, two children thrown down a well. That NATO aided and abetted these same evil scum to overthrow a democratically elected government and re-start their murderous ways – this time around upon the ethnic Russians in the wast of the country – I cannot forgive my political leaders who have done this.

That our MSM completely ignore this situation, I cannot forgive them, and that's why I am here.If there's a place called hell, I hope there's a special place reserved for our leaders and media owners who have done this.

eddie ,

They are occupying Jacque Schitt, but their 93rd aid convoy to the Donbas in November, consisting of 45 trucks, was not imaginary.

Gall ,

Greenpeace is yet another "NGO" that is heavily influenced by the National Endowment for Democracy a CIA front that supports US Imperialism.

I'm ambivalent on the issue of pipelines ( see Keystone XL Pipeline being driven through Indian Land in total violation of the Laramie Treaty) since they are environmentally destructive but the fact is that this is all about politics and has nothing to do with protecting the environment.

If "Russia's" Greenpeace was so concerned about the environment they'd worry about their backyard first such as the network of pipelines being run through Siberia.

richard le sarc ,

One wonders if the invertebrates of the EU will ever tire of being bullied by the Global Bullying Thug in Chief? The clerico-fascists of priest-ridden Poland one can understand, and the phony 'greens' of Greenpeace the sell-out specialists, but the others are just like mongrel dogs-the more you kick them, the more they lick your boots.

Tutisicecream ,

Boats of LNG floating across the Atlantic to Poland is not energy security. Whatever the politics of Nord Stream 2 we may be assured the US has not got our back in Europe on this.

We may also be in need of energy sooner than we think, as professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University suggests. Unlike the Guardian her catastrophe theory goes in the other direction where in the next few years Earth will enter into a cooling phase. That will set off a series of events leading to a mini ice age as happened with the Maunder Minimum of the 17th Century.

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/ice-age-astrophysicists-climate-change/

[Dec 25, 2019] Gazprom has purchased a pipe-laying ship which would allow the company to build undersea pipelines despite sanctions

Dec 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yeah, Right , Dec 23 2019 23:27 utc | 61

@4 Annie "Gazprom does not have the expertise"...

https://sputniknews.com/business/201605211040013151-gazprom-new-ship-sanctions/

"Gazprom has purchased a pipe-laying ship which would allow the company to build undersea pipelines despite sanctions. The new vessel may be used to build the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline to Europe."

Apparently the Russians think several steps ahead of the Americans.


karlof1 , Dec 24 2019 0:38 utc | 67

Yeah, Right @61--

This article has all one needs to know about Russia/Gazprom's ability to finish the job abandoned by the Swiss cowards, although their ships are apparently still on station. Yes, there'll be a delay, but that won't matter much. Pissing off the Germans was the absolute wrong move!

Yeah, Right , Dec 24 2019 9:02 utc | 88
@80 Jen It is much too late for the Danes to step in and stop Nord Stream 2.

Their permission was required because the pipe enters their economic zone, but once that permission was given then the pipelaying started on the basis of "good faith". If the Danes attempted to renege then I would imagine that it would be Russia and Germany who would tie up Denmark in legal red-tape, not the other way around, and by the time this got to court the pipeline would be completed and the gas would be flowing.

The USA's only hope now is that its sanctions scare off companies like Allseas, but that hope relies on the western conceit that Russia is too technologically backward to be able to take over and finish the job.

But the Russians are very capable, and extremely wily: if you look at my original post you will see a link from 2016 where the Russians are already spelling out exactly what they intend to do.

They acquired a suitable pipeline-laying ship at last three years. They admitted at the time that they acquired it that it made no economic sense for them to acquire such a ship.

Economics be damned. They bought it because they had to consider the possibility that the USA is run by a bunch of duplicitous shits.

Pretty astute reasoning, as it turns out.

mk , Dec 24 2019 10:03 utc | 89
@ Nord Stream 2

As I'm following the case closely, a few supplements.

The problem with the high tech Russian pipelaying vessel is that it is deployed in the Far East and would need months to get to the scene. The Russian Fortuna lacks the technical permission from the Danes to work in their waters, but it is suspiciously idling at the German Coast. NorthStream 2 could ask Denmark to get a special allowance for the Fortuna to work, and that is not so far-fetched as it seems because Denmark has a new government since last June.

The Fortuna will at least finish the German part of the pipeline. A German court yesterday has turned down a complaint by environmentalists who are worried about wintering birds.

The sanctions are a huge strategical blunder of the USA. Yes, the Germans are pissed off, from the bosses of the chemical industry to the "ordinary people". You can almost hear the tectonic subterranean crack that moves Germany away from the Anglosphere towards Russia.

In German politics, the Transatlanticians are now in the defensive. The most powerful transatlantic institutions are IMO the various intelligence services, BND, BfV and so on. They have certainly initiated the "scandal" about the murdered Georgian djihadist (you remember, two Russian diplomats were expelled immediately) in order to sabotage the Normandy talks and NordStream 2 and push Merkel to distance herself from Russia. This has failed, obviously. Stupid white men.


[Dec 25, 2019] Germans angry at US for Nord Stream meddling

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star December 24, 2019 at 4:43 pm

An excellent show from last week. However still relevant with some reminders from the 80s that are quintessential irony. Sanchez's journalistic delivery is impressive.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6nSAhjsYx-w?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Dec 25, 2019] Rapoza in his review for Forbesof the Russia/Ukraine gas deal suggests that Russia did not really have to give up very much, it would be to Ukraine's advantage to stop fucking around and concentrate now on the issues,

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman December 23, 2019 at 5:11 pm

Rapoza's latest effort, for Forbes, is his review of the Russia/Ukraine gas deal that everyone is talking about. His take, in summary, is that Russia did not really have to give up very much, it would be to Ukraine's advantage to stop fucking around and concentrate now on the issues, that Ukraine dropped a very large amount in claims in return for not very much money (although he does not say how likely Ukraine would have been to win them in court, and my personal opinion is not very), that Nord Stream II will be completed with not a significant amount of delay, and that Russia can implement the same no-gas-through-Ukraine in five years if it does not like the way things are going.

[Dec 25, 2019] https://www.stalkerzone.org/the-gas-war-has-retreated-but-the-most-interesting-thing-is-yet-to-come/

Dec 25, 2019 | www.stalkerzone.org

The Gas War Has Retreated, but the Most Interesting Thing Is Yet to Come December 22, 2019 Stalker Zone

As usual, the range of interpretations of gas agreements is wide and full of water. Most of them have hidden recognition of groundlessness, because even a simple reading of the document requires above average schooling.

Here is this document, where it is written in black and almost white that the parties agreed on such and such conditions:

All talk about a Ukrainian victory or a Russian victory should be left to politicians for domestic consumption, although, to be fair, it is worth noting: Ukrainian functionaries immediately claimed it is a victory for Ukraine. This sounded against the background of the absence of fanfare in Russia, which, in the face of the most difficult negotiations, would be extremely inappropriate.

Why?

Because Gazprom is Gazprom, not Russia. Confusion in concepts is a very characteristic phenomenon for immature structures and individuals on both sides. So talk of Russia allegedly forgiving Ukraine $3 billion in credit has nothing to do with the topic at all. There is no word in the document about this, which is natural, because, I will repeat: Russia is not Gazprom.

However, the Naftogaz fanfare coming from Vitrenko's mouth is also understandable on the other hand: the board (8 people) will not have to return millions of dollars already distributed to their pockets as part of the prize according to the results of the Stockholm Arbitration . Moreover, now, if Gazprom pays the claim amount, the premium will increase significantly.

As for the amount Gazprom has pledged to pay – about $3 billion – it is less than 1% of the assets of the Russian gas giant (not to be confused with capitalisation). Few will notice this drop in the ocean. And for Naftogaz? In the absence of up-to-date information about the assets of this structure, I believe that the figure is comparable to all assets, especially since, according to the current reform, the Ukrainian gas transit system, the market value of which is no more than $1.5 billion (according to the Chairman of the Board Kobolev ), leaves from under Naftogaz in general.

Conclusion: tactically Naftogaz and its board benefited from a contract with Gazprom. Strategically, as it seems, Gazprom at least did not lose, firstly, significantly reducing the term of the contract and the volume of pumping on the gas transit system of Ukraine, taking into account the forthcoming and inevitable implementation of " Nord Stream-2 " and, secondly, leaving itself the right to disagree with transit tariffs, which remain the subject of negotiations:

Point 2.2.3 The organising company [Naftogaz] will contact LLC "Operator of gas transit system of Ukraine" for the reservation of capacities of the gas transit system of Ukraine

Point 3.2 The Ukrainian side will take all necessary measures (create all necessary conditions) by 29.12.19:

What went on behind the scenes went almost unnoticed:

1. Ukraine's demand for imported gas, which is still falling due to the decline in production capacity, will be covered from the volumes approved by the agreement (65 billion m3 in 2020 and 40 billion m3 in the following 4 years). The volume of imports according to various estimates remains at about 20 billion m3 per year. Tariffs will not be applied on all the Russian gas that Ukraine will consume from pumping on the gas transit system and will be implemented on the territory of Ukraine at its own expense. The volume subject to a transit tariff will be determined by the difference between the entrance to the Ukrainian gas transit system and the exit to Europe.

2. All preliminary talk about gas discounts for Ukraine was not included in the agreement. Thus, the price of gas remains the subject of bargaining and is inevitably dependent on the transit tariff: the higher the price of transit – the higher the price of gas and, accordingly, vice versa.

3. In fact, the issue of direct gas supplies to Ukraine is not worth discussing at all. I.e., in the event of a non-agreement on the price, all gas will come to Europe, Ukraine will earn from transit, but these earnings will be offset by the increased price of gas on the reverse. Thus, even in the event of pumping all gas to Europe, earnings from transit, according to experts, will not even cover the cost of servicing the Ukrainian gas transit system.

Lastly, Gazprom – which is not Russia, but behind whose back Russia certainly stands, and was opposed by both Ukraine and the European Union, represented by the European Commission, as well as the United States with its global interests – managed, at a minimum, to minimise its tactical losses and preserve strategic Russian interests.

The gas war appears to have retreated, but the most interesting thing is yet to come.


Aleksandr Dubrovsky

[Dec 25, 2019] In return for that $3 billion, which will be pocketed by many Yukitard bastards, I am sure, Gazprom's never ending altercations with the Yukie gas outfit over compensation and claims and counter-claims have had a line drawn under them.

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile December 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

I linked a Russian newspaper article above which analysed the deal and in which it was pointed out that the $3 billion that Gazprom coughed up is 1% of the annual turnover of that company. And another thing that the article pointed out was that the deal is between Gazprom and Naftogaz not Russia and the Ukraine. In return for that $3 billion, which will be pocketed by many Yukitard bastards, I am sure, Gazprom's never ending altercations with the Yukie gas outfit over compensation and claims and counter-claims have had a line drawn under them. I suppose that's really why the Porky bloc in the rada is taking action against the deal: they fear that their nice little earner is being stifled, in that penalties imposed by arbitration courts against Gazprom have seemingly ended.
Moscow Exile December 23, 2019 at 10:40 pm
$3 billion that Gazprom coughed up is 1% of the annual turnover of that company.

No!

The source that I linked to previously: The Gas War Has Retreated, but the Most Interesting Thing Is Yet to Come .

To reiterate:

All talk about a Ukrainian victory or a Russian victory should be left to politicians for domestic consumption, although, to be fair, it is worth noting: Ukrainian functionaries immediately claimed it is a victory for Ukraine. This sounded against the background of the absence of fanfare in Russia, which, in the face of the most difficult negotiations, would be extremely inappropriate.

Why?

Because Gazprom is Gazprom, not Russia. Confusion in concepts is a very characteristic phenomenon for immature structures and individuals on both sides. So talk of Russia allegedly forgiving Ukraine $3 billion in credit has nothing to do with the topic at all. There is no word in the document about this, which is natural, because, I will repeat: Russia is not Gazprom.

However, the Naftogaz fanfare coming from Vitrenko's mouth is also understandable on the other hand: the [Naftogaz] board (8 people) will not have to return millions of dollars already distributed to their pockets as part of the prize according to the results of the Stockholm Arbitration. Moreover, now, if Gazprom pays the claim amount, the premium will increase significantly.

As for the amount Gazprom has pledged to pay – about $3 billion – it is less than 1% of the assets of the Russian gas giant (not to be confused with capitalisation). Few will notice this drop in the ocean. And for Naftogaz? In the absence of up-to-date information about the assets of this structure, I believe that the figure is comparable to all assets, especially since, according to the current reform, the Ukrainian gas transit system, the market value of which is no more than $1.5 billion (according to the Chairman of the Board Kobolev), leaves from under Naftogaz in general.

Conclusion: tactically Naftogaz and its board benefited from a contract with Gazprom. Strategically, as it seems, Gazprom at least did not lose, firstly, significantly reducing the term of the contract and the volume of pumping on the gas transit system of Ukraine, taking into account the forthcoming and inevitable implementation of "Nord Stream-2" and, secondly, leaving itself the right to disagree with transit tariffs, which remain the subject of negotiations

My stress.

[Dec 24, 2019] NorthStream II sanctions means more gas for China: Pride goeth before a fall. Washington is proud of itself, but a day will come when it will count the cost, and mutter, "What the fuck was I thinking?

The USA government acts as a gangster and should expect that other power will behave equally bad toward the USA. That's a very bad, disastrous calculation, even in view of the current USA technological superiority (which might shrink in the future)
Dec 21, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman December 21, 2019 at 8:12 pm

Pride goeth before a fall. Washington is proud of itself, but a day will come when it will count the cost, and mutter, "What the fuck was I thinking?" It was not ever going to actually interrupt, and then seize for itself, Russia's share of the European gas market – that was just another example of its addled belief in exceptionalism and its ability to overcome any and all limiting factors, including distance and capacity.

What it HAS done is reveal itself as a petulant global child who will break anything that does not please it, and therefore a dangerous and unpredictable business partner.

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Northern Star December 21, 2019 at 9:30 pm
Ummm Mark
You , other people (or nations) shouldn't think 'bad thoughts' about 'Murica!
Northern Star December 21, 2019 at 6:19 pm
https://jimmydorecomedy.com/
Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 1:40 am
Thus spake the official Washington arsehole in Germany:

The American Ambassador in Berlin Richard Grenell, about whom it has already been requested in Germany that he be recognized as persona non grata because of his repeated attacks against the German leadership, has said that the sanctions imposed by Washington against the pipeline "Nord Stream-2" had been introduced in the interests of the EU and many countries of Europe are grateful for them.

"Seriously: from 15 European countries, the European Commission and the European Parliament have all expressed their concerns about the project. We have long heard from our European partners that the United States should support their efforts. Therefore, sanctions represent a very Pro-European solution", said Grenell to the publication Bild am Sonntag . [A German arsewipe publication of the first magnitude -- ME]

According to him, European diplomats have allegedly already repeatedly expressed their gratitude for the measures taken by Washington.

Recall that the United States, which from time to time has opposed the emergence in Europe of a strong competitor for its gas, imposed sanctions against the pipelines "Nord Stream-2" and "Turkish Stream", requiring that the companies involved in their laying immediately stop construction. In response, the German government has said it "rejects such extraterritorial sanctions" directed "against German and European companies.

source

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Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 2:02 am
Just found the RT take on the above:

Oh, really? US envoy to Germany says Nord Stream 2 sanctions 'EXTREMELY PRO-EUROPEAN' despite Berlin & EU criticism
22 Dec, 2019 07:31

Seems like Grenell has his head so far up his own arse, or someone else's, that he has lost all sense of reality.

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Northern Star December 22, 2019 at 3:44 am
Your link didn't seem to work

https://www.rt.com/news/476586-nordstream-germany-grenell-sanctions/

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Northern Star December 22, 2019 at 3:50 am
LOL!
Same problem with my link!

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Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 2:18 am
About Russia's New Gas Transit Agreement with Ukraine
December 21, 2019
Stalker Zone
Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 7:31 am
Just two events that occurred during Saturday night have turned into one of the main news stories in recent months and years: Russia, the Ukraine and the European Commission signed a trilateral agreement on the transit of gas over the coming years from Russia to the EU via the Ukrainian GTS, and President Trump signed a law on the defence budget, in which US parliamentarians have written separate clauses concerning sanctions against companies involved in the construction of the pipeline "Nord stream – 2″

If anyone has forgotten, allow me to remind you that Vladimir Putin has never talked about the categorical refusal as regards the transit to Europe via the Ukraine of Russian gas. Always, he has only stressed that it is a question exclusively of a commercial nature, without any political overtones, and that such transit be carried out on favourable terms. Vice-Premier of the Russian government Dmitry Kozak has said about the new contract to be signed before the New Year that he parties had agreed on favourable terms. In addition to this, the Ukrainian side said that "Gazprom" had agreed to pay "Naftogaz" $3 billion, according to the decision of the Stockholm arbitration. So, can the Ukraine celebrate a "victory"?

So far, only Kiev has stated this figure of $3 billion. On the Russian side, there has been no confirmation of this yet, but even if the Kiev figure is correct, I do not see much reason to celebrate "victory", for if Russia has paid this money to the Ukraine ($2.6 billion + penalties), then the Ukraine is obliged to return $4.5 billion to Russia (3 billion Eurobonds + penalties). The balance is not in favour of Kiev. In addition, the Ukraine has pledged to stop all legal disputes on gas issues. Yes, in one case there is a dispute between economic entities, and in a second case there is a dispute about sovereign debt. However, since both Naftogaz and Gazprom are budget-forming state companies, to a certain extent this difference in debt statuses is leveled.

Now on transit. There is no denying that for Russia it is not only important but necessary to transit gas through the Ukraine at the moment, since under long-term contracts with Europe, Gazprom is obliged to supply the volumes of gas stipulated in them, regardless of the circumstances. Otherwise, the Russian company would have to pay heavy fines and penalties. By concluding the contract, Gazprom has once again proved its reliability as a supplier, which, by the way, was has already been emphasized by the European Commission following the negotiations.

The only thing currently known about the transit contract is that it has been concluded not for 10 years as Kiev had wanted, but for 5 years. Apparently, a longer term is not relevant, chiefly because of complete uncertainty about the future of the Ukraine -- by the way, in the next few days Kiev is likely to start an active struggle against the agreements already reached, and if something threatens them at the moment, it is only Ukrainian instability. According to data received from the Russian company, the volume of transit through the Ukraine next year will be about 65 billion cubic metres. This is certainly a very significant figure, but it is significantly less than the 90 billion cubic metres pumped through the Ukrainian GTS in 2017. In 2021-2024, the annual transit volume will drop to 40 billion cubic metres. This volume allows the Ukrainian GTS to operate at a plus rather than a minus, but Kiev will not receive any significant financial gain through it.

By the way, a certain demand for Ukrainian transit will remain after the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline has reached its design capacity, as European gas demand grows annually and a number of fields operated in the EU countries are decommissioned in the coming years. As for NS-2 itself, by the time the sanctions are imposed, less than 50 kilometres will have been left on one pipeline and about 70 kilometres on the other. Even if the Swiss company gathers up its belongings, Russian pipe-laying ships will finish the job, and even though they lay pipes 3 times slower, they have absolute immunity from American sanctions. One of them is now located in the area of Indonesia, and the second pipe-laying ship, "Fortuna", which, by the way, has already participated in the implementation of "NS-2", is in a German port and is ready to start working within a few days. [My stress! See that Finnish troll? -- ME]

So, by and large, the question is only one of time. But in any case "SP-2" will be completed in terms of installation, testing and commissioning, and can be put into operation, at most, at the end of the first half of 2020.

Patient Observer December 22, 2019 at 2:27 pm
I really really doubt that the US military will attack overtly or covertly. The US already announced that it will sanction other Russian energy projects if North Stream is placed in operation.
Mark Chapman December 22, 2019 at 5:12 pm
I don't imagine that will be necessary. Be pretty hard to argue then that they were not acting solely in their own interests, wouldn't it? It would make a hell of a thriller novel, though – the pipeline is on the seabed, so any American efforts to tamper with it would probably have to be from underwater. A submarine has no business being there, so its mission would have to be super-secret and plausibly deniable. And in that scenario, if it simply disappeared, the Americans would have to just proceed as if it never existed. There you go, Karl; a great book idea, you should write it. But I want 20%; 30% if I have to proofread it before publication to take out all the rhapsodizing about freedom and democracy, and rewrite the ending where the Americans blow up the pipeline and miraculously escape, sailing home to a ticker-tape parade and leaving Putin with angry tears running down his face.

Bulgaria is an instructive example here. Remember when it stopped South Stream in its tracks, and was the hero of America and the EU? And Bulgaria strutted and swaggered, and was pretty proud of itself while it waited for the rewards of its bravery. And then the USA built them a Middle School or a new fence or something, I forget, and there were lots of 'well done, old chap!' compliments, and and then that was it. Bulgaria did not become everyone's preferred business partner and the destination of enormous foreign investment. And then, gradually, everybody stopped talking about what a great and brave thing Bulgaria did, and it just sort of sat there with its mouth half-open, trying to take in how skillfully it had been creampied, and evidently all for nothing.

And eventually, Bulgaria repented, and went back to Russia and Putin, cap in hand. And Russia received it warmly, like a brother who fell in with a bad crowd but was not really, at heart, bad himself. It did not say that Bulgaria must prove itself by repudiating its former friends. It seemed willing to let bygones be just that.

https://www.memri.org/reports/russia-world-%E2%80%93-russia-bulgaria-reconciliation-%E2%80%93-bulgarias-president-radev-no-sanctions-are

It is not even too much of a stretch to imagine that might one day be Ukraine as well, although it certainly could not be under the current conditions. The nationalists would have to be purged, hard. And there would have to be a completely new political administration. But there's time, and lots of it. The west is not going to make a prosperous paradise of Ukraine, it is only interested in stripping it of anything of value, and in the meantime it will go down and down, because nobody wants to put any money into it. Except, ahem; Russia.

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Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 11:49 am
And as predicted above:

by the way, in the next few days Kiev is likely to start an active struggle against the agreements already reached

Партия Порошенко инициирует санкции против поставок газа из России
22.12.2019 | 22:12

Party Poroshenko initiates sanctions against the supply of gas from Russia

The faction of "European solidarity" in the Ukrainian Parliament initiates sanctions against the Russian gas supplies directly, reports RIA "Novosti".

As stated by the ex-President and leader of the faction of Petro Poroshenko, the political force will require the convening of the national security Council on this issue, and "implementation of sanctions" against the gas supplies from Russia

In the best interests of Banderastan?

Or of the Exceptional Nation?

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Mark Chapman December 22, 2019 at 6:47 pm
I thought Poroshenko was facing a corruption investigation. Shouldn't he be keeping his head down?

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Jen December 22, 2019 at 8:20 pm
The only place where Porky will keep his head down is in a trough full of truffles paid for by North American and European taxpayers through the IMF.
yalensis December 23, 2019 at 4:05 am
The people who elected Zelensky expected him to put Porky behind bars. But, surprise surprise, Zel is a wimp who couldn't bring himself to buck his American overlords.
Said Overlords like Porky and want to keep him around, as the new leader of the Opps, with hope he gets back into power some day.
Porky is the Ukrainian version of Saakashvili, there is simply no getting rid of him!
karl1haushofer December 22, 2019 at 7:47 am
"German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Berlin "firmly rejects" U.S. sanctions but would not retaliate."

How surprising.

Mark Chapman December 22, 2019 at 5:53 pm
What if Germany, angered by American high-handedness, decided to move away from the US dollar. Could that happen?

It could. Analysts caution that it would be unwise for Washington to laugh at efforts by nations to make themselves less dependent on the dollar, because it also makes those nations less susceptible to American sanctions. The world outside America is getting fed up with the USA's sanctions-happy punishments, which have mushroomed from 5 targeted countries at the start of the George W. Bush administration to 22 targeted countries at the end of 2018.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28418/ofac-sanctions-and-the-new-dollar-diplomacy

One of the ways Russia has hardened its economy against American tampering is in increasing its use and accumulation of gold as a hedge, which is immune to 'freezing' by the USA, so long as the gold is held in Russian vaults. That's the key, and momentum is slowly gathering in other countries. Hungary repatriated all its gold from the Bank of England in October of this year, and increased its holdings tenfold as well. Romania has submitted a bill to parliament which mandates that only 5% of the country's gold can be stored abroad. Currently about 60% of its 103 tonnes is stored at the Bank of England. In 2017 Germany repatriated around $31 Billion worth of gold which had been stored in New York and Paris. This week, Poland and Slovakia called for a return of their gold, which is being held by, you guessed it, the Bank of England. The lesson of Venezuela's stolen gold was not lost on anyone, and the less foreign gold the Bank of England has in its vaults, the less useful it is to Washington and its 'freeze' orders.

http://news.goldseek.com/GoldSeek/1576513102.php

Germany was chafing at US bullying back in 2018, and talking up policies to pull away from the US dollar. Would this latest example of American meddling make them more, or less inclined to pursue financial policies which did not include the United States as a partner, do you think?

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/05/europe-seeks-alternative-to-us-financial-system-germany-france-sanctions/

Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 11:05 am
AKADEMIK CHERSKIY

Oh look! Under Russian flag. So is the USN navy thinking of sinking it?

Position Received: 2019-12-22 18:31 UTC
10 minutes ago

42.79881° / 132.8823°

Near Vladivostok

Incapable of laying 50 kms of pipeline?

If the Swiss Allseas, which owns Pioneering Spirit and Solitare, decides to stop work on Nord stream-2 in connection with U.S. sanctions, the work to be completed TUBES Fortuna

Moscow Exile December 22, 2019 at 9:00 pm
The Gas War Has Retreated, but the Most Interesting Thing Is Yet to Come
December 22, 2019
Stalker Zone

"Russia" is weeeeeeeak!!!!

Moscow Exile December 23, 2019 at 2:51 am
Meanwhile

Nord Stream 2 will be operational in 2nd half of 2020 despite US sanctions setting project timing back – top German official

23 Dec, 2019 09:17 / Updated 1 hour ago

karl1haushofer December 23, 2019 at 4:23 am
More potential trouble for NS2: https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/natural-gas/122119-nord-stream-2-pipelayer-allseas-suspends-operations-on-us-sanctions

"According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, Nord Stream 2 would have to seek alternative vessels and contractors to complete the remaining section of pipe in Danish waters if the sanctions are enacted.

"While the most challenging parts of Nord Stream 2 have been laid in water depths of around 200 meters, the remaining section in Danish waters at 90 meters depth remains complicated," it said.

Russian companies operate capable offshore pipe-lay vessels, which have completed projects in challenging Arctic conditions, including the MRTS Defender, which worked on the offshore stretch of the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta pipeline.

Platts Analytics believes MRTS Fortuna could be used to complete Nord Stream 2, but is capable of laying just 1 km/d.

A further obstacle, according to Platts Analytics, is that the Danish permit application states that it is assumed that the vessels used to complete the Danish section will have dynamic positioning capabilities (such as those of the Allseas vessels) which are not present on MRTS Fortuna.

A Russian pipelaying vessel that already has dynamic positioning capabilities, Akademik Cherskiy, could be used, but it would take up to two months to arrive to Danish waters as it is currently stationed in Russia's Far East."

karl1haushofer December 23, 2019 at 4:27 am
It is surprising that the Gazprom management didn't prepare for this situation! If this article is correct the only Russian vessel that can be used to finish the project is currently stationed in Vladivostok, and it will take about two months for it to arrive to Danish waters.

The sanction threat has been looming for months, but it seems that Gazprom did not prepare for it in any meaningful way.

I would be pleasantly surprised if this project is finished in 2020.

Mark Chapman December 23, 2019 at 4:42 am
Karl, this is no attitude for the Christmas season – don't be so dour and pessimistic. It takes two years to build a specialized ship, at a minimum, and that's just a regular design like an LNG tanker – should Gazprom have built two or three, only to have the Americans laugh and not impose sanctions? Then you would have chuckled ruefully over how foolish Gazprom was to waste its money; there's no pleasing you. Only two days ago you were moaning over how the entirety of the funds spent so far would be wasted; the pipeline could not be completed, America is just too strong. You can go back and look. Now it looks as if it can be completed, just the remainder will be done at about a third the speed it could have been. But the money which would have gone to Allseas will be saved, and really there's no hurry now; they have 5 years if they need it. In 2 months the worst of the winter weather should be over, and any further slowdowns between now and completion can be blamed on the Americans, whose fault of course it is. It would have been done now but for American pressure on Denmark to hold out.

I wouldn't say it couldn't have turned out better, but all things considered the results are not that bad for Russia and not very good for the USA, which has incurred a lot of resentment and ill-will in exchange for really nothing. It is not going to stop the pipeline from completing, but it has made a lot of enemies, and even the Poles have stopped yapping and do not appear to be celebrating too loudly, lest they anger other Europeans.

Trond December 23, 2019 at 10:46 am
""While the most challenging parts of Nord Stream 2 have been laid in water depths of around 200 meters, the remaining section in Danish waters at 90 meters depth remains complicated," it said."

Norwegian divers welded pipelines at 900 meters depth (And, yes they had some problems).

90 meters is now a problem?

Mark Chapman December 23, 2019 at 2:31 pm
Let me guess – the United States has threatened to confiscate the assets in the USA of any company which sells dynamic-positioning systems to the Soviets (oops! I mean the Russians!), and so now they will have to develop the technology themselves. Why not just threaten to slap sanctions on anyone giving 'aid and comfort' to the Russians? I mean, they're the enemy, right? Right?? So nobody sell them boots or warm clothes, or anything. See how they like laying pipe in their skivvies, barefoot.

Say, I'll bet that attitude is good for market share for the remaining American businesses still operating in Russia. And speaking of that, here's another example – gosh, there are so many – of America's love affair with sanctions; CAATSA, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. According to an analyst at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, it's a failure , because it did not prevent Turkey from buying the S-400 system from Russia when they were supposed to buy the Patriot from the USA, or prevent Egypt from buying the Sukhoi S-35 from Russia when they were meant to buy the F-35. Oh, but they were frustrated in that because Israel did not want them to have it. Washington never misses an opportunity to show Israel it still loves it despite all the actions Israel makes it take against its own best interests.

"Egypt turned to Moscow for the Su-35 aircraft after being frustrated in repeated attempts to get a foothold in the F-35 program, a move closely watched in Israel, which remains the only country in the region to receive the fifth-generation aircraft."

America threatened Egypt with – you guessed it – sanctions if it continued with plans to buy Russian fighters worth $2 Billion in sales, but Egypt basically ignored them, only not laughing because it would be impolite to laugh.

"The Egyptian leadership views the US threats as not credible, based on a long history of Egyptian/US relations where the US has made threats and even withheld assistance, but in the end has always capitulated," said Andrew Miller, who was director for Egypt and Israel military issues in the Obama administration's National Security Council."

Egypt also bought the two MISTRAL class light assault carriers that Washington made France cancel the sale of when Russia had already paid a security deposit, which had to be returned. Egypt quickly purchased helicopters from Russia to outfit its new ships.

In fact, America seems to be losing its grip on the Middle East and Africa. And its newly-discovered and somewhat childlike faith in sanctions as a cure-all is ruining its traditional alliances and eroding its global reach. Much less-powerful countries now routinely ignore its threats to impose sanctions and more sanctions. The fewer foreign businesses interested in locating significant assets in the United States – so as to prevent their being seized in a fit of pique – the less influence Washington can bring to bear through sanctions. Its most loyal toady, the UK, will soon no longer be a part of the EU, while nations jostle one another in eagerness to get their gold back from the Bank of England where the United States cannot slap a 'hold' order on it through its devoted proxies.

Moscow Exile December 23, 2019 at 4:27 am
Russian dolts just don't have the technology, isn't that right ?

From the Finnish naysayer:

In retrospect the biggest mistake Russia did was to start the Nord Stream 2 project without possessing the technology to complete the project and relying on the Western technology. This made Nord Stream 2 and Russia vulnerable for the sanctions and this vulnerability was exploited.

Will Russia learn and not start any major project in the future without having the means to complete the project itself without relying on the West? I doubt it.

Russia has ships to complete Nord Stream 2 pipeline without European help
23 Dec, 2019 11:27 / Updated 41 minutes ago

Yes, they hired the biggest and probably best pipelayer to do the job: who could blame them for that?

But they dropped a right bollock in choosing such shit, lily-livered firm ashas Allseas turned out to be.

Who in their right minds would hire Allseas now?

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Cortes December 23, 2019 at 5:51 am
As mentioned earlier, commercial contracts normally include provisions for frustration – supervening illegality can prevent performance of obligations contracted under different circumstances and no one would expect a company to commit suicide. It's just a business problem. But a business problem which, as Mark states, leaves the instigator – the USA – diminished by its own actions.
Patient Observer December 23, 2019 at 6:18 am
Every contract has Force Majeure provisions to address factors beyond the control of the supplier. The list includes of acts of God (weather, for example), civil unrest, labor disputes, etc. "US sanctions" need to be added.
Northern Star December 23, 2019 at 5:38 am
According to ME they were within 50 kilometers of landfall. According to Karl the replacement vessel can lay pipe at a 1km/day rate. The resulting calculation isn't rocket science mathematics. Ribbons will be cut and valves will be turned on in a few months to the clink of vodka and champagne glasses.
Northern Star December 23, 2019 at 5:54 am
Peskov did not say a fuckin' thing about "hope" that the pipeline will be completed. He stated that the sanctions will NOT work to bring about substantial delay.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-nord-stream-kremlin-idUSKBN1YR0RU

Moscow Exile December 23, 2019 at 6:17 am
Two pipelines are being laid in parallel. One line , if I rightly recall, has 50 kms left to be laid, the other 75 kms. The Russian pipelayers, again if I rightly recall, lay at one third of the speed as did the Allseas vessel. The Russians are also aware of the geopositioning requirement that the Danes may impose. Only one Russian pipelayer, the one at present in the Far East, has this capability. from here

"Pioneering Spirit" and" Solitaire" crossed the border of Swedish and Danish waters on 27 and 28 November, respectively, since which time the former has covered 89 km, the latter -- a little less than 70 km, i.e. they move at a speed of 3.5–4.5 km per day. This means that they should be able to complete the construction within a month. But maintaining this momentum depends on the weather conditions.

There was only 1 month's worth of laying left when Allseas fucked off.

The Russians are seemingly, from the troll's point of view, faced with such insurmountable odds that he is coming in his pants. They'll never finish the job.

Like when they said they would never finish that bridge, across the petersburg-Simferopol train crosses for the first time this coming Christmas Day?

Moscow Exile December 23, 2019 at 12:11 pm
From same source as above, namely Moskovskiy Komsomolets :

According to a representative of one of the contractors involved in the creation of the offshore section of "Nord Stream – 2", Gazprom began to insure against sanctions against companies involved in laying the pipeline in October. The Fortuna pipe-laying barge, built in 2010 at a Russian shipyard and later upgraded at Chinese shipyards, has been used. This vessel has been based for about two months in the German port of Mukran, where the pipes required for the gas pipeline construction are shipped.

According to an MK interlocutor who wished to remain anonymous, despite the fact that Fortuna is the most powerful domestic vessel in its class, it is unlikely that it can fully replace Allseas pipelayers. "Fortuna" is able to do such works, but the speed of the project will be slowed down. "Fortuna specializes in laying infield and linear pipelines on land, while Gazprom charters vessels with foreign registration for offshore sections.

At the same time, Fortuna has experience working in deep water areas. As part of the Sakhalin-3 project, the barge was deploying an underwater production facility in the Kirinskoye field at a depth of 100 meters. The depth of the sea in the Danish section of the NS-2, which remains to be completed by Gazprom, does not exceed this mark, while Fortuna has a depth limit of 200 meters", explains the MK interlocutor.

Yeah, according to the Troll:

it is surprising that the Gazprom management didn't prepare for this situation! If this article is correct the only Russian vessel that can be used to finish the project is currently stationed in Vladivostok, and it will take about two months for it to arrive to Danish waters.

The sanction threat has been looming for months, but it seems that Gazprom did not prepare for it in any meaningful way.

I would be pleasantly surprised if this project is finished in 2020.

For "pleasantly surprised" above, read: "bitterly disappointed".

[Dec 24, 2019] Sanctions, Security and the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline OffGuardian

Dec 24, 2019 | off-guardian.org

The United States is less concerned with matters green. Nord Stream 2 poses a security threat.

Trump's former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, saw it as "undermining Europe's overall energy security and stability."

US energy secretary Rick Perry argues that "Russian gas has strings attached." The claim is that Germany will be come too reliant and Ukraine further weakened. Ukraine had been the premier gatekeeper for Russian gas supply, with 40 percent of Europe's total amount transiting through Ukrainian soil. A slump in gross domestic product occasioned by an end to transit fees is considered imminent.

Other European states have been crankily concerned about the prospect of Gazprom's deepening involvement in the continent's energy market. Poland's anti-monopoly body UOKiK showed a measure of that opposition by fining France's Engie Energy (ENGIE.PA) 40 million euros in proceedings against Gazprom.

In February, EU ambassadors agreed that the project be subjected to greater scrutiny. A Franco-German compromise was struck : Nord Stream 2 would be placed "under European control".

The Trump administration's actions against Gazprom and Russia's energy influence, found in a provision of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), can hardly be seen as noble endeavours.

The provision threatens sanctions and the freezing of assets against entities laying down the pipeline unless their activities cease "immediately". The United States has its own energy interests in Europe, and wishes to frustrate the effort. Market share is at stake.

The suspension of laying activities on the part of Allseas, a Swiss company, suggests that Trump's announcement is already biting.

"In anticipation of the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)," went a company statement , "Allseas has suspended its Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities." The company would "proceed, consistent with the legislation's wind down provision and expect guidance comprising the necessary regulatory, technical and environmental clarifications from the relevant US authority."

The angle taken by the European Union, Germany and Russia can hardly surprise. Themes of energy security are reiterated. The Nord Stream 2 consortium makes the claim that, "Completing the project is essential for European supply security." Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova spikily condemned the sanctions measure. "A state with a $22 trillion national debt prohibits creditworthy countries to develop the real sector of their economies!"

For a EU spokesman, this constituted "the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business." A German government spokesman suggested that such actions "affect German and other European businesses, and we see the move as meddling in our internal affairs." Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has sees it as an infringement of sovereignty. "It is up to the companies involved in the construction of the pipeline to take the next decisions."

Nothing is quite so simple. Gas pipeline politics has always been contentious. One state's sovereign promise is another's weakening. Concessions made to corporate monopolies are risky, capable of fostering insecurity as much as reassurance. Those who control the tap control a country's future.

But the imposition of any sanctions regime signals another bout of economic violence. In the international market, where governments operate as ready gangsters for corporate interests, prompted by such motivations as seeking more natural resources, tools of state become handmaidens of economic self-interest...

[Dec 23, 2019] The US' Impending Nord Stream II Sanctions Support The Three Seas Initiative

Dec 21, 2019 | astutenews.com

Trump is expected to sign into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2020 which mandates the imposition of sanctions on companies involved in Nord Stream II's construction, but while this crafty move isn't expected to seriously impede the project since it's already in its final stages, its importance derives in the fact that it signals extremely strong support for the interests of the US-backed "Three Seas Initiative" whose Polish leader has objected to this game-changing pipeline on geopolitical grounds.

***

The US Senate's approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2020 means that Trump will likely sign it into law very soon, which is troublesome for Trans-Atlantic relations because it mandates among its many sometimes unrelated provisions the imposition of sanctions on companies involved in Nord Stream II's construction. This crafty move isn't expected to seriously impede the project since it's already in its final stages after Russia secured Denmark's permission back in October to construct a crucial segment of this pipeline through its maritime territory, which will facilitate the project's completion and thus strengthen Russia's strategic partnership with EU-leader Germany. That outcome will likely accelerate the ongoing rapprochement between Russia and the bloc's Western European members that became obvious to all after Macron's successful visit to Moscow in late August, but which is in turn compelling the US to double down on its commitment to the Polish-led " Three Seas Initiative " (TSI) that it envisages functioning as its wedge for retaining influence in the strategic Central European space between those two.

The impending NDAA 2020-connected sanctions should therefore be seen as an extremely strong signal of support for this trans-regional integration structure because they satisfy the demands of its Polish leader for the US to impose costs upon Germany for its reinvigorated strategic partnership with Russia. Barely reported on at the time, it's significant to mention that a bipartisan resolution was submitted to the House of Representatives at the end of October shortly after Russia secured Denmark's support for Nord Stream II mandating that Congress prioritize its support for the TSI in the aftermath of that development, with a specific focus on energy and physical connectivity projects. The grand strategic goal that the US is aiming to achieve is to create a so-called "cordon sanitaire" that would serve to divide Russia from Western Europe by exploiting the preexisting animosity that the many states between them have towards Moscow, and it will likely end up being one of the main drivers of American foreign policy towards the continent for the foreseeable future.

In pursuit of that objective, the US is also making strategic outreaches to Belarus , knowing very well that its wily leader Lukashenko is more than willing to "balance" between the West and Russia in a risky attempt to extract more (mostly economic) "concessions" from each of them. It goes without saying that this policy will probably ramp up now that Nord Stream II is a fait accompli and the "cordon sanitaire" is more significant than ever in the current context. That former Soviet Republic, however, is unlikely to engage in a decisive "pivot" against Russia, though from a zero-sum standpoint, the gradual moves that it's making towards the West can indeed be interpreted as being "mildly" against Russia's long-term interests. Still, there isn't much that Russia can do since it must avoid the perception that it's putting overwhelming pressure on Belarus or even plausibly considering doing so since that notion would only accelerate the very same trend that Moscow wants to reverse. Minsk, it must be said, recognizes how geostrategic its position is for both the Russian-led Eurasian Union (EAU) and the Polish-led TSI, so it'll try to play them off against the other, all with the US' passive support.

The US isn't the only Great Power spreading its influence through the TSI, as China is also rapidly on the ascent there too. The Balkans are becoming more important of a destination for Chinese foreign direct investment than ever through the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), most visibly manifesting itself in Beijing's plans to construct a high-speed railway from the Hungarian capital of Budapest to the Greek port of Pireaus (the "Balkan Silk Road"). It also holds yearly meetings with the leaders of the TSI countries and others in this region through the 17+1 format that was recently expanded to include Greece (having been the 16+1 previously). In addition, Belarus is a key node on the Eurasian Land Bridge, with China investing in the " Great Stone " industrial park that it envisages becoming a major export center along that route. None of this is to imply whatsoever that China is "teaming up" with the US to "contain" Russia in Central & Eastern Europe, but just to point out that China's infrastructure investments will greatly help to connect the region along the north-south axis, after which the US will likely exploit these apolitical and purely economic projects for its strategic ends vis-a-vis Russia.

Even so, while the TSI space is certainly geostrategic, its economic importance pales in comparison to Western Europe's. The German economy alone is larger than all of those states' combined, so Russia isn't exactly losing out in the economic sense as a result of the US' TSI plans. It is, however, at risk of this "cordon sanitaire" being used as its rival's trans-regional platform for putting military pressure upon it, which has already been happening ever since most of its states joined NATO and then doubled down on their commitment to it after the onset of the New Cold War in 2014 following Crimea's reunification with Russia in response to the US-backed coup in Ukraine. Poland and increasingly Greece bookend this pro-American military structure, while Ukraine and possibly soon even Belarus could ultimately become its eastern-most appendages by proxy. Russia still has instruments of influence that it can leverage in an attempt to keep this trend under control, though it's seemingly on the defensive in recent years and appears unable to gain any successes on this front, instead choosing to concentrate on Western Europe through Nord Stream II and other measures.

Looking forward, the rise of the TSI as the US' preferred continental proxy is all but assured, though it's unclear whether or not it'll succeed with its fundamental purpose of keeping Russia and Western Europe apart. Classical geopolitical thought suggesting that it would doesn't take into consideration the much more complex nature of contemporary International Relations whereby a conventional military clash between the TSI states and Russia is unlikely for reasons of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) stemming from many of the former's memberships in NATO, and their other memberships in the EU mean that a successful EU-Russian detente would force them to facilitate trade between Western Europe and Russia if even a single state vetoes the continuation of sanctions in the future. Altogether, it can therefore be said that Russia's successful completion of Nord Stream II would flip the strategic dynamics by once again returning Moscow to a position of strength whereas Washington would then be the Great Power on the defensive instead. Still, the TSI's potential shouldn't be underestimated either since it might lead to some surprises for both Western Europe and Russia if its American patron has a few tricks up its sleeve that it's wiling to teach its regional partners.


By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World

[Dec 22, 2019] Autopsy of the Minsk agreements

Notable quotes:
"... Are the security forces loyal to him to the extent that he could realistically counted on them to carry out a crackdown on the "Nazis"? ..."
"... I am sympathetic to a lot of what Putin has felt it necessary to do, but I must say, I don't buy the incessant use of the term "Ukronazi." Sounds propagandistic. ..."
"... What about the Ukrainian people? A large majority of them voted for some sort of reconciliation with the separatists and Russia. They did so twice: once for Zelenskii, and once again for his party. Does that count for nothing? ..."
"... I think the plan is to wait until Russia collapses from Western sanctions, and then invade Crimea and Donbass. They didn't give up on the territory by any means, which is why I don't think that any ceasefire in Donbass will hold. It is going to remain a slow-burning conflict, the regime will continue to complain about "Russian invasion" and international investors will continue to avoid the Ukraine. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

The recent Paris summit and the few days following the summit have brought a lot of clarity about the future of the Minsk Agreements. Short version: Kiev has officially rejected them (by rejecting both the sequence of steps and several crucial steps). For those interested, let's look a little further.

First, what just happened

First, here are the key excerpts from the Paris Conference and from statements made by "Ze" and his superior, Arsen Avakov right after their return to Kiev:

Paris Conference statement: source

The Minsk agreements (Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Minsk Package of Measures of 12 February 2015) continue to be the basis of the work of the Normandy format whose member states are committed to their full implementation ( ) The sides express interest in agreeing within the Normandy format (N4) and the Trilateral Contact Group on all the legal aspects of the Special Order of Local Self-Government – special status – of Certain Areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions – as outlined in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements from 2015 – in order to ensure its functioning on a permanent basis .They consider it necessary to incorporate the "Steinmeier formula" into the Ukrainian legislation, in accordance with the version agreed upon within the N4 and the Trilateral Contact Group.

President 'Ze' statement on Ukrainian TV: (unofficial, in-house, translation) source

" The most difficult question is the question of the transfer of the border control to Ukraine. It's very funny, because its our border and the transfer of the control to us. But, it's a weak sport, the Achilles' heel of the Minsk Agreement." "It's what was signed by us, unfortunately. We can discuss this for a very long time. Possibly, the conditions were as such." "But we signed that we will get the control over our border only after the elections on the temporarily occupied territories." "We dedicated a very long time to this question, we discussed it in details, we have a very different positions with the president of Russia ." "But this is the Minsk position, we have to understand this. I only like one thing, that we started talking about this. We agreed that we will continue talking about this in details and with the different variations during our next meeting." "This is also a victory, because we will have a meeting in four months."

Q. What do you think, is it possible to change the Minsk Agreement? source

" This will be very difficult to do, but we have to do it. We have to change it . First, we have to understand that it's been over four years since the Minsk Agreement was signed. Everything changes in our life. We have to understand that it wasn't my team that signed the Minsk Agreement, but we as a power have to fulfill the conditions that our power at the time agreed back then. But? I am sure that some things we will be able to change. We will be changing them." "Because the transfer of the Ukraine's border after our control only after the elections, – it's not our position. I said about this don't know how many times, but this is the final decision ."

Arsen Avakov's statement on Ukrainian TV: (unofficial, in-house, translation):

" The philosophy of the border control the part of the border that we don't have control over is 408 kilometers. It's not that easy to take it over, to equip it, even to get there across the enemy territories. It's a procedure. As a compromise, we offered the following scheme: we will start taking the border under our control stating with the New Year, little by little, reducing the length of the border that is not controlled by us, and a day before the local election we will close the border, we will close this bottleneck. And this way will get the control over the border. Why isn't this a good compromise? Considering, that at the same time according to the Steinmeier Formula, they have to disarm all the illegal armed formations of this pseudo-state DNR. This is how we see the compromise."

In other words, both the official President and real President of the Ukraine agree: the Ukraine will not implement the Minsk Agreements as written, made law by the UNSC and clarified by the so-called Steinmeier Formula.

Ukrainian propagandists on Russian TV (yes, Urkonazi and hardline nationalist propagandists do get air time on Russian TV on a daily basis – for an explanation why, see here and here ) went into damage control mode and explained it all away by saying " these are only words, what matters is what Zelenskii signed in Paris ". They are wrong. First of all, statements made in their official capacity by the President or the Minister of Internal Affairs do represent OFFICIAL policy statements. Second, this explanation completely overlooks the reason why Ze and Avakov said these things. That reason is very simple: Ze caved in to the Urkonazis, completely. He now uses EXACTLY the same rhetoric as Poroshenko did, in spite of the fact that the only reason he was elected is that he presented himself as the ultimate anti-Poroshenko. Now all we see is Poroshenko 2.0.

So in the behind-the-scenes (but very real) struggle between the Zionist camp (Kolomoiskii and Zelenskii) and the Urkonazi camp (Avakov and Poroshenko), the latter have successfully taken control of the former and now the chances for saving a unitary Ukraine are down to, maybe not quite zero, but to something like 0.0000001% (I leave that one under the heading "never say never" and because I have been wrong in the past).

So what happens next?

That is the interesting question. In theory, the Normandy Four will meet again in 4 months. But that assumes that some progress was made. Well, it is possible that in a few sections of the line of contact there will be an OSCE supervised withdrawal of forces. But, let's be honest here, the people have seen many, many such promised withdrawals, and they all turned out to be fake. Either the Ukronazis return to the neutral zone (claiming huge victories over the (sic) "Russian armed force"), or they resume bombing civilians, or they never even bother to change position. Any withdrawal is a good thing if it can save a single life! But no amount of withdrawals will settle anything in this conflict.

Second, there are A LOT of Ukrainian politicians who now say that the citizens of the LDNR have to "return" to Russia if they don't like the Urkonazi coup or its ideology. They either don't realize, or don't care, that there are very few Russian volunteers in Novorussia and that the vast majority of the men and women who compose the LDNR forces are locals. These locals, by the way, get the Ukie message loud and clear: you better get away while you can, because when we show up you will all be prosecuted for terrorism and aiding terrorists, that is ALSO something the Urkonazis like to repeat day after day. By the way, while in Banderastan all Russian TV channels are censored, and while they also try to censor the Russian language Internet, in Novorussia all the Ukrainian (and Russian) TV stations are freely available. So as soon as some Nazi freak comes out and says something crazy like "we will create filtration camps" (aka concentration camps) this news is instantly repeated all over Novorussia, which only strengthens the resolve of the people of the LDNR to fight to their death rather than accept a Nazi occupation..

I said it many times, Zelenskii's ONLY chance was to crackdown on the Nazis as soon as he was elected. He either did not have the courage to do so, or his U.S. bosses told him to leave them unmolested. Whatever the case may be, it's now over, we are back to square one.

The most likely scenario is a "slow freezing" of the conflict meaning now that Kiev has officially and overtly rejected the Minsk Agreements, there will be some minor, pretend-negotiations, maybe, but that fundamentally the conflict will be frozen.

That will be the last nail in the coffin of the pro-EU, pro-NATO so-called "Independent Ukraine", since the most important condition to try to salvage the Ukrainian economy, namely peace, is now gone. Furthermore, the political climate in the Ukraine will further deteriorate (the hated Nazi minority + an even worse economic crisis are a perfect recipe for disaster).

For the Novorussians, it's now clear: the rump-Ukraine* does not want them, nor will Kiev ever agree to the Minsk Agreement. That means that the LDNR will separate from the rump-Ukraine and, on time, rejoin Russia. Good bye Banderites and Urkonazis!

The rump-Ukraine will eventually break-up further: Crimea truly was the "jewel of the Black Sea" and its future appears to be extremely bright while the Donbass was the biggest source of raw materials, energy, industry, high-tech, etc. etc. etc.). What is left of the Ukraine is either poor and under-developed (the West) or needs to reopen economic ties with Russia (the South).

Besides, Zelenskii and his party are now trying to rush a new law through the Rada which will allow the sale of Ukrainian land to private interests (aka foreign interests + a local frontman). As a result, there is now a new "maidan" brewing, pitting Iulia Timoshenko and other nationalist leaders against Zelenskii and his party. This could become a major crisis very fast, especially now that is appears that Zelenskii will also renege on this promise to call for a national referendum on the issue of the sale/privatization of land .

As for the Russians, they already realize that Ze is a joke, unsurprisingly so since he is a comic by trade, and that the Ukrainians are "not agreement capable". They will treat him like they did Poroshenko in the last years: completely ignore him and not even take his telephone calls. Right now, there is just a tiny bit of good will left in Moscow, but it is drying up so fast that it will soon totally disappear. Besides, the Russians really don't care that much anymore: the sanctions turned out to be a blessing, time is on Russia's side, the Ukronazis are destroying their own state and, finally, the important stuff for Russia is happening in Asia, not the West.

The Europeans will take a long time to come to terms with two simple facts:

Russia was never a party to this conflict (if she had, it would have been over long ago). The Ukronazis are the ones who won't implement the Minsk Agreements

This means that the politicians who were behind the EU's backing of the Euromaidan (Merkel) will have to go before their successors can say that, oops, we got our colors confused, and white is actually black and black turned out to be white. That's okay, politicians are pretty good at that. The honeymoon between Kiev and Warsaw on the one hand and Berlin on the other will soon end as bad times are ahead.

Macron looks much better, and he will probably pursue his efforts to restore semi-normal relations with Russia, for France's sake first, but also eventually the rest of the EU. The Poles and the Balts will accuse him of "treason" and he will just ignore them.

As for Trump, he will most likely make small steps towards Russia, but most of his energy will be directed either inwards (impeachment) or outwards (Israel), but not towards the Ukrainian conflict. Good.

Conclusion

It's over. Crimea and the Donbass are gone forever, the first is de jure , the latter merely de facto . The rump-Ukraine is completely unconformable (barring some kind of coup followed by a government of national unity supported Moscow – I consider this hypothesis as highly unlikely).

If you live in the West, don't expect your national media to report on any of this. They will be the LAST ones to actually admit it (journos have a longer shelf life than politicians, it is harder for them to make a 180).

PS: to get a feeling for the kind of silly stunts the "Ze team" is now busying itself with, just check this one: they actually tried to falsify the Ukrainian version of the Paris Communique. For details, see Scott's report here: https://thesaker.is/kiev-attempted-to-change-the-letter-and-meaning-of-paris-summit-communique/ . If the Ukraine was a Kindergarten, then "Ze" would be a perfect classroom teacher or visiting entertainer. But for a country fighting for its survival, such stunts are a very, very bad sign indeed!

(*rump-Ukraine: In broad terms, a "rump" state is what remains of a state when a portion is carved away. Expanding on the "butcher" metaphor, the rump is what is left when the higher-value cuts such as rib roast and loin have been removed.)


Oscar Peterson , says: December 18, 2019 at 7:55 pm GMT

I said it many times, Zelenskii's ONLY chance was to crackdown on the Nazis as soon as he was elected. He either did not have the courage to do so, or his U.S. bosses told him to leave them unmolested.

Are the security forces loyal to him to the extent that he could realistically counted on them to carry out a crackdown on the "Nazis"?

For the Novorussians, it's now clear: the rump-Ukraine* does not want them, nor will Kiev ever agree to the Minsk Agreement.

So what is the Ukrainian thinking here -- that they are better off simply cutting bait on the east and letting Russia deal with the headache of the Donbass's antiquated infrastructure? And that a truncated Ukraine would at least be mostly free of internal pro-Russian sentiment?

I am sympathetic to a lot of what Putin has felt it necessary to do, but I must say, I don't buy the incessant use of the term "Ukronazi." Sounds propagandistic.

bob sykes , says: December 18, 2019 at 11:48 pm GMT
What about the Ukrainian people? A large majority of them voted for some sort of reconciliation with the separatists and Russia. They did so twice: once for Zelenskii, and once again for his party. Does that count for nothing?
Felix Keverich , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:51 am GMT
@Oscar Peterson

So what is the Ukrainian thinking here

I think the plan is to wait until Russia collapses from Western sanctions, and then invade Crimea and Donbass. They didn't give up on the territory by any means, which is why I don't think that any ceasefire in Donbass will hold. It is going to remain a slow-burning conflict, the regime will continue to complain about "Russian invasion" and international investors will continue to avoid the Ukraine.

Anonymous [176] Disclaimer , says: December 19, 2019 at 1:21 am GMT
"Russia collapses from Western sanctions" If that is the plan, then Russia has already won. And, of course, she has.
vot tak , says: December 19, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
"That reason is very simple: Ze caved in to the Ukronazis, completely. He now uses EXACTLY the same rhetoric as Poroshenko did, in spite of the fact that the only reason he was elected is that he presented himself as the ultimate anti-Poroshenko. Now all we see is Poroshenko 2.0."

This is interesting. It implies z actually meant what he said in order to gain votes to get elected. In fact, he is very similar to trump in this respect. Lied about desiring an end to the conflict (conflicts in the case of trump), but once in office continued the aggressive policies (and expanded them in the case of trump). Actually, if one considers poroshenko as the ukraine version of obama/clinton and zelinsky as trump, it looks like the ukrainian regime is following in the footsteps of the american regime.

Tsar Nicholas , says: December 21, 2019 at 1:09 pm GMT
It's not just Minsk that has been abandoned by the Kiev junta. Kiev itself has been abandoned by the EU, which now looks to Nordstream-2 for its energy supplies from Russia, thus bypassing the thieves in Ukraine. Even sanctions from the Supreme Sanctioner in DC is not going to persuade the Germans to shiver in the winter.

[Dec 22, 2019] Having a US Ambassador that thinks of himself as a Proconsul of Germany has not lessened any tensions either

See also Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline BBC
Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , December 21, 2019 at 9:41 am

"Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline"

The Russians will probably finish that last segment themselves but the German reaction will be the one to watch out for – if there is one. Without Nord Stream 2, Germany will have to accept having a smaller economy because of insufficient energy to power it which will have knock-on effects in taxation, revenue raising & allocation, etc.
This will make them less competitive against the US and other economies and if they are forced to buy US gas shipments, it will play hell with their budget due to the excessive cost. Having a US Ambassador that thinks of himself as a Proconsul of Germany has not lessened any tensions either. So we will see if there is any German reaction.

curious euro , December 21, 2019 at 9:57 am

When Russia finishes the pipeline, which is not really sure since the swiss special ships might finish in time or might be actually needed to finish the pipeline, then why would a reaction from Germany be needed?

If/when the pipeline is done, Germany will take the gas from it for e.g. its chemical industry. From what I understand, the US hasn't sanctioned users of russian gas in general, "only" companies who actively build on the pipeline, like the owner of the special ships used.

If the US however doubles down and sanctions users of russian pipeline gas, then it will probably have a big fight on its hand. Then not only Germany is affected but almost all EU countries, except Poland and the Baltics of course.

The Historian , December 21, 2019 at 10:00 am

Frankly, I just don't get the logic behind this move by Trump. Is he saying that he thinks that Germany is a colony of the US and that the US gets to determine where they get their resources? That is pretty high-handed, even for the US.

xkeyscored , December 21, 2019 at 10:55 am

I think that's exactly what these sanctions are about. "The US considers the project a security risk to Europe" certainly sounds colonialist, and "The Trump administration fears the pipeline will tighten Russia's grip over Europe's energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas" sounds like the USA wants to tell Europe what to buy and where.
I'm not sure about pinning it all on Trump though: " Congress voted through the measures as part of a defence bill last week and the legislation, which described the pipeline as a "tool of coercion", was signed off by Mr Trump on Friday."
(Quotes from the BBC article)

bob , December 21, 2019 at 11:50 am

Why have NATO. Do you need a military against a country that you buy gas from. You give them enormous amounts of money and they can shut the switch at any time. Maybe we should bring Russia into NATO to defend against aliens.

Louis Fyne , December 21, 2019 at 12:19 pm

(mild hyperbole) Belgium would fall apart without the cash from all the Eurocrat jobs in Brussels.

And where would aspiring technocrats go without a stint at Nato on their CVs think of the bureaucrats and politicians!

John A , December 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm

Russia asked to join NATO, but were rejected. NATO needs a bogey man enemy to justify forcing all its members to spend 2% of GDP on US military equipment. The first thing American arms salespersons did when the Berlin Wall fell was to head to Eastern Europe to sell arms.

Zamfir , December 21, 2019 at 2:14 pm

It might be high-handed, but it's not new. Variations of this game have gone on since the 80s, when the first gas exports from Russia were starting. This is an upswing in aggression, but it's mostly a continuation of standard US policy.

I am not even sure that the increased aggression comes from Trump. It's more that gas producers in the US are now more powerful than a decade ago (and somewhat desperate due to low gas prices in the US), so their interests add to the old-school geopolitics.

EU Colonized , December 21, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Well Germany and EU are sure behaving as if they are colonies. Zero fight for what is good for EU. Think Russia sanctions. Hurt only EU, not US and a little bit Russia, which now have moved to produce themselves the stuff EU was selling to Russia. EU has screwed itself on the long-term by order from the US. US is not Europe's friend, but is making sure that it gets weaker and cannot offer an alternative, economical, social or military.

ptb , December 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm

If you want to amuse yourself you can see the ships here :

They appear to be returning to port. Were last working just to the SSE of Bornholm (the Danish island).

Here is a gazprom map of the route as of Oct . Most of the remaining route, the segment in German EEZ waters going in the southwest directon from Bornholm, is shallow water.

Oregoncharles , December 21, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Any reaction will probably be very on-the-quiet.

I keep wondering when Europe will decide to throw off the shackles. A complicating factor may be history: they'd rather an American master, mostly far away, than a German one.

Mo's Bike Shop , December 21, 2019 at 10:29 pm

Didn't we interfere with Japanese oil supplies once? For large values of happy, I can say I'm happy with synopsizing the result of World War 2 as being about 'Who had the most oil?' I feel like we are now vaporizing so many kinds of capital to maintain energy dominance. Can the US please stop fighting WWII sometime before WWIII

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump administration sanction companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

Highly recommended!
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 6:27 am

The new US defense bill, agreed on by both parties, includes sanctions on executives of companies involved in the completion of Nordstream 2. This is companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

This could include arrest of the executives of those companies, who might travel to the United States. One of the companies is Royal Dutch Shell, who have 80,000 employees in the United States.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 12:28 pm
So much for the "Free Market".
Hickory x Ignored says: 12/12/2019 at 11:28 pm
Some people believe 'the market' for crude oil is a fair and effective arbiter of the industry supply and demand. But if we step back an inch or two, we all can see it has been a severely broken mechanism during this up phase in oil. For example, there has been long lags between market signals of shortage or surplus.

Disruptive policies and mechanisms such as tariffs, embargo's, and sanctions, trade bloc quotas, military coups and popular revolutions, socialist agendas, industry lobbying, multinational corporate McCarthyism, and massively obese debt financing, are all examples of forces that have trumped an efficient and transparent oil market.

And yet, the problems with the oil market during this time of upslope will look placid in retrospect, as we enter the time beyond peak.
I see no reason why it won't turn into a mad chaotic scramble.
We had a small hint of what this can look like in the last mid-century. The USA responded to military expansionism of Japan by enacting an oil embargo against them. The response was Pearl Harbor. This is just one example of many.
How long before Iran lashes out in response to their restricted access to the market?
People generally don't respond very calmly to involuntary restriction on food, or energy, or access to the markets for these things.

[Dec 21, 2019] Russian Pipeline Work Halted on Threat of U.S. Sanctions - Bloomberg

Dec 21, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com
AllSeas Group SA said it would halt operations on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany on expectations the U.S. Congress will pass legislation to sanction companies working on the project, which critics say will bind Europe more tightly to Moscow.

The contractor said in a two-line statement it would suspend work "in anticipation of the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act."

... ... ...

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, the main Senate sponsor of the sanctions, wrote a letter with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson to AllSeas Chief Executive Officer Edward Heerema Wednesday warning the company that it would face "crushing and potentially fatal" sanctions if it continued work on the pipeline.

"The consequences of your company continuing to do the work -- for even a single day after the President signs the sanctions legislation -- would expose your company to crushing and potentially fatal legal and economic sanctions," they wrote.

[Dec 21, 2019] Our pointless attempt at containing Russia has failed caucus99percent

Dec 21, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Putin has said he will keep the Ukraine pipeline

Putin: Moscow Will Keep Gas Pipeline Through Ukraine
Thursday, 19 December 2019 08:08 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow planned to keep gas transit via Ukraine irrespective of a number of gas pipelines Moscow currently builds to bypass its ex-Soviet neighbor.
...
"This is a very difficult, sensitive topic. We would like to solve this problem," Putin said at his annual press conference in Moscow.

"We will look for a solution that is acceptable for all parties, including Ukraine. That's despite the construction of infrastructure such as Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2, TurkStream. We will preserve gas transit through Ukraine."
...
Putin said on Thursday that Russia would be ready to give Ukraine a discount of 20-25% for gas purchases. "I am confident we will reach an agreement ... We have no desire to exacerbate the situation ... or use this to influence the situation in Ukraine itself."
...

This gives Ukraine three options:

  1. keep buying Russian gas from Europe
  2. swallow their pride and buy discounted gas direct from Russia
  3. freeze in the dark

snoopydawg on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 7:49pm

Obama sure screwed over Ukrainians didn't he?

Yes it was corrupt before the violent coup, but at least people could live nicely and be warm during winter. People have frozen during the winters since and many of them had to go back to work because of the damn IMF loans that hurt big time.

Congress said that they had to put sanctions on Nordstream because of Russia aggression. One article listed all of the aggressions they have done.

Invaded Iraq.
Supported the Honduran coup.
Invaded Libya
Invaded Syria....well you get the drift. Sorta like how Iran has destabilized the Middle East as pompous Pompeo is saying. It's the effing hypocrisy!

[Dec 19, 2019] Provoking a War with Russia by Larry C Johnson - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Dec 19, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Provoking a War with Russia? by Larry C Johnson Larry Johnson-5x7

The anti-Russian insanity that dominates the politics of America is dangerous, stupid and detached from facts. Two news items from Wednesday (December 18th) should scare the hell out of you.

The first concerns Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which is nearing completion and will deliver gas to Europe. According to Reuters :

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to slap sanctions on companies building a massive underwater pipeline to bring Russian natural gas to Germany, but it was uncertain whether the measures would slow completion of the project.

Senator Jim Risch, a Republican and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the sanctions will prevent the project's completion and are an "important tool to counter Russia's malign influence and to protect the integrity of Europe's energy sector."

Nord Stream 2, led by state-owned Gazprom, would allow Russia to bypass Poland and Ukraine to deliver gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. U.S. lawmakers say Ukraine could lose billions of dollars in transit fees if it is built.

This is not the fault of the Democrats. This is being driven by Republicans, with Senator Ted Cruz leading the charge .

The Trump administration should use sanctions to halt the construction of a pipeline that would allow Russia to transport natural gas directly to Europe, potentially generating cash to fuel President Vladimir Putin's military aggression, says Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline "would make Europe even more dependent on Russian energy," Cruz told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday. "And that makes Europe susceptible to economic blackmail, because Putin has already demonstrated he's perfectly willing to cut off the gas in the dead of winter to try to force people to do what he wants."

Russia's "military aggression?" Did Russia invade Iraq twice in the last 29 years? Did Russia launch a war in Libya? Did Russia arm and train insurgents in Syria? I think Ted Cruz has not been paying attention to world events over the last thirty years. The number one country engaged in foreign military aggression is the United States. Hands down.

Here are the actual military facts about Russia:

So why is this pipeline now a redline in the sand that Russia dare not cross? Apparently because it will give Russia a way to make more money to finance its massive military buildup (hopefully you understand sarcasm) and, more importantly, will cost Ukraine lost income. Can't afford to have Ukrainian oligarchs running out of money that they are sending to Democrat and Republican consulting firms and candidates.

While it is unlikely that the sanctions will prevent the pipeline from being completed, largely because they come too little, too late, this is not going to hinder efforts to punish Russia :

A new Bloomberg headline reads "U.S. Concedes Defeat on Gas Pipeline It Sees as Russian Threat" just following new sanctions included in the House and Senate passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.

But two administration officials tell Bloomberg it's too little too late, despite Trump's heightened rhetoric of calling Germany "a captive to Russia" and charging Berlin with essentially giving "billions" of dollars to Russia:

Senior U.S. administration officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the administration's take on the project, said sanctions that passed Congress on Tuesday as part of a defense bill are too late to have any effect. The U.S. instead will try to impose costs on other Russian energy projects, one of the officials added.

Seriously, that United States has no right to threaten Russia in this way. It is reminiscent of the sanctions that the United States imposed on Japan prior to World War II that blocked Japan's access to critical oil and rubber supplies. That was a precipitating factor in Japan's decision to attack us on December 7, 1941.

If you think I am just being chicken little, I suspect you did not read the recent comment of Deputy Chief of General Staff of Russia, Valery Gerasimov :

NATO exercises near the border with Russia reflect the alliance's preparations for a large-scale military conflict, Russia's chief military officer said in remarks published Wednesday.

The chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, said at Tuesday's meeting with foreign military attaches that NATO's activities have heightened tensions and reduced security along the Russian border.

Asked if the Russian military sees a potential threat of war, Gerasimov said that Moscow doesn't see "any preconditions for a large-scale war."

He added, however, that Western pressure on Russia could trigger "crisis situations" that may spin out of control and provoke a military conflict.

The anti-Russia hysteria in the United States is tying the hands of Donald Trump to act responsibly to protect America. If he vetoes the bill put forward by the Congress he will be accused, as he has been for more than two years, of catering to Putin.

The fanatics and frauds waving the Russian threat ignore the fact that the United States and Russia work closely and productively on the Space Station. Our astronauts and their cosmonauts co-exist peacefully in space and we rely on the Russians to haul our folks to and from the Space Station. In Syria, the Combined Air Operations Center (i.e., CAOC) communicates daily with Russian counterparts to ensure that their respective air assets do not fire on each other or inadvertently wander into a combat space. This has been going on for more than three years.

Russia still has nuclear weapons. It is their ultimate deterrent against another invasion. The memory of losing more than 12 million soldiers in World War II remains vivid and painful. The U.S. public can barely remember that we lost less than 500,000 soldiers, marines and sailors in World War II. Our inability to remember coupled with unjustified belligerence is pushing us towards a war with Russia that would be beyond catastrophic.

Posted at 02:47 PM in Larry Johnson , Russia , Russiagate | Permalink

Reblog (0) Comments


catherine , 19 December 2019 at 03:23 PM

''The Trump administration should use sanctions to halt the construction of a pipeline that would allow Russia to transport natural gas directly to Europe, potentially generating cash to fuel President Vladimir Putin's military aggression, says Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas''

I don't know how many times I have ..Who do these politicians think they are !!??
They were not elected to 'run the world'. WE must get rid of them.
The Col told me awhile ago that the CIA doesn't do 'accidental deaths' ....too bad.

Adrian E. , 19 December 2019 at 04:05 PM
At least, these sanctions are not only directed against Russia, but also against Western Europe.
First,the sanctions directly affect not only Gasprom, but also Western European companies that are involved in building the pipelines (since only a small part of the work remains to be done, Nordstream 2 can probably be finished without some of them, but if everything continues as before, some Western European companies involved in building the pipelines would clearly be affected by US sanctions, among them a specialized Swiss company).
Second, the purpose of the pipelines clearly is not only to help Russia selling gas, but also to help Germany buying Russian gas.
The sanctions are not anti-Russian sanctions, but sanctions against Europe, including Russia, Germany, and other European countries.
Especially in Germany, there is absolutely no tolerance for such sanctions with which the US wants to force Europeans to buy uncompetitive expensive US fracking gas. There are talks about European countersanctions against the US. The US may hope to exploit disagreements among EU countries. After all some EU countries like Poland are against Nordstream. But the US should not rely on this - such blatant interference in European matters is clearly not tolerated by the EU. An appropriate countermeasure might be punitive Tarifs on US fracking gas exports - there is not much demand for it, anyway, but it would make sense to prevent any significant amounts of US fracking gas from being bought in Europe as long as the US wants to force Europeans to buy it.
In any case, these anti-European sanctions show once more that the US has become a pariah nation that has isolated itself and has no real allies any more (except perhaps Saudi Arabia and Israel).
Adrian E. , 19 December 2019 at 04:23 PM
I would not call these sanctions only anti-Russian sanctions. They are just as well directed against Western Europe.

First, it is not only Gasprom which is involved in building the pipeline (although it is the owner), but also European companies (among them a Swiss one). Since Nordstream II is almost finished, the services of some of these companies may not be necessary any more, but if they continued normally, also some Western European companies would be sanctioned.

Second, obviously, the purpose of the pipelines is not only to help Russia selling gas, but also to help Germany (and other Western European countries that will receive it via Germany) buying Russian gas.

In Germany, there is very little tolerance for such sanctions, and people talk about counter-sanctions against the US. An appropriate measure could be punitive tariffs on US fracking gas. There is little demand for US fracking gas in Europe, anyway, since it is more expensive, but it may make sense to make sure than no significant amounts of US gas are sold in Europe as long as the US wants to force Europeans to buy it.

The US may hope to exploit disagreements about Nordstream within the EU. After all, some countries like Poland are against it. But the US should not rely on this tactic working. Such blatant interference in European energy supplies with sanction will hardly be tolerated by the EU.

In any case, these anti-European sanctions show one more how much the US has become a pariah country that has isolated itself and hardly has allies any more (except perhaps Saudi Arabia and Israel).

I agree that one of the motives for these anti-European sanctions is anti-Russian insanity in the US. But another important motive is disrespect of the US for Western Europe, which it seems to regard as a kind of colonies or vassal states it can tell what to do.

In Europe, there is still a certain gap - while polls show that the US is very unpopular, among European elites, pro-US forces still have a certain influence. But probably, it won't take very long until European countries will adapt their policies towards the US in the direction a majority of their citizens wants. Another such example of US folly is the idea that Germany should pay more for the presence of US troops. According to polls, about half of the German population wanted US troops to leave, anyway, even before the question of increased payments was raised, and if the US is serious about this demand, the consequence that it will lose its military bases is obvious.

Harlan Easley , 19 December 2019 at 04:48 PM
John Titor
Factotum , 19 December 2019 at 04:53 PM
Who recently described Russia as third tier country, with an economy no bigger than the state of New York?
Factotum , 19 December 2019 at 04:55 PM
Send in Greta Thonburg. She'll show them. More use of fossil fuels zut alors! Who will even be buying Russian energy. How dare they.
Paul Damascene , 19 December 2019 at 07:43 PM
I credit you with possessing the good sense, seemingly rare, to not wish to enter into a direct military conflict with Russia, particularly out of some hyper inflated sense of threat, owing (no less) to their aggression. Kudos to you for acknowledging which country is the number one threat of military aggression in the world.

The sarcasm of referring to a mounting Russian threat is merited insofar as their military budget is actually falling as a proportion of output.

I would suggest, however, when assessing the strength of the enemy you rightly argue that it is stupid to provoke, that you do not limit yourself to the prevailing think-tank approaches to assessing that threat. It's pretty obvious to most people that comparing an Su-35 to an F-35 in dollar terms makes the F-35 3 or 4 times the military threat of the Sukhoi. Ditto with an Su-57 to F-22 comparison.

But it would be better to listen to actual military experts with technical training in the STEM disciplines needed to provide the analysis. I would suggest you look at the work of A. Martyanov's work, a retired Russian naval officer writing occasionally US Naval institute Blog. Or visit his blog, Reminiscence of the Future, through which you could get more background on his books, including the latest, The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs.

His concern is that (while some of us use these CIA factbook-type analysis to cool off the hysterical claims of threat) Russia hawk politicians and think-tank military pseudo-experts are using these to seriously downplay Russia's capacity to counter American aggression. Would welcome your thoughts on his work.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) , 19 December 2019 at 08:11 PM
Russia's 2018 GDP of $1.66 trillion, which is just 8% of America's total GDP of $21.5 trillion.

Larry, it is patently and, actually, grossly untrue on both counts. Nor comparison of military budgets is legitimate tool. In fact, all this is in the foundation of the United States failing, time after time, having a good grasp of the military balance.

Ghost Ship , 19 December 2019 at 09:07 PM
Last winter LNG from the Russian Yamal gas field was delivered to the United States. Perhaps Washington should deal with its own dependence on Russian energy before it starts pressuring Europe.
Stephanie , 19 December 2019 at 10:41 PM
The goal is to overturn the government of Russia, just like the goal has been to overturn the government of Bolivia (Mission Accomplished), Venezuela, Cuba, China, Russia, North Korea, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Syria... This is imperialism. It's history is long and has been successfully practiced by far by the British and Americans. And it's goal is the theft of the resources, human and natural, of the countries targeted. It is old news. Nothing has changed for two hundred years. My God, the original Crimean War was fought for exactly the same reasons as the current Crimean War although the actual fighting is of a different scale and different style. Permit me to include in the litany above Native Americans who were slaughtered for their territory. It is astonishing that President Trump seems to be less than enthusiastic about this program, but it certainly recommends him highly if he is. And today, we may ask who is behind this program. It is certainly not the American people.

[Dec 19, 2019] US Concedes Defeat On Russia's Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Even As Sanctions Passed

Dec 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A new Bloomberg headline reads "U.S. Concedes Defeat on Gas Pipeline It Sees as Russian Threat" just following new sanctions included in the House and Senate passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.

But two administration officials tell Bloomberg it's too little too late , despite Trump's heightened rhetoric of calling Germany "a captive to Russia" and charging Berlin with essentially giving "billions" of dollars to Russia :

Senior U.S. administration officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the administration's take on the project, said sanctions that passed Congress on Tuesday as part of a defense bill are too late to have any effect . The U.S. instead will try to impose costs on other Russian energy projects, one of the officials added.

Image via nord-stream2.com/Unian

The Bloomberg report sees this as a rare admission of defeat :

The admission is a rare concession on what had been a top foreign-policy priority for the Trump administration and highlights how European allies such as Germany have been impervious to American pressure to abandon the pipeline. It also shows how the U.S. has struggled to deter Russia from flexing its muscles on issues ranging from energy to Ukraine to election interference.

The resolution contained in the defense spending bill, expected to be immediately signed into law by Trump, are measures which specifically target companies assembling the pipeline -- a last ditch US effort to block the controversial 760-mile, $10.2BN project that would allow Russia to export natural gas directly to Germany, depriving Ukraine of badly needed gas transit fees along the current route for Russian supplies.

Washington's position has long been that it weakens European energy security, while Merkel's Germany has rejected Trump's "meddling" in European energy affairs, which the Europeans have lately sought to diversify.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a February visit to Poland said Nord Stream 2 ultimately "funnels money to Russians in ways that undermine European national security."

Via Bloomberg

It's expected to double Russian gas shipments to the EU's biggest economy Germany, while others fear -- including dissenters within Merkel's own ruling coalition -- it will give Moscow significant geopolitical leverage over Europe while also punishing Ukraine.

The new US sanctions measures will target executives of companies operating vessels laying the pipeline , and will further seek to hinder those companies' ability to operate on the project. It's been spearheaded by Russian giant Gazprom and five European energy companies, including French electricity and gas firm Engie SA and Royal Dutch, and the Swiss company Allseas Group SA, among others, and is nearing completion, expected soon this coming year.

Bloomberg reports further, "Trump has indicated that he'll sign the legislation passed Tuesday. The penalties on companies building the project, led by Russian energy company Gazprom PJSC, would be effective immediately, according to a Senate Republican aide."

In total, continues Bloomberg, "Some 350 companies are involved in building the undersea link, most notably the Swiss company Allseas Group SA, whose ships are laying the last section of pipe in Danish waters."

Regardless, Gazprom head Alexei Miller has for months said it's "past the point of no return" and that nothing would derail it. "We are working from the idea that Nord Stream 2 will be realized strictly in accordance with the planned timetable," he previously told shareholders.

RealRussianBot99 , 4 minutes ago link

As an european i say fuckmerica

Tirion , 6 minutes ago link

THE UNITED STATES CORPORATION needs to keep its nose out of European energy policy! In fact, it needs to keep its nose out of everybody else's business.

[Dec 19, 2019] One cannot understand any Ukraine politics and scams (and Uk-RF politics and conflicts) without understanding the role of gas, and of Ukraine as a bottleneck for a LOT of the gas flowing between Russia and the EU. The Ukrainians have always been fiddling the Russians and their gas.

Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lurker in the Dark , Dec 19 2019 1:49 utc | 56

My apologies if this has been posted before, but here is a news conference broadcast by Interfax a few days ago detailing a joint French-Ukrainian journalistic investigation into a huge money laundering scheme using various shadow banking organizations in Austria and Switzerland, benefiting Clinton friendly Ukrainian oligarchs and of course the Clinton Foundation.

The link is short enough to not require re-formatting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4309z--JcGk&feature=

Really?? , Dec 19 2019 2:57 utc | 68

Lurker #56

From the Youtube video it is all about the gas.

Of course. I have said this repeatedly. I say this with confidence because I have read a book that is solely about Gazprom and all aspects of gas production, distribution, payment etc. etc. within and outside Russia. Which of course includes the major special problem of Ukraine. You cannot understand any Ukraine politics and scams (and Uk-RF politics and conflicts) without understanding the role of gas, and of Ukraine as a bottleneck for a LOT of the gas flowing between Russia and the EU. The Ukrainians have always been fiddling the Russians and their gas. And then the EU got into the picture and caused more trouble for Russia. Anyhow, it is fitting that the scam described in the video runs on GAS.

[Dec 18, 2019] Erdogan clearly believes he can monopolize gas transit between Central Asia/Middle East/Eastern Mediterranean and Europe.

Dec 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Dec 17 2019 20:35 utc | 13

This doesn't seem very complicated to me.
Turkey is emboldened by Turkstream (and by the Ukraine/Georgia stalemate) - Erdogan clearly believes he can monopolize gas transit between Central Asia/Middle East/Eastern Mediterranean and Europe. This would be a huge geopolitical and economic benefit for Turkey - far above and beyond any religion based "leadership" Turkey could benefit from the Muslim world.
Russia doesn't really care as it already has a pole position regarding natural gas to Europe - Erdogan's actions will only serve to slow down any buildout of competing supply from Central Asia/Middle East. Erdogan is likely being financially backed by Qatar as well - they also stand to benefit if Turkey can carve out a pipeline domination in the Eastern Med.

Piotr Berman , Dec 17 2019 20:51 utc | 15

"Follow the money..." If I recall correctly, Haftar got a nice pile of money from Russia in the form of Libyan banknotes that he ordered, and the status of those banknotes was unclear, but in LNA zone they are as good as the central bank notes. Legally, payments for Libyan oil have to go to that bank, and the operations, location and loyalty of that bank deserve an investigative article.

Erdogan has too little money to succeed, IMHO. If he were flushed, he would place nice weapon orders in UK, France, Germany and USA, as KSA + UAE did, and as we know from Yemen, that secures NATO blessings, either verbal or quiet. His military is probably in a better shape than Egyptian, if vulnerable to attacks by mysterious submarines. The coastal highway from Egypt is surely good enough for military vehicles, but it is vulnerable to attacks from air.

Putin's priority number 2 in the region is South Stream, so he will probably not supply mysterious submarines, Greece could being irate over maritime claims, and Egypt would have the most obvious motif. My conclusion is that the sultan's dog's barks a lot, and sometimes bites, but with some caution. Libyan expedition has the smell of Sicilian Expedition, a notable event during the Peloponessian war.

snake , Dec 17 2019 21:08 utc | 16
Egypt will not tolerate a Muslim Brotherhood led Libya as its neighbor. Before the Turkish support allows the GNA government to defeat Haftar Egypt will intervene. The situation can thereby soon develop into an intense war during which Turkish troops fight on Libyan grounds against the Egyptian military.

<=I think if Egypt intervenes in Libya it will strengthen the brotherhood in Egypt and Libya and may terminate brother Sisi's rule.

i agree with Psychohistorian's Mezran quote.. a Russian Turkey agreement will foreclose USA and British access to oil from Libya, Egypt and Turkey( new OPEC will form).

frances , Dec 17 2019 22:42 utc | 19
Now the GNA is a UN construct so Turkey supporting it should not be a big deal politically for the west. As for the CIA fellow, if he is working as closely as he appears to be with Russia, I think Turkey stepping in is just as suggested:
"...from the karlof1 link:
""Mezran suggested. "If the Turks become the major supporter of the GNA, not the Europeans or the Americans, and the Russians are the ones who are the major supporter of Haftar, then all it would take is an agreement between Moscow and Ankara to solve the Libyan problem, causing much damage to American and European power.""Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 17 2019 20:25 utc | 11.
I particularly like the strategy cutting out the Central Bank by the General and Russia, looks to me like there is a master plan being rolled out and it is moving quickly. Perhaps Peace is breaking out:)
ben , Dec 17 2019 22:58 utc | 20
b said; "After the NATO war destroyed Africa's richest country Libya is still split."

Another "mission accomplished" by the evil empire. They couldn't stand for any leader to share the wealth of the nation with it's people, so a lesson was given, and is still in effect.

psychohistorian , Dec 17 2019 23:36 utc | 21
@ Posted by: ben | Dec 17 2019 22:58 utc | 20 who wrote
"
b said; "After the NATO war destroyed Africa's richest country Libya is still split."

Another "mission accomplished" by the evil empire. They couldn't stand for any leader to share the wealth of the nation with it's people, so a lesson was given, and is still in effect.
"

Thanks for that perspective. That is THE reason that I continue to call out Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton as the war criminal I hope she is prosecuted for in her lifetime.

Matthiew , Dec 18 2019 0:11 utc | 23
If you want a way better analysis from a professional strategist read the following:
"Turkey's Libyan Gamble Is A Shrewd Geostrategic Move"
https://www.globalresearch.ca/turkey-libyan-gamble-shrewd-geostrategic-move/5697857
Antoinetta III , Dec 18 2019 0:24 utc | 24
Does anyone have an idea of both the size and combat readiness of Egyptian forces?

Would Sisi be in a position to send in a force of, say, 50,000 or 100,000 troops with armour and air cover? If so, he could end both the Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Quaeda problem in Libya as well as nip one of Erdogan's meddlesome adventures in the bud.

A User , Dec 18 2019 0:40 utc | 26
I want what Libyans want, but it seems nobody can be arsed to find that out. I strongly suspect Libyans' preference would be for neither of these two foreign funded options since both of these grubby groups are committed to maintaining the repeal of the petroleum act which has protected Libyans from rapacious foreign corporations and foreign-state owned enterprises who put sweet FA into any of their hosts' economies while meddling unceasingly in host politics to ensure everyone but them gets screwed.

IMO the amerikan interest is less about oil & other Libyan resources than ensuring that Libya can never again support North African nations who the empire is determined to annex and form into a vast super-national state where governments have no control, but corporations do.

AFAIK, both cliques in Libya are proponents of Arab nationalism which intend to pretend the black african and berber populations are all foreigners despite both groups having a longer history of living in the region than arabs do.

Arabs entered this region, the Magreb, about 647 AD fighting to take control off the indigenous population of the Magreb which up until then comprised myriad african ethnicities & language groups until around 709 when Arabs united under the banner of Islam had complete control.

There really hasn't been a demographic based census in Libya, most likely because the role of black africans or as the imperialists like to refer to them 'sub-saharan' (which of course implies they are outsiders) has always been contentious among some Libyans who consider themselves to be 'Arabs' or as they like to claim, the ruling class.
Generally the bulk of lighter skinned Libyans class themselves as Berber-Arabs, while other Libyans (eg Muamar Ghaddaffi -may he rest in peace) consider themselves to be Berber.

The iFUKUS intervention promoted a mob claiming to be solely Arab and therefore the legitimate rulers of the nation. They also reckoned all black africans in Libya were foreigners. A genocidal campaign of terror and good old amerikan style lynching of black folks followed. We rightly see the sociopath in H Clinton at this time, but what about Oblamblam, WTF was he thinking?

Eventually some bright spark saw that killing was wasteful, so those black Libyans remaining were rounded up and sold into slavery - to 'owners' primarily in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Who knows if Libya can ever find another leader as enlightened as the Colonel? All we do know is that there is no chance of such a leader emanating from either Haftar's gang or the 'UN-recognised' gang.

Libyans don't deserve either of these agglomerations of arseholes which is why they are copping them. A big message from the big states that any nation which indulges in such caring and sharing of neighbours & friends as Libya did, must be severely punished so no other decent society will dare try that on.

Haassaan , Dec 18 2019 0:43 utc | 27
@16 Snake

"<=I think if Egypt intervenes in Libya it will strengthen the brotherhood in Egypt and Libya and may terminate brother Sisi's rule."

I think Snake is on to something here. The power balance in Egypt is fairly evenly divided with only a slight advantage to Sisi over Muslim Brotherhood forces.

Who would benefit from an Egyptian Civil War?

flankerbandit , Dec 18 2019 1:01 utc | 28
@ Matthiew...

'Thanks' for the Andrew Korybko link...Pfft...

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 1:08 utc | 29
Part 1

What Turkey is seeking is fair treatment and recognition of rights it feels that it has in the Mediterranean Sea. What a group of nations (Israel, Egypt, Greece and the US – hereafter referred to as The Group) is attempting to do is deny Turkey any rights at all.

Those that disagree with Turkish claims have the following position:

1. Greek "owned" islands, which in some cases (e.g. Kastellorizo) go really close to the Turkish coast, exclude Turkey from any significant rights to the Mediterranean.

2. Turkey has no claim to the area around Cyprus.

3. Cyprus is partnered with Israel, Egypt, Greece and the US for energy exploration in the Mediterranean Sea and Turkey is not included.

4. In January 2019, the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum was convened as a means for Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Israel, Italy and the Palestinian Authority to develop a regional natural gas market. Turkey was excluded from this forum and was very upset. (A month later ExxonMobil announced a new gas discovery in Cypriot waters.)

In other words it is a melange of denying rights, legal assertions and exclusion tactics.

Now look at a map of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and then tell me - Is it reasonable that Turkey should have practically no rights at all? Any fair-minded person would recognise that Turkey does and all reasonable people would recognise that all the countries bordering the area of exploration have rights and should cooperate and work together and none should be excluded. What is happening is that The Group wants it all.

It is a very big mistake to believe that Turkey is in the wrong and also that it will back down on this.

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 1:12 utc | 30
Part 2

The Excluded Countries

In addition to Turkey, the countries that are excluded appear to be Syria, Lebanon, and Libya. It is right that The Group is seeking to exclude all these other countries?

It doesn't matter whether the oil and gas are viable (it may or may not be) what is happening is that Turkey is not being allowed any recognition and they are choosing to assert (take) their rights (because there is no other option available to them). If Turkey did not do so then they would lose any future rights to the Mediterranean at all.

Syrian, Lebanon and Libya are obviously too weak to assert their rights. Although the Palestinian Authority participated in Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum I don't really expect Palestine to benefit much and it should be noted the Palestinian Authority is are far too weak to do anything – I'm afraid they are just being used.

Greece and Cyprus are being used as pawns by the US (why else would US Ambassador Pyatt be based in Greece? This kind of disruption is his speciality) and Greece is being set to confront Turkey.

Now look at a map of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and then tell me - Is it reasonable that Turkey should have practically no rights at all? Any fair-minded person would recognise that Turkey does and all reasonable people would recognise that all the countries bordering the area of exploration have rights and should cooperate and work together and none should be excluded. What is happening is that The Group wants it all.

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 1:15 utc | 31
Part 3

Libyan GNA

The reason why Turkey does not want the Libyan GNA to fall is because they fear that Haftar will fall into line with The Group and further strengthen Turkey's exclusion from the Mediterranean energy exploration. So it is in Turkey's great national interest to secure Libya as an ally. Also, the GNA are still recognised as the legitimate government of Libya by the UN so in legal terms Turkey is not doing anything wrong in recognising and supporting the Libyan GNA.

As regards the Turkey/Libyan Maritime Zone - What is happening is that Turkey and Libya are showing The Group that it to can carve out areas and claim to areas of the Mediterranean Seas just as much as they can.

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 1:17 utc | 32
Part 4

Cyprus

It was widely believed that the 2015-17 Cyprus reunification talks where positive and the closet ever to reaching a settlement. Who should be blamed for the collapse? Many believe that is was the Greek Cypriot side that was a fault. The big sticking point was that the Turkish Cypriot side wanted some 40,000 Turkish troops to remain based in the North of the Island because of fears over security. At the time the Greek Cypriot side said it was impossible to accept the continued presence of Turkish troops. This was a big mistake, Cyprus would have been federally united and in 10 years time the Turkish troops could well have been greatly reduced. When the talks collapsed the talk was of inevitable partition.

And what do we see in 2019? Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot President, wants to reopen talks "exactly where they left off" - A belated recognition that it was the Greek Cypriots that threw away what would have been a fantastic settlement and a fairly blatant attempt to peel away Turkish Cypriots from Turkey (Anastasiades call for a resumption of talks seems to have come with some unnecessary hostile remarks directed at Turkey), and hasty desire (now that there has been a gas discovery off the coast of Cyprus) to rescue the agreement because The Group now they can use this agreement to further marginalise Turkey.

flankerbandit , Dec 18 2019 1:51 utc | 33
I like Frances's take on this...ie smells like a master plan between Russia and Turkey...

Why not...?...the Sultan and VVP deciding to carve up some territory, as in the old colonial days...?

Russia and Turkey are getting closer all the time...Helmer's take about the 'Stavka' not being fully on board with this notwithstanding...

The very useful clue is from that Atlantic Council article...the rule to apply here is to just be for everything they are against...and be against whatever they are for...

In this case they are agitating for the West to step up to the plate and arm the GNA...even a fly zone for farg's sakes...

Yeah...everything but let Turkey and Russia divide the spoils among themselves right...?...throw a wrench into the spokes at any cost...?

But the thing is that Trump is not interested in any new wars or proxy wars...and I think a Libya 2.0 is going to be an extremely hard sell anywhere, with the disaster of Killary's 2011 adventure still fresh in everyone's minds...

So nobody is stepping in...there is a vacuum there and I think that there may be some grand bargain cooking behind the scenes with VVP and the Sultan...who knows how far this thing could go...?

It's already causing HUGE headaches in Sodom on the Potomac...as is clear from the shrieks of agony from the likes of the Atlantic Council and many others...

Duncan Idaho , Dec 18 2019 1:55 utc | 34
Even though oil is on stage, it seems we are not dealing with Norway.
ADKC , Dec 18 2019 2:17 utc | 35
Part 5

Military Conflict

Turkey may not be the best militarily; they are slow and ponderous but they are strong enough to move forward, occupy and hold space and take a significant amount of attrition while doing so. Turkey is strong enough to be able to assert "facts on the ground" even if they have to absorb several hard blows - they have been learning a lot from Russia on this.

With regards to Libya, Turkey cannot be prevented from moving forward, occupying space, supplying the Libyan GNA, providing military equipment and troops, etc. UNLESS their lines of supply are cut and this means that The Group would have to attack first and sink a Turkish ship.

And this would mean that Greece (the obvious party that might be set-up for this role) would attack Turkey and sink a Turkish ship? This would be an act of war against Turkey and Turkey would, as a result of such action, be fully (and legally) entitled to respond. So, commonsense tells you that Greece and The Group can't really do this.

If The Group enables Haftar to sink a Turkish ship then Turkey will be able to claim an attack against them, and retaliate and occupy Libya and expect NATO support whilst doing so. The effect of such an act by Haftar's forces would inevitably result in victory for Erdogan (counter-intuitive though that may seem).

While Turkey and Erdogan's association with the Muslim Brotherhood can be seen as a vector that ensures Egypt's hostility towards Turkey's presence in Libya can this really express itself militarily?

The Muslim Brotherhood is a strong movement in Egypt which has been around for a very long time. Effectively this excludes Egypt from joining any direct attack on Turkey because they will fear the unintended consequences that will arise within Egypt.

I'm afraid The Group, in seeking to exclude a major country like Turkey (with an obvious major interest in the Mediterranean), is taking the first step towards war. Sinking a Turkish ship would be another step towards war. Turkey will win any conflict as long as they are prepared to accept some hard blows (and they will be). The Group will lose any conflict because they are only able to strike small (sink a ship at most) or strike huge (annihilation); they have no middle game – Turkey will be able to absorb small blows and China & Russia will not allow Turkey to be destroyed.

At present, Turkey has nothing to lose (as far as the Mediterranean Sea energy exploration goes) - it follows that in any military conflict that Turkey will gain. Military conflicts have to be settled by negotiation - it is only a western delusion that wars are fought to unconditional surrender or absolute destruction. It is The Group and, in particular, Greece that will lose (Greece has a lot to lose in any conflict - no matter how well it goes for Greece - they will have to give up something, even if they think they have won, because that will be price of ending any conflict (because it always is unless you can annihilate your adversary).

It is not Turkey that is over-reaching- it is The Group (Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and the US) that have overplayed their hand and have most to lose.

The only thing that makes any sense in terms of a strategic plan is that it nothing more than machinations by the US seeking to bring chaos closer to the heart of Europe. From the outset, The Group knew what they were doing to Turkey and they knew how Turkey would feel about it and how Turkey was likely to react.

div> On paper, Erdogan may have easy superiority in Libya, but he may get into troubles for two reasons:
1) Libyans, currently quite fractured, actually both major coalitions are riven by internal lack of cohesion. To compare, Assad government had no business surviving, but the opposition was split into moderates, i.e. small time gangsters and bandits having difficulties making units of more than 100 people, and jihadists who had some abstruse reasons to hate each other. And Turkey did not make such a good job in Idlib, Afrin and north Aleppo.
2) Egypt. Forget about ground troops, they would probably focus on air supremacy. This is an Achilles heel of an expeditionary force. If they are intelligent (a risk that has to be consider), they may hit the moment Turkey attempts to expand its foothold. Just letting it slide would be a considerable loss of face for al-Sisi

Posted by: Piotr Berman , Dec 18 2019 2:19 utc | 36

On paper, Erdogan may have easy superiority in Libya, but he may get into troubles for two reasons:
1) Libyans, currently quite fractured, actually both major coalitions are riven by internal lack of cohesion. To compare, Assad government had no business surviving, but the opposition was split into moderates, i.e. small time gangsters and bandits having difficulties making units of more than 100 people, and jihadists who had some abstruse reasons to hate each other. And Turkey did not make such a good job in Idlib, Afrin and north Aleppo.
2) Egypt. Forget about ground troops, they would probably focus on air supremacy. This is an Achilles heel of an expeditionary force. If they are intelligent (a risk that has to be consider), they may hit the moment Turkey attempts to expand its foothold. Just letting it slide would be a considerable loss of face for al-Sisi

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 18 2019 2:19 utc | 36

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 2:48 utc | 37
Part 6

Kastellorizo – A Greek Island off the Turkish Coast

Greece "owns" Kastelorizo, an island which is only about 2 kilometres off the coast of Turkey. "Ownership" of islands such as Kastellorizo is meant to "give" Greece the "right" to exclude Turkey from the Mediterranean Sea? I'm afraid that this is an absolutist, simplistic and unrealistic position.

The "ownership" of Kastellorizo has changed many times throughout history and has been "owned" by Turkey (the Ottomans) on a number of occasions. If you look at the maps you can see that Kastellorizo is part of the same geological formation as the nearby Turkish coast. It's akin to claiming "ownership" of my doorstop and then claiming that you "own" everything outside the walls of my house (including my garden, car, garage, dog, cat, etc. and then telling me I can't even use my doorstep or leave my house. If you did that to me, I would push you aside and that is what Turkey is doing to Greece.

I know that many, many Greeks fundamentally disagree but they are just being partisan, unfair and realistic and are allowing themselves to getting carried away with hostility towards Turkey.

Kastellorizo could have been assigned to Turkey at the end of the WWII as part of the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947 but instead, the "ownership" of Kastellorizo was removed from Italy and given to Greece.

In any military conflict between Turkey and Greece (like, for instance) sinking a Turkish Ship, then islands Kastellorizo will be immediately taken into "ownership" by Turkey and it will be a long time, if ever, that Greece can think about re-"owning" Kastellorizo. Essentially, the issue of Kastellorizo and its "ownership" would be settled and there would be very little Greece could do about it.

When Greece asserts is rights to the Mediterranean Sea based on "ownership" of islands such as Kastellorizo and uses such "ownership" to deny Turkey rights to the Mediterranean Sea it is just being provocative and unreasonable and inducing Turkey.

Petri Krohn , Dec 18 2019 3:07 utc | 38
Turkey is wrong if it thinks something in international law allows it to annul the freedom of the seas and block pipelines. I will repost what I wrote on October 31:
MARITIME LAW EXPLAINED

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) from 1958 guarantees to all countries the right to lay cables and pipes in international waters. This is part of the freedom of the seas. Laying cables and pipes is not "economic" activity as defined in the 1982 treaty that gave countries the right to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Pipe laying is affected only by the little-known Espoo Convention from 1991 that obliges the parties to carry out an environmental impact assessment of certain activities at an early stage of planning. Nowhere in the treaty does it say that it can be used to stop the freedom of navigation or other freedoms of the seas.

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 3:11 utc | 39
Piotir Brennan @36

Turkey does not need and doesn't intend to conquer Libya.

All Turkey has to do is maintain the Libyan GNA which is the government legally recognised by the UN.

Only the Security Council can remove recognition of the Libyan GNA and this would be a fairly cynical move by the West if attempted (and, I imagine, would be vetoed by more than just Russia and China).

Military aircraft are vulnerable when ground troops have access to modern surface to air missiles and are trained in their use. Expect Libyan GNA forces to have copious supplies of the ground and shoulder-launched versions of these weapons. What good did aircraft do for Saudi Arabia in Yemen? There is no winner here, only stalemate and that's more than good enough for Turkey.

The only way to prevent Turkey from achieving its aims is to sink it's supply ships. This would be a rash and extremely inadvisable act.

I would advise policymakers and Governments (particularly, The Group) to see where this is all heading and not go down this path.

Copeland , Dec 18 2019 3:12 utc | 40
The coming debacle may present few heroes for our consideration. The weakest states are probably headed for the smash-and-grab treatment at the end of the day. How is one to believe that Erdogan gives a damn about the government in Libya?--any government? Hafter and the GNA are both pretenders who have only marginal support in that country. These are but stick figures in a land that's been thrown into a howling anarchy, thanks to the military operation that Obama green-lighted. Since Erdogan is dealing with virtual nonentities, this aggression is his aggression. And this illegal sea lane is his insult to international law and prior agreements that recognize the rights of regional nations. It looks a lot like an act of war or at least a pretty serious provocation.

Greece, for one, ought to be worried about this development, as some of the resources it counts on as its territorial right is threatened here.

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 3:31 utc | 41
Petri Krohn @38

I don't believe that any of the Mediterranean Sea is "international waters" it's all been carved up into Exclusive Economic Zone's (EEZ)- there's nothing left! The Group are carving everything up for themselves and left Turkey (and a number of other countries e.g. Syria) with very little.

Any person thinking rationally would be able to see that Turkey has been treated unfairly and will see Turkey has been left with no effective (peaceful) way to get any redress.

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 3:39 utc | 42
Copeland @40

This is just partisan rubbish.

All Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean nations need to do is get together, cooperate and share.

The actions of The Group (Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and the US) are the ones that are causing all the difficulties because they have tried to grab everything for themselves and exclude everyone else.

Greece and the rest of The Group need to include Turkey, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Palestine (and remove the US).

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 3:44 utc | 43
ADKC @37

The last sentence of Part 6 should have read:

When Greece asserts is rights to the Mediterranean Sea based on "ownership" of islands such as Kastellorizo and uses such "ownership" to deny Turkey rights to the Mediterranean Sea it is just being provocative and unreasonable and inducing Turkey to consider military options.

Copeland , Dec 18 2019 3:57 utc | 44
Turkey controls the Dardanelles (the entrance to the Black Sea) by treaty. Turkey has been treated as it deserves. The Aegean Sea is recognized as Greek waters; and that probably includes the seabed beneath it. When Greece was at its most vulnerable after the recent financial collapse, Turkish air force ramped up overflights of Greek territory, some of it pretty aggressive, just to rub salt in the wound. It wasn't very neighborly. It looks like Erdogan's new sea lane trespasses the Greek island of Rhodes and several others.
ADKC , Dec 18 2019 4:46 utc | 49
Matthiew @23 posts a link to a very good analysis in Global Research by Andrew Korybko called Turkey's Libyan Gamble Is a Shrewd Geostrategic Move

What Andrew Korkblko suggests is that the pipeline, that Turkey is obstructing with the "Turkey/Libyan Maritime Zone", is not really about Cypriot gas (which b. believes will be too small and uneconomic to justify a pipeline) but about Israeli gas which is intended to be piped under the Mediterranean Sea into Europe as a competitor to Russian gas. Maybe the whole thing about Cypriot gas is just a smokescreen to disguise the true origins (Israel) of the gas.

What, I suppose, Israel is trying to achieve is to minimise the number of nations that have a say about (and, I guess, a cut of) the pipeline. So, the attempt to cut Turkey and other weaker countries out of share (gas transit fees) has forced Turkey to move on its long-held grievance about being treated unfairly in the Mediterranean Sea.

Are we about to see a war in the Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey caused by US and Israeli machinations?

ADKC , Dec 18 2019 6:15 utc | 54
BTGX @52

I am not talking about rights that are legally justified by "ownership" - what I am saying is that the whole of the Mediterranean Sea and its resources should be shared fairly and reasonably by all nations of the Mediterranean.

The proposed gas pipeline is just an example where a small group of nations (Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and the US - The Group) have got together to grab what they can for themselves and exclude others.

Your argument is essentially we have the legal right, we are recognised under international law, therefore we can do what we like, we can have it all, and you, who have been excluded, you will have nothing. But, anyone can see that this is unreasonable and the path to disaster.

But in some ways all this is now moot. The pipeline appears to be really about Israeli gas and the lack of wisdom in trying to exclude Turkey. If The Group has any sense they will share the booty with Turkey. If not, they will get Greece to sink a Turkish ship - the outcome won't be good for Greece.

[Dec 09, 2019] Crisis amid Plenty: The Politics of Soviet Energy under Brezhnev and Gorbachev

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

pogohere , Dec 9 2019 1:25 utc | 57

john brewster @ 18

Speaking of Shane Gustafson: this is an excellent book:

Crisis amid Plenty: The Politics of Soviet Energy under Brezhnev and Gorbachev (Princeton Legacy Library) Paperback – February 1, 1991

Although the Soviet Union has the most abundant energy reserves of any country, energy policy has been the single most disruptive factor in its industry since the mid-1970s. This major case study treats the paradox of the energy crisis as an essential part of larger economic problems of the Soviet Union and as a key issue in determining the fate of the Gorbachev reforms.

One of the theses of the book is that the Soviet industry had a "silo" structure: the various components (exploration, drilling, production, transport, export) didn't coordinate with one another and depended on the glue of communist party apparatchiks to keep the system functioning. Gorbachev is said to have eliminated that glue and chaos ensued.

Schmoe@ 36

Re: "Due to an EU ruling related to foreign-affiliated pipelines (or some variation of that), it will likely be forced to operate at 50% of capacity."

[Dec 09, 2019] We will see on Nordstream 2 sanctions' effectiveness. Generally, US sanctions, when aggressively enforced, are extremely effective (and lethal in many cases).

Notable quotes:
"... The sanctions against Russia are not that broad but they have impacted Russian energy E&P efforts in difficult to reach environments. ..."
"... That is just common sense...large Euro energy companies are partners in Nordstream and have invested billions...do you think they are just going to throw up their hands and say 'Ok we give up'...? ..."
"... And supposedly the owners of those ships [there is actually only one company in the world, Swiss-based Allseas, that operates these deep sea pipe-laying ships] are going to drop Nordstream because they don't want to lose potential US business in the Gulf of Mexico... ..."
"... That is bullshit...what pipelines are being planned for the Gulf...?...Zero... ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , Dec 8 2019 20:32 utc | 35

@ 17 in re "...strong Nordstream 2 sanctions..."

We shall see how strong. I'd put money on the Germans doing business with their natural Eastern partners. Business is business, suzerain occupation since 75 years notwithstanding.

Actually I harbor doubts about the strength of imperial ability, as the natural reaction every time they use dollarweapon, is the weakening of the weapon...

That Good Man V Putin, I'm sure we all recall, recently spoke to this matter...signing off with "they (or the dollar) will collapse soon."

zerohedge > "The Dollar Enjoyed Great Trust Around The World. But For Some Reason It Is Being Used As A Political Weapon, Imposing Restrictions. Many Countries Are Now Turning Away From The Dollar As A Reserve Currency. US Dollar Will Collapse Soon."


Schmoe , Dec 8 2019 20:50 utc | 36

karlof1, c1ue

We will see on Nordstream 2 sanctions' effectiveness. Generally, US sanctions, when aggressively enforced, are extremely effective (and lethal in many cases). The sanctions against Russia are not that broad but they have impacted Russian energy E&P efforts in difficult to reach environments.

I would also add that:

a) LNG prices are currently at incredibly low levels and if they hold at these levels importation of LNG could minimize Germany's hit, and Qatar last week announced it will expands its LNG export capabilities;

b) Russia / Gazprom did not finance Nordstream 2's construction; initially I believe Gazprom did so but a consortium of 4 Netherlands (including Royal Dutch Shell), Austrian and German companies later assumed the financing obligation;

c) Due to an EU ruling related to foreign-affiliated pipelines (or some variation of that), it will likely be forced to operate at 50% of capacity.

Based on a) - c) there is much less than meets to eye for Nordstream 2.

A more likely outcome than violation of US sanction IMO is an asymmetric response from Germany; perhaps the EU aviation authorities will deny whatever Band Aid Boeing puts our for the 737 Max's MCAS system. Or Germany approves Huawei's 5g equipment.

Schmoe , Dec 9 2019 3:42 utc | 63
@pogohere

I'm not sure how I missed those Nov 16 posts so thanks for forwarding. This quote will be interesting:

"With some 85% of the pipeline already laid, new congressional sanctions aimed at companies participating in the pipeline's construction will not stop it.

Instead, they will become a new bone of contention between the United States and Europe.

That is just common sense...large Euro energy companies are partners in Nordstream and have invested billions...do you think they are just going to throw up their hands and say 'Ok we give up'...?

Even a child can see this Spiegel diarrhea for what it is...

And supposedly the owners of those ships [there is actually only one company in the world, Swiss-based Allseas, that operates these deep sea pipe-laying ships] are going to drop Nordstream because they don't want to lose potential US business in the Gulf of Mexico...

That is bullshit...what pipelines are being planned for the Gulf...?...Zero...

Yet the Russians are the world's gas and pipeline superpower and have more pipeline projects in the works...

As if Allseas is going to risk their biggest customer for some bullshit US sanctions...[they are also laying the Turkstream pipeline..."

Any company whose operations are all international will unfortunately have to think long and hard about losing accessing to dollars. Open violations of US Sanctions are still almost unheard of - Rosneft in Venezuala, Reliance Industries might now be buying Venezuelan oil - so I would not be pollyanish about their power. Note that European companies will not use Instinex out of fear of losing access to dollars.

mk , Dec 9 2019 8:10 utc | 74
@Nick 58

Your questions are absolutely justified. The original story was written by Georg Mascolo, the German Dana Milbank, i.e. the chief mouth piece of the intelligence services. This is an obvious attempt to put pressure on Merkel to hamper relations with "Evil Russia" just prior to a possible breakthrough in the Normandy talks. The German services, especially the BND, are the last strongholds of Transatlanticism here, and they try to brace themselves against any rapprochment between Russia and Germany. But this will be in vain. It's simply that the geopolitical imperative is too strong: the two countries fit together perfectly in terms of their respective needs and abilities.

[Dec 08, 2019] As Winter Comes Pipeline Wars Heat Up -- Strategic Culture

Dec 08, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Tom Luongo December 8, 2019 © Photo: Wikimedia For all of 2019 December has been a magnet. A number of major geopolitical issues come to head this month and many of them have everything to do with energy. This is the month that Russian gas giant Gazprom was due to finish production on three major pipeline projects – Nordstream 2, Turkstream and Power of Siberia.

Power of Siberia is here. It's finished. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping christened the pipeline to begin the month. Next month Putin will travel to Turkey to join President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open the first of four potential trains of the Turkstream pipeline.

It is only Nordstream 2 that continues to lag behind because of insane levels of pressure from the United States that is dead set against this pipeline coming online.

And the reason for that is the last of the major energy issues surrounding Gazprom needing resolution this month, the gas transit contract between it and Ukraine's Naftogaz.

The two gas companies have been locked in legal disputes for years, some of which center on Crimea's decision to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in 2014. Most of them, however, involve disputes over costs incurred during the previous and expiring gas transit contract.

The particulars today are ultimately irrelevant as these lawsuits have been used as nothing more than blackmail to keep a new contract from getting signed. Ukraine has sued Gazprom in courts, like in Sweden, that rule not by the tenets of contract law but rather through the lens of social justice.

These have been political decisions that allowed Naftogaz to seize Gazprom's European assets, further complicating any resolution to the conflict. These policies were pursued aggressively by former Ukrainian President and long-time US State Department asset Petro Poroshenko and they have done nothing to help Ukraine.

All they have done is strip-mine the country of its assets while keeping a war to prevent the secession of the Donbass alive.

This dovetails with the external pressure applied to EU member states, like Denmark, to delay if not outright thwart completion of Nordstream 2.

Opposition to Nordstream 2 in the US is all about leveraging influence in Ukraine and turn it into a client state hostile to Russia sharing a border with Russia. If there's no gas transit contract and there's no Nordstream 2 then US LNG suppliers can sell gas there and deprive Russia of the revenues and the business.

It's truly that simple. But that strategy has morphed over the years into a convoluted chess match of move/countermove in the vain hope of achieving something that looks like a victory. But this isn't a game of real chess but rather a timed match.

Because the end of 2019 was always coming. And Ukraine would eventually have to decide as to which direction it wanted to go. Moreover, that same choice was put in front of the EU who have clearly, in the end, realized that the US under President Trump is not a long-term reliable partner, but rather a bully which seeks its goals through threat and intimidation.

Stay with the US or green light Nordstream 2. The choice in Europe was clear. Nordstream 2 gets finished, as Denmark finally granted the final environmental permit for its construction in October.

That delay moves the completion date out into 2020. And that now gives the US Senate one last chance to stop the completion of the pipeline because everything else to this point has failed, including the EU changing the rules on its gas pipeline rules to force Gazprom to 'unbundle' the pipeline from the gas flowing through it.

Germany amended that directive to allow Nordstream 2 to be regulated at the German federal level and not at the EU level. This was as much of a win as could have been hoped for.

This prompted the response from the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee head Jim Risch who wants to sanction anyone assisting Gazprom building the pipeline to be sanctioned and forced out of business.

"The reason for the push is that this window is closing. A lot of Nord Stream is done already. It will cost them dearly. I think if those sanctions pass [the companies] will shut down, and I think the Russians will have to look for another way to do this if they can do this," Risch said.

In reality the window has closed.

At the end of the day even if this legislation passes there will be no way to stop the pipeline from being completed or the gas to flow through it. With so little of the pipeline left to complete there is no practical way to stop it from happening. Risch and other US senators are hoping to strand Nordstream 2 as an unfinished boondoggle but that's folly.

The German government wants this pipeline, therefore the German government will put up the funds to ensure the contractors are paid and the pipeline completed.

There is a limit to the extent which sanctions can block commerce and once completed the US will have no ability to sanction the gas flowing through the pipeline. It's a sad and pathetic state of affairs that so much time, manpower and capital was wasted to stop a pipeline that is necessary for Germany's future.

It also highlights the hypocrisy of US policy since there isn't a peep out of the US on Turkstream, which will stitch NATO ally Turkey to Russia via 15.75 cm of natural gas every year. Eventually it will replace the lost South Stream pipeline as the other trains are built and contracted for.

All of the countries in eastern Europe are hungry for a piece of Turkstream's future. Serbia Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy and Greece are all potential customers.

And all of these countries that currently get their gas from Ukraine are at risk if nothing gets resolved between it and Russia. This is why the meeting between Putin and Ukrainian President Zelensky is so important. It has the opportunity to begin reversing the damage done to the basic fabric of Ukraine and Europe by agreeing to a path to ending the war in the Donbass and coming to an agreement on gas transit.

There are more than $12 billion in lawsuits outstanding that Naftogaz has pending against Gazprom. With Nordstream 2 a fait accompli that is all the leverage Zelensky has at that meeting.

This game is a microcosm of the way the US foreign policy establishment uses Europe as the battleground in the war against Russia. And given the way the political winds are shifting, Europeans are getting very tired of it.

This is why gas storage facilities in Europe are full, there is real fear that Gazprom will walk away from the talks with Ukraine and will wait out the completion of Nordstream 2. Gazprom offered an extension of the current contract on the condition that Ukraine drop the lawsuits.

Naftogaz said no. We'll see if Zelensky is smart enough to say yes.

[Dec 07, 2019] China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline is now operational

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , December 02, 2019 at 06:52 AM

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-12/02/c_138600270.htm

December 2, 2019

China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline in operation

HARBIN -- The China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline was put into operation on Monday.

At the gas-distributing and compressing station in the city of Heihe, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, the data screen was switched on, indicating parameter variations of the gas passage. The station is the first stop after the Russia-supplied natural gas enters China.

The pipeline is scheduled to provide China with 5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2020 and the amount is expected to increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024, under a 30-year contract worth 400 billion U.S. dollars signed between the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

The cross-border gas pipeline has a 3,000-km section in Russia and a 5,111-km stretch in China.

Shao Hua, general manager of Heihe City Natural Gas Development Co., Ltd. of China Gas, said that the border city of Heihe still largely relies on coal for heat. With the Sino-Russian natural gas pipeline's operation, the city now has access to a stable supply of clean energy.

Heihe has registered 30,000 households for switching to natural gas for heating. It will take one year to complete full coverage of the gas network in the city, according to the company.

China's natural gas consumption reached 280.3 billion cubic meters in 2018. The country's demand for natural gas will continue to soar toward 2040, outstripping domestic output by around 43 percent, according to an International Energy Agency report.

China aims to raise the use of natural gas to 10 percent of the country's energy mix by 2020 and 15 percent by 2030, said the National Development and Reform Commission.

anne -> anne... , December 02, 2019 at 06:56 AM
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-25/how-russia-china-gas-pipeline-changes-energy-calculus-quicktake

November 25, 2019

How Russia-China Gas Pipeline Changes Energy Calculus
By Olga Tanas, Anna Shiryaevskaya and Dan Murtaugh - Bloomberg

Russia is pivoting its energy business to the east. The world's largest exporter of natural gas has built an enormous pipeline running from Siberia to the Chinese border to feed China's insatiable energy appetite. The new conduit, called the Power of Siberia, is part of a plan by Russian President Vladimir Putin to reduce his country's dependence on gas markets in Europe and tap into the fast-growing economies of Asia. For China, whose domestic energy production can't keep up with demand, the pipeline offers a vital new source of supply....

Paine -> anne... , December 02, 2019 at 08:09 AM
"Deep Sam "
Is pushing Russia and China together. It's good for great game high jinx to have a formidable opponent. Nixon be damned

[Dec 06, 2019] The Gas war led to the creation of Russia-China pipeline and lessened the dependence of Russia on sales of the gas to the Westtern countries

Dec 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

POWER OF SIBERIA. Putin and Xi turned on the pipeline on Monday . It carries gas from Russia's Far East into China and has a carrying capacity of 61 billion M 3 per year . There'll be more .

This has no small strategic significance: previously, for foreign sales, Russia was dependent on customers in Europe who are all, to a greater or lesser extent, subject to pressure from the war party.

Added to which transport was affected by Kiev's whims. Turkstream (scheduled to start next month) and the two pipelines to Germany help with the second problem and this one with the first. Sooner or later, Russia-China pipelines would have appeared but I think Ishchenko's argument that the Western war on Russia speeded up the process is credible.

(Come to think of it, now that Putin's hand is imagined everywhere, maybe it's time to consider that he's the American war party's real backer; after all, everything it's touched has turned to dust: from the forever wars, to Iran's increased influence, to the Russia-China alliance and now the furore in the USA over Ukraine – itself another disastrous project.)

[Dec 01, 2019] Ukraine considers the settlement agreement on legal disputes and the signing of a short-term contract to be unacceptable

Dec 01, 2019 | tass.com

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. Russian-Ukrainian gas consultations with the participation of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection of Ukraine Alexey Orzhel, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, the heads of Naftogaz of Ukraine and LLC Gas Transmission System of Ukraine were held in Vienna on Thursday.

This is according to statements by the Russian Energy Ministry and Gazprom. Read also GECF believes Russia and Ukraine will manage to agree on gas transit to EU this year "The parties discussed Russian-Ukrainian cooperation in the gas sector -- settlement of mutual claims for the implementation of contracts, the terms for the transit of Russian gas to Europe from 2020, the prospects for direct purchase of Russian gas for Ukrainian consumers," the statement said.

Russia, the European Commission and Ukraine have been holding consultations on gas transit after 2020. The dialogue is complicated by the ongoing legal disputes between Russia's Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine. Moscow offers a "package solution" that includes a settlement agreement on legal disputes and direct gas purchases at reduced prices. As a fallback, Russia is ready to extend the current transit agreement for the whole year of 2020.

Ukraine considers the settlement agreement on legal disputes and the signing of a short-term contract to be unacceptable. Earlier this month, Naftogaz' executive director, Yury Vitrenko, announced that Ukraine would pump Russian transit gas to its underground storage facilities (UGS), if this gas entered the country without an appropriate contract starting from January 1, 2020.

The next round of trilateral consultations on the transit of Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine from 2020 is scheduled for the first week of December.

The existing contracts for the supply and transit of Russian gas through Ukraine expire on December 31.

[Dec 01, 2019] Gas price in Ukraine will be $500 per 1,000 cubic meters if transit is halted - Minister

Dec 01, 2019 | tass.com

At a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on November 27, a gas price for the population was fixed at 8 hryvnias per cubic meter. KIEV, November 30. /TASS/. The gas price for Ukrainians may increase to 12,000 hryvnias (about $500) per 1,000 cubic meters in the event of the termination of transit from Russia from January 1, 2020, Minister of Energy and Environment of Ukraine Alexey Orzhel said on Friday.

"The price of 12,000 hryvnia is possible in the absence of transit," he said speaking on the national television.

Orzhel also recalled that the government had offered Ukrainians the so-called guaranteed price of gas in the amount of 8,000 hryvnias (about $333) per 1,000 cubic meters in case the gas transit is halted from the new year and the cost of gas increases significantly.

At a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on November 27, a gas price for the population was fixed at 8 hryvnias per cubic meter.

[Dec 01, 2019] Gasprom bypassing Ukraine via Turkey

Dec 01, 2019 | tass.com

Gazprom began construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in May 2017. The pipeline with a length of 930 km runs along the bottom of the Black Sea to the coast of Turkey. Further, a land section will stretch for 180 km to the border of Turkey with neighboring countries.

Gazprom began construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream in May 2017, managed by South Stream Transport B.V. (100% subsidiary of Gazprom). The offshore section of the pipeline runs along the bottom of the Black Sea to the coast of Turkey. Its length is 930 km. The pipeline will be continues by a 180-km land transit line to the border of Turkey with neighboring countries. The first line will be designed for the Turkish market, the second - for gas supply to the countries of South and Southeast Europe. The capacity of each line is 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The first deliveries are scheduled for the end of 2019. Gazprom announced the completion of deep-sea laying of the offshore section of the first Turkish Stream in April 2018. Turkey is Gazprom's second largest export market. Currently, Russian energy is supplied to this country through the Blue Stream pipeline and the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline. In 2017, Gazprom exported a record volume of gas to the Turkish market - 29 billion cubic meters, which is 17.3% more than in 2016, and 1.7 billion cubic meters (6.2%) more than in 2014 when the previous maximum was set (27.3 billion cubic meters). At the end of May, Gazprom and the Turkish government signed a protocol on the land section of the Turkish Stream pipeline transit line to supply Russian gas to European consumers. Gazprom and the Turkish company Botas concluded an agreement on the basic conditions and parameters for the construction of the section. Joint venture TurkAkim Gaz Tasima A. S. will carry out construction of the land section.

Earlier, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev said that in the near future the company would finally determine the route of the second line of the Turkish Stream for gas supply to countries in Southern and Southeast Europe. According to him, two main options are being discussed in accordance with the procedures in the European Union and the European Commission. Medvedev cited Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary as potential markets.

Gazprom's investments in the construction of the Turkish Stream for 2018 are planned at the level of 182.4 bln rubles ($2.76 bln) against almost 93 bln rubles ($1.4 bln) in 2017. The company estimates the cost of laying the pipeline at 7 bln euro.

[Dec 01, 2019] Naftogaz can consider waiving $12.2 bln claims against Gazprom

Dec 01, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile November 30, 2019 at 9:09 am

Is this what could be described as "playing silly buggers"?

30 NOV, 00:54
Naftogaz can consider waiving $12.2 bln claims against Gazprom
Ukraine is ready to do so on condition of compensation

Like Like

Mark Chapman November 30, 2019 at 5:32 pm
The Ukies imagine they are so clever! They will waive a claim they have pretty much no chance of ever being awarded, in return for a lesser amount of guaranteed cold, hard cash plus a transit deal which will commit Russia to giving them at least another $20 Billion in transit fees over 10 years. Russia should pretend to consider it, just to wind them up, and run out the clock on the signing of a new contract. Then say, "I've decided not to after all, old chap".

[Nov 28, 2019] The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in late July to pass a bill on sanctions against Nord Stream 2. It was prepared by Republican Senator Ted Cruise and Democrat Gene Shahin, and, in particular, involves a ban on the entry into the United States and the freezing of US assets under the jurisdiction of persons involved in the "sale, lease, provision or assistance in providing" ships for laying at sea Russian pipelines at a depth of 30 metres.

Notable quotes:
"... the United States' high-handedness is taking it dangerously close to making an enemy of Europe. ..."
"... There is nothing remotely fair about carving out markets for your product by eliminating all other choices. I realize Washington will say it is only trying to stop Nord Stream II so that Russia will be forced to transit gas across Ukraine and pay it exorbitant transit fees, and that it is doing Ukraine a favour while not restricting Europe from getting pipeline gas. ..."
"... American strategy is always all about getting everyone else by the balls so that they have no choice but to accept American control and orders. That's called American Global Leadership, which they figure is good for the world because it's certainly good for American investors. ..."
Nov 28, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile November 23, 2019 at 9:33 pm

В сенате США рассказали о способе заблокировать "Северный поток -- 2"
06:37 24.11.2019 (обновлено: 06:54 24.11.2019)

In the U.S. Senate, they have spoken about how to block "Nord stream -- 2"
06:37 24.11.2019 (updated: 06:54 24.11.2019)

MOSCOW, 24 Nov – RIA Novosti. The U.S. Congress intends to include sanctions against the Russian gas pipeline "Nord stream -- 2" in the 2020 defence budget, says Jim Risch, head of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, in the latest edition of "Defense News".

Sanctions against companies involved in the construction of the pipeline have been included in a draft law "On National Defense for 2020", said Rish. "The reason for this step is that the window of opportunity is closings. Most of "Nord stream" has already been constructed", said the Senator. However, he expressed the opinion that the sanctions "will convince" the construction company to stop work on the project because the American restrictions "will cost them dearly".

If sanctions are included in the US defence budget, companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 will close, and Russia will, supposedly, have to look for other contractors, says Riesch.
However, he noted that the House of Representatives and the Senate have not yet reached a final agreement on the bill as a whole.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in late July to pass a bill on sanctions against Nord Stream 2. It was prepared by Republican Senator Ted Cruise and Democrat Gene Shahin, and, in particular, involves a ban on the entry into the United States and the freezing of US assets under the jurisdiction of persons involved in the "sale, lease, provision or assistance in providing" ships for laying at sea Russian pipelines at a depth of 30 metres.

For the bill to enter into force, it must be approved by the House of Representatives and the US Senate, as well as US President Donald Trump.

Let the Liberty Bell ring out loud! -- albeit that it is cracked and was never rung on 4th July, 1776, but, as usual, bullshit baffles brains!

Like Like

Mark Chapman November 23, 2019 at 11:19 pm
And that'd be Jean Shaheen; the translation managed to get both her name and her gender wrong.

As I have said before now, the United States' high-handedness is taking it dangerously close to making an enemy of Europe. It has made it clear it is trying to restrict Europe's energy choices to American LNG or American LNG.

There is nothing remotely fair about carving out markets for your product by eliminating all other choices. I realize Washington will say it is only trying to stop Nord Stream II so that Russia will be forced to transit gas across Ukraine and pay it exorbitant transit fees, and that it is doing Ukraine a favour while not restricting Europe from getting pipeline gas.

But Washington still aims to control Ukraine and use it as a bastion against Russia, and if it can arrange things so that Russian gas must pass across Ukraine under American control, why, it can conjure stoppages and interruptions of service at its pleasure, as well as helping Ukraine to jack up transit fees so that Russia must either raise its gas prices until American LNG is competitive, or sell at a loss.

American strategy is always all about getting everyone else by the balls so that they have no choice but to accept American control and orders. That's called American Global Leadership, which they figure is good for the world because it's certainly good for American investors.

Moscow Exile November 24, 2019 at 9:35 am

Like Like

Mark Chapman November 24, 2019 at 11:32 am
Time is running out for the US to be its usual dick self, and block another country's aspirations in order to advance its own interests.
Mark Chapman November 24, 2019 at 11:41 am
Except when he says "we all", he is talking about less than ten thousand people in a country of 147 million. Yes, few Russians get to breathe the rarefied air of true mental clarity.

So far as I am aware, the latest offer on the table is still for a one-year extension of the current contract, although Russia did agree to drop legal claims and counter-claims between itself and Ukraine, in which Russia claimed Ukraine underpaid/did not pay at all for gas it received. Ukraine has thus far not replied.

https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2019-11-18/gazprom-proposes-one-year-gas-deal-with-ukraine

Moscow has made some concessions, but there has been no movement at all toward a long-term contract that I have seen. I maintain that a cold winter of frozen bums in Europe would offer a salutary effect. Russia is actually better-placed to deliver LNG by vessel than the USA, as well, as it is much closer.

There must be a limit to European loyalty to the USA in the face of conditions so markedly against its interests, a limit to how much shit it will smear on its own face to keep its partner happy and amused.

Like Liked by 1 person

et Al November 25, 2019 at 1:47 am
Apparently U-ropean gas storage networks are full, not to mention that there has been heavy investment in the Austrian Baumgarten storage network, Germany, France, infact just about everywhere except the UK (coz the French will store it for them and sell the gas back at a nice mark up)

Like Like

Mark Chapman November 25, 2019 at 12:06 pm
Ukraine has already stated publicly that although its own gas storage bunkers are full, that amount will not likely carry it through the winter if there is an interruption owing to non-renewal of the gas contract, and if the winter is cold and harsh as usual. I imagine Europe is the same; storage facilities are not so extensive that they could take the entire region through a cold winter.
karl1haushofer November 24, 2019 at 1:33 pm
Not surprising that Navalny and his ilk oppose Nord Stream. They oppose anything that is good for Russia. They don't seem to be interested in developing russia into a better place, but tear it apart and ruin it from within. It is rather odd that Russia has these types of people as "opposition politicians". People who hate their own country and don't even pretend to hide their hatred.
I don't see them that dangerous though because they seem to lack wider support and Russia is not currently facing any troubles that would turn people against the current rulers.
And I'm not saying that Russia is ruled by a very competent government currently. The economy should be growing a lot faster than it has been growing for the past ten years. But the current government is still 100x better than Navalny would be. He would probably bring down Russia even worse than Yeltsin did.

[Nov 28, 2019] On January 1st at 10 am Moscow time Gazprom has no reason to keep the gas flowing in the direction of the Ukraine

Nov 28, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile November 28, 2019 at 12:13 am

The finger pointing by Banderastan has started!

"Нафтогаз" пообещал не перекрывать газовый вентиль
03:01 28.11.2019

"Naftogaz" has promised turn off the gas valve
03:01 28.11.2019 (updated: 10:45 28.11.2019)

KIEV, November 28 – RIA Novosti. The Ukraine does not intend to shut off the gas valve, even if Russia fails to sign a new contract on gas transportation, Executive Director of "Naftogaz of the Ukraine", Yuriy Vitrenko, has said in an interview with Deutsche Welle. In his opinion, the valve will be turned off by Gazprom, not Naftogaz.

"But I remind you, that in a letter sent by Gazprom to Naftogaz, in black and white [it states] that on January 1st at 10 am Moscow time Gazprom has no reason to keep the gas flowing in the direction of the Ukraine", he said.

So you Russia is going to hold Europe to ransom, not the Ukraine, right?

Has everyone got that message?

Did hear that EU, USA etc., etc?

Mark Chapman November 28, 2019 at 1:06 am

What happened to all the leverage Ukraine gained by its blinding victory in Swiss arbitration? They should be able to lead Moscow around by the nose now.

[Nov 28, 2019] The appeal court in Sweden has refused to satisfy the appeal of "Gazprom" in a dispute with the Ukrainian concern "Naftogaz", according to Tass. Executive Director of "Naftogaz of Ukraine" Yuriy Vitrenko on "Facebook" called the decision a "complete victory".

Notable quotes:
"... Gazprom sent about 200 BcM to Europe last year, of which 70 BcM went via Ukraine. If Ukraine is completely cut out now, Gazprom could manage about 195 BcM, with every other available pipeline to Europe straining at the rivets. But you need a 'technical reserve' capability, which would take Russia's requirement to 230 BcM. Obviously, the intent is that they should commit to sending this amount through Ukraine, forever. ..."
"... The other interesting figure is included in the claim that 'Ukraine's economy is growing nicely, but loss of transit income would shave 4% off of GDP.' When the initial threat that eventually transit would be stopped was floated, Ukraine squealed that it would bilk it of 2% of GDP. But now somehow that loss would be double but the economy is 'growing nicely'? Ummm .how do you figure? ..."
Nov 28, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile November 27, 2019 at 4:23 am

Well blow me down!

The appeal court in Sweden has refused to satisfy the appeal of "Gazprom" in a dispute with the Ukrainian concern "Naftogaz", according to Tass. Executive Director of "Naftogaz of Ukraine" Yuriy Vitrenko on "Facebook" called the decision a "complete victory".

"Complete victory, Ukraine wins again! We won the appeal at the first complaint of "Gazprom" the decision of the Stockholm arbitration!" said his statement.

It is anticipated that decisions in two other cases in court between the same parties will be taken in 2020.

The Stockholm arbitration court in December 2017 and February 2018 issued decisions on disputes between Gazprom and Naftogaz in respect of contracts for supply and transit of gas, obliging as a result, Russian the Ukrainian company to pay more than $ 2.5 billion. Gazprom appealed against the decision in March 2018, and in May demanded the complete abolition of the "transient" solution.

See: Суд Швеции отказал по апелляции "Газпрома" в споре с "Нафтогазом"
27 ноября 2019, 13:26

Like Like

Mark Chapman November 27, 2019 at 11:27 am
What will that mean for the gas deal? Only 16 days remain.

https://www.intellinews.com/ukraine-has-16-days-left-to-do-a-transit-deal-with-gazprom-172367/?source=russia

Ukraine allegedly offered to do a deal in which they would not drop their claim of being owed $2.5 Billion by Gazprom, but would take it in free gas. They say they have not had a reply yet. The same article suggests Russia would be perfectly happy to just run out the clock. Even happier now, I would think.

A few interesting figures are included in the article. For one, the author claims that in order to completely circumvent Ukraine for gas delivery to Europe, it would need pipeline capacity of 230 BcM. Here's how it breaks down – Gazprom sent about 200 BcM to Europe last year, of which 70 BcM went via Ukraine. If Ukraine is completely cut out now, Gazprom could manage about 195 BcM, with every other available pipeline to Europe straining at the rivets. But you need a 'technical reserve' capability, which would take Russia's requirement to 230 BcM. Obviously, the intent is that they should commit to sending this amount through Ukraine, forever.

The other interesting figure is included in the claim that 'Ukraine's economy is growing nicely, but loss of transit income would shave 4% off of GDP.' When the initial threat that eventually transit would be stopped was floated, Ukraine squealed that it would bilk it of 2% of GDP. But now somehow that loss would be double but the economy is 'growing nicely'? Ummm .how do you figure?

The way I see it, Russia has a couple of options; it can just let the clock run out, carry on with Nord Stream II, and pump everything it can right to capacity, without any going through Ukraine. That would leave it about 5 BcM short, obviously with no reserve capability. The USA could be invited to make that shortfall up with its Molecules of Freedom. But that relies on Merkel not suddenly deciding to slap more restrictions on Nord Stream II so that it could not pump to its full capacity – she has apparently said all along that Nord Stream II will not be allowed unless some gas continues to go through Ukraine – the obvious clash of wills is that Russia is trying to ensure that amount is as small as possible, while the west and Ukraine are trying to ensure that amount is as large as possible.

Another option is for Russia to speed up and intensify its own LNG-export capability, and perhaps it can make up the shortfall with its own LNG carriers. Either way, it is plain the Ukies think they have Russia by the balls, and can dictate terms as they like – perhaps they will even add the return of Crimea to their demands for a gas deal, they seem to feel so confident. Let's see how it plays out; only a couple of weeks remain to get a deal done, and it's everyone against Russia.

The look on Vitrenko's face will be priceless if the Russians just close up their briefcases and go home. Not to mention the look on Sefcovic's face. Not to mention the jump in gas prices in Europe.

Like Like

[Nov 26, 2019] A New Pipeline Could Undo America's Influence In Asia

Notable quotes:
"... this is why the US went into Afghanistan, to get in between China & Iran ..."
"... The implication of what you just said is that the United States will never leave Afghanistan as in ever. Even if the Taliban take the whole country leaving only Kabul and its surroundings, the US will still opt to stay to have bases to launch drones and aircraft from to dominate the region. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A New Pipeline Could Undo America's Influence In Asia Posted on November 26, 2019 by Yves Smith By Simon Watkins, a former senior FX trader and salesman, financial journalist, and best-selling author. Originally published at OilPrice

From the moment that the U.S. re-imposed sanctions in earnest on Iran late last year, Pakistan has been looking at ways to resuscitate a deal that had been agreed in principle before the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last May. This deal involved moving as much gas as Pakistan needs from Iran's Asalouyeh into Pakistan's Gwadar and then on to Nawabshah for further transit if required. At the same time, China has been in long-running discussions with Pakistan over the specific projects that Beijing wanted to place in Pakistan as part of its 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) programme. All the while, the U.S. has been trying to stymie any such arrangement but OilPrice.com understands that the Iran-China-Pakistan deal is now back on, and with a vengeance.

China's covert strategic deals are virtually always buried in interminably long anodyne statements that belie the true laser-focused intentions of Beijing and this time is no different. Joint statements just over a week ago from both Pakistan and China sides laid out four projects that are part of a 'broader co-operation' between China and Pakistan. They all sound relatively run-of-the-mill affairs, although still major undertakings, and are: the upgrading of the Pakistan Refinery Karachi, the building out of a coal to liquid engineering plant based on Thar coal at Thar Sindh, the utilisation of Thar Block VI for coal gasification and fertiliser projects, and the finalisation of the feasibility study on South-North Gas Pipeline Project that traverses Pakistan.

The fact that they are much more significant to the global geopolitical balance was evidenced by the U.S.'s furious warnings to Pakistan, based on the fact that all of these projects are in reality a key part of Beijing's planned China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which, in turn, is a cornerstone of the OBOR initiative. Even as it was, U.S. South Asia diplomat, Alice Wells, warned that CPEC – which, vitally, includes heavy financing from Beijing and, therefore, a massive debt obligation to China by the host country over time – will only profit Beijing. As it stands, the cost of just the first round of CPEC projects has risen from an initial costing of US$48 billion to at least US$62 billion right now. "It's clear, or it needs to be clear, that CPEC is not about aid," said Wells. "[The CPEC] corridor is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payments start to come due in the next four to six years," she added. "Even if loan payments are deferred, they are going to continue to hang over Pakistan's economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister [Imran] Khan's reform agenda," she underlined.

The U.S.'s fury would have been much worse if it knew that, in fact, the 'finalisation of the feasibility study on South-North Gas Pipeline Project' whilst true, is just proverbially the tip of the iceberg. "The actual plan is to resuscitate the Iran-Pakistan oil and gas pipelines over time, beginning with the gas pipeline, moving unlimited amounts of Iranian gas to Pakistan, and then into China and the rest of Asia should it be needed," a senior source who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry told OilPrice.com last week. "It is being done in conjunction with Russia, with the twin aims of firstly ensuring that China's 'One Belt, one Road' initiative continues to run smoothly from the East through Pakistan and then Westwards into Iran and onwards into Europe," he said. "And, secondly, to ensure for Russia that Iran's gas does not start flowing freely into Europe as and when the U.S. sanctions are lifted, as this would undermine Russia's power over Europe, which is founded on supplying over a third of Europe's gas," he added.

For China, the new pipeline – integral to its plan of making Iran and Pakistan its client states over time – has the added benefit of putting the U.S. on the backfoot in the ongoing trade war. For Iran, the incentives of closer ties with China and Russia are principally financial but also relate to China being just one of five Permanent Members on the U.N. Security Council (the others being Russia, the U.S., the U.K., and France). For Pakistan as well there is the added incentive that it is tired of being lambasted by the U.S. for its duplicity in dealing with international terrorism. Not that long ago, the U.S. accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban (correct but it was catalysed by the U.S.'s key Middle Eastern 'ally', Saudi Arabia), Al Qaeda (correct but catalysed, funded and logistically supported by the Saudis), the Haqqani network (correct but also funded and logistically supported by the Saudis), and Islamic State (sort of correct but that was also mainly, of course, the Saudis) against U.S. forces, despite taking hundreds of billions of dollars in aid payments.

Islamabad has also been an outspoken critic of renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran. Just after the first wave of the new sanctions were rolled out on 7 August last year, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said that: "We are examining the implications of the U.S.'s re-imposed sanctions on Iran, however, Pakistan, being a sovereign state, reserves the right to pursue legitimate economic and commercial interests while respecting the international legal regime." Later, in his inaugural speech as Pakistan's then-new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, called for improving ties with the country's immediate neighbours, including Iran, from whose President, Hassan Rouhani, he also accepted an invitation for an early state visit to Tehran. Bubbling back at that time to the top of the list of practical initiatives that could be advanced quickly was the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline (IPP), which, according to the Iran source: "[Imran] Khan personally backs and has made a priority project."

In practical terms, Pakistan certainly needs all the sustainable energy sources it can get. As it stands, the country has seen domestic natural gas production stagnate at around 4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) against demand of more than 6 Bcf/d, which has led to repeated load shedding in many major cities of up to 15 hours a day. Moreover, the supply and demand disparity is set to become even worse very soon, as industry estimates project that Pakistan's domestic gas production is set to fall to nearer 2 Bcf/d by 2020, due to aging infrastructure, whilst demand will rise to around 8 Bcf/d by the same time, driven by rising demand from the power, industry, and domestic sectors as the economy continues to grow by around 5% per year. According to Pakistan's Ministry of Energy (MoE), the planned 0.75 Bcf/d of gas (for five years, in the first instance) that would flow from Iran's supergiant South Pars natural gas field would add around 4,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity into the Pakistan grid, via a direct Iran-Pakistan pipeline.

The original agreement for the IPP, signed between Iran and Pakistan in 1995, was predicated on the pipeline running from Iran's supergiant South Pars non-associated natural gas field into Karachi but the most recent iteration of the route involves the gas running from Iran's Asalouyeh and into Pakistan's Gwadar and then on to Nawabshah. The latest projection of the cost of the pipeline is around US$3.5 billion, according to industry sources, although US$2.5 billion of this has already been invested in the 900 kilometre stretch on Iran's side that has already been completed. Pakistan's 780 kilometre stretch has yet to be started.

Given the geopolitical importance of both Iran and Pakistan to Russia and China, though, as analysed in greater depth in my new book on the global oil markets , finding the money for the remainder of the project will not be a problem at all For China, there is a threefold motivation. First, its plans to integrate the IPP into the CPEC project means that Gwadar is earmarked to be a key logistical node in China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative. Second, it wants to keep Iran as one of its key suppliers of oil and gas in the future. And third, it regards supporting those who the U.S. opposes as being a central plank of its foreign policy, even over and above the short-term tactic of wrong-footing the U.S. in the ongoing trade war. "One immediate reaction [of China to the burgeoning trade war with the US], will be to seek to expand and broaden economic links by offering improved market access to non-U.S. companies, by strengthening supply chain links and by replacing American commodities with imports from emerging market nations," according to Jonathan Fenby, China research chairman at TS Lombard, in London.

"There is a tectonic shift going on that goes well beyond the tariff war, as China seeks to assert itself regionally and tries to establish a wider global role for itself while the U.S. moves from the 'constructive engagement' of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations to regarding China as a 'strategic competitor'," he added. The U.S. clearly sees it the same way, not just based on the latest comments by Wells but also on the fact that as long ago as January 2010, the U.S. formally requested that Pakistan abandon the project in return for which it would receive assistance from Washington for the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and for the importing of electricity from Tajikistan through Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor.


rjs , November 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

this is why the US went into Afghanistan, to get in between China & Iran

The Rev Kev , November 26, 2019 at 9:26 am

The implication of what you just said is that the United States will never leave Afghanistan as in ever. Even if the Taliban take the whole country leaving only Kabul and its surroundings, the US will still opt to stay to have bases to launch drones and aircraft from to dominate the region.

So in twenty years time we might see a story how some young soldier has just arrived in-country to Afghanistan who will be proud that his grandfather took part in the original invasion and that he is now following in his grandfather's and father's footsteps.

Susan the Other , November 26, 2019 at 10:29 am

China, the new world-engineers, has gotta be looking at Pakistan as an industrial water source. They're probably already building several dams to catch the runoff. Perhaps mining too – same mountains as Afghanistan, just the other side, no?

China has the money and manpower. Iran the energy. In fact, we could be thinking the same thing.

Nergis Paul , November 26, 2019 at 11:09 am

Ambassador Wells' warning "..is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payments start to come due.." indicates the lack of a mirror in the State Dept or a copy of the text of the 13th IMF 'bailout' signed last July.

[Nov 24, 2019] 25 Times Trump Has Been Dangerously Hawkish On Russia by Caitlin Johnstone

From the point of view of election promise of detente with Russia, Trump clearly betrayed them. He was a neocon puppet from the beginning to the end, His policy was not that different from hypothetical policy of Hillary administration.
Notable quotes:
"... Caitlin Johnstone discredits a CNN listicle on Trump's "softness" towards Moscow. In fact, she writes, the U.S. president has actually been consistently reckless towards Moscow, with zero resistance from either party. ..."
"... It would be understandable if you were unaware that Trump has been escalating tensions with Moscow more than any other president since the fall of the Berlin Wall; it's a fact that neither of America's two mainstream political factions care about, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle. Trump's opposition is interested in painting him as a sycophantic Kremlin crony, and his supporters are interested in painting him as an antiwar hero of the people, but he is neither ..."
"... Anyone who has not read Orwell's 1984 should do so sooner rather than later. The official control of narrative in the novel is what we are presently drowning in. To watch it work so spectacularly is beyond depressing. ..."
"... The complete corruption of Western MSM is the reason many of us regularly read Caitlin and Consortium, all desperately trying to get some sort of a reality-check in an otherwise "Orwellian" media environment. ..."
"... The simple truth here is that in regard to the military (read 'military complex', which includes the deep state and shadow government [intelligence agencies] every president is a puppet. ..."
"... The coup in Ukraine was a major provocation to Russia, but was also a repeat of the Americans' rape and pillaging of Russia under Yeltsin, Clinton's puppet. The per capita median income of Ukrainians has dropped in half from 2013, despite pumping $billions in from the US. ..."
"... Failing impeachment, from the attempts by the Clinton Campaign, to the Congressional sanctions on Russia, to sabotage of Syria withdrawal to the Mueller hoax, to the State Dept hawks protests on Ukraine, the effort to prevent Trump from following through on his campaign promise has been the primary goal of the intelligence community. It is instructive to note that the phone call that has led to the current impeachment inquiry was made on July 26, the day following Robert Mueller's clownish testimony before Congress, effectively ending that line of impeachment. ..."
"... Also note that although the phone call was made in July, nothing was said about it until after John Bolton was fired in September, 2 months later. ..."
Nov 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

30 Comments

Caitlin Johnstone discredits a CNN listicle on Trump's "softness" towards Moscow. In fact, she writes, the U.S. president has actually been consistently reckless towards Moscow, with zero resistance from either party.

CaitlinJohnstone.com

CNN has published a fascinatingly manipulative and falsehood-laden article titled " 25 times Trump was soft on Russia ," in which a lot of strained effort is poured into building the case that the U.S. president is suspiciously loyal to the nation against which he has spent his administration escalating dangerous new cold war aggressions.

The items within the CNN article consist mostly of times in which Trump said some words or failed to say other words; "Trump has repeatedly praised Putin," "Trump refused to say Putin is a killer," "Trump denied that Russia interfered in 2016," "Trump made light of Russian hacking," etc. It also includes the completely false but oft-repeated narrative that "Trump's team softened the GOP platform on Ukraine", as well as the utterly ridiculous and thoroughly invalidated claim that "Since intervening in Syria in 2015, the Russian military has focused its airstrikes on anti-government rebels, not ISIS."

CNN's 25 items are made up almost entirely of narrative and words; Trump said a nice thing about Putin, Trump said offending things to NATO allies, Trump thought about visiting Putin in Russia, etc. In contrast, the 25 items which I am about to list do not consist of narrative at all, but rather the actual movement of actual concrete objects which can easily lead to an altercation from which there may be no re-emerging. These items show that when you ignore the words and narrative spin and look at what this administration has actually been doing , it's clear to anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty that, far from being "soft" on Russia, Trump has actually been consistently reckless in the one area where a US president must absolutely always maintain a steady hand. And he's been doing so with zero resistance from either party.

It would be understandable if you were unaware that Trump has been escalating tensions with Moscow more than any other president since the fall of the Berlin Wall; it's a fact that neither of America's two mainstream political factions care about, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle. Trump's opposition is interested in painting him as a sycophantic Kremlin crony, and his supporters are interested in painting him as an antiwar hero of the people, but he is neither. Observe:

1. Implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a more aggressive stance toward Russia

Last year Trump's Department of Defense rolled out a Nuclear Posture Review which CNN itself called "its toughest line yet against Russia's resurgent nuclear forces."

"In its newly released Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Department has focused much of its multibillion nuclear effort on an updated nuclear deterrence focused on Russia," CNN reported last year.

This revision of nuclear policy includes the new implementation of "low-yield" nuclear weapons , which, because they are designed to be more "usable" than conventional nuclear ordinances, have been called "the most dangerous weapon ever" by critics of this insane policy. These weapons, which can remove some of the inhibitions that mutually assured destruction would normally give military commanders, have already been rolled off the assembly line.

2. Arming Ukraine

Lost in the gibberish about Trump temporarily withholding military aide to supposedly pressure a Ukrainian government who was never even aware of being pressured is the fact that arming Ukraine against Russia is an entirely new policy that was introduced by the Trump administration in the first place. Even the Obama administration, which was plenty hawkish toward Russia in its own right, refused to implement this extremely provocative escalation against Moscow. It was not until Obama was replaced with the worst Putin puppet of all time that this policy was put in place.

3. Bombing Syria

Another escalation Trump took against Russia which Obama wasn't hawkish enough to also do was bombing the Syrian government, a longtime ally of Moscow. These airstrikes in April 2017 and April 2018 were perpetrated in retaliation for chemical weapons use allegations that there is no legitimate reason to trust at this point.

4. Staging coup attempts in Venezuela

Venezuela, another Russian ally, has been the subject of relentless coup attempts from the Trump administration which persist unsuccessfully to this very day . Trump's attempts to topple the Venezuelan government have been so violent and aggressive that the starvation sanctions which he has implemented are believed to have killed tens of thousands of Venezuelan civilians .

Trump has reportedly spoken frequently of a U.S. military invasion to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, provoking a forceful rebuke from Moscow .

"Signals coming from certain capitals indicating the possibility of external military interference look particularly disquieting," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "We warn against such reckless actions, which threaten catastrophic consequences."

5. Withdrawing from the INF treaty

For a president who's "soft" on Russia, Trump has sure been eager to keep postures between the two nations extremely aggressive in nature. This administration has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, prompting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to declare that "the world lost an invaluable brake on nuclear war." It appears entirely possible that Trump will continue to adhere to the John Bolton school of nuclear weapons treaties until they all lie in tatters, with the administration strongly criticizing the crucial New START Treaty which expires in early 2021.

Some particularly demented Russiagaters try to argue that Trump withdrawing from these treaties benefits Russia in some way. These people either (A) believe that treaties only go one way, (B) believe that a nation with an economy the size of South Korea can compete with the U.S. in an arms race, (C) believe that Russians are immune to nuclear radiation, or (D) all of the above. Withdrawing from these treaties benefits no one but the military-industrial complex.

6. Ending the Open Skies Treaty

"The Trump administration has taken steps toward leaving a nearly three-decade-old agreement designed to reduce the risk of war between Russia and the West by allowing both sides to conduct reconnaissance flights over one another's territories," The Wall Street Journal reported last month , adding that the administration has alleged that "Russia has interfered with American monitoring flights while using its missions to gather intelligence in the US."

Again, if you subscribe to the bizarre belief that withdrawing from this treaty benefits Russia, please think harder. Or ask the Russians themselves how they feel about it:

"US plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and multiply the risks for the whole world, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said," Sputnik reports .

"All this negatively affects the predictability of the military-strategic situation and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, which drastically increases the risks for the whole humanity," Patrushev said.

"In general, it is becoming apparent that Washington intends to use its technological leadership in order to maintain strategic dominance in the information space by actually pursuing a policy of imposing its conditions on states that are lagging behind in digital development," he added.

7. Selling Patriot missiles to Poland

"Poland signed the largest arms procurement deal in its history on Wednesday, agreeing with the United States to buy Raytheon Co's Patriot missile defense system for $4.75 billion in a major step to modernize its forces against a bolder Russia," Reuters reported last year .

8. Occupying Syrian oil fields

The Trump administration has been open about the fact that it is not only maintaining a military presence in Syria to control the nation's oil, but that it is doing so in order to deprive the nation's government of that financial resource. Syria's ally Russia strongly opposes this, accusing the Trump administration of nothing short of "international state banditry".

"In a statement, Russia's defense ministry said Washington had no mandate under international or US law to increase its military presence in Syria and said its plan was not motivated by genuine security concerns in the region," Reuters reported last month.

"Therefore Washington's current actions – capturing and maintaining military control over oil fields in eastern Syria – is, simply put, international state banditry," Russia's defense ministry said.

9. Killing Russians in Syria

Reports have placed Russian casualties anywhere between a handful and hundreds , but whatever the exact number the U.S. military is known to have killed Russian citizens as part of the Trump administration's ongoing Syria occupation in an altercation last year.

exact number the U.S. military is known to have killed Russian citizens as part of the Trump administration's ongoing Syria occupation in an altercation last year.

10. Tanks in Estonia

Within weeks of taking office, Trump was already sending Abrams battle tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and other military hardware right up to Russia's border as part of a NATO operation.

"Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine," the Defense Department said in a statement.

11. War ships in the Black Sea

12. Sanctions

Trump approved new sanctions against Russia on August 2017. CNN reports the following:

"US President Donald Trump approved fresh sanctions on Russia Wednesday after Congress showed overwhelming bipartisan support for the new measures," CNN reported at the time . "Congress passed the bill last week in response to Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, as well as its human rights violations, annexation of Crimea and military operations in eastern Ukraine. The bill's passage drew ire from Moscow -- which responded by stripping 755 staff members and two properties from US missions in the country -- all but crushing any hope for the reset in US-Russian relations that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had called for."

"A full-fledged trade war has been declared on Russia," said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in response.

13. More sanctions

"The United States imposed sanctions on five Russian individuals on Wednesday, including the leader of the Republic of Chechnya, for alleged human rights abuses and involvement in criminal conspiracies, a sign that the Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Russia," The New York Times reported in December 2017 .

14. Still more sanctions

"Trump just hit Russian oligarchs with the most aggressive sanctions yet," reads a Vice headline from April of last year.

"The sanctions target seven oligarchs and 12 companies under their ownership or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank," Vice reports. "While the move is aimed, in part, at Russia's role in the U.S. 2016 election, senior U.S. government officials also stressed that the new measures seek to penalize Russia's recent bout of international troublemaking more broadly, including its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and military activity in eastern Ukraine."

15. Even more sanctions

The Trump administration hit Russia with more sanctions for the alleged Skripal poisoning in August of last year, then hit them with another round of sanctions for the same reason again in August of this year.

16. Guess what? MORE sanctions

"The Trump administration on Thursday imposed new sanctions on a dozen individuals and entities in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea," The Hill reported in November of last year. "The group includes a company linked to Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk and others accused of operating in Crimea, which the U.S. says Russia seized illegally in 2014."

17. Oh hey, more sanctions

"Today, the United States continues to take action in response to Russian attempts to influence US democratic processes by imposing sanctions on four entities and seven individuals associated with the Internet Research Agency and its financier, Yevgeniy Prigozhin. This action increases pressure on Prigozhin by targeting his luxury assets, including three aircraft and a vessel," reads a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from September of this year.

18. Secondary sanctions

Secondary sanctions are economic sanctions in which a third party is punished for breaching the primary sanctions of the sanctioning body. The U.S. has leveled sanctions against both China and Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 air defense missiles, and it is threatening to do so to India as well.

19. Forcing Russian media to register as foreign agents

Both RT and Sputnik have been forced to register as "foreign agents" by the Trump administration. This classification forced the outlets to post a disclaimer on content, to report their activities and funding sources to the Department of Justice twice a year, and could arguably place an unrealistic burden on all their social media activities as it submits to DOJ micromanagement.

20. Throwing out Russian diplomats

The Trump administration joined some 20 other nations in casting out scores of Russian diplomats as an immediate response to the Skripal poisoning incident in the U.K.

21. Training Polish and Latvian fighters "to resist Russian aggression"

"US Army Special Forces soldiers completed the first irregular and unconventional warfare training iteration for members of the Polish Territorial Defense Forces and Latvian Zemmessardze as a part of the Ridge Runner program in West Virginia, according to service officials," Army Times reported this past July.

"U.S. special operations forces have been training more with allies from the Baltic states and other Eastern European nations in the wake of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014," Army Times writes. "A low-level conflict continues to simmer in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region between Russian-backed separatists and government forces to this day. The conflict spurred the Baltics into action, as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia embraced the concepts of total defense and unconventional warfare, combining active-duty, national guard and reserve-styled forces to each take on different missions to resist Russian aggression and even occupation."

22. Refusal to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation

even while acknowledging Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights as perfectly legal and legitimate.

23. Sending 1,000 troops to Poland

From the September article " 1000 US Troops Are Headed to Poland " by National Interest :

Key point: Trump agreed to send more forces to Poland to defend it against Russia.

What Happened: U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to deploy approximately 1,000 additional U.S. troops to Poland during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Reuters reported Sept. 23.

Why It Matters: The deal, which formalizes the United States' commitment to protecting Poland from Russia, provides a diplomatic victory to Duda and his governing Law and Justice ahead of November elections. The additional U.S. troops will likely prompt a reactive military buildup from Moscow in places like neighboring Kaliningrad and, potentially, Belarus.

24. Withdrawing from the Iran deal

Russia has been consistently opposed to Trump's destruction of the JCPOA. In a statement after Trump killed the deal, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "deeply disappointed by the decision of US President Donald Trump to unilaterally refuse to carry out commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", adding that this administration's actions were "trampling on the norms of international law".

25. Attacking Russian gas interests

Trump has been threatening Germany with sanctions and troop withdrawal if it continues to support a gas pipeline from Russia called Nord Stream 2.

"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," Bloomberg reports . "The US 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 the press.

I could have kept going, but that's my 25. The only reason anyone still believes Trump is anything other than insanely hawkish toward Russia is because it doesn't benefit anyone's partisanship or profit margins to call it like it really is. The facts are right here as plain as can be, but there's a difference between facts and narrative. If they wanted to, the political/media class could very easily use the facts I just laid out to weave the narrative that this president is imperiling us all with dangerous new cold war provocations, but that's how different narrative is from fact; there's almost no connection. Instead they use a light sprinkling of fact to weave a narrative that has very little to do with reality. And meanwhile the insane escalations continue.

In a cold war, it only takes one miscommunication or one defective piece of equipment to set off a chain of events that can obliterate all life on earth. The more things escalate, the greater the probability of that happening. We're rolling the dice on Armageddon every single day, and with every escalation the number we need to beat gets a bit harder.

We should not be rolling the dice on this. This is very, very wrong, and the U.S. and Russia should stop and establish detente immediately. The fact that outlets like CNN would rather diddle made-up Russiagate narratives than point to this obvious fact with truthful reporting is in and of itself sufficient to discredit them all forever.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Follow her work on Facebook , Twitter , or her website . She has a podcast and a new book " Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ."

This article was re-published with permission. The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


Roger D Owens , November 20, 2019 at 11:28

Our historians here seem to be forgetting the brutal takeover of Ukraine by the USSR in the 50's, in which millions of Ukrainians were shot, raped, beaten and starved out, while "ethnic Russians" moved in and took over. Kruschev didn't "give" Crimea away, he simply transferred the administration thereof to the Soviet Republic of "the" Ukraine (a term Ukranians have always decried as a way to make it seem as if Ukraine had always been a part of the USSR). The "ethnic Russians" wouldn't have been there at all if the Soviets hadn't put them there. That argument is the same one Hitler used as his excuse to annex Poland, and Polk used to annex Texas. It's true Russia's self-interest (and well-founded fears of foreign betrayal) have been largely ignored, but it's also disingenuous to ignore their murderous 20th-century imperialism. Just because we're not the good guys doesn't mean they are either.

anon4d2 , November 20, 2019 at 18:12

Perhaps you forgot that the USSR actions in eastern Europe after WWII were in direct response to the murder of 20 million Russians in WWII by the Nazi forces, attacking through E Europe just as Napoleon had done. All US casualties in all its wars are less than five percent of that, and 95 percent of Nazi division-months were spent in the USSR. On that front they had nearly all of the casualties and did nearly all of the fighting. No wonder they were a bit uncomfortable afterward with leaving open the favorite attack route of the west. What would the US have done if a hundred times its WWII casualties were caused by two invasions through (for example) Mexico? Would we have left the door open? Such circumstances cannot be ignored. Starting one's version of history after the world's greatest provocation cannot be said to clarify the history.

Toby McCrossin , November 21, 2019 at 02:56

"Our historians here seem to be forgetting the brutal takeover of Ukraine by the USSR in the 50's"

Nice alternative facts. Ukraine was one of the original constituent republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922!

" Kruschev didn't "give" Crimea away"

Huh? Crimea had been part of Russia since 1783. You know you can check this stuff yourself using Google, right?

"The "ethnic Russians" wouldn't have been there at all if the Soviets hadn't put them there."

Right, so the Soviets put the Russians in Crimea in 1783, 139 years before it was in existence. I guess the Soviets mastered time travel.

I know reading's hard and all but you might wanna try it some time.

Jon Anderholm , November 20, 2019 at 02:22

An essential article by Caitlin .. Thanks so much .

Sam F , November 19, 2019 at 22:56

Another excellent article by Caitlin Johnstone.

Jeff G. , November 19, 2019 at 19:59

Given the laws of cause and effect, our nuclear missiles might as well be considered to be pointed straight at ourselves. Like shooting at one's image in a mirror or joining in a mutual suicide pact. Sheer insanity.

ranney , November 19, 2019 at 17:26

WONDERFUL article, Caitlin. You are so right! I agree with Alan Ross, you deserve an award for this, and I hope this gets passed around for a wide readership.

Antonio Costa , November 19, 2019 at 15:14

When elected POTUS you are elected, no matter the campaign rhetoric, to take the reins of the imperial empire.

Trump did that willingly, in fact to a fault given his "big mouth". He's no more nor less dangerous than his predecessors. And like them, his is a mass of rhetorical contradictions. Policy is all that should really matters. It is our only means of identifying some truth.

Trump knows what most here know regarding US invasions and assassinations. What he thinks about any leader is anyone's guess (including his). For him it's all deal making as if it's his private Trump Towers Enterprises. But in the end he's playing the chief gangsta role of his like. (If you've ever listened to Sinatra at the Sands (the full concert), you'll hear how Trump has mimicked the popular gangsta singer to the last "love ya baby ").

The media is not free. It is an arm of the national security state, with occasional outages of truth telling, all the more to tell the big lies. It's purpose is to pacify and repress any rebellions. Since the end of Vietnam it has succeeded. And here we are, never knowing truth from lie. (I think of Obama as deceitful to the max, while Trump just tells transparent lies so you don't know when he's actually telling a profound truth.)

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

-- Joseph Goebbels (was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945)

Mark Thomason , November 19, 2019 at 14:22

We can go one step further than to say that Trump was reckless toward Russia, "with zero resistance from either party."

Both parties demanded it. They approved it as "Presidential" whenever he did it, and attacked him for any effort to be less reckless. They'd done the same to Obama, but Trump proved weaker and more malleable.

Jeff Harrison , November 19, 2019 at 14:14

Verra nice peroration. I have two objections. One, I doubt that the people of the Donbass are Russian backed in the same sense that the "moderate" rebel scum in Syria is US backed with weapons, intelligence, and training but the people of the Donbass are ethnic Russians. With a steady stream of anti-Russian legislation coming out of Kiev, I imagine they're looking for an out. Putin is trying to get it for them without starting a war with Ukraine. The real question that Washington has yet to address is what are they going to do if the people of Ukraine notice that since they signed on to the neo-liberal dictates of Washington and Brussels they've become the poorest nation in Europe. I know that there are a number of Ukrainians who think wistfully of the days when they were part of Mother Russia. But you never know, the CIA is notorious for its subversion and the Ukrainians might prove to be spectacularly stupid. After all, they weren't doing badly until they let the US and EU foment a coup for them.

And, two, "We should not be rolling the dice on this. This is very, very wrong, and the U.S. and Russia should stop and establish detente immediately." While I agree with the sentiment, don't bring Russia into this. Everything that Russia has done has been a reaction to what is usually an American violation of international law. Putin has been very clear that he wants to back off this cold war but he has also been very clear that we started it and we're going to have to be the ones to start backing off.

David Hamilton , November 20, 2019 at 02:11

I absolutely agree with your number two reaction to Caitlin's suggestion that Russia and the U.S. should stop it and establish detente immediately. Everything Russia's leadership is doing is a reaction to American imperial dares to defy their law violations. They exhibit extreme and principled restraint to the Orwellian madness emanating from this place.

I think it is important that this be understood. Russians have been used and abused once before by American largesse in the form of Clinton's puppet's assistance in the rape of the former Soviet Union by the Harvard-sponsored project. That was the one during the nineties that privatized national industries and created a dozen neoliberal oligarchs. The cost was a huge increase in death rate that lowered life expectancy into the 50's from 70 years I think. Cynical foreign policy, isn't it?

Lois Gagnon , November 19, 2019 at 13:16

Anyone who has not read Orwell's 1984 should do so sooner rather than later. The official control of narrative in the novel is what we are presently drowning in. To watch it work so spectacularly is beyond depressing.

Many thanks to Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News and all the others pushing back against this system of perception management. I keep repeating it because it rings true. It's like waking up in the Twilight Zone.

John Neal Spangler , November 19, 2019 at 12:44

She is right. CNN. MSNBC, NYT, and Wapo totally irresponsible. Fox not much better. So many anti-Russian bigots in US

Jimmy gates , November 19, 2019 at 12:37

Thank you Caitlin. The neoliberals and neocons both desperately want a greatly intensified cold war with Russia, but want it started by Trump ( because he is personally an outsider).

This gives the Democrat and Republican donors contracts for the war machine. Ever since Clinton administration moved NATO to the Russian border, the process has worked for the oligarchs who control all US policies, foreign and domestic.

Gary Weglarz , November 19, 2019 at 12:20

The complete corruption of Western MSM is the reason many of us regularly read Caitlin and Consortium, all desperately trying to get some sort of a reality-check in an otherwise "Orwellian" media environment.

For anyone who has been waiting for the publication of reporter Udo Ulfkotte's best selling book (in Germany), a book based on his experience as a well respected journalist whose reporting was completely compromised by Western intelligence services and business interests, it is finally available in an English language edition. The English language edition has been quite obviously suppressed for the last several years and the book was published in 9 languages BEFORE this English edition became available. It is a book that is well worth reading to better understand why literally NOTHING written by MSM should be believed at face value, ever:
See:

amazon.com/Presstitutes-Embedded-Pay-CIA-Confession/dp/1615770178/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0/131-5128290-0014039

Skip Scott , November 19, 2019 at 15:34

I would urge anyone interested in buying this book to get it directly from the publisher- Progressive Press. Amazon and other mega monopolies are a big part of our problems. Take the time to make a few extra clicks and boycott Jeff Bezos.

Noah Way , November 19, 2019 at 10:58

The simple truth here is that in regard to the military (read 'military complex', which includes the deep state and shadow government [intelligence agencies] every president is a puppet. Nobel Peace Prize winner oBOMBa bombed 7 countries, overthrew Ukraine's democratic government, invaded Syria, armed terrorists as proxy armies, authorized drone assassinations, and bombed a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The last president to resist the military complex? JFK

peter mcloughlin , November 19, 2019 at 10:19

Caitlin Johnstone's list points to growing tensions with Russia. Failure of the political and media establishment to see this makes the task of avoiding world war three all the more difficult. In the West the end of the Cold War was seen as the dawn of peace. But the Cold War was the peace, a post-world war environment: we are now in a pre-world war environment.

Jimmy gates , November 19, 2019 at 12:45

The Democratic Party members have not " missed" anything that Trump has done. They will not impeach him on those grounds, because they too are guilty of complicity in those war crimes. As Pelosi said regarding impeaching GWB for the torture program or invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan " it's off the table". Because she was complicit.

Lois Gagnon , November 19, 2019 at 13:23

Russia did not illegally annex Crimea. A referendum was held and 90% of the voters voted to rejoin Russia. Most people in Crimea are ethnic Russians and speak Russian. They were understandably scared to death of what their fate would be under the rule of the fascists the US installed in Ukraine.

And frankly, Russia had every right to protect its only warm water port in Sevastopol that would have been taken over by NATO if Crimea had remained part of Ukraine. Too many Americans have been indoctrinated in the belief that Russia has no legitimate self interest to defend.

michael , November 19, 2019 at 18:22

In addition to what Lois Gagnon points out, you have to realize that the re-patriation of Crimea to Russia in March 2014 was the direct result of Obama, Biden, Nuland et al overthrowing the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Yanukovych, in the Maidan coup in February, 2014, and replacing him with a neoNAZI regime. Russian speech was outlawed, which has been the language of the majority of Crimea since Catherine the Great.

The coup in Ukraine was a major provocation to Russia, but was also a repeat of the Americans' rape and pillaging of Russia under Yeltsin, Clinton's puppet. The per capita median income of Ukrainians has dropped in half from 2013, despite pumping $billions in from the US.

Jeff G. , November 19, 2019 at 20:25

Crimeans have an absolute right of self-determination as a fundamental human right under established international law, just as the Kosovars did when we were supporting the breakup of Serbia when Clinton was president. Ethnic Russians voted in an overwhelming majority in a free and fair plebiscite to rejoin Russia, which they had been part of for centuries, because the neo-Nazi US coup government allied with Azov battalions in Kyiv terrified them and they wanted nothing further to do with them. Crimea had every right to decide. Russia did nothing to interfere, not a bullet was fired. Russia's troops were already stationed in Crimea by treaty and did not invade. Russia warned NATO against the Kosovo precedent that it would come back to bite them someday, and it was ignored. NATO is unhappy because it was denied an illegitimate geostrategic advantage they thought they would gain. Crimea is happy, so what's the problem?

DH Fabian , November 19, 2019 at 21:08

"We," who? Regardless, the issues you raise can't be understood outside of their historical context, and Americans never try to understand the world within that historical context.

anon , November 19, 2019 at 22:54

Crimea was part of Russia for roughly 200 years before the USSR premier (Kruschev?) gave it to Ukraine, although its inhabitants were nearly all of Russian heritage and language, like E Ukraine. So not surprising that they wanted to go back to being part of Russia.

dean 1000 , November 20, 2019 at 19:26

Couldn't agree more Lois Gagnon. Washington did an illegal coup. Russia did a legal annexation.

btw – The Autonomous Republic of Sevastopol on SW Crimea is no longer the only ice-free port of the Russian Navy. Kaliningrad (on the Baltic sea) has been part of Russia since 1945. Its deep ice-free harbor is the home port of Russia's Baltic fleet according to the 2012 world book DVD.

Good one Caitlin. Again

jdd , November 19, 2019 at 09:51

This article properly puts to rest the absurd notion that President Trump is a "tool of Putin, " and correctly notes that it has created a potentially disastrous situation.

However, let's put the blame squarely where it belongs: on the Anglo/American led forces arrayed against Trump from the moment he announced his intention to run on a platform of "getting along" with Russia and joining with Putin to defeat ISIS.

Failing impeachment, from the attempts by the Clinton Campaign, to the Congressional sanctions on Russia, to sabotage of Syria withdrawal to the Mueller hoax, to the State Dept hawks protests on Ukraine, the effort to prevent Trump from following through on his campaign promise has been the primary goal of the intelligence community. It is instructive to note that the phone call that has led to the current impeachment inquiry was made on July 26, the day following Robert Mueller's clownish testimony before Congress, effectively ending that line of impeachment.

Nick , November 19, 2019 at 16:50

Also note that although the phone call was made in July, nothing was said about it until after John Bolton was fired in September, 2 months later.

Alan Ross , November 19, 2019 at 09:47

This article alone deserves an award for public service. And in a more sensibly run world Caitlin Johnstone would have gotten at least fifty such awards for past articles.

[Nov 15, 2019] Trump And Zelensky Want Peace With Russia. The Fascists Oppose That

Notable quotes:
"... "In direct contravention of U.S. interests" says the NBC and quotes a member of the permanent state who declares "it is clearly in our national interest" to give weapons to Ukraine. ..."
"... But is that really in the national U.S. interest? Who defined it as such? ..."
"... And that's where the policy community and I part company. It is the president, not the bureaucracy, who was elected by the American people. That puts him -- not the National Security Council, the State Department, the intelligence community, the military, and their assorted subject-matter experts -- in charge of making policy. If we're to remain a constitutional republic, that's how it has to stay. ..."
"... The constitution does not empower the "U.S. government policy community", nor "the administration", nor the "consensus view of the interagency" and certainly not one Lt.Col. Vindman to define the strategic interests of the United States and its foreign policy. It is the duly elected president who does that. ..."
"... Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine's most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia. ..."
"... "They're stronger anyway. We have to improve our relations," he said, comparing Russia's power to that of Ukraine. "People want peace, a good life, they don't want to be at war. And you" -- America -- "are forcing us to be at war , and not even giving us the money for it." ..."
"... Mr. Kolomoisky [..] told The Times in a profanity-laced discussion, the West has failed Ukraine, not providing enough money or sufficiently opening its markets. ..."
"... Instead, he said, the United States is simply using Ukraine to try to weaken its geopolitical rival. "War against Russia," he said, "to the last Ukrainian." Rebuilding ties with Russia has become necessary for Ukraine's economic survival, Mr. Kolomoisky argued. He predicted that the trauma of war will pass. ..."
"... Kolomoisky's interview is obviously a trial balloon for the policies Zelensky wants to pursue. He has, like Trump, campaigned on working for better relations with Russia. He received nearly 73% of all votes. ..."
"... Ambassador Taylor and the other participants of yesterday's clown show would certainly "mess it up and get in the way" if Zelensky openly pursues the policy he promised to his voters. They are joined in this with the west-Ukrainian fascists they have used to arrange the Maidan coup: ..."
"... Only some 20% of the Ukrainians are in favour of continuing the war against the eastern separatists who Russia supports. During the presidential election Poroshenko received just 25% of the votes. His party European Solidarity won 8.1% of the parliamentary election. Voice won 5.8%. ..."
"... on Yovanovitch, She added: "If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States." ..."
"... She wasn't fired, she was kneecapped, and Ukraine is a US vital national security interest, especially after it installed a new government with neo-fascism support.. . .Kneecapping is a form of malicious wounding, often as torture, in which the victim is injured in the knee ..."
Nov 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

NBC News is not impressed by the first day of the Democrats' impeachment circus. But it fails to note what the conflict is really about:

It was substantive, but it wasn't dramatic.

In the reserved manner of veteran diplomats with Harvard degrees, Bill Taylor and George Kent opened the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday by bearing witness to a scheme they described as not only wildly unorthodox but also in direct contravention of U.S. interests.

"It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression," Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said in explaining why Trump's decision to withhold congressionally appropriated aid to the most immediate target of Russian expansionism didn't align with U.S. policy.

But at a time when Democrats are simultaneously eager to influence public opinion in favor of ousting the president and quietly apprehensive that their hearings could stall or backfire, the first round felt more like the dress rehearsal for a serious one-act play than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical.

"In direct contravention of U.S. interests" says the NBC and quotes a member of the permanent state who declares "it is clearly in our national interest" to give weapons to Ukraine.

But is that really in the national U.S. interest? Who defined it as such?

President Obama was against giving weapons to Ukraine and never transferred any to Ukraine despite pressure from certain circles. Was Obama's decision against U.S. national interest? Where are the Democrats or deep state members accusing him of that?

Which brings us to the really critical point of the whole issue. Who defines what is in the "national interest" with regards to foreign policy? Here is a point where for once I agree with the right-wingers at the National Review where Andrew McCarthy writes :

[O]n the critical matter of America's interests in the Russia/Ukraine dynamic, I think the policy community is right, and President Trump is wrong. If I were president, while I would resist gratuitous provocations, I would not publicly associate myself with the delusion that stable friendship is possible (or, frankly, desirable) with Putin's anti-American dictatorship, which runs its country like a Mafia family and is acting on its revanchist ambitions.

But you see, much like the policy community, I am not president. Donald Trump is.

And that's where the policy community and I part company. It is the president, not the bureaucracy, who was elected by the American people. That puts him -- not the National Security Council, the State Department, the intelligence community, the military, and their assorted subject-matter experts -- in charge of making policy. If we're to remain a constitutional republic, that's how it has to stay.

We have made the very same point :

The U.S. constitution "empowers the President of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements between the United States and other countries."

The constitution does not empower the "U.S. government policy community", nor "the administration", nor the "consensus view of the interagency" and certainly not one Lt.Col. Vindman to define the strategic interests of the United States and its foreign policy. It is the duly elected president who does that.

and :

The president does not like how the 'American policy' on Russia was built. He rightly believes that he was elected to change it. He had stated his opinion on Russia during his campaign and won the election. It is not 'malign influence' that makes him try to have good relations with Russia. It is his own conviction and legitimized by the voters.
...
[I]t is the president who sets the policies. The drones around him who serve "at his pleasure" are there to implement them.

There is another point that has to be made about the NBC's assertions. It is not in the interest of Ukraine to be a proxy for U.S. deep state antagonism towards Russia. Robber baron Igor Kolomoisky, who after the Maidan coup had financed the west-Ukrainian fascists who fought against east-Ukraine, says so directly in his recent NYT interview :

Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine's most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia.

"They're stronger anyway. We have to improve our relations," he said, comparing Russia's power to that of Ukraine. "People want peace, a good life, they don't want to be at war. And you" -- America -- "are forcing us to be at war , and not even giving us the money for it."
...
Mr. Kolomoisky [..] told The Times in a profanity-laced discussion, the West has failed Ukraine, not providing enough money or sufficiently opening its markets.

Instead, he said, the United States is simply using Ukraine to try to weaken its geopolitical rival. "War against Russia," he said, "to the last Ukrainian." Rebuilding ties with Russia has become necessary for Ukraine's economic survival, Mr. Kolomoisky argued. He predicted that the trauma of war will pass.
...
Mr. Kolomoisky said he was feverishly working out how to end the war, but he refused to divulge details because the Americans "will mess it up and get in the way."

Kolomoisky's interview is obviously a trial balloon for the policies Zelensky wants to pursue. He has, like Trump, campaigned on working for better relations with Russia. He received nearly 73% of all votes.

Ambassador Taylor and the other participants of yesterday's clown show would certainly "mess it up and get in the way" if Zelensky openly pursues the policy he promised to his voters. They are joined in this with the west-Ukrainian fascists they have used to arrange the Maidan coup:

Zelenskiy's decision in early October to accept talks with Russia on the future of eastern Ukraine resulted in an outcry from a relatively small but very vocal minority of Ukrainians opposed to any deal-making with Russia. The protests were relatively short-lived, but prospects for a negotiated end to the war in the eastern Donbas region became more remote in light of this domestic opposition.
...
The supporters for war with Russia are ex-president Poroshenko and two parliamentary factions, European Solidarity and Voice, whose supporters are predominantly located in western Ukraine. Crucially, however, they can also rely on right-wing paramilitary groups composed of veterans from the hottest phase of the war in Donbas in 2014-5.

Only some 20% of the Ukrainians are in favour of continuing the war against the eastern separatists who Russia supports. During the presidential election Poroshenko received just 25% of the votes. His party European Solidarity won 8.1% of the parliamentary election. Voice won 5.8%.

By pursuing further conflict with Russia the deep state of the United States wants to ignore the wishes not only of the U.S. voters but also those of the Ukrainian electorate. That undemocratic mindset is another point that unites them with the Ukrainian fascists.

Zelensky should ignore the warmongers in the U.S. embassy in Kiev and sue for immediate peace with Russia. (He should also investigate Biden's undue influence .) Reengaging with Russia is also the easiest and most efficient step the Ukraine can take to lift its desolate economy.

It is in the national interest of both, the Ukraine and the United States.

Posted by b on November 14, 2019 at 18:23 UTC | Permalink


pretzelattack , Nov 14 2019 18:28 utc | 1

next page " agree with mccarthy about who conducts foreign policy, disagree about who the aggressor is; it's the USA, trying to weaken Russia, which is the aggressor.
james , Nov 14 2019 18:48 utc | 2
thanks b... typo - immediate piece with Russia - 'peace' is the spelling here...

the comments from Kolomoisky in the recent nyt interview are very telling.. aside from being a first rate kleptomaniac who will willingly play both sides if he can profit from it, he is also speaking a moment of truth..for him Ukraine is available to the highest bidder... he could give a rats ass about Ukraine or the people... but still, it is refreshing that the NYT published his comments in this regard..

the quote "the Americans "will mess it up and get in the way." is very true... it was true before kolomisky picked a side too.. this guy is very shrewd.. i wonder if his own country is able to see thru him?

national interest.... yes, trump gets to decide and he won on the idea of having closer relations with russia, but the cia-msm has been lambasting him and anyone else associated with him since before the election over the clinton e mails... they have painted a scenario that it is all russias fault and have been relentless in this portrayal... hoping trump is going to turn this around is like hoping someone is going to turn the titanic around from hitting a giant iceberg... the usa is too far gone and will be hitting the iceberg.. they are in fact...

michael lacey , Nov 14 2019 19:00 utc | 3
Good article what the American people miss is good articles instead of the mind numbing BS! They actually receive!
Piotr Berman , Nov 14 2019 19:01 utc | 4
From NYT about Kolomo???? (spelling in English is highly variable)

George D. Kent, a senior State Department official, said he had told Mr. Zelensky that his willingness to break with Mr. Kolomoisky -- "somebody who had such a bad reputation" -- would be a litmus test for his independence. [If is good to be independent, i.e. to do what we want.]

And William Taylor, the acting ambassador in Kiev, said he had warned Mr. Zelensky: "He, Mr. Kolomoisky, is increasing his influence in your government, which could cause you to fail." [La Paz is a fresh reminder for Kiev?]

Bemildred , Nov 14 2019 19:07 utc | 5
Well the thing about Zelensky is he's still there, and he is making changes in Donbass.

Kolomoisky was interested in the fracked gas in Donbass, the completion of NordStream II has made a mess of that idea. It is good that he has seen the light, as it means Zelensky will have support in his attempts to adapt to reality. But Kolomoisky is still a crook no doubt.

Montreal , Nov 14 2019 19:14 utc | 6
My immediate reaction was that Kolomoisky realises he has to act - the Ukrainian oligarchs have got too close to America. I agree with James that he is a extremely clever man. Ukraine's traditional business is playing both ends against the middle and sending the proceeds to Switzerland (or the Caribbean in Porosyonok's case). Since 1990 a few of these robber barons have made a very good business winding up the west against Russia, it could go on ever - why spoil it by lifting the rock and seeing all the insects scurrying around in the light?

Another rock that has been lifted is in Washington, where the khokhol diaspora are desperately trying to get Uncle Sam to right the wrongs of a century ago.

Montreal , Nov 14 2019 19:25 utc | 7
I should have written: the "perceived" wrongs" of a century ago.
Babyl-on , Nov 14 2019 19:26 utc | 8
"Deep state" is misleading and actually a false construction.

There is an Imperial State (the ruling faction)which consists of imperial apparatchiks placed in every key position in government.

There is one and only one Western Empire and its deep state spreads throughout Western governments and society. They are the owners oif the world and they run the world they own.

chet380 , Nov 14 2019 19:28 utc | 9
... @ b -- "Only some 20% of the Ukrainians favor to continue the war against the eastern separatists who Russia supports."

The are not 'separatists', but rather Ukrainians who want to stay in a federated Ukraine as 'provinces' with powers to pass their regional laws, similar to those in Canada.

psychohistorian , Nov 14 2019 19:35 utc | 10
The segment of empire in the US that are against Russia act so because it was Russia that stymied them in Syria and continues to be in their way of expanding the control from that part of empire...the US segment.

I still believe that the global private finance core segment of empire is behind Trump and throwing America(ns) under the bus as the world turns more multilateral. The cult of global private finance intends on still having some overarching super-national role in the new multilateral world and holding debt guns to everyones heads to make it ongoing.

I don't believe that strategy will work but as long as they can be fronted by a MAD player of some sort (Occupied Palestine comes to mind) they can be bully players in international matters.

As the world economies grind to a "halt" there will be lots of pressure everywhere and very little clarity about the key civilization war over public/private finance, IMO

NOBTS , Nov 14 2019 19:37 utc | 11
For a military dictatorship, diplomacy is the continuation of war by other means. The US has been at war with Russia since the right-wing coup at the Democratic convention of 1944. All presidents have been servants of the military, which includes the police/intel/security apparatus; the few who did not entirely accept their figurehead role were "dealt with." Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and now Trump. The Washington permanent state bureaucrats are shocked and understandably offended; they have after all, been running US foreign policy for 75 years!
karlof1 , Nov 14 2019 19:39 utc | 12
Wow! The depth of delusion on display is as breathtaking as its complete projection of the intentions and actions of the Evil Outlaw US Empire! Oh so many saying I'm displaying four fingers instead of two. Too bad there isn't a padded cell big enough to contain all the lunatics. I recall the pre- and post-coup discussions from 2014--that Russia was going to make NATO own Ukraine until it was forced to concede it has no business being there; that Russia would teach the would-be leaders of Ukraine a serious lesson in where their national interests lay. NATO is ready to cede and the lesson's been learned.

IMO, two referendums must be held. The first within Russia: Will you accept portions of Ukraine wanting to merge with Russia: Yes/No? Second to be given within Ukraine provided Yes wins in #1: Do you wish to join Russia or remain in Ukraine? IMO, this is a very longstanding unresolved issue of consequence for the people involved. The political leaders of Russia and Ukraine might both be against such a vote, but IMO that merely kicks the can further down the road and opens the door for more mischief making by the Evil Outlaw US Empire. Assuming a Yes from Russia and some from Ukraine, a strategic threat to Russia and Europe would be mitigated. Additional questions about those parts of Ukraine not wanting to join Russia could be solved via additional referenda in the Ukraine and neighboring nations that might prove willing to absorb the remnants and their people. Such action would of course negate the Minsk Agreements.

Given the ideological passions of those living in Western and Northern Ukraine, I don't see any hope for the continuation of the Ukrainian state as currently arranged, thus the proposed referenda. However, if Russia says Nyet, then Minsk must be implemented.

TG , Nov 14 2019 19:39 utc | 13
Ah, well said, but missing the point.

"Democracy" is not about letting the people as a whole have a say in how the country is governed. That would be fascist, and racist, and populist, and LITERALLY HITLER. Letting the people decide on things like foreign policy, is literally anti-democratic.

No, "Democracy" is about privatizing power and socializing responsibility. The elites get to set the policy, but the public at large gets to take responsibility when things go wrong. Because you see, we are a "Democracy."

jayc , Nov 14 2019 19:41 utc | 14
Breaking off long established economic and cultural ties with a large neighbouring country, virtually overnight, is a rash act, and certain to create dislocation and hardship. The craziness of the idea was only achievable through the traumatizing psy-op of the sniper event, leading directly to the coup and the state of war. The EU and the US were clearly malevolent in orchestrating the Association agreement with its ridiculous terms and the corresponding Maidan pressures.

The fools in Hong Kong, after protester-sponsored screenings of the World On Fire documentary, were actually quoted as presuming the Maidan protests had "won" and expressed their hopes that they too could "win". Good luck to them.

AntiSpin , Nov 14 2019 19:49 utc | 15
Ukraine Timeline

for anyone who hasn't had the time to get caught up on the topic, by Ray McGovern
https://www.opednews.com/articles/Ukraine-For-Dummies-by-Ray-McGovern-Crimea_Ignorance_Intelligence_Media-191114-285.html

Taffyboy , Nov 14 2019 19:50 utc | 16
Kolomoisky and Zelensky know what needs to be done, but they fear the blood that will flow with Nazi-Banderist scum! Zelinski's balls are not that big, and has no options left after compromising his position from day one. Who will make the first move, I fear not him? Russia has time, and patience, which is sorely lacking in the west who feel they have to push the envelope.
Don Bacon , Nov 14 2019 19:57 utc | 17
The Minsk II protocol was agreed to on 12 February 2015 by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, It included provisions for a halt in the fighting, the withdrawal of foreign forces, new constitution to allow special status for Donbass, and election in Donbass for local self governance. Control of the present border of Ukraine would be restored to the Ukraine government. Donbass would continue to be in Ukraine with some autonomy here (scroll down).
There are many such autonomous zones in the world, and in Europe, seen here .
The problem in Ukraine is that the neo-Nazi factions promoted by the US don't want to see a resolution, and will fight it with US support.
flankerbandit , Nov 14 2019 19:59 utc | 18
Kolomoysky is obviously a master thief and general scumbag...but he is no fool...

I think the writing on the wall became obvious with the Nordstream 2 finalization, where, it is noted, Denmark came in just under the wire in terms of not disrupting the timetable...

Obviously the interests of German business have prevailed...and rightly so in this case...

And what of the famous EU line about 'protecting' Ukraine as a gas transit corridor...?

LOLOLOL...that is in the same category of nothingburger as the EU noises about 'alternate payment' mechanisms for trade with Iran...

As soon as the Denmark story broke, Gazprom and Russian energy analysts talked openly about the tiny volumes that Ukraine could expect to see transiting its territory...as part of a new agreement to replace the one that has expired...

It works out to a small fraction of the several billion dollars in transit fees the Ukraine was getting...

Also considering that the IMF appears to be finally shutting off the tap of loans to this failed gangster state...and that the promises from the EU in 2013 were just so much fairy tales...hard-nosed operators like Kolomoysky are recalculating...

The chaos and national ruin has really cost these gangster capitalists nothing [in fact they have profited wildly]...so it is easy for them to reverse course and come begging back to Russia...

Bryan MacDonald has a good piece about this today in RT...

Ukraine's most powerful oligarch states the obvious: Ukraine has to turn back towards Russia

So, here we are, almost six years since the first "EuroMaidan" protests in Kiev, and Ukraine's most prominent oligarch has finally voiced the unmentionable: the project has failed.

As for Kolomoysky...like Trump, there is something to like about dirtballs who speak their minds openly...LOL

Vonu , Nov 14 2019 20:08 utc | 19
According to Kevin Shipp, the National Security Council really runs the executive branch, not the president. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=XHbrOg092GA
PJB , Nov 14 2019 20:11 utc | 20
Quite a turnaround by Kolomoisky. Wasn't he once caught on a tapped phone call admitting while chuckling about Ukrainian complicity in shooting down MH-17? i.e. NOT Donbas rebels and NOT Russia.
james , Nov 14 2019 20:13 utc | 21
@12 karlof1... a referendum... as if the usa would agree to that, lol.... look how they processed the one in crimea...

@18 flankerbandit... last line is true, but it pales in relation to the ugliness these 2 exhibit 99% of the time, although the 1% when they don't it's refreshing! ukraine will continue to be used as a tool by the west..

forget about any referendum.. that makes too much sense and won't be allowed..

Kadath , Nov 14 2019 20:23 utc | 22
Nordstream 2 will come online in less than 2 months and the Ukrainian gas exports at that time will cease (I.e. no oil for the Oligarchs to steal), no matter what the US says they can't replace the Russian oil exports in terms of money & support to Ukraine, so the Oligarchs are now positioning themselves to abandon the US in order for the Russians to keep even a tiny bit of oil flowing into their pockets
J Swift , Nov 14 2019 20:31 utc | 23
It's a tough balancing act, being a Ukrainian oligarch. For two decades they stole what they could from the Ukraine (and from perverting the various sweetheart deals Russia was providing). Once the industry and energy money was stripped, and Russia started closing the spigots, they managed to get the West to pump in ungodly amounts of cash so long as they would agree to talk mean about Russia, and didn't mind the US machine taking its cut of the loot.

But now the Ukrainian thieves are beginning to realize that the Western thieves are going to steal the very ground from under their feet, so there will be no more Ukraine to steal from. That's not a very good business model. Plus they're no doubt seeing how the US treats its partners in crime in Syria and elsewhere, and realize they could easily find themselves the next meal for the US beast. Pretty easy to see why the smarter ones are getting nervous.

DannC , Nov 14 2019 20:37 utc | 24
they need to make peace with Russia or they will be left out in the cold, literally. They seemed to have previously bought into some insane lie that they'd be a part of the EU and NATO if theyd do Washington's bidding. The Deep state vastly underestimated Putin's resolve when it became clear to the Russians that Washington may try and turn Crimea into a NATO port one day. The game is over. Ukraine needs to find a way forward now for itself or it will be a failed state in the near future. It's clear Merkel and Europe want no part of this headache
flankerbandit , Nov 14 2019 20:42 utc | 25
I don't think Russians want to 'own' any part of Ukraine...at least that is the nearly unanimous opinion of my own contacts and colleagues in Russia...so I don't think any referenda will be on the table...

What I do think is possible is what Yanukovich and Russia agreed to in terms of a trade and economic deal...which was a lot more practical [not to mention generous] than the EU 'either or' nonsense...

Ukraine has run itself into the ground, literally...now they are selling vast tracts of agricultural land to huge Euro agribusiness concerns...literally dispossessing themselves of their own food security...

At the time of the Soviet dissolution, Ukraine had the highest living standards and some of the world's prime industry and technology...including for instance the Yuzhnoye design bureau [rocket engines and spacecraft] and many more such cutting edge aerospace concerns...

For years these crucial enterprises were able to keep going due to the Russian market...that all ended in 2014 [and in fact was tapering off even before due to the massive corruption]...

Now the Chinese are looking to scoop up these gems at firesale prices...

It is really quite unbelievable that the nutcases in the Ukraine would be willing to cut off their own arm just to bleed on Russia's shirt...

Why did the Ukraine never recover from the gangster capitalism like Russia did...because no Putin ever came along to reign in the oligarchy...[It could be argued Putin hasn't done nearly enough in this regard].

The Ukraine is actually a preview of what we can expect to see in our own future...as the unleashed oligarchy similarly runs everything into the ground in order to extract maximal wealth for a parasite elite...already we are nothing but a Ponzi Scheme on the verge of toppling...

Jackrabbit , Nov 14 2019 20:49 utc | 26
Disappointed in b's analysis.

Kolomoisky is talking his book and helping USA to make the case that Nordstream is a NATO security issue. To pretend that he's serious about a rapproachment with Russia just plays into that effort.

And b ignores my comment on the prior thread that he references (about Trump being Constitutionally charged with foreign policy). Repeating: the "Imperial Presidency" has flung off Constitutional checks and balances by circumventing the need to get Congressional approval for spending. Wars (like Syria) are now be funded by Gulf Monarchies, black ops, and black budgets.

While for practical reasons the Executive Branch of USA government has the power to negotiate treaties and manage foreign relations, Constitutionally he does so for the sovereign (the American people) and his efforts are subject to review and approval of the people's representatives via the power of the purse.

Ignoring how the "Imperial Presidency" has usurped power leads to faulty analysis that supports that power grab.

Ukrainegate IS a farce, but for other reasons. Chief among them being the inherent fakery of 'managed democracy' which manifests as kayfabe.

uncle tungsten , Nov 14 2019 20:50 utc | 27
Babyl-on #8
There is an Imperial State (the ruling faction)which consists of imperial apparatchiks placed in every key position in government.

There is one and only one Western Empire and its deep state spreads throughout Western governments and society. They are the owners of the world and they run the world they own.

Nicely put:- that is the reality. Thanks b for your intrepid reports.

Paul Craig Roberts has a deeply aggrieved rant at zero hedge if barflies want a chuckle. What a shitshow.

uncle tungsten , Nov 14 2019 20:58 utc | 28
flankerbandit #25

YES to all that and we are all getting the same split and plunder treatment.

Indonesia is the trial ground and has been where the methods were in place the longest as Andre Vitchek reports .

That is our future unless we intervene and throw the USA out of our countries.

jo6pac , Nov 14 2019 21:06 utc | 29
Long but a good read on the Ukraine by David Stockman.

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2019/11/12/the-ukrainian-influence-peddling-rings-a-microcosm-of-how-imperial-washington-rolls/

flankerbandit , Nov 14 2019 21:16 utc | 30
Agree with Uncle on Indonesia...yes that Vltchek piece [and much of his previous work on Indonesia] is pretty sobering...this is our future folks...
Duncan Idaho , Nov 14 2019 21:21 utc | 31
Crimea?
It has been part of Russia about as long as the USA has been a country.
9 out of 10 residents are of Russian origin, and Russian is the spoken language.
I guess it could be returned to the 10%-- but out of fairness, we must turn the USA over to its original occupants.
If you live in the USA, get your ass ready to leave.
bevin , Nov 14 2019 21:47 utc | 32
One of the problems that the anti-nazis face in Ukraine is that there are occupying armies in the country. Armies which cannot be trusted to obey instructions which are not agreed upon by NATO warmongers.
One such army is Canadian, commanded I believe by a descendant of the Ukrainian SS refugees and reporting to the Foreign Minister in Ottawa, a Russophobe with a family background of nazi collaboration.
The actual political situation is much more delicate than media reports suggest: what are called elections feature, in the Washington approved fashion, the banning of socialist and communist candidates. Bans which are enforced by a combination of fascist commanded police forces and, even less responsible, private nazi militias. Opponents of the Maidan regime are driven into exile, jailed or murdered.
Those who wonder as Jackrabbit, in a rare essay into rationality, does above, about the nature of the US Constitution after decades of the erosion of checks and balances thanks to the Imperial Presidency, will recognise that a dialectic is at work here. Washington's support for fascism abroad has instituted fascism at home which has led in turn to the installation of fascist regimes abroad, not just occasionally but routinely. Wherever the US intervenes it leaves a fascist regime, in which socialists are banned and persecuted, behind it.
And what this means is that, among other things, the ability of the population to effect political change is cancelled: there is no way that the people of Ukraine can decide what they want because the decisions have been taken for them, in weird cult like gatherings of SS worshiping Bandera supporters in Toronto and Chicago. It is no accident that most of the 'Ukrainians' being wheeled out by the Democrats to testify against Trump are actually greedy expatriates who have never really lived in Ukraine.
There was a moment, not long ago, when it looked as if the Minsk accords promised a path to peace and reconciliation. Unfortunately the plain people of Ukraine, the poorest in Europe though living in one of the richest countries, Washington, Ottawa and NATO didn't like the sound of Minsk. Nor did the fascists in the Baltic states and Poland, for whom, for centuries, Ukraine has been a cow to milk, its people slaves to be exploited and its rich resources too tempting to ignore.
michael , Nov 14 2019 21:56 utc | 33
As Thomas Jefferson explained the President's role in foreign affairs in 1790, and the lack of advisors' policy making decisions: ''as the President was the only channel of communication between the United States and foreign nations, it was from him alone 'that foreign nations or their agents are to learn what is or has been the will of the nation'; that whatever he communicated as such, they had a right and were bound to consider 'as the expression of the nation'; and that no foreign agent could be 'allowed to question it,' or 'to interpose between him and any other branch of government, under the pretext of either's transgressing their functions.' Mr. Jefferson therefore declined to enter into any discussion of the question as to whether it belonged to the President under the Constitution to admit or exclude foreign agents. 'I inform you of the fact,' he said, 'by authority from the President.'
Sadness , Nov 14 2019 22:04 utc | 34
Might also be worth yesterdays hero's asking if dear Mr Kolomoisky, joint Uki/Israeli national, took a part in authorising the shoot down of MH17 as a news cover for Operation Protective Edge. Heave ho zionist USA ....et al.
steven t johnson , Nov 14 2019 22:11 utc | 35
1.The decisions to with hold and release aid have nothing to do with the President making foreign policy but with his campaign. Saying it was about foreign policy is a damned lie.
2.Trump as president is supposed to lead foreign policy, which means actually setting a policy. Military aid to Ukraine, yes, except no, except yes, personal handling without asking anybody with experience how to achieve the national goal desired, national agenda kept secret from the people who have to carry it out, abuse of officials, demands for dubiously legal actions without rationale...Saying it was about the president's executive role is a damned lie.
3.Trump has not made even a tweet that questions US support for fascists. That not even a issue for Trump. Saying this is about support for fascism is a damned lie.
4.Kolomoyskiy is a bankroller of fascists. It is not impossible even a billionaire might get frightened by the genie he's let out of the bottle, even if he's Jewish and rich enough to run away. But actually undoing the fascist regime means taming the paramilitaries and this is not even on the horizon. Given the rivalry between Poroshenko and Kolomoyskiy it's not even certain it's a real change of heart or just soothing words for the non-fascist people. Nor is it even clear the Zelensky will follow even the Steinmeier formula. If he does, good, but until something actually happens? Saying it's about the antifascist turn is a damned lie.

The only thing that isn't a lie is that Trump was not committing treasons, "merely" a campaign violation. But then, Clinton never did either. The crybabies who dished it out but can't take it deserve zero respect, and zero time.

Don Bacon , Nov 14 2019 22:16 utc | 36
@ michael 34
There's a major difference between being a national spokesman and being a national decision-maker.
Don Bacon , Nov 14 2019 22:17 utc | 37
@ stj 36
Trump as president is supposed to lead foreign policy, which means actually setting a policy.
There's no basis for that in the Constitution.
Jen , Nov 14 2019 22:32 utc | 38
Curious to know how Kolomoisky is working "feverishly" to end the war in the Donbass region. Wonder if he is planning to come clean on what he knows of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 shootdown and crash in an area not far from Slavyansk and near where his Privat Group's subsidiary company Burisma Holdings holds a licence to drill for oil and natural gas. What does he know about Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk air traffic control personnel's direction to MH17 to fly at 10,000 metres in the warzone and not an extra 1,000 metres above as the flight crew had requested? He had been governor of Dnepropetrovsk region at the time.
ben , Nov 14 2019 22:47 utc | 39
A quote from b's article;"It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression".

Spoken by two sycophants for the empire.

It would be in our "national interest" if we could stop our aggression's around the globe.

DJT, IMO, only favors peace with Russia, or any one else,if, it furthers HIS personal, and his families enrichment.

He has a record of shafting people, I just wish people would inform themselves about it, and see what he's done with his life, not what says about it.

Paul Damascene , Nov 14 2019 22:56 utc | 40
Somewhere I read it alleged that the actual owner of Burisma was or is Kolomoiski.

Anything to this?

And via John Helmer (via Checkpointasia and dances with bears) comes the perspective that it's not so much Kolomoiski floating trial balloons (though that may also be true) but that K is being given space in the NYT to build his credentials as the new Borg villain, thereby making it still harder for Zelensky to reconcile with Russia.

ben , Nov 14 2019 22:56 utc | 41
fb @ 25 said;"The Ukraine is actually a preview of what we can expect to see in our own future...as the unleashed oligarchy similarly runs everything into the ground in order to extract maximal wealth for a parasite elite...already we are nothing but a Ponzi Scheme on the verge of toppling..."

Yup, aided and abetted by our current regime, while pretending not to...

Really?? , Nov 14 2019 23:23 utc | 42
@23
"It's a tough balancing act, being a Ukrainian oligarch. For two decades they stole what they could from the Ukraine (and from perverting the various sweetheart deals Russia was providing). Once the industry and energy money was stripped, and Russia started closing the spigots, they managed to get the West to pump in ungodly amounts of cash so long as they would agree to talk mean about Russia, and didn't mind the US machine taking its cut of the loot."

This is it in a nutshell. The Russians were fed up with Ukraine stealing gas. Hence, Nord Stream 2. That was always the plan. Whether the Yanks truly grasped the rationale here ---Russia is cutting off gas to Ukraine, simple---has never been clear to me. Although it is a fairly simple plot. The Russians had decades of shenanigans with the Ukes and said Basta. By not overreacting to the Ukrainian-USA freakout and keeping their eyes on the prize (Nord Stream and disengaging, gas-wise, from Uk), they have managed to reach their goal of getting Nord Stream 2 online.

oldhippie , Nov 14 2019 23:25 utc | 43
Kolomoiski is the bankroller and commander of the Azov Battalion. Has close arrangements with other paramilitaries. And is the current principal of Burisma. And is Privatbank, the only bank left in Ukraine. He gets a cut of all the action.

When Trump queries Zelensky, all that Zelensky is thinking is this guy does not know the score. This guy does not know who's on first. He wants me to investigate the boss? Let him talk to the boss. And who does Z talk to in D.C.? Pointless getting into detail with Trump.

Trump has no team. No one in D.C. is on his side. He's unable to finish anything.

OutOfThinAir , Nov 14 2019 23:45 utc | 44
1) Say the fantasy happens and the US/Russia become BFFs like US/UK...

- Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss?

- Tough to answer, many unknowns- Russia may act different once its on top, actors may derail schemes, Deep State temper tantrum, etc...

In general, governments are the order-providing solution for chaos and problems that only first existed inside the minds of those seeking power over others.

Zedd , Nov 14 2019 23:50 utc | 45
Kolomoiski is a U.S. asset. His interview with the NYTimes proves it.

His threats are meant to mobilize NATO and Russia haters in general; because Trump and most of his cadre care nothing for Ukraine.

Does anyone think Russia will give Kolomoiski 100 million dollars? Why was he given an opportunity to threaten the USA? For no reason? Something else is afoot but Russia still won't take the bait because they are winning.

Russia is quite happy with the status quo. The war in Ukraine keeps the war against Russia on a level which is easy to manipulate and therefore geostrategically beneficial. Kolomoiski will get nothing.

Steve , Nov 15 2019 0:03 utc | 46
Thank you, b, for that snippet from NY Interview with Kolomoisky . I had glanced the headline on RT but didn't read it because of RT's usual clumsy writing.
evilempire , Nov 15 2019 0:51 utc | 47
Kolomoiski is taunting the empire: investigate my crimes and
ukraine will seek reconciliation and alliance with russia.
Russia won't fall for it. They want kolomoiski's scalp even
more than the empire. From the statements putin has made, maybe
the only concession russia would accept is the dissolution of
ukraine as a sovereign entity and reintegration with russia, minus galicia.
Putin has remarked that they are not one people but one state. Ukraine
already knows that its domestic industry is only viable in competition
with the eu industrial powerhouses if it is integrated with russia.
flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 0:59 utc | 48
Jen said...
What does [Kolomoysky] know about Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk air traffic control personnel's direction to MH17 to fly at 10,000 metres in the warzone and not an extra 1,000 metres above as the flight crew had requested?

Okay..so an interesting can of worms here...

First is the fact that Kolomoysky was the governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast at the time...

Now as to the flight and Dnipro Radar [the regional air traffic control facility that controls a very big chunk of airspace over eastern Ukraine]...

First the issue of the airplane cruising altitude...the crew had filed their flight plan to climb from flight level 330 [33,000 ft] to FL350 after passing a certain waypoint in eastern Ukraine...

Now the controllers did instruct the crew to go ahead and climb to their planned altitude, but the crew declined the clearance and opted to stay at FL330...this was done very likely because the atmospheric conditions at that height were better for fuel economy...

[To be even more specific...the Boeing manual gave an optimum flight altitude of 33,800 ft, but flying eastward you only have odd numbered flight levels to choose from, so the crew figured they would be better off staying at 33 than climbing to 35...]

BUT...there are a couple of very curious things here...

First is the fact that Dnipro controllers deviated the airplane from its flight plan just before it went down...ostensibly due to other traffic...

We can see this in the following map, which is what's called a high altitude en route chart, which is used by pilots to plan and execute their flight...

Here we see the route of MH17 superimposed on the chart...

You will note a couple of things here...the airplane is flying on the L980 airway [basically a highway in the sky] when it is turned south by controllers to the RND waypoint, which is in Russian territory...

This is NOT the route filed by the crew...which can be seen here...

They were supposed to continue flying on L980 right to the TAMAK waypoint, which is visible on the previous chart and is right on the border with Russia...

They would have continued on the A87 airway to their next waypoint in Russia which is TIKNA...

Now here is the thing...right after they were turned south, they got shot down...

According to the radio transcripts, the crew acknowledged the course change, but did not object...however, usually these kinds of course changes aren't appreciated on the flight deck because the crew is trying to minimize wasted time and wasted fuel on course deviations...

Most times you will just not bother to complain to controllers...but for sure there will always be chatter between the captain and copilot about being yanked around like that...

No mention is made in the Dutch Safety Board report about such chatter from the cockpit voice recorder, which I find very odd...

Also odd is the fact that Dnipro ATC primary radar was down, and only the so-called 'secondary' was working which uses the transponder signals from the airplane...

This is very busy airspace because a lot of flights from western Europe to South Asia traverse this territory...the plan is always to fly what's called a 'great circle route' which is basically a straight line, if you flattened out the globe...

Plus considering that you have a war going on underneath...it's very unusual to have your PRIMARY radar inoperable...

This is significant also because military aircraft will not be using transponders and so will not be visible to the secondary surveillance...

The Russian primary radar did pick up two other aircraft very nearby MH17...but the Dutch have made some kind of excuse about that data not being in 'raw' form and thus not usable...

So we see some very suspicious anomalies here...

The Ukrainian authorities did have a NOTAM [notice to airmen] in effect up to FL320 [32,000 ft] so commercial traffic could not fly under that height...but clearly they should have closed the airspace over the hot conflict area...

They didn't do that...and Kolomoysky was in charge...


Kiza , Nov 15 2019 1:12 utc | 49
The Deep State's view on the members' God given right to make foreign policy decisions (it must be the God who has give it to them, because the people certainly have not) just reminds the of the general attitude of the Government's bureaucracy. Give any fartbag a position in the government and he/she becomes "a prince/princes over the people", give him or her a monopoly over violence and you got yourself a king/queen. All these police and military kings & queens milling around and lording over us. "Deep State" is such a totally natural consequence of the government bureaucracy corrupted by power that it appropriated. Pillaging taxes from the sheeple (and taking young maidens like Sheriff of Nottingham/Epstein) could have never ever been enough. Did you seriously think that the Deep Staters would constrain themselves to only stealing your money, taking your children for their pleasure and to die in their wars of conquest, and putting you into a totally unsafe airplanes to die for their profit? Constrain themselves when there is a whole globe out there to be lorded over, like Bidens over Ukraine? It is the poor people of Ukraine who just have too much money, thus had to give it through the gas monopoly to the Biden gang, which selflessly brought them "democracy" at $5B in US taxpayers' expense. Therefore, it is the Deep State which has been chosen by God, or someone just like that, to make the decisions about the imperialist/globalist foreign policy and have billions of dollars thrown by the grateful natives into their own pockets, as consulting fees:
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/leaked-bank-records-confirm-burisma-biden-payments-morgan-stanley-account

So far the only clear-cut globalization is that one of crime, which has become global.

dh , Nov 15 2019 1:42 utc | 50
What is the US National Interest b asks? Who defines it as such?

Ome magazine that might know is none other than The National Interest. Hopefully I won't get attacked for quoting from what seems like a fairly sane article to me....

"The US should consider whom they are giving weapons to. Ukraine is a debt-ridden state and only five years beyond an extralegal revolution. Should the government collapse again, then American weapons could end up in the possession of any number of dubious paramilitary groups.

It wouldn't be the first time. In the 2000s, CIA operatives were forced to repurchase Stinger missiles that had fallen into the hands of Afghani warlords -- at a markup. Originally offered to the Mujahideen in the 1980s, the Stingers came to threaten American forces in the region. Similarly, many weapons provided with US authorization to Libyan rebels in 2011 ended up in the possession of jihadists."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/dressed-kill-arming-ukraine-could-173200746.html

karlof1 , Nov 15 2019 1:47 utc | 51
It's difficult to find clean information on happenings within Ukraine and those involving Russia. The Ministry of Foreign affairs has this page dedicated to the "Situation Around Ukraine." Of the three most recent listings, this one --"Comment by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the NATO Council's visit to Ukraine"--from 1 November is quite important as it deals with the reality on the ground versus the circus happening thousands of miles away, although it's clear the delusions in Washington and Brussels are the same and "continue to be guided by the Cold War logic of exaggerating the nonexistent 'threat from the East' rather than the interests of pan-European security."

In the second most recent listing --"Remarks by Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Vladimir Zheglov at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk Agreements, Vienna, October 31, 2019"--the following was noted:

"There's more to it. The odious site Myrotvorets continues to function using servers located in the United States. The UN has repeatedly stated that this violates the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy. Recently, Deputy Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Benjamin Moreau, reiterated the recommendation to shut down this website. A similar demand was made by other representatives of the international community, including the German government. The problem was brought to the attention of the European Court of Human Rights. The other day, the representative of Ukraine at the ECHR was made aware of the groundlessness of the Ukrainian government's excuses saying that it allegedly 'has no influence' on the above website.

"In closing, recent opinion polls in Ukraine indicate that its residents are expecting the government to do more to bring peace to Donbas. The path to a settlement is well known, that is, the full implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015, that was approved by the UN Security Council."

Clearly, Zelensky's government is much like Poroschenko's when it comes to listening to those who empowered it, the above citation is one of several from the overall report.

The latest report deals with an ongoing case at the International Court of Justice at The Hague that reveals some of the anti-Russian bias there. It has no bearing on this discussion, although it does provide evidence of the contextual background against which the entire affair, including the circus in Washington, operates.

MoA consensus is Minsk backed NATO and its Ukrainian minions into a corner from which there's only one way out, which is the implementation of the Accords they continue to oppose to implement despite their promise to do so. Clearly an excellent example of not being agreement capable that hasn't changed since 2015.

If the Republicans had any brains, they'd turn the Ukrainian aspect of the hearings into an indictment against Obama/Biden for illegally overthrowing Kiev and trying to obtain their piece-of-the-action, but then that would be the logical thing to do and thus isn't an option. The prospect of each day providing similar spectacle is mind numbing as it airs the sordid, unwashed underwear if the Evil Outlaw US Empire.

Kiza , Nov 15 2019 2:01 utc | 52
I normally do not reply to trolls, but I make an exception for you. Pedo-dollar? Do you have any more such crap to dilute the valid points discussed here?
james , Nov 15 2019 2:36 utc | 53
@41 paul damascene... regarding the helmer article - thanks for pointing it out.. IGOR KOLOMOISKY MAKES A MISTAKE, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES DOES WHAT IT ALWAYS DOES

i liked what @ 32 tod said - "he's just doing the old Jewish threatening/begging dance!
"And you are forcing us to be at war, and not even giving us the money for it." Wink! Wink!"

stating the obvious is one remedy for any possible confusion here..

@54 karlof1... i don't believe trump is allowed to shine any light on the usas illegal actions as that would be sacrilege to all the americans who see their country in such a great, exceptional-ist light... how would trumps MAGA concept swallow that? it wouldn't, so it won't happen...

UnionHorse , Nov 15 2019 2:40 utc | 54
I just watched Seven Days in May for the first time in a long while. It is worth the time. It resonates loudly today.
Kiza , Nov 15 2019 2:50 utc | 55
@flankerbandit 18

You are a bit off on that story. NS2 pipeline will increase the capacity not transitioning via Ukraine and reduce the price banditry by the Ukrainian & US gangs, but it will not make gas transit via Ukraine unnecessary. The planned switch off of the German nuclear and coal power plants will gradually increase the German demand for gas, that is the Russian gas by so much that NS1 and NS2 will not be enough. Primarily, NS2 is a signal to the Ukrainian & US Democrat gangs that if they try excessive transit fees and stealing of gas again, that they will be circumvented within a few years by NS 3,4,5 ...

BTW, the globalized pillaging of the population is clearly not an invention of the DNC crime gang only. For example, the 737Max is a product of primarily Republican activity on deregulating what should have never been deregulated and subjugation to the Wall Street (aka financialization). The pillaging of the World is strictly bipartisan, just differently packaged:
1) R - packaging the deregulation to steal & kill as "freedom" or
2) D - packaging the regime change as responsibility to protect R2P (such regime change and stuffing of own pockets later).

Grieved , Nov 15 2019 3:01 utc | 56
karlof1 @54 - "Minsk backed NATO and its Ukrainian minions into a corner from which there's only one way out, which is the implementation of the Accords"

Yes. As you well know, and as we have well discussed, Minsk was in its very essence the surrender terms dictated to the US by NAF and Russia in return for letting the NATO contractors go free and secretly out of the Debaltsevo cauldron. Either actually or poetically, this was the basis. The US lost against NAF. The only way to prevent Donbass incursion into the rest of Ukraine was to freeze the situation. The US had no choice, and surrendered.

Out of the heat and fog of warfare came a simple document made of words which, even so, illustrated perfectly just how elegantly the Kremlin had the entire situation both war-gamed and peace-gamed. Minsk from that day until forever has locked the Ukraine play into a lost war of attrition for the US sponsors, with zero gain - except for thieves.

To attempt to parse Ukraine in terms of statecraft is to miss the point that Ukraine can only be parsed in terms of thievery. This is not cynicism, simply truth.

Now they sell their land because this is all there is left to sell. Kolomoisky proposes selling the entire country to Russia for $100 billion but not only will Russia not bite, the country isn't worth even a fraction of that - because of Minsk, it can cause zero harm to Russia. But this ploy raises the perceived value (Kolomoisky hopes) in the eyes of the west, and starts the bidding.

In Russia the people see all this very clearly, including on their TV. Yakov Kedmi in this Vesti News clip of Vladimir Soloviev's hugely popular talk show, discusses the situation. He baits Soloviev by saying that the Ukrainian thieves are only doing what the Russian thieves did in the 1990's - and one must filter through this badinage to take out the nuggets he supplies. Here are three:

1. Zelensky has no security apparatus that follows his command, therefore how can he be considered the leader of the country?
2. There is no power in Ukraine, only forces that contend over the scraps of plunder.
3. These forces are creating the only law there is, which is the sacred nature of private property for the rich - the only thing the US holds sacred.

Therefore sell the very soil.

~~

The Minsk agreement is a sheer wall of ice reaching to the sky. No force imaginable can scale it or break it. Against that ultimate, immovable wall the US pounds futilely, with Ukraine caught in the middle, while Russia waits for Ukraine to devolve into whatever it can.

And the Russian people and government regard the people of the Ukraine as brothers and sisters. But until the west has worn itself down, and either gone away or changed the equation through a weakening of its own position in some significant way, nothing can be done by Russia except to wait.

Kiza , Nov 15 2019 3:09 utc | 57
What Tod @32 described is spot-on, "the old Jewish threatening/begging dance". It is not that the Russians do not know this about Kolomoyskyi. They will play along not expecting anything from the Zelo-on-a-String and his master. The Russians like to let those scumbags (Erdo comes to mind) huff & puff and embarrass themselves by flips. They know - it could always be worse if those did something intelligent. Kolomoyskyi is vile but he ain't no genius, not any more than Erdo.
flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 3:42 utc | 58
You are a bit off on that story.

Sure Cheeza...everybody's a 'bit off' except you...

Gazprom is talking about 10 bcm a year through Ukraine for the new 10 year deal, as opposed to the 60 bcm [billion cubic meters] that Ukraine is hoping for...

The Vesti report right here...

james , Nov 15 2019 3:47 utc | 59
@62 grieved.. nice to see you back.. thanks of the link with yako kedmi talking.. that was fascinating.. i think the guy is bang on..
snake , Nov 15 2019 3:58 utc | 60

"Deep state" is misleading and actually a false construction.

There is an Imperial State (the ruling faction/)which consists of imperial apparatchiks placed in every key position in government. Babyl-on @ 8

? before I begin , how do you measure the political and economic power of money as opposed to the political and economic power of the intentions and needs of the masses. Does $1 control a 100 people? A million dollars control 100,000,000 people? How do we measure the comparative values between money power and people power? I think the divisions of economics and the binaries of politics established by the nation state system means that the measurement function (political and economic values) varies as a function of the total wealth vs the total population in each nation state. If true, become obvious how it is that: foreign investments displaces the existing homeostatis in any particular nation state, the smaller the poorer the nation state, the more impact foreign wealth can have; in other words outside wealth can completely destroy the homeostatis of an existing nation state. I think it is this fact which makes globalization so attractive to the ruling interest (RI) and so damning to the poorest of the poor.

Change by amendment is impossible There is one and only one Western Empire but there is also an Eastern Empire, a southern empire, and a Northern Empire and I believe the ruling interest (faction) manipulate all nations through these empires. In fact, they can do this in any nation they wish. The world has been divided into containers of humans and propaganda and culture have highly polarized the humans in one container against the humans in other containers. <=divide, polarize, then exploit: its like pry the window, and gain access to the residence, then exploit. It is obvious that the strength of the resistance to ruling class exploitation is a function of common cause among the masses. But money allows to control both the division of power and the polarization of the masses. The persons who have the powers described in Article II of the US Constitution since Lincoln was murdered can be controlled (Epstein, MSM directed propaganda, impeachment, assassination, to accomplish the objects of the ruling interest (faction). Article II of the USA constitution removes foreign activity of the USA from domestic view of the governed at home Americans. Article II makes it possible for the POTUS to use American assets and resources to assist his/her feudal lords in exploiting foreign nations almost at will and there is no way governed Americans can control who the ruling interest place in the Article II position.

A little History Immigration to NYC from Eastern (the poor) and Western (the rich) Europe transitioned NYC and other cities from Irish majority to a Jewish majority; and the wealthy interest used the Jewish majorities in key cities to take control over both Article I and Article II constitutional powers by electing field effect controlled politicians (political puppets are elected that can be reprogrammed while they are in office to suit the ruling interest. The source code is called rule of law, and money buys the programmers who write the code. So the ruling interest can reprogram in field effect fashion, any POTUS they wish. Out of sight use of the resources of America in foreign lands is nothing new, it was established when the constitution was written in Philadelphia in 1787 and ratified in 1788.

Propaganda targeted to the Jewish Immigrants allowed the wealthy interest to control the outcome of the 1912 election. That election allowed to destroy Article I, Section 9, paragraph 4 " No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid unless in Proportion to the Census of enumeration herein before directed to be taken". and to enact a law which privatized the USA monopoly on money into the hands of private bankers (the federal reserve act of 1913)

What was the grand design Highly competitive, independent too strong economic Germany was interfering with Western hegemony and the oil was in the lands controlled by the Ottomans. It took two wars, but Germany was destroyed, and the Ottoman empire (basically the entire Middle East) became the war gained property of the British (Palestine), the French (Syria) and the USA (Israel). Since then, the ruling interest have used their (field effect devices to align governments so the wealthy could pillage victim societies the world over. Field effect programming allows wealth interest to use the leaders of governments to use such governments to enable pillage in foreign places. The global rich and powerful, and their corporations are the ruling interest.

psychohistorian says it well "..the global private finance core segment of empire is behind Trump and throwing America(ns) under the bus as the world turns more multilateral. The cult of global private finance intends on still having some overarching super-national role in the new multilateral world and holding debt guns to everyone's heads to make it ongoing..." by psychochistorian @ 10


NOBITs @ 11 says it also "All presidents have been servants of the military, which includes the police/intel/security apparatus; the few who did not entirely accept their figurehead role were "dealt with." Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and now Trump. The Washington permanent state bureaucrats are shocked and understandably offended; they have after all, been running US foreign policy for 75 years!" by: NOBTS @ 11

According to TG @ 13 "Democracy" is about privatizing power and socializing responsibility. The elites get to set the policy, but the public at large gets to take responsibility when things go wrong. Because you see, we are a "Democracy."by: TG @ 13 <= absolutely not.. the constitution isolates governed Americans from the USA, because the USA is a republic and republics are about privatizing power and socializing responsibility; worse, there ain't nothing you can do about it.


Vonu @ 19 says "According to Kevin Shipp, the National Security Council really runs the executive branch, not the president. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=XHbrOg092GA" by: Vonu @ 19 <=but it is by the authority of Ariicle II that the NSC has the power to run the executive branch?

KAdath @ 22 says "the Oligarchs are now positioning themselves to abandon the US in order for the Russians to keep even a tiny bit of oil flowing into their pockets by: Kadath @ 22" <=exactly.. but really its not abandoning the USA, its abandoning the oligarchs local to the pillaged nation..

J Swift @ 23 says "the US treats its partners in crime in Syria and elsewhere," [poorly] but its not the USA per say, because only one person has the power to deal in foreign places. Its that the POTUS, or those who control the Article II powers vested in the POTUS, have or has been reprogrammed.. J. Switft @23>>

flankerbandit @ 25 says " Ukraine has run itself into the ground, literally...now they are selling vast tracts of agricultural land to huge Euro agribusiness concerns...literally dispossessing themselves of their own food security..." flankerbandit @ 25 <=Not really the wealthy (investor interest) have pushed the pillage at will button.. since there is no resistance remaining, the wealthy will take it all for a song..


Jackrabbit @ 26 says "Trump [is].. Constitutionally charged with foreign policy. Repeating: the "Imperial Presidency" has flung off Constitutional checks and balances by circumventing the need to get Congressional approval for spending. Wars (like Syria) are now be funded by Gulf Monarchies, black ops, and black budgets.by Jackrabbit @ 26 <== Trumps orders military to take 4 million day from Syria in oil?
your observation that the money has circumvented Article I of the COUS explains why the democraps are so upset.. the wealthy democrap interest has been left to rot? Your comment suggest s mafia is in charge?

Tod @ 32 says "As soon as some money goes his way, he'll discover democracy again.
Sorry to burst you bubbles." by: Tod @ 32" <==understatement of the day.. thanks.

Bevin @ 32 says "a dialectic is at work here. Washington's support for fascism abroad has instituted fascism at home which has led in turn to the installation of fascist regimes abroad, not just occasionally but routinely. Wherever the US intervenes it leaves a fascist regime, in which socialists are banned and persecuted, behind it. this means.. the ability of the population to effect political change is cancelled" by bevin @ 33 <= yes but there is really no difference in a republic and its rule of law, and a fascist government and its military police both rule without any influential input from the governed.

michael @ 34 reaffirms "The President was the only channel of communication between the United States and foreign nations, it was from him alone 'that foreign nations or their agents are to learn what is or has been the will of the nation'" michael @ 34 well known to barflies, the design of national constitutions is at the heart of the global problem. Until constitutional powers are placed in control of the governed there will never be a change in how the constitutional powers ( in case of the USA Article II powers) are used and abused.

OutofThinAir @45 says "In general, governments are the order-providing solution for chaos and problems that only first existed inside the minds of those seeking power over others.by: OutOfThinAir @ 45" <+governments are the tools of wealth interest and the governors their hired hands.

by: War is Peace @48 " Trump is a moron, groomed by Jewish parents ( Mother was Jewish, Father buried at biggest Jewish cementary in NYC ) to be a non-Jew worked for the mob under Cohen ( lawyer for 1950's McCarthy ); Became the 'Goyim Fool" real estate developer as a cover for laundering mob money. So that it didn't appear that it was Jewish Mafia Money, so they could work with the Italian Mafia. Trump went on for his greatest role ever to be the "fool in Chief" of the USA for AIPAC. What better way to murder people, than send out a fool, it causes people to drop their guard. by War is Peace @48 <= yes this is my take, What does it mean. com suggest the global wealth interest may be planning to reprogram Trump to better protect the interest of the global wealthy.
Kiza @ 51 the reason for globalization is explained see above=> response to Babyl-on @ 8

dh @ 53 says ""The US should consider whom they are giving weapons to." by dh @53 < the USA cannot consider anything, if its foreign the POTUS (Article II) makes all decisions because Art II gives the POTUS a monopoly on talking to, and dealing with, foreign governments.

Deagel @ 56 says "The American people don't care, they're all drugged out, and shitting on the side-walks all over the USA, and sleeping in their own shit. This is the best time in USA history for the Zionists to do anything they wish." by: Deagel @ 56 <= I think you under estimate the value Americans place on democracy and human rights, until recently governed Americans believed the third party privately produced MSM delivered propaganda that nearly all overseas operations by the USA were to separate the people in those places from their despotic leaders, and to help those displaced people install Democracy.. many Americans have come to understand such is far from the case.. the situation in the Ukraine has been an eye opener for many Americans. thoughts are sizzling, talk is happening, and people are trying to shut google out of their lives. that is why i think Trump is about to be reprogrammed from elected leader to .. God in charge

wealth interest example

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 4:01 utc | 61
Grieved...thanks for that magnificent analysis...

I watched that Soloviev segment with Kedmi the other day...always interesting to say the least...

Btw...I'm not really up to speed on that whole Debaltsevo cauldron thing...I've heard snippets here and there...[there is a guy, Auslander, who comments on the Saker blog that seems to have excellent first hand info, but I've only caught snippets here and there]...

I hadn't heard this part of the story before about Nato contractors as bargaining chips...if you care to shed a bit more light I will be grateful...

karlof1 , Nov 15 2019 4:55 utc | 62
flankeerbandit @67--

I suggest going to The Saker Blog and enter Debaltsevo Cauldron into the site's search box and click Submit where you'll be greeted with numerous results.

Grieved @62--

Thanks for your reply and excellent recap. As I recall, Putin wants Donbass to remain in Ukraine and Ukraine to remain a whole state, although I haven't read his thoughts on the matter for quite some months as everything has revolved around implementing Minsk. The items at the Foreign Ministry I linked to are also concerned with Minsk.

The circus act in DC is trying to avoid any mention of Minsk, the coup or anything material to the gross imperial meddling done there to enrich the criminal elite, which includes Biden, Clinton, other DNC members--a whole suite of actors that omits Trump in this case, although they're trying to pin something on him. The issue being studiously ignored is Obama/Biden needed to be busted for their actions at the time, but in time-honored fashion weren't. And the huge rotted sewer of corruption related to that action and ALL that came before is the real problem at issue.

Kiza , Nov 15 2019 5:12 utc | 63
@flankerbandit 64

Typical reaction of a zelf-zentered person as evidenced by The New Yorker 737Max article in the previous thread. This good article could only be measured by how much it agrees with your own opinion that MCAS was put in to mimic the pilots' usual fly-stick feel. If anyone does his home work, such as the journalist of this article, then he must agree with you, right? With experts such as you out there, why would anyone dare apply common sense and say that it would be an unimaginably stupid idea to put in ANY AUTOMATED SYSTEM which pushes the plane's nose down during ascent (the most risky phase of a civilian flight, when almost desperately trying to get up and up and up) for any DUMBLY POSSIBLE REASON !? What could ever go wrong with such an absolutely dumbly initiated system relying on one sensor? Maybe it was a similar idea to putting a cigarette lighter right next to the car's gas tank because it lights up cigarettes better when there are gasoline vapors around. Or maybe an idea of testing the self-driving lithium battery (exploding & flammable) cars near kindergartens (of some other people's children)!?

An intelligent person would have said - whatever the reason was to put in MCAS it was a terribly dumb idea, instead of congratulating himself on understanding the "true reason".

dickr , Nov 15 2019 6:49 utc | 64
flankerbandit @18 good analysis thx.
Ike , Nov 15 2019 6:55 utc | 65
"If I were president, while I would resist gratuitous provocations, I would not publicly associate myself with the delusion that stable friendship is possible (or, frankly, desirable) with Putin's anti-American dictatorship, which runs its country like a Mafia family and is acting on its revanchist ambitions."

Really?

From what have gleaned from the alternative media available on the internet ,of which MOA is an important part. Putin and Lavrov are the two most moral and diplomatic statesmen on the world stage today Compared to Trump, Johnson, Macron, Merkel, Stoltenberg, Pompeo, Bolton and whoever else blights the international scene these days these two are colossi.

To describe them as like a Mafia family seems to me to be 180 degrees wrong. Maybe Putin overreacted, in his early days in power, to the Chechen conflict but look at the situation today.

Look at how Gorbachev and Yeltsin were played by the west. I appreciate you did not write the words quoted above but you said you agree with them and I find that startling given I am usually very admiring of your insight and knowledge of geopolitical events.

Fly , Nov 15 2019 7:14 utc | 66
According to the Impeachniks, it is Schiff's staff who decides how Schiff votes and his policies. It would be illegal for Schiff to make decisions. But Schiff's recommendation will make or break the careers of his staff, so elected Schiff has some influence. That's not true for elected Trump, because those in his service already have made careers and/or a host of outsiders looking to place them.
dickr , Nov 15 2019 7:32 utc | 67
@50 flankerbandit - wow!
QuietRebel , Nov 15 2019 8:47 utc | 68
Although, he didn't get impeached for it Obama did get criticized for not sending the aid to Ukraine. He was also criticized when he did intervene, but not fast enough for the deep state. Remember "leading from behind" in response to Libya. Obama was much more popular and circumspect than Trump, which protected him from possible impeachment when he went off the deep state's script.
Walter , Nov 15 2019 9:12 utc | 69

Discussion of the USC and the responsibilities assigned therein is probably a foolish and merely moot exercise, as law is, ultimately simply custom over time, and since '45 or so the custom has become dissociated from the documents' provisions, particularly with regard to war-making and the "licensed" import and sale of dangerous drugs, dope. The custom in place is essentially ukase - rule by decree. Many decree are secret.

I do not object, simply pointing to the obvious.

This is a public secret anybody can know. Inter alia see The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (McCoy)

...........

Custom includes also permitted theft, blackmail, trafficking children and so forth.

...........

zerohedge put up some documents tying TGM Hunter B to the money from Ukraine...


................

I would not worry about the name of the person called president. The real sitrep is more like watching rape and murder from the dirty windows of a runaway train.

ralphieboy , Nov 15 2019 11:24 utc | 71
Upon the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine was left with the fifth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In exchange for financial assistance in the costs of removing all the nukes, the West guaranteed to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity.

In the meantime, Russia has annexed the Crimea and rebels have taken control of parts of Eastern Ukraine. The West has not provided any direct military assistance to restore those territorial infringements.

Since the West has reneged on its end of the deal, would it not only be fair to return Ukraine's nukes so it can defend itself like the Big Boys do, namely with threat of nuclear annihilation?

Christian J Chuba , Nov 15 2019 12:36 utc | 72
Ukrainians are dying

I hate this trope. The Russian Fed. is not launching offensive operations to capture Kharkov or Kiev. Western Ukraine is shelling ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. What would U.S. Congressman say if these were Jews? (I would condemn that as well).

The next time someone pontificates, 'Ukrainians are dying because Trump held up aid' ask them how many. The number is ZERO. Javelins are not being used on the front line.

Seamus Padraig , Nov 15 2019 12:47 utc | 73
Wow. My opinion of Kolomoisky has just improved ... somewhat.
deschutes , Nov 15 2019 13:25 utc | 74
Mr. Kolomoisky is spot on, i.e. when he says that the Americans will only use Ukrainians as their little bitches to fight and die for America's gain against Russia. Just like the Americans fucked over the Kurds in Syria, using them as proxy fighters to do USA/Israel's dirty work. Wherever the USA shows up and starts interfering, everything turns into shit: Iraq...Afghanistan...Venezuela...Bolivia...Ukraine...Libya...Yemen...Nicaragua...Ecuador...the list is quite long. It remains to be seen if Mr. Kolomoisky can bring about rapprochement with Russia. He'd better watch his back.
William Gruff , Nov 15 2019 13:30 utc | 75
"Wow. My opinion of Kolomoisky has just improved ... somewhat." --Seamus Padraig @73

Yes, Kolomoisky has moved up a notch in my estimation as well; from the low of "monstrously inhuman spawn of satan" all the way up to "rabid dog" . That's quite the dramatic improvement, I must admit.

juliania , Nov 15 2019 14:13 utc | 76
I am very glad to see you back, Grieved, and your 'wall of ice' metaphor is indeed accurate. To me, the promising signs in Ukraine were even as here in the US when voters fought back against what b calls Deep State, which I am sure in my heart was even more of an overwhelming surge than registered - the best the corrupters of the system could do was make it close enough to be a barely legitimate win for their side, and they didn't succeed. Maybe somewhere along their line of shenanigans a small cog in the wheel got religion and didn't do their 'job'. An unsung hero who will sing when it's safe.

I hope, dearly hope, it gets safe in Ukraine very soon. They are us only further down the line than we are, but we will get there if we can't totally remove the cancer in our midst. That's our job; I wish Ukraine all the best in removing theirs.

Peter AU1 , Nov 15 2019 14:39 utc | 77
Jen 70

I believe the Russian presentation on MH17 showed a military aircraft climbing in the vicinity of, or towards MH17.

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 14:47 utc | 78
Jen...I should have made clear that the two aircraft picked up by Russian PRIMARY RADAR were unidentified...

The two commercial flights you mention were in the area and were known to both Russian and Ukrainian controllers by means of the SECONDARY SURVEILLANCE RADAR, which picks up the aircraft transponder signals...

However, secondary WILL NOT pick up military craft that have their transponders off...which is normal operating procedure for military craft...

So the airspace situation was this...you can see this from one of the illustrations I provided from the DSB prelim report...

You had MH17...you had that other flight coming from the opposite direction [flying west]...and you had that airplane that overtook the MH17 from behind [they were in a hurry and were going faster, so when MH17 decided to stay at FL330, they were cleared to climb to FL350 so they could safely overtake with the necessary vertical separation...]

Those three aircraft were all picked up on the Ukrainian SECONDARY [transponder] surveillance...as well as the Russians...on both their PRIMARY AND SECONDARY...

But what the Russians picked up were two craft ONLY ON THEIR PRIMARY...those would have been military aircraft flying with their transponders off [they're allowed to do that and do that most of the time in fact]...

That's why those two DIDN'T SHOW UP ON THE SECONDARY DATA HANDED OVER TO THE INVESTIGATORS BY THE UKRAINIANS...

Only primary radar would pick those up...and, very conveniently, the Dnipro primary was inop at the time...[so the data handed to investigators by the Ukrainians would have no trace of any military aircraft nearby]...

But with the Russian primary radar data, there is in fact evidence that there were military aircraft in the air at the time...just that the Dutch investigators simply decided to exclude the very vital Russian radar data on some stupid technicality...

[Really this is a very poorly done report, both prelim and final, and I've read many over the years...]

The other thing I should have emphasized more clearly is about that course deviation that controllers steered MH17 to, just seconds before it was hit...

The known traffic was those three commercial aircraft, as shown on the chart... here it is again...

Those three commercial flights are clearly labeled...and the big question is... why was MH17 DIVERTED SOUTH...OFF ITS PLANNED ROUTE...?

We can see the deviation track by the dotted red line...

Clearly there was no 'other traffic' that required MH17 to be vectored south by the controllers...

In fact we see that there was a FOURTH commercial flight [another B777] that was flying south exactly to that same waypoint that MH17 was diverted to...we see this airplane is flying west on the M70 airway and is heading to the RND waypoint...

This does not make sense...why would you divert MH17 from going to TAMAK as flight planned...in order to go south toward RND where another airplane is heading...

If nothing else this is very bad controller practice right there...yet again, the DSB [Dutch Safety Board] does not even raise this question...

Like I said, leaving aside any guesswork, these are the simple facts and they raise serious questions...both about the competence of the Dutch report, and the way the controllers handled that flight...

S , Nov 15 2019 14:53 utc | 79
Ukrainian think tank Ukrainian Institute of the Future and Ukrainian media outlet Zerkalo Nedeli (both anti-Russian, but slightly more intellectual than typical Ukrainian outlets) have contracted a Kharkov-based pollster to conduct a poll among DNR/LNR residents from October 7 to October 31 (method: face-to-face interviews at the homes of the respondents, sample size: 806 respondents in DNR and 800 respondents in LNR, margin of error: 3.2%) and published its results in an article: Тест на сумісність [Compatibility Test] (in Ukrainian).

It's a long and rambling article, interspersed with Ukrainian propagandistic clichés (perhaps to placate Ukrainian nationalists), but the numbers look solid, so I've extracted the numbers I consider important and put them in a table format. Here they are:

GENERAL INFORMATION

Gender
46.5% male
53.5% female

Age
8.3% <25 years old
91.7% ≥25 years old

Education
31.5% no vocational training or higher education
45.2% vocational training
23.3% higher education

Employment
24% public sector
24% private sector
5% NGOs
45% unemployed

Religion
57% marry and baptize their children in Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
31% believe in God, but do not go to any church
12% other churches, other religions, atheists

Political activity
3% are members of parties
97% are not members of parties

Language
90% speak Russian at home
10% speak other languages at home

Nationality
55.4% consider themselves Ukrainians
44.6% do not consider themselves Ukrainians

ECONOMY

Opinion about the labor market
24.3% there are almost no jobs
39.3% high unemployment, but it's possible to find a job
15.7% there are jobs, even if temporary
17.1% key enterprises are working, those who want to work can find a job
2.9% there are not enough employees

Personal financial situation
4.9% are saving on food
36.4% enough money to buy food, but have to save money to buy clothing
43.6% enough money to buy food and clothing, but have to save money to buy a suit, a mobile phone, or a vacuum cleaner
12% enough money to buy food, clothing, and other goods, but have to save money to buy expensive goods (e.g. consumer electronics)
2.7% enough money to buy food, clothing, and expensive goods, but have to save money to buy a car or an apartment
0.4% enough money to buy anything

Personal financial situation compared to the previous year
28.4% worsened
57.3% stayed the same
14.2% improved

Personal financial situation expectations for the next year
21% will worsen
58.6% will stay the same
18.7% will improve

Opinion on the Ukraine's (sans DNR/LNR) economic situation compared to the previous year
50.3% worsened
41.4% stayed the same
6.3% improved

CITIZENSHIP

Consider themselves citizens of
57.8% the Ukraine
34.8% DNR/LNR
6.8% Russia

Russian citizenship
42.9% never thought about obtaining it
15.5% don't want to obtain it
34.2% would like to obtain it
7.4% already obtained it

Considered leaving DNR/LNR for
5.2% the Ukraine
11.1% Russia
2.9% other country
80.8% never considered leaving

Visits to the Ukraine over the past year
35.1% across the DNR/LNR–Ukraine border (overwhelming majority of them -- 32.2% of all respondents -- are pensioners who visit the Ukraine to receive their pensions)
2.6% across the Russia–Ukraine border
62.3% have not visited the Ukraine

WAR

Is the war in Donbass an internal Ukrainian conflict?
35.6% completely agree
40.5% tend to agree
14.1% tend to disagree
9.3% completely disagree

Was the war started by Moscow and pro-Russian groups?
3.1% completely agree
6.4% tend to agree
45.1% tend to disagree
44.9% completely disagree

Who must pay to rebuild DNR/LNR? (multiple answers)
63.6% the Ukraine
29.3% Ukrainian oligarchs
18.5% DNR/LNR themselves
17% the U.S.
16.5% the EU
16% Russia
13% all of the above

ZELENSKIY

Opinion about Zelenskiy
1.9% very positive
17.2% positive
49.6% negative
29.3% very negative

Has your opinion about Zelenskiy changed over the past months?
2.7% significantly improved
7.9% somewhat improved
44.8% stayed the same
22.9% somewhat worsened
20.5% significantly worsened

Will Zelenskiy be able to improve the Ukraine's economy?
1.4% highly likely
13.3% likely
55.3% unlikely
30% highly unlikely

Will Zelenskiy be able to bring peace to the region?
1.7% highly likely
12.5% likely
59% unlikely
26.5% highly unlikely

MEDIA

Where do you get your information on politics? (multiple answers)
84.3% TV
60.6% social networks
50.9% relatives, friends
45.9% websites
17.4% co-workers
10% radio
7.4% newspapers and magazines

What social networks do you use? (multiple answers)
70.7% YouTube
61% VK
52.3% Odnoklassniki
49.8% Viber
27.1% Facebook
21.4% Instagram
12.4% Twitter
11.1% Telegram

FUTURE

Desired status of DNR/LNR
5.1% part of the Ukraine
13.4% part of the Ukraine with a special status
16.2% independent state
13.4% part of Russia with a special status
50.9% part of Russia

Desired status of entire Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts
8.4% part of the Ukraine
10.8% part of the Ukraine with a special status
14.4% independent state
13.3% part of Russia with a special status
49.6% part of Russia

Really?? , Nov 15 2019 15:12 utc | 80
Just listening to a bit of the testimony of the ex-ambassador to Ukraine.

It is all BS hearsay!

Also, this lady doesn't seem to grasp that as an employee of the State Department, she answers to Trump. Trump is her boss.

The questioning is full of leading questions that contains allegations and unproved premises built into them. I can't imagine that such questioning would be allowed in a normal court of justice in the USA.

Sure, Trump is a boor. But he is still the boss and he gets to pull out ambassadors if he wants to.

This is total grandstanding.

Also, a lot of emotional stuff like "I was devastated. I was shocked. Color drained from my face as I read the telephone transcript . . . "
This is BS!

I hope it is as obvious to others as to me.

I do

Seamus Padraig , Nov 15 2019 15:28 utc | 81
@ Posted by: Jen | Nov 15 2019 10:26 utc | 70

IIRC the Russian radar showed that the two mystery planes in questions were flying in MH17's blindspot . That's way too close to be half an hour away. Also, the fact that the two planes were flying over a war zone with their transponders turned off (which is why they couldn't be conclusively identified) strongly suggests that they were military.

@ Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 15 2019 11:24 utc | 71

When the US launched a coup in Kiev, wasn't that a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty too?

@ Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Nov 15 2019 12:36 utc | 72

You know the real reason why they have yet to deliver the javelins to Ukraine? It's because they're afraid that they'll be sold on the black market and end up in the ME somewhere targeting US tanks. That's why.

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 15 2019 13:30 utc | 75

That's quite the dramatic improvement, I must admit.
Well, I did use the qualifier 'somewhat'. ;-)
Don Bacon , Nov 15 2019 15:34 utc | 82
on Yovanovitch, She added: "If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States."

She wasn't fired, she was kneecapped, and Ukraine is a US vital national security interest, especially after it installed a new government with neo-fascism support.. . .Kneecapping is a form of malicious wounding, often as torture, in which the victim is injured in the knee

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 15:52 utc | 84
Cheeza decides to launch a personal attack...also completely off topic...
Typical reaction of a zelf-zentered person [sic]...With experts such as you out there, why would anyone dare apply common sense...an intelligent person would have said...blah blah blah...

Look man...I'm not going to take up a lot of space on this thread because it's not about the MAX...

BUT...I need to set the record straight because you are accusing me here of somehow muddying the waters on the MAX issue...

That is a complete inversion of the truth...I have been very explicit in my [professional] comments about the MAX...and it is the exact opposite of what you are trying to tar me with here...

An example of my one of my comments here...

Yes, it is important to understand these things...which is why I have made the effort to explain the issue more clearly for the layman audience...

Your pathetic attack here shows you have no shame, nor self-respect...

Let's rewind the tape here...I said that Gazprom is looking to cut supplies to Ukraine in the new 10 year deal that comes up for negotiation in January...and that they are going to be pumping much less gas through Ukraine because NS2 now allows to bypass Ukraine...

You took a run at this comment, calling it wrong, and putting up a bunch of your own hypothesizing...

I responded by linking to the Russian news report quoting officials saying exactly that...that gas to Ukraine will be greatly reduced...

Instead of responding to that by admitting you were full of shit...you decide to attack me on the MAX issue...everybody here knows my [professional] position on the MAX...and that I have said repeatedly THAT IT CANNOT BE FIXED...[which is also why I have offered detailed technical explanations...]

I'm not going to let you screw with my integrity here...everything you attributed to me on the MAX is completely FALSE and in fact turning the truth on its head...

Realist , Nov 15 2019 16:08 utc | 87
Well done Peter. You totally f'd up the thread width once again.

Thanks a lot, you selfish incompetent c**t

Peter AU1 , Nov 15 2019 16:32 utc | 91
Realist 87

If you weren't such a dickhead you would see my links dont even reach text margins.

c1ue , Nov 15 2019 16:33 utc | 92
@flankerbandit #18

As Kiza #55 noted - Nordstream 1 and 2, combined, only equal half of Ukraine's transit capacity. The primary impact is that Ukraine can't hold far Western European customer gas hostage anymore with its gas transit "negotiations" as Nordstream allows Russia to sell directly to Germany.

There can still be Russian gas sold via Ukraine, but this will be mostly to near-Ukraine neighbors: Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Czech as well as Ukraine itself.
Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania can transit from Turk Stream, but there are potential Turk (and Bulgarian) issues.

Poland is already committing to LNG in order to not be dependent on Russian gas transiting Ukraine - a double whammy. The ultimate effect is to remove Ukraine's stranglehold position over Russian gas exports, which in turn severely undercuts Ukraine's ability to both get really cheap Russian gas and additional transit fees - a major blow to their economy.

That part of your analysis is accurate.

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 17:13 utc | 97
A fool piped in...
Nordstream 1 and 2, combined, only equal half of Ukraine's transit capacity.

Look...I'm not going to waste more time on bullshit...where are the FACTS about what you CLAIM here...?

The two Nordstream pipes equal 110 bcm per year...plus there are other pipeline routes that do not go through Ukraine...

Here is a study of the Euro gas imports from Russia from a few months ago...

The Conclusion...page 9

Therefore, the continuation of gas transit via Ukraine in volumes greater than the 26 bcm/y suggested above will depend on the European Commission and European gas importers, and their insistence that gas transit via Ukraine continues.

Otherwise, gas transit via Ukraine will be reduced to delivering limited volumes for European storage re-fills in the 'off-peak' summer months...

This prospect will undoubtedly complicate any negotiations between Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterparty over a new contract to govern the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine, once the existing contract expires at the end of December 2019.

...Gazprom may be willing to commit to only limited annual transit volumes...

European gas importers don't give a shit about Ukraine...and they have the final word...they care only about getting the gas they need from Russia in a reliable way and at a good price...

The news report I linked to makes it perfectly clear that the Europeans are demanding that the Ukranians get their act together on the gas issue, or they will be dropped altogether...

You know...FOOL...it really makes me wonder how fools like you decide to make statements here with a very authoritative tone...when it is quite clear you are talking out your rear end...

Nobody needs that kind of bullshit here...if you don't know a subject sufficiently well, then maybe you should keep quiet...or when making a statement, phrase it as your own OPINION and nothing more...

[Nov 14, 2019] The apparent plan, still in process, is to ship US LNG to Ukraine via a port on the Baltic coast of Poland, thereby hurting Russia's export-dependent economy. Cold War II stuff

Nov 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Thomas Brom , November 13, 2019 at 14:42

Brilliant! Acting Ambassador Bill Taylor's testimony today was unabashed and explicit: the real issue is how best to bring Ukraine into the Western orbit–a bipartisan 30-year effort.
For a follow-up, dig deeper into Burisma Holdings and its strange set of directors: Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, Cofer Black, Alan Apter, and the former president of Poland, among others. Then Google "Burisma and LNG," as in liquified natural gas.

That will lead to the business press: Forbes 9/30/2019, Reuters 8/30/2019, and Petroleum Economist 8/8/2017.

The apparent plan, still in process, is to ship U.S. LNG to Ukraine via a port on the Baltic coast of Poland, thereby weaning Ukraine away from Russian natural gas and hurting Russia's export-dependent economy. Cold War II stuff. Check it out.

[Nov 09, 2019] Exposing The Plan For A Global Dystopia

Switch to hybrids can save some fuel on personal transportation segment, but for large vehicles like delivery trucks this is problematic
Nov 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com,

The EU sees US leadership failing while the Russian beast to its east are getting stronger. The lessons of Russia wielding power over Ukraine by cutting off energy supplies have been noted: energy security is a long-term threat to the EU and Russia is on the verge of controlling Middle Eastern supplies as well. Furthermore, the lessons of China's economic successes through non-democratic government control will also have been noted as something for European statists to emulate.

The EU's response to the energy threat from Russia has been to adopt a radical green agenda without reservation. Despite about 98% of transport and logistics being delivered by diesel and gasoline, some member states in the EU are banning the sales of internal combustion engines as motive power from as soon as 2030 . This accelerated path to zero emissions will require massive investment. Clearly this is being viewed as economically stimulative at a time of declining optimism over the general economic outlook.

These views are articulated in UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2019, Financing a Global Green Deal [iii]. The authors argue that internationally coordinated action between governments pursuing reflationary monetary and fiscal policies, while restricting international capital flows, will generate the economic growth and capture the resources to finance the investment. The charts below are indicative of their thinking, and are copied from Page 56 of the report.


wildbad , 1 hour ago link

Excellent laying out of the situation but little in the way of digestible solutions. Demonizing Russia as "the Beast" is both unhelpful and shows a prejudice of the author shared by the genuinely evil powers of the world. Russia has a huge interest in keeping Europe as an energy trading partner. The troubles with Ukraine were due to the US / Globalist efforts in that country to destabilize a competitor (Russia) in their global hegemonic bid.

Russia is well led and debt free. The gold backed crypto is well underway in that country but was not mentioned in this otherwise breathy article. Crypto is a bridge too far at the moment for general consumption. I am betting on a return to a fractional gold tie down. The mis-leaders and the bankers will not enjoy having their print-fest party spoiled but it is the only practical solution and carries the much desired mechanism of tying their dirty hands.

Debt is the noose which will hang the central banks and this hanging needs to be done in public whether 5% or 50% of the people understand it. Some people will only understand how the system works when Starbucks declines their cattle card.

LA_Goldbug , 25 minutes ago link

Demonizing Russia as "the Beast"

I used to be fooled into this position many Moons ago. That trick simply no longer works.

Ukraine were due to the US / Globalist

Germany did plenty to destabilize this place as well as Yugoslavia. They have gotten away from being called out on this.

PKKA , 3 hours ago link

Again pathetic assholes making plans against Russia.

It is a terrible shame: only two countries at the UN opposed Russia's resolution on the fight against Nazism.

The third committee of the UN General Assembly on social and humanitarian issues by a majority vote adopted a draft Russian resolution to combat the glorification of Nazism. Thanks to this initiative, radical groups can have big problems.

Representatives of 121 countries supported the idea of ​​Russian diplomats. As expected, only two countries voted against - the United States and Ukraine. Another 55 countries abstained from voting.


No wonder. Americans are behind any Nazism. Hitler's fascism in particular, they grew up in the hope of inciting Hitler to the USSR. Well, Ukro-Nazis today are the favorite Nazi whores of Americans. Therefore, such results: the owner and his whore.

As Nikita Khrushchev said, we did not finish you off near Stalingrad, but we will finish you off!

[Nov 02, 2019] The Energy 202 Rick Perry's role in Ukraine under scrutiny

Perry is another neocon in Trump administration and it looks like he pushed Trump under the train.
Notable quotes:
"... In November, Perry touted a shipment of Pennsylvania coal to Ukraine as "just one example of America's readiness and commitment to help diversify Europe's energy markets." ..."
"... Another major priority for Perry is opposing the construction of Nord Stream 2, a proposed gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany that many nations, including the United States, fear will increase the European Union's reliance on Russia for its energy needs. While in Ukraine in May, Perry promised that Trump would back a bill sanctioning companies involved in the project. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

Congressional Democrats want to know more about Rick Perry's travels to Ukraine and conversations with officials there, signaling that the mild-mannered energy secretary won't escape the intense of heat of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In a memo released Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said he plans to issue a subpoena for White House documents by the end of the week centered on Trump's requests to the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into one of his chief political rivals, former vice president Joe Biden.

Among the records his committee is seeking are any related to Perry's attendance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration on May 20 as well as a White House meeting Perry attended three days later.

Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, similarly sent a letter to Perry on Tuesday asking him what instructions Trump gave him when the Cabinet official flew to Ukraine in May, as well as who asked Perry to go there in the first place. And three House committees on Monday issued a sweeping subpoena to Trump's personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in part seeking documents related to Perry.

The multiple congressional inquiries have put a spotlight on Perry, who has distinguished himself during his time in the job for avoiding controversy. Though the energy secretary is not accused of wrongdoing and has not been directly subpoenaed, Perry and his Energy Department spent Wednesday reassuring congressional Democrats they will cooperate with the impeachment probe.

"We're going to work with Congress and answer all their questions," Perry told reporters Wednesday at a departmental event in Chicago on artificial intelligence.

Leading a department he once called to eliminate when running for president in 2012, Perry has kept his head down and avoided the scandals that embroiled some of Trump's original energy and environmental policy team members, including former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and ex-Interior Department secretary Ryan Zinke, who were both ousted amid ethics investigations. Perry's easygoing demeanor has let him develop productive relationships with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

"Regardless of subject, the Department is always willing to work with Congress in response to requests that follow proper procedures," Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes wrote by email.

An explosive whistleblower complaint from an anonymous U.S. intelligence official alleged Trump did not want to meet with Zelensky until he saw how the new Ukrainian leader "chose to act" in office. In May, Perry led the American delegation to Zelensky's inauguration in lieu of Vice President Pence after Pence canceled his planned trip, according to the complaint.

Two months later, on July 25, Trump repeatedly urged Zelensky in a phone call to investigate Biden, offering to enlist Attorney General William P. Barr in that effort while dangling the possibility of a White House meeting, according to a rough transcript of the call the White House released.

On Wednesday, Perry declined to say to reporters whether he was on the July phone call. He joked that he was asked to fill in for Pence in Ukraine in May because he is "just such a darn good Cabinet member."

As energy secretary, Perry has regularly traveled to Eastern Europe to promote the sale of U.S.-produced natural gas and coal. "I've had the opportunity to go into so many different countries to represent the United States, our energy opportunities," Perry said Wednesday. "Ukraine is one of those."

It is not unusual for energy secretaries to have a hand in foreign policy. Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist who served as President Barack Obama's energy secretary, played a central role in brokering the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

Energy secretaries "do get involved from time to time on diplomatic issues," said Susan Tierney, a former assistant secretary for policy at the Energy Department under Obama.

Curbing Eastern and Central European countries' dependence on Russia for electricity and heating fuel was "very early on a priority" for the Trump administration, according to George David Banks, a former Trump White House energy policy adviser. Given Perry's happy-go-lucky charm -- and the fact that former secretary of state Rex Tillerson was recused from dealing with several energy issues because of his previous job as ExxonMobil's chief executive -- it made sense for Perry to work on Ukraine, Banks said.

"He's a natural-born diplomat," Banks said.

Ukraine, rich with its own natural gas reserves, does not import gas from the United States, unlike some Eastern European nations such as Poland and Lithuania. But it does take in and burn American coal -- about 4.8 million tons of it in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Most of that U.S.-to-Ukraine-bound coal is of a special grade often used in manufacturing steel, a major industry in Ukraine. The United States is only one of a few coal-exporting countries that has that type of coal.

The country has its own coal reserves, but much of them are located in contested territory in eastern Ukraine. Facing costly imports from Russia, Ukraine has begun getting coal supplies from the United States, Australia, Kazakhstan, and others places in recent years, according to EIA.

In November, Perry touted a shipment of Pennsylvania coal to Ukraine as "just one example of America's readiness and commitment to help diversify Europe's energy markets."

Another major priority for Perry is opposing the construction of Nord Stream 2, a proposed gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany that many nations, including the United States, fear will increase the European Union's reliance on Russia for its energy needs. While in Ukraine in May, Perry promised that Trump would back a bill sanctioning companies involved in the project.

[Nov 01, 2019] Someone with more knowledge to the timeline needs to correlate the punishments for Russia (sanctions) to the oil price

Nov 01, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Wilmers31

Someone with more knowledge to the timeline needs to correlate the punishments for Russia (sanctions) to the oil price.

I think they started sanctions when Russian oil and gas deliveries were getting cheaper but US needed 75$+ for the frackers.

It was just eliminating a competitor, especially after they could not purchase the monopoly on Russian gas and oil through the monopoly company Yukos.

[Nov 01, 2019] US efforts to derail Nordstream 2 have failed.

Nov 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Oct 31 2019 17:24 utc | 23

U.S. efforts to derail Nordstream 2 have failed. Hehehe. All those sanctions were bypassed; the partnerships of Nordstream 2 - Wintershall, Austria's OMV, France's Engie, and the Netherlands' Royal Dutch Shell - were converted to loans and Gazprom owns it all.

Nord Stream 2 clears major hurdle as Denmark OKs gas pipeline

COPENHAGEN/BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Denmark on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, removing the last major hurdle to completion of the Russian-led project that has divided opinion in the European Union.[.]

and

Trump Loses More than Just the Battle Over Nordstream 2

For the past three years the U.S. has fought the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany every inch of the way.
The battle came down to the last few miles, literally, as Denmark has been withholding the final environmental permit on Nordstream 2 for months.
The U.S., especially under Trump, have committed themselves to a 'whole of government approach' to stop the 55 bcm natural gas pipeline from making landfall in Germany.[.]


In a sense, this pipeline is Germany's declaration of independence from seventy-plus years of U.S. policy setting. Never forget that Germany is occupied territory with more than 50,000 U.S. troops stationed there.

So it is supremely rich of President Trump call Nordstream 2 something that could make Germany a "hostage of Russia" when it's been a hostage of the U.S. since 1945.

Then again, history isn't one of Trump's strong suits.[.]

How is that song again? do not know much about geography or geology.


dh , Oct 31 2019 17:53 utc | 26

@23 Thanks for the Nordstream 2 news. The Danish objections were critical to completing the pipeline. Apparently the problem was more environmental than political as far as the Danes were concerned.


https://www.ft.com/content/dbebe814-fb13-11e9-98fd-4d6c20050229

Likklemore , Oct 31 2019 18:27 utc | 30
dh @ 26
"more environmental than political"

and the fact that Mr. Putin had at the ready an alternative route

geography, geography.

Putting pressure on Germany and the Gazprom "partners" was a huge mistake.

The free cash hoards of these EU companies have mighty sway. Just ask the illiquid banks with cap in hand. How are their overnight loans?

Joost , Oct 31 2019 18:47 utc | 33
@23 Likklemore.
Northstream II is a gift from Trump. Remember how he insulted the Danes by suggesting to buy Greenland and then again insulted the Queen by cancelling his trip to the country because she refused to discuss the offer? It was that moment back in August when I thought "Thank you Trump, you just gave us Northstream II". This is how Trump defeats the Borg so now and then.
Don Bacon , Oct 31 2019 19:02 utc | 34
@ Likklemore 23
There's also UNCLOS as a factor on the Denmark decision for Nordstream 2:
In the exclusive economic zone, all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy, subject to the relevant provisions of this Convention, the freedoms referred to in article 87 ["freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines"] of navigation and overflight and of the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships, aircraft and submarine cables and pipelines, and compatible with the other provisions of this Convention. . . here
dh , Oct 31 2019 19:25 utc | 37
@30 The Danes had geographic and economic reasons for sure. I like joost's theory too. Offering to buy Greenland and insulting the Queen was no way to get the Danes to block the pipeline.....if that's what Trump really wanted. That would be sheer genius on Trump's part.

But I don't think the Danes will say that was the reason. I'm guessing they'll say they had environmental concerns.

Breadonwater , Oct 31 2019 20:05 utc | 45
Why is denmarks approval needed for nordstream 2 ? Is it due to the Danish island of Bornholm?
karlof1 , Oct 31 2019 20:37 utc | 50

breadonwater @45--

Yes. The route goes within its 12 mile limit, but the okay is provisional and won't become final for @ 4 more weeks.

Jen , Oct 31 2019 21:16 utc | 52

Breadonwater @ 45:

Looks very much as though you are right.

Nordstream II follows Nordstream I closely near Bornholm, which makes one wonder what the environmentally based objections were to the second pipeline's route. The pipeline can be laid down in three to four weeks so construction issues would not appear to be a major problem.

Petri Krohn , Oct 31 2019 23:13 utc | 67
Posted by: Breadonwater | Oct 31 2019 20:05 utc | 45
Why is Denmark's approval needed for Nordstream 2? Is it due to the Danish island of Bornholm?

MARITIME LAW EXPLAINED

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) from 1958 guarantees to all countries the right to lay cables and pipes in international waters. This is part of the freedom of the seas. Laying cables and pipes is not "economic" activity as defined in the 1982 treaty that gave countries the right to a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Pipe laying is affected only by the little-known Espoo Convention from 1991 that obliges the parties to carry out an environmental impact assessment of certain activities at an early stage of planning. Nowhere in the treaty does it say that it can be used to stop the freedom of navigation or other freedoms of the seas.

NordStream 2 will NOT pass through Danish territorial waters, as Russian and Western media often falsely impliy.

[Oct 31, 2019] Denmark clears Russian Nord Stream 2 project after it bypassed its territorial waters

Oct 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

WTFUD , 55 minutes ago link

How To Win Friends and Influence People. lol

Denmark clears Russian Nord Stream 2 project.

The Evil Empire is having a bad hair decade.

hugin-o-munin , 43 minutes ago link

Denmark was instructed to delay the European/Russian Nordstream2 approval. The delay forced the consortium to redirect the pipeline to avoid Danish waters and so now whatever they decide is completely moot and irrelevant. They are only trying to save face because they recently approved a pipeline to Poland for expensive US freedom gas. This is how it works, small countries like Denmark and Poland have no say of their own when the US wants something.

[Oct 19, 2019] Precious! After all those years Ukraine tried to force Gazprom to prolong transportation contracts, including in western Courts, now it is EUROCOMMISSION that plays their 3rd Energy Package card, but how!

Oct 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Arioch , says: October 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm GMT

(RUS) http://geoenergetics.ru/2019/10/08/ukrainskij-gazovyj-tranzit-ostavsheesya-okno-vozmozhnostej/

Precious! After all those years Ukraine tried to force Gazprom to prolong transportation contracts, including in western Courts, now it is EUROCOMMISSION that plays their 3rd Energy Package card, but how!

After Zelensky so daringly kissed up to Trump and talk dirt about Merkel and Macron – EC says the prolongation of Gazprom-NaftaGaz contract is "not legally possible" and that Ukraine has to kill and "unbundle" NaftaGaz, and when they done – only then the new pipes-only company would be free to try negotiate a new unrelated contract for gas transportation.

The Holy Grail of Ukrainian foreign economics is dead, backstabbed by EU.
What a fine present to President Ze :-DDDD

[Sep 22, 2019] It is absolutely typical of Europe to wait until the pipeline is almost complete to offload that bomb. I suppose they figure Russia will have to agree to anything they say so as not to waste all that work and money.

Sep 22, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 16, 2019 at 10:54 am

I think the EU may have just fucked Nord Stream II. An EU General Court overturned the 2016 EU Commission decision to allow Gazprom to use more than 50% of the Opal pipeline, a critical choke point for both legs of Nord Stream II to get gas to the hub. If that decision can't be reversed again, a reasonable argument will be made that Nord stream II is not necessary, as Nord Stream alone can easily supply 50% capacity. The kicker is they do not have any other exporter who could make up the other 50% to use the pipeline to capacity. But this is a very shrewd move, as the Opal pipeline was always the weak link.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-13/russia-s-main-gas-route-to-europe-seen-at-risk-after-pipe-ruling

Ukraine, of course, will be dancing in the streets with delight. But I wouldn't be too quick to do that. Russia might still decline to renew the contract with Ukraine, and just let Europe go short, to teach it a lesson. Past time, in my opinion. Of course Uncle Sam will see that as the opportunity long looked for, and offer to step up with LNG imports. And that might be good, too, for a couple of years – let the Yurrupeans pay extortionate gas prices, and learn to be wary of America's temper tantrums translated to supply 'problems' which can only be resolved by making political concessions. Russia has always pretty much let Europe do its thing without pressuring it much, despite the hysterics you see in the media about weaponization of energy.

It is absolutely typical of Europe to wait until the pipeline is almost complete to offload that bomb. I suppose they figure Russia will have to agree to anything they say so as not to waste all that work and money. It also showcases Europe's complete unreliability in any business relationship, exactly in lock-step with American unreliability.

et Al September 17, 2019 at 12:38 am
I saw that news too. But then remember the original Nord Stream had a cap that was then lifted. If the EU insists on paying top $$$ for imported LNG from the US rather than lifting any sort of cap, I'd be interested to see how they justify that to EU citizen consumers.

I think the point is, again, not to react immediately to whatever outrage Brussels or its friends pick out of their ass. I could well imagine that NSII partners may well sue Brussels about this, actually file the papers. Brussels would argue 'But it's not us, it's the court', to which the lawyers would say 'We specifically asked you, and you came up with nothing in law'.

I think we will find the general court has taken a certain 'interpretation' of competition law that was 'advised' by Brussles. How NSII could get this far after all of these years and have a court come out with such a ruling. Expect egg on face and 'It's not me!'. I don't see how this 'ruling' can stand.

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Moscow Exile September 17, 2019 at 9:55 am
The Europeans Physically Shut Off the "Nord Stream" Tap – Everything Is Lost?

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Mark Chapman September 17, 2019 at 3:09 pm
"The Europeans apply antitrust legislation, which is designed to develop the competition. Why it is necessary to free up 50% of the gas pipeline's capacity? According to the idea of the legislators, it has to allow competition to arise. But when nobody can physically come to the start point of the OPAL gas pipeline, alternative suppliers have nowhere to come from. There physically isn't and can't be another supplier in OPAL!!! It's like banning water from being carried in full buckets!"

The very inspiration of competition is the introduction of anti-monopoly procedures to establish a lowest price by pitting the competitors against one another. I am pretty confident that Russia has always had the lowest prices, and can usually be induced to do a deal for lower prices yet in exchange for other considerations. When other countries do it, it's what dealing's all about – when Russia does it, it's weaponizing energy.

If you have a reliable supplier who has access to years of reserves and who consistently sells to you at a reasonable price, why do you have to impose a raft of new rules to bring in competitors who cannot match its prices and do not have access to plentiful supplies? Once again, for Yurrupeans who do not get it, competition is to arrive at a low price. If you start from a low price, it is stupid to mandate room for competitors who cannot get under it.

I suspect the Poles are behind this latest charade. But why is Germany going along with it? Opal lies entirely within Germany, and anything that risks constraining available supply risks Germany's status as a gas hub.

Anyway, as I suggested earlier, it would do Europe a world of good for Russia to short them gas for a little while and let them pay prices for outside supplies that would have their hair on fire. A period of throwing money away when you know there is a cheaper supply to which you cannot get access can be extremely educational. Uncle Sam would jump at the chance to sell Europe LNG and, at least in the beginning, would cut prices to the bone in order to establish market share. But it would still insist on making a profit, and it can't do that and match Russian prices, while its lengthy logistic chain depends on a lot of factors. If it became confident that its market share was both secure and relied upon, Europeans would quickly see how it was leveraged against them to American advantage.

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et Al September 18, 2019 at 3:27 am
But why is Germany going along with it?

Indeed, why now ?

Helping the Ukraine in it's gas talks fit in my opinion. This 50% cap can be lifted, reintroduced/whatever and whenever by Brussels. It's a gangsta move.

Like Like

Mark Chapman September 18, 2019 at 3:15 pm
Well, actually, it can't. Be lifted and re-imposed willy-nilly, I mean. If it is, it would be pointless to build the pipeline in the first place, as Opal would merely take the place of Ukraine. The western tacticians want to keep Ukraine in the mix because they can use it to introduce complications and problems in gas delivery from Russia, which can at the same time be used to paint Russia as an unreliable partner. If Opal can't be relied upon to supply the opportunity to transit major volumes, Russia will have to make a deal with Ukraine so as to preserve a Plan B option. It would have been better to not build the pipeline, and still cease transit through Ukraine, labeling it instead as the unreliable part of the logistics chain, and Europe would just have to be satisfied with what it could get out of existing pipelines – minus Ukraine – running flat-out. After all, Europe maintained that a twin line for Nord Stream was not needed; mind you, when they said that, they were envisioning continued transit through Ukraine, complete with the prima donna antics Ukraine exhibits when it believes it has leverage.

The price of gas would go through the roof, and Russia would probably make just as much money, while the Europeans were weeping and tearing out their hair.

Ukraine's offer for the gas talks is 60 Billion Cubic Meters transit annually for 10 years. Russia will tell them to go fuck themselves. They're basically asking for a contract to transit the same amount they're transiting now, when there is no alternative, for ten more years.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/18/reuters-america-ukraine-says-supports-eus-sefcovic-position-at-trilateral-gas-talks.html

Of course Sefcovic will pull out all the stops to get Russia to sign on, because he's a Ukraine partisan.

Like Like

et Al September 19, 2019 at 11:51 am
Well, actually, it can't.

I wish I could be so sure. Brussels likes to think it is kleva (sic 'field pipes'/TAP exemptions). I've looked for more details, and it is appealable (is that a word)?

https://tass.com/economy/1078049

For several years, Russia could use only 50% of the pipeline's capacity, as prescribed in the EU's Third Energy Package. Gazprom asked for permission to use OPAL's 100% capacity,

.In the summer of 2017, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court decided to remove interim measures on Gazprom's use of Opal's facilities imposed by the lawsuit. Poland finds that now the decision of the European Court of Justice will not allow Gazprom to abandon gas transit through the territory of Ukraine.

On September 10, on considering Poland's lawsuit, the EU Court of Justice overturned the European Commission's decision of 2016, according to which Gazprom could fully use the capacities of the OPAL gas pipeline. The Russian company reserves the right to use 50% of OPAL's capacity, but it will no longer be able to participate in auctions for the remaining 40%.
####

So it is a continuation of previous legal ding-dongs.

https://jamestown.org/program/eu-court-decision-will-limit-gazproms-ability-to-pump-gas-to-europe-via-nord-stream-route/

The ruling is also important because of the reasoning behind it. The justices said the main reason for their decision was not to preserve third-party access to pipelines that run through Europe but to maintain the EU's energy-solidarity policy. This opens the door to future litigation based on such policy
####

WTF? So it's not about allowing 3rd party access after all. The Court is ruling on a completely different aspect! So this is about a different rule of the EU's Third Energy Package that a) post dates the original Nord Stream; b) ignores that NSII follows the same route and is not substantially different to NS1. The Third Energy Package entered in to legislation in September 2009.* Excuse me, but 10 years late?

So it looks to me that the multipronged offensive against NSII though it has failed to stymie off-shore NSII because it is almost completely outside the EU (well, we'll see what happend with Denmark), it's temporarily struck gold with OPAL because it is on-shore EU.

Buuut, in leverageing against Russia to the benefit of Ukraine, it will directly impact Russia-EU-Ukraine talks:

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak "I think that, in terms of negotiations, this situation will be taken into account," **

Yet: Šefčovič said the decision was still very fresh, that his services were still studying it, and that it underlined how important the principle of energy solidarity is for Europe.

The ECJ ruled that the 2016 decision is "in breach of the principle of energy solidarity" because it failed to properly assess how to balance Germany's interests against the negative impacts on other EU member states .

Šefčovič avoided a direct answer, but insisted in the need of long-term contracts with Gazprom .

He explained that the Ukrainian side was willing to apply European law, saying this would bring clarity, transparency and efficiency. The letters sent by the Commission to both parties also stressed the importance of long-term contracts, he said . ***

Cake and eat it, Brussels? Kiev complying with 'European Law' when even EU member states do not? Ha ha ha! It all rather looks like vague horseshit to me. Open to creative interpretation a la Marcel Marceau.

* https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/markets-and-consumers/market-legislation/third-energy-package

** https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/business/667576-russias-novak-opal-ruling-will-affect-three-way-gas-talks

*** https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/brussels-unlikely-to-appeal-eu-court-decision-hampering-nord-stream-pipelines/

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Mark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:54 pm
When I said, "Actually, it can't", I didn't mean Europe can't do it, I meant that the uncertainty it introduces will not likely prove satisfactory for Russia to play the game, since Brussels could arbitrarily decide to apply the cap any time it wishes Russia to transit more gas through Ukraine, and pay it more money. The only real solution for Russia is to make it crystal clear to Brussels that it is not going to sign a big fat transit contract with Ukraine, and then business as usual, with Ukraine getting up to its monkeyshines and demanding cheaper gas against the possibility of restricting exports to Europe. Ukraine has demonstrated that it is just like the United States in the sense that if it has any leverage over you, it will use it for its own ends. The west has made it clear it approves of these tactics, even when they cause a temporary shutdown of gas exports to Europe.

Brussels thinks it is being cute, and that Russia will now have to do as Brussels wants it to. Russia has little choice but to play hardball, and let it be known that it has no intention of signing a long-term agreement with Ukraine to transit the same volumes of gas it always did – what the fuck was Nord Stream II all about? If Europe – and especially those perfidious krauts – want to cap the amount going through the Opal line at 50% of capacity, so be it. Europe will just have to adjust to 60 BcM less supply; maybe Uncle Sugar can send a fleet of LNG tankers to make up the difference, at double the cost. But if Russia signs on to transit 60 BcM annually through Ukraine, it is right back where it started, and built an expensive pipeline for nothing. Stand firm, Russia. Europe does not have an alternative gas supplier, and nothing would teach it that lesson like a year or so of scraping to find enough gas, and paying through the nose for it. It's always chunnering about alternative suppliers – go and find them!

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Patient Observer September 18, 2019 at 7:32 pm
Absolutely insane. The EU/Anglo/US fascists are making their last stand and forcing Russia into a corner with the only way out to continue transit through Ukraine. Oh, the humiliation will be so sweet!

I think the Russian reaction will be a big Fuck You. Its all about LNG and the need to save the US gas frackers and their debt. Oh, and to drive a wedge to further separate Russia from Europe. Perfect, Russia can now focus on its future and forget that rotting corpse of Western civilization.

Like Like

Mark Chapman September 19, 2019 at 3:47 am
Oh, I think Nord Stream II will still go through anyway, in the end. But a great deal depends on Russia not signing another 10-year gas deal with Ukraine for 60 BcM annually. If it does that, then there really is no difference from today, and Nord Stream II would just be an extra line for use in emergencies. I can't believe any of the partners want that, as there would be little opportunity for them to profit, which is why I wonder why Germany is being so passive. Have they been persuaded to take one for Team Ukraine? Again, I find that hard to believe. It is essentially a question of Ukraine being Europe's gas hub, or Germany. And it should be more than plain to Europe by now that Ukraine will happily toss a wrench in the transit works any time Washington tells it to.

Europe needs Russian gas. But it wants it on entirely its own terms, with Brussels in control. Apparently it is not obvious that Europe is already in control – it is the buyer. If it doesn't want gas, it doesn't need to buy it. But it does want it. It just wants to wave the rule-book around every time it makes a purchase. Which would be obvious to it, if ever there came a time when it wanted it and couldn't get it.

[Sep 21, 2019] No amount of sanctions will make Russia bend the knee

Notable quotes:
"... One problem with these sanctions is that they are largely after-the-fact when it comes to laying underwater pipe. Turkstream is already done. Nord Stream is about 75% done, but Congress still believes they can stop it . ..."
"... That gas for chicken deal can't be right. Russia produces twice as much chicken meat as the world average. In fact, they're overproducing so much they've started slowing down production. ..."
"... The energy sector is down to 10% of the economy. However all three new pipelines will turn on by the end of the year generating huge cash streams. Russia has solid trading partnerships with nations representing the vast majority of the people and trade on the planet. Food in Russia is great, and I mean really great. It's also very eclectic with cuisine from all over the world and produced to extremely high standards. GMO is illegal. No weird proteins in your cereal in the morning. American fast food tastes better in Russia because it's made with locally grown produce. ..."
"... My impression is that Russia is a continuing work in process in construction and reconstruction, everywhere. The stuff that is done is above Western standards, it amazes in gigantic scope and innovativeness. ..."
"... Some day soon we will need Russia as a friend. At that point we will have to deal with the incredibly bad karma that we created, out of irrational pure hatred and meaness. ..."
"... So the xenophobes claim that Nord Stream 2 would allow Russia to manipulate Europe's gas supply for political and other devious purposes. I searched and could not find any example in the past. But I was using Google which has become increasingly useless when searching on a number of topics. I did find articles about the Ukraine stealing the gas. Russia needs the money. I highly doubt they will screw over their investment. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:22pm Congress is looking to impose new sanctions on Russia and any company that works with Russia.

Two bills in the House and the Senate, instead of penalizing the major gas companies involved, would target a perceived weak link: the specialized pipe-laying companies working on Nord Stream 2 (and on the Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom's TurkStream project, which will bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Turkey and eventually to Europe). The bills would sanction pipe-laying companies involved in the project, freezing their U.S. assets and prohibiting them from doing U.S. business.

One problem with these sanctions is that they are largely after-the-fact when it comes to laying underwater pipe. Turkstream is already done. Nord Stream is about 75% done, but Congress still believes they can stop it .

President Donald Trump has recommended Germany buy U.S. liquefied natural gas. That would benefit Cruz's home state of Texas, the country's largest producer of natural gas.

A second problem is that Germany doesn't want us dictating their foreign policy. According to a recent survey, only 19 percent of Germans considered the United States a trustworthy partner (well behind Russia).

Pluto's Republic on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 6:42pm snoopydawg on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 7:27pm

Congress put sanctions on Russia aluminum remember?

Oleg D.....something had a part in the Russia Gate saga and so his aluminum factory was punished. But then Trump relaxed them after Oleg sold his part. Now McConnell is allowing Oleg to build a huge aluminum plant in Kentucky so off course he too is under Vlad's thumb. I recently found out that Oleg has had ties to Mueller and others in our intelligence agencies. I don't think there is one supposed Russian bad man involved in Russia Gate that doesn't have connections to Mueller and his goons. Misfud, Halpern (?), and too many other people who played "the spy who loved me" game. Most of them tried to entrap someone in Trump's campaign.

If Europe wants to spend more money importing our gas and make their citizens pay higher prices then they need to be voted out. Do their citizens even know about this? Do the people in Ukraine know why they are expected to freeze this winter or pay higher prices for gas? Russia does seem to be made of teflon. Nothing seems to stick to them.

Linda Wood on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 8:51pm
Deripaska?

@snoopydawg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Deripaska
Oleg Deripaska

Oleg D.....something had a part in the Russia Gate saga and so his aluminum factory was punished. But then Trump relaxed them after Oleg sold his part. Now McConnell is allowing Oleg to build a huge aluminum plant in Kentucky so off course he too is under Vlad's thumb. I recently found out that Oleg has had ties to Mueller and others in our intelligence agencies. I don't think there is one supposed Russian bad man involved in Russia Gate that doesn't have connections to Mueller and his goons. Misfud, Halpern (?), and too many other people who played "the spy who loved me" game. Most of them tried to entrap someone in Trump's campaign.

If Europe wants to spend more money importing our gas and make their citizens pay higher prices then they need to be voted out. Do their citizens even know about this? Do the people in Ukraine know why they are expected to freeze this winter or pay higher prices for gas? Russia does seem to be made of teflon. Nothing seems to stick to them.

MrWebster on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:52am
And it was Europeans that complained on that one.

@snoopydawg

I remember TOP making a big point about the aluminium saying it was Trump really kowtowing to Putin as sanctions were lifted. Turns about that the majority of production was in Western Europe in particular Ireland. Something like upwards of 30K people would end up losing their jobs.

jim p on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:32pm
I've read

around the web that Russia has become self-sufficient in food following a push by government. Food, btw that has no GMOs by law. I think even their food exports have grown greatly. If true, even when Europe shakes off the leash, EU farmers won't have the Russian market anymore.

What I know for a fact is that conscious enemy moles hell-bent on destroying the US could all retire; comforted that job is being done by swiftly and completely by our rulers (both visible and not).

The Voice In th... on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:42pm
Last year (?) I read about a big trade deal

@jim p

between Russia and China. Russian oil and gas in exchange for Chinese chickens. At the time I wondered at a nuclear power that can't raise chickens as any peasant in America (and China) can.

around the web that Russia has become self-sufficient in food following a push by government. Food, btw that has no GMOs by law. I think even their food exports have grown greatly.

If true, even when Europe shakes off the leash, EU farmers won't have the Russian market anymore.

What I know for a fact is that conscious enemy moles hell-bent on destroying the US could all retire; comforted that job is being done by swiftly and completely by our rulers (both visible and not).

edg on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:25pm
Russian Chickens

@The Voice In the Wilderness

That gas for chicken deal can't be right. Russia produces twice as much chicken meat as the world average. In fact, they're overproducing so much they've started slowing down production.

As of early 2019, Russia was manufacturing 33.7 kg of poultry per capita, the fourth-highest rate in the world, said Elena Stepanova, deputy director of Rosptitsesoyuz, speaking at the Russian Meat and Feed Industry conference in Moscow.

The world's 2019 average rate is 16.2 kg per capita, and current production in Russia was already equal to domestic demand, Stepanova said.

"In 2019, we forecast some increase in production, but this growth will be attributed primarily to exports. We consider the balance on the domestic poultry market as fully built," Stepanova said, adding that overall poultry production in Russia in 2019 was expected to grow by 2.7% compared to the previous year, to 5.11 million tons.

Source: Russian Poultry Production Down 6.2% in First Quarter Y/y

#3
between Russia and China. Russian oil and gas in exchange for Chinese chickens.

At the time I wondered at a nuclear power that can't raise chickens as any peasant in America (and China) can.

MrWebster on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 9:46am
Some Russians say thanks to sanctions for food independence

@jim p Russia really played the long game when Putin put a halt to all EU food imports. Besides the food ban, the Russian government began an investment program to bolster domestic production of its own food replacements. Russian cheese anybody? And the programs just did not go to Russia's version of Big Agriculture factory farms--it went to small farmers also.

around the web that Russia has become self-sufficient in food following a push by government. Food, btw that has no GMOs by law. I think even their food exports have grown greatly.

If true, even when Europe shakes off the leash, EU farmers won't have the Russian market anymore.

What I know for a fact is that conscious enemy moles hell-bent on destroying the US could all retire; comforted that job is being done by swiftly and completely by our rulers (both visible and not).

humphrey on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 2:02am
Putin is pretty good at giving a shiv to the MIC. LOL

https://www.rt.com/news/468948-putin-saudi-arabia-missiles/

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested Saudi Arabia should buy Russian air defense systems to protect its oil facilities from drone attacks, pointing to Iran and Turkey, who operate S-300 and S-400 missiles, respectively.

"Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia," Putin told reporters in Ankara on Monday. "These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack."

Putin was answering a question about the recent drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which Washington has blamed on Iran, though Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in 2015 and has fought the Houthis there since.

Pricknick on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 3:27am
Had to laugh.

@humphrey

the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems

According to some, these are the advanced Trump air defense systems. Guaranteed to put out lots of hot air with stench of aftereffect.
He who dealt it.

https://www.rt.com/news/468948-putin-saudi-arabia-missiles/

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested Saudi Arabia should buy Russian air defense systems to protect its oil facilities from drone attacks, pointing to Iran and Turkey, who operate S-300 and S-400 missiles, respectively.

"Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia," Putin told reporters in Ankara on Monday. "These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack."

Putin was answering a question about the recent drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which Washington has blamed on Iran, though Yemen's Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in 2015 and has fought the Houthis there since.

The Liberal Moonbat on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 4:42am
Hey, I know how we can beat Russia...

... CLEAN ENERGY THAT OBSOLETIZES FOSSIL FUELS, ASSHOLES!!!

WE COULD LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD, BE EVERYONE'S HEROES AGAIN, RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY, END OUR WARS, AND PULL THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH RUSSIA AND ALL THOSE GOSHAWFUL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!

TheOtherMaven on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 7:31am
At the rate and in the direction things are going

@The Liberal Moonbat

China will get there first.

... CLEAN ENERGY THAT OBSOLETIZES FOSSIL FUELS, ASSHOLES!!!

WE COULD LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD, BE EVERYONE'S HEROES AGAIN, RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY, END OUR WARS, AND PULL THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH RUSSIA AND ALL THOSE GOSHAWFUL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!

lizzyh7 on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 1:01pm
But "we" have no real desire

@The Liberal Moonbat to stop Islamist terrorists, we fund them to keep the forever wars going. I realize you know that, I just could not help myself there. Whenever I hear we must "fight terrorism" my brain automatically goes back to all the things I have read showing how we not only actively created those terrorists to fight our enemies who will not accept our American interests dominating the world, but how many more we make every day we are there destroying their countries.

... CLEAN ENERGY THAT OBSOLETIZES FOSSIL FUELS, ASSHOLES!!!

WE COULD LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD, BE EVERYONE'S HEROES AGAIN, RESURRECT OUR ECONOMY, END OUR WARS, AND PULL THE FLOOR RIGHT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH RUSSIA AND ALL THOSE GOSHAWFUL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!

The Wizard on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 8:43am
Nice summary gjohnsit

The Russian economy is arguably the healthiest in the world. It's national debt barely shows as a blip on a bar graph with other nations. She has enough cash to pay it off all her debt today. She sold almost all of her US government bonds.

Elvira Nabuillina, head of the Russian Bank, is perhaps the most competent national economic manager in the world. The feeling in Russia is that she is too conservative and high interest rates are the major factor in slower economic growth.

Russia is the largest grower and exporter of wheat in the world, passing the US by a factor of two.

The energy sector is down to 10% of the economy. However all three new pipelines will turn on by the end of the year generating huge cash streams. Russia has solid trading partnerships with nations representing the vast majority of the people and trade on the planet. Food in Russia is great, and I mean really great. It's also very eclectic with cuisine from all over the world and produced to extremely high standards. GMO is illegal. No weird proteins in your cereal in the morning. American fast food tastes better in Russia because it's made with locally grown produce.

My impression is that Russia is a continuing work in process in construction and reconstruction, everywhere. The stuff that is done is above Western standards, it amazes in gigantic scope and innovativeness.

I just visited the new aquarium in Vladivostok. It towers above the ones in Boston and LA, maybe by an order of magnitude.

The tallest building in Europe is in St. Petersburg, the next 5 tallest in Moscow City Center.

The longest bridge in Europe is in Russia. My impression is that Russia is a dynamic fast growing country and in contrast the US can't do anything new. The US must have that gigantic defense budget, ten times that of Russia, to protect it from what? (hmmm). There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that the US congress can do to slow down Russia today.

Some day soon we will need Russia as a friend. At that point we will have to deal with the incredibly bad karma that we created, out of irrational pure hatred and meaness.

MrWebster on Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:17am
When did Russia use gas pipelines to blackmail Europe?

So the xenophobes claim that Nord Stream 2 would allow Russia to manipulate Europe's gas supply for political and other devious purposes. I searched and could not find any example in the past. But I was using Google which has become increasingly useless when searching on a number of topics. I did find articles about the Ukraine stealing the gas. Russia needs the money. I highly doubt they will screw over their investment.

But to the Europeans I say, go fer it. You want to see manipulation of your energy: start up a heavy reliance on American LNG.

[Sep 17, 2019] U.S. And Russia Battle It Out Over This Huge Iraqi Gas Field

Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Simon Watkins via OilPrice.com,

With the U.S, Russia, and China all jostling for position in Iraq's oil and gas industry both north and south, Iraq's oil ministry last week reiterated its desire to have one or more foreign partners in the Mansuriya gas field. Situated in Diyala province, close to the Iran border, Mansuriya is estimated to hold around 4.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, with plateau production projected at about 325 million standard cubic feet per day .

For the U.S., encouraging Iraq to optimise its gas flows so that it reduces its dependency for power from Iran is the key consideration.

For Russia, Rosneft essentially bought control of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq in November 2017, so power in southern Iraq figuratively will complete the set.

Securing oil and gas contracts across all of Iraq will allow Russia to establish an unassailable political sway across the entire Shia crescent of power in the Middle East, stretching from Syria through Lebanon (by dint of Iran), Jordan, Iraq (also helped by Iran), Iran itself, and Yemen (via Iran). From this base, it can effectively challenge the U.S.'s vital oil, gas, and political ally in the region – Saudi Arabia. China, in the meantime, is operating to its own agenda in South Pars Phase 11 and its West Karoun holdings.

Iraq, like Turkey, is still – nominally at least – not committing to either the Russia or the U.S., preferring to play each off against the other for whatever they can get, and the same applies in microcosm to the field of Mansuriya. Turkey itself was a key player in this gas field through its national oil company Turkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortakligi (TPAO) until the middle of last year – holding a 37.5 per cent stake – along with the Oil Exploration Company (25 per cent), Kuwait Energy (22.5 per cent), and South Korea's KOGAS (15 per cent).

TPAO had signed the original development deal for Mansuriya back in 2011, promising Iraq's oil ministry that it could be trusted to reach plateau production within 10 years at most, a senior figure in the ministry told OilPrice.com last week. This was not an unreasonable schedule, for which TPAO would be remunerated US$7.00-7.50 per barrel of oil equivalent, a relatively generous amount compared to many of the previous awards from the ministry. TPAO agreed that the first phase would mean production of at least 100 million cubic feet a day within 12 months from the signing date.

[Sep 13, 2019] The Pompeo Doctrine How to Seize the Arctic's Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change

Notable quotes:
"... Harry S. Truman ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Usually a forum for anodyne statements about international cooperation and proper environmental stewardship, the lid was blown off the latest Arctic Council meeting in May when Pompeo delivered an unabashedly martial and provocative speech that deserves far more attention than it got at the time. So let's take a little tour of what may prove a historic proclamation (in the grimmest sense possible) of a new Washington doctrine for the Far North.

"In its first two decades, the Arctic Council has had the luxury of focusing almost exclusively on scientific collaboration, on cultural matters, on environmental research," the secretary of state began mildly. These were, he said, "all important themes, very important, and we should continue to do those. But no longer do we have that luxury. We're entering a new age of strategic engagement in the Arctic, complete with new threats to the Arctic and its real estate, and to all of our interests in that region."

In what turned out to be an ultra-hardline address, Pompeo claimed that we were now in a new era in the Arctic. Because climate change -- a phrase Pompeo, of course, never actually uttered -- is now making it ever more possible to exploit the region's vast resource riches, a scramble to gain control of them is now officially underway. That competition for resources has instantly become enmeshed in a growing geopolitical confrontation between the U.S., Russia, and China, generating new risks of conflict.

On the matter of resource exploitation, Pompeo could hardly contain his enthusiasm. Referring to the derision that greeted William Seward's purchase of Alaska in 1857, he declared:

"Far from the barren backcountry that many thought it to be in Seward's time, the Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13% of the world's undiscovered oil, 30% of its undiscovered gas, and an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources."

Of equal attraction, he noted, was the possibility of vastly increasing maritime commerce through newly de-iced trans-Arctic trade routes that will link the Euro-Atlantic region with Asia. "Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade," he enthused. "This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days Arctic sea lanes could come [to be] the 21st century's Suez and Panama Canals." That such "steady reductions in sea ice" are the sole consequence of climate change went unmentioned, but so did another reality of our warming world. If the Arctic one day truly becomes the northern equivalent of a tropical passageway like the Suez or Panama canals, that will likely mean that parts of those southerly areas will have become the equivalents of uninhabitable deserts.

As such new trade and drilling opportunities arise, Pompeo affirmed, the United States intends to be out front in capitalizing on them. He then began bragging about what the Trump administration had already accomplished, including promoting expanded oil and gas drilling in offshore waters and also freeing up "energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ," a pristine stretch of northern Alaska prized by environmentalists as a sanctuary for migrating caribou and other at-risk species. Additional efforts to exploit the region's vital resources, he promised, are scheduled for the years ahead.

A New Arena for Competition (and Worse)

Ideally, Pompeo noted placidly, competition for the Arctic's resources will be conducted in an orderly, peaceful manner. The United States, he assured his listeners, believes in "free and fair competition, open, by the rule of law." But other countries, he added ominously, especially China and Russia, won't play by that rulebook much of the time and so must be subject to careful oversight and, if need be, punitive action.

China, he pointed out, is already developing trade routes in the Arctic, and establishing economic ties with key nations there. Unlike the United States (which already has multiple military bases in the Arctic, including one at Thule in Greenland, and so has a well-established presence there), Pompeo claimed that Beijing is surreptitiously using such supposedly economic activities for military purposes, including, heinously enough, spying on U.S. ballistic missile submarines operating in the region, while intimidating its local partners into acquiescence.

He then cited events in the distant South China Sea, where the Chinese have indeed militarized a number of tiny uninhabited islands (outfitting them with airstrips, missile batteries, and the like) and the U.S. has responded by sending its warships into adjacent waters. He did so to warn of similar future military stand-offs and potential clashes in the Arctic. "Let's just ask ourselves, do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims?" The answer, he assured his listeners, is "pretty clear." (And I'm sure you can guess what it is.)

The secretary of state then wielded even stronger language in describing "aggressive Russian behavior in the Arctic." In recent years, he claimed, the Russians have built hundreds of new bases in the region, along with new ports and air-defense capabilities. "Russia is already leaving snow prints in the form of army boots" there, a threat that cannot be ignored. "Just because the Arctic is a place of wilderness does not mean it should become a place of lawlessness. It need not be the case. And we stand ready to ensure that it does not become so."

And here we get to the heart of Pompeo's message: the United States will, of course, "respond" by enhancing its own military presence in the Arctic to better protect U.S. interests, while countering Chinese and Russian inroads in the region:

"Under President Trump, we are fortifying America's security and diplomatic presence in the area. On the security side, partly in response to Russia's destabilizing activities, we are hosting military exercises, strengthening our force presence, rebuilding our icebreaker fleet, expanding Coast Guard funding, and creating a new senior military post for Arctic Affairs inside of our own military."

To emphasize the administration's sincerity, Pompeo touted the largest NATO and U.S. Arctic military maneuvers since the Cold War era, the recently completed " Trident Juncture " exercise (which he incorrectly referred to as "Trident Structure"), involving some 50,000 troops. Although the official scenario for Trident Juncture spoke of an unidentified "aggressor" force, few observers had any doubt that the allied team was assembled to repel a hypothetical Russian invasion of Norway, where the simulated combat took place.

Implementing the Doctrine

And so you have the broad outlines of the new Pompeo Doctrine, centered on the Trump administration's truly forbidden topic: the climate crisis. In the most pugnacious manner imaginable, that doctrine posits a future of endless competition and conflict in the Arctic, growing ever more intense as the planet warms and the ice cap melts. The notion of the U.S. going nose-to-nose with the Russians and Chinese in the Far North, while exploiting the region's natural resources, has clearly been circulating in Washington. By August, it had obviously already become enough of a commonplace in the White House (not to speak of the National Security Council and the Pentagon), for the president to offer to buy Greenland.

And when it comes to resources and future military conflicts, it wasn't such a zany idea. After all, Greenland does have abundant natural resources and also houses that U.S. base in Thule. A relic of the Cold War, the Thule facility, mainly a radar base, is already being modernized , at a cost of some $300 million, to better track Russian missile launches. Clearly, key officials in Washington view Greenland as a valuable piece of real estate in the emerging geopolitical struggle Pompeo laid out, an assessment that clearly wormed its way into President Trump's consciousness as well.

Iceland and Norway also play key roles in Pompeo's and the Pentagon's new strategic calculus. Another former Cold War facility, a base at Keflavik in Iceland has been reoccupied by the Navy and is now being used in antisubmarine warfare missions. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has stationed several hundred combat troops at bases near Trondheim, Norway, the first permanent deployment of foreign soldiers on Norwegian soil since World War II. In 2018, the Pentagon even reactivated the Navy's defunct Second Fleet, investing it with responsibility for protecting the North Atlantic as well as the Arctic's maritime approaches, including those abutting Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. Consider these signs of heating-up times.

And all of this is clearly just the beginning of a major buildup in and regular testing of the ability of the U.S. military to operate in the Far North. As part of Exercise Trident Juncture, for example, the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and its flotilla of support ships were sent into the Norwegian Sea, the first time a U.S. carrier battle group had sailed above the Arctic Circle since the Soviet Union imploded in 1991. Similarly, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer recently announced plans to send surface warships on trans-Arctic missions, another new military move. (U.S. nuclear submarines make such journeys regularly, sailing beneath the sea ice.)
This article first appeared on TomDispatch. More articles by:Michael T. Klare

[Sep 12, 2019] Ukraine appears not to have noticed that its backing for the United States to persuade Europe to reject Nord Stream II is supporting American pressure for Europe to buy American LNG instead and will lead to loss of profits from transit

Sep 12, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 2, 2019 at 9:00 pm

Ukraine appears not to have noticed that its backing for the United States to persuade Europe to reject Nord Stream II is supporting American pressure for Europe to buy American LNG instead. Would they be transiting that to Europe through Ukraine? Hardly.

https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-struggling-sense-trump-boltons-190111002.html

President Trump has repeatedly criticized the project, saying it would make Germany "captive" to Russian interests, and urging the Europeans to buy fuel from the U.S. instead. During their talks in Kyiv this week, Danilyuk discussed this issue at length with Bolton, and he urged the U.S. government to block the project by imposing economic sanctions against it. "Bolton was very supportive," Danilyuk says. "He understands that Nord Stream 2 is bad for the United States."

If – extremely unlikely – that initiative were ever successful, and the EU blew off Nord stream II in favour of American imported LNG the Ukies would still be out $3 Billion a year in transit fees. The USA wants to replace Russian gas supplies to Europe, not supplement them.

As usual, Ukraine is so eager to hurt Russia that it does not care if it hurts itself in doing it. Just the sort of ally the USA loves.

[Aug 15, 2019] Ukraine prepares gas facilities for possible transit supply cut, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

Aug 15, 2019 | economictimes.indiatimes.com

KIEV: Ukraine 's gas transport company Ukrtransgaz has upgraded several gas pumping stations so it can provide gas to eastern and southern regions of the country if there is a disruption in supply from Russia, the company said on Wednesday.

More than a third of Russia's gas exports to the European Union cross Ukraine, providing Kiev with valuable transit income.

Ukraine traditionally uses some of the gas pumped by Russia to European consumers for its own needs in eastern and central regions and then compensates for this by deliveries from gas storage located in the west of the country.

But the Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement is due to expire in January and Ukrainian energy authorities are worried that Moscow could stop gas supplies through Ukraine, leaving some Ukrainian regions without gas in winter.

"As of today, Ukrtransgaz has implemented all the necessary technical and regulatory solutions to create a reliable reverse scheme and it is ready for regular operation and can be activated immediately if necessary," Uktransgaz said in a statement.

It said Ukraine had already reversed gas flows in 2009 when Russian gas giant Gazprom halted gas supplies to Ukrainian consumers because of a price dispute.

Last month, Russian energy minister and several sources said Russia wanted to strike a short-term deal with Kiev on gas transit to Europe when the current 10-year agreement expires to buy time to complete pipelines that will bypass Ukraine.

But Kiev and its European allies want guarantees that Ukraine will remain a transit route for Russian gas to Europe.

In January, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic floated a proposal for the two countries to agree a new 10-year transit contract, with a guaranteed minimum yearly transit volume of 60 bcm and 30 bcm of additional flexibility.

Ukraine's energy firm Naftogaz said last month Kiev was still counting on Sefcovic's proposal.

The potential for problems with the transit agreement, which brings Kiev around $3 billion revenue per year, prompted Ukraine to increase its winter gas reserves by 18% compared with last year to 20 billion cubic meters (bcm).

Naftogaz said this week Ukraine had stored 16.6 bcm of gas by Aug. 10, up from 13.38 bcm at the same time last year.

Ukraine consumed 32.3 bcm of gas in 2018, 10.6 bcm of which was imported from European markets outside Russia.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow plummeted after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014.

Ukraine halted its own purchases of Russian gas in 2015.

[Aug 05, 2019] The desire to control energy sources has driven much conflict and underlies Geopolitics to a large degree.

Aug 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 4 2019 20:18 utc | 37

Federico Pieraccini's provides a useful review of the global Big Picture where he implies in conclusion that Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Riyadh are understood to be the unhealthy part of the globe by the vast majority of nations, which is the context of how we should view Russia's Persian Gulf Collective Security proposal and the SCO & ASEAN's increasingly collaborative security efforts reported by Escobar as linked above.

Trump continues his tree sitting on the thin unstable branches he forced himself to occupy. One wonders what he'll do next to force himself even higher. Given NordStreaam 2's almost finished completion, I'd expect a last-ditch sanctioning of EU nations if they use the product it conveys.

Meanwhile, TurkStream is on schedule to begin shipping gas in the last Q of 2019, the exact time not yet announced. Both strings, one for Turkey another for Southeast Europe, will have a "throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each."

As we've seen, the desire to control energy sources has driven much conflict and underlies Geopolitics to a large degree. The big problem already existing is the Saudis and the animosity they have for Iran and Qatar. For those two heavily NatGas endowed nations, the most logical destination for their product is Africa via pipeline across Saudi, under Red Sea and emerging in Eritrea and/or Egypt. Such a project won't be undertaken until there's a drastic change in Saudi attitude/leadership. And since Iran and Qatar face the same distribution challenges for their product, I expect to see more joint efforts by them now that Qatar's leadership has come to its senses.

[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)

[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.