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Weissman writes: "The conflict has gone more primal, the high-minded pretensions less persuasive. The world's sole hyper-power still has game. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, the moving force is not Putin's tactical genius (or home-court advantage) but the audacity of Washington's strategic game plan, which US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt let slip when he first arrived in Kiev last September."

President Barack Obama pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Ireland last June. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)
President Barack Obama pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Ireland last June. (photo: Evan Vucci/AP)


Ukraine: Who Will Control Eurasia's Oil and Gas?

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

05 May 14

 

ladimir Putin annexed Crimea. Barack Obama and his European allies organized the coup in Kiev. Both actions violated international law. Both intruded massively in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Yet, most commentators limit their concern, loudly condemning one crime while silently ignoring the other. It cuts both ways, though Western academics are the worst, dismissing any idea that the US and Europe stage-managed the putsch. That, they insist, is a figment of Putin’s twisted imagination. Would that it were!

Russian propagandists and their useful idiots conjure up their own crock. They take a real problem – the role of neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists on the other side – and exaggerate it beyond anything the evidence supports. It’s called crying wolf. It discredits honest reporting of neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist activity. And it will grow more flagrant as Eastern Ukraine moves toward full-scale civil war with the likely intrusion of Russian “peace-keepers.”

Willful blindness, crying wolf, and double standards all seem par for the course. It’s much like the intellectual Iron Curtain of earlier years when Stalinists lived in one reality, conservatives and cold war liberals in another. Everyone now knows that the great divide no longer reflects an ideological conflict between capitalism and communism, but few have faced up to the new reality. The conflict has gone more primal, the high-minded pretensions less persuasive. The world’s sole hyper-power still has game. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, the moving force is not Putin’s tactical genius (or home-court advantage) but the audacity of Washington’s strategic game plan, which US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt let slip when he first arrived in Kiev last September.

“Ukraine is in a fantastic position,” the American diplomat and covert warrior told the country’s pro-Western newspaper Day in early September. “[It] has a border with four EU member states. It has the opportunity to become the eastern frontier of a large European economic space at the same time as it serves as Europe’s gateway to the Eurasian heartland and Europe’s gateway to one of the most dynamic economic regions of the world which stretches all the way to Shanghai and Vladivostok.”

Pyatt was not just moving his lips. He had said much the same on Ukrainian television the week before. In plain English, he and his superiors in Washington see Ukraine as key to dominating the resource-laden land mass of Eurasia – not just the cluster of oil rich states on the southern border of the former Soviet Union, but the entire “World Island” from Western Europe to Eastern Asia. At the close of World War I, the British geographer and geostrategist Sir Halford John Mackinder had spelled out the logic in more elegant terms. “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland,” he wrote. “Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island. Who rules the World Island commands the World.”

Pyatt’s talking points echoed Mackinder’s most active intellectual heir, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. “Eurasia is home to most of the world’s politically assertive and dynamic states,” Brzezinski wrote in 1997 in the influential journal Foreign Affairs. All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world’s most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. After the United States, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers, and all but one of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world’s populations, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia’s potential power overshadows even America’s.”

In Foreign Affairs and his book the same year, “The Grand Chessboard,” Brzezinski urged nothing less than “a benign American hegemony” over Eurasia, one that would impede the rise of any rival, whether Russia, China, or some coalition of Islamic or other nations. This was Brzezinski’s path to “American global primacy,” and it started with more NATO and more Europe. “NATO entrenches American political influence and military power on the Eurasian mainland,” he wrote. “A wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve the short-term and longer-term interests of U.S. policy.”

As the evidence now shows, President George H.W. Bush and German chancellor Helmut Kohl hoodwinked Mikhail Gorbachev and never ended the Cold War containment of Russia. “The Soviet threat” lost any remaining reality, and in time Brzezinski’s vision of Eurasia took its place, encouraging the eastward expansion of NATO and its troubled stable-mate the European Union. The stakes could not have been higher. Washington – not Moscow or Beijing – would dominate the World Island and its enormous flow of oil and gas, while the European allies would either play second fiddle or – to borrow from US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Victoria Nuland – “Fuck the EU.

This is the big untold story – much bigger than whatever Putin or Obama do next. Or whether Cold War rhetoric and nuclear rivalries persist. Or how much austerity the IMF imposes. Or how corrupt the Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs remain. Or what becomes of various oil and gas pipelines or of hydraulically fractionated shale gas, whether from the United States or within whatever borders Ukraine can maintain. These are all vital stories to tell, as RSN will continue to do. But they are only stepping stones, stumbling blocks, or sidebars in the grand strategy that Washington is pursuing – and from which it will not step back without a fight.

Ignoring all this or taking American hegemony as the way things are supposed to be, modern Kremlinologists justify recent Western actions in Ukraine as a needed response to Putin’s own Eurasian customs union and whatever fantasies he may have of recreating the Soviet Union or old Czarist Empire. What shoddy scholarship! Whether as geostrategy or economics, Putin’s ambitions pale in light of Washington’s effort to establish primacy over Eurasia and beyond.

Eurasian Dreams

With such grand ideas on his lips when he arrived in Kiev, Ambassador Pyatt set out to help Ukraine’s legally elected, if massively corrupt, President Viktor Yanukovych “walk through the door that Europe is holding open.” This was Pyatt’s top priority, he repeatedly told reporters. At the time, Russia was raising tariffs on selected Ukrainian goods as a warning of what could happen if the country moved closer to the EU. But when threats failed to scare Yanukovych, the geo-savvy Putin offered the nearly bankrupt Ukraine short-term relief – some $15 billion plus a 30-33% discount on its natural gas. With the penny-pinching Europeans and their American ally promising little upfront cash and demanding too many concessions, Yanukovych leaned toward Putin in what Der Spiegel called “a marriage of convenience, not a marriage of love.”

This was crime enough. As documented here and here, Washington and its European allies had spent many years and billions of dollars in Ukraine building up the “civil society” opposition that took to the streets in the Maidan protests. Nonviolent at first, they tried to pressure Yanukovych back toward the EU. Failing that, they overthrew him with the Molotov cocktails of neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist street-fighters and the inside help of disgruntled oligarchs who had previously backed him. The protesters and their Western backers then replaced Yanukovych with the current right-wing nationalist government, led by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, America’s man “Yats.” No surprise, the original ambitions remain in play, as Washington continues to use Ukraine in an attempt to establish hegemony over Eurasia.

Pyatt laid it out from the start, though in modest terms. “My second priority,” he announced last summer, “is to support Ukraine’s aspiration to achieve greater energy independence.” He spoke of independence from Russia and its largest company Gazprom, the corrupt oil, gas, construction, media, and banking conglomerate that the Kremlin half-owns and controls and to which the equally corrupt Ukraine still owes billions of dollars. Pyatt suggested instead dependence on predominantly American oil giants, all privately owned but working in concert with the US Department of State. With so much at stake, words like “independence” take on an Orwellian twist, as do “freedom,” “democracy,” and “civil society.”

Pyatt talked specifically about ExxonMobil and Chevron, praising their plans to invest in developing Ukraine’s shale gas reserves. “They want to bring the best of American technology, American know-how and American capital to the Ukrainian energy sector,” he said. Pyatt reminded reporters that one of Chevron’s former corporate directors, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, had negotiated America’s “Strategic Partnership” with Ukraine. This is an ongoing forum with trips to the US that Washington used to help persuade local officials to overcome widespread fears that the intended “fracking” of shale gas reserves would endanger water supplies, increase earthquakes, and create other environmental disasters.

“I think the US experience with non-conventional gas is very important for the decisions that Ukraine will have to make,” Pyatt told Day. “This has been a game changer in the United States. It has helped us to achieve greater energy independence. It has helped to drive employment in the United States. It has helped to improve the competitiveness of American companies. I am very optimistic that these new energy plays in Ukraine have the potential to do some of the same, which would be good for America, but it will also be very good for Ukraine and it will be particularly good for the communities that host these resources.”

What a salesman! On November 5, in the presence of Pyatt and oil company executives, President Yanukovych and his government announced a production sharing agreement with Chevron. The deal would extend for 50 years and bring a total investment as high as $10 billion. Chevron would begin with some $350 million to explore for shale gas over two to three years in Western Ukraine’s Olesska region, part of a band of shale that stretches from the Baltic to the Black Sea. According to the International Business Times, Washington supported the agreement “as part of its national security strategy to help reduce Russia’s hold on Europe and Kiev.”

Yanukovych had signed a similar agreement with Royal Dutch Shell in January 2013 to cover exploration at Yuzivska in eastern Ukraine. He was hoping, he said, “to have full sufficiency in gas by 2020,” and if the explorations went well, to export energy without having to worry about Russia.

As far back as August, Pyatt had offered American aid to improve Ukraine’s energy efficiency and allow the country to use its extensive network of gas pipelines to Europe to reverse the flow should the Russians cut off supplies as they did in 2006 and 2009. Vice President Biden talked the same talk on his recent trip to Kiev, and an interagency team of American experts has been trying to make it happen.

Keeping Europe on a Leash

For many EU leaders, the fight for Ukraine caps their long crusade to build a Europe “full and free.” For leaders of Poland and Sweden, the fight builds on centuries of shared history and holds out the hope of creating an economic and political counterforce to Germany’s overwhelming power within Europe. For Washington, it’s all a bit different. Pursuing primacy in Eurasia requires “a benign American hegemony” over America’s European and NATO allies as well, and that means keeping them from getting too close to Moscow.

During the Cold War, German chancellor Willy Brandt worked to create closer relations with East Germany, Eastern European members of the Soviet Bloc, and the Soviet Union itself. He called it his “ostpolitik,” and it created tensions with the US. More recently, some in Washington feared that Chancellor Angela Merkel was pursuing an independent “ostpolitik” of her own, which could have supplied a motive for listening to her telephone calls.

In a less political way, Germany and other countries in Europe have now developed a strong economic relationship with the post-Communist Russians, who have become a major market for exports, a large supplier of oil and natural gas, owners of domestic pipelines and other energy facilities, and even sponsors of German football teams. Gazprom, for example, supplies 30% of Europe’s natural gas, and for some countries – Finland and Slovakia – the figure reaches 100%. According to Der Spiegel, Gazprom’s customers find the company a reliable supplier, which does not make Washington any happier. Much as Ambassador Pyatt urged Ukraine to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas, Washington has long been among the loudest voices urging Europeans to do the same. Moscow, warn the Americans, will use the threat of shutting off Europe’s energy to hold it hostage to political demands.

The one case the Americans always cite concerns Ukraine, though the evidence is far from conclusive. Pipelines crossing Ukraine deliver much of Gazprom’s gas to the rest of Europe, and the company also has some of its largest storage facilities in the county. This Ukrainian connection has twice caused major problems for Europe.

In January 2006 and January 2009, the heart of winter, Gazprom shut down shipments to Ukraine as part of billing and contract disputes. According to industry experts, Ukrainian leaders then conspired with local oligarchs to syphon off the gas meant for Europe, leaving the Europeans with insufficient heat and power. Gazprom has since begun construction of major new pipelines that will bypass Ukraine. But last month, Putin warned that Europe could again suffer similar shortages this coming winter if the Ukrainians – or their European backers – refuse to make regular payments for current deliveries and back payments of $2.2 billion dollars or more that Ukraine owes Gazprom for past purchases.

“The situation with gas transit to the EU is serious,” explained Russian energy minister Alexander Novak. "It's possible that there will be disruptions in gas deliveries."

"We have no other interest other than fulfilling our commitments,” added Gazprom’s deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev. “We are heavily dependent on revenues from Europe. It then becomes a question of whether Ukraine will comply with the transit contract and deliver the gas to the border of Ukraine or would they steal gas from the export pipe?"

Are the Russians resorting to political extortion? Or is Gazprom simply doing what any business would do, refusing to deliver the goods until the deadbeat customer pays?

A bit of both, I think. But the questions will now create major nightmares for Ukraine, Europe, and their “benevolent overlords” in Washington. Such are the burdens of pursuing American hegemony across Eurasia.



A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money and the Corporate State: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How to Nonviolently Break Their Hold."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+39 # Polfrosch 2014-05-05 16:52
Again a superb article from Steve Weissman. This is what the Ukraine conflict is about. Geostrategy and geopolitics. End of story.

What should be noticed: the NSA surveillance scandal moved the german population away from the USA fundamentally, the damage this created is huge -and rightly so.

So a civil war (syria style) in the Ukraine comes in conveniently. A means to get Germany etc. back in the NATO poodle position and simultanously a punitive expedition for not having poodled enough recently.

Divide et impera.

Germanys interests are a good relation and strong economical cooperation with Russia and the USA, so the US firefighters from state department, CIA etc. direct their gasoline filled hoses now at this conflict.

The worse for detente in Europe, the better for US interests.

But hey, US state department, your credibility slowly sinks to North Korean values - and rightly so.

I, for example, won´t forget how the Reagan administration sabotaged the peace proposals of Brandt, Palme and Gorbachev. I won´t forget the megalomania of the USA after 1989, the quest for an unilateral world dominance, by any means, the neocon empire of lies created afterwards.

I don´t expect anything decent from a US government anymore. So will you try to nuke me and my family for not being a nice poodle?

I wasn´t born or educated "anti-american" . Studying US foreign policy strategies accomplished the job.

With friends like this, who needs to fear Putin?
 
 
+12 # Activista 2014-05-05 19:55
Agree - Ukraine did not help image of America/NATO in Europe.
In one aspect I am more optimistic - it will be NOT easy to start a civil war - Kiev is impotent - Ukraine "experienced" Hitler and Stalin - hopefully learned the lesson that violence is not a solution.
 
 
+23 # Polfrosch 2014-05-06 01:09
I´m not shure if I should be optimistic, Ukraine is a deeply divided country. It was even an example in Huntingtons (in)famous "Clash of Civilizations".

I´m just shure Germany with it´s history and the death and destruction it left in Eastern Europe in WW2 should just help to solve problems, stay peaceful, broker deals - in short, be a mighty force of reason. NO EMPIRE BULLSHIT. (The highest death rate my country was responsible for in WW2 is in Ukraine: 25% of the population.) We also owe Poland, Czech R., Slovakia, Estland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia, yes, Russia the same attitude, and all jews and Israel.)

This does not mean we owe anybody obedience to establish world domination or unjust power structures. On the contrary.

The Ukranian case is a good example. We need to broker between the legitimate interests of Russia not to be strangled and encircled and the Ukranian peoples wish for an independent future.

There is a way out: Make Ukraine military neutral, never ever to become member of the NATO, and have a referendum about a federalist constitution. Russia should keep it´s bases on the Crimea.

No more NATO encirclement.

So- most important: implementation of the common security strategy ideas of Palme, Brandt and Gorbachev. Back to the future!

And the USA should just keep it´s military to protect it´s homeland. Only use it abroad if there is a clear request for help, which is not a CIA operation. Stop bullying everyone and everywhere.
 
 
+21 # Polfrosch 2014-05-06 01:12
And the same applies to Germany. We have economic power, and I don´t like, I despise how we helped the banks in Greece to bail out and enslave the population for decades to come.

This has to stop. I hope capitalism suffocates from it´s own decadence. Hey, there is a dire need for some brilliant ideas for a better economy.
 
 
+6 # mighead 2014-05-07 04:22
Capitalism HAS suffocated...

This is no longer capitalism nor democracy...

We have now become Plutocracy:
Of the wealthy...
By the wealthy...
For the wealthy...

sidenote: Plutocracies tend to crash and burn...
 
 
+1 # Activista 2014-05-06 11:31
Think that good example for Ukraine is Finland - is in EU but over 50% of population do NOT want NATO troops there. Small country, with no natural resources, but great medical and educational system. Being between Russia and EU has its economic/export -import advantages.
 
 
+1 # wrknight 2014-05-06 13:58
Remember, Ukraine was never a country until August 1991 and the territory it now covers has always been occupied by diverse groups.
 
 
+2 # Charles3000 2014-05-06 06:00
The level of violence is critical. Police violence would be credited as needed for a civil society. It is not clear where things are or are going now in the Ukraine.
 
 
+4 # ThorunnPS 2014-05-06 05:45
I agree with you, Polfrosch - or I think that I do. But what does "magnomalia" mean? As I can't find it in Merriam-Webster , I assume that it is an amalgam of some other words?
 
 
+9 # Polfrosch 2014-05-06 08:49
I´m very sorry. As a lame excuse: english is not my mother tongue. Sometimes I create words and don´t even notice it. I hope this is the only similarity I have with George Bush.

I meant megalomania.
 
 
+4 # robcarter.vn 2014-05-06 02:10
Obama guarded by his two potted plants as an exceptionalist knows USA veto in UNSC & IMF need abide no "international law ~ can violate" at will as in UNICLOS Nicaragua & 77 awards they didn't like & never abided.

Besides he will survive to 2016 probably, & as he said the "Republicans will find it even harder to argue Hillary's Nigerian birth.
 
 
+5 # sharsand 2014-05-06 06:12
Of course, that's the real reason we always get involved or stir the pot--natural resources.
 
 
+10 # jdd 2014-05-06 06:40
Please explain how Crimea's decision to secede fro a lawless country "violated international law?" This analysis is flawed, just as those who tried to reduce our wars against Vietnam, Iraq or Syria to economic reasons (Marxist analysis) missed the more important goal of surrounding Russia and forcing it into submission. Domination and total hegemony by U.S.-British ruling elite is the name of the game. Putin's crime is that he said "it stops here."
 
 
0 # Radscal 2014-05-06 16:36
The deal within which Ukraine surrendered the nuclear weapons it had when USSR broke up included an agreement that its existing borders would be honored by all signees.

Not that I think the people of Crimea were wrong in wanting to secede from the coup government in Kiev; just answering your question.
 
 
+8 # dsepeczi 2014-05-06 09:07
Thanks again, Steve Weissman, for what I consider to be the most fair and balanced reporting I've seen on this conflict. Despite being an American citizen, I do side with Russia in this conflict but that's only from the perspective that if I were living in Russia and saw all of the recent acts of aggression from America, I'd be scared shitless to allow America to move missiles right up to my doorstep in what everyone can plainly see is an attempt for America to dominate the world. So, with that in mind, I'd think Putin would have to be a madman not to figuratively say to America, "It stops here. We won't allow you to render us defenseless".
 
 
+3 # mighead 2014-05-07 04:12
For my money...

Attempting to park NATO in Russia's major Naval Base (it supplies weapons and support to Syria...DUH!!!) ...was PRETTY AGGRESSIVE!!! EVEN FOR US!!!

and also VERY Dr. Strangelove STUPID!!! I just hope it doesn't end like the movie!!!

No wonder the WH-CIA-NSA-Stat eDept-etal didn't ask Congress or the people!!!
 
 
+4 # GaryBS 2014-05-06 09:14
Great Job. Nice to see your own content, RSN. I'll save up and donate again, for sure. Keep up the good work.
 
 
+7 # jdd 2014-05-06 09:19
Ukraine is not and has never been a self-sufficient economy. It cannot survive without its trade with Russia. It cannot even safely run its nuclear reactors without Russian made fuel. NATO/IMF has no intention of trying to make it work. Therefor, the present government will fail. IMF conditionalitie s will begin to impact soon and will cause the puppet regime to disintegrate.
 
 
+3 # dsepeczi 2014-05-06 11:33
Quoting jdd:
Ukraine is not and has never been a self-sufficient economy. It cannot survive without its trade with Russia. It cannot even safely run its nuclear reactors without Russian made fuel. NATO/IMF has no intention of trying to make it work. Therefor, the present government will fail. IMF conditionalities will begin to impact soon and will cause the puppet regime to disintegrate.


Yeah, that's the sad part for Ukrainians. For all the fighting that Kiev's supporters are willing to go through ... even if they win ... they lose ! The IMF's harsh austerity measures will decimate an already decimated economy. Then the same people that fought for independence from Russia will be fighting for independence from the US/EU/IMF. At that point, let's see if the US is so enamored with the rights of west Ukraine. Something tells me they won't give a shit once they get their oil companies in there to frack the shit out of the country, spoiling their water supplies and creating more earthquakes there, much like the US is doing to many of it's own citizens here.
 
 
+1 # mighead 2014-05-07 04:06
Totally agree...

The Ukrainians will bear the brunt of our 'global primacy' dreams...and likely Ukraine will wind up looking a whole lot like Iraq does here.

I'm equally certain that we care as much about the Ukrainians as we do the Iraqis and Afghanis. About the same as we care about the homeless, hungry and jobless here.

Meanwhile, it seems that Russia has picked up the offshore oil in the Black Sea along with Crimea.
 
 
+3 # CAWWilson 2014-05-06 14:11
Two things.
An inaccuracy about a third of the way in story. [graf starts with: This is the big untold story –] " . . .Or what becomes of various oil and gas pipelines or of hydraulically fractionated shale gas . . ."
The author meant "fractured", a well completion technique that uses hydraulic pressure to crack the formation ('fracture' it) to release hydrocarbons. The wrong word 'fractionated' is a refinery process.
Secondly, even before we pretended we needed to attack Saddam Hussein I read the theory that his great "crime" against us was starting to trade his oil in Euros (and not dollars) threatening the dollar's hegemony over the world's financial trading.
 
 
+3 # mighead 2014-05-07 03:47
Twixt the cup and the lip...there's many a slip...

Wanting to be Global Hegemon...a la Brzezinski...is one thing...

Accomplishing it is another...

Looking at our 'success' in Iraq; in the Middle-East; and our many, many 'successes' in South America; plus our recent 'success' in (Eurasian) Afghanistan; let's not mention Georgia...

It seems to me that the actual implementation of our 'global primacy' plan leaves a lot to be desired.

I don't think we are going to be all that successful in Ukraine either. I just see us 'bogged down' in another EXPENSIVE Vietnam-Iraq 'quagmire'. I don't see Ukraine getting us any closer to Eurasian 'global hegemon' dreams; any more than I see that Iraq got us 'global hegemon' status in the Mid-East; or that 100 years of ongoing wars bought us South America hegemony.

I don't see Europe as wanting a potential Civil-War-nucle ar-WW3 in their backyard...as we seem to be instigating here.

I see fossil fuel resources as going the way of the 'dodo' bird. I'm not sure Putin has figured that out any better than BP here.

I don't see either the US people or the Europeans as going along with our ambitions of 'global hegemon' and our ideas of American 'primacy'.

I only see us bankrupt, friendless and alone.

So for me, implementation leaves a whole lot to be desired...and outside of WW2 our 'global agenda' has been abysmally unsuccessful... AND FAR MORE EXPENSIVE THAN WE CAN PAY!!!
 
 
+2 # mighead 2014-05-07 05:01
Re: American promises of energy independence for Ukraine.

Ukraine has a population 1/3rd the size of Russia!!! 43m people!!!

Natural Gas from Shell and Chevron fracking operations...IF they started operations tomorrow...are many years away - 2020???

Supplying gas to that size of a country will take a whole lot of wells...all of which are only on the drawing boards here...all of the equipment, crews, etc. have yet to arrive. Assuming the country is stable enough to support fracking!!!

While these may be dream contracts for global oil giants, the truth is that the Ukrainians need to replace Russian/Gazprom gas NOW.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is NOT energy independent and cannot get anywhere near the energy it uses from other sources such as pipeline reversals from Poland or elsewhere.

So IMO: Russia does not have to do anything other than sit back and wait for winter. Even global warming will not be enough to help the Ukrainian people!!! [sorry...cheapshot!!!]

Surely the US 'masterminds' also see the problem here.

Probably they didn't see it ahead of their coup. But it must be the 'elephant in the room' now!

So they will need to come up with something 'clever'. And that 'something' also cannot disrupt gas supplies to Europe.

Think I'll also just sit back and wait to see what we do here!!!
 
 
+3 # mighead 2014-05-07 05:15
Pipeline Reversals:

Ukraine needs imported energy to supply both Industry and domestic needs.

They currently get 'reverse flows' from Poland and Hungary...but those cover only a small amount of its needs (about 7%).

Apparently, a deal had been worked out by the EU (backed by the WH) to reverse the pipeline flows in Slovakia to Ukraine. This would give Ukraine supplies as large as they currently get from Russia.

Slovakia had offered Ukraine spare capacity in their pipelines for 'reverse flows' in 2011. In 2013, 49% of the company changed ownership and it's rumored that Gazprom is behind the change.

In current negotiations, the Slovaks are saying they are not aware of the 2011 offer and say reversing flows of their pipelines are only technically and legally possible with Gazprom's consent which it has not given.

Instead, they are offering a small unused subsidiary pipeline that needs engineering work to carry gas to Ukraine. When the work is finished in Oct. it can supply about 10% of Ukraine's needs.

Slovakia says that they can increase that amount sharply LATER.

The EU is hailing the deal - however modest - as an end to the impasse.

Meanwhile, one of Gazprom's middlemen has been detained in Austria and is fighting extradition to the US.

Ukraine's Naftogaz is Gazprom's largest customer after Germany.

Once again, it appears that Russia is a couple of moves ahead of the US in the chess game.
 
 
+3 # mighead 2014-05-07 07:13
Meanwhile...

I don't see what the EU, Germany and Europe get out of all of our meddling???

Why should they risk chaos in their sphere of interest for us???

If they are depending on NATO and us for their security - how is that 'security' looking to them here???!!!

If I were sitting in Germany, Poland, Hungary or Romania...NATO would be looking a whole lot more like a RISK here than an ASSET!!!

If NATO were a stock...I'd be cutting my losses!!!
 
 
0 # andreyrs 2014-05-09 11:20
Impressive piece indeed.
My 5 cents.
US dominance in Eurasia or not it's not an easy point to pass through when speaking with Pols, Checks, Romanians, Balts and many others. They remember that not so long time ago they were part of the "greater" SU and paiyed dear for that. Currently RF is planning to spend 500B$ on "defence" withing next 10 years. Or about 15% of its budget annually. Lutvania spends 2% :(..It will be carriers, submarines, fight jets, tanks, etc. You don't need too much submarines to keep order within Russia and hunt terrorists in the Caucauses mountains :)..Cremia/Ukra ine already got the idea..all the RF neighbouring contries have good memory..in this kind of reality to be neutral for any country boardering Russia means one thing - being a target...former KGB colonel doesn't have a word "neutrality" in his lexicon..what can you do, he just doesn't..as a person born and raised in the heart of SU ,I see it pretty clear.. being part of the estabishment in any country bordering Russia today means the following - wake up, speak with you grandpas (those that are still alive) and get alarmed.. do whatever you have to do - unite with others, place NATO missles on your ground, buy/lease/beg for weapons from US, but don't be indifferent...b ecause being proactive is much better than being reactive...
 

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