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EU And American War-Jaw Will Not Faze Putin

Politics / Russia Mar 08, 2014 - 01:51 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


War-War or Jaw-Jaw?
The Ukrainian crisis, to date, throws up endless examples – and proof – of European and US political and economic, military and ideological weakness built on the shifting sands of longstanding fads, foibles and obsessions about “the world as we want it”. Each day brings more examples and proof that neither Europe nor the USA are capable of thinking and acting straight, while each part of the “Western camp” incites the other to greater idiocy.

The crisis is now sufficiently old to permit politicians like Barack Obama to repeat themselves on a daily base with apparently no recognition that what he is saying is shot through with black holes of non-logic, or dysfunctionality. Or simply plain old hypocrisy.

The west says, at least its leaders like Obama and Europe's smaller-sized idiot chorus say, it will not and cannot accept Russian annexation of Crimea. This will be an illegal action. Speaking from the White House rather than his golf caddy, Obama has again said that a local referendum in Crimea on joining the Russian Federation would violate international law and “legal moves” would be taken by the US, and its EU allies against the moves Moscow has already made in Crimea. The US has “positioned itself militarily” with 1 destroyer moved into the Black Sea and 20 fighter jets moved to Poland, supposedly a terrifying show of ironclad determination. A total of 60 additional US military personnel were also flown to the Siauliai airbase in Lithuania.

From Moscow, the speaker of the upper house of parliament Valentina Matvienko said at a meeting with Vladimir Konstantinov, his counterpart in the Crimean parliament on Friday March 7 that "If the people of Crimea decide to join Russia in the referendum, we, as the upper house, will certainly support this decision".

To be sure, the European me-too chorus singers are terrified of taking any concrete action. They have as yet not stepped beyond the “legal threat” of visa reductions for “selected and small numbers” of Russians coming to Europe. In the US case, Obama administration spokespersons cited by 'National Post', March 7, said that visa restrictions that could or might be applied by the US “were unlikely to directly target Russian President Vladimir Putin”, although we could surmise that may change if Putin was unwise enough to make a visit to Disneyland using a freshly-issued Crimean passport.

Kick the Russians Out of G8
The hot talk in European media is that the “highly effective”, even drastic step might be taken to exclude Russia from the G8 talkshop at its next planned summit – at Sochi in Russia. In the US, Obama-friendly media claims that Congress is rushing to enact “hard-hitting” sanctions. These are stated as sanctions which will target people who undermine Ukraine’s democracy and new government, threaten the country’s peace, stability and sovereignty, have misappropriated government assets or who tried to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine “without the consent of Kiev”.

The “Euro-maidan” flash mob revolt in Kiev, without a trace of democratic process or constitutional legality violently deposed the sitting and elected government, of Viktor Yanukovych, albeit as corrupt or incompetent as the government of the elected president of Egypt, Mohamad Morsi .

We are forced to conclude that Western support to flash mob revolts, coups, and takeovers – in the Egyptian case military – are the new expression of “Western defence of human rights”, with the word “democracy” now expressly omitted. Flash mobs rule, OK!

The West backs street revolts overthrowing elected governments and does not defend democracy. Its leaders, such as Obama give themselves the right to qualify a referendum – that is a decision made by vote – in Crimea an “illegal action”. Putin therefore has no problem at all retorting that the Kiev flash mob “government” is unelected – because it is unelected.

Also sure and certain, the subject of “who will bail out Ukraine” has surfaced in all talk about sanctions and counter-sanctions. To date, roughly $15 billion has been pledged by the EU to go along with $1 billion in loan guarantees from the US, but Ukraine's immediate bailout needs are at least double that. Russia has the complete whiphand in Ukraine's gas debt and gas dependence on Russia – and everybody in Europe knows that. Accumulated gas debt dating from 1991, when Ukraine quit the collapsing Soviet Union is a hot potato, but Moscow foreign ministry claims are that only since 2010, Ukraine has taken but not paid for up to $2 billion-a-year of gas supplies.

What Else can the West's Flash Mob-Friendly Politicians Do?

Ukrainian bank accounts could be frozen in Europe until all “Russian origin” or “Russian supporting” account holders are identified and their bank balances seized, for handing over to the Euro-maidan flash mob “government”. As a means for infuriating and goading Putin this pinprick will be ineffective, but other proposed-or-possible sanctions being mulled in Washington and Brussels extend into deeply schizophrenic territory.

One proposal is that the EU, backed by the US will demand that Russia continue supplying gas to Ukraine, and to other consumers “down the line” at existing volumes and existing prices. Any demand for repayment of Ukraine's gas debt, or demand for higher gas prices to be paid by Ukraine, will be treated as “illegal” and not only unfriendly.

When or if Putin would be so foolish as to demand that Ukraine repay at least some of its accumulated gas debts, and pay $400 per thousand cubic meters of gas like other EU consumer countries (instead of $268 as negotiated by Yanukovych's government), this would be the trigger for “harsh new sanctions”.

Russian assets “of all kinds” in the EU and USA could then be frozen, we are told.

The legality of this particular threat is easy to question. Stated in clear and honest terms, it means the West is demanding that Russia continues supplying underpriced gas to a customer country with a long track record of stealing it, or underpaying for it, and in the Ukraine case now has an unelected flash mob “government”. If Russia limits or cuts-off gas supplies this would be a “hostile act”!

As for the freezing of “Russian assets everywhere”, starting with assets of its major oil and natural resource companies, this again smacks of basic illegality and the desire to steal the financial assets of “oversuccessful” companies and corporations. Russia will have no problems seizing Western financial and economic assets in Russia, when or if push comes to shove – and of course ordering a complete shutdown of oil and gas supplies to any country operating illegal sanctions against Russia.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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