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By: Washington Post
Posted: 03/23/2014 1:41 PM |
A woman holds a banner that reads: “Putin is Occupier” during a rally against the breakup of the country in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 11, 2014. (DARKO VOJINOVIC / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES)
Debate has raged over whether the United States can fight Vladimir Putin on the Russian president’s most favourable ground: energy politics. It can, and it should, particularly because there’s an obvious path forward that coincides with American — indeed, world — economic interests. That path is lifting irrational restrictions on exports and making it easier to build natural gas export terminals.
For years, Putin has used his nation’s wealth of oil and natural gas as a cudgel to bully his neighbours. At present, the European Union’s large imports of Russian natural gas discourage a forceful Western response to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the United States is tapping massive reserves of unconventional natural gas. That has not only made the U.S. self-sustaining in gas, but also driven down the price of U.S. gas to a point well below what Europeans are paying for the Russian stuff. If the federal government allowed more of it to be liquefied and exported, would the Russians lose a share of the European market?
The story is more complicated than that. Russian gas, which doesn’t need to be liquefied to move (by pipeline) into the European market, would enjoy significant price advantages over imported U.S. gas. The interaction of private buyers and sellers would probably direct U.S. exports to places where gas is more profitable to sell, such as Japan and Korea. The result would be a bounty for the U.S. economy and an improved American trade deficit — but not much direct displacement of Russian gas in Europe.
But that’s also not the end of the story. The U.S. entry into the Asian market would diminish Russia’s opportunity to profit there, as it aims to do. Contributing to an already widening and more diverse global supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would also give European importers more flexibility in sourcing their fuel — from the United States, Qatar, or others — the sort of market conditions that have already enabled Europeans to renegotiate gas contracts with Russia. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi points out that Putin might end up with an uncomfortable choice between maintaining market share in Europe and slashing his prices more.
Ramping up U.S. exports would take years, but the effects would not only be long-term, as some critics charge. Action that communicates a certain intent to allow more LNG exports would send a signal that “the U.S. is open for business,” as the Eurasia Group’s Leslie Palti-Guzman puts it. That could deter Putin from playing the energy card and help many buyers in negotiating long-term contracts.
The economic case for allowing natural gas exports is compelling on its own. Doing so would bring money into the country and uphold the vital principle that energy resources should flow freely around the globe, making the markets for the fuels the world economy needs as flexible and robust as possible. The more major suppliers there are following that principle, the less control predatory regimes such as Putin’s will have over the market.
Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War
Paul Craig Roberts
Why is Washington so opposed to Crimean self-determination? The answer is that one of the main purposes of Washington’s coup in Kiev was to have the new puppet government evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base in Crimea. Washington cannot use the government Washington has installed in Ukraine for that purpose if Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine.
What Washington has made completely obvious is that “self-determination” is a weapon used by Washington in behalf of its agenda. If self-determination advances Washington’s agenda, Washington is for it. If self-determination does not advance Washington’s agenda, Washington is against it.
The Washington-initiated UN Security Council resolution, vetoed by Russia, falsely declares that the referendum in Crimea, a referendum demanded by the people, “can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea; and calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea on the basis of this referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.”
Washington could not make it any clearer that Washington totally opposes self-determination by Crimeans.
Washington claims, falsely, that the referendum cannot be valid unless the entire population of Ukraine votes and agrees with the decision by Crimeans. Note that when Washington stole Kosovo from Serbia, Washington did not let Serbians vote.
But overlook Washington’s rank hypocrisy and self-serving double-standards. Let’s apply Washington’s argument that in order to be valid any change in Crimea’s status requires a vote on the part of the population of the country that it departs. If this is the case, then Crimea has never been a part of Ukraine.
Under Washington’ s interpretation of international law, Ukraine is still a part of Russia. When Khrushchev transferred Crimea (but not Sevastopol, the Black Sea base) to Ukraine, Russians did not get to vote. Therefore, according to Washington’s own logic it is invalid to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine. That also goes for other parts of Russia that Lenin transferred to Ukraine. Under the logic of Washington’s UN resolution, large parts of Ukraine are not legitimately part of Ukraine. They have remained parts of Russia, because Russians were not allowed to vote on their transfer to Ukraine. Thus, there is no issue about “Russia annexing Crimea,” because, according to Washington’s logic, Crimea is still a part of Russia.
Do you need any more proof that the Ukrainian crisis is made up out of thin air by schemers in Washington who created the entire crisis for one purpose–to weaken Russia militarily?
No one was surprised that the New York Times published on March 14 the warmongering rant, written by neoconservatives for John McCain, which described Washington’s aggression in Ukraine as Russia’s aggression. The US government overthrows an elected democratic Ukrainian government and then accuses Russia of “invading and annexing Crimea” in order to divert attention from Washington’s overthrow of Ukrainian democracy. There is no elected government in Kiev. The stooges acting as a government in Kiev were put in office by Washington. Who else choose them?
What surprised some was Rand Paul joining the hysteria. Rand Paul wrote his propagandistic rant against Russia for Time. Rand Paul claims, falsely, that Putin has invaded Crimea and that it is an affront to “the international community.” First of all, the decision of Crimea to leave Ukraine is a decision of the Crimean population and the elected government, not a decision by Russia. But, for the sake of argument, let’s take Rand Paul’s lie as the truth: Is “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community” like Washington’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington-sponsored invasions of Libya and Syria, and Washington’s ongoing slaughter of Pakistanis and Yemenis with drones, and Washington’s violation of Iran’s sovereignty with illegal sanctions, and Washington’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by overthrowing the elected government and imposing Washington’s stooges?
If Putin is behaving as Rand Paul ignorantly asserts, Putin is just following the precedents established by Clinton in Serbia, by Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by Obama in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Washington’s argument is reduced to: “We, the exceptional and indispensable nation can behave this way, but no other country can.”
As some Americans have misplaced hopes in Rand Paul, it is just as well that he revealed in Time that he is just another fool prostituting himself for the neoconservative warmongers and the military/security complex. If Rand Paul is the hope for America, then clearly there is no hope.
As I have been pointing out, the propaganda and lies issuing from Washington, its European puppets, New York Times, Time, and the entirety of the Western media are repeating the path to war that led to World War 1. It is happening right before our eyes.