The Seas, Energy Flows, Forever Wars--And Donald Trump!
Every morning I roll out of bed and say to my wife: What a crazy world! Actually, most mornings I think I say that before rolling out of bed.
Yesterday we took another look at all the old European animosities and conflicting ambitions—Russians, Ukrainians, Turks, Poles, Germans—plus the Anglosphere (US/Neocon/UK) plan to continue their forever war on Russia by other means. Sure, the sanctions Shock and Awe was a spectacular failure—anyone viewing Putin the other day, so confident and cheerful, discussing Russian economic prospects came away with no doubt as to who the winner of that one was. And, sure, the Ukrainian proxy war on Russia may be turning into an even more spectacular failure, with Russia emerging with an immensely powerful million and a half man military, while the American Empire is no longer able to recruit for its woke military and NATO is predictably fracturing along multiple fault lines. Nothing daunted, our intrepidly stupid Neocons are contemplating another of their patented pivots—pirouettes? The idea is a bit of a retread—to constrict Russian energy flows to the non-Russian world. We looked at all this in Geopolitics: Poland Again, Black Sea Energy.
This morning, commenter ML directed us to what amounts to a follow-on to the Naked Capitalism analysis of the Black Sea energy flow—this time at the other end of the Polish dream realm of an Intermarium—the Baltic:
It’s a terrific read, and there’s a lot to digest in the article. But here’s the overall idea.
Despite the US terror attack on the Russia to Germany NordStream pipeline, Russia still ships 60% of its seaborne oil exports through the Baltic. Apparently, there are people in the EU and NATO who are toying with the idea of blockading Russian tankers—a clear act of war—or instituting some inspection regime in a recognized international waterway that would drive up the cost of Russian oil. This would be right in line with the Globalist concept of making up the rules as we go along, rather than adhering to actual law. As can be imagined, European officials engaged in some rapid back pedaling when word of this idea became public. Predictably, Russia had some tough things to say, based on international law.
At the same time, new US poodles in the Baltic—Sweden, Finland, and Estonia (with a population smaller than Russia’s military)—are yapping about ruptures in undersea pipelines and cables. They’re blaming it on a Chinese tanker, and therein lies a tale. The Chinese tanker had just completed a voyage from China to Russia’s Baltic ports of Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg. How does one make such a sea voyage? Simple. You follow the Northern Sea Route, with the assistance of Russia’s famed nuclear powered icebreakers. I’ll repost this map, which featured in previous discussions of the way Russia and China are redrawing global trade routes:
The point of the Northern Sea Route is twofold. First, it provides a much shorter seaborne route for Russia’s Arctic oil to the rest of the world, and it also provides a shorter route from the Far East to Europe. In fact, the Northern Sea Route, when combined with the International North South Transport Corridor, provides cheap trade routes that encircle all of the Eurasian landmass. And that’s what the Baltic yapping about the Chinese tanker is largely about—shutting off access to Russian ports on the Baltic. The preferred tactic of the Rules Based Order is not to compete—much less cooperate—but rather to sabotage and destroy in order to maintain its neocolonial hegemony.
Again, I refer readers to the article for the details—there are details aplenty—but here’s the bottom line of the article, which conveniently ties this post with that of yesterday:
Taken altogether, it’s clear that despite the waning support for Project Ukraine, there will be no winding down of the confrontation between Europe and Russia, and the Baltic is one potential spot for tensions to rise considerably. The Caucasus and Central Asia are other hot spots, as is the Black Sea where attempts continue to sabotage the TurkStream pipeline that transports gas from Russia to Turkiye and onwards to southeastern Europe.
Upon the announcement that Finland and Sweden would join NATO, former Secretary General of the military bloc Anders Fogh Rasmussen proclaimed it was a strategic victory because “If we wish, we can block all entry and exit to Russia through St. Petersburg”.
The caveat to Rasmussen’s pronouncement is that such an effort could very well lead to open war. Is the West crazy enough to try?
So what we see is the collective West, even as it seeks an off ramp from Ukraine, still looking to open new fronts in the forever war on Russia. As with the denials that any blockade or interference with Russian shipping is being contemplated, the US and NATO are denying what everybody knows—that Ukraine is being pressured to engage in negotiations with Russia. That’s why CIA Director Bill Burns—who also appears to be the de facto acting SecState—has been visiting Zelensky in Kiev (destracting the hapless Z from his purchases of mega yachts and other plans for his future outside Ukraine). We all know this:
The other day German tabloid Bild published information that the US and Germany want to force Ukraine to negotiate with Russia.
Despite the fact that the State Department responded only three days later, denying the publication, the hints sent through the media to the Kiev regime are extremely clear.
The public is clearly being prepared to make a political decision, while everything looks as if the [Ukraine officials are the only ones who fail to see] the deadlock in the situation, but whose removal would most likely change the situation.
Right. This is the Neocons fantasy narrative—the Ukraine war is a “stalemate” or “deadlock”. As it is, it’s not just the Ukrainians who don’t see that—Vladimir Putin doesn’t see any stalemate either, and he’s the guy who’s going around in public with a big, sly grin on his face every time he talks about this. For a good laugh, here’s another link:
The reality is that, just as has Putin stated for all the world to hear, before the Special Military Operation (SMO) was launched, Russia isn’t interested in negotiating with Ukraine anymore and certainly not with America’s European vassals. What Putin would like is for the US to enter into a sort of Yalta 2.0—a new European Security Framework, as proposed in Russia’s draft treaties. Europe—and especially Ukraine, will just have to like it or lump it. If the Neocons can’t handle the humiliation this would entail, well, Russia has other ways to reach its desired goals. Frame it as a question: When Russia finishes with Ukraine, who really thinks that the Eastern European states that joined NATO in the Clinton - Dubya years will stand fast against Russia indefinitely? Hungary was the first to break ranks, right at the start of the SMO. Slovakia has followed suit. Bulgaria is wobbly, as is Greece. Poland is feuding furiously with Germany, and my guess is that Donald Tusk won’t be able to change those dynamics. The American Empire is stretched thin around the world. It will be in no position to challenge Russia in Europe. Look for new arrangements with Russia to develop sooner rather than later. Which makes some of this talk of a Neocon forever war so humorous.
For example, we see the scrambling beginning, as Tom Luongo points out:
Russia returning to hear offers on a settlement for Ukraine.
The Sirius Report @thesiriusreport
Another telling development: Bulgarian Foreign Ministry: We opened the sky for Sergei Lavrov to preserve the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), there are no people in his delegation who are subject to sanctions.
Lavrov will listen, but in the end Russia knows that only the US can make a deal. Andrei Martyanov presents a translation from a recent Lavrov interview, in which this world class diplomat lays Russia’s card out on the table for all to see—he can do that, because he’s got the winning hand. It’s brutal:
Question: What are the prospects for Russian-European trade and economic relations? Considering that Russia supplies almost one third of hydrocarbons to Europe, which will apparently be looking for an alternative. How does Moscow imagine the development of these relations?
Sergey Lavrov: I won’t even try to guess what Europe is going to do. I think she (except for German Chancellor O. Scholz and Vice-Chancellor R. Habeck) understood where she ended up. Read the statistics on how many times the US economic growth is faster than Europe. France, apparently, will be in the “zeros”. The once “locomotives” of the European economy (Germany, Great Britain) will “grow” downwards. After a series of laws adopted by the Americans to combat inflation and other topics, energy prices in the United States are 4-5 times lower than in Europe, where deindustrialization is taking place. Businesses thinking about their future move to the United States. I am convinced that this is not just a coincidence, but a deliberate policy of Washington. Because Europe is also a competitor that the United States does not need. They need a group of “gray” people who do what they order. I don’t want to offend Europeans, but this is exactly how the current political elites act. Let's look at the statistics. It's useful to understand what's going on.
The facts really do speak for themselves. The entire past two years has seen The American Empire placing Europe in abject subservience. By mistake? No, I think Lavrov is right. Maybe the Eastern Europeans will wake up, but they’re the ones who will have to come to Russia. Read this next paragraph. Lavrov understands perfectly what the “frozen conflict” narrative is all about, and he absolutely understands the forever war that the Neocons are planning:
But at this stage we do not need to think about how to restore relations with Europe. Now we need to think about how not to depend on the “twists” in European politics (primarily in the trade, economic, and investment spheres) that they make under the influence of Washington. We must protect ourselves in all key sectors of our economy (security and life in general), on which the future of the country depends. We must independently produce everything we need for security, economic development, providing solutions to social issues, introducing modern technologies (another event on artificial intelligence was recently held), so as not to suffer from new “whims” when and if they want to attack us with sanctions. The restrictions have not disappeared anywhere. The West wants to finish everything “on the sly,” in a cunning way. Freeze, buy time (as was the case with the Minsk agreements), again arm the Nazi regime in Kyiv and continue their hybrid (or non-hybrid) aggression against the Russian Federation. But even when everything is over, most of the sanctions will remain. We need to live by our own mind. When and if they “sober up” and they offer us something, we will think ten times, weigh whether all the proposals meet our interests and how reliable our European colleagues are. They have greatly undermined their ability to negotiate and their reputation. It may not be final yet.
There, everything is answered. And yes, Russia will talk to Washington only, and only when she sees that Washington is ready to talk. …
But there’s another factor involved, and Alexander Mercouris covers it in what I have to call a tour de force: Avdeyevka collapse & possible Trump presidency fuels EU panic.
AM begins by looking at Avdeyevka. The collapse is happening faster than anyone expected, probably fueled a by the collapse of the Ukrainian military—running out of munitions and, more fundamentally, men. The Neocons and their European running dogs had been counting on somehow keeping the war going through winter, but with this collapse and with the open political warfare in Kiev—apparently featuring dueling assassination attempts, now—Ukraine is starting to look like a house of cards.
But what really has the Euros panicked is this. They went in to the war in a state of euphoria (I’ve previously recounted AM’s story about this, at the Munich Security Conference in 2022). Trump had been removed so now, led by the Neocons, they would crush Russia with sanctions and then plunder Russia’s resources. They were giddy with the expectation of dominating the world. But all that has changed. Europe is now facing a bleak future, at best, while (as Lavrov pointed out) America is able to walk away from one more in a string of Neocon messes. And that would leave Europe at the tender mercy of Putin.
Now, it’s true that the Neocons and their running dogs in Europe are plotting a forever war, even after Ukraine. But what’s really got the Euros’ knickers in a knot—and AM says this prospect is very much the topic du jour in the UK dailies—is the possibility of Donald Trump Redux. The Neocons might not make a deal with Putin to rearrange the security framework of Europe, but Trump? Trump is just the guy to do it. He’s the same guy who talked of dismantling NATO. And this time around he would have no incentive to play nice with the Deep State that helped remove him from office. In fact, doing a deal with Putin might be the best thing going for the American Empire, if it’s looking to pivot to more pressing concerns than NATO and Russia. In fact, a deal with Putin would probably be in European interests, too, if not in the interests of the current ruling class. Ah, there’s the rub!
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