The article first published in americanthinker.com on 06/18/2017. As Trump haters are having yet another field day on account of his ostensible faux pas at the G-7 meeting in Canada and leftist pundits fall over each other screaming that Trump has no strategic vision, as others just as self-assuredly accuse him of planning to “break the West,” which, on the face of it, requires plenty of strategic vision. While this silliness continues to rapidly declining effect, there are now signs that the White House is putting together a robust strategy in Europe that was missing until now. It comes in the shape of A. Wess Mitchell, who was just appointed the point man at the State Department for Europe and Eurasia. The significance of this appointment, which was missed in
The Russian government can do little to undermine the competitiveness of alternative supplies along the Southern Gas Corridor. Moreover, the suppliers’ list is rapidly expanding with new gas fields in the Azeri offshore of the Caspian (Absheron and Shah Deniz 3), Turkmenistan (swaps already under way via Iran with Azerbaijan), Iran, Northern Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean. All this clearly alludes to the feasibility of alternative gas exports via Greece and Bulgaria to the rest of the EU. Gazprom’s nightmares are just starting to mature as soaring production and transportation costs within Russia do not leave much room for further cost-cutting. Militarizing the Caspian Sea To block the development and export of Caspian gas, including via the Trans-Caspian pipeline, Moscow decided to relocate its flotilla from Astrakhan
Shortly after President Aliev inaugurated the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor and announced the opening of the TANAP pipeline on June 12th, Russia beefed up its wartime machine to block competition to its gas supplies in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. The timing of the agreement between the Turkish government and Gazprom on the onshore segment of Turkish Stream matched to the day the news from Azerbaijan. Ostensibly, this a legitimate defense of Gazprom’s market shares, having already lost substantial chunks in the diversified market of Turkey and Greece – where it accounts for 50-60% of the gas imports. When the periscope moves on to Bulgaria – the bounty is a complete and seemingly durable monopoly. Yet, even in this small market, the Russian state company has
Margrethe Vestager, the EU Commissioner for Competition, made a long-awaited announcement May 24th, outlining the final decision on the anti-trust investigation against Gazprom. The media headlines picked different angles, some cheered the move for defending CEE customers, others pointed to a more pessimistic and pragmatic read – no fine for Gazprom. The press release alluded to the main achievement in the eye of the watchdog – the Russian gas giant had finally agreed to play ball. At a closer look, feelings are mixed and certainly a far cry from unqualified praise for the DG COMP’s work as the expectations in the CEE countries that Gazprom will be disciplined and punished for abusing its monopoly status were naturally greater. The decision would undoubtedly raise eyebrows, when compared with a
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Here is a short press release on PPF Group’s acquisitions in the Telcos on Monte Negro, Serbia, Hungary and Bulgaria – to be followed by subsequent acquisitions in media. All of these 4 countries are https://www.ppf.eu/en/press-releases/ppf-group-buys-telenors-telecommunications-assets-in-cee-countries It takes only few clicks on the net to ascertain the close relationship between Petr Kellner and the pro-Russian president Zeman, as well as the Czech businessman’s exposure in and with Russian firms, including to vet ties to VTB (Home Credit). There is a 100 per cent proven lithmus test – anyone doing business in Russia at the moment in strategic sectors has a rubber stamp of loyalty to Kremlin. Vladimir Putin raises the stakes and elevates his game against the West to new heights. US and EU sanctions have severly
A quick snap analysis on the likely outcome of the UK’s National Security Council meeting, presided by British PM Theresa May, today regarding sanctions on Russia, leads to grim conclusion and more than a wartime rhetoric. This is probably the most evident proof of the weakened geopolitical posture of Britain following the Brexit. While NATO’s coordinated response – Britain can still invoke article 5 – is still the first and preferred option – EU’s coordination is essential as effective responses lie beyond the military spectrum – in what hurts Putin most – money and image. A boycott of the Moscow World Cup seems almost inevitable. I can’t simply see England’s team playing soccer at the Luzhniki pretending business is as usual. If they leave – other’s will follow
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 03/03/2018. Milton Friedman once said open borders and the welfare state are incompatible. This is easy to prove in California, where, according to a recent essay by Victor Davis Hanson, half of all immigrant households are on welfare and the state accounts for a third of the nation’s welfare recipients with only 12% of its population, even as 20% of California’s population lives below the poverty line. Recent figures published in Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany, indicate that following Angela Merkel’s disastrous open-borders experiment of two and a half years ago, that country is well on its way to joining California in proving the wisdom of Friedman’s admonition, to the huge detriment of the German people. Official figures of the German statistical office show that beginning