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Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Huw Williams

  The Canadian Climate Leadership Council recently proposed a plan that was supported by 27 Nobel laureates in economics and other business dignitaries, calling for the introduction of a national carbon tax starting at $40 per ton of carbon dioxide. The base argumentation used was primarily economic efficiency and climate fatalism. The underlying logic seemed closer to abstract academic theory than sound economic reasoning. More has been happening recently, with an obvious reference being made to Brexit, as politicians tend to lead the public without a clear understanding of the costs and consequences, jumping into reckless actions while lacking trustworthy and elaborate impact assessments and risk analyses.   Canada is one of the zealot countries, diehard supportive of climate change policies and the Paris accords. Ottawa has been on the

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Vladimir Putin and Vladislav Surkov / photo: obozrevatel.com

  Vladislav Surkov has enlightened us on the state of mind at the Kremlin. He has been on and off at the top of Putin’s confidants’ list, yet his current status is nowhere near the peak of his influence, some 15 years ago, when he was perceived as the guru in Putin’s entourage, akin to Mikhail Suslov in the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party. Those days are long gone, and the article published in Nezavisimaya Gazetta, although carrying some weight and deserving attention, does not go far enough to challenge the perception of a falling star.   The title, The Deep State of Putin (Dolgoe Gosudarstvo Putina), would certainly prompt analytical work in the Russian and Western media, much like in the old days of the Soviet Union, when

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gz

The article first published in americanthinker.com on 02/04/2019.   As I started writing this on the balmy if increasingly socialist, left coast on January 27th, the US media were full of dire predictions of a catastrophic cold snap in the Midwest and New England. The same day, in Brussels, 70,000 people (35,000 of them clueless school children) demonstrated with slogans like “Winter is not coming anymore,” “Nature grows, capitalism blows” and “Stop denying the earth is dying.”   Alas, Winter did come to both the Midwest and Europe and did so with a vengeance.  21 people have died of hypothermia in the US so far and at least 10 in Poland. Temperatures dipped to a hellish minus 23 degrees Fahrenheit (- 30.5 Celsius) in Chicago, and minus 14 degrees Celsius ( 7

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gaz

  For the first time in more than 15 years, Ukrainian gas has been exported to the EU. On January 30 this year, a small private company, TAS Energia Krainy, managed to sell gas to Slovakia. Volumes are indicative of a test mode, but the fact of the transfer is of great importance.   First, the story is clear proof that Ukraine has successfully resolved domestic gas challenges, due to growth in indigenous gas production and diversified imports, enough to ensure a strong liquidity base for market liberalization and export potential.   Second, the transaction happened in high winter season, which suggests self-confidence and mature levels in capacity and the supply market. The cross-border sale is not referenced to the more common long-term, but to short trade that can track

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WB Summit 1

  The ratification of the Macedonia name deal between Athens and Skopje on Friday capped a year in which the West renewed its focus on integrating the Western Balkans into the Euro-Atlantic community.   Bulgaria factored into the renewed push to integrate the region into NATO and the EU because Sofia made Western Balkan integration a focal point of its European Council presidency that spanned the first half of 2018. Sofia capped its EU presidency by hosting the EU-Western Balkans summit last May. The summit was a high-level gathering of EU and Western Balkan leaders, the first of its kind in 15 years.   Now that 2018 is complete and the Macedonia name dispute has been settled, one can have a clearer look at the fruits of Bulgaria’s push to

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Foto: Tanjug/Tanja Valić

  The purpose of this analysis is not to follow the chronicle of events, the media coverage and the reflections on President Putin’s visit to Belgrade, but to deliberate on its ‘net present value’ — what is its net impact and net worth as a trend.   For all the hype and grand talk, the practical value is negligible, well below what both presidents Putin and Vučić ascribe to it. There is plenty of symbolism and posturing, but Russia’s real geostrategic agenda is not identical to what Vučić presents as national interests to the Serbian audience.   Belgrade faces a dramatic dilemma – on one side, a possible date of entry into the EU of 2025, which seems increasingly chimeric, yet the only sensible option, as all neighbors are either

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Pipeline

  The cuts to transit tariffs for use of the Ukrainian gas transmission network, which were announced during the final days of 2018, are a major event that was undeservedly kept out of the media spotlight.   The reductions of nearly 50% are simply a downward correction but send a message.   Here are some corners in the analysis.   The first suspected casualty would be the revenue projections for the Ukraine circumvention projects. Their business logic has been substantially compromised, while the key argument Merkel and Putin continue to use is that the Nord Stream is “just business.” The direct costs of Nord Stream-2 so far are below $10 billion and, accounting for the extra funds spent on gas fields and infrastructure development on Russian territory, the bill skyrockets

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macedonia

  Most of the languages spoken around the world come from someplace else and nobody seems to mind that. English is spoken by many millions in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc., but there has yet been no effort to declare that language American, Canadian, Australian etc. Even the Irish, who have a good reason to be unhappy about the way they were treated by the English historically, have no problem acknowledging that the language they speak is English. It’s the same in Latin America, where the language they use is neither Argentinian nor Colombian or Venezuelan, but what the conquistadores, rapacious as they were, brought with them.  There is also a small prosperous country in Europe called Switzerland that has done very well for itself for centuries recognizing

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Serbia’s Presevo Valley with the city of Presevo in the foreground

  2018 was supposed to be a year in which Serbia and Kosovo made progress in resolving their longstanding territorial dispute. This year, the European Union moderated more dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, or at least tried to, and set a target date of 2025 for Serbia to join the bloc, an accession that hinges on Serbia striking a deal with Kosovo on normalizing relations. Additionally, a major breakthrough occurred in the middle of the year in another longstanding dispute in the region, the Macedonia name dispute, giving hope that similar progress may occur in Serbia-Kosovo relations.   Yet, 2018 is concluding with Pristina imposing and hiking tariffs on imports from Serbia (and from Bosnia) and voting to turn the Kosovo Security Force into a regular army. Meanwhile, Belgrade is

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Photo: ing.com

The article first published in americanthinker.com on 12/16/2018.   It is tempting to dismiss the just ended environmental circus at Katowice as just another demonstration of Charles Mackay’s ‘madness of crowds,’ symptom but this would mean missing its intensely political nature as a frontal assault on capitalism and the last great hope of the Left to do away with the hated free market. COP-24, as the Katowice cabal is known, was but the 24th iteration of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that was originally dedicated to fighting global warming until the name became inconvenient when temperatures refused to cooperate with the mantra. It is already clear that COP-24, like most of the previous confabs, will do nothing more than punt fighting the promised doom of us all to a future date.