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“Pro-Russian Militias” Seize Police Stations and a City

2014 April 12
tags:
by Ian Welsh

I guess Vladimir Putin really objects to the current Ukrainian regime:

Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slaviansk and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city. Official buildings in several neighboring towns were also attacked.

Imagine that.  I’m sure that some of them are activists.  The rest are very likely “activists”.

Ukraine is blustering about using armed force to kick them out, but if they do, they’ll kill some, and that will give the large army on their border a pretext to march in to “protect” Russians in the Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine refuses to pay higher prices for natural gas, is 2 billion in arrears anyway, and the Russians are saying “well, the contact says that if you don’t make payments in time, we can raise the price.”

Sub voce, of course, the message is “we offered you subsidized gas, and you decided to make nice with the IMF, Europe and America.  Get them to pay for your gas, we don’t subsidize countries hostile to us.”

Now all this could be prelude to invasion, but it could also be prelude to negotiations.  Russia wants a Federal Ukraine with regions having great autonomy.  Going to the table with the message “we already OWN the Eastern Ukraine, it’s federalization or we officially annex it” is a strong bargaining position.

Possession is, as they say, 90% of the “law”.

The West can either accept what Russia is offering, or it can ramp up sanctions.  Be clear, sanctions could really hurt Russia, but they will hurt the EU as well, both those countries that rely on Russia for natural gas, and those who launder Russian money (London, in particular.)

Of course, the US probably doesn’t mind if Europe gets hurt, and American commercial interests are pushing to be allowed to sell natural gas to Europe.  The fracking boom isn’t going as well as its propaganda, and a bigger market would be nice.

Hard sanctions, though, will push Russia hard into China’s orbit, ensuring that when the real confrontation between the West and China occurse, that Russia, which is still a powerful nation, rich with natural resources China needs, back China, not the West.

In geopolitical terms, the West has acted like idiots.  The status quo of a Ukraine which was somewhat more in Moscow’s pocket than Brussels or DC was not harmful to the West, they will lose much to gain part of the Ukraine than it is worth.

Again, the real threat to American hegemony is no longer Russia, it is China.  American foreign policy which does not orient around this fact is jejeune and idiotic.


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8 Responses
  1. Crocodile Chuck permalink
    April 12, 2014

    1) Its ‘Ukraine’. You don’t call ITA or FR ‘the Italy’, or ‘the France’.
    2) “Of course, the US probably doesn’t mind if Europe gets hurt, and American commercial interests are pushing to be allowed to sell natural gas to Europe” (snip)

    This statement is a nonsense. The US has no commercial gas liquefaction facilities on the East or Gulf Coasts. You do yourself no favours parroting the masturbatory fantasies of the US State Department and its supine media mouthpieces.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LNG_terminals#United_States

  2. S Brennan permalink
    April 12, 2014

    Agreed;

    “ensuring that when the real confrontation between the West and China occurs, that Russia, which is still a powerful nation, rich with natural resources China needs, back China, not the West…Again, the real threat to American hegemony is no longer Russia, it is China. American foreign policy which does not orient around this fact is jejeune and idiotic.”

    Hey Chuck;

    http://cameronlng.com/about-the-terminal.html

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/11/sempra-cameron-approval-idUSL2N0LG10A20140211

    And from your link:

    United States and Puerto Rico

    The following LNG off-loading and regasification terminals are located in the United States and Gulf of Mexico:[16]

    Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP, Lusby, Maryland – (Dominion Resources)[17]
    Southern LNG, Elba Island, Georgia – (El Paso Energy)[18][19]
    Trunkline LNG, Lake Charles, Louisiana – (Trunkline LNG Company, LLC)[20][21]
    EcoEléctrica, Punta Guyanilla, Puerto Rico[22][23]
    Golden Pass LNG, rural Jefferson County, Texas – (Golden Pass LNG)[24][25]
    Sabine Pass LNG, rural Cameron Parish, Louisiana – (Cheniere Energy, Inc.)[26][27]
    Cameron LNG, rural Cameron Parish, Louisiana – (Sempra Energy)[28][29]
    Freeport LNG, Freeport, Texas – (Freeport LNG Development, LP)[30][31]
    Everett Marine Terminal, Everett, Massachusetts
    Gulf LNG, Pascagoula, Mississippi – (El Paso)[34]
    Gulf Gateway Deepwater Port, Gulf of Mexico – (Excelerate Energy LLC)[35]
    Northeast Gateway Deepwater Port, offshore from Gloucester, Massachusetts,[36]
    Neptune LNG, offshore from Gloucester, Massachusetts,[38] licensed by the US

    Here’s a map; going around Florida is less than 24 hours to a ship leaving Texas/Louisiana.

  3. S Brennan permalink
    April 12, 2014

    There is some discussion of this over at Moon of Alabama:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/04/ukraine-donetsk-moves.html#comments

    Some thread hijacking idiocy on the Ukrainian language, but some good points.

    Here’s a letter from Putin to the Europeans:

    Just read it and see what a crazy evil man he is…just as the Media has told us every day & night! This man is every bit as evil as Hitler…and that’s coming from a woman, Hilary Clinton, who, knowing cameras were rolling, laughed out loud at the news of the anal knife raping of Gaddafi.

    http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/727287

  4. April 13, 2014

    Brennan, Chuck is correct.. LNG EXPORT terminals (liquification) won’t be ready until 2015-16 for 1 terminal, 2017-18 for 2nd teminal (and in total they can only process/export 2 billion cf per day.. Europe uses 30-40 billion cf per day

    Regasification terminals the US has alot of but that’s only for IMPORTing into the US.. the Cameron terminal won’t finish it’s EXPORTING liquification terminal until 2019

    http://VineyardSaker.blogspot.com

    For more details & latest updates, the site by former hi-ranking officer(Major) NATO military intelligence officer/analyst who worked with the Pentagon as well as Russian hi-command in Moscow living in Russia for 15 years http://vineyardSaker.blogspot.com & http://www.MoonofAlabama.org

  5. Ian Welsh permalink*
    April 13, 2014

    Oh sure, they can’t take up the slack at this time. But they desperately want a reason to get rid of the export ban and sell to the rest of the world. These things don’t have to be instantaneous for people who are used to thinking years in advance about their plans (which they hydrocarbon industry is.)

    Europe does not get all of its gas from Russia. It’s not 30 to 40 that needs to be replaced. It’s about 30% of that: 9 to 12.

    Current capacity is not the point, thus the statement is not nonsense: US commercial interests are pushing to sell Natural Gas to Europe (and everyone else), and are using this as an excuse. That they can’t make up the shortfall right now, or for years, does not change the truth of the statement. Natural gas contracts run a long time, as they expire, American industry wants to be in a position to get the new ones. “Russia is not reliable.”

  6. datruth permalink
    April 13, 2014

    @Chuck Ian already knows that we can’t actually export any natural gas until 2015, but does the average American know that? Of course they don’t, which is why the US and US corporations will use the Ukraine (deal with it ASSHOLE) as an excuse to frack frack frack. Don’t come in here with your weak sauce, you’re not an intellectual.

  7. April 13, 2014

    Ian – this statement caught my attention….

    In geopolitical terms, the West has acted like idiots.

    …and it reminded me of an article that came to my attention a few years ago that looks at the differing approaches to foreign policy and diplomacy of China and the United States through the lens of Chess versus Weiqi (Go).

    Whereas Chess is, as one Grandmaster put it, “99% tactical”, Weiqi/GO is a game of strategy. Militarily, Chess is a single battle; Weiqi is a multi-front war. The former is conducted on an 8×8 board; the latter on one of 19×19 squares or 361 interstices. Chess is a game that relies entirely on the left hemisphere of our brain, the analytical function; Weiqi requires the employment of both left and right brain hemispheres – analytical and perception of spatial patterns respectively. Chess is designed for short term engagement and Weiqi for the long term.

    Chess: Primarily tactical, with only a modest strategic component.
    Weiqi: Profoundly strategic, but with incisive, complex, integral tactics.

    Countries Using This Kind Of Thinking In Their Political Decision Making.

    Chess: US, Western Democracies, Russia, and Eastern European Nations.
    Weiqi: China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore.

    So, what does all this have to do with China and the US and their respective approaches to geopolitics?

    A recent Pentagon report describes Beijing’s “string of pearls” strategy as one that aims to project Chinese power overseas and protect China’s energy security at home. In fact, that “string of pearls” is closely linked to the technique of the game of Weiqi.

    Read the whole thing here:
    http://winningbysharing.typepad.com/oaxaca/2010/01/a-whole-new-mind.html

  8. profan permalink
    April 13, 2014

    Ukrainian commentator Sergei Leshchenko said the burst of activity by pro-Russian groups was an attempt by the Kremlin to secure a strong negotiating position before the international talks about Ukraine in Geneva next Thursday.

    “Russia will come to the talks with the position that ‘Donetsk and several neighboring regions are already ours – now let’s talk about federalization’,” said Leshchenko, a commentator with the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper.
    - http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/12/us-ukraine-crisis-idUSBREA3A1B520140412

    Is he reading your blog?

    Now all this could be prelude to invasion, but it could also be prelude to negotiations. Russia wants a Federal Ukraine with regions having great autonomy. Going to the table with the message “we already OWN the Eastern Ukraine, it’s federalization or we officially annex it” is a strong bargaining position.

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