Out with Keystone XL, In with Enbridge Northern Gateway

Claiming it could no longer abide the Obama administration’s five-year refusal to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to bring 830,000 barrels a day of much-needed Alberta shale oil to U.S. refineries, the Canadian government recently approved plans for a huge new pipeline and port project to ship that oil to Asia instead. 

When completed, the $7.9 billion Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, approved by Canada’s federal government on June 17, will consist of an environmentally safe, 730-mile oil pipeline. It will be capable of moving 600,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil to the pacific coast town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where a new state-of-the-art super tanker port facility will be built to ship the oil to thirsty Asian ports. Continue reading

Rising Resource Costs Escalate Odds of Global Unrest

If you were going to try and understand why revolts happen, but wanted to limit yourself to a single variable, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better than the price of food.

There’s quite a bit of research to support the idea that people who spend above a certain percent of their income on food are more likely to protest, riot, or otherwise become restive. That number seems to have a minimum threshold of 40% of income to food costs, give or take: Continue reading

U.S. Sanctions Push Putin Toward His Dream of A New Financial System

Although Monday’s sanctions will hurt Russia in the short term, they will also force Putin to step up his efforts to weaken U.S. influence over the global economy, which so far has been “little more than wishful thinking because of the difficult reforms it would require”

A little over a year ago, in early March 2013, the Russian state energy czar Igor Sechin made his American debut at an oil summit in Houston, Texas, reportedly accompanied by armed guards equipped with a K-9 unit. The speech he gave that day at the СERAWeek conference, an annual gathering of energy titans from around the world, was part of a pit stop for Sechin. He was on his way to a more high profile event, the funeral of his old friend Hugo Chavez, the truculently anti-American President of oil-rich Venezuela. But since he was passing through the Western hemisphere anyway, Sechin clearly felt it was worthwhile to court some American investors. “I call for us to work together,” he told the audience that day, according to Russia’s Vedomosti daily, “to drive our business for mutual benefit.” Continue reading

Russia and China dig a channel vying with the Panama Canal

China and Russia arе embarking on a big geopolitical and economic venture of laying in Nicaragua a rival to the USA brainchild, the Panama Canal.

This was disclosed to the “Voice of Russia” by Petr Yakovlev, the head of the Center for Iberian Studies, Institute of Latin America, Russian Academy of Sciences. The expert said that Russian companies are holding talks with Chinese partners on how to participate in this strategic project in Latin America.

The start of the construction is planned for December 2014. Longer time slots had been proposed earlier. It is possible that adjustments have been made ​​following the probable participation of Russian companies in the project. Given the confidentiality of negotiations, Peter Yakovlev did not reveal the names of the Russian companies participating in them. Continue reading

Russia to expand its worldwide military presence

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it plans to expand its worldwide military presence by seeking permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday in remarks carried by Russian news agencies the military was conducting talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore. Continue reading

China’s Push Into ‘America’s Backyard’

The United States has been quite vocal about its “pivot to Asia,” but as Washington seeks to further its influence in the Asia-Pacific, China has been quietly upping its own importance to Central and Latin America. Now China is making a push to further its engagement with countries in the Western Hemisphere, as evidenced by the announcement of a new dialogue mechanism. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which met in Cuba from January 28 to 29, adopted a statement announcing the establishment of a China-CELAC Forum. Continue reading

Russia Plans Cruise Missile Tests, Bomber Patrols for 2014

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Air Force is preparing to conduct a series of tests of new cruise missiles, as well as carrying out strategic bomber patrols including stops in other countries, the commander of its long-range fleet said Wednesday.

“In 2014 we are planning practice launches of cruise missiles, including new models,” Gen. Lt. Anatoly Zhikharev told reporters, without specifying the missiles to be fired. Russian planes launched 15 cruise missiles last year.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last summer that Russia was planning a 30-fold increase of its cruise missile arsenal by 2020. Continue reading

An ’80s Flashback? Russia’s New Military Presence In Nicaragua

Don’t ever be fooled by articles where the author or someone who was quoted states that Russia has purely economic/commercial interests. The headline alone is questionable because it’s not ‘new’. They are either duped or purposely whitewashing the military threat. Point being, they (along with China) are encircling the United States. Through the documentation of articles here alone under the China or Russia tags and categories, one can clearly see this one case of many points to a bigger picture. They’re not there to fight drugs either, since they’ve already drugged the United States in the first place.

Here are also a few examples of Russian military involvement:

Russian Military Chief Arrives in Nicaragua to Develop Ties

Putin’s July 4th Message

Russia, Nicaragua to hold joint military exercise – Lavrov

Russia planning to open new naval bases abroad – Telegraph

Airport Punta Huete rejuvenated (Spanish)

U.S. Fears Soviet Use of New Nicaraguan Airfield

Blast from the Past File: President Reagan’s March 15, 1986 radio address on Nicaragua more timely than ever as Red Axis takes over Latin America

“We have Nicaragua, soon we will have El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mexico. One day, tomorrow or five years or fifteen years from now, we’re going to take 5 to 10 million Mexicans and they are going into Dallas, into El Paso, into Houston, into New Mexico, into San Diego, and each one will have embedded in his mind the idea of killing ten Americans.”  (Thomas Borge, Nicaragua Interior Minister as quoted in the Washington Times, March 27, 1985)

Faced with Colombia’s military strength and apparent resolve not to hand over a disputed swathe of the Caribbean, Nicaragua is inviting friendly Russia into the area.

The Nicaraguans have announced that in 2014 they will allow U.S. and Russian military forces to enter the section of the Caribbean that the Hague Court gave them — which Colombia has so far refused to abandon or hand over. Nicaragua has said the forces would participate in joint counter-narcotics operations, but Colombia is increasingly on edge about other actions Nicaragua may have planned with the two large foreign powers. Continue reading

Parliament of Nicaragua votes for Russian military presence

Nicaragua’s parliament ratified the government’s decision allowing Russian military units, planes and ships to visit the Central American country. Continue reading

Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Land in Venezuela

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MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers on Monday flew from an airbase in southwestern Russia and landed in Venezuela, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The nuclear-capable bombers, which took off from the Engels airbase in the Volga region, “flew over the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and along the southwestern coast of the North American continent, and landed at Maiquetia airfield in Venezuela,” the ministry said in a statement. Continue reading

Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago sign offshore natural gas deal

Caracas: Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have signed a deal to develop three gas fields that span their maritime border and contain reserves totaling nearly 12 trillion cubic feet.

“We’ve signed the accords for (the Loran-Manatee bloc, the largest of the three), and today we signed (the accord governing) how we’re going to operate those fields,” Venezuela’s Rafael Ramirez, who heads state-owned oil giant PDVSA, said Wednesday. Continue reading

Inside the Ring: Russia boosts Cuba ties

The Russian military recently dispatched a guided-missile warship to Cuba as part of what U.S. officials say are growing military, intelligence and economic ties between Moscow and Havana.

The missile cruiser is the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, according to state-run Russian news reports. Continue reading

US and China: The Fight for Latin America

According to Robert Valencia, China is vying for greater economic influence in Latin America, to include possibly constructing and operating an alternative ‘Panama Canal’ through Nicaragua. One unanticipated consequence of this burgeoning US-China rivalry, Valencia observes, is that it might push Latin American countries closer together.

During the first weekend of June, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California to discuss cyber espionage and territorial claims in the Pacific Rim. While tension on these topics has hogged the headlines, the fight for influence in another area could be even more important—Latin America. Other emerging markets in Africa, where China has an overwhelming influence due to foreign direct investment in mining and oil, also offer economic opportunities, but Latin America has an abundance of natural resources, greater purchasing power, and geographic proximity to the United States, which has long considered Latin America as its “backyard.” Continue reading

Russian Oil Behemoth Rosneft Has Unlocked the Arctic

Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so.

Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell’s platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia’s Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra.

Those vast oil and gas fields aren’t impossible to tap, just expensive. With oil platforms in the farthest reaches estimated to cost somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion apiece, it should come as no surprise that the Arctic has remained quiet this long. (It’s also a reason why Soviet scientists wanted to melt the whole thing.) Continue reading

Rising Red tide: China encircles U.S. by sailing warships in American waters, arming neighbors

This is far from a reaction to Washington’s “pivot” as the CCP running China would say. Fact of the matter is, China’s threatening rise is what lead to the pivot in the first place. This is something that they would’ve done, regardless of the situation, yet more of now since they have a weak administration in the White House that doesn’t want its credit card cut off from Beijing.

China has been quietly taking steps to encircle the United States by arming western hemisphere states, seeking closer military, economic, and diplomatic ties to U.S. neighbors, and sailing warships into U.S. maritime zones.

The strategy is a Chinese version of what Beijing has charged is a U.S. strategy designed to encircle and “contain” China. It is also directed at countering the Obama administration’s new strategy called the pivot to Asia. The pivot calls for closer economic, diplomatic, and military ties to Asian states that are increasingly concerned about Chinese encroachment throughout that region.

“The Chinese are deftly parrying our ‘Pivot to the Pacific’ with their own elegant countermoves,” said John Tkacik, a former State Department Asia hand. Continue reading