The Alliance of the Threatened

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – The EU and USA have expanded their sanctions against Russia and – in addition to individuals – have now also placed important Russian companies on their lists. Washington has restricted dealings, for example, with Rosneft and the Gazprombank. Brussels has announced the possibility of preventing EU companies from doing business with Russian companies and is planning to list them by the end of July. German business circles are protesting. They have already suffered billions in losses. Experts are warning that, with its sanctions against Russia, the West may experience, in the economic arena, an overreach similar to that experienced by the US in the military arena with its war on Iraq. With the power of the West obviously waning, it has already become noticeable that even close allies are defecting. Observers explain this with the Crimea conflict: NATO countries had been unable to retain the Crimea within the reign of its allied Ukrainian government; therefore it seems that an alliance with NATO countries would no longer be a reliable assurance against ones enemies. Defections can be noticed in Asia and Latin America, not least of all because of the recent founding of the BRICS development bank, rivaling the US-dominated World Bank. Russia and China are among the founders of this bank. Continue reading

Energy as a Weapon

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The German Chancellor is suggesting that the EU should take a “new look at its energy policy” as a whole. As Angela Merkel confirmed last week, several EU countries are at least partially “very highly dependent” on “the supply of raw materials from Russia.” Spurred on by the Ukrainian crisis, Berlin and Brussels could, however, in the long run, seek to liberate themselves. Merkel made her remarks following talks with Canada’s Prime Minister, who is considering the diversification of his country’s energy exports and does not exclude exporting natural gas to Europe. This, along with gas, which is extracted in the USA by the controversial “fracking” technique and should be exportable soon, could shake Russia’s strong position on the European gas market. Massive price cuts could result, forcing Moscow to drastically cut its budget, according to US experts. Whether Putin could politically survive such measures is unknown. In Berlin the debate continues over the new perspective of transatlantic energy. Representatives from US-oriented sectors are in favor and those from energy companies doing business with Russia and from the SPD, are opposed. Continue reading