A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

City

 

Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

Grand Strategy Revisited

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Pyotr Stolypin

 

We live in the world of models, all kinds of them. Some models are simple, others—very complex. The main task of those models is to predict how things, those models describe, will behave depending on the circumstances. Some of those models work brilliantly, others fail miserably. Worst models in terms of reliability are those dealing with geopolitics. A record of dismal failures of Western in general, and American in particular, geopolitical models to predict anything right is widely available for everyone to see. Time after time those models and predictions turned out to be wrong. In terms of “predicting” anything in regards to Russia, those predictions were not only wrong, they were downright dangerous.

No better demonstration exists of a complete breakdown in the process of predicting anything than evolution of Russian military and economic power. As late as 2016, claims that Russia remained nothing more than, in the words of John McCain, a gas station masquerading as a country continued to pour in by all kinds of “experts”, who, despite a huge collection of facts to the contrary, continued to believe that these are only Russia’s nuclear forces which keep Russia as some secondary factor in the international relations. There are even some Russian experts who shared this point of view. Their models and predictions turned out to be wrong. They lacked the most important predictor of them all. Continue reading

More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

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There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs. Continue reading

On same day as summit U.S. rattled China, dedicated massive new Taipei compound

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The largest U.S. diplomatic compound in all of Asia opened this month in a country with whom Washington does not even have an official diplomatic relationship.

On June 12, when the world was transfixed on the Trump-Kim Nuclear Summit in Singapore, a major ceremony was taking place in Taiwan’s capital Taipei with great fanfare to mark the opening of a huge new diplomatic complex of great geopolitical significance. Continue reading

The Grand Troika: A Chance for a World New Order

 

Back in the late summer of 2017 I wrote an analysis of the state of world affairs and international relations after two seismic geopolitical world events occurred almost simultaneously in 2016 – the UK Referendum result to Leave the European Union and the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton by Republican Donald Trump for the White House in the US 2016 Presidential Election. Those twin political events were like major earth shaking bombs going off creating all kinds of disturbances and tremors, aftershocks and creating the greatest of shock and bewilderment within the international political order that had held sway since the defeat of Nazism in 1945.

It had become clear to me by the summer of 2017, as I had thought for some time, that politics in Britain – and global geostrategic politics within the broader historical framework of civilizational and human development – had changed profoundly and significantly from were we had been during the 1990s-2012 period, perhaps even from where I started off life in the most intense but ending days of the Cold War in the mid 1980s. Continue reading

In a blow to Trump, Europe seeks gas supplies from Iran

The European Commission vice-president for energy union,Maros Sefcovic, said during a visit to Azerbaijan last week that the European Union was ready to negotiate Iran’s participation in the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a system of pipelines designed to pump Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region to southern Italy via Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania.

The European bloc is keen to get its hands on Iranian gas and has already held talks with Tehran on the issue. This means it is unlikely that the EU will budge on its opposition to US President Donald Trump’s demands for revising the Iran nuclear deal. Continue reading

U.S. ‘Plan B’ for the Middle East. The Occupation of One Third of Syria’s Territory

Map from Anadolu Agency, published in Orient Net [18]

 

The television network RT asked me for a comment around the recent visit to Raqqa done by the USAID program chief together with the CENTCOM Commander. [1]

Before addressing the humanitarian situation in Raqqa associated with the reconstruction issue (80 percent of Raqqa dwellings remain “inhabitable”, according to the UN), I will focus on the current U.S. geopolitics in the area, against the backdrop of the U.S. emerging ‘Plan B’ on Syria. So far, the implementation of this new design has signified the virtual occupation of nearly a third of Syria’s territory. A hallmark of the situation consisting in the illegal occupation of Syrian territory by U.S. troops.

The first project of the US on Syria aimed to obtain a regime change. It was pretty much a “default” policy applied by the US in the Middle East at the times of the Obama / Hillary Clinton administration. Partly of its mechanism has been described by Senator Dick Clark (an excerpt of Senator Clark’s declarations is found in the video here below. Click on the image for the excerpt-footage).

The strategy of “regime change”, which can we call “U.S. Plan A on Syria”, failed.

Continue reading

How Iran, the Mideast’s new superpower, is expanding its footprint across the region – and what it means

raqi Shiites of the Mahdi Army militia vow to fight ISIS in a show of strength in a 2014 military parade in Baghdad. (Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor)

 

Iran has achieved milestones of leverage and influence that rival any regional power in the past half-century. While there are limits to how far it can extend its authority, Tehran’s rapid rise poses new challenges to the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia as it undermines their previous dominance. How far can Tehran extend its reach?

With opulent furnishings and the finest cut-crystal water glasses in Baghdad, the new offices of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia exude money and power – exactly as they are meant to. At one end of the meeting room is a set built for TV interviews, with gilded chairs and an official-looking backdrop of Iraqi and militia flags, lit by an ornate glass chandelier. Continue reading

New Rumblings In The Horn Of Africa Over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam

Tensions are rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Renaissance Dam. Continue reading

Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power

This histomap, created in 1931 by John B. Sparks, is probably one of the most interesting bits of info you’ll probably come across in a while and serves as a good break from today’s politics.

 

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Imagine creating a timeline of your country’s whole history stretching back to its inception.

It would be no small task, and simply weighing the relative importance of so many great people, technological achievements, and pivotal events would be a tiny miracle in itself.

While that seems like a challenge, imagine going a few steps further. Instead of a timeline for just one country, what about creating a graphical timeline showing the history of the entire world over a 4,000 year time period, all while having no access to computers or the internet? Continue reading

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia

 

The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about China’s initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia.

Involving about 65 countries and affecting 4.4 billion people, constituting thirty percent of the world’s GDP, together with a total investment from Beijing that could surpass a trillion dollars, the is an immense project that requires a lot of imagination to grasp the intentions of the Chinese leadership. With a host of projects already in progress, and some almost completed (the Sino-Pakistan Corridor known as CPEC is archetypical), the overland and maritime routes are developing side by side. Plenty of ink has been used detailing Beijing’s intentions regarding the East-West connections of the super Eurasian continent. Pipelines, railway lines, fiber-optic cables, telecommunications infrastructure and highways dominate discussions, together with talks about costs, feasibility studies, the question of security, and the return on investment. The land Silk Road is certainly an imposing challenge that is not just commercial in nature but sets the foundation for greater cultural and social integration between neighbouring countries. It is a project that in the long term aims to blend together the Eurasian continent and overcome the contradictions contained therein through win-win cooperation and economic development. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia’s Saturday Night Massacre

This weekend, while we here in the US were focused on the upcoming election and President Trump’s visit to Asia, a powerful drama with vast geopolitical implications played out in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad bin Salman, the king’s son, is the de facto ruler of the country and has been making increasingly aggressive moves in an attempt to shift Saudi Arabia from its status as an ultraconservative oil-producing nation to a 21st-century manufacturing superpower with social mores to match. In doing so he has greatly perturbed a broad swath of the Saudi elite – many of them his near and distant royal family brethren – as well as the fundamentalist Wahhabi clergy. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

A 2014 photo of a B-52H Stratofortress based at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTINE GRIFFITHS)

 

If the order comes, the B-52s will return to a ready-to-fly posture not seen since the Cold War.

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. —  The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

Continue reading

Forget Catalonia, Flanders Is The Real Test Case Of EU Separatism!

 

Catalonia’s separatist campaign has dominated European headlines for the past couple of weeks, but it’s really the northern Belgian region of Flanders which will serve as a barometer over whether large chunks of the EU will fall apart into a collection of identity-centric statelets prior to the bloc’s reconstitution into a “federation of regions”.

What’s going on in Catalonia is of paramount importance to the geopolitical future of Europe, since it could very well serve as the catalyst for fracturing the EU if copycat movements elsewhere are emboldened by the Spanish region’s possible separatist success. This was explained in detail in the author’s recent analysis about “The Catalan Chain Reaction”, which readers should familiarize themselves with if they’re not already acquainted with the thesis put forth in that work. To concisely summarize, there’s a very distinct possibility that the EU’s liberal-globalist elite have been planning to divide and rule the continent along identity-based lines in order to further their ultimate goal of creating a “federation of regions”. Continue reading

Wintershall warns U.S. against playing ‘geopolitical football.’

 

German energy company Wintershall, a European partner with Russia’s Gazprom, said the European energy sector can’t be used for “geopolitical football.”

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill into law that sanctions Iran, North Korea and Russia. The Russian measure in particular is significant given the election issue clouding the Trump administration. Continue reading