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Russia, Ukraine Dispute Leaves European Nations Without Gas

Flanker

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E.R. Campbell said:
This is a classic example of Russian thuggishness.

Russia has a dispute with Ukraine over some gas that might (let’s say, for the sake of agreement, was) stolen. So does Russia deal with Ukraine? No; it tries to bully the EU, its customers, into forcing Ukraine to do whatever Russia wants. But, in fact, what Russia wants is for Ukraine to ‘come to heel’ and be a good little satellite again.

Russia is blackening its reputations for fair dealing, such as it ever was, by acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner – like a schoolyard bully, like the old USSR.

First, I think this labelling tactics is quite russophobic.

In business there is no thugs.
There are suppliers, customers, contracts and courts.
The contracts are not fair. It is life. There are risks.
The contracts have force majeure clauses and other clauses that European customers are well aware of.
If you do not want cheap gas or you are not able to bear the risk, you just go to buy elsewhere.
Feel bullied? Wanna go to court? Just file the case.
How many "bullied" customers have filed cases? No one AFAIK. So, let's stop this whining of "bad Russians".
Russia foresaw the actual transit problems and had notified the customers well in advance.
So, Germany, France and many others countries prudently filled up their reserves.
That why they are not crying now in line as some other irresponsible "risk-takers".

Second, let's not compare the conflict with the famous US-Canada case on lumber wood.
I did not hear that US stole wood from Canada.
Ukraine steals gas regularly in impressive quantities. The only way to stop it is to suspend shipping until putting international observers in there.
Otherwise ... have you ever tried to force a thief to pay for stolen and already eaten food? Good luck!

Third, if Europe wants reliable heating with cheap gas, it should quit its double-face game and at least (at least!) express some clear verbal support to Russian efforts to prevent Ukraine from messing with THEIR transported gas.  As of today, the undecided Europe is still trying to marry a guy who is stealing change from Europeans' pockets.

Ukraine is clearly going to bankruptcy, and it desperately needs gas for its own heating.
So I do not hope their actions will be very honest and adequate in the near future, unless there are coordinated pressing efforts from both sides.


 

Kirkhill

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Thucydides said:
Is there perhaps another reason behind the cutoff?

http://www.thesurlybeaver.ca/index.php?itemid=616


Good catch Thucydides -  a couple of the linked links are also very interesting:
Bluff and double bluff
Russia’s Big Energy Secret

The Newsweek article in particular.

That brings this back around to the Chinese superthread and demonstrates once again, in Edwards world of Interests and not Friends that China may find it more helpful to support a Turkish pipeline to Europe to bypass Russia if only to reduce Russias influence on the area.

We are no longer dealing with a world of political theories.  We are dealing with a world of commercial interests.  And China needs to weigh its needs for energy against its needs to keep Russia limited. One way to accomplish that is to boost the power of the Central Asian Republics and one way to do that is to increase their market options: ie give them access to more foreign markets.

Meanwhile the CARs are working to re-establish a profitable position they once held in the days of the Khans, Marco Polo and Samarkand - at the centre of trade routes.

It will be interesting to see how this ancient 3-way fight plays out.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Or in the words of Mario Puzos Godfather: Its just business.





 

Flanker

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Kirkhill said:
China needs to weigh its needs for energy against its needs to keep Russia limited.

Really?
"To keep Russia limited" and to consider it as en eternal enemy has always been the "idée fixe" of western countries not China's one.




 

George Wallace

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Flanker said:
Really?
"To keep Russia limited" and to consider it as en eternal enemy has always been the "idée fixe" of western countries not China's one.

Odd?  I have always been led to believe that China did have other than cordial relations with Russia.  I guess someone with no visible or acknowledged credentials must be right then and I will have to change my ways and think of us in the West as being the "Great Satan" and out to keep Russia as the "eternal enemy".  I really don't know how I could have been soo wrong for all these years.  All my studies have been for naught.  Guess I had better take that piece of paper down off the wall.  It isn't worth the paper it was printed on.  Oh, woe is me.
 

Edward Campbell

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Flanker said:
Really? "To keep Russia limited" and to consider it as en eternal enemy has always been the "idée fixe" of western countries not China's one.

Over the last 2,500 years or so the "eternal enemy" for China is, always, the barbarians who come from the North and West.

In the 13th century, while the northern barbarians were conquering China and, consequentially, were being absorbed by it, becoming Chinese themselves, their other enemy were the Rus in the West and they conquered them, too. For about 200 years there was one, increasingly Chinese empire from the Pacific to Poland.

In modern times, Sun Yat-sen admired Russian revolutionary doctrine methods and sought to adapt them to Chinese requirements; his protégé, Zhou Enlai, was a philosophical and practical communist who was highly regarded by the Russians, even as they (the Russians) looked down on Mao Zedong  as something of a country bumpkin. The odd thing is that Zhou thought of the Russians as crude, clumsy, boorish barbarians and met their blandishments with well bred disdain while Mao always craved their affection. Deng Xiaoping held the Russians in about the same regard as Zhou had – which is to say low.

Russia has not always been China’s enemy, but I cannot think of any protracted period (a century plus/minus, let’s say) when it was China’s friend. Mostly China looks upon Russia as a barbarian state that belongs in Europe – West of the Urals.

 

Kirkhill

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E.R. Campbell said:
...Mostly China looks upon Russia as a barbarian state that belongs in Europe – West of the Urals.

In a transparent effort to soften the blow and reduce the risk of another flamewar breaking out here, (Can you have a flamewar without gas?), isn't it fair to say that to many Chinese all non-Chinese are barbarians?  A ridiculous assertion since we all know that only haggis-eaters are civilized.

Edited to add a PS to Flanker:

Note that I said we are now in a world of commercial interests and not political theory - much less nationalism.  Business is much more cut-throat than politics.  Every business I know seeks to undercut its competitors, sometimes even by forming temporary alliances to bring down the market leader - or sometimes, as in the case of the old derby still style Alaskan fishery, catching more fish than they could process just to deny the raw material (fish) to their competition, thereby reducing their ability to make a profit and sustain operations.

Edited to correct spelling.
 

Edward Campbell

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Kirkhill said:
In a transparent effort to soften the blow and reduce the risk of another flamewar breaking out here, (Can you have a flamewar without gas?), isn't it fair to say that to many Chinese all non-Chinese are barbarians?  A ridiculous assertion since we all know that only haggis-eaters are civilized.

I can drive herself into and absolute paroxysm of rage when I remind her that pretty much the oldest hints of ‘real’ civilization we have in China are 2,500, 3,000 and even 4,000 year old mummies from the Taklamakan Desert regions – they can be seen at the museum in Ürümchi. They are Caucasian and they predate any solid evidence of East Asian people – almost certainly because all traces of East Asian people would be in damp regions where natural mummification does not occur.

One startling fact about these ancient people is that they used a ‘long loom’ weaving technique unknown in Asia but practiced in Northwest Europe 4,000± years ago. The extraordinary dryness of the region preserved very, very old cloth sample – some of which have distinctive patterns that indicates a Celtic influence.

When I conclude and tell her that China’s ancient civilization owes everything to Scotland, well … suffice to say that, even at my advanced age, I have good reaction time and I usually manage to duck whatever missile is shied my way.

And yes, for most Chinese foreigner = barbarian. Even her Mom slips when she forgets that I’m within earshot.


 

tomahawk6

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The gas crisis for Europe should be proof that you dont put all your energy needs in one basket,particularly of that basket is held by Putin. Putin has Europe by the short hairs and their hearts and minds will follow. No need for Russian troops to occupy the west when he controls their economies.Those with coal need to look at gasification/liquification of coal for their energy needs.
 

Kirkhill

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E.R. Campbell said:
.....
And yes, for most Chinese foreigner = barbarian. Even her Mom slips when she forgets that I’m within earshot.

Are you sure she's slipping?  After all she does know you better than we do.
 

Flanker

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E.R. Campbell said:
Over the last 2,500 years or so the "eternal enemy" for China is, always, the barbarians who come from the North and West.
Mostly China looks upon Russia as a barbarian state that belongs in Europe – West of the Urals.

You exaggerate. What 2500 years are you talking about?
Russians came to Siberia in 16th century. The diplomatic relations between Russia and China were established only 300 years ago.
Since then, the countries have coexisted peacefully and I do not remember any significant conflicts or hostility between them, except some ideological disputes in 60-s.

I think Chinese have much more antipathy toward Japan because of WWII massacres and toward the West countries because of shameful opium wars.
 

Flanker

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E.R. Campbell said:
And yes, for most Chinese foreigner = barbarian.

For most ancient French, Russian, Roman, Greek and so on, foreigner = barbarian.
Because the original word "barbarian" means foreigner.  :)

Do you remember German and celtic tribes that destroyed Roman Empire?
They were barbarians.

Would you say now that modern Italians do not like Germans and Britons because they are barbarians like this?  ???

180px-Germaniae_antiquae_libri_tres%2C_Plate_17%2C_Cl%C3%BCver.jpg



 

Edward Campbell

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Flanker said:
... Would you say now that modern Italians do not like Germans and Britons because they are barbarians like this? ???
180px-Germaniae_antiquae_libri_tres%2C_Plate_17%2C_Cl%C3%BCver.jpg

But, Flanker, in the period of the Early Han Dynasty most Chinese thought of the people from the West (the Uyghurs, Yenisians, Scythians and the like they encountered as trade routes spread from Xian to Kashgar, Tashkent, Samarkand and farther) were barbarians. And today, 2,000+ years later most Chinese people still think most Russians are barbarians.

European history and culture ≠ Asian history and culture. But, sometimes I wonder if the Western Europeans (and North Americans) do not, still, see the Slavs as just a wee bit barbaric?
 

Kirkhill

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Thanks for finding that picture of Grandad, Flanker.  Been looking for it for a while.

The Slavs image in the west hasn't been helped because it is from Slavic lands that the Turks, Monghols, Magyars, Khazars, Avars, Alans, Huns (Remember them? Nasty people on horses? Chap name of Attila? Sack of Rome?......All the newspapers.) Scythians, Dacians, Thracians.....and many, many more came.

It is unfortunate for the Slavs that most of those people came from the east of them....in the Altais and the Taklamakan.  The result, I believe, has been for the Westerner to link all you Easterners together.

The Chinese do the same thing. They were raided, and settled, by exactled the same peoples.  They concluded that everything to the West of them was a curse.

Frankly, it is one of my pet theories that our current troubles with Islam are, at least in part, the fault of one of those same groups of horsemen: The Vandals.

Now whether the Vandals were Asian horsemen, or Scandinavians the learned to ride Asian horses is up for grabs.  But the fact is that Vandals rode out of Slavic lands in Poland, across Northern Europe, across France and Spain and jumped the Straits of Gibraltar to take up residence in North Africa.  This unsettled the local Berbers who, when Mohammed's Arabs showed up, were only too happy to take up the cause and push back across the Straits of Gibraltar and punish those Northerners who had invaded them.

Unfortunately the Northerners they invaded and punished were the local Iberians who were just as much victims of the Vandals as the Berberians.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Some years ago in Seattle I met a couple of Arab gentlemen to discuss some fishy business.  We met in my hotel room.  After some pleasantries and general business discussions  we got down to the most serious business on their agenda.

"Where are you from?  Where is your father from?  Where is your name from?"   I happily answered all these questions as I have been curious about roots and origins myself.  I informed him that although I was born in Scotland of a Scottish mother my father, who was raised in Scotland but born in Northern England had a family name that tied him to Southern England.  My cousin had also discovered that the name, although it had a provenance that predated the Normans of 1066 was also to be commonly found in the Lower Saxony  (NW Germany/E Netherlands/S Denmark).

At that point one of the Arabs said: "Ah. A Frank. Yes, in our culture once we know your name we know your family. Once we know your family we know you."  We continued the pleasantries for a while longer and never did get down to business proper.

That was the last I ever saw of them.

PS --- I wander ----

Seattle was a really interesting place for me.  Interesting people.  I remember another incident when I was in the board room of a crab company with interests in the Sea of Okhotsk.  Russian owned.  While I was making my pitch to the staff the boss stopped by to introduce himself.  He opened the conversation by asking if I was a hunter. I replied no.  He then went on to ask what I thought was the best hunting rifle: the M16 or the AK47?  After a moments hesitation I asked him what he wanted to hunt with automatic rifles.  Myself, I had owned a mauser 98k but I preferred the Lee Enfield action.    The conversation ended.  We shook hands.  I went back to my presentation.

When I say the firm was Russian owned that wasn't exactly correct.  The partners were from the Magadan.  Does Moscow still control that part of the territory?  I understood you were have some troubles with used-car dealers over there.

 

chanman

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Kirkhill said:
 He then went on to ask what I thought was the best hunting rifle: the M16 or the AK47?  After a moments hesitation I asked him what he wanted to hunt with automatic rifles. 

Off topic, but semi-automatic only versions of both actions are used for civilian market rifles - the Saigas and some Valmets for the AK, and various AR platforms.  Remington just rolled out a new line of hunting-oriented rifles (likely sharing some design work with the DPMS and Bushmaster AR rifles - all are owned by Cerberus).  R-15 in .223 and another similar smaller calibre and the R-25 in .308 and other larger ones. 

Not that you can use either, save one exempted Valmet model, to hunt with in Canada as the AK family is prohibited (with the exception of one Valmet model) and the AR family restricted (essentially range use only) by name.

Anyway...
 
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