Europeans now have one choice: recognize Crimea or live without heating

Frightening statistics: 

more than 50 million people in the European Union are forced to choose between buying food and paying electricity bills…Bulgarians find themselves in the most critical such situation, where such a choice haunts 40% of the population. In such a civilized country as the United Kingdom, moreover, according to “Home and Renting” magazine, 2,700 people die every year from hypothermia, as heating homes with electricity is too expensive.

From Fort Russ

May 4, 2016 –
Boris Stepnov, PolitRussia – 
Translated by J. Arnoldski
 
 
 
As is well known, the contract on the transit of natural gas through Ukraine ends in 2019 and alternative supply routes to Europe are required to be built before this time. During recent discussions at the European Parliament, delegates from the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and Naftogaz called the “Nord Stream-2” a “gas-killer” and appealed to the mercy of Europeans.
Just the other day during the Central European Gas Forum in Bratislava, “Gazprom Exports” advisor Andrey Konoplyanik mentioned the possibility of resuming the “South Stream” project in a new version based out of Crimea. He stated: “Russia has the right to seek a route for gas exports with the lowest risk for the fulfillments of agreements.”
Such statements are far from groundless, and there is a serious probability that South Stream will be revived. Meanwhile, Nord Stream and its extension is all well and good, but guaranteeing an alternative and, most importantly, a reliable path for deliveries would be well advised. Therefore, according to Konoplyanik, Russia is developing routes which can bypass Ukraine and avoid Turkey’s participation. 
Moreover, it has been reported that the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, even hinted at the unofficial continuation of work on the project. 
Poor Bulgaria is being shoved around here and there. In December, Borisov pointed to the reason for the cancellation of the project as being Brussel’s orders. Borisov stated: “Today the Russian President confirmed the understand that the halt to the South Stream project has occurred not because Bulgaria is against Russia, but because, as a loyal member of the EU, Bulgaria must fulfill all demands [of the European Commission], comply with the sanctions regime, and fulfill provisions for a third energy packet and other requirements related to gas projects.” 
 
 
In January 2016, the news appeared that the South Stream project would be revived, but in February the Bulgarian Parliament once again, finally rejected the idea of the gas pipeline.
Why is Bulgaria so feverish? Or, more precisely, why is Brussels hampering its will? Or even more precisely: Why is Washington so nervous? 
Russia firmly intends to supply gas to Europe and, moreover, intends to strengthen its position in the energy market, something that the US  is not too comfortable with. In order to undermine the position of our country, at the very onset the US yanked Bulgaria into rejecting the South Stream, and then Turkey into rejecting the Turkish Stream. The US even began shipping its own liquified natural gas to Europe, something that our domestic experts even dared to call a “gas attack.”
But Nord Stream-2 has still managed to get off the launch pad since Germany still considers itself strong enough to have its own opinion despite Merkel’s apparent obedience to Washington. And, of course, it is clear that Germany is very aware of the benefits of the pipeline – it’s not a bad idea to be at the center of the distribution of Russian gas to the rest of Europe. 
Washington, in turn, is perfectly aware that such a course would significantly strengthen the position of Germany in Europe, and that then Berlin would become even less bendable to its will. Against this background, a few [US] tankers carrying liquified gas or shale gas pale in comparison [to the prospects of Russian gas]. Even more so if the South Stream is added to all of this.
At the same time, as the studies of “Energy Insight” show, more than 50 million people in the European Union are forced to choose between buying food and paying electricity bills. Impressive, is it not? Bulgarians find themselves in the most critical such situation, where such a choice haunts 40% of the population. In such a civilized country as the United Kingdom, moreover, according to “Home and Renting” magazine, 2,700 people die every year from hypothermia, as heating homes with electricity is too expensive. And, mind you, this is not Soviet central heating…
Germany is additionally motivated to obtain Russian gas because of the Green Party’s (with Merkel’s support) imposition of the necessity of destroying nuclear power plants. The result is the following:
“Germany is planning to abandon nuclear and conventional energy. This is a utopian plan that will never work. 85% of the population still support this idea, but this will change once it becomes clear just how much energy will actually start to cost. The laws of economics and physics are apparently being thrown out the window with this…Despite the fact that solar and wind generators are being actively constructed in Germany, they provide on average less than 3% of the energy consumed, and guarantee a minimum generation of only .4%…In order to reach 3% of the guaranteed energy generation and abandon Germany’s three nuclear power plants, the Germans will need the same amount of funds for which 85 new nuclear power plants could be built.”
The absurdity of such a path is clear, but Sweden is also phasing out nuclear power under “green” pressure. Alternative energy using renewable resources has become quite fashionable in today’s Europe even though it has a fairly narrow niche – using such energy is only logical in a specific climate and under particular conditions. In Germany, in the conditions of the Old World, “green” energy is doomed to fail.
Back in 2014, President Jerome Ferrier of the International Gas Union openly assessed the situation in the following way: 
“In the current situation of tension between Russia and Ukraine, some activists are trying to convince us that Europe can get along without Russian gas by seeking other supplies. This is a completely false conviction.” 
Although news is spreading of the possible resumption of negotiations on the South Stream project, there is yet another interesting point. Not a single European country officially recognizes Crimea as Russian.
As they say, however, hunger is not an aunt, especially not energy-related hunger. Europe and especially Bulgaria’s needs for gas could ultimately overcome all political factors. In fact, the carrot has already been hung in front of Bulgaria’s nose: if you want gas, then recognize Crimea. 
We will find out later what the final decision will be. In the meanwhile, Russia is already very successfully probing the soil. 

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/05/europeans-now-have-one-choice-recognize.html

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Russia’s Gazprom deal with Germany for mutual benefit cuts through US-NATO propaganda

As Russia looks at long-term relationships and partnerships, not subjugation, certainly not aggression, Washington resolutely refuses to “get it” because it wants to be the center of the universe.

U.S. and many NATO alliance leaders seem to have the maturity of spoiled two-year-old brats. The dangerous thing is they have weapons of mass destruction at their fingertips and little scruples, morals, common sense, emotional balance, humility, or again, maturity to deal with anything other than their immediate desires. Alcoholics Anonymous calls this syndrome King Baby.

The world is at a very perilous crossroads. The United States sees itself as indispensable and exceptional, is prepared to take no prisoners, can justify any action, and has a history of savagery. The American public is willing to be hoodwinked repeatedly, unwilling to strip the massive budgets from the Pentagon and NSA, and though they may feel one way privately, is generally unwilling to put shoe leather to pavement to demonstrate publicly or take risks. Because of this, one must step very carefully.

Global Research, July 03, 2015
CounterPunch 29 June 2015

Here’s the scoop: Two days before the swaggering Sec-Def touched down in Germany, Gazprom announced that it was putting the finishing touches on a massive deal that would double the amount of Russian gas flowing to Germany via a second Nord Stream pipeline. The shocking announcement made it look like the clueless Carter had no idea what was going on and that his efforts to isolate Russia were a complete flop. And, make no mistake; the deal is huge, big enough to change the geopolitical calculus of the entire region. Robert Morley explains what’s going on in a recent article at The Trumpet:

“Once this pipeline is finished, almost all of Eastern Europe can be completely cut out of the gas picture. There will be no need for any gas to transit through Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Belarus, Hungary or Slovakia.” (Gazprom’s Dangerous New Nord Stream Gas Pipeline to Germany, The Trumpet)

Yep, Ukraine is out and Germany’s in, which means that Washington’s plan to extend US hegemony by driving a wedge between Russia and Europe is down the plughole.

Judo expert Putin has done it again; he waited until the eleventh hour to pull the rug out from under the blustery Carter, and now he’s sitting back enjoying the show. Is it any wonder why Carter’s been running around Europe with his hair on fire? Here’s more from the same article:

“Think of the huge leverage this will give Russia…..Germany may not have much in the way of natural resources of its own, but with Russia’s help, it is becoming an energy hub of Europe! Increasing quantities of Russian gas are flowing through Germany before being distributed to countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Britain. In this way Germany leverages the power of Russia. Western Europe also is becoming dependent on Germany for gas supplies too…

Don’t let the current conflict in Ukraine cloud what is happening. Germany and Russia have a history of secret cooperation—even when headline conflict appears to indicate otherwise. That Germany and Russia would push through such a deal when the West is supposedly sanctioning Russia for its actions in Ukraine speaks volumes.” (“Gazprom’s Dangerous New Nord Stream Gas Pipeline to Germany”, The Trumpet)

Talk about sour grapes! The author would like you believe that US motives in Europe are pure as the driven snow, but are they? Is Washington really afraid of Russian aggression or are they trying desperately to keep the unipolar model intact by separating Germany and Russia? Isn’t that what the sanctions are all about? STRATFOR CEO George Friedman summed up it up perfectly in a recent speech he gave at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. He said:

“The primordial interest of the United States, over which for centuries we have fought wars–the First, the Second and Cold Wars–has been the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united there, they’re the only force that could threaten us. And to make sure that that doesn’t happen.”

Bingo. This is Washington’s strategy in a nutshell, preventing German industry from linking up with Russia’s vast natural resources. That’s the lethal combo that will lead to an integrated Eurasian free trade zone that will dwarf US GDP and put an end to the empire. So don’t believe the baloney about “Russian aggression”. What Washington really cares about is an economic rival that could leave it in the dust. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen when Germany becomes Moscow’s biggest gas station.

Naturally, the Gazprom news left Carter in a bit of a crabby mood, which may explain why he’s been dragging himself from one Capital to the next issuing terse warnings to Putin while promising NATO more weapons, more troops, more joint-maneuvers, and more missiles. And for what? To stop the Cossacks from sweeping across the Steppe and into Baltics? Be serious. Putin’s not going to invade Europe. He wants their business, that’s all. Like we’ve been saying from the beginning; Putin just wants to makes some dough. He wants to pull his economy out of recession, and, yes, beef up Gazprom’s profits. Is there a problem with that?

Nope. In fact, that’s the way the US used to do things, y’know, before they decided it was easier to just blow up stuff and steal whatever they could.

But all this whining about Putin is ridiculous, don’t you think? So he sells gas to Europe. So what? Get over it. No one likes a whiner.

The US did everything in its power to sabotage South Stream, and they succeeded too. Score one for Team USA. But did they really think it would end there? Did they really think that that Putin would just fold his tent and go home for a good cry? Did they really think he was going to walk away from his biggest trading partner and move on to China?

Of course not. Any fool could have seen this coming, so why was the Pentagon caught flatfooted? Don’t they have anyone on the payroll who can figure out stuff like this or are they too busy with their damn wargames? And why is Carter talking about tanks and missiles systems when US trade reps should be looking for ways to cut a deal? Isn’t that the way capitalism is supposed to work or has the US degenerated to the point where it has to incinerate anyone it can’t compete with? It’s pathetic! Here’s a clip from Carter in Europe:

“One of [Putin’s] stated views is a longing for the past and that’s where we have a different perspective on the world and even on Russia’s future, Carter said. “We’d like to see us all moving forward, Europe moving forward, and that does not seem to be his stated perspective.”

C’mon, Carter. Can’t you just man-up and admit the US can’t compete anymore so you’ve decided to start a war instead. Is that so hard to say?

Of course Carter has made every effort to sweep the Gazprom story under the rug and pretend that nothing has happened, but anyone who follows these things can figure it out. The fact is, he got his clock-cleaned by Putin, and not just once either. There was another bombshell on Wednesday that just added a little icing to the cake. Check this out from Oil Price.com:

“Russia’s state-run gas company Gazprom says it has taken a step toward building the Turkish Stream pipeline by securing permission from Ankara to begin surveying waters of the Black Sea for the offshore leg of the project…..Alexander Novak, Russia’s energy minister, says he expects Ankara and Moscow will sign an agreement to build Turkish Stream by the end of June.” (Controversial Gazprom Pipeline Clears Hurdle, Oil Price)

That’s what you call the double whammy! Now Putin’s going to be pumping gas into Europe from both directions leaving Uncle Sam out in the cold. Can you feel those Russian pincers starting to tighten around Europe? Now you can understand why Carter’s been running around Europe with his knickers in a twist; it’s because his glorious divide and conquer strategy just exploded in his face. His only option now is to scrap Plan A altogether and go back to drawing board. What a freaking disaster.

There’s another story that broke during Carter’s euro-junket that’s also worth mentioning. This is from Bloomberg:

“Ukraine will miss a bond coupon payment in July, setting off a default on about $19 billion of debt, as a standoff with creditors shows no sign of abating, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc…

Ukraine is giving creditors a few weeks to accept a proposal that includes a 40 percent writedown to principal before it imposes a debt moratorium, a person familiar with the talks said on June 19.

“Ukraine will not make the July 24 coupon payment and, as a result, will enter into default at that point,” Matheny said of his base-case scenario in the report. “We do not expect the ad hoc committee to accept Ukraine’s latest restructuring proposal.” (Goldman Sees Ukraine Default in July as Debt Standoff Holds, Bloomberg)

Ukraine is busted, are you kidding me? The country that was so critical to US plans for luring Putin into a Vietnam-type quagmire, is headed for bankruptcy? So all that work was for nothing–toppling the government, arming the Nazis, fomenting a civil war, incinerating buildings full of civilians in Odessa, shooting down commercial airliners, and plunging the state into Somalia-like chaotic abyss? It was all just a big miscalculation, a boo-boo; is that it?

Can you see why the United States can’t be trusted as “the guarantor of global security”? Washington destroys everything it touches with its wrecking ball foreign policy; Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. Now it’s destroyed Ukraine. Who’ll be next?

Putin has done us all a favor by throwing a wrench in Washington’s plans and helping to bring the era of imperial overreach to a swift and merciful end. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

Way to go, Vladimir.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

http://www.globalresearch.ca/putin-gobsmacks-uncle-sam-again/5460115

Macedonia – the next hot spot after Ukraine?

It’s already erupting.

From Fort Russ

May 12, 2015
Nikolay Starikov
Translated by Kristina Rus
What is behind the events in Macedonia

The geopolitical games of USA around Ukraine have already led to a civil war in this country. Now to maintain the chaos near the borders of Russia and preserve the tension in the center of Europe, the U.S. is ready to plunge another European country into chaos — Macedonia.

The Turkish Stream Macedonia is a fragment of Yugoslavia. The country is small and pretty quiet. But there is a source of tension. It’s the Albanian diaspora of the country, which by some estimates is about 25% of population of Macedonia. Albania is next door. And next door is Serbia with Kosovo, virtually occupied by NATO. Where Albanian extremists have much freedom. The Albanian factor is used as a source of destabilization of Macedonia.

Who does it and why?

The purpose is clear if you look at the map.

1. Staging a coup in Ukraine, the U.S. uses the puppet authorities of this country to create tension in Russia. At any time Russian gas supply to Europe may be interrupted, which is a threat to the European economy. A start for such action on the part of Kiev can be anything – from siphoning gas to a terrorist act of “unknown separatists and terrorists”. In the end, the US can always threaten and blackmail Russia and Europe with big problems, demanding concessions in the Ukrainian and other issues of world politics.

2. There is a solution to get rid of U.S. blackmail. For this a pipeline is needed bypassing Ukraine. But the U.S. put pressure on Bulgaria and construction of South stream was buried.

3. Then Russia started negotiations with Turkey to build a pipeline through the territory of this country. Now it is called “The Turkish Stream”.

4. After passing Turkey the “pipe” should go to Greece. The strengthening of the Russian-Greek contacts, and Russia’s willingness to help Greece with loans is the visible part of the negotiations on the construction of “The Stream”.

5. Where will the Turkish Stream go after Greece? There are not many options. It is unlikely to go to Bulgaria, obviously, as the authorities of this country are “under” the Americans. The only option remains to lay the pipe through Macedonia, discussions of which were held in February 2015.

6. Then an attack of the Albanian militants from neighboring Kosovo happens to take place in Macedonia.

7. The goal – blocking construction of the Turkish stream.

8. A few days ago, Russia made a statement that the gas will go through Turkish pipe at the end of 2016. If this happens, the US will lose a trump card to put pressure on Russia and Europe, which will certainly lead to the end of the funding of Kiev regime by Europe and low prices for Russian gas. Ukraine will become something like an old suitcase for the U.S. – a pity to throw away, but expensive to repair. In this case, Washington may be forced to “leave” Ukraine (as I wrote in the article “Three prizes of Ukraine”).

9. This will be a defeat for the U.S., which is trying to suffocate simultaneously with Russia the economies of their European allies.

10. That’s why the States are willing at ANY cost to prevent the construction of the Turkish Stream, so the war in Ukraine and tensions in Europe will continue.

11. Remember who funded the Albanian fighters in Yugoslavia. Who did not allow the Serbs to destroy the terrorists in Kosovo and began to bomb Serbia. Who hid the crimes of Albanian fighters, who cut the organs from Serbs for transplantation. Here’s the answer to the question – who paid for the attempt of Albanians to SUDDENLY attack Macedonia.

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/05/macedonia-next-hot-spot-after-ukraine.html

Hungary’s Viktor Orban: Washington’s new enemy image

This article was written before the South Stream pipeline was stopped.

From New Eastern Outlook Journal, November 21, 2014
By William Engdahl
http://journal-neo.org/2014/11/21/hungary-s-viktor-orban-washington-s-new-enemy-image/

Hungary and its populist nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban have come into the cross-hairs of Washington’s political elites. His sin? Not buckling under to the often destructive diktats of the Brussels EU Commission; attempting to define a Hungarian national identity. But his cardinal sin is his deepening relationship with Russia and his defiance of Washington in signing an agreement with Gazprom for bringing the Russian South Stream gas pipeline into the EU via Hungary.

Orban has himself undergone a political journey since he was elected as Hungary’s second-youngest Prime Ministers in 1998. Back then he oversaw the entry of Hungary along with Poland and the Czech Republic into NATO over Russia’s protest, and into the EU. As Prime Minister during far more prosperous economic times in the EU, Orban cut taxes, abolished university tuition for qualified students, expanded maternity benefits, and attracted German industry with low-cost Hungarian labor. One of his American “advisers” then was James Denton, linked with the Color Revolution Washington NGO, Freedom House. Orban seemed the darling of Washington’s neo-cons. In 2001 he was given the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute’s Freedom Award.

But in 2010 after six years in the opposition, Orban returned, this time with a resounding majority for his Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union Party, Fidesz for short. In fact Fidesz won a 68% supermajority in Parliament, giving it the necessary votes to alter the Constitution and pass new laws, which it did. Ironically, in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, the United States Obama Administration and the European Parliament for placing too much power in the hands of Fidesz. Orban was accused by Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the European Greens of making Hungary on the model of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. He was definitely not playing by the approved Brussels Rulebook for politically submissive EU politicians. Fidesz began to be demonized in EU media as the Hungarian version of United Russia and Orban as the Hungarian Putin. That was in 2012.

Now it’s getting alarming for the Atlanticists and their EU followers. Orban has defied EU demands to stop construction of Russia’s important South Stream gas pipeline.

Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline would guarantee EU gas together with German-Russian Nord Stream that could bypass the war in Ukraine something Washington bitterly opposes for obvious reasons

Last January Orban’s government announced a € 10 billion deal with the Russian state nuclear energy company to refurbish Hungary’s only nuclear power plant at Paks, originally built during the Soviet era with Russian technology.

That caused some attention in Washington. Similarly when Orban criticized the United States this past summer for failing to ultimately resolve the global financial crisis its banks and its lax regulation caused, and praised China, Turkey and Russia as better models. He declared in words not too different from what I have often used that Western democracies, “will probably be incapable of maintaining their global competitiveness in the upcoming decades and will instead be scaled down unless they are capable of changing themselves significantly.” In addition, Orban’s government managed to free Hungary from decades of devastating IMF bondage. In August 2013, the Hungarian Economic Ministry announced that it had, thanks to a “disciplined budget policy,” repaid the remaining €2.2 billion owed to the IMF. No more onerous IMF-forced state privatizations or conditionalities. The head of the Hungarian Central Bank then demanded the IMF close its offices in Budapest. In addition, echoing Iceland, the State Attorney General brought charges against the country’s three previous prime ministers because of the criminal amount of debt into which they plunged the nation. That’s a precedent that surely causes cold sweat in some capitals of the EU or Washington and Wall Street.

But the real alarm bells rang when Orban and his Fidesz party approved a go-ahead, together with neighboring Austria, of the South Stream Russian pipeline, ignoring EU claims it violated EU rules. Orben proclaimed at a meeting with Germany’s Horst Seehofer in Munich on November 6, “”Es lebe die österreichisch-ungarische Energiemonarchie” („The Austro-Hungarian Energy Monarchy Lives.“)

The US elites sounded the alarm immediately. The ultra-establishment New York Times ran a lead editorial, “Hungary’s Dangerous Slide.” They declared, “The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary is sliding toward authoritarianism and defying the fundamental values of the European Union — and getting away with it.”

The Times revealed the real cause of Washington and Wall Street alarm: “Hungary’s most recent expression of contempt for the European Union is its passage of a law on Monday that clears the way for Russia’s South Stream natural gas pipeline to traverse Hungary. The new law is in clear violation of the European Parliament’s call in September for member states to cancel South Stream, and of the economic sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union and the United States after Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Instead of issuing tepid expressions of concern over antidemocratic policies, the European Union should be moving to sanction Hungary. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, should exercise his power to force Mr. Navracsics to resign.” Tibor Navracsics, has just been named the new European Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, a post in Brussels that has arguably little to do with gas pipelines.

Next we can expect the National Endowment for Democracy and the usual US Government-backed NGO’s to find an excuse to launch mass opposition protests against Fidesz and Orban for his unforgivable crime of trying to make Hungary’s energy independent of the US-created insanity in Ukraine.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”
First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2014/11/21/hungary-s-viktor-orban-washington-s-new-enemy-image/