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US to Crush Russian Gas Trade via Demonization & Fracking?


Glen Ford has a compelling, troubling and revelatory article over at Black Agenda Report entitled, “U.S. Prepares to Gas Russia Into Submission.” Now I’m thinking maybe we should bottom-line the Ukraine fiasco by archly suggesting, “It’s about the Russian energy exports, stupid!” The new militarist playbook in the Ukraine is really the same old militarist playbook from Iraq. Nothing to do with humanitarian concern for democracy. Money, money, money. Oil, oil, oil. Gas, gas, gas.

Ford writes:

The massive – and desperate – American offensive against world order is entering a new phase, as the U.S. prepares to resume its historical status as global energy superpower. The Obama administration’s brazen implantation of a rabidly anti-Russian, fascist-led regime in Ukraine places U.S. proxies astride pipelines that carry much of Siberia’s gas to Europe and beyond. Seventy-six percent of Russia’s natural gas exports are bound for Europe, the bulk of it to Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom. Russia’s weight in the world is largely derived, not from its economically burdensome nuclear arsenal, but as an energy giant. The U.S.-engineered coup in Kiev sets the stage for a protracted assault on Russia’s energy trade, which accounts for more than half of Moscow’s federal expenditures. Without its huge oil and gas exports, Russia deflates like a leaky dirigible.

As Ford sees it Russia was massively set up by the US and the EU, provoked into aggressiveness (from the craven and media-encouraged “he hit me back” strident school of American offensive faux-defensiveness). Heating up the cold war with Russia among the US and Europe justifies America to encourage economic sanctions and slide right in there with a fresh “gas” surplus, due to the environment-damaging “shale fracking” proliferation across the United States.

You know about fracking, right? The actual, technical term is “hydraulic fracturing”. So what if this process of gas extraction contaminates regional water supplies. Thanks to the politicians’ and corporate media’s ramped up anti-Russian false US patriotism, I guess we all will soon be expected dutifully to tolerate -- even celebrate -- imbibing ignitable water for Obama and country! Drink sh*t and smile? Gotta love the slippery slope of “lesser evilism.” MSNBC et al. tells me so.

In an article in the New York Times March 5th by Coral Davenport and Steven Erlanger entitled "U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin":

The administration’s strategy is to move aggressively to deploy the advantages of its new resources to undercut Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine and Europe.


Over the past week, Congressional Republicans have joined major oil and gas producers like ExxonMobil in urging the administration to speed up oil and natural gas exports. Although environmentalists, some Democrats and American manufacturing companies that depend on the competitive advantage of cheap domestic natural gas oppose the effort, they have fallen to the sidelines in the rush.


The United States does not yet export its natural gas. But the Energy Department has begun to issue permits to American companies to export natural gas starting in 2015. American companies have submitted 21 applications to build port facilities in the United States to export liquefied natural gas by tanker. The agency has approved six of the applications.


At the helm of the new energy diplomacy effort is Carlos Pascual, a former American ambassador to Ukraine, who leads the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources. The 85-person bureau was created in late 2011 by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state at the time, for the purpose of channeling the domestic energy boom into a geopolitical tool to advance American interests around the world.


Mr. Pascual said that his team had worked to help Ukraine and other European countries break away from dependence on Russian gas by finding supplies elsewhere, including Africa, and assisting the Europeans to build up their natural gas storage. The team, he said, is working with Ukraine and the European Union on completing a European energy charter, which already allows natural gas to move more quickly through Europe and permits countries to negotiate lower rates with Gazprom [Russian gas supplier].

In addition, he said, the team is helping countries develop their own natural gas resources, including in partnership with American energy giants. Halliburton has started fracking for natural gas in Poland, while Shell last year signed a contract to explore for natural gas in Ukraine.....

[The rapacious Halliburton strikes again.]


In 2012, in response to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States urged the Europeans to impose financial sanctions that greatly limited Iran’s ability to sell oil on the world market. Other countries feared that the move would raise prices, but officials assured other nations that a surge in American oil production would keep prices stable.

Earlier this year, the United States worked to broker a sale of Israeli natural gas to Jordan, in an effort to stabilize relations in the Middle East.

So I’m thinking Condi Rice’s WP editorial a while back so righteously protective of the "territorial integrity of the Ukraine" had a lot more to do with her vulture cronies at Chevron than the actual welfare of Ukrainians.

Maybe Israel is being quiet about neo-Nazis bringing about illegitimate regime change in the Ukraine because their gas export options will blossom? Ends justify some truly gobsmacking means, I’m thinking.

Ford writes:

The U.S. government tells its people that it spends more on weaponry than the rest of the world’s nations, combined, in order to, among other things, maintain the free flow of energy throughout the planet.

But, that didn’t stop Washington from attempting to cripple Venezuela’s oil production in 2003, or from preventing Iran, once the world’s fourth largest exporter, from marketing more than a fraction of her production under the current U.S. sanctions regime.

U.S. rulers have never been guardians of free oil flow. Rather, American policy is designed to ensure that U.S.-based corporations and financiers dominate the global energy trade, and that the dollar remains central to energy transactions, regardless of where the oil and gas comes from.

Russia also plays a key role as the energy giant among the BRIC bloc, which is the most likely venue for hatching alternatives to dollar hegemony.


... Russia’s gas sales to Europe need to be “undercut,” as the Times puts it. Sanctions can reshape the global markets to the advantage of the new energy superpower – war by other means.

Corporate media mask the historical moment with juvenile jibes at Putin, as Washington prepares to subdue the planet with gushing oil and burning water.

Catch that last line about burning water?

If you are thinking that the US providing gas to the Ukraine rather than demonized Russia is a win/win for Ukraine and us in the US, think again. The Ukrainians are going to face extorting fuel prices from American corporatists, while we’ll be coping with crap water thanks to these same American corporatists and their pimped politicians once again surrendering our rights and needs.

The one percenters and their bombastic, pimped out pols using military intimidation and global politics for corporate profit are not our friends, nor friends of the Ukrainians nor friends of the people of Russia, etc., etc. They want to expand their power and profits by any ends-justify-the-means means, their greed and power lust even risking nuclear war with Russia or dangerously arming neo-Nazis in the Ukraine.

Meanwhile back in the US, corporate media ferociously manufactures bobble-headed consent from us average Americans for military escalation or down and dirty, anti-international-law, economic gangsterism. The New York Times reporters cited above talk about this realpolitik as "energy diplomacy." I see it as energy ANTI-diplomacy.

[cross-posted on open salon, apparently banned from daily kos]

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

Here is an excerpt from today's awesome commentary on wsws of the Ukraine issue from Alex Lantier:

"A comprehensive history of blood-soaked US interventions in the internal affairs of the countries of South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean would require an encyclopedic work comprising dozens of volumes. A partial list of the depredations of US imperialism against its neighbors to the south would include the incursions into Mexico between 1914 and 1917, the military occupations of Haiti and Nicaragua, the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961 and the countless CIA assassination plots against Castro, and the 1973 overthrow of the Allende regime in Chile.

"Justifying Washington’s support for the overthrow of the Chilean regime and the murder of President Salvador Allende, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger cynically remarked: "I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."

"But why preoccupy ourselves with “ancient history?” Within the last 31 years, the United States has invaded and deposed the governments of Grenada, Panama and Haiti. It has organized bloody insurgency and counter-insurgency operations in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. Washington backed the 2009 overthrow of the legally-elected government in Honduras. And since 2002, the United States has been engaged in non-stop efforts (including one failed coup d’état) to over throw the government in Venezuela.
The Obama administration and the Merkel government in Germany could hardly have been surprised that Russia reacted to the installation of a hostile Western puppet regime on its borders. And while they may have been somewhat taken aback by the speed with which Putin acted to assert control over Crimea, they do not view the most recent developments as entirely negative.

"As recent statements by US and European leaders and comments by influential pundits make clear, Putin’s defensive actions provide an opportunity to re-brand and re-legitimize a militaristic agenda that has lost credibility with the broad mass of the population.
The impact of the 9/11 attacks and the “war on terror” has faded, and the lies about weapons of mass destruction used to launch the Iraq invasion have discredited war in the working class. The imperialist powers were forced to recognize that they could not proceed with the bombing of Syria last September, largely due to popular disaffection with war.

"Faced with broad anti-war sentiment in the working class and the limitations this imposes on their foreign policy, imperialist strategists and their media operatives are seeking to exploit the crisis they provoked in Ukraine to shift public opinion."

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

..."Justifying Washington’s support for the overthrow of the Chilean regime and the murder of President Salvador Allende, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger cynically remarked: "I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."
It leaves me breathless and speechless.
We haven't moved/budged an inch, no, a millimeter.
Which is why I'm here and not there...

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

Or rather fed up and active, in the face of passivity? I don't preach, but rather oppose, through example, what is possible.
I know my choices are not for everyone, but they remain my choices.
And I'm the only one who lives with those choices. And I have lived with them for more than a decade.
What's your solution?

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

Meant in humor only on the smug thingy. I don't have a solution other than try and stay out of the way and help others when I can.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...learn how to impart humor on the I-net.
It's not easy and often not well communicated.
Plus, my own density often misses it completely. ;)