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Interdependence looks something like this.

Europe gets gas.  Russia gets money.

After that.

Europe burns gas.  Russian invests that money abroad.

Russian capitalism has found a home in the City of London that Soviet communists could only have dreamed of.

Why not use that as a tool to temper Russian action?

Why not taked limited actions to prevent the purchase of Western stocks and Bonds by the Russians?

Better yet, why not place export restrictions on luxury goods headed to Russia, and limit visas for Russians to official travel?

Of course this will never happen, becuase it would cost the City of London (and all the other financial centers in the West) money, but it sort of demonstrates the hypocrisy in crying about the energy weapon.

On the other hand, the EU has it fully within its powers to pursue a coordinated energy policy that bans the use of natural gas for electric production in 5 years, and provides subsidies for the construction of renewable energy sources to replace that.

Further, supply diversification through the construction of gas pipelines from North Africa and the Middle East could create a situation is which Russia is a supplier, but alternate suppliers have sufficient reserve production to limit the effect of any cut in Russian supplies.

All this costs money, though, and of course the complaint about Russia and gas isn't about supply, it's about demand, and more specifically the curious effects of price as a rationing mechanism.

Europe wants Russian to supply gas as though this were a full market, but the don't want the price for that gas to fluctuate as occurs in real markets....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 03:38:55 PM EST
at conferences on European energy by saying that European energy policy can be summarised in two sentences:

"What is our gas doing under your toundra?"
"our current energy policy is a jobs programme for investment bankers in the City"

ie, we want our gas cheap and plentiful, no questions asked, and we want to be able to trade it and hedge it and swap it and waste it to our heart's content once it's over here.

I wish I were joking. It usually wakes up people, though.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 04:44:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What is our gas doing under your toundra?"

I guess that the US should ask Canada the same question.

We are told by neoliberals that interdependence brings peace, because it makes war to costly to fight.

Yet, we have counterevidence in what's happening with Russia and "Europe."

I happen to be off the opinion that its best for nations to have control over the means to provide their most basic needs.  

Which means that the nation that most resort to trade for the means to eat, be clothed, or not freeze to death must realize that in doing this is renders control over its destiny to foreigners.

And either nation can use that link to wreak hell on the other, and that suggests to me that autarky in essential econonomic activities is more likely to result in peace that the show of dueling pistols that interdependence often turns out to be.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 11:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All of this assumes that "the nation" is the ideal organisational unit for all human affairs and that the economic independence for each which you advocate is possible in a very unequal and rapidly diminishing world in terms of the resources needed to support rapidly growing populations.

More likely it is a strategy for the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer.  The US doesn't "!need" to control the 100+ countries it has stationed its forces in - however that is the means its elite have chosen to promote their interests - which involves the ever increasing accumulation of wealth/power for its own sake.

The reality is that small nations are in no position to resist this - hence rendition flights.  We need strong supra national organisations - and the promotion of supranational self interests - to enhance the ability of smaller nations to promote their own self interest.

There is nothing natural about the "Nation state" as the unit for anything, and the more the world integrates, the more unnatural it becomes.

It's time I got out of this game....

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 17th, 2008 at 07:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All this costs money, though,

But at least with wind, tidal, etc. it is money invested in providing clean, secure, necessary energy that does not contribute to global warming.  This actually helps the economy in the long run.  Perhaps the problem is that it does not serve as quite so grand a source of fees for the City as do financial scams.  But then at least one could not say that the capital had been destroyed by having been betrayed into hopelessly unproductive uses, as John Stuart Mill would have styled it.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 05:12:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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