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I hardlt think Russia will make much trouble over Kosovo.

Especially not by using gas as a political tool. IIRC Russia and before that the Soviet Union has never ever broken a gas export contract with the West. I hardly see that happening now. If it did happen the French, Germans etc would freak out and go hard down the nuclear/coal route. No one would ever trust the Russians as reliable suppliers again. And while Stratfor might be right in that Germany need Russian gas more than Russia need German euros this winter, in the longer term the opposite is true. Russia is far more reliant on Europe as a market than Europe needs Russia as a supplier.

Indeed, if the EU could ever get its act together we would here see the real energy weapon: us threatening the Russians with lowering our consumption if they make trouble over eg. Kosovo.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 12:42:51 PM EST
Stratfor made it clear that they think the resources "lever" is not one the Russians would use.

Stratfor thinks it's likelier that Russia will deploy military units along the Kosovo border.

Russia, in a weaker state in 1999, rushed an entire battalion into Pristina to claim the Pristina airport in 1999, and they caught NATO with their pants down. This was the infamous incident in which British General Jackson told American General Clark, "I am not willing to start World War 3 for you."

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 02:52:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...after American General Wesley Clark (Democrat!) ordered British General Michael Jackson to FIRE on the Russians. Now THAT would have been a Thriller.
by vladimir on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:12:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clark never did that.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:56:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So where does that story come from?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clark ordered a British/French paramilitary force to be deployed to the airport, in order to get there before the Russians. The British refused, with General Jackson stating to Clark that he did not want to start WW3.

Just a friendly dash to the airport gets some Brit thinking he's about to start WW3. Anyway, the situation was eventually resolved, mostly in favour of NATO.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mike Jackson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He served in the NATO chain of command as a deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark. In this capacity, he is best known for refusing, in June 1999, to block the runways of the Russian-occupied Pristina Airport, to isolate the Russian troops there.[1] Had he complied with General Clark's order, there was a chance the British troops under his command could have come into armed conflict with the Russians; doing this without prior orders from Britain would have led to his dismissal for gross insubordination. On the other hand, defying Clark would have meant disobeying a direct order from a superior NATO officer (Clark was a four-star general; Jackson only a three-star). Jackson ultimately chose the latter course of action, reputedly saying "I won't start World War III for you",[1] though the point became irrelevant when the American government prevailed upon the Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians to prevent the Russians from using their airspace to fly reinforcements in.
Wikipedia's source is the BBC: Confrontation over Pristina airport
Details of Russia's surprise occupation of Pristina airport at the end of the Kosovo war are revealed in a new BBC documentary on the conflict.


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:43:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the timeline in the BBC report has Jackson making his statement with regard to the dash Clark ordered, not the blocking of runways. Just a note.

But to recap, there never was an order to open fire. That's four or five steps down some hypothetical scenario.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 04:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clark did order a British/French force to be deployed to the airport. The British didn't refuse, they just got to the airport after the Russians.

You don't start WW3 by seeking diplomatic solutions. You start it by firing on the enemy.

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 03:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Jackson refused the deployment. Read the BBC report.

The occupation of the airport was an aggressive move by Russia after they felt they had been double-crossed in the negotiations. Clark wanted to prevent it. The WW3 part is a personal estimation of Jackson that the situation would get out of hand. Clark and Solana had a different view. But the troops in the area were mainly British.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"deploy" is a rather vague term - especially in military jargon. The allies planned to "deploy" their troops in Normandy in 1944.

The Russian move was aggressive? Interesting you don't qualify NATO's moves as being aggressive. The Russians, who were instrumental in negotiating a deal between NATO and Milosevic, had an agreement with NATO that they would "deploy" their forces in the North of Kosovo. To thank the Russians for their mediation, NATO later reneged on this agreement (surprising of such a worthy organization).

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:44:07 AM EST
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vladimir:
The Russian move was aggressive? Interesting you don't qualify NATO's moves as being aggressive.
Isn't that implied in what nanne said?
The occupation of the airport was an aggressive move by Russia after they felt they had been double-crossed in the negotiations.
(My emphasis)

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. Maybe nanne can clarify?
by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:08:21 AM EST
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NATO's moves in Kosovo were clearly aggressive (dropping bombs and all). I don't know enough about the negotiations to tell whether the Russian sentiment of being double-crossed is justified.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how you can "oust" a battalion of 200 men without threatening to fire on them.

Foreign Affairs - Compromised Command

In the immediate aftermath of the war, Clark responded to the Russians' seizure of the Pristina airfield by seeking to oust them. After his subordinate on the ground, British General Michael Jackson, told him, "I'm not starting World War III for you," London ordered Jackson not to comply with Clark's order to block the airfield's runways. The British action averted any potential crisis, something about which Clark was apparently not concerned. His attitude toward containing the Russian role was consistent with the general confidence about NATO's hegemony in Europe and America's hegemony in NATO that was implicit in the whole enterprise.

But even though Clark's prose reveals a sharp sensibility about most things, he has a tin ear for Russian interests. He reports how Russian General Viktor Barynkin told him during the Dayton negotiations, "We know what you Americans are up to. ... You are coming into Bosnia because it's in our part of Europe and you want to be there. And you say you will be gone in a year, but you won't be; you will stay." Clark reflected that the Russians "saw the peace plan in Cold War terms ... to establish spheres of influence," as if the Russians were hidebound reactionaries. Yet nothing that has happened in the six years since proves Barynkin wrong. What are the Balkans now if not an expanded sphere of influence for NATO -- one nudging Russia's front door?

The New Yorker's / Slate

Being "sure" of oneself is not quite the same as a compulsive snap judger who does things by whim, as when he threatened to open fire on Russian positions during one close call in the NATO campaign over Kosovo. Fred Kaplan

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 03:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The second quote is by some wingnut commenter on Slate who later goes on to cite frontpagemag, not by Fred Kaplan.

On the first, I'll note that there were two events: an order by Clark to occupy the airport in advance of the Russians, and a later order by Clark to block the runways with tanks. Both were refused by Jackson. Russian air lifts were eventually held back by the US convincing the surrounding states to close their airspace. It's unclear to me where exactly the 'World War 3' quote comes in as the BBC gives a different picture.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clarke first ordered troops to race to get to the airport first - that would have shut the russians out.

Then Clarke ordered troops to block the runways to prevent landings - now since presumably the 200 Russian troop had taken the airport with the intention to use it, you couldn't block the runways without opposition from the Russian troops already there.

Then Clarke managed to close the airspace of neighbouring countries.

As for vladimir's

I don't know how you can "oust" a battalion of 200 men without threatening to fire on them.
you can lay siege to the airport and wait for the battallion to run out of supplies.

Now, this is all very strange considering that NATO and Russia were supposed to be on the same side here.
BBC News | EUROPE | Confrontation over Pristina airport

General Jackson tells the BBC: ''We were [looking at] a possibility....of confrontation with the Russian contingent which seemed to me probably not the right way to start off a relationship with Russians who were going to become part of my command.''


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 04:54:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To avoid getting bogged down in technicalities, the big picture is that the US wanted to provoke armed conflict with the Russians in Europe.
by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:05:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about that, but it certainly sounds like Clarke thought nothing of getting NATO troop into an aggressive standoff with Russian troops. He probably expected the Russians to back off but it was the Europeans under his command that had no stomach for that kind of thing.

As has been pointed out around here, the Russian perception of relationships with The West™ changed dramatically after the Kosovo campaign. During the 1990's they seem to actually have believed the US and its allies were genuinely interested in partnership. In addition, Bush started off being very friendly to Putin but after a couple of years Putin realised Bush wasn't to be trusted.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:37:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you are right, although I'm very sceptical of systematically pointing to individual "blunders" (Zimmerman, Christopher for Bosnia, Albright for Kosovo, Clark for the Airport incident, Ambassador Glaspie for in Iraq-Kuwait, etc.) instead of calling a dog a dog.
by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 05:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, Bush started off being very friendly to Putin but after a couple of years Putin realised Bush wasn't to be trusted.

yup, it's hard when you're looking into someone's soul to stop them looking right back at yours...

 putin has been restrained in his responses considering how bushco's behaviour has been one long windup.

he's right not to take bush at face value, apart from being much smarter, he is better placed to take advantage of current and coming events than bush, who has already won his place in notoriety as the most recalcitrant ignoramus ever to steal a country's vote.

...and then reduce everything he touches to gold, for his friends...

....to dust for everyone else

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 08:36:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the US wanted to do that, you'd think they'd have sent some of their own ground forces into Kosovo, so that they'd be sure Clark's orders would be followed. They didn't because of domestic issues, problems with Congress turf battles and personal conflicts in the Pentagon and the Clinton administration.

Reality is just never that simple.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 06:05:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you suggesting that the US military is run by a group of gung-ho generals over whom there is little or no civilian governance?
by vladimir on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 02:24:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
us threatening the Russians with lowering our consumption if they make trouble over eg. Kosovo.
What have you been smoking mate?
by vladimir on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our "energy weapon" against Russia is quite potent, if only we thought about it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The figures just don't make the test Jerome. We will need every JULE of energy we can get our hands on in 2020, come from gas, oil, solar or other... and it's ALL gonna be more than welcome.

By arguing that the EU has bargaining power against Russia in the energy sphere requires that two conditions are met:

1. that the Russians can't sell their energy elsewhere - which is false because they're busy building pipelines going East to Asian markets;

2. that the EU can actually do without Russian energy supplies - which by my books isn't reality. Maybe you can contribute some data to the discussion? Cheers.

by vladimir on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 03:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Russia CANNOT sell its energy elsewhere. There is no infrastructure to do so. And there won't be for a long while. And the oil or gas that might go to China would never go to Europe anyway.

  2. Europe could do without Russian energy supplies if it had an energy policy other than "give me all your gas quick and cheap". We might stop building gas-fired plants, we might start focusing on energy savings, etc... Obviously, we don't do it, but we could.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about #2, it would be a source of concern for Gazprom if the EU decided to stop building gas-fired power plants. Do you think if Gazprom buys utilities in the EU it will make it harder for the EU to regulate gas-fired power plants away?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:27:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. If the political will is there, I think it'll actually make it easier: Just fire up a really nasty carbon tax. After all, it'll only be the Russians' pocketbooks that are hit...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 12:42:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see some rather obvious advantages to reducing our energy dependence... (and no, I didn't mean giving Jérôme more work by buying more wind turbines -that would indeed be a drawback, since he couldn't post much then).

Of course, that may just the environmentalist in me. But also, if Europe were to become a world specialist in all things energy  consumption reducing, could it fail to be repaid tenfold when all countries will start to be desperate for energy savings?

Of course, it would require policy choices of a rather different nature from what we have seen of late. Surely the fact that Schröder had a nice rich seat waiting for him at Gazprom is no sign that all was being done to relieve Europe of the dependency...

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 06:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if Europe were to become a world specialist in all things energy consumption reducing, could it fail to be repaid tenfold when all countries will start to be desperate for energy savings?

now that's an interesting idea for would-be entrepreneurs around here :)

by vladimir on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 06:11:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't need natural gas. Gas is a choice. There is nothing gas is used for where there isn't a competitive substitute.

Just look at Sweden. We use practically no gas (except a single gas-fired CHP which might just as well use wood), and things are nice here anyway.

If Europe wanted, gas imports from Russia could be eliminated in 10 years. But it's pretty hard to see what use that would be, except as a way of weakening Russia. And I don't think that's in anyones interest, at least if things don't become a lot worse.

Remember that the gas relation worked very well even during times of much greater tension, like in the 80's when Andropov et al in their utter senility where huddling under their tables, awaiting a NATO nuclear first strike!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Dec 19th, 2007 at 05:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
perhaps not directly, however what about fertilizers which are -as far as I know- largely manufactured using Natural gas ?

Le caoutchouc serait un matériau très précieux, n'était son élasticité qui le rend impropre à tant d'usages.- A.Allais
by armadillos (armadillo2024 (at) free (dotto) fr) on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 12:35:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope. The only things needed are air, water and energy. It's beautiful.

The Norwegians began making fertilizer from hydroelectricity 100 years ago.

At the turn of this century Professor Kristian Birkeland[1] of the University of Kristiania (soon to be renamed Oslo) was experimenting with a device called the Terella. This was a laboratory model of the earth, complete with magnetic field, placed in an evacuated vessel into which ions could be injected at high voltage. By observing the discharge glow, Birkeland was able to understand the three-dimensional structure of the Aurora Borealis. However, the equipment was expensive and money, then as now, was hard to come by. Kelvin suggested to Birkeland that research into armaments might prove lucrative and allow him to continue with the Terella. This was not the first time this idea had occurred to a physicist, Birkeland with his expertise in electromagnetism, set about producing an elektriske kanon, a rail-gun.

On Feb. 6th, 1902 Birkeland's kanon short-circuited and exploded during a test, but the disappointment he felt was muted by the observation of a disc-shaped arc, spread by the magnetic field, and the smell of nitrogen oxides. The reason this was intriguing was that the world was then gripped by a fear greater even than that of the looming conflict in Central Europe - that of world famine. Chilean nitrate deposits, on which the world depended as a fertilizer, were on the brink of running out, and chemists were scurrying to find an economical way of fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Clearly the acrid brown stench of nitrogen oxides was the smell of nitrogen being fixed, as it was a short hop skip and a jump to nitric acid and any nitrate you please.

Birkeland was not the first to fix nitrogen by electric arc - Crookes in Manchester already had a pilot plant producing calcium nitrate by this means - but the disc-shaped arc promised a high yield[2]. However, a week after the explosion he met a man who was already working on the means which would make economical production possible. That man was Sam Eyde, a civil engineer who was fascinated by the enormous potential of Norway's mountains and rainfall for the production of hydro-electricity. After that things moved with breath-taking speed. A week after meeting, Eyde and Birkeland submitted a patent for artificial fertilizer. They obtained money from the Swedish financiers, the Wallenbergs, and a mere three years later a hydroelectric plant had been built out of the wilderness at Notodden and a Birkeland-Eyde arc furnace was producing the first Norgesalpeter - Norwegian Saltpeter, i.e. calcium nitrate.

In the same year as the first Norgesalpeter was produced, Fritz Haber discovered a much better way of producing nitrates via ammonia made by what is now known as the Haber process. Indeed, the Norwegians soon abandoned the arc furnaces and adopted Haber's idea. However, Birkeland's discovery had started something irreversible: the large scale development of hydro-electric power in Norway by the company he and Eyde had started: Norsk Hydro.



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 20th, 2007 at 07:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
er... from the citation you used they say they finally embrassed the Haber process  which as far as I know use Natural gas...

Le caoutchouc serait un matériau très précieux, n'était son élasticité qui le rend impropre à tant d'usages.- A.Allais
by armadillos (armadillo2024 (at) free (dotto) fr) on Fri Dec 21st, 2007 at 05:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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