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by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:07:08 PM EST
Al Jazeera English - Europe - US and Poland 'agree shield deal'

Poland and the US have reached an agreement on a controversial US missile shield in the European nation, the Polish prime minister has said.

Donald Tusk said the US had agreed to a key Polish demand that it improve Poland's defences in exchange for placing 10 missile defence intercepters in the country.

"We have achieved ... an agreement with the Americans... The negotiators are finalising the deal now," he told Polish media on Thursday.

The agreement follows 18 months of negotiations and comes at a time of tension between the US and Russia over the conflict in Georgia.

The US says the shield is to prevent potential missile attacks by "rogue states", including, it says, Iran, and is not directed against Russia.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:08:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland, US Reach Missile Defense Deal | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.08.2008
Poland and the United States have reached agreement on stationing 10 interceptor missiles on Polish soil as part of an American missile defense system, according to Polish Prime Minister Tusk.

"We have reached a deal with the United States on the shield," after Washington agreed to meet Poland's key demand for defense aid separate from the anti-missile system, Tusk told Polish news channel TVN in a live interview.

 

"We would start with a battery under US command, but made available to the Polish army. Then there would be a second phase, involving equipping the Polish army with missiles," Tusk added, emphasizing that negotiators had reached a "preliminary deal."

 

The agreement has been reached after more than 18 months of back-and-forth, often terse, negotiations between the two countries. Its conclusion carries an especially symbolic weight in the aftermath of Russia's incursion into Georgia in recent days.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:11:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Old Europe vs. New Europe: Will Poland Split EU Over Russia Policy? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

No European leader has been more outspoken in his criticism of Russia's actions in Georgia than Poland's Lech Kaczynski. Are his provocative words a sure way to marginalize Poland -- or a sign of a larger split in the European Union?

 Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, right, and Polish President Lech Kaczynski at a joint news conference in Tbilisi, Georgia on Wednesday. The sight gave hope to Georgians and credibility to their embattled president, Mikhail Saakashvili. On Tuesday, five heads of state from nations once controlled by the Soviet Union -- Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Poland -- arrived at a rally in Tbilisi to rebuke Russia for its invasion of the Central Asian country.

For French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was engaged in frantic shuttle diplomacy between Moscow and Tbilisi to bring an end to the conflict, Tuesday's visit was badly timed. More than anything, it highlighted deep divisions within the European Union over how to deal with Russia. Since the EU expanded into Central Europe and parts of the former Soviet Union in 2004, Poland and the Baltic states have pushed the EU to take a stronger stance against Russia -- to the dismay of many diplomats in what some call "Old Europe."

Speaking to a crowd of Saakashvili's supporters in the Georgian capital, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who organized the trip, was typically outspoken in his criticism of Poland's neighbor and one-time occupier. "You could say that the nation of Russia yet again showed its true face here today," Kaczynski said. "The aggression here is nothing new when it comes to history."

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:13:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The sight gave hope to Georgians and credibility to their embattled president, Mikhail Saakashvili."

The sight of Lech Kaczynski did that? Someone has made one too many trips to the Georgian wine cabinet...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Der Spiegel trying to subtly outflank Murdoch.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you can understand ex-soviet satellites wanting to stick it to their old oppressor. But politics isn't about playground vendettas, it's about securing the best future for your country. Energy wise, that means sucking up to russia, just as america sucks up to the saudis, any other policy is stupid.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:17:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
But politics isn't about playground vendettas

Yes it is.

it's about securing the best future for your country.

Sadly, not.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:01:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Wants Balanced EU Approach to Russia, Georgia | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.08.2008
Germany's foreign minister Thursday urged the EU to take a balanced approach to the Caucasus conflict. The EU has to keep channels of communication open with Russia if it hopes to help stabilize the region, he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday, Aug. 14, the European Union should maintain an even-handed approach to the conflict between Russia and Georgia if it wanted to play a constructive role in forging long-lasting peace in the Caucasus.

 

"It remains the case that a level-headed policy is the one that most helps people in the region," Steinmeier told reporters after a meeting of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee.

 

"We must criticize what needs to be criticized and we have done this in the past, including with clear words when necessary towards Russia ... with regard to Russian bombing of Georgia and the presence of Russian troops in Georgia-proper," Steinmeier said.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has to keep channels of communication open with Russia

Alternatively, we could hugely reduce our consumption of oil and gas.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 04:02:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it either/or?  They both seem like good ideas to me.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 04:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is behind my snark is that I'm tired of European "leaders" airing supposed options re sanctions (like cutting off diplomatic ties and communications) Russia should (or in this case should not) undergo, when in fact that can't happen because we need Russian energy supplies. I just meant to point out that talk of sanctions is hot air (perhaps we could use that for energy, hmm).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 04:52:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but I get the feeling that was acutally a lecture to the ex-soviet satellites to stop trying to get back at russia for past transgresssions when their own future, as well as ours, relies on being nicey-nice with them.

But the point about reducing consumption is well made, but politicians don't think negawatts are sexy.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I touched on that in my explanation: Russia should (or in this case should not) undergo. I wasn't getting at Steinmeier in particular, just the blah about "sanctions", when we're in no position to impose any.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know one of the reasons that gas consumption is up in  the EU is because (with the exception of France) many of the new electric plants are gas fired, replacing older coal or oil fired plants.  

Depending on the fraction of electric output that comes from gas, one plausible option might be total replacement by renewables like wind and solar.  And creating grid connections to link up Norwegian hydro to the the UK and Eastern Europe. And as solar becomes more feasible to North Africa.

In the long term, replacing gas heating with electric forced air would allow the EU to eliminate the need for Russian natural gas imports.  And Russian threats on oil would have no weight, because there's not the same infrastructure bottlenecks that limit suppliers with natural gas.

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 Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 04:00:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. Trouble is we're not going down that road decisively enough. (Not, I hasten to add, that we should want to cut off relations with Russia).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 04:13:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What gets me is that for all the people screaming about the threat of Russia cutting of the gas, you don't hear pundits suggesting that a program of energy self-sufficiency would alleviate the political tensions created by the economics of gas supply.

Rather, the argument is that there must be free access to Russian gas at prices that are the preference of other European states.

The aversion to autarky as a means to piece comes not in the least from the ideological trauma that comes from admitting that free trade may create conflict as much as alleviate it.

One of the real ironies of the "protectionist" school and the works of Friederich List, is that because he was a German, there's this assumption that protectionism must be militaristic.

But if you read the National system of political economy, List makes clear that the greatest way of encouraging peace between states is through systems of national political economy that allow political interactions of states not to be tainted by differences in the economic power of states.  Peace comes when trade is not an instrument of foreign policy that allows dominant states to dominate, and lesser states to be forced to accept the will of larger states.

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 Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:18:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
work both ways: existing pipelines mean that Russia can only send its gas to where the pipelines go, ie to Europe (or nowhere at all).

The gas relationship is a co-dependency, and the "energy weapon" goes both ways, as the Poles and Ukrainians have amply demonstrated by holding the transit gas hostage.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that Union Fenosa is down in Egypt trying set up LNG export facilities.

I have to wonder what the long term impact of LNG is.

Conceivably, with enough loading and unloading infrastructure, I suppose that you could eliminate a lot of these bottlenecks.  Creating a more fungible market like with petroleum today.

Of course it seems like this would involved building a lot of infrastructure at high cost.

It seems like it would be far more prudent for EU governments to subsidize domestic alternatives, so that the EU isn't as dependent on Russian gas.  

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 Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 06:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
just won't die.

LNG is just as capital intensive as pipelines, and creates supply chaines that are as rigid, for the same reasons - all the investment is upfront and can only be repaid onver long periods, thus requiring very long, very constraining contracts.

A LNG production facility needs a dedicated LNG regaz facility on the other side, and dedicated LNG tankers (committed to the route between the two) for 20-25 years, and the contracts that formalize that.

It is true that you can reroute a LNG tanker to another destination if you make a profit doing so (shared usually between the seller and the committed buyer), but that's not quite enough to create a liquid market: first of all, the trade unit size is a cargo, ie 100-200 million cubic meters (at current prices: $50-60 million), and the players can only be parties to existing contracts, and holders of capacity in existing terminals.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 07:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it seems like this would involved building a lot of infrastructure at high cost.

It seems like it would be far more prudent for EU governments to subsidize domestic alternatives, so that the EU isn't as dependent on Russian gas.

and who wants to build that infrastructure?

when they know in 20-30 years it'll be obsolete and redundant?

this is the cognitive dissonance that the general public hasn't clued in on yet.

but they will...by process of elimination.

the choices reduce and highlight better the contrast. so damn stark when you stare into it:

left....energy independence, a serious, sustainable infrastructure planned and built to last much longer than a couple of decades, or right, the delirium of berlusconi's 1000 new nuke plants, endless subservience to autocratic fossil fuel distribution bottlenecks, (with ever higher body counts), cops on every corner.

you'd have to be a fully corrupted, paid-off masochist, or an imbecile to think we should take the latter.

yet that's what it's coming down to. and the media will be the last to know, because they're so well paid not to... meanwhile our leaders take us out further on the rotting limb...

how long can they blithely continue to call up down?

'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 Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 09:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU wants peacekeepers 'on the ground' in Georgia - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU foreign ministers on Wednesday (13 August) agreed to send peacekeepers to help supervise the fragile Russia-Georgia ceasefire, putting off discussions on potential diplomatic sanctions against Russia until next month.

"The European Union must be prepared to commit itself, including on the ground," the EU joint statement said, asking EU top diplomat Javier Solana to draft more detailed proposals for the ministers' next meeting on 5 September.

EU police in Bosnia - it is unclear what the EU peacekeeping mission in Georgia would consist of

"Many countries have said that they are ready to join in," French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said, adding that any EU move would require a UN mandate. "We are encouraged by what we saw this morning, but we have to go through the United Nations."

Ministers did not specify if the EU mission will compose EU-badge wearing soldiers, policemen or civilian monitors. It also remains unclear if it would be part of a wider force involving the UN and the OSCE, or when deployment might start.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nooooo !!! We are not perceived as neutral in this. I agree there peacekeepers would be a good idea now there's a ceasfire, but not european ones.

And give them the right to shoot looters and militia.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:23:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbian Minister Takes Kosovo Argument to UN | World News | Deutsche Welle | 14.08.2008
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic was heading to New York to seek UN support for his country's plan to challenge Kosovo's independence at the International Court of Justice.

A foreign ministry statement on Thursday, Aug. 14, said Jeremic will submit a resolution to the UN General Assembly seeking an opinion from the Netherlands-based court about the legality of Kosovo's secession from Serbia.

 

Jeremic, who was set to travel to New York on Thursday will "submit Serbia's official draft of the resolution for a procedure before the UN general assembly," the foreign ministry statement said. "A draft calls for the UN General Assembly to seek ICJ advisory opinion on a legality of the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo."

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweet !! Now the kosovo precedenct has blown up in the West's faces, Serbia are gonna rub their noses in it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:24:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I doubt there's any connection. I posted a link to this a while back. It seems to be proceeding at its own pace, independent of other events.

It remains to  see whether the U.N. will support the Serbian case to take it to the court. I gather the West is against, while Russia is in favour, making Russia just as inconsistent as the West.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Aug 17th, 2008 at 08:49:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia rebuffs U.S. and vows to defend Georgian enclaves - International Herald Tribune

MOSCOW: President Dmitri Medvedev said Thursday that Russia would guarantee the security of the two pro-Russian enclaves at the center of the crisis with Georgia, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Georgia could "forget about" territorial integrity because of the war.

The comments did not stake out a new position, but they offered a sharp retort to President George W. Bush's insistence a day earlier that "the sovereign and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected." The Russian rebuke came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to Georgia to work for a settlement and to show support for President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Speaking in France after meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, she urged Russia to honor the truce and withdraw all of its troops. (Page 3)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Washington, said that "the entire premise" of relations between Washington and Moscow had been called into question by Russia's conduct in Georgia, and that the relationship could be affected "for years to come" if it did not quickly withdraw its forces.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia Backs Georgia Rebel Regions Amid Peace Efforts | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.08.2008
Russian President Medvedev met leaders of Georgia's separatist South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions and vowed Moscow would back them in talks on their future status as diplomatic efforts continue.

Eduard Kokoity and Sergei Bagapsh, self-styled presidents of South Ossetia and Abhkazia, held talks with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev at the Kremlin on Thursday, Aug. 14, amid a diplomatic drive to forge peace between Georgia and Russia.

Speaking after the two leaders signed a six-point peace plan brokered this week by France to end fierce fighting between Georgia and Russia, Medvedev said Moscow fully supported their position.

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:18:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minor nitpick here, but they're not actually enclaves, are they?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 04:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vatican distances itself from Catholic magazine's warning of fascist revival - Times Online

The Vatican today distanced itself from a series of blistering attacks on the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi by the mass-circulation Roman Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana, which in its latest issue gives warning that Italy is in danger of returning to Fascism.

The magazine, owned by the Paulist Fathers, has repeatedly attacked the Berlusconi Government since it came to power in May on a law-and-order platform, arguing that the Right's targeting of immigrants and Gypsies as part of a crackdown on crime is racist and xenophobic. In June it compared the Government's "security decree" to the racial laws imposed by Benito Mussolini, Italy's Fascist dictator, in the 1930s.

In its latest editorial it says: "We hope that the suspicion that Fascism is being reborn in a different form proves to be untrue." Drawing on an analysis in the French Catholic publication Esprit, it compared the fingerprinting of Roma children in Italian Gypsy camps to the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis before and during the Second World War.

Government ministers rounded in fury on Famiglia Cristiana, with one saying that the magazine was itself displaying a Fascist mentality by making intemperate attacks on a democratically elected government.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler was democratically elected. I'm not sure the italian government has a point in its favour.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:28:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO bars Russia over Georgia | The Australian

NATO has barred a Russian ship from joining its multinational anti-terrorism patrol in the Mediterranean in apparent retaliation for Moscow's military action against Georgia, a NATO diplomat said.

The Black Sea patrol ship Ladny had been due to take part in NATO's Operation Active Endeavour in August and September involving anti-terrorism exercises and practising search and rescue operations at sea, Russia's navy command said last month.

It had already arrived off the coast of Turkey to take part in the operation.

But the diplomat said that following the fighting in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, Washington had withheld its agreement for the Russian ship to join the mission, launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

NATO diplomats said the US administration had also blocked so far a Russian request for an emergency meeting of the NATO-Russia Council to discuss the crisis in the Caucasus.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:23:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia and France Will Hold Their Own Naval Exercises without the U.S. - Kommersant Moscow
France will not refuse to hold the FRUKUS 2008 international naval exercises, in which Russia will take part, representatives of the Russian Pacific Fleet information service told Interfax on Thursday. At the request of the French Navy, they added, a ship from the Pacific Fleet and the French frigate Vendemiaire will hold separate exercises in the Sea of Japan.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:47:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rejuvenated Georgian president cites U.S. ties as 'turning point' - International Herald Tribune

TBILISI, Georgia: On Monday, President Mikheil Saakashvili, his army in retreat and his Western allies still surprised by the intensity of the Russian attack, was the very picture of vulnerability, dodging Russian military jets.

By Wednesday he seemed an almost preternaturally reinvigorated man, once again raising the temperature in Georgia's bitter disagreements with Russia, and invoking special ties with American democracy and freedom.

Moments after President George W. Bush appeared at the Rose Garden to say that the Pentagon would begin a humanitarian aid mission to support Georgia, Saakashvili was on the phone with a Western reporter, talking fast. "This is a turning point," he said. Soon he appeared on national television, his tousled hair combed back flat and wearing a freshly pressed suit, assuring his country that the worst had passed.

No matter that Russian troops were 30 miles away, milling on the road outside the capital, meeting no resistance. Saakashvili was in cocky form in an interview later in the evening with reporters, expounding on Nazi propaganda, Orwell and the film "Dr. Strangelove."

by Fran on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 03:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Row as German SPD joins Left in pact
A new row broke out in Germany's Social Democratic party on Thursday after its officials in the state of Hesse agreed to work with the radical Left party in order to form a government in the state parliament.

Meeting in Wiesbaden on Tuesday night, SPD officials in Hesse approved the formation of a minority government by its regional leader Andrea Ypsilanti with the backing of the Left.

Although Left ministers would not be offered jobs in the cabinet, a deal would mark the first time SPD and Left party worked together in a large western state.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Companies / Financial services - Merill set to avoid UK tax after $29bn loss

Merrill Lynch is unlikely to pay corporation tax in the UK for several decades after $29bn (£16bn) of losses suffered by the US investment bank were charged to its London-based subsidiary.

The figures, published in Merrill's regulatory filings, emphasise how the meltdown in the US subprime mortgage market is undermining tax receipts for governments far beyond America's borders. They also offer a rare glimpse into the tax management policies of a global financial institution.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 14th, 2008 at 07:54:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Darling lets them get away with it. Why do we bother having a tax authority if we refuse to tax the only people with any money.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 03:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

And the accounting and financial games continue, attempting to make a silk purse out of a pile of worthless paper.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 15th, 2008 at 10:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
   

Published in Estonia's largest paper today.

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

by Starvid on Sat Aug 16th, 2008 at 02:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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