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Well, for someone who claims to have "no specialist knowledge of the conflict", you sure are making a number of predictions, that may or may be not come to pass :)

will probably, ultimately, cost Putin his job.
Possibly. Then again, one can think a lot of scenarios where Putin does remain in place. Russia will be in a much worse state though...

he will have to settle for some territorial gains around Donbass and Mariupol
Depends on how far Ukrainian counter-attacks go; many things could still happen and I'm expecting the unexpected. Who would have thought, just a month ago when the Russian invasion had just started, that we would be in the present situation? (The most likely scenario was Russia quickly squashing Ukrainian forces)

Europe will also reduce its dependency on Russian oil and exports and take a much more hardline approach to all Russian initiatives
Hopefully, the mere realization of "it could happen to us" will jolt the Europeans (not only the EU) to keep building a more resilient society, especially vis a vis the imported fossil fuels. But there is also a strong temptation to resume "business as usual", as soon as possible, with maybe, most Russian gas replaced with US liquefied shale gas... Complacency is strong among our elites.

as the costs for the EU and its members have also been considerable.
Not yet: the true costs of cutting Russian energy imports off and having to deal with our economy's dependence on imported fossil fuels has just barely started to bite. Expelling Russian spies/diplomats is painless. Re-calibration will be a long and difficult process.

That's probably the pessimistic me reacting to the optimistic you, with a pinch of Gallic skepticism :)

In any case, this is a stronger case than ever to re-enforce the ties between EU countries, and even outside of the EU.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 08:36:33 PM EST
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I like to make predictions, based on what data I have, if only to learn that I have to change my expectations if circumstances change. I have no problem with being proved wrong, but it is useful to draw logical conclusions on what information you have. I have no time for the kind of "maybe this, or maybe that" kind of analysis which can never be proved to have been based on faulty assumptions. It doesn't add to anyone's understanding or learning process.

Irish based aircraft leasing firms are having to write off billions on planes now re-registered as Russian and the refugee influx is budgeted to cost billions this year. That is real money for a small country! In addition Russian based ransomware cyberattacks on the Irish health service cost millions and possibly a few lives. The government has already legislated to nullify planning permission for a major expansion of intelligence gathering facilities at the 4 acre (nearly 2 hectare) Russian embassy compound near the middle of Dublin, and you can expect a much more robust response to Russian Ambassador Filatov's many provocative comments in the Irish media in the future.

I have argued elsewhere that the Ukraine crisis has already done much to improve the EU sense of cohesion and common purpose. Even unionists in N. Ireland may be beginning to learn that the Protocol is not the no. 1 EU priority just now.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:24:40 AM EST
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That's how you and I are different (and there's nothing wrong with that). It doesn't mean I cannot make predictions too, maybe not in the same areas.

Some of the trends I see emerging:

Just like you mentioned: European unity, like like after Brexit, but ten times bigger. Nothing like being scared by the bombardments and shellings just across your border to focus the minds.

Europe excessive dependence on imported fossil energy: a hundred years ago, most of the energy use was coal extracted in Europe. Our vulnerability is now obvious. Energy independence and a faster move to renewables is not only a "green" plan but now a matter of national security.

Defense spending: this will increase, to the detriment of other budgets and priorities. Love it or loathe it, NATO is no longer perceived as "brain dead" and countries like Finland are seriously considering joining it. Others may follow.

Wandel durch Handel is dead; at least for now. Anyone else has noticed how Merkel's name is conspicuously absent from political debates?

"Russian" populations in Ukraine: just like French speaking Walloons in Belgium or Valaisans in Switzerland are not French, Russian-speaking Ukrainians are not Russians, whatever Putin says. Ukrainians, from the East as well as from the West are not ready to forgive Russians for having their army invading and destroying their country. The enmity will last a long time.

Russian demography was not boding well for Russia's future already, and this war is killing out a large number of prime age young people: mainly from small towns and peripheral "ethnic" republics. And urban professionals are also leaving Russia in large numbers. This won't have an immediate effect, but it is leading to an inevitable decline.

Taiwan: Beijing will think long and hard about "military options" for absorbing Taiwan, as the Ukrainian war has reminded everybody this is never a cakewalk.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 08:22:52 PM EST
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The prospect of Ukraine as enthusiastic new entrants the EU seems like an excellent thing; the question is cohesion. What will be the effect on the national-populists all over Europe?

First test : elections in Hungary. It looks pretty close, and the war doesn't seem to have had an obvious impact, which is interesting.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 02:07:42 PM EST
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Another list of polls

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 02:18:42 PM EST
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There is a limit on how much gas the US can export to Europe : gas is dirt cheap in the USA, but LNG terminals are expensive :

"Europe's need for gas far exceeds what the system can supply," said Nikos Tsafos, an energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "Diplomacy can only do so much."

In the longer term, however, energy experts say the United States could do a lot to help Europe. Along with the European Union, Washington could provide loan guarantees for U.S. export and European import terminals to reduce costs and accelerate construction. Governments could require international lending institutions like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank to make natural gas terminals, pipelines and processing facilities a priority. And they could ease regulations that gas producers, pipeline builders and terminal developers argue have made it more difficult or expensive to build gas infrastructure.

Charif Souki, executive chairman of Tellurian, a U.S. gas producer that is planning to build an export terminal in Louisiana, said he hoped the Biden administration would streamline permitting and environmental reviews "to make sure things happen quickly without micromanaging everything." He added that the government could encourage banks and investors, some of whom have recently avoided oil and gas projects in an effort to burnish their climate credentials, to lend to projects like his.

"If all the major banks in the U.S. and major institutions like BlackRock and Blackstone feel comfortable investing in hydrocarbons, and they are not going to be criticized, we will develop $100 billion worth of infrastructure we need," Mr. Souki said.

Which would be a really dumb thing to do, from the point of view of the planet.

Current very high gas prices in Eurasia :

seem suspicious to me, and very possibly part of Putin's preparations for the current war. Sure, demand has recovered because of Covid, but the rise in price started a year ago. Bear in mind Putin's very close relationship with MBS, clown prince of KSA...

Strategically, if Europe really wants to wean itself off Russian gas, Iran is a much better candidate than the USA. Just need to build that pipeline through Turkey. Easy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:39:10 AM EST
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