Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Brown pretends to be tough on Russia

by Jerome a Paris Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 03:45:21 AM EST

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is trying to reassert his authority on the cheap, by publishing an anti-Russian diatribe in today's Guardian (a left-leaning newspaper). It's an impressive exercise in weasel words and tough-sounding emptiness.

Before I take you through it in detail below the fold, let me note again that this sets the tone for public discourse on the topic. Newspapers, even if they have different information on the underlying conflict, have to report the aggressive declarations by Brown and others, and cannot fail to paint that as increased tension with Russia. As Russia responds (and it often does in rather unsubtle ways), reality follows discourse, further inflames it, and the whole process takes a life of its own. Pundits, even well intentioned ones, can then go on to pontificate about evil Russia and a small number of concepts, such as the "energy weapon", enter public lore and become "acquired concepts" (I'm tempted to write "acquired conceits") even when the facts on the ground are rather different.

But by then, the Mission has been Accomplished: the discussion is no longer about our failing energy policies (or rather, the lack thereof), or about our leaders' incompetence, but about the Enemy which wants to hurt us and against which We Must Stand Firm (Behind our Beloved and Fearless Leaders).

I understand our leaders trying this: after all, this is all they have to run on. But why, oh why, does our media have to fall for it hook, line and sinker?

Bumped for today's EU meeting - afew


This is how we will stand up to Russia's naked aggression
As European leaders meet, the Prime Minister says security is linked to the politics of energy

"We will stand up" to "Russia's naked aggression" - the stage is set. Once you've read the title, you know how it's going to be, there's really no need to go beyond. We are going to be provided with an enemy, and fearless leaders to fight it. And we know that this is what goes on TV - you get the headline and the subheader as "comment" by the talking heads. Evil Russia is stealing our energy and making us pay dearly for it and We Will Not Tolerate It.

Twenty years ago, as the Berlin Wall fell, people assumed the end of hostility between East and West, and a new world order founded on common values. As part of this, 10 Eastern European states joined Nato and intensified co-operation with Europe and more wanted to follow. But Russia's hostile action towards Georgia suggests that they are unreconciled to this new reality. Their aggression raises two urgent questions for us: how best to stabilise Georgia now, and how to make it clear to Russia that its unilateral approach is dangerous and unacceptable. War in Georgia also poses a serious longer term issue - how can we best create a rules-based international system that protects our collective security and safeguards our shared values?

Sigh... Where to begin? This is history rewriting on a grand scale...

  • our "common values" are embedded, if anywhere, in the Council of Europe, of which 47 countries are members, including (to quite a bit of debate in the 90s, as the wars in Chechnya raged on) Russia. NATO does not represent "common values", it is a military organisation created to defend its members against the Warsaw Pact, as run from Moscow. Its explicit - and still sole, despite desperate efforts to change that - raison d'Ítre is to prepare for war with Russia. Making that organisation, rather than the Council of Europe or, more prosaically, the European Union, the embodiment of our values, speaks volumes - as does Brown's failure to even mention the EU in that paragraph...
  • bam, out of the blue, Russia decided to attack poor weak Georgia. No mention of how this conflict originated in the short term (a Georgian attack), no discussion of the complex past history of South Ossetia (whether you look at the last 15 years or the past 2 centuries) - and no reference whatsoever to our policies towards Russia (bringing NATO to Russia's borders, cancelling the ABM treaty, ignoring them on Kosovo, just to note recent events). Nope. We're the good guys, they are the bad guys. It is so because we say so, we, the good guys.
  • as to creating a "rules-based international system" - how about, you know, us actually following the rules that already apply to us under the existing international system? Like not invading countries on a whim? Not deciding on our own which separatist provinces deserve independence from the countries they are a part of and which don't? Not threatening attack on various others because they do things we don't like? It is legitimate for organisations that focus on international rights or human rights and criticize our own failings to criticize Russia for its patchy record; it is quite another thing to hear the same from governments that engage in the exact same behavior they criticize at this very moment!
At tomorrow's European summit in Brussels we will first unite to alleviate the suffering of the 100,000 Georgian civilians left without homes. The UK has already pledged £2m, and I will urge partners to meet not only Georgia's immediate needs but its long-term reconstruction and development needs. We will deploy peace monitors to better judge violations of the ceasefire, appoint a senior figure to drive the humanitarian and political effort, and support the Nato Georgia Commission, with a Nato team sent to Georgia.

Ooooh. 2 million pounds?! How amazingly generous. That's sure going to help. But never mind, let's create more "Nato Georgia" thingies that take a life of their own, can be ignored if needed (hey, you don't actually want us to fight against Russia's army, do you?), but help create the perception in the meantime that we're standing by our proud new ally against the evil invaders. Let's keep NATO on the forefront, and sneakily suggest that the EU is doing NATO's bidding (note that the EU is still not mentioned: a "European summit" is nicely ambiguous in that respect).

Georgia has felt the consequences of the conflict. It is important that the summit also demonstrates to Russia that its actions have real consequences.

Hmmm... I look forward to such a demonstration...

No one wants a new Cold War or the encirclement of Russia.

Let's deny the obvious. I find it particularly noteworthy that Brown feels ready to acknowledge the "encirclement of Russia": that means that this (i) is the reality and (ii) that it will be pushed further. It's denied, so those that say it's happening can now be dismissed as lackeys of Russia, unserious, cowards or any combination thereof as said encirclement proceeds further (or attempts to anyway).

But when I spoke to President Medvedev yesterday, I told him to expect a determined European response. As David Miliband has said, there can be no return to 'business as usual' unless and until Russia commits fully to Georgia's territorial integrity and withdraws to its previous positions.

Ooooh. He talked to Medvedev! (not to Putin?) In a stern tone! To tell him to do something he is clearly not doing (having recognized South Ossetia's independence) or ... or else! The "demonstration" stepping up... to the naive public at home.

Russia has emerged as a significant economic power, with its trade increasing fourfold. It has done so by reaping the benefits of a stable global order based on agreements that make trade and investment both possible and profitable, bringing greater stability and certainty to international relations.

Yes, Russia's rising prosperity is clearly due to agreements that make trade profitable (codewords for the WTO. As we know, trade is always profitable and must be expanded) but to which it is not yet a party. It has nothing to do with the higher prices for its main exports (oil, gas and metals) or with the relative stability imposed by Putin and his KGB cronies in lieu of the chaos of the Yelstsin years. No, anything good that happens to Russia has to be claimed by the West's neoliberal policies. Not only we're the good guys (ie everything we do is good by definition), but everything that's good anywhere can and should be credited to us to. Others are, well, othery and cannot, also by definition, do any good. Life can be so simple.

Equally, when Russia fights secessionist movements in Chechnya or Dagestan, it expects others to respect its territorial integrity and not to recognise declarations of independence.

Hmmm.... Let's not mention the fact that we didn't really care about Chechnya back then, because we still had access to Russia's oil&gas resources then ("we" being the Western oil majors, of course). In fact, I distinctly remember that in 1999-2001, in the early years of Putin's presidency, the UK and US had rather friendly relationships with Russia, whereas France was in a really tense one as its government (well, what do you expect from 35-hour-promoting socialists) and media were rather vocal about Chechnya - an attitude that was mostly criticised by the Anglos as needlessly disturbing business.

So when Russia has a grievance over an issue such as South Ossetia, it should act multilaterally by consent rather than unilaterally by force. I believe Russia faces a choice about the nature of its responsibilities as a leading and respected member of the international community. My message to Russia is simple: if you want to be welcome at the top table of organisations such as the G8, OECD and WTO, you must accept that with rights come responsibilities. We want Russia to be a good partner in the G8 and other organisations, but it cannot pick and choose which rules to adhere to.

Ack. Again, where to start? Bullet points ahoy: here we go again!

  • "it should act multilaterally by consent rather than unilaterally by force," says the head of the government of one of the countries that invaded Iraq despite being told in no uncertain that the invasion was not approved by the UN Security council? Who the fuck does he think he is kidding? (Sad answer: a lot of people, including most of our pundit class);

  • more to the specific point, Russia actually went to the Security Council on 8 August to ask for international intervention, as Georgian troops were attacking South Ossetian with heavy artillery. They followed the existing diplomatic procedures, but their claims were ignored or rejected.

  • Russia is a member of the G8, an increasingly pointless body, is not a member of the OECD (described by the Economist as a "think tank"), nor one of the WTO (its membership having been blocked for years by the USA for reasons totally unrelated to the current crisis). What's the value of these carrots, exactly, after years of dangling them in front of the Kremlin's eyes and denying them, or emptying them of their substance?

  • "it cannot pick and choose which rules to adhere to" - nope, that's only a prerogative of the Good Guys. (I mean, that's the only way to make sense of what would otherwise be breathtaking double standards).
That is why I will argue tomorrow that Russia should accept Georgia's territorial integrity and international mechanisms for addressing these conflicts, and withdraw troops to their previous positions. And, in the light of Russian actions, the EU should review - root and branch - our relationship with Russia. We should continue to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and may need to meet more regularly as the G7. We are also reflecting on the Nato response. We must re-evaluate the alliance's relationship with Russia, and intensify our support to Georgia and others who may face Russian aggression .

So the thing to do if we are unhappy with Russia is to "strengthen the transatlantic relationship", ie to fall in line even more rigidly behind Washington's (provenly toxic) positions? Doesn't this sound like hiding in mama's skirt (or rather, behind papa's big fists) in a schoolyard fight one started?

More interestingly, this is where we see the absolute cowardice in Brown's position: more regular meetings of the G7 means that there won't actually be a confrontation with Russia about its membership in the G8, just more meaningless meetings without Evil Russians to pretend that we're "standing up to them" (safely from a distance). And "reflecting" on NATO's response. That has to be the lamest, weakest line - in diplo-speak, it means, basically, "please stop hitting us, we agree to everything, just give us the time to set our ties properly before we say yes!"

But, as we know, the target here is not Russia, it's the public over here, and what matters is the repetition, yet again, of the words "Russian aggression," along with more calls for "Atlanticism", ie deciding to not have a common European position and impose division by preeemptively aligning with the extremist position coming from Washington. Bluster, posturing and empty threats that look so manly.

The strangest part is that Russia responds, mostly with surprise, by pointing out that this is empty bluster - and this is taken as yet more aggression (they are contradicting, or worse, mocking, our leaders again!) rather than at simple face value. Clearly they do not play the same game.

No nation can be allowed to exert an energy stranglehold over Europe and the events of August have shown the critical importance of diversifying our energy supply.

Hmmm... Right after "Russian aggression" comes energy. Again, the target is not Russia, but the uninformed public and the naive punditry. As far as I can remember, the war did not cause any disruption in supply - indeed, as the tension between Russia and Georgia built up and turned into actual war, oil prices were collapsing... (for other reasons, but still). The markets obviously took a pretty relaxed view of the impact of this conflict on energy supplies. And the markets are always right, as Brown himself endlessly reminds us (and indeed he will do so before this article is over).

Some pipelines were temporarily cut as conflict raged, but the significance of that is rather different from what pundits might think. The Baku-Supsa oil pipeline was closed, but this was significant only insofar as the much larger Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline had been closed the week before (because of events in Turkey which were, as far as I can tell, totally unrelated to the Georgian crisis) and the route to Supsa was used as a substitute. The Baku-Erzurum gas pipeline, which follows the same route, was also closed, but that pipeline only supplies Turkey with small volumes of gas. Despite multiple claims by the Georgians to that effect, the pipelines were not attacked by Russia (something that BP, which operates all of them, confirmed repeatedly) - but that, of course, did not prevent pundits from saying it did happen (or that it "could" have happened), nor of falsely linking the overall closure of the BTC pipeline to the Russian intervention.

The result is again, "Russian aggression" and "pipeline closed" beign closely associated in everybody's minds. And hey, "energy stranglehold" and "Russia" in the same sentence is all good - it takes attention away from "energy" and "European policies" (or the lack thereof).

The tenfold increase in the world oil price in the past decade has demonstrated that diversification from oil is also an economic necessity.

A rare sane sentence in that article - the content of which will of course be ignored as that apparent sanity is used for other purposes than actually solving problems.

The UK will go from being 80 per cent self-sufficient now to having to import almost two-thirds of our gas and more than half of our oil by 2020 - precisely as markets become more volatile as more people chase fewer natural resources. And with states such as Russia increasingly using their energy resources as policy tools it is apparent that the security grounds for this shift are stronger as well.

So, as long as the UK had enough oil for itself, all was fine, and all discussion of energy dependency was unnecessary (yes, I distinctly remember mockery coming from across the channel and directed at the many continental European countries that worried about long term supplies in the not so distant past). but now that the UK is running out of oil and gas for itself, it becomes an overwhelming issue that hysterically drives everything away - and has to be imposed on the rest of Europe - which are cowards if they don't join in.

Without urgent action we risk sleepwalking into an energy dependence on less stable or reliable partners.

That sentence would be correct with another verb tense: "without action we sleepwalked into an energy dependence on less stable or reliable partners." The dependence is already there: oil is now mostly controlled by countries that fit that description, and any one of a dozen of them can wreak havoc on the global market by withholding production. Think Saudi Arabia or Russia, or course, but also Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, Kuwait - or, more interestingly, China, Norway, Iraq or Brazil - or the USA. Any country that can take a million barrels per day of capacity from the global market can cause a massive price hike. The impact of Gustav in the coming days could give yet another demonstration of that state of fact.

And an important point to note is that oil produced in the UK or the US does not belong to UK citizens or the US citizens, it belongs to the oil companies that have acquired the rights to the relevant fields - and they can do whatever they want with that oil, starting with selling it to the highest bidder. which means, of course, that even a self-sufficient country's citizens will need to pay the full market price for oil, just like the citizens of oil-poor countries: neither owns any oil reserves...

As to gas, its reserves are even more concentrated than those of oil, with Russia, Iran and Qatar controlling over two thirds of the total. And there is no global market, as gas only goes where infrastructure, ie pipelines and LNG terminals, will take it - under the long term contracts that such infrastructure requires to be financed and built. So gas, in a very practical sense, belongs as much to those that have long term supply rights at the end of the pipeline as to those that actually have the reserves. In that case, the dependency goes both ways, and the partners have a serious incentive to deliver - and indeed Russia has: it certainly has been a highly reliable supplier over the past 40 years, even through the Soviet period, the break-up of the Soviet Union and the chaos that followed.

That is why we in the UK are putting in law our commitment to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, looking to replace our ageing nuclear power plants, to encourage greener fuels to power our homes and businesses and to transform the way we travel.

Nice non sequitur. Let's remind people that we're also pretending to be green, and that this supposedly helps on the separate problem of oil use. Let's provide a further gentle push for nukes (which provide electricity, not transport, today) and biofuels (which are an absurdity from every perspective in Europe) and altogether pretend we have policies in place, without ever mentioning demand reduction or even energy efficiency.

Europe also needs to take action.

Oh yeah, let's pretend too that the UK are leaders, and that (the rest of) Europe has done nothing on the energy front for all these years. The arrogance and hubris is, as usual, breathtaking.

Tomorrow's summit must add urgency to the work on Europe's energy agenda. We must more rapidly build relationships with other producers of oil and gas. Our response must include a redoubling of our efforts to complete a single market in gas and electricity, a collective defence to secure our energy supplies.

Sigh... The single market, as I wrote in the FT last year, encourages market players to invest in gas-fired plants, as they are easier to finance and less risky in the short term. Gas-fired plants mean more demand, for a very long time, for the very gas that we are warned Russia threatens to withhold from us. Even if we find alternate suppliers (would Earlier Evil Country Iran do, if they were ever in a position to export gas?), would it not be a better bet to, you know, not increase our demand for gas? The fact that this question is not even touched by Brown demonstrates, more than anything else, that he is not interested in solutions but in finding scapegoats to blame and to use to rebuild his reputation for toughness and decisiveness.

And, if I may be impertinent once more, what exactly does he mean by "building relationships with other suppliers?" Entering into long term supply contracts? Building infrastructure that links their supplies with our markets via an unbreakable physical link? (you know, what Germany, Italy and France have done with Russia) Or invading them, rewriting their oil laws, and giving away their reserves to oil majors (which, as Iraq amply demonstrates, does not work, as the locals usually get uppity when they see that they are being looted)?

I will also be pressing European leaders to increase funding for a project to allow us to source energy from the Caspian Sea, reducing our dependence on Russia.

BTC already exists, than you very much. There is no gas available in the Caspian (even including Iran) to make a pipeline from over there worthwhile unless it is filled with Russian gas. Nabucco is a non-starter, if its goal is to avoid Russian gas. But hey, let's keep on repeating "Nabucco, Nabucco, Nabucco" like a mantra, and discreetly pushing the completion date by a year each year, so as to look like we're finding other sources of gas.

I will encourage European partners to use our collective bargaining power rather than seek separate energy deals with Russia. And because the environmental necessity is urgent, we must deliver an ambitious 2020 climate and energy package by the end of this year.

Again, will anybody EVER tell me what a common bargaining position towards Russia would be? and how would it be determined? According to energy consumption? To gas consumption? To gas imports? To gas imports from Russia? And, presuming that a joint position is reached, what will happen, beyond merging into one giant EU-Russia contract the relatively small number of existing bilateral contracts? A better price? (what would be better? a different index to oil? A non-indexation to oil? who will decide what price formula is most advantageous?) And if a "better" price is obtained compared to the existing framework, who gets the difference? but, more genrally, what will prevent Russia to use the "energy weapon" against Europe any better than it can prevent it against France or Germany? How will gas be allocated in the case of cuts by Russia?

As long as nobody even makes suggestions to all these questions, these ideas for a "common negotiating position" towards Russia are just pointless blather, bluster and, more to the point, a distraction.

More than 10 years ago Alexander Solzhenitsyn - who died just days before this latest chapter in the history of his country - wrote: 'We were recently entertained by a naive fable of the happy arrival of the end of history, of the overflowing triumph of an all-democratic bliss; the ultimate global arrangement had supposedly been attained. But we all see and sense that something very different is coming, something new, and perhaps quite stern. No, tranquillity does not promise to descend on our planet, and will not be granted us so easily.' The past few days have seen some of his predictions realised.

Meh. I have not found the original quote, but I'm pretty sure that he did not have Russia in mind when he wrote this - but rather the USA. (Accurate info here welcomed)

This is why the changing global order cannot be governed by institutions designed in the middle of the last century. We now know how much more we have to do to create an effective system of international rules. We must strengthen the system of global governance to meet the challenges of our interdependent world. We must reshape our global architecture to meet the new challenges: climate change, energy security, poverty, migration. And in doing so we must stand up for both our vital interests and our essential values.

Another non sequitur. I'm sure that the institutions Brown has in mind have only one member with veto rights, and he's so proud that he has the right phone number to know beforehand when the veto will be used.

:: ::

Mr Brown: in order to stand up to your values, you must be true to them. In order to stand up for your vital interests, you have to ensure that you actually have those interests (and not those of a very small subset of the people you claim to represent) at heart.

But again, this is not about policies. They're pathetic. This is about politics, and stories. and Brown is selling the irresistible story of the good guys standing up to the evil enemy that seems to be threatening us. That this is is distracting us from policy is not an unwanted side effect, it is the very purpose of articles like this one.

but if nobody calls him on it, then ... it works. And it gets repeated by people, like Jeremy Leggett, an otherwise respected peak oiler, and it gets legitimized even in otherwise skeptical crowds. (this post is already long enough as it stands, but you can read my debunking of Leggett's article here).

Meanwhile, our aggressive grandstanding is fast alienating Russia, which might one day wonder why we think we have a God-Given Right to receive any of the gas under their toundra. The mindless posturing has very real consequences in the real world.

Bleh.

Display:

Beware the bear trap
Britain, like most of Europe, is at risk of being the target of Russia's energy export weaponry

Yesterday, a "highly placed source" in Moscow was reported as saying the Kremlin intends to turn off the oil export pipeline to the EU on Monday, so great is Russian ire about the rhetoric in Brussels and warships in the Black Sea. If this is true, we are entering a whole new ball game in what has come to be called "energy security". Even if the report proves false, the west should be on red alert about energy export weaponry.

We've been fantaisizing so much about Russia's "energy weapon" that it's no wonder rumors about it abound. But the twist here is that Russia would cut oil rather  than gas.

The fact is, every single oil exporter has the "energy weapon" of withholding sales. in a tight globlal market, such supply reduction causes an immediate need for demand destruction, and thus price hikes.

But hey, let's join the Russia Is Evil fearmongering. It's fun!


Barely noticed in the runup to the crisis in Georgia, Russia signed a deal that gives its energy giant Gazprom control over gas supply from neighbouring Turkmenistan - one of three former Soviet satellite states around the Caspian sea on which Europe is pinning its hopes for a future gas supply. This Turkmen coup deepens Britain's possible energy dependence on Russia as North Sea production falls away.

Sigh. The Turkmenistan deal do not change a thing - no Turkmen gas can go anywhere but Russia, because that's where the pipelines go - and no other pipeline can be built, given that the one to Russia is not full (Russia can always undercut an outside buyer that has to incorporate the cost of a new pipeline in its price).

But Russia signs such deals ever year, and commentators get the vapors each time.


Coyly worded press releases on Gazprom's website shine a faint light on its Kremlin-driven machinations but stop short of illuminating the whole story. Gazprom is on its way to achieving dominion over Caspian gas, and the Kremlin is making overtures to the other states in the region, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. They in turn must be watching events in Georgia and wondering how they can refuse those advances.

Gazprom has ALWAYS had dominion over Capsian gas, and that cannot be changed. When will people get that?


At the same time, Moscow is cosying up to Beijing on energy and security: Russia and China signed an energy collaboration treaty before the G8 summit, and their armed forces have conducted joint exercises. Caspian gas may yet end up heading eastward, not westward. Gazprom has already threatened to withhold gas exports from Europe should Brussels try to stop it buying up European gas firms. Ten EU states are already largely dependent on Russian gas.

The obstacles to gas going to China from Turkmenistan are the same as those for Europe. In addition, people tend not to realize the distance gas needs to travel within China, in addition to the long distance from the Caspian - which adds to the price of gas for end-users, who usually have access to "cheap" coal as an alternative.

Gazprom has not "threatened" to withhold gas form Europe. it has said that it would fulfill all contracted sales, but would look to diversify its client base if Europe was so bent on diversifying its suppliers. If diversification is good for us, surely it is also good for Russia, right?


The Kremlin has a strategy to control a vast slab of the world economy via oil and gas. Dmitry Medvedev, lest we forget, used to run Gazprom. The Georgia crisis, if not a planned piece in the strategy, certainly fits. The EU intended to build a pipeline across the Caucasus, avoiding Russian soil, but the sudden unavailability of Turkmen gas, on top of war in Georgia, makes that unlikely now.

Again: Nabucco is not viable without Russian gas. Full stop. But the fiction that it might be is alive and well.


In the oil sector, all the major companies have been drawn into the Kremlin's new great game. Shell has lost majority ownership of its vast Sakhalin project; Total has been reduced to the status of a services company; BP seems on the verge of having 25% of its reserves expropriated by Russian oligarchs. Would it be too cynical to suggest they might be acting as proxies for a company formerly run by the president? A company, it must be noted, that is actually quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

Shell had always wanted to bring Gazprom into the project, and it got a fair price for the share it sold; it is still operator of the project because Gazprom does not have the requisite expertise to pull it off.

Total got a tough deal, but at least it got a deal. How many countries with oil are still open to oil majors? Maybe it's better to have a "service contract" than no contract at all?

As to BP, they're being outsmarted by cunning billionaires (note that this is not the first time it happened: their earlier purchase of Sidanko had a similar fate; only in that case, they were blamed for their naivety as much as the oligarchs that pulled it off were blamed; in this case, Putin makes a convenient outside scapegoat).


The UK, meanwhile, has no energy strategy, and what plans there are will not come to fruition before the end of the next decade, when it will be too late to escape the Russia trap. We should be urgently embarking on a national clean-energy mobilisation. The government should create investment conditions that allow City capital to flow into efficient-energy technologies that can be delivered in short order.

Ok, we're getting into safer ground. Leggett is much better on that side.

But there's a imple solution here: feed-in tariffs. It works everywhere it's implemented, and in Germany and Denmark, it brings benefits that are now bigger, in pure monetary terms (in the form of lower prices when wind blows), than it costs.


It is a strange kind of capitalism that takes pension contributions from people and invests them in an agency of a foreign power quoted on the LSE, despite the risk that pensioners will freeze because the foreign power delivers on threats to turn off the gas taps.

No need to blame the financial regulator - blame the energy regulator that encourages the construction of gas-fired power plants.

Of course, gas-fired power plants provide lots of jobs for financiers and, more importantly, for energy traders and M&A bankers; so maybe it is the financial regulation that is at stake...


We have technologies to rid ourselves of the need for gas. But we do next to nothing. Energy efficiency is low priority, and our renewable generators languish in cottage industries. Energy dependency could turn a new cold war red hot. Energy independence would allow east and west merely to trade insults. Let us start the independence movement in earnest, energy wise.

We'll still need Russian gas - just as they need our money. It is a fair trade. But if we had a decent energy policy, we'd need no scapegoats, and no need to put the blame for our failures on Russia.

It's a pity that Leggett, who sees the policy failures so well, cannot see the blame game here - he IS distracted.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:03:16 PM EST
Again: Nabucco is not viable without Russian gas. Full stop. But the fiction that it might be is alive and well.

Can't you fill Nabucco with Azeri or Iranian gas? Or Turkmen gas, when/if that export pipeline to Russia exports at full capacity and a new could be built across the Caspian?

It is a strange kind of capitalism that takes pension contributions from people and invests them in an agency of a foreign power quoted on the LSE, despite the risk that pensioners will freeze because the foreign power delivers on threats to turn off the gas taps.

As I've remarked before, nuclear power plants seems to be the perfect investment for pension funds and pension schemes. Very long time horizons, steady returns, large capital requirement... a marriage made in heaven.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  • there's only 5-10bcm/y of Azeri gas that can be procured (no prodction to speak of beyond that, after taking into account local needs) - and it's already sold to Turkey;
  • Iran has huge reserves, but not much production capacity, relatively speaking - and most of the gas is used domestically (as reinjections to support oil production, or for domestic use). It has been unable to come to terms with the requirements of long term supply contracts. It has very little infrastructure going towards Turkey (and it's really hard to get them to build more, for various reasons. There is one pipeline, and one contract to Turkey, and supplies have been notoriously unreliable. so, not an option in the medium term, even without the context of the sanctions;
  • Turkmenistan does not have the productino capacity to fill up the Russian pipeline... it has been very difficult to negotiate with, making commitments to various parties that are obviously incompatible.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  • Is the lack of Azeri gas because of a lack of reserves or because of a lack of investment? Because if it is the latter, we have a solvable issue. I haven't gotten the impression the Azeris are impossible people.

  • How much gas is Nabucco supposed to ship anyway? 50 bcm/y?

  • [Iran] has been unable to come to terms with the requirements of long term supply contracts.
    Why is this?

  • If the Turkmens for some reason become reasonable, do they have enough reserves to fill the unfilled pipeline and support Nabucco if enough capital was invested in their gas industry?


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  • lack of reserves
  • current plans are for 30bcm/y
  • don't ask me. I suspect it is about losing control of the overall chain to a Western major (like on Sakhalin energy, Shell is still the operator of the project): majors are needed because the core requirement is not having enough money, it's having contractual credibility.
  • a big, overwhelming, if. But the answer would be yes.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 05:34:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm curious about why there is such mainstream confidence, nay certitude, that Azeri gas would be able to fill Nabucco.

See this recent Reuters piece, also talking about Georgian transit issues and Baku's increased siding with Moscow/Gazprom: http://tinyurl.com/5axtg2

by MaBozza (greig.aitken AT gmail.com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 01:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this piece from EurActiv undercuts the Reuters piece, even if the headline masks that the project was kinda pie in the sky before the Georgia crisis


Nabucco: 'Pie in the sky' after Georgia crisis?


Steve Mufson of the Washington Post writes that one European oil company executive told him that the Nabucco project was simply "not a doable project because there is not enough gas to justify the investment," at least without Iranian gas coming into it. "The only thing that can make it viable is by using Iranian gas," the oil executive further elaborated, adding that otherwise it is a "pie in the sky." American policymakers, he said, "want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to keep Europe from using Russian gas and they want to keep Iran in a corner too".
by MaBozza (greig.aitken AT gmail.com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 04:01:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that the WaPo has to have an American angle, but WTF do "American policymakers" think they ought to have a stake in - much less a say in - European energy deals with those of our neighbours with whom we decide to maintain friendly relations for our mutual benefit?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 04:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Brown: in order to stand up to your values, you must be true to them.
First you need some values.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:04:03 PM EST
In order to be true to your values, you must stand up to them.

In order to stand up to your truths, you must value them.

In order to value your truths, you must stand up to them.

In order to talk empty but fine-sounding rubbish, you must be Gordon Brown.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... condition?

I've heard lots of empty but fine-sounding rubbish on this side of the pond for years and years from people who are not Gordon Brown.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 08:40:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly. But he's still NuLab's answer to James Callaghan.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 03:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why, oh why, does our media have to fall for it hook, line and sinker?

Exactly what I was wondering earlier this evening after watching Bernard Kouchner on France3 News. The anchorperson (Catherine Matausch) was wound up like a clockwork tank, interrupting, hounding him, because of course it was known he was now on the side, with the Germans, of calming things down. She wanted to know, after what Brown had said (see above), what courage the EU was going to show faced with Russia, and it was obvious to her "we" were going to back down as usual. Kouchner temporized and sidestepped, while she was really surprising: she seemed to have decided it was a matter of principle that she was going to harass the Foreign Minister because "we" were being too weak.

The terribly obvious thing was that she was sincere. Just as was Pierre Weill on France Inter last week, harassing Dimitry Rogozhin before the NATO meeting in Brussels.

How does this happen? How do they forget (or relativize) Kosovo or Iraq, how do they sideline the deliberate Georgian aggression? It would be interesting to have a conversation with these people and ask them that question.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:28:52 PM EST
They read the news. Which mostly says whatthe powers-that-be want it to say, if only because they repeat it enough, and have enough "serious" pundits repeating it in parallel.

I linked to the Philip Stephens article on Russia in yesterday's OT, but here it is again:


Putin maps the boundaries of greater Russia

We need to get this straight. Vladimir Putin's Russia has invaded a neighbour, annexed territory and put in place a partial military occupation. It seeks to overthrow the president of Georgia and to overturn the global geopolitical order. It has repudiated its signature on a ceasefire negotiated by France's Nicolas Sarkozy and disowned its frequent affirmations of Georgia's territorial integrity. Most importantly: all of this is our fault.

The "our" in this context, of course, refers to the US and the more headstrong of its European allies such as Britain. If only Washington had been nicer to the Russians after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If only the west had not humiliated Moscow after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Surely we can see now what a provocation it was to allow the former vassal states of the Soviet empire to exercise their democratic choice to join the community of nations? And what of permitting them to shelter under Nato's security umbrella and to seek prosperity for their peoples in the European Union? Nothing, surely, could have been more calculated to squander the post-cold-war peace.

(...)

Moscow's invasion of Georgia and its public scorn at the likely international response speaks to an entirely different mindset: a retreat from integration and a preference for force over rules. Russia's neighbours are told they can be vassals or enemies. Mr Medvedev boasts Russia is ready for another cold war.

I struggle to see what Russia will gain. It is friendless. Governments and foreign investors alike now know that Moscow's word is worthless. The price of aggression will be pariah status. Mr Putin, of course, will blame the west.

I usually expect better from Philip Stephens. There is no mention of Iras, Kosovo or Saakashvili's aggression.

Pathetic.

But when he, and the Economist write these things, lesser journalists follow the cues and repeat the same line.

(I haven't read the Economist for 3 weeks. I found the last 3 in my mail this morning, upon returning home, and fear what I will find)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched that too, incredulously. The sheer stupidity of her position...

Now, in a way Kouchner asked for it. I mean, if one day he accuses Russia of preparing to invade Ukraine, what can he expect when he has to answer questions later on ?

I'd like to hide in a deserted island somewhere. Talk to the crabs for a while, I'm sure they make more sense.

by balbuz on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:37:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jérôme, I suppose the answer is no, but would you have by any chance this diary in French ? It deserves to be read by as many people as possible in their native language.

The "information" kindly provided to us by the media is at an all-time low. Between the evil Russian bear and the incredible affirmations that "we must fight them in Afghanistan so as not to have burkhas in our streets here", it's really just too much.

by balbuz on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:33:05 PM EST
to someone I know at Le Monde to write a version of it for them. If I get a hint that they might use it, I'll do it.

I'd need to do a LTE or an op-ed format versino too... but I'm getting back to work tomorrow and will need to deal with quite a few urgent emails and file or delete hundreds more...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 06:20:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's extremely good, Jérôme.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 03:23:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On European Tribune
Wannabe NATO member on war path by Jerome a Paris on Aug 8th, 2008
Georgia: oil, neocons, cold war and our credibility by Jerome a Paris on Aug 10th, 2008
US Transporting Georgian Troops Out of Iraq to Fight Russia by ManfromMiddletown on Aug 10th, 2008
The warmongers have lost yet another war by Jerome a Paris on Aug 11th, 2008
Blackwater in Georgia? Now We Can Call Them Mercs. by ManfromMiddletown on Aug 11th, 2008
Medvedev calls end to Georgia operations by Jerome a Paris on Aug 12th, 2008
What does Russia Want? by wiseprince on Aug 12th, 2008
The Polish press on the Ossetian conflict (LQD)by MarekNYC on Aug 12th, 2008
Things to know and understand about Russia. Now. by US expat Ukraine on Aug 13th, 2008
Bush sends U.S. troops to Georgia to deliver humanitarian aid by Magnifico on Aug 13th, 2008
Contradicting the 'West' bashing by Martin on Aug 14th, 2008
The Russkies are back. Praise the Lord by Colman on Aug 14th, 2008
So. What to do with Russia? by Jerome a Paris on Aug 16th, 2008
99 Luftballons by poemless on Tue Aug 19th, 2008
Better and better... by Colman on Aug 26th, 2008

Recent Articles & Editorials:
Georgia's Miscalculation by Anatol Lieven, Washington Post, August 9, 2008
Has Georgia Overreached in Ossetia? by Tony Karon, Aug. 09, 2008
Why South Ossetia, why now? by Peter Lavelle, August 9, 2008
A Path to Peace in the Caucasus by Mikhail Gorbachev, Washington Post,  August 12, 2008
Georgia Tries out the Bush War Doctrine, Loses Badly By Gary Brecher, August 12, 2008.
The west shares the blame for Georgia, by Anatol Lieven, Financial Times, Aug 13 2008
Vladimir Putin's mastery checkmates the West by Michael Binyon, The Times, August 14 2008
Blowback From Bear-Baiting by Patrick J. Buchanan, August 15, 2008
Russia Never Wanted a War by Mikhail Gorbachev, New York Times,  August 19, 2008
Who Started Cold War II? by Patrick J. Buchanan, August 19, 2008
Vladimir V. Putin: Neo Con by Erin Solaro, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 21, 2008

Background Articles:
The New American Cold War By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation,  June 21, 2006
The Missing Debate By Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, May 1, 2008
Cheney Starts New Cold War Over Oil, by Mark Ames, 3 June 2006

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:38:34 PM EST
Anti-Americans should stop masquerading as anti-war [SECOND UPDATE]
and the seminal And None Dare Call It Treason Patrick J. Buchanan, August 22, 2008 as also quoted extensively in my current Getting Cranky with The Times which, admittedly has a different focus

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 06:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The source of Solzhenitsyn quote is here, in the speech titled "Bring God Back into Politics", with the very first line being
What is the role, the justifiable and necessary share, of morality in politics?

Well, Brown is trying to talk about values, and uses Solzhenitsyn who lamented Godless politics. A part of this speech indeed is about Russia, but I think he's condemning the whole Western body politics, more like.

by Sargon on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 05:32:02 PM EST
I think he's in fact speaking globally, neither directing his comments towards Russia or the West, but speaking of the state of the entire planet (which, for Solzhenitsyn, is Godless therefore lost).

Brown's use of it to point to recent events in the Caucasus is of course specious.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 03:34:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as in america, foreign policy posturing is not about actually doing anything useful for the good of the country. After all, the payoff is too long to be useful in an electoral cycle, so the actual nitty gritty and detail is meaningless.

No, foreign policy declarations are all about domestic populism. So why would Gordon brown, a failed leader facing a hyper-active foreign secretary openly campaigning to replace him, want to start talking about foreign policy ? Especially on a weekend where he faced a direct confrontation from his chancellor about the success of his policies, the economy being his specialist subject.

He needed to make a splash, he's a notorious control freak and events have been slipping beyond his grasp. So he makes a huge announcement to re-establish his coentrality in determining the direction of Government. The only useful audience for this essay face him every week over the Cabinet table. He might as well have pushed a cream bun in Milliband's face and said "I'm back and I'm in charge and never forget it, ya traitorous bastid".

So, realistically, whilst everything you write is correct, it's kinda beside the point. This isn't policy, this isn't about what he'll do cos he and we know reality is more...flexible. He's just pissing on some Downing street lamposts.

Ignore him. If there's any justice he'll be gone before xmas, and definitely sometime before June 2010. and Putin and Medvedev will still be in moscow and gas will still flow to W Europe and all of our esteemed leaders will find other reasons to jump up and down and pretend they are masters of our destinies.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 05:59:45 PM EST
Truly excellent, Helen.  Sometimes it's more important to name the wood than enumerate the trees...er... I hope that makes sense...

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 05:52:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as nobody even makes suggestions to all these questions, these ideas for a "common negotiating position" towards Russia are just pointless blather, bluster and, more to the point, a distraction.

Could the sudden desire for European cooperation be rooted in a desire to get in on some of those long-term contracts that other people have signed with Russia - only without having to actually speak with the Russians? That would be a show of uncommonly good sense, because it doesn't sound like the British are very good at speaking with Russia...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 11:37:17 PM EST
This is the UK neolibs trying to free-ride on the reserves and security mechanisms put in place (and paid for) by continental Europeans.

"Solidarity", in this case, means "give me access to your reserves". We made fun of you because you paid more for your gas because of these, and now we'll make fun of you because we will take advantage of it as well.

Grrrr.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 05:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A straightforward case of a nation acting in it's own self interest - and any other logic or consistency be damned.  The key issue here is not to get annoyed with the UK - it is only doing what all nations do - the key thing is to ensure that it pays a fair Price for what it is looking for from the EU.  Putin plays this game very well as well, and knows the score.

The meta-problem is that the EU has been giving its services and strategic advantages on the cheap - and getting nothing but abuse in return.  Why doesn't Sarkozy - in his capacity as President of the EU Council and interlocutor with Russia give a speech giving the UK some home truths about what is required from Britain - e.g. fair play for French energy utilities - thus nicely serving French interests as well?

Just wait for the wails of EU bullying.  The EU is not a club where everyone gets everything they want on the cheap - a message which could also, usefully, be directed at Ireland.  The wails are the sound of chickens coming home to roost...

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 06:02:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the interest of the City financiers, and of the Whitehall politicians, full stop.

And they've found it easier to buy the elites of other countries as an alternative to traditional balance fo power politics: make the elits "one of us" and presto, the trick is done.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 08:57:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
National interests are always defined by national elites.  In a functioning democracy those elite's self interest is held somewhat in check by the electorate at large.  So it is easy to buy off the national elite of (say) Georgia, where the democratic process is suspect, at best.

But why does the EU sell itself so cheap?  Because there is little emotional identification with its citizenry and structural democratic constraints on it doing so.  There is no sense that the EU is run by the parliament or directly elected officials and the indirect democracy conferred via the participating Governments doesn't seem to work very well in terms of generating legitimacy for the collective.

No one seem to care what Barrosso says because no one (directly) elected him and thus no one has a psychological identification with him one way or the other.  He is not "our" Commission President and we take no responsibility for what he does.

Likewise Sarkozy will always, primarily, be President of France and thus a "foreigner telling us what to do" rather than our President.  Ultimately the President of the Council or Commission may have to evolve into Directly (or parliamentary) elected positions rather than appearing to emerge from conspiracies behind the closed doors of the Council.

Its more about psychology and media presentation rather than reality.  It's still too easy to take no ownership of what the EU is and does - and for the EU elite to to be spineless and relatively powerless in the face of things that effect peoples fears and real lives

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 09:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's continental European elites selling out on their citizens to join the ranks of the money making Anglo financial elite. Just like in the UK and US, the citizenry is duped thanks to the non stop fearmongering and distraction (oh, look, another enemy!), although patience is running thin as the ongoing looting becomes more and more obvious.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 10:40:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That too.  Either way its a problem of a lack of democratic political control of the means of production and media presentation.  We have got to think strategically about how political institutions can be strengthened vis a vis economic institutions (corporations).

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 11:40:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may propose a somewhat heretical solution, why don't we just cut a deal with the Brits: They get in on the long-term stuff on the cheap without having to pay upfront for the services already rendered (although they of course will have to pay for the continued maintenance and expansion to cover their own needs). In exchange, they STFU about Russia and let the competent professionals deal with them, and generally start behaving like responsible adults.

I mean, if they keep this crap up they might end up doing irrepairable damage to European interests in Russia and the Caucasus. Surely even quite a steep price would be worth it to shut them up? The fact that London might freeze over would be small consolation if the stupid gits did manage to restart the Cold War...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 03:37:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that London might freeze over would be small consolation if the stupid gits did manage to restart the Cold War...

puts a new twist on the phrase 'cold war', huh

'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 Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 04:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That seems a high price to pay for nothing much in return. If good behaviour is a currency, it's the kind that can be minted for free. Come the next big European issue, what's to stop the Brits from agitating once again to get their way?

There's no better teacher than reality. Wisdom comes from suffering the consequences of one's acts, if one is too stupid to learn from others first.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Mon Sep 1st, 2008 at 09:52:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A clause in the agreement specifying that if the a party to the agreement "recklessly endangers" the energy security of its neighbours, it ceases to be a party to the agreement.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 05:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about something with teeth? Like, the British govt could perhaps auction off its remaining stakes in various British energy companies, as a gesture of goodwill to the very foreign energy firms who would be asked in return to supply the British market at a fair market price?



--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Tue Sep 2nd, 2008 at 05:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dislike the notion of "auctioning off" bits and pieces of the strategic infrastructure - to anyone. I'd prefer having a joint, multilateral operation - possibly at the EU level. There'll be a limit to how much the Brits could screw it up, because the countries that have so far behaved more or less responsibly would remain in the majority.

Of course, that would give them yet another forum to throw tantrums in...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Sep 3rd, 2008 at 03:16:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I dislike the notion of "auctioning off" bits and pieces of the strategic infrastructure - to anyone.
It's not a strategic loss if it's European partner companies that buy it up, though. The whole point of an EU level energy supply guarantee would be that the British government is incapable of planning ahead, and is dependent on the expertise of foreign companies and governments to sort out its own mess.

That can best be done by giving up the remaining unprivatised part of its assets to those foreign companies, since 1) it would lower the bariers to entry into the British market, 2) it would guarantee no misplaced political meddling into what must be done over many years to guarantee energy supply for the British public, and 3) it would actually offer a real incentive to those foreign firms to adapt their current energy distribution plans.

I'd prefer having a joint, multilateral operation - possibly at the EU level. There'll be a limit to how much the Brits could screw it up, because the countries that have so far behaved more or less responsibly would remain in the majority.
But where's the beef? Why should EU energy companies, often government owned, agree to such a thing? They have their own mandates, which require serving their own citizens first.

The ones in trouble are the Brits. It's up to them to offer something tangible in return for getting their balls out of the fire. What have the Brits done lately for the EU? What can they pay to solve their energy woes?

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Sep 4th, 2008 at 03:57:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]