Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Russian-Ukrainian "Difference of Opinion"

While Russia makes a mid-winter cut in the supply of gas to Ukraine, it is good that Europeans know who the real enemy is: Uncle Sam and capitalism.

What is surprising (not!) is how (relatively) benignly Europe is taking this story of blackmail towards the nation headed by Victor Yushchenko.

If Uncle Sam had had a hand in something like this, you can be sure the Euros would be shouting "arrogance!", "cold-blooded capitalists!", and "how scandalous!", with leaders and committees galore shouting for "unity in face of such infamy!"

With the Russian empire and its war for gas, all they can bring up are the expressions, Putin's "will to punish", "an excessive brutality", and Europe's "vivid concern", while a European commissioner has called for a meeting "to learn the lessons from the Russian-Ukrainian difference of opinion" and Le Monde reminding its readers that "offhand, there is no shortage to fear [reality check], notably in France" which, according to the independent daily's Jean-Michel Bizat, "displays serenity" and whose "Gaz de France has just elaborately celebrated 30 years of partnership with Gazprom".

Meanwhile, Alain Hertoghe asks

Vladimir pourra-t-il compter encore longtemps sur la solidarité contre-nature de ses anciens partenaires du "camp de la paix" anti-américain, Jacques Chirac et Gerhard Schröder, qui lui ont décerné un brevet d'authentique "démocrate" ? Concernant l'ex-chancelier allemand, pas de problème, il est devenu l'heureux salarié du groupe russe Gazprom. Le futur ex-président français aura-t-il lui aussi droit à une récompense du tsar Poutine pour son silence complice, notamment sur le drame de la Tchétchénie ? Nous verrons en 2007.
Incidentally, do you remember how the Reagan administration was scoffed at for objecting to Moscow's pipelines ("with billions of dollars in aid from the Western countries that needed the gas" writes Craig R Whitney). No, the Europeans knew better, see…

And do you remember the brouhaha in the Fall about the world wide web and the apocalyptic proclamations about how untrustworthy Washington might shut off the flow of the internet. No, as always the lucid Europeans really know what, and who, is most to fear on this planet…

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