by Scott Humor
The Oxford English Dictionary defines economic warfare or economic war as involving "an economic strategy based on the use of measures (e.g. blockade) of which the primary effect is to weaken the economy of another state".
Two issues raised by the State Department on November 30th in regard to the construction of the Nord Steam -2 and the Turkish Stream.
First, it’s “a relief of countries of their dependence on Russian gas,” by making them to stop buying natural gas from Russia. The US State Department wants all countries, not just members of the EU to stop buying natural gas from Russia, even so it’s the cheapest and cleanest energy resource they can get.
Second, the DoS spox is certain that Poland and others get their gas “from Putin,” using an imbecile American anti-Russian rhetoric. In fact, large Russian oil and gas companies are owned by taxpayers, who benefit from the sales by getting social payments, free medical care, and free education.
For decades, the US and a slew of their puppet regimes in Ukraine have been staging an econ war game scenario: Ukraine steals huge quantities of gas intended for the European consumers. Russia, unable to keep pumping gas that is being bluntly stolen, would close gas flow, after that everyone would attack Russia for this reasonable step, claiming that Ukraine had done nothing wrong, or completely ignore its action.
Before you go on reading a short, but entertaining record of Italy’s bewilderment in face of Ukraine’s theft, let’s remember that during the Liberal Terror of the 90s Russian people lost ownership of their county’s mineral wealth and the nation experienced the biggest catastrophe of its history. Russia lost one third of its territory and over hundred fifty million people. In 1998, many international organizations observed with delight that 83% of Russian people lived (and over 10 million died) in abject poverty. In 2017, about 13% of Russia’s population are still poor. Cases of abject poverty of the 90s, when people were starving and freezing to death are rare. Trade of oil and natural gas contributed to this improvement. Let me say that for the US government to lobby against Russia’s trade is to directly work to impoverish and kill people in Russia. Keep this idea in mind every time you see Mrs. Heather Nauert, or other DoS apparatchiks speak.
Department Press Briefing – November 30, 2017
Department Press Briefing
November 30, 2017
QUESTION: Can we change topics?
MS NAUERT: Okay. We’ll change topic, then. Okay, we’ll go to Nord Stream 2.
QUESTION: About Nord Stream 2.
MS NAUERT: And – I’m sorry, you’re with who, sir?
QUESTION: I’m Marek Walkuski, Polish Public Radio.
MS NAUERT: Okay. Nice to meet you. Welcome to the State Department.
QUESTION: Deputy Assistant Secretary McCarrick told a group of European journalists that, I quote, “We don’t see the possibility that Nord Stream 2 is going to be built. That is not something that we are going to assume is going to happen.”
Could you explain what is the statement based on? And I’m wondering if the topic has been discussed during the meeting between Secretary Tillerson and German foreign minister and what’s the conclusion of their discussion if, in fact, it was one of the topics.
MS NAUERT: Yeah. I can tell you that that conversation did not come up. The Secretary and the foreign minister had a very positive meeting in which they talked about the DPRK, North Korea. They talked about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the importance of Saudi Arabia opening additional ports and ways that we can get humanitarian aid into Yemen. They talked about a few other matters as well. Nord Stream 2 was not one of the topics that came up in my presence. Now, they may have had a separate sideline conversation that I did not witness, so that may have come up.
In terms of where exactly we are on Nord Stream 2 – pardon me one second – another topic related to that is the multi-line Turkish Stream, as I understand it. So our position on this would be that Europe is certainly working to try to diversify where it gets its energy. I’ve spoken with some of your colleagues before, people from that part of the world as well, and recognizing that there should be and could be more sources of energy.
We have seen in the very cold winter months where Vladimir Putin – which is where a lot of your energy comes from in particular in Poland – where he will turn down, turn off those energy supplies, causing costs to go up and causing people to lose heat on occasion. So we know that Europe is working to diversify its energy sector overall. It’s also assessing projects that would undermine some of these efforts.
We agree with many of our European partners that Nord Stream 2 and a multi-line Turkish Stream would reinforce Russian dominance in Europe’s gas markets. It would reduce opportunities for diversification of energy sources. It would pose security risks in an already tense Baltic Sea region and it would advance Russia’s goal of undermining Ukraine – that’s a particular concern of ours – by ending Ukraine’s role as a transit country for Russian gas exports to get to Europe. Construction of Nord Stream 2 would concentrate about 75 percent of Russian gas imports to the EU through a single route, creating a potential checkpoint that would significantly increase Europe’s vulnerability to a supply disruption. So we believe that these two projects would enable Gazprom to cut off transit via Ukraine and still meet demand in Western Europe, which would economically undermine Ukraine by depriving it of about $2 billion in annual transit revenue. Okay?
QUESTION: But is this statement correct, that you don’t believe that the project would be built, that Nord Stream 2 would be built? And Secretary Tillerson called recently the Nord Stream 2 unwise. What are you doing to stop this unwise project?
MS NAUERT: So, sir, I don’t have the Secretary’s comments in front of me, so I hesitate to comment on having something that I —
QUESTION: Two days ago at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
MS NAUERT: I understand. I understand. I just don’t have the exact quote in front of me.
MS NAUERT: So I’m not – I’m just not going to comment on that. And the other person who made a remark, I don’t – I’m afraid I don’t have that with me either, so – okay?
QUESTION: Can we move on? Heather, can we move on please?
To quoting the US Department of State spox again:
“We have seen in the very cold winter months where Vladimir Putin – which is where a lot of your energy comes from in particular in Poland – where he will turn down, turn off those energy supplies.”
In the past couple of decades, Russia’s Gasprom indeed had reduced gas deliveries to its European customers for a few times, but only those being delivered via Ukraine’s territory and only when Ukraine was stealing so much of other customers’ gas that it was technically impossible to keep pumping remaining gas.
Remarkably, even being left without heating gas at the dead of winter, European governments supported Ukraine on its crime spree. An outrage with Ukraine’s regime actions would improve its behavior, but unfortunately, Europeans took a different road by organizing a crusade to destroy the Middle East, for gas and oil.
|GOI CLARIFIES SCAJOLA REMARKS ON UKRAINE-RUSSIA GAS IMBROGLIO|
|Date: 2006 February 3, 13:52 (Friday)||Canonical ID: 06ROME324_a|
|Original Classification: CONFIDENTIAL||Current Classification: CONFIDENTIAL|
|Handling Restrictions — Not Assigned —||Character Count: 2907|
|Executive Order: — Not Assigned —||Locator: TEXT ONLINE|
|TAGS: ECON – Economic Affairs–Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential | ENRG – Economic Affairs–Energy and Power | IT – Italy | RU – Russia | UP – Ukraine||Concepts:— Not Assigned —|
|Enclosure: — Not Assigned —||Type: TE – Telegram (cable)|
|Office Origin: — N/A or Blank –Office Action: — N/A or Blank —||Archive Status: — Not Assigned —|
|From: Italy Rome||Markings: — Not Assigned —|
|To: — N/A or Blank —||Linked documents or other documents with the same ID: 06ROME3243_a
Classified By: Acting Economic Counselor Richard Boly, reasons 1.4 b an d d
During a February 1 meeting with Econoff, Ministry of Productive Activities (MPA) Diplomatic Advisor Ambassador Gabriele Checchia backed away from MPA Minister Claudia Scajola’s statement that Ukraine is “taking” Russian gas meant for Italy, and said Italy will support Ukrainian efforts to negotiate a fair and transparent gas agreement.
Checchia was not optimistic that the GOI will be able to obtain details on the role of RosUkrEnergo in the deal being negotiated. End summary.
2. (C) Econoff met with Checchia February 1 to discuss the outcome of Scajola’s trip to Moscow. According to Checchia, Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko is a technocrat who is approaching the negotiations pragmatically, trying to avoid politicization of the process. Regarding Minister Scajola’s comment, reported in the press, that Ukraine is “taking gas meant for Italy,” Checchia said that Italy “understands and supports Ukraine’s position.” Checchia said that Italy has been a friend Ukraine’s in the past, citing Scajola’s role in securing EU recognition of Ukraine’s market economy last year, and said the Italian Ambassador in Kiev has met with Ukrainian officials to assure them of Italy’s continued support.
3.(C) Checchia professed not to know that Naftohaz Ukrainy is negotiating a joint venture with RosUkrEnergo and said it would be very difficult to find out what is the substance of the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine or between RosUkrEnergo and Naftohaz Ukrainy. Nonetheless, he agreed that public statements by EU Member State officials should be calibrated to support Ukraine in its efforts to negotiate a transparent, market-based agreement that will ensure reliable gas flows to western Europe, including Italy.
4.(SBU) Comment. Italy imports 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia. Supply shortfalls mean that gas deliveries to some Italian customers have been interrupted and that Italy may have to tap into its gas reserves. This issue has received a great deal of attention in the press, and Checchia made it clear that Scajola’s trip to Moscow and his comments there were in part intended to let Italian voters know the government is working to address the situation. Checchia’s professed ignorance of the role of RosUkrEnergo is curious, as he is usually a well-informed and candid interlocutor. That said, our experience in recent weeks has been that GOI officials are reluctant to discuss with us the politically and economically sensitive issue of problems in the gas supply chain. End comment. SPOGLI