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Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Rusia. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Rusia. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, diciembre 25, 2014

Mayor Oil spills into Black Sea near Russian port after pipeline leak

By Maxim Nazarov and Gleb Gorodyankin
Seashore smeared with oil near Port Kavkaz/
www.dw.de

(Reuters) - A leak on a major Russian oil pipeline caused a spill in the Black Sea near the port of Tuapse on Wednesday where officials said stormy weather was hampering efforts to assess and respond to the mishap.
"Some quantity of oil has spilled into the sea," Sergei Proskurin, first deputy captain of the port of Tuapse, told Reuters.
He said the size of the spill was unclear and that emergencies services were working to deploy temporary floating barriers to contain the spill but were being delayed by the stormy conditions.
Tuapse is a busy industrial and oil port but is located close to many Russian Black Sea resorts. It is just 118 km (73 miles) from the town of Sochi which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics.
 
 
Two Tuapse residents told Reuters they had seen oil in the sea and in a river along which the pipeline runs toward the Tuapse oil refinery operated by state oil firm Rosneft.
"I can see dark spots on the river... The sea is stormy. I can't say it is fully covered in oil but there is plenty of oil in the port and on berths, not to mention the coast line," said a worker at the refinery who asked not to be named.
Russia's emergencies ministry confirmed the leak but declined to comment on the size of the spill. Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft was quoted by local media as saying the pipeline was shut after the leak.
Rosneft said work at the refinery was unaffected as it was drawing crude from its stocks.

Germany Looks to Russia and China

It's complicated: Putin and Merkel in Berlin, June 2012 (Thomas Peter / Courtesy Reuters)

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was a strategic shock for Germany. Suddenly, Russian aggression threatened the European security order that Germany had taken for granted since the end of the Cold War. Berlin had spent two decades trying to strengthen political and economic ties with Moscow, but Russia’s actions in Ukraine suggested that the Kremlin was no longer interested in a partnership with Europe. Despite Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and Russia’s importance to German exporters, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ultimately agreed to impose sanctions on Russia and helped persuade other EU member states to do likewise.
Nevertheless, the Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West. In April, when the German public-service broadcaster ARD asked Germans what role their country should play in the crisis, just 45 percent wanted Germany to side with its partners and allies in the EU and NATO; 49 percent wanted Germany to mediate between Russia and the West. These results led the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, in an editorial published last May, to warn Germany against turning away from the West.

Germany’s response to the Ukraine crisis can be understood against the backdrop of a long-term weakening of the so-called Westbindung, the country’s postwar integration into the West. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the enlargement of the EU freed the country from its reliance on the United States for protection against a powerful Soviet Union. At the same time, Germany’s export-dependent economy has become increasingly reliant on demand from emerging markets such as China. Although Germany remains committed to European integration, these factors have made it possible to imagine a post-Western German foreign policy. Such a shift comes with high stakes. Given Germany’s increased power within the EU, the country’s relationship to the rest of the world will, to a large extent, determine that of Europe.

THE GERMAN PARADOX
Germany has produced 
the most radical challenge to the West from within.
Germany has always had a complex relationship with the West. On the one hand, many of the political and philosophical ideas that became central to the West originated in Germany with Enlightenment thinkers such as Immanuel Kant. On the other hand, German intellectual history has included darker strains that have threatened Western norms—such as the current of nationalism that emerged in the early nineteenth century. Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, German nationalists increasingly sought to define Germany’s identity in opposition to the liberal, rationalistic principles of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. This version of German nationalism culminated in Nazism, which the German historian Heinrich August Winkler has called “the climax of the German rejection of the Western world.” Germany, therefore, was a paradox: it was part of the West yet produced the most radical challenge to it from within. 

After World War II, West Germany took part in European integration, and in 1955, as the Cold War heated up, it joined NATO. For the next 40 years, the Westbindung, which led Germany to cooperate and pursue joint security initiatives with its Western allies, became an existential necessity that overrode other foreign policy objectives. Germany continued to define itself as a Western power through the 1990s. Under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, a reunified Germany agreed to adopt the euro. By the end of the decade, the country appeared to have reconciled itself to the use of military force to fulfill its obligations as a NATO member. After 9/11, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder pledged “unconditional solidarity” with the United States and committed German troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Over the past decade, however, Germany’s attitude toward the rest of the West has changed. In the debate about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Schröder spoke of a “German way,” in contrast to the “American way.” Since then, Germany has hardened its opposition to the use of military force. After its experience in Afghanistan, Germany appears to have decided that the right lesson from its Nazi past is not “never again Auschwitz,” the principle it invoked to justify its participation in the 1999 NATO military intervention in Kosovo, but “never again war.” German politicians across the spectrum now define their country as a Friedensmacht, a “force for peace.”

Germany’s commitment to peace has led the EU and the United States to accuse Germany of free-riding within the Western alliance. Speaking in Brussels in 2011, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that NATO was becoming “a two-tiered alliance . . . between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership, be they security guarantees or headquarters billets, but don’t want to share the risks and the costs.” He singled out for particular criticism those NATO members that spend less on defense than the agreed-on amount of two percent of GDP; Germany spends just 1.3 percent. In the past few years, France has similarly criticized Germany for its failure to provide sufficient support for military interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic.

One reason Germany has neglected its NATO obligations is that the Westbindung no longer appears to be a strategic necessity. After the end of the Cold War, the EU and NATO expanded to include some central and eastern European countries, which meant that Germany was “encircled by friends,” as the former German defense minister Volker Rühe put it, rather than by potential military aggressors, and it was therefore no longer reliant on the United States for protection from the Soviet Union.

At the same time, Germany’s economy has become more dependent on exports, particularly to non-Western countries. In the first decade of this century, as domestic demand remained low and German manufacturers regained competitiveness, Germany became increasingly dependent on exports. According to the World Bank, the contribution of exports to Germany’s GDP jumped from 33 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2010. Beginning with Schröder, Germany began to base its foreign policy largely on its economic interests and, in particular, on the needs of exporters.

Increasing anti-American sentiment among ordinary Germans has contributed to the foreign policy shift, too. If the Iraq war gave Germans the confidence to split from the United States on issues of war and peace, the 2008 global financial meltdown gave it the confidence to diverge on economic issues. For many Germans, the crisis highlighted the failures of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and vindicated Germany’s social market economy. The revelations in 2013 that the U.S. National Security Agency had been conducting surveillance on Germans and eavesdropping on Merkel’s cell-phone calls further strengthened anti-American sentiment. Many Germans now say that they no longer share values with the United States, and some say that they never did.

To be sure, Germany’s liberal political culture, a result of its Western integration, is here to stay. But it remains to be seen whether Germany will continue to align itself with its Western partners and stand up for Western norms as it becomes more dependent on non-Western countries for its economic growth. The most dramatic illustration of what a post-Western German foreign policy might look like came in 2011, when Germany abstained in a vote in the UN Security Council over military intervention in Libya—siding with China and Russia over France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some German officials insist that this decision did not prefigure a larger trend. But a poll conducted shortly after the vote by the foreign policy journal Internationale Politik found Germans to be split three ways over whether they should continue to cooperate primarily with Western partners; with other countries, such as China, India, and Russia; or with both.

THE NEW OSTPOLITIK
Germany’s policy toward Russia has long been based on political engagement and economic interdependence. When Willy Brandt became chancellor of West Germany in 1969, he sought to balance the Westbindung with a more open relationship with the Soviet Union and pursued a new approach that became known as the Ostpolitik, or “Eastern policy.” Brandt believed that increasing political and economic ties between the two powers might eventually lead to German reunification, a strategy his adviser Egon Bahr called Wandel durch Annäherung, “change through rapprochement.”

Germans are split over whether to cooperate with Western partners or with countries such as Russia and China.
Since the end of the Cold War, economic ties between Germany and Russia have expanded further. Invoking the memory of Brandt’s Ostpolitik, Schröder began a policy of Wandel durch Handel, or “change through trade.” German policymakers, and particularly the Social Democrats, championed a “partnership for modernization,” in which Germany would supply Russia with technology to modernize its economy—and, ideally, its politics.

These ties help explain Germany’s initial reluctance to impose sanctions after the Russian incursion into Ukraine in 2014. In deciding whether or not to follow the U.S. lead, Merkel faced pressure from powerful lobbyists for German industry, led by the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, who argued that sanctions would badly undermine the German economy. In a show of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Joe Kaeser, the CEO of Siemens, visited the Russian leader at his residence outside Moscow just after the annexation of Crimea. Kaeser assured Putin that his company, which had conducted business in Russia for roughly 160 years, would not let “short-term turbulence”—his characterization of the crisis—affect its relationship with the country. In an editorial in the Financial Times in May, the director general of the Federation of German Industries, Markus Kerber, wrote that German businesses would support sanctions but would do so “with a heavy heart.”

Germany’s heavy dependence on Russian energy also caused Berlin to shy away from sanctions. After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Germany decided to phase out nuclear power sooner than planned, which made the country increasingly dependent on Russian gas. By 2013, Russian companies provided roughly 38 percent of Germany’s oil and 36 percent of its gas. Although Germany could diversify away from Russian gas by finding alternative sources of energy, such a process would likely take decades. In the short term, therefore, Germany has been reluctant to antagonize Russia.

For her support of sanctions, Merkel has faced pushback not just from industry but also from the German public. Although some in the United States and in other European countries have accused the German government of going too easy on Russia, many within Germany have felt that their government is acting too aggressively. When the German journalist Bernd Ulrich called for tougher action against Putin, for example, he found himself inundated with hate mail that accused him of warmongering. Even Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister, long perceived to be sympathetic to Russia, has faced similar accusations. The National Security Agency spying revelations only increased sympathy for Russia. As Ulrich put it in April 2014, “When the Russian president says he feels oppressed by the West, many here think, ‘So do we.’”

That type of identification with Russia has deep historical roots. In 1918, the German writer Thomas Mann published a book, Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, in which he argued that German culture was distinct from—and superior to—the cultures of other Western nations, such as France and the United Kingdom. German culture, he argued, fell somewhere between Russian culture and the cultures of the rest of Europe. That idea has experienced a dramatic resurgence in recent months. Writing in Der Spiegel in April 2014, Winkler, the historian, criticized the so-called Russlandversteher, Germans who express support for Russia, for repopularizing “the myth of a connection between the souls of Russia and Germany.”

In crafting a response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, then, Merkel had to walk a fine line. She sought to keep open the possibility of a political solution for as long as possible, spending hours on the phone with Putin and sending Steinmeier to help mediate between Moscow and Kiev. It was only after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, allegedly by pro-Russian separatists, that German officials felt comfortable adopting a tougher stance. Even then, public support for sanctions remained tepid. An August poll by the ARD found that 70 percent of Germans supported Europe’s second round of sanctions against Russia, which included banning visas for and freezing the assets of a list of prominent Russian businesspeople. But only 49 percent said that they would continue to back sanctions even if they hurt the German economy—as the third round of sanctions likely will.

Popular support for sanctions could slip further if Germany goes into recession, as many analysts say it might. Although German businesses have reluctantly accepted the sanctions, they have continued to lobby Merkel to ease them. And even as its economic efforts come under threat, Germany has made it clear that military options are not on the table. Ahead of the NATO summit in Wales in September, Merkel opposed plans for the alliance to establish a permanent presence in eastern Europe, which she argued would violate the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. Put simply, Germany may not have the stamina for a policy of containment toward Russia.

PIVOT TO CHINA
Germany has also grown closer to China, an even more significant harbinger of a post-Western German foreign policy. As it has with Russia, Germany has benefited from increasingly close economic ties with China. In the past decade, German exports there have grown exponentially. By 2013, they added up to $84 billion, almost double the value of German exports to Russia. Indeed, China has become the second-largest market for German exports outside the EU, and it may soon overtake the United States as the largest. China is already the biggest market for Volkswagen—Germany’s largest automaker—and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

The relationship between Germany and China grew only stronger after the 2008 financial crisis, when the two countries found themselves on the same side in debates about the global economy. Both have exerted deflationary pressure on their trading partners, criticized the U.S. policy of quantitative easing, and resisted calls from the United States to take action to rectify macroeconomic imbalances in the global economy. Germany and China have, simultaneously, become closer politically. In 2011, the two countries began holding an annual government-to-government consultation—in effect, a joint cabinet meeting. The event marked the first time that China had conducted such a broad-based negotiation with another country.

For Germany, the relationship is primarily economic, but for China, which wants a strong Europe to counterbalance the United States, it is also strategic. China may see Germany as the key to getting the kind of Europe it wants, partly because Germany appears to be increasingly powerful within Europe but perhaps also because German preferences seem closer to its own than do those of other EU member states, such as France and the United Kingdom. 

The tighter Berlin-Beijing nexus comes as the United States adopts a tougher approach to China as part of its so-called pivot to Asia—and it could pose a major problem for the West. If the United States found itself in conflict with China over economic or security issues—if there were an Asian Crimea, for instance—there is a real possibility that Germany would remain neutral. Some German diplomats in China have already begun to distance themselves from the West. In 2012, for example, the German ambassador to China, Michael Schaefer, said in an interview, “I don’t think there is such a thing as the West anymore.” Given their increasing dependence on China as an export market, German businesses would be even more opposed to the imposition of sanctions on China than on Russia. The German government would likely be even more reluctant to take tough action than it has been during the Ukraine crisis, which would create even greater rifts within Europe and between Europe and the United States.

A GERMAN EUROPE
Fears of German neutrality are not new. In the early 1970s, Henry Kissinger, then the U.S. national security adviser, warned that West Germany’s Ostpolitik could play into the hands of the Soviet Union and threaten transatlantic unity. He argued that closer economic ties with the Soviet Union would increase Europe’s dependence on its eastern neighbor, thereby undermining the West. The danger Kissinger foresaw was not so much that West Germany might leave NATO but, as he put it in his memoir, that it might “avoid controversies outside of Europe even when they affected fundamental security interests.” Fortunately for Washington, the Cold War kept such impulses in check, as West Germany relied on the United States for protection against the Soviet Union.

Now, however, Germany finds itself in a more central and stronger position in Europe. During the Cold War, West Germany was a weak state on the fringes of what became the EU, but the reunified Germany is now one of the strongest—if not the strongest—power in the union. Given that position, a post-Western Germany could take much of the rest of Europe with it, particularly those central and eastern European countries with economies that are deeply intertwined with Germany’s. If the United Kingdom leaves the EU, as it is now debating, the union will be even more likely to follow German preferences, especially as they pertain to Russia and China. In that event, Europe could find itself at odds with the United States—and the West could suffer a schism from which it might never recover.


Vladimir Putin's Year in Review

TIME

martes, diciembre 16, 2014

Putin's cronies lose $50 billion

Putin allies Alisher Usmanov, Vagit Alekperov and Vladimir Potanin suffered multibillion dollar losses.

Ouch! Russian billionaires have lost more than $50 billion this year due to the country's unfolding economic nightmare.

Western sanctions, low oil prices and the falling ruble have wiped billions off the wealth of Russia's 15 richest men, according to data from Bloomberg.
Here are the top 10 losers:
Leonid Mikhelson
The chairman of Russian gas producer Novatek has suffered the biggest losses, seeing his portfolio shrink by an estimated $8.7 billion. That's equivalent to a loss of nearly 50%.
Novatek was one of the first companies to be sanctioned by the U.S. over the crisis in Ukraine.
Vladimir Lisin
The chairman and largest shareholder of Novolipetsk Steel, and once Russia's richest man, has lost $7 billion, also nearly 50% of his wealth.
He is the vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee and the president of the European Shooting Confederation -- and as a gun enthusiast reportedly owns a valuable collection of rifles.
Alisher Usmanov
The metals magnate owns Russian daily newspaper Kommersant. In 2011, he sacked the editor after he published a picture of a ballot paper with "Putin, go f*!k yourself" scrawled on it in red ink.
Usmanov has lost $6.4 billion so far this year. He controls 48% of Metalloinvest, Russia's largest iron ore producer. He also has a share in Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) and Airbnb, and co-owns English soccer team Arsenal, Bloomberg data show.
He is also the president of the International Fencing Federation.
Andrey Melnichenko
The self-made coal and minerals magnate is another Russian billionaire feeling the chilling effect of Western sanctions and falling oil prices. He has lost nearly 40% of his wealth, or about $5.8 billion.
He is married to a former Serbian supermodel and owns one of the world's most admired super yachts -- the A.
Sergey Galitsky
The founder and owner of Russia's biggest food retailer Magnit is down over $5 billion. The soccer enthusiast is famous for pouring more than $250 million into his local Krasnodar club, building an arena and a sports academy.
He is thought to have lost over $855 million on Monday alone as the ruble went into free fall.
Vagit Alekperov
The chairman of Russian oil giant Lukoil was once a Soviet energy minister.
Lukoil was the first privately-owned company to be sanctioned by the U.S. over the Ukraine crisis. His wealth has fallen by $4.9 billion, or about 40% so far this year.
Mikhail Fridman
The investment mogul has watched $3.5 billion evaporate.
He made his fortune on the sale of joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft. Together with his partner German Khan, Fridman controls Alfa Bank, Russia's largest private lender.
Vladimir Potanin
The former deputy prime minister is currently the head of the world's biggest nickel producer Norilsk Nickel. His wealth has fallen by $2.8 billion, or about 20%.
Potanin was one of the main backers of Russia's bid to host the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and he invested heavily in the development of the Olympic village.
German Khan
Mikhail Fridman's partner in Alfa Bank sold his stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft for $3.3 billion in 2013, according to Bloomberg.
He's lost $2.5 billion this year, equivalent to about 22% of his wealth.
Mikhail Prokhorov
Prokhorov's company Onexim group owns stakes in the Russian banking, energy and mining sectors. He's lost $2.4 billion.
Prokhorov also owns the Brooklyn Nets. He said earlier this year he was considering moving the company that controls the NBA team to Russia in order to comply with Vladimir Putin's call for Russian-owned companies to be based there.
He has criticized Russian policies in the past, condemning the country's anti-gay laws.

Vladimir Putin vs. the Currency Markets: What to Know About the Ruble’s Collapse

             
By NEIL IRWIN

Vladimir Putin’s biggest enemy right now may well be the currency markets.
Even as it spars with Ukraine, Russia’s government is in the midst of a full-scale war to preserve the value of the ruble as a plummeting oil price has led to billions flooding away from the country. The ruble fell 11 percent against the dollar on Monday alone.
To try to stanch the bleeding, on Monday evening (the middle of the night Moscow time), the Central Bank of Russia announced a stunning interest rate increase. Its main deposit rate is now 17 percent, up from 10.5 percent when Russian banks closed for business Monday.
It may go without saying, but an emergency interest rate increase of 6.5 percentage points announced in the middle of the night is not a sign of strength. Rather, it is the kind of thing you see only in an old-school emerging markets currency crisis. And that is very much what Mr. Putin’s Russia is now experiencing.
The strategy is straightforward enough. The central bank, led by Elvira Nabiullina, is hoping that with interest rates so high, keeping money on deposit at a Russian bank is too good an offer to refuse. Russians (and Russian companies) have been shuttling rubles out of the country as fast as they can, looking for a safe port. The continued slide of the ruble is all the more remarkable given economic sanctions imposed in retaliation for Russian aggression toward Ukraine that make Russian money unwelcome at many global banks.
Perhaps the higher interest rates will make those moving money out of Russia think twice, and a resulting reversal in currency markets will lead speculators to conclude that betting against the ruble is no longer a sure thing.
But the move shows how Russian policy makers are stuck with no good options. Already the central bank has reportedly been intervening to try to short-circuit the sell-off, buying rubles to try to arrest the declines.
The problem is that if you try to defend your currency and lose, you are essentially throwing your money at currency traders for nothing. As Russia has deployed its reserves to (so far unsuccessfully) stop the currency collapse, it has made traders betting against the ruble richer while leaving the Russian government poorer. Poorer by $80 billion, to be precise.
But interest rate increases aren’t free. Higher interest rates are sure to choke off any chance for growth in a Russian economy that is already reeling from falling oil prices. Earlier Monday, the Russian central bank said it expects the country’s economy to contract 4.5 percent in 2015 if oil prices average $60 a barrel.
The hope is that by stabilizing the value of the currency, the interest rate increase will reduce the sense of financial panic and rapid outflows of money, which will do more good for the Russian economy than the higher interest rates will do ill.
“While such drastic tightening measures will inflict more pain on the economy, we have been arguing for a while that it is not about preventing recession, but a full-scale financial turmoil caused by the precipitous ruble fall,” Piotr Matys, a currency strategist at Rabobank International, told Bloomberg News.
But as Russia’s citizens are going to face an unpleasant combination of a contracting economy (caused by falling oil prices and higher interest rates) and high inflation (because the collapse in the ruble will make imported goods more expensive), one thing is certain: It will be a long, cold winter.

jueves, noviembre 13, 2014

Precio del petróleo, elecciones 2014 y revolución energética en EEUU

cubanalisis
Diego Trinidad, PhD
En el dinámico mundo de la energía se producen cambios diariamente. Desde que escribí en agosto mi tercer artículo sobre la revolución energética que se ha producido en Estados Unidos en los últimos cinco años, mucho ha cambiado. Específicamente, el precio del barril de petróleo en el mercado mundial ha bajado dramáticamente un 27% desde principios del verano hasta la fecha (hoy domingo 9 de noviembre cerró en $78.65 el barril; a principios de junio estaba a $115 el barril). 

Esta baja en el precio del petróleo ya ha traído cambios enormes en la geopolítica mundial. En el futuro inmediato, todavía mucho más cambiará si este nivel de precios, entre $78 y $85 por barril, como todo parece indicar, se mantiene en el 2015. El petróleo a ese precio representa una ganancia de un trillón de dólares ($1’000,000’000,000, es decir, un millón de millones en español) para los consumidores en el mundo entero.

Esta semana, cuando en la elección congresional de EEUU el Partido Republicano ganó el control del Senado con un aumento de 8 senadores (quizás 9 cuando se celebre una elección especial en Lousiana en diciembre, donde el candidato republicano es favorito para ganar) se produjo el otro gran evento reciente.

Los cambios que el control del Congreso (Cámara de Representantes, donde el Partido Republicano ganó 18 escaños adicionales, y Senado, en el que en enero controlarán 53 ó 54 asientos frente a 46 ó 47) por los republicanos, comenzando en enero del 2015, traerán a EEUU en el campo energético serán sísmicos. El desarrollo de estos dos temas, y como afectarán a EEUU y el resto del mundo en el próximo año, es el tema de este cuarto artículo. Durante el nuevo año, según se produzcan más acontecimientos, continuará esta serie de artículos.

Algunos analistas y expertos previeron la caída en el precio del petróleo durante el verano, pero pocos pensaron que sería tan súbita y tan grande. Sin embargo, al nivel presente, la producción de petróleo en EEUU no será afectada significativamente.

La nueva tecnología de fracking (fraccionamiento hidráulico) para extraer petróleo de las formaciones rocosas de shale (esquisto) es productiva por lo menos hasta un precio de $60 por barril. Casi nadie prevé que los precios bajen a ese nivel, pero aunque así fuera, los nuevos pozos de petróleo que utilizan la tecnología de fracking son diferentes a los pozos tradicionales. Cuando el precio del petróleo baja y hace estos pozos económicamente  improductivos, pueden ser clausurados y fácilmente reabiertos cuando el precio sube de nuevo. 

Además, algunas compañías como Whiting Petroleum, basada en Denver, Colorado, y una de las dos grandes compañías que han desarrollado los yacimientos del campo Bakken, en Dakota Norte, junto con Continental Petroleum, tienen una estrategia interesante para enfrentar precios mas bajos en el mercado, como los de ahora: compran acciones futuras a precio más bajo, y cuando el precio baja, lejos de perder, ganan dinero.  De esa manera, se protegen y pueden soportar precios más bajos.

Para los consumidores americanos -y para el resto del mundo que no es productor de petróleo- los nuevos precios más bajos han sido una enorme bonanza económica. Cada consumidor americano ahorrará como $700 por año con la gasolina a menos de $3.00 por galón, como está ahora por primera vez en dos años.

Para el resto del mundo significará grandes ahorros en la importación de petróleo, presupuestos más bajos, y un nivel de inflación mucho menor. China ahorra más de $2 billones (un billón en inglés son mil millones) por cada dólar que baje el precio del barril de petróleo. Para la India, estos nuevos precios significan un ahorro de más de $40 billones.

Pero para ciertos países gobernados por regímenes autoritarios y dictatoriales, como Rusia, Irán y Venezuela, estos nuevos precios son ruinosos. Para Arabia Saudita y los Emiratos del Golfo Pérsico representa pérdidas multimillonarias de dólares en exportaciones, pero Arabia Saudita en particular, con reservas de 737 billones de dólares, puede fácilmente soportar este nivel de precios por largo tiempo.

Rusia, Irán y Venezuela no pueden. Rusia basa su presupuesto en un barril de petróleo a $100. Pero tiene reservas de 454 billones de dólares. Sin embargo, las tremendas pérdidas en divisas a precios alrededor de $80 significan que los proyectos expansionistas del Presidente Vladimir Putin quedan paralizados. De la misma manera, las mejoras necesarias en la infraestructura de Rusia, incluyendo en la exploración y producción de los pozos petroleros de Siberia, también tendrán que ser pospuestas.

Irán basa su presupuesto en el petróleo a $136 por barril y tiene bajas reservas por motivo de las restricciones comerciales provocadas por las sanciones impuestas por EEUU y la Unión Europea, a pesar de haberse relajado en meses pasados. Por otro lado, Irán produce y exporta gas natural, y en China sobre todo tiene un cliente a largo plazo. Pero los nuevos precios del petróleo han limitado mucho su capacidad para hacer daño en el Medio Oriente y en su apoyo a grupos terroristas, lo cual es una bendición para el resto del mundo.

Venezuela es el país que más y mayores riesgos enfrenta en el futuro inmediato. Venezuela necesita el petróleo a $120 por barril. De manera que desde principios del verano está sufriendo pérdidas ruinosas en sus recaudaciones por la exportación de petróleo, las cuales han caído a muy bajos niveles debidos al deterioro de su infraestructura de producción.

Por cada dólar que baja el precio de un barril, Venezuela pierde entre 450 y 500 millones de dólares en sus ganancias por la exportación de petróleo, y sus entradas dependen en un extraordinario 90% de la exportación de petróleo. Además, el año pasado Venezuela tuvo un déficit fiscal del 17% de su Producto Interno Bruto (PIB). Con un nivel de inflación del 60% anual (el mayor del mundo), reservas de solo 20 billones de dólares y una deuda externa gigantesca, la cual ya malamente puede pagar, el país está al borde de la quiebra. Cuanto tiempo puede sobrevivir bajo estas condiciones es la gran pregunta.

Claro que los problemas de Venezuela son mucho mayores debido a su ayuda, a través de PetroCaribe, a países de la Cuenca del Caribe, incluyendo, por supuesto, a Cuba. Todos estos países sufrirán muy pronto las consecuencias de la ruina venezolana, pero ninguno como Cuba.

El gobierno de Cuba ya hace años viene previendo el momento cuando los subsidios de Venezuela se reduzcan o terminen. Se ha asegurado de otros suministradores como Angola, Irán, Brasil, Rusia y otros exportadores de petróleo. Recibe ayuda económica de Rusia y de China, y esta misma semana se reportó que tiene planeado producir hasta un 24% de su energía de fuentes renovables para el año 2030. Además, todavía aspira a desarrollar las reservas de petróleo en sus aguas adyacentes.

Pero para esto falta mucho tiempo, el tiempo que el régimen cubano no tiene. Cuba probablemente nunca se verá en la situación que afrontó a partir de 1991-92, cuando perdió los subsidios económicos y el suministro de petróleo de la Unión Soviética, pero una reducción inmediata en la ayuda de Venezuela puede afectar seriamente al régimen en el futuro próximo.

Casi tan importante, si no mucho más, que la caída en los precios del petróleo, ha sido -y será- el impacto de las elecciones congresionales ganadas el pasado martes 4 de noviembre por el Partido Republicano. El control del Senado por los republicanos, y por consiguiente del Congreso, ya que la mayoría en la Cámara no solo se mantuvo, sino que aumentó, logrará que en enero del 2015, los grandes cambios previstos (y predichos en esta serie de artículos desde hace casi tres años) en lo que puede ser un renacimiento económico en Estados Unidos, se logren antes que un nuevo presidente sea electo en el 2016.

Ya los líderes republicanos de ambas cámaras han anunciado lo que será su programa de gobierno para el 2015. La primera ley que probablemente aprobará el Congreso, quizás en el mismo enero, será la construcción y apertura del viaducto Keystone XL, desde la provincia occidental de Alberta, en el oeste de Canadá, al Golfo de México. Este importante proyecto, paralizado innecesariamente por razones estrictamente políticas por el Presidente, producirá por si solo una tremenda bonanza económica para EEUU.

El Presidente dijo durante la campaña presidencial del 2012 que este proyecto solo crearía 50 empleos (lo que le ganó el premio de 4 “Pinochos” del Washington Post por una de las mentiras mas grandes del año). En verdad, de acuerdo con varios estudios recientes, creará al menos 45,000 empleos durante su construcción -y hasta medio millón de nuevos empleos para el 2035.

Pero no solo eso, sino que existen al menos 25 otros proyectos relacionados con la construcción del viaducto Keystone XL en Canadá y EEUU que pueden convertir a Norteamérica (incluyendo a México) en un productor de 17.5 millones de barriles de petróleo diarios, casi igual a la producción de Arabia Saudita y Rusia sumadas.

Otros dos proyectos de ley planeados por los republicanos en enero del 2015 son casi tan importantes como el anterior. Uno es la abrogación de la ley federal de 1975 que prohíbe la exportación de petróleo americano. El otro es el relajamiento en las regulaciones para construir plantas y terminales para la exportación de gas natural licuado a Europa en la costa este, y a Japón y China desde la costa oeste de EEUU.

Hay más de 25 proyectos esperando por su aprobación, y estas plantas/terminales demoran como dos años en construirse, de manera que el tiempo apremia. Claro que estos tres proyectos de ley, de ser aprobados por el Congreso en enero, pueden ser vetados por el Presidente.

Pero los tres proyectos cuentan con apoyo bipartidista (en el Senado quizás cuente con 65 votos; se necesitan 66 para anular un veto presidencial), y es muy posible que el Presidente, debilitado políticamente como ha quedado, y con solo dos años restantes en su segundo período, firme cada una de estas tres leyes. En estos momentos solamente se puede imaginar el efecto positivo que esto produciría en la industria privada en general, pero más que todo en la industria energética en particular.

Solo se puede imaginar el efecto que esto produciría en la industria privada en general, pero en la industria energética en particular será impactante. Los empresarios de negocios verían con optimismo un nuevo clima en el cual la economía funcionaría con mas libertad, menos regulaciones y menos interferencia del gobierno federal. Una tasa de crecimiento mayor que el 3% anual sería fácil de visualizar.

Tres otras medidas que pueden beneficiar mucho a la economía americana y contribuir a un mayor crecimiento económico, son la apertura de la gran reserva ANWR en el norte de Alaska (10 billones de barriles de petróleo), la apertura en general a la exploración y perforación en tierras federales del oeste de EEUU, donde se encuentran mas del 80% del petróleo y gas natural en el país, y finalmente, la liberación al mercado del petróleo contenido en la Reserva Estratégica de Petróleo situada en varias cuevas en las costas del Golfo de México.

Esta Reserva, una reliquia de los tiempos de Carter y Ford, cuando primero la OPEP (Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo) restringió la exportación de petróleo a EEUU después de la segunda guerra entre Israel y Egipto, ya no es necesaria, debido a que EEUU es el primer productor de petróleo en el mundo. Pero contiene 700 millones de barriles de petróleo, los cuales, si se liberan lentamente, pueden ayudar a bajar todavía más el precio de la gasolina en EEUU y aumentar la capacidad exportadora de petróleo americano al resto del mundo.

Adicionalmente, la aprobación de otras dos leyes más generales se contempla por el liderazgo congresional republicano. Una es rebajar la tasa a los impuestos corporativos,  que ahora están en un 39.1%, los mas altos en el mundo desarrollado. En contraste, en la Unión Europea promedian menos del 24%. El Presidente y los demócratas públicamente apoyan una rebaja al 29%; los republicanos prefieren el 25%. Pero claramente hay apoyo bipartidista a la medida, y esto sería quizás el mejor estímulo que pudiera recibir la economía.

La otra ley propone invitar a los capitales de compañías multinacionales americanas en el extranjero, que se calculan puedan llegar a dos trillones de dólares (dos millones de millones en español), para que sean repatriados sin pagar impuestos, solo con la condición de que sean invertidos en EEUU para crear empleos.

Pero el Presidente y su partido demócrata irracionalmente amenazan con cobrar hasta un 50% de impuesto a las compañías que accedieran a repatriar esos capitales, algo obviamente absurdo. Aquí no hay ningún espacio para negociar, pero tres trillones de dólares invertidos para crear empleos posiblemente producirían al menos tres millones de nuevos trabajos. El impulso para la economía sería incalculable. 

Sin embargo, estas dos últimas medidas, y hasta las tres anteriores (excepto la aprobación del viaducto Keystone XL, la abrogación de la ley que prohíbe exportar petróleo americano, y el relajamiento de las restricciones para exportar gas natural, las que SÍ cuentan con apoyo bipartidista) no serán fácilmente aprobadas por el Congreso, y si lo fueran, indudablemente serían vetadas. De manera que todas ellas son proyectos a largo plazo, casi seguro para después que una nueva administración llegue a Washington en 2017.

Todo esto, lo que hasta el pasado martes solo era una gran esperanza para el 2017, cuando un nuevo presidente (o presidenta), sin importar de que partido, tomara posesión del cargo, ahora puede ser realidad, mucho antes de lo que nadie hubiera pensado.

El mundo desde el nuevo año 2015 puede ser un mundo distinto, de mayor prosperidad y de mayor cooperación internacional, en el cual Estados Unidos otra vez se convierta en el motor de la economía mundial.

Ya no es un sueño, ya no hay que esperar tres años más. Ya puede ser realidad.

domingo, septiembre 28, 2014

Fuel of the future produced at Russia’s high-tech underground plant

Spent fuel storage in Zheleznogorsk
http://rt.com/news/188332-mox-nuclear-fuel-production/
Russia’s ‘Breakthrough’ energy project enables closed a nuclear fuel cycle and a future without radioactive waste. The first batch of MOX nuclear fuel has been manufactured for the world’s only NPP industrially power generating breeder reactors.
The first ten kilograms of the mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) – a mixture of plutonium and uranium dioxides (UO2 and PuO2), have been industrially produced by Russia’s nuclear monopoly, Rosatom, at the Mining & Chemical Combine (GKhK) in the Krasnoyarsk region.
A world first, tablets of the fuel of the future have been put on serial production and are destined for Russia’s next generation BN-800 breeder reactor (880 megawatts), currently undergoing tests at the Beloyarskaya nuclear power plant.
The production line, now undergoing start-up and adjustment, was assembled in a mine 200 meters underground and will become fully operational by the end of 2014.
Fast fission reactors solve the problem of depleted uranium nuclear fuel on the planet. They can ‘burn’ not only ‘classic’ uranium-235, (scarce and already coming to an end), but also uranium-238, which is abundant, and expands the world’s nuclear fuel capacity by an estimated 50 times.
Fuel for breeder reactors could even be made from nuclear waste, which from an ecological point of view is a priceless advantage.
The GKhK facility will be equipped with a unique dissolvent reactor that will break down nuclear waste containing plutonium and extract plutonium dioxide to be used in MOX-fuel production.
Also, while producing electric energy, breeder reactors actually generate more fissile material, and that one also can be used as nuclear fuel.
The GKhK plant is Russia’s leading full nuclear fuel cycle complex, processing nuclear waste from power generating nuclear reactors to establish future nuclear fuel ring closure.
MOX-fuel for previous versions of fast breeder reactors in the USSR and Russia had limited production at Russia’s oldest Mayak nuclear processing facility.
Starting from 2016, industrial-level MOX-fuel production in Russia will run at full capacity.
“Produced MOX-fuel tablets fully conform to the technical specifications,” Rosatom’s statement said, adding that the fuel will now be thoroughly tested.

sábado, septiembre 20, 2014

Canadian fighter jets intercept Russian bombers in Arctic

CBC News
Tu-95 long-range bombers, codenamed 'Bears' by NATO, have been in service since 1956, early in the Cold War, and have flown hundreds of missions on the perimeter of Canada's airspace. (Reuters)
Fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers flying about 75 kilometres off Canada’s Arctic coast in the early morning hours Thursday, NORAD revealed to CBC News.
Two CF-18s met the Tupolev Tu-95 long-range bombers, commonly referred to as "Bears," at around 1:30 a.m. PT as they flew a course in “the western reaches” of Canada’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the Beaufort Sea, said Maj. Beth Smith, spokeswoman for North American Aerospace Defence Command.
The ADIZ extends approximately 320 kilometres from Canada’s coastlines, a distance far beyond the 22 kilometres, or 12 nautical miles, from the coast that define a nation’s sovereign airspace. Smith made it clear that the Russian bombers never entered Canada’s sovereign airspace, but did come within about 75 kilometres of Canada's mainland. 
The encounter comes one day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivered a speech in Parliament thanking Canada for its ongoing support as his country’s forces battle with pro-Russian separatist rebels.
“This is disturbing. We’ve heard stories like in the past, of Russian bombers challenging Canadian airspace,” said James Bezan, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of National Defence and a Conservative MP from Manitoba.
“This plays into the narrative of a Putin regime that’s more aggressive not just in Crimea, not just in Ukraine, but indeed testing their neighbour in their entire region," he said. 
About six hours before the CF-18s intercepted the Russian bombers, American F-22 fighter jets were scrambled from a base in Alaska to meet a group of Russian aircraft, including two refuelling tankers, two MiG-31 fighters and two long-range bombers.
After the U.S. jets made contact, the group headed west back towards Russian airspace.
“We’re seeing increased aggressive actions being taken by the Russian Federation,” Bezan said during an interview on CBC’s Power & Politics.
Despite the ongoing tensions between Western allies and Russia, it is not the first time Canadian and U.S. aircraft have intercepted Russian bombers seemingly flying toward sovereign airspace.
According to Smith, NORAD has dispatched fighter jets to make contact with Russian long-range bombers “in excess of 50 times” in the last five years.
Canadian jets intercepted the same type of long-range bombers off the coast of Newfoundland in 2010. After that incident, Peter MacKay, then minister of defence, told CBC News that Canadian military aircraft intercept between 12 and 18 Russian bombers annually.

martes, julio 15, 2014

Dramatic storm: Freak Russian hailstorm sends beachgoers screaming on hot summer day

ITN

Putin ultima con Rousseff la venta de un sistema de defensa antiaérea a Brasil

El presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin, y la presidenta brasileña, Dilma Rousseff, se vieron el domingo en la tribuna del estadio de Maracaná, en Río de Janeiro, donde la dirigente de Brasil ejerció el papel de anfitriona, entregó la Copa del Mundo al capitán de la selección alemana y, por último, pasó el testigo a su homólogo ruso, encargado de organizar el próximo Mundial, en 2018. Pero el siguiente encuentro entre los líderes de ambos países, que forman parte del grupo denominado BRICS (en el que también figuran China, India y Sudáfrica), se celebró este lunes en circunstancias muy diferentes, en Brasilia, sede del Gobierno brasileño. Durante más de dos horas, los mandatarios ruso y brasileña, cada uno envuelto en circunstancias políticas convulsas por diferentes razones, dialogaron y llegaron, según las notas divulgadas por el Ejecutivo de Brasilia, a varios pactos económicos. Entre otras materias, suscribieron acuerdos sobre infraestructuras, salud, tecnología, educación y cultura.
Entre todo el paquete destacan, sobre todo, las negociaciones sobre Defensa. Rusia y Brasil llevan regateando desde hace varios años por la venta, por parte de Moscú, de un sistema de defensa antiaérea para las Fuerzas Armadas brasileñas. El documento firmado este lunes especifica que, en agosto de este año, representantes de Brasil participarán en unas maniobras o demostración con fuego real de este sistema de defensa. También se adelantaba que la compra podría llegar a efectuarse “a corto plazo”, sin especificar más detalles. Además, en el encuentro se sellaron acuerdos en otros sectores estratégicos, como el aeronáutico.
Ambos países aspiran a duplicar sus transacciones económicas, que ahora alcanzan los 5.600 millones de dólares (4.110 millones de euros). Tanto Rousseff como Putin han manifestado su voluntad de llegar hasta un nivel de intercambios de 10.000 millones de dólares.
A la salida de la reunión y con el mandatario ruso al lado, la presidenta brasileña insistió en que los inversores rusos tienen en el gigante latinoamericano una gran oportunidad en sectores emergentes del país, como el energético. A este respecto, uno de los puntos del acuerdo prevé la colaboración de ambos países en la exploración, explotación, almacenamiento y transporte de yacimientos de petróleo y de gas en Brasil.
El encuentro de Putin con Rousseff se inscribe en la gira latinoamericana que el dirigente ruso ha emprendido en los últimos días y que le ha llevado ya por Cuba, Nicaragua y Argentina. Putin y Rousseff participarán en la cumbre de los denominados BRICS, que se celebra en Fortaleza, al noreste de Brasil. Este grupo heterogéneo de estados, unidos más por conformar un frente común ante los dictados del FMI y a las directrices de los países desarrollados que por compartir afinidades, tratarán de forjar una alianza más estrecha. En Fortaleza, los presidentes de China, Rusia, Sudáfrica, India y Brasil van a poner en marcha las bases para crear un banco de desarrollo que sirva para financiar proyectos de infraestructuras y un banco de reserva en previsión de crisis financieras.
De cualquier modo, no es el mejor momento ni para Putin, lastrado por la crisis ucrania, ni para Rousseff. Brasil ha perdido el fuerte ritmo de crecimiento de los últimos años y ahora languidece con un alza anual del PIB de apenas el 1%. La inflación, el problema crónico de la economía brasileña, se sitúa ya por encima del 6,5%, el tope que el Gobierno brasileño se ha autoimpuesto para que no descarrile la economía.
En una entrevista celebrada hace pocos días con un grupo de periodistas extranjeros, la presidenta brasileña admitía que el motor económico brasileño se ha ralentizado. Pero después lo justificaba, asegurando que los crecimientos anémicos del PIB no constituyen algo exclusivo de su país.
Rousseff, del Partido de los Trabajadores, se encuentra ahora en un momento político delicado por otra razón: se juega la permanencia en el cargo en las elecciones que se celebrarán en octubre, que se presentan muy disputadas.

viernes, julio 04, 2014

Putin's New 'Nuclear' Option

The escalating crisis in Ukraine being engineered by Vladimir Putin is taking on the feel of the Guns of August: an inexorable march towards a wider conflict, and perhaps a conflagration. 

Having few good options to prevent the Russian autocrat from taking whatever he wants from Ukraine and possibly other neighboring states in what the Kremlin calls “the Near Abroad,” Europe and the Obama administration have been ratcheting up economic sanctions on individuals, banks, and companies known to be favored by the Putin regime.
The London Daily Telegraph gives a flavor of what is in store in the wake of murderous attacks on Ukrainian military personnel by Russian special forces and others and retaliatory action by the government in Kiev:
The International Monetary Fund said the conflict risks deep damage to Russia’s economy, starving it of foreign funds and knowhow. “Geopolitical tensions have brought the Russian economy to a standstill.
"Russia’s actions in Crimea have increased the uncertainty of doing business in Russia and are having a chilling effect on investment. Capital outflows could reach $100bn (£58.3bn) in 2014.
"This comes at a crucial moment when the old growth model based on energy has been exhausted,” it said.
...
Russia’s central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said capital flight was playing havoc with exchange rate policy.
“Rouble stability is impossible unless we slow capital outflows,” she said.
If Putin intensifies his interference in Ukrainian affairs, the Russians seem likely to experience still worse economic dislocation. The Telegraph reports that German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union has issued a strategy paper that “called for a complete change in policy, deeming it impossible to work with the Kremlin so long as Vladimir Putin is in charge.” That would mean that the Western government heretofore most determined to avoid harsh sanctions on Russia (not least because they would harm Moscow’s many trading partners in Germany) will no longer run interference for the Kremlin and will seek the downfall of its longtime master.
So far, Vladimir Putin is responding to such economic measures and strategic developments by doubling down. He declared on July 1, “I want everyone to understand: Our country will continue to defend the rights of Russians abroad and to use our entire arsenal.”
Such statements would be ominous under any circumstance. That arsenal is formidable and has, to varying degrees, already been brought to bear.
Putin has put into place the ground forces needed to seize the industrial heartland of Ukraine. Other nations on Russia’s littorals – including NATO member nations in the Baltics – could also suddenly face Kremlin-manufactured separatist movements that ask Mother Russia for solidarity and protection.
Putin has already engaged in economic warfare against Ukraine, most recently cutting off its access to natural gas imports – ostensibly over payment arrearages, but clearly with an eye toward euchring accommodation of Russian demands.
President Putin has made no secret of his determination to brandish Russia’s nuclear weapons stockpile. He is comprehensively modernizing it, in contrast to the steady atrophying of America’s strategic forces, rationalized by President Obama’s reckless, unilateral pursuit of a “world without nuclear weapons” – starting with ours. The Russian despot has resumed provocative, Cold War-style penetrations by long-range nuclear-capable bombers of U.S. and allied airspace. He has also threatened to engage in nuclear attacks on adversaries, near and far.
It appears, however, that Putin may have just added to his “arsenal” a new weapon, one that could give him a new and devastating “nuclear option.” In fact, the mere threat of its use against the Europeans and the Americans may be sufficient to impel their acquiescence to his demands on Ukraine and, for that matter, just about anything else he wants.
According to a CNBC report on July 1, “The industrial control systems of hundreds of European and U.S. energy companies have been infected by a sophisticated cyber weapon operated by a state-backed group with apparent ties to Russia.” If true, Putin could threaten to unleash at any time via a Stuxnet-like computer worm an attack on the electric grids of the United States and Europe. Such a cyber attack could potentially disrupt the distribution of power to their respective critical infrastructures for protracted periods.
Should that occur, societal breakdowns, economic collapse, and losses that run to the hundreds of millions of lives are distinct possibilities, if not certainties. The Free World as we have known it could cease to exist, without a shot being fired.
Such a scenario was among those validated in London this week at a meeting of top government officials, legislators, public utilities regulators, electric industry leaders, scientists and other experts from the United States, Britain, Israel and a number of other countries. The good news is that, in light of such very bad news about the dangers we face – with or without a Russian Stuxnet 2.0 – this Electric Infrastructure Security Summit seemed to precipitate an unprecedented willingness on the part of the various stakeholders represented to collaborate for the purpose of protecting the grid against all hazards.
The prospect of Vladimir Putin or any other adversaries being able, one way or another, to pose such an existential threat to our nation demands corrective action without further delay. What is needed now is nothing less than a crash, supreme-priority Manhattan Project-style national effort. We must bring to bear the best minds and the necessary resources to protect our critical infrastructure and, thereby, help preserve this country and the rest of the Free World in the face of the present danger – and those in the offing.

miércoles, junio 11, 2014

Putin's Rasputin: The Mad Mystic Who Inspired Russia's Leader

As Russia continues stepping up its propaganda war, the Putin regime continues to implausibly deny any responsibility for the civil war spawned in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Putin’s cynical denial of responsibility for his operatives’ actions in Crimea strained the imagination of even the most credulous observers; even Putin had to confess that the “little green men” were really his soldiers all along. By some accounts, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Russia’s partners in its new Eurasian Economic Union, may be looking for a way out before the union even goes into effect next year.

Why does Putin risk a war in Ukraine? Because he cannot build a meaningful Eurasian Union without Ukraine—and if that means settling for as much of Ukraine as he can steal, so be it. As Leon Neyfakh recently wrote for The Boston Globe:
Ukraine—with its steel mills, coal plants, bountiful agricultural resources, and massive population of 46 million people—has always, according to Russia experts, been key to Putin’s vision for the Eurasian Union.
Why does Putin risk a war in Ukraine to build his Eurasian Union? Because he is implementing—in whole or in part—the Eurasianist doctrine which was developed by the man know as “Putin’s Brain:” Aleksandr Dugin (pictured, top). Dugin’s Foundations of Geopolitics helped reshape the views of Russia’s political and military elite in the late 1990s and gave a new form to old prejudices against the Western nations by means of the Eurasianist ideology. 
Putin appears to have given support to Dugin’s Eurasianism from the earliest days of his presidency: the Evraziia (Eurasian Movement) was organized in April 2001 as the "brainchild" of presidential counsel Gleb Pavlovsky. Eurasianism has not only found favor with the Putin regime: Gennady Zhuganov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Vladimir Zhironovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party have both proclaimed their adherence to varying forms of Eurasianism, and Dugin is credited with having influenced both men.
Eurasianism leaves intact many of the territorial goals of the old Soviet Union while updating the ideology for a world which has grown cold to Bolshevik boilerplate. Gone is the old Marxist-Leninist claptrap about the "class struggle" in favor of a global conflict rooted in “sacred geography” and an "inevitable" conflict between the continental might of Eurasia and the "sea power" of the United Kingdom and United States.
However, Dugin is not only “Putin’s Brain”—he’s also “Putin’s Rasputin.” Dugin’s ideology is filled with invocations of "metaphysical Marxism" and adherence to the Traditionalist views of the "mystical fascist" thinker Julius Evola. Dugin’s ideology is one which claims that a final conflict is coming between Eurasia and (in Dugin’s words) “the kingdom of the Antichrist.” As pertains to this kingdom of the Antichrist, Dugin maintains, “the United States is the center of its expansion.” For Dugin, there is one course which lies open before those who oppose the "Antichrist:" “The American Empire should be destroyed. And at one point, it will be.” 
What remains to be seen is how far Putin will go to implement Eurasianism.
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"Hablame"

"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño

(el-alto-sueño);

le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.

Etiquetas

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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva

Seguidores

Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.
¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
-
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]

Liborio

Liborio
A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan

CUBA LLORA Y EL MUNDO Y NOSOTROS NO ESCUCHAMOS

Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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