Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Confused Survey Says Two Russian Energy Giants Top Google And Apple In Corporate Transparency

Transparency International ranks Russia’s two state-owned energy giants in the middle of the top 124 world companies for “transparency” because both have adopted detailed anti-corruption rules. The rankings do not ask whether these companies actually comply with their rules. Stock market valuations show the nonsensical nature of the Transparency International rankings. Investors are not willing to bet on the Russian energy giants because they are non-transparent on the most important risks, and they operate as instruments of Kremlin domestic and foreign policy. As such, they must pay the price for Putin’s adventurism in Ukraine and elsewhere.

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Berlin and Washington: The Political Battles That Could Decide Ukraine’s Fate

Ukraine’s fate may depend upon the battle within Germany’s ruling coalition over its policy towards Putin’s Russia. In the United States, the new Republican Senate will battle the Obama administration over weapons for Ukraine. Powerful factions in each country believe that concessions to Putin will bring a diplomatic solution. They ignore the adage: Peace through strength. Putin will agree to a real diplomatic solution only if Ukraine is able to defend itself. In the meantime, Ukraine is justified in concluding that it has been abandoned by those allies whose battle it is fighting without their assistance.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

At G20, Will Sanctions Or Casualties Deter Another Russian Invasion?

Contrary to Vladimir Putin’s assurances that “Ukraine is not our business,” Russia has suffered fifteen to twenty thousand dead and wounded on the Ukrainian field of battle, in addition to  declining living standards, economic isolation, and the expensive subsidization of occupied  Ukrainian territories. As the Kremlin continues to send  troops and weapons into Ukraine for its Novorossiya ventures, Putin should receive a frosty reception at the G20 meetings in Australia. But the costs of lost lives and treasure may deter him more than threats of increased sanctions and other punitive measure by a united front of Western leaders.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Kremlin Uses Semantics To Walk Back Recognition of Donbass Elections Before The G20 Summit

The Kremlin is attempting a shopworn gambit to avoid further sanctions and shield Putin from world opprobrium at the G20 conference. Putin declares he does not recognize the illegitimate Donetsk and Luhansk elections. Instead he respects them. What difference do such semantics make, and does he take the West for fools? What greater recognition is there than to supply troops, tanks, missiles, and other heavy weaponry to those so-called republics whose elections you “respect?”

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why The Republican Mid-Term Victory Can Change The Balance In The Russian-Ukraine War

Barack Obama can scarcely veto a bi-partisan pro-Ukraine bill. He can no longer refuse to supply weapons to Ukraine because of his “long-standing concern that arming Ukraine would provoke Moscow into a further escalation that could drag Washington into a proxy war.”  The Kremlin has nothing more to escalate other than an outright attack on Kiev or a NATO country.

An Obama rejection of Ukraine military aid puts him at odds with powerful Congressional foreign policy voices (Ben Nelson, Sander Levin, Jim Gerlach, Gerland Connoly, Robert Menendez, John McCain, Bob Corker, to name just a few), with American foreign-policy (Mike McFaul, Strobe Talbot, to name just two) and military (Generals Martin Dempsey, Philip Breedlove et al.) military establishment figures. A growing consensus agree with former CIA chief and defense secretary, Leon  Panetta, that we must give Ukraine “the means to defend itself.” Likely presidential candidate and former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, also sees the anti-Putin writing on the political wall. She has described Putin as “a mortal threat to sovereign European countries and U.S. interests,” to whom we “have to stand up” and “encircle” and choke off his ability to be so aggressive.”

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sham Election Proves Putin Does Not Want A Peaceful Solution In Ukraine

Sunday’s sham elections in Donetsk and Luhansk prove Putin does not want a peaceful solution for the Ukraine conflict. Rather, his goal is the defeat and humiliation of NATO and the U.S. Putin is prepared to risk new sanctions and world opprobrium, and a clear understanding of his intentions may wake up NATO and the U.S. Minsk peace process is dead, and Europe and the United States understand they must either fight back or capitulate.

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